Alien abduction (sometimes also called abduction phenomenon, alien abduction syndrome, or UFO abduction) refers to the phenomenon of people reporting what they believe to be the real experience of being kidnapped by extraterrestrial beings and subjected to physical and psychological experimentation. Most scientists and mental health professionals explain these experiences by factors such as suggestibility (e.g. false memory syndrome), sleep paralysis, deception, and psychopathology. Skeptic Robert Sheaffer sees similarity between the aliens depicted in science fiction films, in particular Invaders From Mars (1953), and some of those reported to have actually abducted people. People claiming to have been abducted are usually called "abductees" or "experiencers".
Typical claims involve forced medical examinations that emphasize the subject's reproductive systems. Abductees sometimes claim to have been warned against environmental abuses and the dangers of nuclear weapons, or to have engaged in interspecies breeding. The contents of the abduction narrative often seem to vary with the home culture of the alleged abductee. UFO, alien abduction, and mind control plots can also be part of radical political apocalyptic and millenarian narratives.
Reports of the abduction phenomenon have been made all around the world, but are most common in English-speaking countries, especially the United States. The first alleged alien abduction claim to be widely publicized was the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. UFO abduction claims have declined since their initial surge in the mid-1970s and alien abduction narratives have found less popularity in mainstream media. Skeptic Michael Shermer proposed that the ubiquity of camera phones increases the burden of evidence for such claims, and may be a cause for their decline.