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Jimmy Liles, known around town as the city's chief of police, will fill the role of city administrator. The announcement was made Sept. 24 at a Nixa City Council meeting. He was then sworn in.

This week we will broach a delicate topic that I have only heard discussed among fellow researchers in hushed tones and private conversations. It actually involves combining two mysteries  — one covered by the mainstream news media and the other “on the fringe” — into one tentatively proposed suggestion.

At this point, there is not enough evidence or support for the concept to justify referring to it as a theory, at least as the term is used in the scientific community.

The concept is deceptively simple to state as a question, but the ramifications and emotional impact are disturbing. Each year a great number of people across the country and around the world disappear without a trace, as if into thin air.

At the same time, there are a significant number of reports taken by UFO investigators in which experiencers claim to have been abducted by, apparently, alien entities. The troubling question, as you have undoubtedly already figured out, is this: Are there occasions when people are abducted and not brought back?

For those with closed minds who consider UFO believers as candidates for a mental institution, with alleged abductees being confined to padded rooms, there is no question to be answered. But if you are aware of the unexplained disappearances and are open minded about the abduction accounts, the concept of an occasional victim not being returned must be at the very least considered with an open mind. But once that point is reached an even more complicated and potentially frightening question comes into play — why?

One suggested scenario goes like this: An individual is abducted and in the course of the oft-reported physical exam something goes wrong and the abductee expires. Perhaps they have a weak heart and literally die of fright. Faced with a dilemma, the abductors decide that the best solution to their dilemma is for the body to disappear without a trace.

As an alternative, there are those who maintain that the abduction scenario is a testing procedure of some sort, and those who pass are either invited to become an ambassador to another world or taken there whether they agree to the “honor” or not.

There have been cases in which abductees recovered memories, either spontaneously or under hypnosis, of being told they were “not suitable” or “did not pass.” This communication is usually said to have taken place silently, by way of telepathic messages.

The truth — if indeed such a scenario actually exists to be explained — may lie in a combination of these extremes, and depend upon who is doing the abducting. Most of the reports involve a description of the familiar small beings commonly referred to as “gray aliens” or simply “grays.” They are generally rather benign and somewhat emotionless, simply going about their task of gathering samples and conducting tests without either inflicting unnecessary trauma or being particularly comforting.

The so called “reptilians,” on the other hand, seem to be more malevolent and either uncaring about the pain and terror they are inflicting or actually enjoying it. Fortunately for those who have such experiences, the gentler “grays” are the most frequently reported.

My personal opinion on the question at hand is a cautious acceptance that the overall concept of people disappearing by way of alien abduction is indeed plausible, but is still a long way from being proven to my satisfaction. As far as the various scenarios proposed to explain why “permanent abductions” may occur, that debate is a classic case of getting the cart before the horse until the connection between disappearances and abductions is either proven to the majority of researchers’ satisfaction or at least becomes more widely accepted. Perhaps some eager young ufologist needs to research the possible correlations in time and place between UFO sightings and mysterious disappearances. Their findings would go a long way toward solving this enigma within a mystery.

If you have had an encounter with any type of paranormal or unexplained phenomenon that occurred in Missouri or an adjoining state, I would like to add it to my ever-growing files. Send me a complete account, with as many details as you can. Include your name and a telephone number or email address I can reach you at if I need more information. Complete anonymity, if requested, will be observed if your experience is used for publication. Send accounts and comments to samuptegrove@gmail.com and I will respond.

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