Nick Pope's "The Uninvited" - apart from having a great title - is an excellent overview of the abduction phenomenon and especially good as a primer for those with little knowledge of the subject outside the occasional lightweight History or Science Channel TV documentary. It's intelligent, deeply considered and contains a lot of original source material investigated by the author which you won't find anywhere else.
Pope first became acquainted with the abduction issue after being parachuted into the MOD's UFO desk job in 1991 and facing the responsibility of responding to numerous letters received from people all over the UK reporting UFO sightings and accompanied by the usual missing time episodes, disorientation, partial memories and odd body scarring. To his credit, he got out into the field and investigated many of these cases personally, only to discover the reporters to be on the whole responsible, level-headed and functional members of society in no way welcoming any publicity or exposure, just wanting to know what had happened to them. Pope gradually became persuaded by the near-identical narratives and markers in all these cases that this was some kind of real phenomenon, and decided to study the subject.
The book is in two parts, well-organised and written in a highly readable, literate style spiced with frequent good-natured humour. Nick pushes no particular agenda but looks at all the evidence in the round. He investigated individual cases, read extensively on the subject and took the trouble to contact and interview both abductees and prominent researchers. He runs the reader through the evolving nature of the phenomenon from centuries of folklore of people being abducted by small beings ("elves" or "fairies") to a different environment accompanied by "missing time"; through the contactees of the 1950s and 1960s; to the emergence of the modern phenomenon with the Villas Boas case and the most comprehensive 10-page summing-up of the Hill case I've ever read anywhere. He is particularly good in reporting the changing attitudes of the UFO research organizations to the abduction issue through the 1970s and 1980s from outright hostility and denial to reluctant acceptance as the evidence began to relentlessly pile up.
One value of reading "The Uninvited" is in its detailed examination of some extraordinary UK cases. In addition to the better-known Aveley, Oakensen and Alan Godfrey cases many others seldom reported elsewhere - like the very early case of James Millen (starting in 1944), with lifelong multiple abduction events involving several witnesses - are related in some detail. Nick met, interviewed and got to know all these people and relates the details in his straightforward, informative and non-judgmental style.
The author accepts that hard evidence to conclusively prove abductions are a reality as reported is hard to come by, but that the circumstantial evidence is "good enough to carry the day". In chapter seven he explores the challenge to official scientific paradigms and the problem of evidence, and in chapter eight philosophical issues such as the legal and constitutional responsibility of government to defend its citizens if this phenomenon is real - a can of worms indeed.
In the second part of the book, Nick devotes a chapter to each of several interesting cases from his own investigation file where the elements are complex and do not follow a simple classic abduction narrative. These contain elements such as OBEs, ghosts, terrified house pets and multiple-witnesses, and he observes that the dividing line between the physical and paranormal aspects of this phenomenon is a narrow one. Some have quite weird aspects and support the later work of Budd Hopkins (whom Pope rightly acknowledges as the most groundbreaking pioneer in the history of this research field), Dr. David Jacobs and others who uncovered information that human-alien hybrids are being produced and are sometimes encountered by abductees here on Earth. They're in London too - it seems.
Chapter 15 is titled "The Usual Suspects" rand runs through the commonly held theories about the origin of the phenomenon: ETs; the collective unconscious; the "shared earth theory" postulated in the past by John Keel and Jacques Vallee (and recently in 2010 recycled yet again by the late Mac Tonnies); inter-dimensional beings; time travellers from the future; government mind control experiments; various barely believable debunking theories like sleep paralysis and hypnagogic states (none of which even begin to address the complex evidence) - and so on.
To his credit, Pope nails his colours to the mast and writes in the concluding chapter:
"...careful study of the available data on abductions shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a genuine phenomenon at work...from the variety of theories in circulation, I believe the extraterrestrial explanation best fits the data. My own work together with careful analysis of the work of others leads me to the conclusion that a literal interpretation of reports from witnesses is the correct one..."
So, "The Uninvited" is a refreshingly intelligent and original examination of the abduction phenomenon spiced with personal investigations and a lot of original material, and well worth reading whatever the level of your current acquaintance with the data. One minor criticism might be the absence of any illustrations, even in the hardcover edition - but by now we all know what Gray aliens look like, don't we?