If Tumblr — the online shortcut to the teenage id — is any indicator, Dana's right about the trend. Searches for "reptilians" and "reptoids" (NSFW caution) turn up a number of images and posts about reptilian influence, GIFs of members of Congress displaying (Photoshopped) reptilian traits, theories (sincere or not) about reptilian symbols. "before i die," one post begins, "i hope to see with my own eyes hybrids walking without masks in the streets, accepted, non sinister, and equal." It doesn't take much to constitute a trend in an online community, so we'll say this counts.
For Dana, reptilianism isn't hip. It's personal. At her blog, she explains her experiences with reptilians and other alien lifeforms like "greys", who, in her words, "tortured" her physically and emotionally. At one point in 2009, she figured out how to fight back against creatures that, in her telling, manipulated her muscles under her skin and broke her bones, leaving scars.
That night I awoke in my energy body laying beside a reptilian Being on a bed with 2 greys mentally holding me down. I broke lose and attacked, I tried to kill the bastard with my bare hands, then I was back in my physcial body feeling the reptilian slam my energy body's head into a wall, I laughed and taunted him. Suddenly my energy body came back, I was whole, elated and triumphant.
In an email exchange with The Atlantic Wire, Dana explained the significance of the distinction between her energy and physical bodies. "The most common ways the Reptilians access humans," she wrote, "are through the dream state posing as a romantic/sexual partner or through drug or alcohol abuse which lowers the bodies energy vibration and allows access." Dana conflates reptilian control with demonic possession — suggesting that claims of the latter are, in fact, manifestations of the former. Those "dream state" interactions between reptilians and humans are benign, until either the human wants them to stop or the dreams beocome nightmares. "The end goal of the Reptilian is to inhabit and control the human's physical body for it's own use," Dana told us. They are "beings who wish to access our realm and cannot in their own bodies." There are no reptoids. There are just regular people under the control of reptile-like entities from elsewhere in the universe.
Dr. Susan Clancy studied post-traumatic stress disorder while earning her Ph.D. at Harvard University. She's written two books on the subject of belief in alien interaction, including Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. In an email with The Atlantic Wire, she suggested that Dana's experiences with reptilians were similar to others that Clancy had interviewed.
In most cases the belief emerges as an explanation for unusual/disturbing symptoms/experiences. For example, episodes of "lost time" while driving, nose bleeds, bruises on body, sexual problems, loneliness, sleep paralysis and other sleep problems. People already familiar with widely available cultural scripts of alien abductions being to search for search for answers to their own "weird" experiences. The result? "I wonder if what I read/watched is what happened to me?"
The physical disturbances echo what Dana writes at her blog (which, too, is at times not safe for work). The connection between Clancy's work assessing PTSD and her engagement with believers in alien interaction is clear. She notes that those beliefs stem largely from the interpretation of the trauma, and therefore look slightly different.