THE aliens are among us - but don't worry, they're here to help.
Queensland-based counsellor and alien encounters expert Mary Rodwell says it's misguided to think people are "abducted by aliens" and subject to ominous experiments.
In fact 85% of people have walked away from alien encounters with "positive transformational experiences", according to her research.
The author of Awakenings and The New Human, Mrs Rodwell is a keynote speaker at the inaugural Close Encounters Conference in Byron Bay on January 15-16.
She will present testimonies from people including a female medical doctor who had a "profound activation" like she was "being shifted into another awareness".
"She had a transformative experience ... and that changed the way she saw reality," Mrs Rodwell said.
"And through that her healing has changed with it ... she now works on a completely different energetic level."
Many people with similar experiences were quite dubious about aliens prior to their "encounters".
One of them, Ray Hernandez, a former Miami lawyer, was a "total sceptic" until one night when he, his wife and daughter witnessed a UFO go over their house, and a "strange energy being" which came down and, they believe, healed their dying dog.
Getting the 'truth out there'
"From that time on Ray was completely different ... he is absolutely devoted now and driven by putting this truth out there," Mrs Rodwell said.
"He doesn't care what anybody thinks about him ... (because) this is his experience.
"What he has discovered, as I have, is that there are millions of people out there who never talk about this because of how it may look.
"My role is to be the place to go where you can say this, and know someone is not going to roll their eyes."
A director and co-founder of the Dr Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extra-Terrestrial Encounters, Mrs Rodwell helped compile "landmark" research about alien experiences.
The research involved a 600-question survey of more than 2000 people and was supervised by retired neuroscientist Dr Bob Davis and a former professor of psychology, Dr Jon Klimo.
Opening up the mind ...
Mrs Rodwell believes alien encounters are a "program to open up human consciousness".
While at first people often felt "frightened because they don't know what was going on", after some time they realised there was a bigger picture involved.
"They develop more heightened senses ... they start to be aware they can do healing and energy work," she said. "They lose interest in materialistic values and want to live more holistic lifestyles, often becoming vegetarians for example.
"They get this broader sense of connectedness to everything."
From sceptic to believer
Mrs Rodwell said she wasn't offended by people who though alien encounters were made-up because she had almost 25 years' experience working with "hundreds of credible people" from all walks of life.
Often, she said, they were doctors, lawyers, nurses, academics, policemen and pilots - many of whom were as sceptical as the next person until they experienced a "real" encounter.
"Do you think that people would spend the money ... to come from places like America, England, Malaysia, Italy ... to come and see me in Queensland ... to tell me a fantasy?" she said.
"They come because it is something they have to understand and they don't know where else to go.
"You don't get the same stories over and over again ... without there being something to it, unless they are having a mass hallucination and I certainly don't believe that."
The inaugural Close Encounters Conference is at the Byron Community Centre. Visit www.closeencountersconference.com.au