Ideas

Brainiac

Euphemism: ex·pe·ri·enc·er (n.)

Samantha Stamas/Globe Staff

ex·pe·ri·enc·er (n.): The offbeat TBS comedy “People of Earth” features a journalist who’s investigating a support group for people who claim they’ve been abducted by aliens. One quirk of the show is pulled from reality: Alien abductees like to refer to themselves by another term — “experiencers.”

The term was preferred by the late John Mack, a Harvard professor and parapsychology researcher, since it focuses on the person’s perceptions, not the deeds of alleged aliens. “Experiencer” appears in many UFO-related contexts, such as the “Experience Questionnaire” from the Mutual UFO Network. (Sample question: “Can you feel a foreign object in your body that you suspect is an alien implant?”)

The phrase “experiencer” also gives adbuction believers a sense of agency. While they’re usually portrayed as a fringe group, they’re eager, as most people are, to be seen as something more than passive victims.