It is rare for people within UFOdom to have a reasonably working knowledge of such diverse topics as mental health issues, physiological issues and the intelligence community in proportion to their knowledge of abduction lore. The irony, of course, is that the former can be substantiated while the latter cannot – and that brings us to the heart of the problem with many abduction researchers.
They often assert to “know” this or that absolutely fantastic item to be true, the same as you can look around the UFO community and observe any number of its members doing, while they can prove no such assertion whatsoever. You need look no further than the websites of some of the researchers to see they claim to have proof of one thing or another that perpetually never amounts to much of anything more than rumors of yesteryear. Worst of all, individuals such as David Jacobs and organizations such as MUFON often do so under the claim of conducting scientific research.
That is a primary problem. I invite others to identify it as such, and following is why:
If people just want to hang out and reinforce their shared beliefs, then fine. Ghost stories around the campfire and all that.
If, however, they claim to be conducting scientific investigation, they have a responsibility to conduct themselves in accordance with the scientific method of investigation. Witness testimony and particularly subjective assessment carries minimal weight as compared to physical evidence, authenticated documents and such – along with all the other dynamics recognized by the professional research community which must either apply or, of course, professional research is not actually being conducted.
Again, I will point out that is fine – as long as it is not called science or professional research, because, by definition, it simply is not. A big problem therefore lies in the abduction researchers continuing to cling to methods of investigation circa 1964 and rightfully not recognized as valid by the professional research community. More specifically, the problem lies in researchers' persistence to do so while demanding acceptance from a scientific community they either fail to understand or try to exploit. For those unaware, the American Medical Association issued a statement clearly establishing it does not recognize or endorse the use of hypnosis for any purposes at all, much less as an effective memory retrieval tool.
Part of my point being there is no supposedly proper method whatsoever of hypnotizing traumatized individuals and exploring the likelihood they have abusers originating from another planet, at least not as recognized by academia. As a matter of fact, a good argument could be made that such activities are barbaric. In the situation of Jacobs, however, no such argument is required, as he claimed to have developed therapeutic methods of regressive hypnosis that can quickly be rejected. The facts of the matter include he is not professionally qualified (as a historian) to design or conduct any type of psychologically therapeutic activity. One can see the contradictions involved in trying to accept Jacobs' claims of conducting scientific research when, in fact, his views on hypnosis require assigning him qualifications to design and assess hypnosis procedures, which he academically simply does not possess. To add insult to injury, we would have to give Jacobs' assertions more validity than we assign the AMA stance on the issue, a body which of course practices scientific principles and is far more qualified to assess medical techniques than is a historian.
Jacobs and his followers are entitled to believe anything they want. They are not entitled to misrepresent such beliefs as scientifically credible, and we are most certainly not required to silently accept such misrepresentations.
One of the most important and typically overlooked points is that the scientific process, of which such researchers as Jacobs claim to recognize and endorse, does not require critical thinkers to invalidate his attachments to the use of hypnosis. Rather, it is his responsibility to validate a hypothesis through the process of collecting data, submitting it to proper channels for peer review and so on, which neither he, Hopkins nor any of their faithful ever successfully navigated. As a matter of fact, Jacobs demonstrated adamant opposition to such, as documented by Ted Goertzel of Rutgers, among others.
That would be participating in the scientific process.
What about advances made in DNA research that could be implemented in abduction research? Dr. Tyler Kokjohn informs us important molecular evidence could be obtained long after the alleged fact, including testing those who suspect they may have been involved in breeding programs for many years after they may have carried some kind of hybrid fetus. Both Jacobs and Barbara Lamb repeatedly avoided such lines of discussion while often seeming largely unaware science had long since surpassed the circumstances required to keep the abduction narrative under a protective cloak of non-verifiable. The fact of the matter is such claims can now be verified – or shown to be unsubstantiated – if researchers care to do so.
Suicides among self-described abductees are not particularly uncommon; UFO-related discussion forums typically have threads dedicated to tragic situations that should never have happened – but did; whatever one may choose to make of the Emma Woods case, it would seem painfully clear she was not helped by a historian conducting Skype-hypnosis about hybrids raping her night after night for days on end; Leah Haley was referred by Hopkins, after inquiring about a single childhood UFO sighting, to MUFON's John Carpenter who proceeded to 'help' her hypnotically construct an entire lifetime of alien and military torturous abductions, of which she may very well never fully recover from the emotional traumata experienced.
There are many more such circumstances. There is also no question that many people who find their ways into the UFO community would be much better served by a competent psychoanalyst than an overly enthusiastic hypnotist with grandiose dreams of alien-hunting, or, at the least, they would be better served by actual scientists or professional researchers than people masquerading as such under the camouflage provided by MUFON, ICAR or the like.
- An inherent challenge to ufology, and particularly alleged alien abduction, is that its followers do not seek information that provides a balanced and objective point of view. Actually, they are often quite unaware of the current mental health paradigm, symptoms of emotional traumata, relevant physiological circumstances and similar subject matter, the absence of which substantially obstructs their abilities to form objective and more complete understandings of what became known as the abduction phenomenon.
- A primary problem is many researchers misrepresent their activities to be scientific, exploiting the less educated and poorly informed, intentionally or otherwise.
- It is not my responsibility or the responsibility of anyone else to invalidate hypotheses related to regressive hypnosis, but the responsibility of its practitioners to validate the activity as an effective memory retrieval tool, which has never been accomplished. Neither have proponents of hypnosis ever competently or thoroughly addressed the dangers of emotional suffering inherent to the activity, all of which futilely result in, at best, nothing more than witness testimony.
- A primary problem is self-described witnesses seeking support are being deeply hurt. This is taking place while those who subscribe to alien abduction as established, literal occurrences, often to fanatical extents, are damaging the injured parties even further, commonly lashing out at them while making excuses for the incompetence of irresponsible hypnotists.
- If researchers want to be accepted by academia, they must adhere to rules and practices, i.e., peer review, proper recognition of standards of evidence, accept hypnosis is not a reliable memory retrieval tool, etc., that are established by academia, else stop claiming their work to have scientific merit. Equally important would be members of the UFO community learning to more accurately identify misrepresentations of scientific merit.