|Recipient of MUFON PA |
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award,
Dr. David Jacobs
Well, I'm always up for some good strict scientific info on UFOs, so hot damn! This outghta be great, right?
I emailed MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan and MUFON PA State Director John Ventre and asked permission to pose a few questions. For the sake of accuracy and context I will share an August 8 email exchange, rather than summarize it, that subsequently occurred with Ventre. I will then present what I interpret to be significant points of interest.
The Email Exchange
My initial email read as follows:
Jack Brewer here from the blog, 'The UFO Trail'.
Would it be okay if I email you a few questions about the upcoming MUFON PA conference in Philadelphia and include your responses in a blog post? I would particularly like to obtain information about the selection process resulting in Dr. David Jacobs as the keynote speaker and recipient of a lifetime achievement award as described in the following link:
Thanks for your consideration,
Below is John Ventre's reply and the subsequent exchange between the two of us with minor edits for grammar and clarity.
I already answered that question on the UFOinfo forum and don't plan to do that again. There are 3-4 antagonist haters on that site that ruins it for everyone else.
If you are writing an objective article then I will reply.
Thanks for your reply. I'm not familiar with your forum post, but perhaps you will offer responses to the following items at your convenience:
Who was empowered to select Dr. David Jacobs as a recipient of a lifetime achievement award?
What was the criteria used to select a recipient?
Given the MUFON mission statement of dedication to scientific study for the benefit of humanity, would you please explain specifically what methodology employed by Jacobs was identified as scientific? What makes it so?
I select the speakers for our 3 Pa conferences which you can view at www.mufonpa.com. I have read approx. 30 UFO books in the past year as I try to figure out the origin of the Grey abduction phenomena. The only 3 names referenced multiple times in these books are Mack, Vallee and Jacobs. I was surprised that Kathie Marden who heads up MUFON's abduction research was never mentioned. I tried to book Vallee who said he no longer does conferences and Mack is no longer with us. We also try to recognize a veteran in the field with a lifetime achievement award. In the past, we recognized Stanton Friedman, Linda Moulton Howe, Bill Birnes and Travis Walton. We are also recognizing Loren Coleman at our Pitt Conf in Nov. I also don’t theme my Pa conferences and offer a variety of speakers and topics including Bigfoot and the paranormal etc. You also need to know that MUFON states operate fairly independent of HQ so these were my decisions. Jacobs was a pioneer in this field when there were few. Jacobs and Hopkins basically wrote the book on regressive hypnosis and many of their techniques are still used today. For critics who say he had no formal training, I say he has a PhD and there was no formal training in this field when he started. I think Jacobs is highly qualified and I say to the critics that you can view it as an Elia Kazan 1999 Academy Award. You don’t have to like the man or his methods but his contributions to Ufology stand. I for one absolutely agree that the ETs are not here to help. That is Jacobs' message. I have a different view on who they actually are and you can read all about that in my new book, "Case for UFOs" in September. . . . . .
Thanks, John, and I understand that you would obviously be tolerant of Dr. Jacobs' methodology, else you would not have offered him a lifetime achievement award - but that does not address my inquiry about scientific study.
So I would pose the question this way, please:
Did you identify any of Jacobs' methodology as scientific, or did you decide you were not concerned about his lack of practicing scientific study?
Also, would you please offer a quote or two on how you resolve your choice of Jacobs as an award recipient with the Emma Woods scandal?
If helpful, here is a page containing specific quotes and recordings of interactions between Jacobs and Woods during hypnosis:
Would you please explain, specifically, how you reconcile such statements with presenting a lifetime achievement award from a purportedly scientific research organization?
State conferences do not follow the same criteria as the yearly Symposium. They can be informative, entertaining or instructive. I once had a punk rock band perform a UFO song for us at the end of the conference. I thought it was great. I read Bill Birnes' take on Jacobs and Woods years ago. That’s for the courts to decide, not me. By your logic, we should condemn NASA and the US space program because we recruited NAZI scientists and Wernher von Braun. Not my place. Jacobs has contributed much to the field and is one of the few voices who doesn’t believe abductions are for our benefit and "They" are here to help us. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood were never really great actors but they won academy awards for their body of work.
Be sure to send me a link to your article.
I sincerely do not mean to be overly aggressive on the point of scientific study, John, but you are arguably evading the question.
Did you or did you not consider sound scientific research principles as criteria for potential lifetime achievement award recipients?
Would you please explain your stance on the Emma Woods scandal in relation to bestowing David Jacobs with an award?
Those do not seem like unreasonable questions to me. If you disagree, I am more than willing to quote any explanations you might care to provide as to why the points are not valid or are unreasonable.
[Note: Ventre soon sent three emails before I replied further. One simply stated, "Here’s a name I wouldn’t give a LT Achievement award to: Stan Romanek," another read:]
The main reason I want [David Jacobs] to lecture is that he and Whitley Strieber are the only 2 out there that have concluded that abductions are evil and not for the benefit of mankind. I agree. Most abduction groups are self-deluded with liberal metaphysical beliefs that "they" are here to save the planet or cure diseases. Hasn’t happened and won’t happen. Jacobs' message needs to get out. His message will do more good than focusing on the Emma Woods case. I believe many people thought she was unstable.
[Note: Wow. Is that implying that hypnotically suggesting MPD, instructing a woman to send her undergarments and telling her to wear a chastity belt, for examples, are irrelevant as long as "many people" think she is unstable? For whatever reasons, those many people seem to ignore that it was the same methodology as employed during the Woods case that Jacobs used with other research subjects to develop that message he markets. We'll come back to that in a bit. Another email, of which I opted to respond, stated:]
If you dig deep enough you will find something to critique on every name in this field. I am honoring his body of work just as I did LM Howe and Bill Birnes who I am sure you could critique also.
I think you are confusing my state event with the International MUFON Symposium which usually features 7-8 PHD level speakers. Emma Woods is not the deciding factor; his overall contribution is.
Just to be clear, John, are you suggesting that MUFON PA does not concern itself with the MUFON mission statement, and that you do not expect your lifetime achievement award recipient to conduct scientific study?
Is that a reasonable interpretation of your comments?
No Jack, that’s what you want to write. My award is for the person’s body of work and contributions to the field.
Okay, then would you please explain specifically what you identify about David Jacobs' "body of work and contributions to the field" that involve scientific study?
Is that not a reasonable question?
If not, why not?
[Note: No further emails were received from Ventre, and Harzan did not reply to the initial query.]
With scientific study for the benefit of humanity like that, who needs bias and exploitation?
Sharon Hill of 'Doubtful News' coined the term, "sham inquiry." It is basically defined as non-scientific, often questionable research activities misrepresented as scientific procedures. The detrimental consequences can be numerous and severe. In the case of MUFON's ongoing assertions of engaging in scientific study, Robert Sheaffer of 'Bad UFOs' summed it up quite well when he recently suggested that maybe the organization should just drop the false pretense and acknowledge what it actually does.
|Robert Sheaffer presenting at the|
2012 Independent Investigations Group Awards
"Perhaps MUFON should simply admit that it is in the business of providing people with titillating and exciting UFO stories, without worrying about whether they are true," Sheaffer wrote.
The issue is indeed relevant. MUFON PA and any other group are entitled to invite whoever they want to speak as guests and bestow awards upon them. However, if they invite figures who employ regressive hypnosis as an investigative tool and declare humankind to be under invasion by diabolical aliens and their sexually deviant hybrids, while providing no corroborating conclusive evidence and failing to demonstrate systematic research methodology, then they are not entitled to label their activities scientific. That would be the case whether they do so directly, indirectly or while evading relevant questions.
Please allow me to emphasize the point as it seems to often be elusive: People are entitled to believe virtually anything they choose, as well as pursue whatever activities they want, as long as they fall within the limits of the law. They are not entitled to call any given activity scientific, however, unless it meets certain criteria. To do so, and conduct sham inquiry, is often an attempt to deceptively add unwarranted credibility to an activity and related agenda that otherwise lacks legitimacy.
|A ufologist supply store specializing in devices used to |
discourage sexual assaults committed by ET-human hybrids,
or an adult novelty shop, depending on who you ask
John Ventre may have been correct when he suggested that some of Jacobs' actions might warrant attention from legal authorities and the court. To add some context, let's consider a recent case currently pending and allegedly involving extremely questionable use of hypnosis.
The law license of Ohio attorney Michael W. Fine was suspended pending further investigation when police recorded Fine apparently using hypnosis to manipulate a female client into participating in sexual acts without her consent. According to a November, 2014 complaint filed with the State of Ohio, "Jane Doe 1" reported that she discovered her clothing disheveled after meetings with Fine, and that she found herself unable to remember parts of their interactions. She reported similar memory loss following telephone conversations with the attorney.
Eventually a police investigation was launched, and a warrant was obtained to record a meeting between Doe 1 and Fine without his knowledge. Police came out of hiding and intervened when Fine allegedly used code words to induce a hypnotic state, followed by issuing graphic sexual commands.
Interestingly, a second woman, "Jane Doe 2," who reportedly did not know about the first woman, approached authorities with similar allegations about the same attorney. According to the complaint filed, Doe 2 stated that Fine urged her to allow him to teach her what he called meditation and relaxation techniques. She suspected she was being hypnotized for exploitative purposes, and reported experiencing circumstances similar to Jane Doe 1. Police therefore obtained corroborating testimonies from independent witnesses.
Expert opinion was provided to the court, including "scientific support for both the therapeutic and manipulative use of hypnosis," by clinical psychologist Dr. Ross Santamaria. He reported Fine's behavior to be in violation of professional protocols, and the complaint charged that Fine represented "a substantial threat of serious harm to the public." Dr. Santamaria explained that hypnosis can be used to manipulate individuals in immoral, unethical, illegal and inappropriate ways.
Back home in ufology, the license of clinical social worker, hypnotist and former MUFON Director of Abduction Research John Carpenter was put on a five-year probation period in 2001 after investigator Gary Hart filed complaints with MUFON and the State of Missouri, where Carpenter was licensed. The complaints cited a series of actions which became known as the Carpenter Affair, in which Carpenter provided copies of case files of 140 hypnosis subjects and possible alien abductees to controversial philanthropist Robert Bigelow in exchange for approximately $14,000. The subjects, some of which had paid Carpenter for his services, were not informed their files were copied and shared, and Carpenter went on to marry two of his former clients. MUFON failed to act on Hart's complaint.
"Immediately after filing my MUFON complaint," Hart explained to me during a 2013 email exchange, "I was told in no uncertain terms that MUFON had no intention of taking the complaint seriously and actually doing an investigation, so I investigated the case further and made a proper report/complaint to the state licensing board."
|Founding member of MUFON,|
David Jacobs, in contrast to attorney Fine and social worker Carpenter, to the best of my knowledge does not hold any type of license directly compromised by his reckless hypnosis activities. It would seem reasonable to suspect that he and the late Budd Hopkins, his long time associate and fellow hypnosis advocate, avoided undertaking professional training, certification and accepting payment for their endeavors for the very reason of minimizing options of legal redress available to their hypnosis subjects.
Significance of the Woods/Jacobs Scandal
Ethical standards are prioritized among professional researchers for reasons in addition to valuing the safety of the research subject. While the subject's well being should certainly be prioritized, especially if your mission statement includes reference to the benefit of humanity, there is another very important reason ethics matter: They effect the quality of the research conducted and the subsequent accuracy of information reported. All games aside of evading accountability about scientific study and criteria for selecting award recipients, there are some very significant issues at the heart of the Emma Woods and David Jacobs scandal that should be addressed and resolved. Failing to do so calls into question Jacobs' other "research" offerings, as well as the judgment and motives of those who support his work.
For starters, the Emma Woods case cannot be surgically removed from Jacobs' body of work. The very methodology employed with Woods, and the resulting stories of ET-human hybrids having their way with human females, is what Jacobs built his entire thesis upon. The Woods debacle is the byproduct of Jacobs' method of operation, not the nucleus of the problem. It's a result of the problem and sham inquiry.
Ill advised activities and resulting unsupported assumptions were used to prop up more assumptions, each in turn misrepresented as facts, leading to a body of work in which the Woods case is but a reflection. Moreover, former Jacobs research subject Brian Reed corroborated the Woods complaints and leveled accusations of his own. Woods is not the isolated incident she is made out to be by Jacobs apologists. And if Jacobs was wrong about and/or retracted virtually everything he was going to write on her experiences, what does that suggest about the cases he continues to assure us are solid?
Any way one chooses to look at it, Emma Woods is obviously and understandably very unhappy with the evolution of her interactions with David Jacobs, and he didn't fare so well himself. He was utterly ineffective in both mining credible data and assisting the witness. If we're willing to temporarily play along with the idea Jacobs even remotely believes the story he peddles, it becomes important to know exactly what chains of events led him to jump the shark. Both he and Woods were very unhappy with the outcome of the interaction, as well as many more people, so what, exactly, is he doing to correct his course?
That is relevant in identifying what actions Jacobs and other investigators should take to ensure they do not make the same mistakes again. If he and his colleagues are sincere about conducting research that bears reliable results, which is increasingly doubtful (if even a reasonable assumption) at this point, they must embrace critical analysis and peer review. To continue to fail to do so while seemingly hoping people will just stop talking about sham inquiry and the Emma Woods case suggests Jacobs and his supporters are much more interested in campaigning for their agendas and preconceived conclusions than conducting even reasonable research, much less scientific study as purported. It also suggests they are well aware that transparency and accountability would be devastating to David Jacobs, and, by association, the flailing alien abduction narrative of which they hitched their wagons.
Shouldn't we be asking what, if any, reasons remain at this point to reject the evidence presented by Emma Woods, Carol Rainey and others? Will Jacobs or any of his supporters ever actually address points raised by Woods and Rainey, rather than dismiss them out of hand with insulting and irrelevant stereotypes? After five years now, it appears not.
If we don't ask the relevant questions, we enable the problems, enable sham inquiry and continue to get more of the same: Entirely unsupported stories of aliens and ET-human hybrids, spun by self-described investigators promoted by a purported scientific research organization which consists of directors who, by all appearance, either do not understand or do not care about criteria of the scientific study they are entrusted to conduct and facilitate. In the mean time and if Emma Woods is any indication, women are getting called on the phone, hypnotized and subjected to suggestions they suffer from MPD, enlisted to discuss items sold at sex shops, and instructed to mail their unwashed underpants absent any afterthought, all under the guise of conducting strict scientific and ethical research - and then called crazy when they voice objections.
'Aliens Versus Predator: The Incredible Visitations at Emma Woods', Jeremy Vaeni
'The Priests of High Strangeness: Co-Creation of the "Alien Abduction Phenomenon"', Carol Rainey
'Emma Woods Files', the website of Emma Woods, in which the home page includes an audio recording of Jacobs' hypnotic suggestions of MPD
'The Woods/Jacobs Tapes and the 'Oral History' Falsehood', Jack Brewer, includes audio clips
Paratopia Episode 94: Brian Reed Vindicates Emma Woods, podcast interview conducted by Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann
'Unhelpful Hints: Deflection and Withholding Evidence in the David Jacobs Scandal', Tyler Kokjohn, PhD