Saturday, May 25, 2013

Research of Alleged Alien Abduction: A Critical Perspective

I encourage all interested parties to conduct their own search for truth and make up their own mind about the mysteries surrounding alleged alien abduction. The challenge most fail at in their search is obtaining a wide sample of material representing a wide range of credible sources. The challenge exists not because the material is difficult to obtain, but because most people do not desire to find it.

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.


Yet another principle point that should be emphasized involves the witness. Wild speculation and poor investigative procedures get us no closer to actually understanding what might be happening to people who may truly be experiencing circumstances of interest, and, much, much more importantly, witnesses are being injured in the process. In some cases, drastically and critically injured.

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.


In review:

- 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.


  1. talk about yellow journalism and being biased and one sided.there is one physiological issue not mentioned,professional skeptics and professional debunkers.these people like you have serious mental issues with this would indeed be bad for humanity if every person who has been abducted or the over 3500 first hand pilot sighting and his copilot or the over 400 first hand ex govt,cia,military ect,ready to testify before congress or the over 1000 sighting a year,well I could go on for awhile but if every one of these people were suffering from mental issues as you have put it,to ease your own scared mind,no,no it is not possible,if one applies a little logic and intelligents instead of fear,illogic,biased,ect,ect,you would see there is something to this.oh yes just because humanity does not know of it or thought of it or invented it does not mean it is not possible and the world is round not flat.

  2. Yeah...Well how can they with NO model to adhere to??

  3. I have a theory: SOME abduction attempts are no more that re surfacing memories from being an infant awoken in the night to feed or be changed. Have a look at the human face in dim light you can't make out the eyes, just two big black orbs, the shadow across the face gives the bottom a small triangle appearance the lips are undefinable.Some say they were non verbally comforted that 'everything will be alright. These words may have been spoken but you don't remember seeing lips move in the dark. others feel instantly at peace- from being comforted if you are a small child looking up in the darkness this is all you are likely to see. think about the circumstances, you are lifted from your crib by something you cannot see (because it is dark the feeling of floating) then laid on a cold surface or change table. your clothing is removed. if you have soiled, as this is an autonomous action as an infant, all you feel is the cleaning up where your genitles anus etc may get touched (to be cleaned)there may be whispers you can't make out (being the middle of the night and the adult not wanting to make noise) you then get fed comforted put back to bed and the next memory is being woken up in the daylight by your parent/carer etc.some people may have 'bad' experiences depending on the temperament or level of care of the adult caring for them, others experience an inability to move as your adult brain and full functioning body has an effort dealing with the memory of what it was to be helpless and unable to be self mobile as you have no conscious memory of this.again I say this could explain SOME abductions

    1. You are certainly correct that there are multiple explanations. I also think you are on the right track that many circumstances stand to contribute to our personal conditioning and eventual perceptions. No doubt about it. It would certainly help the credibility of researchers of alleged alien abduction if they would acknowledge such circumstances rather than typically avoiding them.

    2. I agree with what you said, but you failed to acknowledged the how close minded those who don't believe in them can be. How about having an open, inquiring mind. You know. What scientists are supposed to have. Then let us get at the real truth, whatever it is.

    3. In response to the above.

      I would say the same of alien and ufo believers.

      I've been in that area for some time now. They are by far the the most close minded people I've encountered in my 60 some years . Also quite a few are mentally ill and on disability and many are drug users and advocate hallucinogens as a way to "enlightenment" .

      It's a rarity to find a clear and level head in the crowd.

    4. This theory holThis theory holds as much credibility as the claimed abductions do themselves.
      Without proof its sheer speculation.
      No proof on abductions either you say… May be right but the trickle is slowly turning to a torrent and more people are claiming some sort of experience. Either the world going neurotic or they are indeed having some sort of experience.
      Your idea could also be associated with religious and near death experiences. What a can of worms….
      I personally keep an open mind on most of these subjects, mainly because the sceptics actually have less real proof than the people claiming the experience.
      s as much credibiluty

    5. I think a lot more people have had experiences that they have never told anyone about because of just such ridicule as this. I don't believe that the only way to recover memories is through hypnosis. Sometimes people just remember! And they don't tell anyone. There must me many people who have died with their secret never leaving their lips.
      I would never allow someone to hypnotize me to recover memories that I consider may be a blessing to have little memory of. I don't trust hypnotism. To anonymous above I resent that you think anyone who has had an abduction experience was a drug user and close minded. That sounds very close minded. I am successful in life and career and have never taken hallucinogens. But then I had only one experience and it certainly had no commonalities with lucid dreams. A lucid dream is where you know you are dreaming and might be able to control the dream as well as controlling out of body experience. An abduction is something you can't awake from so it seems to be right the opposite doesn't it?

  4. Thanks for another interesting post on abduction research.

    In regard to Dr. Jacobs's hypnosis sessions with me, he actually did them over the phone, not on Skype.

    Jacobs might have done hypnosis with another research subject on Skype, who posted on a forum about it. With Elizabeth Smith he did hypnosis with her in person, over the phone, and eventually on instant messenger without a webcam.

    I think that the safety of research subjects takes precedence over all other concerns in research involving human subjects.

    In the case of Jacobs, his abuse of his subjects goes further than traumatic false hypnotic memories, involving, in my opinion, gratuitous use of subjects in the vulnerable hypnotic state. Examples of this are when he asked me to send him my unwashed underpants and not to remember doing it, and suggesting that I wear a chastity belt (I have provided on my website audio from my hypnosis sessions of him doing these things.)

    Jacob's treatment of his subjects violates the principles of the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, at

    Take care,


    1. I am glad you find my posts on abduction research interesting, Emma. It is indeed my intention to add constructively to the topic.

      Your comments certainly represent valid perspectives, and you are obviously qualified and entitled to speak on the issues. Thanks for your comments. Be well.

  5. I'm always amused when abduction hobbyists complain that science ignores abduction studies. They usually admonish doubters to have an open mind, as well.

    I would counter that science produces hundreds of studies a year about memory encoding and recall, traumatic amnesia, hypnosis, dreams -- all of which are directly relevant to abduction studies. But you won't find proponents citing many (usually not any) of these works. They don't even cite the Journal of UFO Studies, which used to published fully sourced articles about abduction, written by credentialed academics.

    Rhetoric is not science.

  6. Yawn. Ad hominem attack ('you can't trust this Jacobs guy, he's a bad man with no qualifications'), argument from silence ('absence of evidence of hypnosis' reliability and the abduction narrative are evidence against' bla bla never mind the large number of cases remembered without it). Biased, frustrating sniping that helps the advancement of science, not to mention those poor people the author expresses so much pretend sympathy for, not one iota.

  7. @anonymous
    > the large number of cases remembered without it

    Of the hundreds of cases investigated by Jacobs, name one where all the details were remembered without hypnosis.

    I'll wait.