Thursday, April 9, 2015

David Jacobs and Insults to Intelligence

A couple of posts were recently published at the blog of Alfred Lehmberg in which he raised legitimate concerns about the so-called work of retired historian, investigator of alleged alien abduction and hypnotic regression advocate Dr. David Jacobs. In addition to the points raised in the posts, I also appreciated comments submitted by microbiologist Dr. Tyler Kokjohn. I interpreted the comments to be a welcome reminder of how professional research is conducted at institutions which actually value the welfare of human research subjects and adhere to industry standards of obtaining informed consent. Such dynamics seem to chronically elude Jacobs and those who make excuses for failing to follow such protocols. 

Alfred -
If I may offer one point of clarification...
Although I agree completely that acquiring and analyzing samples from alleged hybrids is essential, it is not possible for me to work with Dr. Jacobs. The rules regulating research conduct at my institution would prohibit that collaboration.
Defending himself from the accusations of improper conduct leveled by Emma Woods, Dr. Jacobs took refuge in the claim that he was not actually conducting any research. Instead, he stressed he was only taking oral histories.
Here is the problem from my perspective - the ambit of oral history taking certainly does not include collection of biological samples and their analyses. Moreover, since Dr. Jacobs explicitly stated he was not doing research (biomedical or otherwise), it seems unlikely he provided his subjects with sufficiently detailed informed consent documents to allow for sample collection. In order to obtain permission from my institution to collaborate on any research involving human subjects, it would be necessary to provide full documentation of the research scope, all informed consent documents and plans for dealing with any adverse events that might be foreseeable. After all the necessary documentation has been reviewed, investigators must receive formal approval or an explicit declaration of exemption from the Institutional Review Board before any work may proceed. These requirements are non-negotiable and approvals can never be obtained retroactively. 
But what if Dr. Jacobs, now working as an independent investigator, decided to finally do some real research and collect samples under the aegis of acceptable informed consent rules? Even if the new work met every standard for the ethical and safe conduct of human subject research, I would still refuse to collaborate with him. The events and information regarding the Emma Woods debacle all convinced me I want nothing to do with Dr. Jacobs.
Tyler Kokjohn

It is not unusual for me to be asked my thoughts on various aspects of alleged alien abduction, including the actions of David Jacobs. I have identified his work to be so extremely poor and misrepresented to contain evidence it actually does not that it has become increasingly difficult for me to express my views about it in what I feel are proper proportion to its lack of validity. There is so much ineptness that it is actually challenging to adequately cover it. 

I will offer a few points for consideration below, but please allow me to emphasize that the possibility some people may experience phenomena representing genuine mysteries does not hinge upon the competency or authenticity of David Jacobs and his peers. The fact such researchers could reasonably be interpreted to have made fools of themselves does not equate to necessarily nullifying Fortean topics as a whole. 

The subjectivity and shameless promotion of unsupported beliefs contained in the statements of typical abduction-researchers virtually negates their efforts in and of themselves. The lack of rationality has become so prevalent that at this point I seriously doubt many of them sincerely believe their claims and pro-ETH stances, as compared to simply promoting an agenda they view as advantageous. 

Concerning David Jacobs specifically, I find the following points and contradictions to be relevant:

- In 2011 the False Memory Syndrome Foundation reported that, in response to the accusations leveled by Emma Woods, Temple University asserted Jacobs was only collecting oral histories, not conducting research.

- Contradicting the Temple stance, Jacobs claimed in 2012 to have facilitated DNA-related tests and conducted such research.

- Jacobs further stated the tests in question provided no conclusive results, yet he failed to revise his hypotheses or make details of the tests available for public review. Issues of informed consent and related concerns may apply.

- During a 2014 presentation, Jacobs asserted that he does not conduct hypnosis with alleged alien abductees, but uses relaxation techniques. This is in direct contradiction to the facts he has frequently discussed hypnosis as an investigative tool during his presentations, repeatedly written about its implementation as a memory enhancer, claimed to have been composing a book on the use of hypnosis with abductees and, earlier in literally the same presentation, stated that he began doing hypnosis in 1986. 

- While claiming to believe Emma Woods was being assaulted on an ongoing basis by sexually deviant ET-human hybrids, David Jacobs suggested as a partial solution that he could send her a chastity belt. He became familiar with the device, he explained to her, at a sex shop specializing in bondage dominance that he frequented quite often. Suffice it to say that is not standard protocol for providing functional support to the sexually abused. Neither is it indicative of sincere concerns for the woman or suggestive of authentic belief in dangerous hybrids. 

- Jacobs claimed to believe electronic messages originating from the computer of "Elizabeth," an alleged alien abductee, were composed and sent by a menacing ET-human hybrid, not Elizabeth. When pressed to explain why forensic evidence of the circumstances could not be obtained, Jacobs stated, among other dubious excuses that actually did not make sense, Elizabeth had curtains over her windows and one could not see inside.

There is much more, but if you require more than that to have your intelligence insulted, I don't know what to tell you. I've been thoroughly insulted for quite some time now.   


Related posts:

The Bizarre World of Doctor David Jacobs: An Interview and Review, Part One of Three

The Bizarre World of Doctor David Jacobs: An Interview and Review, Part Two of Three

The Bizarre World of Doctor David Jacobs: An Interview and Review, Part Three of Three


  1. So what do you make of his friends who continue to come to his defense and/or organizations that continue to give him speaking engagements? Why aren't they insulted, too? Moreover, why aren't their feet held to the fire about this? I'm fairly certain Kevin Randle was questioned about whether or not he knew about Don Schmitt's falsifying his career. Is anyone asking Jacobs' vocal supporters what they know or what their involvement has been in his research?

    1. Reasonable questions. What I personally make of it is the higher profile supporters of the ETH find it advantageous for reasons of popularity to avoid uncomfortable issues and to tow the party line. The consequences have become embarrassingly obvious. And, I might add, tragically hurtful.

  2. Thank you Jack. I appreciate your raising these issues.

    In my opinion, the contradictions show Temple University running for cover, and Dr. Jacobs going to absurd lengths to try to hide his misuse of hypnosis from the public.

    The idea that Dr. Jacobs has not been doing hypnosis, when he himself has talked since 1986 about the fact that he does indeed do hypnosis, is ludicrous.

    I imagine Dr. Jacobs thinks he can avoid having to answer for his misuse of hypnosis if he claims he never did hypnosis. That way, he never implanted false hypnotic memories in people, never used hypnotic amnesia blocks on people, never used hypnotic suggestions to get women to send him their unwashed underwear or to wear chastity belts, and never made hypnotic suggestions that I had MPD. Perhaps he sees it as the only way out, even though it is absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Jayvay raises an interesting question. Why do Jacob’s friends and associates continue to come to his defense? This suggests that personal relations trump considerations of evidence, sound methodology and scientific ethics when it comes to studying alien abductions. To be honest, that happens in regular science as well, but to a much lesser extent – regular science has institutional structures that hold people’s feet to the fire about such things. In ufology, you kinda have to go along to get along, or no one gets any speaker’s fees or air time.

    The value of Jack’s work is that he’s documenting the human and intellectual cost of this policy of mutual appeasement that says, You won’t criticize me, and I won’t criticize you.

    My personal view is that the (mostly) men of ufology are uncomfortable discussing Dr. Jacob’s behavior and the Emma Woods case because it violates the gender, power and sexuality expectations set by the traditional UFO narrative. It was all so much easier when the women were Aura Raynes (or however you spell it) or some poked and prodded victim. Now it’s like they’re actually demanding an equal say in their abduction experience; what’s up with that? They must be stopped at all costs, before they demand the right to deny us their panties!

    Ufology as a (rather old-fashioned) male enterprise does not have the knowledge or the cultural competence to begin a discussion about, if not the specifics of the Emma Woods-Dr. Jacobs interaction, the methodological, theoretical and substantive ramifications of that interaction for the field – which exist and are real. Even some of the people I most respect as public intellectuals in the field have sidestepped the issue, to my surprise. Let’s discuss Roswell Slides until the cows come home, but god forbid any time should be put into a serious consideration of something difficult to understand, like methodology or ethics!

  4. Thanks for your comments and interest, all. Much appreciated.

    I definitely think Sue has accurately identified that there are a number of reasons ufology would widely prefer to keep situations such as the Jacobs debacle in the status of "nothing to see here, just move along." Some people were friends with David Jacobs. Some people fear the alien-dogma he represents by association will lose what little popularity it has left. Others see Jacobs, Hopkins et al as candles in the dark for their Fortean ideas of life after death and consciousness-related ideas, much of a stretch as that may be. Some enjoy the status quo and choose to support it. Others want to quote Jacobs' previous work on occasion, so they argue something to the effect that just because a guy conducts tests that fail to validate his hypotheses and he fails to report those findings or revise his hypotheses, and chooses to rely more heavily on hypnosis as a means of collecting otherwise threadbare evidence, it doesn't necessarily make him a bad researcher...

    Yet others, as Sue chose to address, may very well fear for the value of their masculinity and fear their control over various social dynamics is threatened. Women such as Emma and Carol Rainey remind us it's not only okay to do some fact-checking, but professional research practices demand doing so, and their efforts have been met with, shall we say, less than enthusiastic appreciation in some circles.

    Maybe more people will continue to come to understand they should be embarrassed and ashamed to even hold such points of view that obscure reality while supporting policies that take human and intellectual tolls. I hope so, and I appreciate those who continue to work towards such goals.

  5. "...regular science has institutional structures that hold people’s feet to the fire about such things..."

    REALLY? Those 'structures' may be in place, but there are a variety of political and personal agendas with most of the bureaucrats that run these very agencies. Their feet do NOT get held to the fire. The CDC, as but one example, is filled with corruption. A recent whistleblower by the name of Dr. William Thompson has now received whistleblower protection, hired one of the best whistleblower attorneys in the country and wants to testify soon before Congressional hearing as to the malfeasance he's known about after having worked as a scientist within the CDC. Unfortunately, that story was blacked out in U.S. media. I've been researching/investigating malfeasance in our governmental/medical institutions for well over 20 plus years. It is staggering the amount of corruption that is going on in these institutions. One other example: Dr. Poul Thorsen worked as a scientist/researcher for the CDC performing supposed validated research within the vaccine industry. His research is now in question as he's been indicted on numerous criminal charges re money laundering, falsifying data, etc. He is currently residing in Denmark, awaiting extradition (supposedly) to the U.S. As far as ufology research is concerned: It is enormously difficult to collect biological samples as regards abductions, for a variety of reasons. Given the nature of this phenomenon, it is almost impossible to 'collect' samples of any kind, let alone present this type research in a fashion similar to other more 'terrestrial' type research. My spidey sense tends to pique whenever I hear criticism that no such validated research exists, given the rather paltry amount of physical/tangible evidence there is in this genre. Having said that, however, I do have an issue with many of the so-called 'bigger' names in the field of ufology research in that BIAS tends to filter into most of these individuals' work. I don't trust anyone in the field of ufology for the most part; I've seen too many examples of downright ego and a clamor for the next big news item within which these researchers use to prop up their books, documentaries, lectures, etc. I'm not certain what more can really be done in the way of research, given the illusive nature of the beings who are abducting humans. My personal thoughts are that this phenomenon is far richer and more dynamic than has been brought to light. Not everything is as it seems. At this point in time and after what my own personal experiences have taught me, I think it's best to go 'within' as they say and find my own answers on a heart level and leave the research (such as it is) to those that 'think' they're finding answers searching outside themselves. To-date, I've read absolutely nothing - anywhere - which describes fully and completely what my own experiences have been. I've seen very little truth out there about this phenomenon, other than generalities and speculation. I think once people become more awake and aware, they'll start to realize just how little truth permeates our earth, in any genre, at this time. Truth is fairly illusive, I've come to realize.

    1. It's time for you to get your own blog.

  6. Correction on my above comment: That word is 'elusive,' rather than illusive. Sorry about that...

  7. I would like to point out to everyone that comes here Jacobs has been shown on documentaries before involving UFO's and on a few I recall re-enacted or real hypnosis sessions which he had done. They were supposed to be examples but I listened closely to those and it was clear he did indeed lead in some ways. Now it seems he leads all the time according to Emma. Normally you'd want to be passive in questioning and not direct the subjects mind to any 1 direction, by asking "how are you feeling" or "can you describe him" or anything like that you do lead them into thinking they should feel ANYTHING or that you should SEE ANYTHING. It's why hypnosis is more useful in psychoanalysis than other areas, and even then it was abandoned in favor of free association.

    The idea Jacobs leads during hypnosis is not a surprise.

  8. So does this mean that this phenomenon is just a phantasy played out in the heads of the "hypnotherapist" and his subject? As someone who's intrested in this phenomenon, I just can't believe that there hasn't been a study of this phenomenon by a team of professional hypnotherapists, to evaluate if there is something to this phenomenon or not. But then again I guess that they simply wouldn't be intrested in something as strange as this. So in a way "we" are left with amateurs like David Jacobs, who makes misstakes, sometimes big ones. The question then is - does these misstakes make everything David Jacobs has done in this "field" invalid?

  9. So far as I'm concerned, Jack, you're the sober one who cares enough to snatch away the car keys from those too self-intoxicated to know better.

  10. The way to stop this alien abduction nonsense is to stop giving it PR by either damning or praising it in blogs, tweets, Reddits, Facebook posts, and so on and so on. Remember that old saw - - there's no such thing as bad publicity?
    A bunch of white people seek out a bunch of other white people to support and validate their feelings of unconscious and very likely racially-based feelings of superiority ("see, I'm superior stock because the aliens take me and/or I'm used for hybridization"). Why doesn't anyone acknowledge those dark psycho-social underpinnings of the alien abduction belief? I'm sure that a high-profile "abductee" will have some rejoinder to this, but really to me that person has no more credibility than a Jacobs and seems to have become a "professional" victim.
    Okay, I'm through reading and ranting about this topic and won't be commenting on it anymore. It's not worth a minute more of anyone's time, least of all mine.

    1. I think you just did acknowledge the dark "psycho-social underpinnings." Who is going to take your place when you stop paying attention?

      You realize, of course, that wishing the critics of alien abduction away will not wish away the abductionists. They plan on staying. Robert Salas is now officially an abductee though he stated his children are off limits. He didn''t get the memo. Alien abduction is supposed to be transgenerational. Why especially would his kids be immune to it? Maybe he has a clause in his contract.

      The Rendlesham case also boasts abductees. On a recent broadcast, Linda Moulton Howe linked "alien abduction syndrome" to Rendlesham based on her discussions with a "real doctor." She's been fooled once by UFO stunt pullers. This time it's shame on her.

      I have my suspicions about who her source is. Is McGill University involved?

      Clearly, "they" plan on buttressing the alien abduction myth. Inevitably, that will lead them to Jacobs and Hopkins. They would of necessity seek to eliminate critics. Your pox on both houses would aide their cause, making their job easier.

      Barney Hill was african-american and he didn't seem to be on some sort of narcissistic adventure. Many abductees are not traditional beauties.

      I wonder if there were a particular region of the world you had in mind in referring to "racially-based feelings of superiority"? Germany? North Korea? South Africa?

      Which particular abductee do you view as racist?