230. Dr. David Jacobs Claims Academia Has Abrogated Responsibility to Investigate Alien Contact

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Interview with alien abduction researcher and Temple University History Professor Dr. David Jacobs examines his over 30 years of research.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. David Jacobs author of, UFOs & Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge.  During the interview Jacobs talks about science’s responsibility to investigate the topic:

Dr. David Jacobs: What the scientific and academic communities are doing is they are simply abrogating the responsibility to study this subject. You have to understand. For example, the UFO phenomenon and the abduction phenomenon together are global in nature.  In the abduction phenomenon, you have people coming from all around the world, from all different walks of life, having wildly different backgrounds from Ph.Ds and M.Ds and psychiatrists and psychologists to people who have dropped out of school in the 12th grade. I had one person who was 12 years old.  They’re all saying the same exact things from around the world. Yet there’s no interest in this whatsoever.

Let me tell you a few other things that just astonish me every time I think about it. In the abduction phenomena, people are physically missing from their normal environments when they are abducted. Police have been called, search parties have been sent out, kids hunt for their parents, parents hunt for their children during abductions. They’re not there. And this phenomenon, it’s not happening yet this is what people are reporting all the time.

Not only that, but people are abducted in groups and can confirm each other’s abductions. Now oftentimes these are family groups where they might be in cahoots together but sometimes they’re not family groups. They’re neighbors and they can confirm each other’s abductions. Or even strangers who they meet on the street and they know immediately they’ve seen this person before. Yet it’s not happening.

People who return from abductions and have unusual marks and scars on their bodies. I have seen this—fully formed scar tissue literally the next day. I have seen this in person. I had a session with a woman once who was perfectly fine. She saw me the next morning and she had two one-inch scars on each hand in exactly the same place that were not there the day before, to my unbelievable, breath-taking amazement. That is not possible and yet this phenomenon is not happening.
So if I grant that it’s not happening, that people are not being abducted, then abduction researchers have stumbled upon one of the most important areas of human cognition that has ever been found.

Alex Tsakiris:  So you’re saying whether one accepts the reality of these experiences as reported by many, many people — and  as reported to many different researchers, not just Dr. David Jacobs, but many people have encountered folks who claim to have had this abduction experience.

You’re saying it’s really a challenge to the academic community to either accept those accounts at face value or reject them and find some deeper neurological or psychological problem. But in either case it’s something that demands resolution.


Dr. David Jacobs:
  Yes. What you’re saying is individuals. What I’m talking about sometimes in my list is groups. Once you say the word “groups” of people, then suddenly all psychological explanations fail. But this is part of the phenomenon. Once again, there’s never been anything like this in history.

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Today we welcome historian and UFO abduction researcher, Dr. David Jacobs to Skeptiko. Dr. Jacobs is the author of four books and many, many important articles. He’s done numerous television and radio appearances,  all on this topic that he is really one of the pioneers in and that is alien abduction research.

Dr. Jacobs, it’s great to have you on. Thanks so much for joining me.

Dr. David Jacobs:  Thank you for having me, Alex.

Alex Tsakiris:  For anyone who has even a passing interest in this field, they know about you; they know about your work and they probably also know that one of the reasons that a lot of folks are drawn to you is because you have this very interesting dual career. You are a long-time history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia before your retirement. As I was looking over your bio I noticed that you are also someone who had to be the first person to do a Ph.D. dissertation on UFOs. I have to ask you right from the outset: how did you pull that off?

Dr. David Jacobs:  That was actually tricky. First of all, if you want to speak technically a guy named Mike Schultz at Northwestern University did sociology dissertation on UFO groups or cults and he got his Ph.D. one month before I did. So technically speaking I am the second dissertation that dealt with UFOs. His was the first. Basically, it’s close enough to almost be a tie. However, I address the controversy over it. I was actually working on a dissertation on the image of women in very early film history, pre-1915. That was my target date.

I had done about six months’ worth of research on that but in my feted brain all I did was think about UFOs and the UFO phenomenon. I had become enamored with it back in the mid-‘60s and I was going home every day and reading Flying Saucer Review and the APRO Bulletin and UFO Investigators from NICAP, and other organizations out at the front.

Eventually I realized that there hadn’t been a serious history of the controversy over the subject since the Ruppelt’s book, Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, and his was basically a first-person report as opposed to a history of it. So I approached my major professor—this was at the University of Wisconsin. He was my mentor. He told me that this was a great idea, this was a wonderful idea, he loved this idea, I could switch my dissertation topic and goodbye. Then he went off to Rutgers University.

So I was left without a major professor, without a mentor, and I chose a guy named Paul Kunkin who was a steel-trap mind guy of the history department, which had the best history department in the United States at the time at the University of Wisconsin in the ‘60s. He was not impressed with this topic. I tried to show him that the topic was different than what he thought it was and there was a large public history about UFOs which involved government agencies and national organizations and this and that. He still was unsure.

I finally saw him in the hallway and he said, “Write me up a prospective, a couple of pages.” So I wrote it up for him and I waited and waited and waited. Now, this guy was really hard-nosed. I cannot emphasize that enough. He never responded. I finally ran into him in the hallway one day and I said, “Mr. Kunkin, did you read my prospectus?”

He said, “Yeah, I read it.”

I said, “Well, what did you think?”

He said, “Well, okay.”

Alex Tsakiris:  He was just trying to think of a reason to not approve it. That was the delay, huh?

Dr. David Jacobs:  He said, “Okay,” and as soon as he said that in an exasperated tone, I became his student. That’s the way the system was. I suddenly was in his seminar. I could do no wrong. I was now a member of the elite. So he helped guide me through a dissertation that was ultimately publishable by the University of Indiana Press. It became the second Ph.D. dissertation ever written on the subject of UFOs of any sort.

Alex Tsakiris:  That’s pretty amazing in and of itself. And then what I guess is even more amazing is you were able to manage this two-track career, if you will, although the tracks were completely separate. You were a successful academic at a respected university, Temple University, and at the same time you’re best known throughout the world as this researcher that pioneered this research into just about the most controversial of phenomena that you can imagine, the idea of alien abduction. So I can’t imagine that your research interest in alien abduction helped your academic career. Probably the opposite.

Dr. David Jacobs:  Yes, I would say that you’re right. It was the opposite. I knew going in, eyes open, that talking about people being abducted into flying saucers was not exactly going to increase my credibility within the history department at Temple. It probably helped to stop my career in mid-track. I had tenure, which is one of the greatest things ever in the history of academe, now under assault across the country incidentally. It allowed me to do what I wanted to do while keeping up all my other duties and teaching all my classes and doing other research at Temple University, as well.

It did, however, stop my career in terms of moving up the academic ladder. As long as I had tenure that’s all I needed. So I retired in 2011 and now I’m trying to write three books and trying desperately to finish one I’ve been working on for four or five years. I’m coming to the end of it. I’ve got a rough draft of another one and there’s a third one that I’m going to do. When those are all finished I will hang up my brain and that’s going to be the end of it.

Alex Tsakiris:  We’ll see. A lot of people claim that and they’re never able to hang up their brains.

Speaking of books, 13 years ago you edited a book titled, UFOs and Abductions:  Challenging the Borders of Knowledge. In it you said that the study of UFOs merits serious attention from the intellectual establishment. You also said something interesting that I’d like to get you to comment on and that is: “Lack of academic participation creates a vicious cycle that prevents the development of standards that would attract greater academic participation and thus greater credibility.” Tell us about that and tell us what has changed in the last 13 years.

Dr. David Jacobs:  This is a subject that is bereft of academic participation. By academic I mean the scientific community and the academic community. The scientific community is one part of the study of this. It is not necessarily the critical part. Basically, anybody who can think logically can do this kind of work. It’s so unprecedented that it doesn’t require expertise in any particular subject to get an insight into it. It’s unique.

However, what I’ve seen—and it was happening 13 years ago—is that over the years the academic community and scientific community and professional community such as dentists, lawyers, people like that, have given their names in public to UFO organizations to be consultants to these groups. There’s the Mutual UFO Network, the Ariel Phenomena Research Organization, the National Investigations Committee on UFO Phenomena, MUFON, and so on. These organizations publish lists of academics and scientists and professionals who have given their full names and allowed them to be used in public as consultants.

I counted up the number of names of everybody who had a post-graduate degree and that included Ph.D.s and master’s degrees. It came to about 1,200 individuals. That was years and years and years ago. Now the academic community has no interest in this subject whatsoever. There aren’t 1,200 people across the country that are academics who will lend their names to organizations. In fact, what we find is that the academic community, professional community, is downright hostile to the subject. It’s not that they’re not interested. They’re actively hostile.

Alex Tsakiris:  Right. So the vicious cycle has turned into an outright war.

Dr. David Jacobs:  Right. And this is the first time that this has happened since the beginning of the phenomenon. There’s never been a period in UFO history where you would get this kind of hostility except perhaps in the first two years between ’47 and ’49. Even then there was more curiosity. Now it’s hostility. It’s really astonishing.

I think it’s because of three reasons, whether you agree with these reasons or not. I’m not going to make a value judgment on them.

The idea of government cover-up. I think that to ask the academic community to believe that UFOs are real, are from outer space, are here doing this, that, and the other thing and the government knows all about them. The government is hiding information and the government might even have one or two. They might even have aliens who are pickled in jars. That is a turn-off, to use an old phrase, for academics, especially for social science. That is just impossible to imagine. It goes against every grain of knowledge of the government and how the government works. All political scientists and historians and sociologists all know that this is not necessarily the way things work.

Alex Tsakiris:  Let’s just fine-tune that point a little bit. So what you’re saying is maybe 10 or 20 years ago, before the whole story really got fleshed out and we really understood all these documents that have now surfaced that show clearly there was a government intelligence interest in this topic at the very least, that’s clearly documented. That contradicts the official position. I think now you’re saying once people really internalize that there is a serious problem here in terms of the government’s position, then that’s one more reason to say, “Hey, just pull back from that. That’s not going to do anything but crush my career.” So one more reason to step back, right?

Dr. David Jacobs:  Exactly. Whether you agree with government secrecy or not it doesn’t matter. For the academic community it’s just nonsensical.

Alex Tsakiris:  When you didn’t know about it you could have blindly put your name on some MUFON list but now that you know that you’re like, “No, better not.”

Dr. David Jacobs:  Right. That’s one area.

A second area is popular culture. If you watch television, cable TV now has a lot of shows that deal with UFOs, abductions, and all that. Some of these shows are actually very good. Most of them aren’t in the very good category, let’s just say. But the net effect of this is that it becomes just another part of popular culture. It becomes a thing that happens in society and it’s not really a scientific and academic subject. It’s a popular culture subject. Scientists stay away from popular culture unless they’re historians or sociologists. Consequently, I think that has hurt the entrance of academics into this study.

The third thing is abductions. An academic would say, “Not only are aliens coming from outer space, which we all know they can’t get here from there because even at the speed of light it would take…” You know the argument, blah, blah, blah. “Now they’re kidnapping people because they want to see what makes us tick? No, no, no.”

These three things, popular culture, secrecy, and abductions have managed to close the door on the academic community. They just don’t want to enter into this stew of things that are swirling around the UFO sighting phenomenon. You can understand why.

I don’t care what the reasons are for why they don’t do it. What the scientific and academic communities are doing is they are simply abrogating the responsibility to study this subject. You have to understand. For example, the UFO phenomenon and the abduction phenomenon together are global in nature. Everybody and everything, that includes animals, see these objects and react to them.

In the abduction phenomenon, what you have is people coming from all around the world, from all different walks of life, having wildly different backgrounds from Ph.Ds and M.Ds and psychiatrists and psychologists to people who have dropped out of school in the 12th grade. I had one person who was 12 years old. There were people who could never hold a job. They’re all saying the same exact things from around the world. Yet there’s no interest in this whatsoever.

Let me tell you a few other things that just astonish me every time I think about it. In the abduction phenomena, people are physically missing from their normal environments when they are abducted. Police have been called, search parties have been sent out, kids hunt for their parents, parents hunt for their children during abductions. They’re not there. And this phenomenon, it’s not happening yet this is what people are reporting all the time.

Not only that, but people are abducted in groups and can confirm each other’s abductions. Now oftentimes these are family groups where they might be in cahoots together but oftentimes they’re not family groups. They’re neighbors and they can confirm each other’s abductions. Or even strangers who they meet on the street and they know immediately they’ve seen this person before. Yet it’s not happening.

People who return from abductions and have unusual marks and scars on their bodies. I have seen this—fully formed scar tissue literally the next day. I have seen this in person. I had a session with a woman once who was perfectly fine. She saw me the next morning and she had two one-inch scars on each hand in exactly the same place that were not there the day before, to my unbelievable, breath-taking amazement. That is not possible and yet this phenomenon is not happening.

People return from abductions without their clothes and never find their clothes again. Sometimes they return from abductions wearing somebody else’s clothes. How would you like to get up in the morning wearing somebody else’s clothes? That would catch your attention, you know what I mean? And you didn’t have a fifth of Jack Daniels the night before. And yet this isn’t happening.

Sometimes abductions are observed by bystanders who have nothing to do with it. It’s rare but it does happen. Yet it’s not happening. You would think that this type of phenomenon, which is not happening, and yet people are seeing it, groups of people, would be of extraordinary importance to the academic and professional communities. There’s never been anything like this phenomenon and it’s global. This has never happened before in this type of method and yet it’s not happening.

So if I grant that it’s not happening, that people are not being abducted, then abduction researchers have stumbled upon one of the most important areas of human cognition and mentality and circuitry in the brain that has ever been found. You’d think that neurologists would be interested in this. Psychologists and psychiatrists would be. The answer is not a chance.

Alex Tsakiris:  So you’re saying whether one accepts the reality of these experiences as reported by many, many people and we should add as reported to many different researchers, not just Dr. David Jacobs, but many people have encountered folks who claim to have had this abduction experience. No connection to you whatsoever. They report very similar kinds of experiences and all those things.

You’re saying it’s really a challenge to the academic community to either accept those accounts at face value or reject them and find some deeper neurological or psychological problem. But in either case it’s something that demands resolution.

Dr. David Jacobs:  Yes. What you’re saying is individuals. What I’m talking about sometimes in my list is groups. Once you say the word “groups” of people, then suddenly all psychological explanations fail. But this is part of the phenomenon. Once again, there’s never been anything like this in history. You’d think academics would be flocking to this subject to figure out what in the heck this is. People think that they’re being abducted all the time and it’s not happening. Yet they’re actually missing from their normal environments.

Only one case, probably a non-abductee in Australia, out of the thousands and thousands of people who have come forward was shown to be not an abduction. She was actually in a car. She said she was being abducted and the guy sitting next to her said she wasn’t abducted. That was in 1972, the Maureen Puddy case in Australia. That’s the only time when anybody ever said that they were abducted and they weren’t that was not fully investigated and this was obviously not an abductee. She claimed it so we have to throw it into the hopper. But that’s an outlier and my guess is she was not an abductee.

The fact is, though, that you’d think they’d be interested in this and they’re not which is extremely frustrating.

Alex Tsakiris:  I think it is extremely frustrating and I think it’s also very, very important to go through it over and over again the way that you did so that people can come to grips with this question that I think is at the core of many of these realizations that people come to. That’s the how can this be?

People encounter this evidence, this data, and then even if they’re drawn into it by the overwhelming amount of it and the impossibility of the skeptical explanations for it, they get to the point where they say, “Hey, how can this be? Wait a minute. All these people who I really trust, who are in positions of authority, who should know better, why would they be deceiving me?” Then they’re really thrown into a quandary.

I can certainly relate to that because that’s really been at the heart of this show, the Skeptiko show. I want to go through a little bit of my path in coming to you because it has bearing on some of the questions I want to ask you about alien abduction research methodology, overall big picture and where it might be going.

My path to this has really been through investigating human consciousness. Is telepathy real? Are synchronicities real? Are near-death experiences real? That kind of stuff. My approach has been to talk to researchers, people who study this scientifically, publish in peer-reviewed journals because there is that when you look at psi phenomena or near-death experience. What I’ve found, that mirrors what you just said, is that there’s this rather bizarre disconnect between what the data is telling us and academia’s party-line.

It’s kind of funny because it relates to what you’re saying in that in one form or another, what I keep running up against is this idea that consciousness is an illusion. You are a biological robot. So forget about telepathy during alien abduction or even telepathy in the lab. These folks are saying there can’t be any telepathy because there’s no “you” in there to telepathically communicate with someone else. I think this meme, if you will, this consciousness is an illusion, you are a biological robot meme is really at the heart of some of these things where you’re interacting with someone and they’re debating and they’re skeptical.

What they don’t realize is what they’re really saying is they really don’t even care about the data. What they care about is this belief that there can be no consciousness. There can be nothing beyond just this biological robot thing. We can’t even go there on a number of fronts so I’m not even going to try.

Do you have any thoughts on the consciousness issue and how that might play into this scenario that we’re talking about here in terms of this major push-back from academia and from the intellectual core of our society?

Dr. David Jacobs:  You’ll be happy to know that I don’t. The problem here is that consciousness studies are a whole other world made up to a large extent of neurologists who are trying to figure out how humans have consciousness. Or how all beings have consciousness. My cats have consciousness and probably even sharper than mine. So it’s something that’s interesting.

You did mention the word “telepathy.” I can talk a little bit about that because that is what is seen onboard UFOs. That’s what’s seen within the abduction phenomenon.

Alex Tsakiris:  Before you go into telepathy, let me throw a couple of things in there. I wasn’t sure how you were going to go with that. If that’s where you’re going, let me add a couple other pieces that I think you probably are aware of and I’d like you to tie into your answer.

If you start looking at extended human consciousness and you look at the experiments they did with remote viewing at Stanford Research, Ingo Swann, spy on the Russians kind of thing, all that stuff very well documented. They’ve made movies about it. It clearly existed. We have former President Jimmy Carter on record saying, “Yeah, I went into this room and this guy went into a trance and he gave us the coordinates for the plane and we were able to go find the plane.” So all this stuff is documented.

What is also documented is that these remote viewers encountered aliens. Or if we look at extended human consciousness as it works in laboratory experiments with hallucinogenic drugs, the only one that was granted the right to do it is a guy named Dr. Rick Strassman at the University of New Mexico. We had him on the show; a very interesting guy. He gives these people rather high doses of DMT and boom! In pop the aliens. He’s seeing some of the same beings that abductees are talking about.

Or if you talk about reported out-of-body experiences you’ll get similar kinds of encounters with these alien beings. So it’s beyond telepathy. It’s almost wherever you look in these realms of extended human consciousness and the research associated with it. You start bumping into the phenomena that we generally call “encounters with aliens.”

So any thoughts on any of that?

Dr. David Jacobs:  First of all, I’m not an expert in any of these things. Not in remote viewing although when Sanford Research Institute had helped put  Puthoff and Russell Targ together, Hal Puthoff presented a paper on remote viewing at the Society for Scientific Exploration many years ago that I found extremely interesting. That’s as much as I know about it.

I do know that people who have had remote viewing and viewed abductions or whatever, that had absolutely nothing to do with the real abduction phenomenon. When people channeled abductions, their material has nothing to do with the abduction phenomenon either, even though they’re channeling aliens and this and that. Nothing else made any sense to me.

Alex Tsakiris:  Tell us what you mean when you say that. You sound very confident when you say that.

Dr. David Jacobs:  One time many years ago, there were 30 channelers who got into a room and they were all supposed to channel aliens. One of them was an abductee who reported back to us what happened. She was working with Budd Hopkins, the famous UFO abduction researcher. When she began to talk about what they were describing, we knew immediately that this had nothing to do with the abduction phenomenon. Everything was different. They were nice aliens. They were, apparently from what she described, all different from each other, as well.

I’ve dealt with people who are channelers. One person was a remote viewer. Their conscious memories of doing this had nothing to do with what they remembered in hypnosis as actually happening to them. We are dealing with a problem of consciousness in all these levels. Out-of-body experiences, I’ve had people who have had those, too. I recognized immediately they have nothing to do with abductions.

DMT, I did read Strassman’s book and it wasn’t the abduction phenomena. People might think they’re seeing aliens.

There’s another one you forgot to mention and that was putting electrodes on a person’s brain and throwing a charge through their brain and having people get a sense of a presence in the room or seeing somebody there or floating or a light and that sort of stuff.

Here’s the situation: we know one hell of a lot about the abduction phenomena. Most people don’t know anything about it. Not even abductees. With Persinger and with others like this—there have been a bunch like this—what they do is they don’t know anything about abductions so if the abduction goes from A:  Somebody is coming into my home or my car is stopped on the side of the road and I don’t know why.

From A, the beginning, all the way to Z: I’m back in my car or back in my home, that’s what they can recreate to a degree. “I feel a presence. I see somebody.” Something like that. They can recreate a tiny little piece of it. B through the rest of the alphabet they ignore. That doesn’t exist. They don’t go into that. All of these other accounts are like that, too. There’s no depth to them; there’s no detail to them. There’s no preciseness to them. There’s no chronology that goes on for several hours. There’s nothing like that at all.

With remote viewing you have people who are seeing religious figures and traveling around the world, even though I read a very interesting paper on it once. But none of this relates to the reality of the abduction phenomenon. None of this takes into account the evidence. All people who are debunkers of the abduction phenomenon, and there are no exceptions to this really—either don’t know the evidence, they ignore the evidence if they do know it, or they simply distort the evidence to conform to their own opinions and ideas.

I have found no exceptions to that, none. None of them really take into account the full range of evidence of the phenomenon. What happens to people over and over and over again and why it happens.

I haven’t published a book on abductions since 1998. I’m in the process of finishing the one I’ve been working on for the past five years. I must say, I have learned an awful lot more about this subject, especially about hybridization and all that. Nobody has ever said anything that I’ve been learning about since 1998 because it hasn’t been published yet.

Alex Tsakiris:  Hold on, because I think we need to pull some things apart. We need to pull apart the debunkers, the skeptics, and people who have a different agenda. Those people are out there and they’re playing a different game. I’m really talking about the other side of that. People who are looking at this extended consciousness—and I think we’ve mixed a bunch of stuff together there—and that there’s a reality to extended human consciousness.

Clearly from a science standpoint, the clearest evidence for that is in the near-death experience where in some strange way it’s like the alien abduction experience in that we have mountains and mountains of evidence. First-person accounts, group accounts where people have a shared near-death experience, people standing by their bed. But we also have people who have no brain function, are medically dead, who are resuscitated and can tell in great detail the details of their resuscitation.

They’ve actually done peer-reviewed published studies comparing how well they’re able to recall the resuscitation versus a control group that didn’t have a near-death experience. That’s established. It’s still ignored and denied by mainstream academia and science because they do not want to accept that we really have consciousness, let alone that consciousness somehow survives death in a way we don’t understand. But hey, that’s the data and we have to live with it.

So where I think a lot of people are going in this realm is to say, “Okay, that’s the data and we have to live with it that consciousness survives death. Then consciousness is somehow, in some way we don’t understand, separate from the brain or co-existing in the brain but kind of separate.” That gives a different spin on all these things that we’ve been talking about.

Your DMT trip now doesn’t have to be just an illusion and remote viewing can have a reality. And maybe even medium communication. Channeling is very problematic, as you mentioned. Let’s throw that back on the table. First of all, do you accept the idea that consciousness is somehow, in some way we don’t understand—the phrase I like is ontologically distinct? It’s not just the brain. There’s something more to it.

Dr. David Jacobs:  It’s an area that I know so little about. Even to say yes or no on that is going to be a guess. I don’t know how to respond to that because people know a hell of a lot more about these things than I do. I can only relate them to the abduction phenomenon.

Alex Tsakiris:  Fair enough. I don’t want to get us off-track. What I really want to do is pull that back to the abduction phenomenon because from my perspective, coming at it from this extended human consciousness angle, that seems to be at the core of the debate. Once you jump past all the silliness we’re talking about in terms of people saying, “Well, it can’t exist. It doesn’t exist,” and you say, “Okay, there’s some reality to this phenomenon. Let’s figure out what it is and what the possible purpose or agenda is.” Then you really break down into these two camps.

In that book that I mentioned earlier, UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, you included a chapter in there from Harvard psychiatrist, John Mack, who unfortunately passed away in 2004. He was someone who, along with you and Budd Hopkins, really drove all this stuff to the public’s attention because he was a Harvard psychiatrist. He was certainly qualified to tell whether someone was delusional or had some other reason for making up these stories.

He looked at it and said, “Hey, this thing is real from every way that I can look at it.” But his conclusion, and this is further carried on by the other camp that is out there now, was that these experiences were somehow spiritual. Spiritually transformative experiences. I think we can only understand or only begin to look at those in that way if we look at consciousness as being more than purely biological.

But what I really want to ferret out in the time that we have left is these two camps. The alien abduction experience as a Shamanic initiation, a spiritually transformative experience–those aren’t my terms, those are the terms you hear from people in the John Mack camp–as opposed to alien abductions as an intrusion on the human species, as a real abduction in all the worst senses of the word that you come at it from. Budd Hopkins did, as well.

So there it is laid out. What do you think?

Dr. David Jacobs:  I have not found any people since 1986 who found this to be spiritually transforming. You have to understand that the abduction phenomenon begins in infancy and goes into old age and happens with great rapidity. It goes on over and over and over again. These people must be so spiritually advanced and so spiritually transformed by the time they see me that they’re living in another plateau of consciousness altogether. That is not the case.

What these people want to know is what in the hell has been going on with them. Why is it that they wake up one morning and they’re in somebody else’s room and they’re not a sleepwalker? Here’s an event, for example. Two people are driving down the street, a husband and a wife. They look out the car window and suddenly there’s a flash. They look at each other and say, “What the heck was that?” They realize it’s two hours later, they’re still in the car, they’re still driving, and they’re in the same spot. This is two people and one of them is a scientist.

This is not consciousness-raising; this is like consciousness denying. This is consciousness-lowering in a sense. So I don’t have any stake in this. It would be wonderful if it is. I think that John Mack was just dead wrong in his analysis of this. In fact, he tried and tried and tried to ram the abduction phenomenon into his preconceived ideas about consciousness and never could. Most people don’t realize that he gave up. He said, “That’s it. I don’t want to do it anymore,” because it could never conform to his ideas. Two years before he died he stopped doing abduction research altogether, closed up his peer group at Harvard, and told Budd Hopkins that maybe he’d been a little too gullible in this situation of abductions. He could never fit it into what he wanted it to be.

Alex Tsakiris:  Yeah, but we have to be careful with that because a lot of people would make the same accusation to you.

Dr. David Jacobs:  No. That they can’t do.

Alex Tsakiris:  They can do it.

Dr. David Jacobs:  I didn’t know what this thing was and I had no expectations about what it was all about until I started researching it. Then I realized, now I’m understanding.

Alex Tsakiris:  I hear you on that.

Dr. David Jacobs:  In other words, I didn’t stake out a position beforehand whereas John had studied with Stanislav Grof and was very much influenced by Grofian techniques and consciousness-raising and consciousness existing outside of the mind and all that. I hadn’t. I was perfectly happy to believe that if that was the evidence I found. It doesn’t matter to me; that’s fine.

Alex Tsakiris:  But since Dr. Mack isn’t here to pin down or elaborate on what his position was or how it changed or whatever, the point I’m making is that that research has continued. One of the guests I had on my show, Episode 212, was Dr. Janet Colli, a licensed therapist who works in the Seattle area and specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder.

She sees a lot of patients with different kinds of stress but deals with trauma and has dealt with the abduction experience in great detail with a lot of her patients. She just published a book and came on our show to talk about Sacred Encounters: Spiritual Encounters During Close Encounters. We can get down and argue about her methodology, her techniques…

Dr. David Jacobs:  Well, that’s the arguable point.

Alex Tsakiris:  But David, hold on. So how do we get to the bottom of that? Here is someone who could throw stones across the yard too and say, “Hey, I’m a licensed, clinical therapist…”

Dr. David Jacobs:  Makes no difference. That makes no difference whatsoever. The abduction phenomenon hypnosis is unique. It doesn’t follow along the same lines as forensic hypnosis, although that would be the closest to it. Or stage hypnosis which would be the farthest away from it. Or any other forms of hypnosis that get you to stop eating chocolate cake or smoking or relaxing.

Alex Tsakiris:  Hold on. You’re saying that the hypnosis regression sessions that are done for retrieving memories of an alien encounter are somehow fundamentally different?

Dr. David Jacobs:  Yes. And they’re fundamentally different because the person has to know a tremendous amount about the abduction phenomenon. The problem here is that in hypnosis people tend to say things that are not true. They think they are true. They are not lying but they’re confabulating. I was caught in that early, early on. I have examples of it that I can tell you but I won’t bore you with them right now. But people were telling me things that I bought but turned out not to be true. Then you have to learn techniques for how to get around that—how to recognize confabulation when you hear it and how to push past that and get to the reality of the situation.

This is a phenomenon that is clandestine. It is secret. Without secrecy there would be no abduction phenomenon whatsoever. We’d find ways to stop it. It would be a whole different world. But in order to keep it secret they have to keep it secret from the abductee first. When that happens, they just bury their memory in some way. I’m obviously using non-technical terms but there’s some sort of blockage of short-term memory. Long-term memory stays intact.

The fact is though that you have to know the right questions to ask in the right way at the right time. You have to understand what the answers are and you have to evaluate the answers as they go along. Then you have to have more than one session with the person. You have to have a lot of sessions. The key thing here is you cannot have an agenda. What you’re looking for is “Just the facts, ma’am,” as they used to say on the Dragnet TV show. You’re just looking for what happened to them.

If they start saying things like why this is happening, that’s confabulation because usually 99% of the time they have no idea why anything is happening. If they say what a machine is for, that’s confabulation. They have to say things that are different than that. In other words, there’s a technique to abduction hypnosis that regular hypnotists, whether they’re licensed clinical hypnotherapists or not, don’t understand or know. They think they do but they don’t.

Alex Tsakiris:  But you’ve got to appreciate that you would get a ton of push-back from someone who’s trained as a clinical hypnotherapist and has worked with thousands of people. They’d say, “Hey, how would you support such a claim? How would you support such a statement as that? This isn’t really your technical training or your background. It’s just something you’ve experienced.”

Why wouldn’t people make the same charges with you? That unwittingly you have an agenda, unwittingly you’re leading people, unwittingly your methodology is fine-tuned for you to get the results that you want. There has to be some objective way of figuring this stuff out. We can’t just take it on face value that your way is the right way.

Dr. David Jacobs:  This is a difficult question to answer because there isn’t a number of people who have come forward with the actual techniques that they use. I’m writing a book on methodology of abduction hypnosis. It’s the book that’s already basically finished. You’ll understand exactly how I work and what I do and the problem of confabulation. The problem of the first session that you do with a person, the problem with the second session, the problem with the third session, problem with the fourth session. They’re all different, etc.

Let’s just take the word “trauma,” which everybody focuses on. Let’s say this is a phenomenon that began in infancy and continued with frequency all the way through to when the person is 40 years old and they come to me and they’ve had an abduction, let’s just say, the night before. Let’s just say also a week before that and a week before that or whatever. However many it is. The question then is, how traumatic is this phenomenon that has been part-and-parcel of their lives since they were children?

What I’ve found is that yes, it is traumatic but the trauma oftentimes comes not just in it happening. Otherwise these people would be wrecks. It comes in remembering what happened. That trauma tends to leave relatively quickly after the second or third session. There are psychological ways of putting into effect barriers to that. Let’s put it this way: helpful suggestions to avoid that.

Consequently, the word “trauma” has become a watchword for the abduction phenomenon as a whole. In fact, when people come to me for 10 sessions, 20 sessions, 30 sessions over a period of months—I’ve been fortunate enough to work with people for years and years and years. They understand what’s going on. They get it. They know how long it’s been going on, from when they were children and adolescents and now they’re 60 years old.

They become like scientist observers in a sense. They’re reporting back. They know what is happening. Now they’re trying to figure out exactly the reasons. They’re trying to be more precise in what they’re thinking. I do things on a logical and chronological level so that I’m not injecting anything into them.

In fact, I’ve done experiments with them. I say to them, “You know, what you just told me sounds like a dream. This really sounds like a dream. I don’t think this really happened.” Then just before I do hypnosis I’ll say, “This is a dream.” It’s a direct command. When I do the induction, which is a simple relaxation induction, and I start asking questions they couldn’t care less about what I just informed them of, that this is a dream. That doesn’t mean anything to them at all. All they know is what happened to them.

I start chronologically. I also know that areas of confabulation are all over the place. There are two #1 areas of confabulation. #1 is the description of aliens. I don’t ask people what they look like anymore. Not until later. Not that I’m not interested—I am interested. I will ask certain key questions that don’t have to have them confront the face of an alien. I know they’ve confronted the faces of aliens all their lives. But they tell me, for example, “I remember he was wearing a mask or a hood over his face so I wouldn’t see him. He didn’t want me to be frightened when I saw him.”

I’ve heard that a whole bunch of times. It doesn’t make any sense to me. They’ve seen these beings hundreds of times perhaps. “You mean to say the one thing you remember is when they had a hood?” I work around that. Eventually I’ll ask about the hood and then they realize that the person isn’t wearing a hood and yet they thought he was wearing a hood all these years.

This a regular hypnotist cannot do. They’re not trained in this area. This is a different area of questioning. You have to be thoroughly knowledgeable in the abduction phenomenon to do this. You have to understand the role of confabulation.

The other main area of confabulation is recounting alien dialogue. “The aliens told me blah, blah, blah.” Well, yes and no. Nine times out of ten the following event happens. All communication is telepathic onboard a UFO. Everybody’s used to this; everybody knows this is what happens. That in itself is astonishing because if this were psychological people would not be saying that. They’d be saying some of it’s telepathic, some of it they hear through their ears, it would be all over the map.

But if all communication is telepathic and you ask them, “What do you mean by telepathic,” they say, “I hear thoughts that I can pick up, words so I can understand it.” Sometimes they say, “I hear syntax. I hear actual words,” and all that. The question then is, what’s to prevent them from hearing their own thoughts and then telling me that the aliens told that to them? The answer is that nothing prevents that at all. They do it all the time.

It’s up to me to understand that this is confabulation. A lot of people who do this kind of work don’t get that. They don’t understand that. There’s no training period for this. There’s no standardization methodology. What I do is logical and chronological, that’s all.

(end of part 1, to be continued in next episode)

 

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