Cleaning Out the Alien Closet


Last autumn, the startling revelations of “Emma Woods” (a pseudonym) shook the world of UFO/alien abduction research. Between 2002 and 2007, Ms. Woods was repeatedly hypnotized over the phone by famed abduction researcher Dr. David M. Jacobs, an associate professor of history at Temple University, and was embroiled in an extremely bizarre psychodrama involving Jacobs and another of his abductees. You can read about that at Swallowing the Camel (links to Woods’ and Jacobs’ websites are included in my post).


Now, unsettling information about other prominent abduction researchers is leaching slowly into public awareness. Are we seeing the tip of an iceberg, or has the Titanic already been ripped open?

  • A post at UFO Iconoclasts describes one researcher’s disappointing encounter with the late abduction researcher John Mack (a Harvard psychiatrist). Mack’s knowledge of UFO and contactee history seemed poor, to say the least, even though he was being heralded worldwide as an expert on the alien abduction phenomenon. He seemed to have little awareness of (and apparently little interest in) the field’s rich history of hoaxes, confabulations, cons, and fantasies.
  • Carol Rainey, the former wife of controversial abduction researcher Budd Hopkins, has spoken out about what she sees as manipulation and exploitation in abduction research. Basically, she alleges that Hopkins, Jacobs, and others have molded the abduction narrative in their own image. They use hypnosis inexpertly and unethically, reject inconvenient data, and impose order on chaotic witness stories to make abductions appear like the well-ordered actions of predatory ET entities. She contends that Hopkins and his colleagues aren’t hewing to any scientific standards; their work with human subjects – mostly vulnerable, troubled people who come to them for help – is neither supervised nor subject to peer review. Her comments on the cases of Emma Woods and Linda Napolitano are extremely troubling.

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