A scholarly look at UFO abductions

March 18, 1992|By Sam Whiting | Sam Whiting,San Francisco Chronicle

Jon Rock has not yet read the new book "Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions," but he already knows what's in it.

"What's amazing is the consistency of the details," Mr. Rock, 33, a San Francisco graphic artist says of his fellow UFO travelers. "All the details are the same."

This is corroborated by the author, Dr. David Jacobs, a professor of 20th century American history at Temple University, who teaches the only regularly scheduled course on UFOs at an American university.

"This field is loaded with crackpots and idiots. I'm embarrassed to be around many of these researchers," says the white-haired, circumspect professor, speaking as if before the tenure committee. "But as a historian, you must go where the evidence leads you even though you kick and scream en route."

Dr. Jacobs, 49, has spent 20 years examining the abduction phenomenon with methodical and scholarly skepticism. For "Secret Life" he interviewed 60 subjects under hypnosis.

The data finally led him to conclude there is either some truth to their claims or one heck of an intricate practical joke has been foisted upon the good professor.

"Everybody is saying the same thing over and over with monotonous regularity," he says.

If it isn't true, he says, "they're all dreaming it up at the same time," an even more implausible explanation.

Mr. Rock's first abduction -- not chronicled in Dr. Jacobs' book, but similar to those that are -- occurred 16 years ago in South Florida.

His parents were out, and he was finishing a drawing. He heard an electrical hissing sound, and took it for the water pump gone haywire. When he went outside to investigate, the noise surrounded him, as if every bug in the swamp were being zapped at once. It was a clear night, but hovering above was a low, flat cloud shrouding an illuminated disc the size of a large full moon, pistachio green.

"Of course, I was pretty astounded," he says.

Following telepathic orders, he walked toward a clearing on the edge of some trees, and heard a deep voice calling his name. That was enough.

"I wanted no part of it," he says, and was hurrying back toward LTC the house when he felt himself lifted from the Earth.

Sometime later that night he was dropped into some bushes by his house. He made it into his bed in "a real spent state," and slept until the next morning when the mirror reflected a face caked with blood. Then he remembered the BB pellet at the business end of a long needle of light, being inserted up his nostril.

"It was the implant," he says. "That's how my nose got bloody."

The nasal implant, it turns out, is one of the details recalled by most of Dr. Jacobs' subjects.

Mr. Rock never said a word about it to anyone until 12 years later when he picked up a book by UFO pioneer Bud Hopkins.

"I was so overwhelmed that I was finding my details in other people's stories," he says. "How could 10 other people come up with that detail about the BB on the end of a flashlight put up their noses? It gave me emotional proof that my experience had happened."

What makes Dr. Jacobs' book unique is his scholarly approach.

"In my world view," he says, "if somebody says they flew with angels, they have to convince me."

The standard hypnotic testimony is of people being nabbed while alone, walking, sleeping or driving a car.

One man in the book was plucked off his wife while in the course of making love, but this is the exception.

The aliens are usually described as small, frail, thin beings with huge heads, no hair, ears or noses, and a small slit-like mouth. They are either naked or wearing some kind of sprayed-on Spandex rig.

Violence is not required. People understand that entering the spacecraft is not optional.

Nor is stripping naked and getting up on an examination table, where a group of small beings converge for a basic physical, which involves running their fingers over people as if playing a piano, one woman reported.

The subjects are flipped over, and thumbs and forefingers are run down and up their spine. Then they are flipped again for sex testing, before the implant is administered.

"They all say this," he says, "all of them," and many, like Mr. Rock, are returned with the nosebleeds to prove it.

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