Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kimball, Redfern & Bishop on "alien abductions"

There has been a lot of discussion in some quarters lately about one particular "alien abduction" case, and a dispute between a woman who uses the pseudonym "Emma Woods" and Dr. David Jacobs. I have stated my opinion on this case at the Paracast Forums, inasmuch as anyone can have an opinion about a case where there is an ongoing dispute, and not all of the information may be available.

But no aspect of a subject should ever be defined by one case - indeed, as I've argued here before, this is the mistake that UFO researchers have made over the past 30 years, by focusing so much attention and energy on the so-called Roswell Incident, to the exclusion of real discussion or investigation of other cases, or the consideration of other possible explanations for the UFO phenomenon than the extraterrestrial hypothesis (and the crashed flying saucers that seem to come with it).

The same is true of the "alien abduction" phenomenon. While the "Emma Woods" case certainly doesn't paint Jacobs in a good light, no matter what you think of "Emma Woods" (who seems far from perfect herself), problems with the "alien abduction" research methodology of people like Jacobs and Budd Hopkins, particularly the use of hypnosis, have been expressed by a number of people over the years, including Dr. Jacques Vallee and Kevin Randle. I've written about it myself over the years - see The Alien Abduction Cult and Jacques Vallee on "Abductionology" from 2007, and The Abduction Phenomenon and Hypnosis from 2005, for example.

Accordingly, when Nick Redfern, Greg Bishop and I appeared on The Paracast with Gene Steinberg Sunday, April 11th, and the subject of "alien abductions" came up within the context of a broader conversation about Mac Tonnies' last work, The Cryptoterrestrials, we focused on the subject in general, rather than one specific case. Here are some excerpts:

The dispute between "Emma Woods" and David Jacobs is not going to be resolved on podcasts, or on message boards - although full credit is due to Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzmann at Paratopia for bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. While looking at individual cases and researchers definitely has merit, at the end of the day, one case comes, and one case goes; one researcher comes, and one researcher goes. UFO research did not come to a screeching halt when Bill Moore imploded, for example, or when Don Schmitt was revealed to be a liar. The discussion, however, should remain focused, as much as possible, even when discussing a particular case, on the general subject itself, and how any one case fits into the overall picture. In short, one always has to avoid missing the forest for any one tree.

With the "alien abduction" phenomenon, that means, as Nick, Greg and I make clear, that the mystery continues to intrigue. "Emma Woods" and David Jacobs are a not insignificant tree. But the forest remains.

Paul Kimball

1 comment:

Tyler Kokjohn said...

The dispute between Dr. David Jacobs and Emma Woods is so gripping that it is important to remember it represents a single facet of a far larger issue – one steeped in controversy for years. Looking at the podcast message boards it is clear this nasty argument has stirred strong feelings and tested the bounds of civility. Thank you for your efforts to keep the debate focused productively.

The complete body of facts regarding the Woods-Jacobs scandal may never become public. Its larger significance could turn out to be that it sparked a conflagration that consumed an entire forest.