Unhelpful Hints: Deflection And Withholding Evidence In The David Jacobs Scandal

Unhelpful Hints:
Deflection And Withholding Evidence In The David Jacobs Scandal

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph. D.

Have You Seen Me Lately?

David Jacobs: MUFON’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Dr. David Jacobs has been accused of serious wrongdoing involving a former research subject known as Emma Woods.  Some persons have deflected the charges by communicating there are additional factors to consider or they possess information confirming Dr. Jacobs is reliable and trustworthy.  Are these simply opinions regarding the personal attributes of Dr. Jacobs or is it possible that information now apparently limited to a select few persons could dispel the longstanding and specific allegations against him?

Recent sad experiences with Ata the “extraterrestrial” and the Roswell slides remind us initial appearances may be deceiving and to base our conclusions on the complete body of evidence.  If objective facts and rationales absolving Dr. Jacobs of allegations of misconduct against Emma Woods are known it is an extreme disservice to withhold them.  Hinting that such evidence exists is not sufficient and only serves to prolong an already protracted dispute.

Since it is difficult understand how the disturbing allegations against Dr. Jacobs could be effectively countered, it is essential that information be detailed in full and explained completely.  To document her charges Emma Woods published extensive audio recordings of her hypnosis sessions with Dr. Jacobs  (http://ufoalienabductee.com).  Demonstrating she altered these recordings to create false impressions would have immediately cast serious doubt on her version of events.  However, no evidence of tampering has been produced leaving us in a situation where the body of available evidence places Dr. Jacobs in an unfavorable light.  Justifying his own words and deeds appears to present a substantial challenge.

Participation in research programs may sometimes involve risks.  Accordingly, investigators are obligated to respect subject autonomy by providing prospective participants with information regarding the full purposes of the research and any foreseeable hazards before anyone agrees to participate.  In addition, researchers adhere to a general guiding principle of beneficence by preventing any harm to their subjects and ensuring their wellbeing through acting with forethought to maximize benefit and reduce risks (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html).

Dr. Jacobs discussed with Emma Woods the idea of acquiring a chastity belt to frustrate the alien hybrids she reported were terrorizing her.  It is difficult to reconcile this strange banter with either the practices of a rigorous scientific investigation or the core principles of informed consent and beneficence.  First, Dr. Jacobs’s chastity belt discussion plainly served no scientifically valid purposes.  Further, if Emma Woods had followed through with using a chastity belt, the reasonably foreseeable event would have been a vastly increased threat of immediate and direct physical retaliation against her.

Exposing the subject to increased risk without benefit is unethical. It is important to bear in mind that Dr. Jacobs had revealed his personal fears these hybrids terrorizing Emma would find him.  In light of that admission, any discussion that might increase Emma’s anguish and fears would have been scientifically unjustified, ludicrous and utterly callous.  Limited to communicating with Emma by telephone and physically located thousands of miles away from her, it is hard to imagine what protective measures Dr. Jacobs had in place if either his continued investigations or deliberately calculated provocations succeeding in further angering the aliens already reportedly assaulting Emma.

Emma Woods UFO Mag Cover

Emma Woods’ case against Jacobs gets UFO Mag cover story and then buried by his ufological friends/alleged researchers.

Whatever underlying purposes the chastity belt discussion served, the best interests and wellbeing of Emma Woods seem to have been decidedly secondary considerations.  The overall situation leaves an impression that Emma Woods was treated not with the full respect and concern due an autonomous individual, but as a strictly instrumental means to satisfy the personal curiosities and needs of Dr. Jacobs.  Someone will have to explain how this evidence is not what it appears to be.

Perhaps the chastity belt conversation was never intended to propose an experimental protocol for Emma to carry out, but was simply another ‘tactic’ used by Dr. Jacobs to throw the allegedly threatening mind-reading alien hybrids off his track.  Reconciling such actions with the researcher’s explicit obligations to prevent any harm to his subject while acting with beneficence and in accord with the spirit of ethical informed consent principles is impossible.  In no way, shape or form would it ever be acceptable for any researcher to use a subject in such a manner.

Could the chastity belt chat, false memory implantation tactics to safeguard Dr. Jacobs from threatening hybrids and dire intrigues have simply been ploys to keep a highly hypnotizable subject engaged and interested in continuing to feed him juicy copy for a new book?  Somewhere during this strange journey it appears Emma Woods the research subject was converted into an expedient mechanism enabling Dr. Jacobs to ensure his personal security or reach his eccentric goals.  Someone will need to explain how appearances are misleading and his actions were ethical.

When Emma Woods took her complaints to higher authority, Dr. Jacobs maintained he was only engaged in oral history taking and denied conducting research.  Clearly, his actions had no therapeutic intent or benefit, but squaring the deployment of hypnosis-mediated manipulations to implant false memories, requests to collect soiled underwear and additional statements made in an interview conducted several years later (The UFO Trail Blog, http://ufotrail.blogspot.com/2012/04/bizarre-world-of-doctor-david-jacobs.html) with actions customarily associated with oral history taking seems impossible.  Someone needs to explain how that can be done.

Red herring

Appearances may sometimes be deceiving.  If critical, perception-changing objective information relevant to the Emma Woods-David Jacobs dispute exists, withholding it is both a gross disservice to the unjustly maligned and an insult to the entire community.  Those who have hinted or asserted directly they possess superior relevant knowledge have a responsibility to explain why the evidence available to the rest of us is not what it appears to be.

26 thoughts on “Unhelpful Hints: Deflection And Withholding Evidence In The David Jacobs Scandal

  1. It’s difficult to not see the Woods-Jacobs affair as a textbook example of folie a deux, especially after hearing some of the tapes.

    Listen, the alien abduction “research” field consists of quacks who are eagerly sought out by people desperately wanting to have their unsubstantiated beliefs about being taken by aliens validated by these “researchers”. Their motivations for needing to believe and be reassured they’ve been abducted are likely as varied as are the people holding the beliefs. But that’s a different subject for a different day.

    Remember, the largest segment of “abductees” (and that includes Woods) seek out the researchers, not the other way around. Hey, if people knock on your front door wanting to give you money for telling them a lie they want to believe is true, how resolute would you or any of us be in turning them away?

    Yeah, Jacobs has behaved like a slime bag (no doubt about it) but so have a host of other “researchers” and abduction advocates who work to keep the topic churning. This one is a money maker for those already running the con and a potential money maker for those wanting in on the game. As long as there are people who want to believe the fantasy, there will be people willing to indulge them for a price.

    You might discredit Jacobs and run him off the reservation, but two more like him will pop up in his stead. This will go on and on until this urban myth has finally run its course.

    • I’d agree consumers share some responsibility. While I am willing to suspend judgment on select reports of high strangeness, I’d say the alien abduction genre largely consists of people reinforcing the unsubstantiated beliefs of one another.

      However, I’d also say that is what makes the actions of Emma Woods so important: She reached a point in which she was willing to question the actions of the self-proclaimed expert, and then she spoke out about it. That was significant.

      So while Purrlie expresses some valid observations, particularly about supply and demand, and the futility of what we might metaphorically call shooting the alien hunting zombies that keep coming over the hill, I’d identify the actions of Woods and those addressing the related circumstances as much more of the solution than the problem. In contrast, I’d very much identify the actions of high profile figures in ufology who continue to try to avert from the circumstances – and in some cases outright enabling their continuation – as extremely problematic. We have the right, and arguably the responsibility, to address that.

      • Jack Brewer said: “However, I’d also say that is what makes the actions of Emma Woods so important: She reached a point in which she was willing to question the actions of the self-proclaimed expert, and then she spoke out about it. That was significant.”

        thank you Jack, that is an important point and very well put. Additionally, Ms. Woods was referred to Jacobs by her own therapist who was confounded by her strange experiences and sought someone with expertise in that area to help Ms. Woods heal from the associated trauma.

        The therapist’s mistake was to trust that a tenured professor would be held accountable by the academic establishment from whom he derives his ‘cachet’. As much as i despise those in the ufological community who do not put the well being of witnesses at the fore of their priorities, i am even more appalled by the complete abdication of any responsibility by university which employs/ed Jacobs. That institution holds much more responsibility for supervising Jacob’s actions in regards students and informants, not to mention being possessed of much more authority and resources which which to investigate and enforce sanctions if wrongdoing is confirmed.

        My only bone to pick with Dr. Kokjohn’s article, a small one, is that trying to convince a hypnotized person that they are suffering a major mental disorder is much more harmful than the whole chastity belt debacle, as outrageous as that is.

        Thank you to all who continue to bring pressure to bear on this issue. There is no excuse for tolerating this behaviour, from the ufological or academic communities.

    • Hi Purrlie, I wanted to respond to what you said about people needing to believe that they’ve been abducted, and seeking out researchers who will do that for them.

      It is not always that simple.

      For example, I did not seek out Dr. Jacobs. My therapist made contact with him to ask him for help and advice, since Dr. Jacobs had a page on his website saying he gave information and advice to therapists. Then, after being in contact with Dr. Jacobs for a few years, he suggested hypnotizing me. I had never thought that would have been possible, and it was not something I was thinking about or actively sought out. But his position as a Professor at Temple University, and the way it was presented to me as scholarly research conducted under the auspices of Temple University made it feel safe to go ahead.

      I have been in contact with a male former research subject of Dr. Jacobs who told me that Dr. Jacobs asked if he could hypnotize the man’s girlfriend, and was angling to hypnotize her.

      Marie Kayali has said publicly that Dr. Young-Hai Chi and Dr. Jacobs asked to hypnotize her. She did not seek out Dr. Jacobs.

      Another male research subject of Dr. Jacobs, whom Dr. Jacobs refers to as “Bernard”, was referred to Dr. Jacobs by his psychiatrist.

      So, it is not always a case of people needing to believe they have been abducted and seeking out someone who will help them believe that. Life is often more complicated than that, and there are many reasons why people can end up being hypnotized by someone like Dr. Jacobs

      In regard to needing to believe I had been abducted, that is simply not the case. I did not “believe” it or need to believe it. I was open to the possibility, and thought it was an interesting idea, but no more than that. After I was intensively hypnotized, I confabulated false hypnotic “memories” of being abducted, but that is an entirely different thing.

      Today, I have no need to believe I have been abducted, and I know that my hypnotic “memories” of being abducted are not real, yet I still have the memories.

      So, once you get researchers in responsible positions misrepresenting themselves and their research, taking on people to hypnotize them, on occasion seeking out people to hypnotize, and misusing hypnosis, then people can be caught in a web that in many (probably most) cases they cannot get out of.

      I think it is important to look at these issues, and try to help bring about a climate of change, where researchers misrepresenting themselves and their research, misusing hypnosis as a memory collection tool, and in the case of Dr. Jacobs, deliberately implanting false memories in people, is no longer tolerated in the field.

  2. I started out sharing Purrlie’s perspective on alien abductees when I was new to the issue, which is ironic since previously I had had an active interest in Western esoterica. (Disincarnate entities? No problem! Aliens? No way!). I’ve since come to believe that some people do have extremely strange experiences which can be very upsetting, some of whom subsequently look for help from those who profess knowledge about such things.

    Understandably, not everyone – and especially not people of a more skeptical and/or scientific bent – can be comfortable with that stance. That’s fine, but to me arguments over whether this or that alleged phenomenon is real are less interesting than understanding and helping people deal with the kind of perplexing experiences they have had. There’s simply no traction for asking interesting questions if you throw up your hands, proclaim “A pox on both your houses!” and walk away.

    For instance, I’m interested in how people distinguish between paranormal and alien experiences, or even in finding out what they mean by ‘alien’ in the first place. Alternatively, since Jack points out that part of the special nature of Emma Woods’ case is that she took public action – how many other experiencers sussed they were being played for the long con and slunk away silently to resume their life? It would be interesting to talk to people like that about why and how they changed their minds. There are still interesting, real-world level questions to ask about the phenomena.

    Furthermore, Dr. Jacobs is a tenured professional who is messing up. Frankly, I’m not too worried about Emma – she seems the strong and resilient type, at least now – but I do care about science (and yes, sigh, the study of history does count as a science). Policing its boundaries, keeping the crap out and the practice ethical and rigorous is never a waste of time. It’s really tough with someone like Jacobs whose early work broke important ground in rational study of the UFO topic; I get that. Still, it’s not a pass for professional misconduct, either methodological or ethical.

    If there’s one thing that strikes me about Dr. Kokjohn’s piece here, it’ s that ideally none of what he says should really need to be explained in such detail. But it does, so he did, which is a good thing.

  3. This belongs in a proper Court. There is no legitimate excuse to not take this to Court if indeed “Emma” was wronged. No more excuses. Take Dr. Jacobs to Court and settle this once and for all instead of dancing around with all the excuses in the world about it. Nobody needs to say or reveal anything without an attorney, and the best place for such serious allegations is in a court of law. No more excuses; take the man to Court and settle this once and for all. If he is guilty, then let the law dictate his future. If not, then let him be exonerated. Seriously, enough already! Let the proper higher authority handle this.

    • I should add that to my mind, this is not just about Emma. She’s just the one brave enough to take bullets. It’s about everyone Jacobs is abusing. No more excuses, indeed. He needs to stop writing books and hang up the abduction “research.”

      • I know, I know. *sigh* Still, there are ALWAYS excuses of some kind and at the top of the list is always the “can’t afford it” excuse that is lauded in so many such instances. I find it very difficult to believe that there is absolutely, positively, NO recourse for someone who is (if true) so victimized. I don’t know if any of the allegations are true as they have not been proved under law, but I can’t help but feel that the excuses just help “Emma” continue to sling and sling and sling year after year after year. I hope she’s telling the truth (as awful as that sounds because I don’t wish anyone harm!). But until this entire case is in a Court what will all the slinging truly accomplish a the end? Just another “he said, she said” affair? *sigh*

        Well, good work, Jeremy! I enjoy your Blog very much. I’ll retreat back into silence and hope that in this case things take a more positive turn soon.

      • “I don’t know if any of the allegations are true as they have not been proved under law….” – No. It’s not he said/she said. It’s all on tape. His defense of himself is that she’s nuts for dropping out of the game and no longer believing. We don’t need a court of law to tell us whether, for example, he’s guilty of implanting the suggestion that she has multiple personality disorder while under hypnosis so that when next alien hybrids read her mind they’ll believe that’s what his next book will be about and leave him alone–that’s all on tape. His unethical behavior is on tape. What a court of law would decide is if it’s illegal behavior as well.

      • I’m curious, though, if the actual point of the article bothers you at all?–that there are people in ufology who intimate or outright say that we don’t know the whole story and if we did, Jacobs would be exonerated… but then haven’t, in five years, given that information out?

  4. Just need to reply to some of the comments … some which may be a bit off topic, but need to be said, in my opinion.

    Jacobs was completely in control of things regarding the to and fro in the hypnosis sessions. He is not a bumbling or deluded fool, as some people may think. He is cold, calculating and in fact extremely ruthless. He may come across to some people like doddering old idiot who got in too far deep in some way but that is just his “legend”. He is in fact a very clever operator, and very well connected.

    He is in some ways, of course, the archetypal predator of the worst kind, preying on extremely vulnerable individuals, and uses the “material” he gets from his hypnosis sessions to fill in the details of his ridiculous, violent, and pornographic mythology. But he may be doing what he does for a number of other reasons, as well, outside of being just a perverse and psychotic predator. He may be working for an agenda which we cannot see as of yet. An agenda with many tentacles.

    One part this agenda may be to seed a meme of aliens being violent, and evil into the American culture and beyond … which keeps people scared about what is really going on around them. A form of control through scaremongering, as it were. It’s like stories of phony terrorist acts, or threats from foreign powers who in all truth aren’t doing a thing to hurt the American population at all. It may not actually be true, but it keeps the population riled up, and that is very good for the powers that be. It means the population are blinded to what “they” are actually doing. It’s basically a form of propaganda and/or mind control.

    At the same time, he may be collecting evidence of some kind of phenomenon which the powers that be know of, but so far, do not understand. It also may be part of an ongoing study into mind control outside of the propaganda mentioned above.

    Remember that it may sound ridiculous, the notion of “mind control”, and other science fiction like ideas but mind control programs are actually very REAL. Otherwise, we would never have heard of MKULTRA, ARTICHOKE etc. So people must try to get their heads around the fact that they have happened, and are still probably on-going. They are not just something that you see in sci-fi tv series or films. They are in fact very REAL, indeed. The powers that be like to be in control, in power. And they will use anything that comes to hand to keep their thumb on the population, and stay in control.

    What evidence have I for these strange notions? Mostly hunches really. The use of hypnosis, primarily, and the accounts of abductees going all the way back to Betty and Barney Hill. But also the connections Jacobs has to psychiatrists, and psychologists like Roy Steinhouse, and Don Donderi. Associations are extremely important in this sort of thing, and Jacobs is extremely well connected. He is also is most probably being protected by his friends at Temple University, and possibly other people and organisations.

    Fear is also a very good protector, of course. Jacobs victims have probably been too scared of him to do anything at all to defend themselves, and if it wasn’t for Emma, he may have been able to get away with much worse than he has so far. For that we should be eternally grateful for Emma’s strength and determination to pursue him as far as she has.

    But people must also throw out the notion that there are no scientists in the UFO field. There are in fact stacks and stacks of them, a lot of them very are well educated, and very well connected. These people may be in the field because their job is to, probably, suck data from out of the field from “abductees”, experiencers, and witnesses to ufo sightings, never to be seen again (as Jack Brewer has shown). In effect, these people are the equivalent of scientific vacuum cleaners, and prevent us from getting to the real truth of the ufo/abduction problem.

    There are also a tonne of people with very close military ties or indeed have been or are still in the military in the ufo field. Fingerprints of the military-industrial complex are all over the UFO/abduction fields. Look at the people like John Alexander (that’s just off the top of my head). Look at their bios. They are very clever, and very well connected like the scientists I mentioned, and may be associated with them, and part of the agenda as well. (it is my hunch that there are a number of things going on here, agendas, as it were, which may be associated with each other and/or cross-pollinate each other at the same time).

    Now not all people with scientific or military ties have an agenda in the ufo and/or abduction field. BUT … there are a LOT of people like this in the ufo field. Remember, the first ufo groups in the US were ostensibly set up by people with military, scientific/psychiatric and/or CIA ties. The military, and scientific communities have always had a very close relationship with the ufo field, and for the military to not have a close relationship would be an abrogation of responsibility since ufos, for them, are ostensibly a defence related issue.

    Even David Jacobs, himself has some ties to the US Air Force. For his first book, he was allowed access to all sorts of US Air Force documents. How on earth did he pull that one off? An associate professor of history doesn’t normally get that kind of access.

    So what we have going on may be some sort of on-going MK Ultra style program, or off-shoot, an effort to control the population, and getting to study some sort of phenomenon … all of which cross over and through each other. There may be other things going as well (maybe the creation of a new ufo/alien based religion, a new opiate for the masses, as it were), at the same time. To what actual ends, I don’t actually know, and we may never know … or may know 100 years from now when nothing can be done about it.

    Anyhow, just a few things I wanted to put out there. The world is a very, very strange place. People must begin to think outside the box, and contemplate Fox Mulders “extreme possibilities” since they may be just scratching the surface of what actually is going on. What you see on the surface is probably just theatre, and/or smoke and mirrors. The actual truth of things maybe be darker and far stranger than you can even begin to think about.

    Best wishes

    Harvey P.

    ps as always a bit disjointed but I wanted to get down all these things before I forgot about them, again …

    • Because you are so kind I’ll respond once more. 🙂 I personally am not invested in this case at all. I am, however, personally interested in similar cases in that what evidence has been presented can be slanted one way or another but when the absolute entirety comes out, can surprisingly be different. My great uncle was imprisoned for 8 years for being an accessory to murder. Lots of evidence was thrown out for being hearsay, so I’ve learned from his case that if you give out information outside of a trial it can be thrown out. Thus I can see why supporters of Jacobs, for instance, wouldn’t want to speak. It would not be wise at all. They should definitely hold it until trial. My great uncle was released after almost 9 years when another related offense was tried and evidence came to light proving his innocence of the first crime.
      So, this case in particular is not troubling to me, but I know first hand how seemingly true and convincing allegations can be false especially when someone’s very life can be at stake. I guess I can be overly leery, perhaps, but this is something I cannot shed. Thank you for your kindness and patience. I should never have spoken and for that I apologize.

  5. One of the things I have observed repeatedly among Jacobs apologists is that they neglect to discuss details of the audio tapes, for example, and resulting allegations. Rather than cite anecdotes and such, wouldn’t it be more functional and on topic to directly address the specific circumstances? There is consistently a strong aversion to reviewing and addressing the actual evidence.

    As Jeremy already established, it’s not a he said/she said. It’s published audio recordings containing statements that, if anyone cares to try to explain what they have to do with scientific investigation, collecting oral histories (as was floated at one point) or even general ufology asshattery, I’d be open to reading those explanations. As a rule, the excuses for Jacobs’ tactics do not address, uh, Jacobs’ tactics:


    Now, tell me again, why does an associate history professor who purportedly advocates strict scientific and ethical methodology make statements as contained in the above link to a woman under hypnosis via international telephone?

  6. I am an experiencer. I saw Dr. Jacobs for a few hypnosis sessions in the early nineties. It was my opinion then that he was leading me with his questions and focusing in an unhealthy way on sex. I stopped going to see him, and I am glad I did! I’ve followed his work over the years and it seems more and more detached from reality – just his own icky fantasies at this point. His work discredits the entire phenomenon.

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