Since the first alleged UFO sighting in the United States 45 years ago, hundreds of people have reported the experience of alien abduction. Over the decades, bits and pieces of the phenomenon, in which innocent victims claim to be whisked aboard alien craft, have been revealed. We've heard about painful physical examinations, distressing mind-probe procedures, embarrassing egg sampling and sperm harvesting, and unnerving visions of alien-human babies. What we haven't known until now is how all these pieces fit together. Enter Temple University historian David Jacobs, who says he can change all that with his new book, Secret Life (Simon and Schuster). Based on interviews and hypnotic regression sessions with 60 abductees over six years, Secret Life takes readers step by step through the archetypal abduction experience, "from transportation into the alien ship to the return to earth."
According to Jacobs, all abductions begin with "primary experiences" - embarrassing and often excruciating physical and mental exams. First, aliens "poke and prod every body area and orifice and sometimes take tissue samples," says Jacobs. "They have a bizarre starting procedure through which they seem to inspect abductees' brains. Then they extract sperm and egg samples or perform other unpleasant gynecological or urological exams."
During the second phase of an abduction - Jacobs calls these "secondary experiences" - aliens examine abductees from head to toe with various machines. Then they place victims in front of a screen and compel them to watch a variety of images ranging from scenes of war to disturbing sexual encounters to mundane images of family life. "Aliens apparently do this," says Jacobs, "to probe abductees' mental reactions." At last, abductees enter an "incubatorium," or nursery, housing bizarre-looking alien-human fetuses and children. Abductees say they're forced to hold these children, who are supposedly theirs.
Many, but not all, abductees then suffer through the last stage of an abduction, Jacobs explains. During this final insult, some abductees are submerged in a pool and find themselves breathing under water. Others are forced to undergo sexual acts with other abductees.
In addition to laying out the entire abduction process, Jacobs says, he has made an important research breakthrough: Aliens can confuse abductees with false "screen" memories of everything from nuclear war to visions of Christ. In the past, Jacobs contends, researchers recorded these screen memories as fact.
But Dr. Robert A. Baker, a retired psychologist from the University of Kentucky at Lexington, doesn't think Jacob's research reveals the truth at all. "Many people have fixed ideas and beliefs that are not true," says Baker. "These fixed beliefs, because they are strange, garner attention. Remember, Dr. Jacobs is not a psychologist. Unless one is an experienced clinician and is aware of these kinds of personality subtleties, one can be misled."
As for Jacobs, he responds that "if the abductees' stories are accurate, they are revealing one of the most important events ever to befall humankind. If the stories are false, they still constitute a fascinating and inexplicable new psychological and socio-cultural phenomenon that's worthy of intense scientific attention."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Omni Publications International Ltd.
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