- So you're walking down Walnut Street
and you see this guy coming toward you, and he looks like an attorney or
maybe an accountant.
- Well, maybe he is, or maybe he's one
of those hybrid alien/humans that Temple University professor David M.
Jacobs writes about in The Threat, just published by Simon & Schuster.
- There are thousands of these beings,
he contends. They could be anyone. "Some hybrids look really quite
human," Jacobs said in a recent interview in his Victorian-style home
near Chestnut Hill.
- But many look like the kind of extraterrestrials
you've seen in movies and trash tabloids. That's the way people have described
them to Jacobs: large heads; big black eyes; no hair, ears or nose; slits
for mouths; thin arms and legs; grayish bodies.
- What about that young woman taking her
baby out for a stroll in Rittenhouse Square? Could she be one? "I
do not think they are walking among us," Jacobs says, "or that
they have a job at the 7-Eleven, or something like that."
- What the young woman might be, though,
is one of the thousands of people who, according to Jacobs, have been abducted
by extraterrestrial beings and taken onto spaceships, stripped, and used
for experimental procedures, including the removal of ova or sperm.
- And the baby? Don't ask. Embarrassing.
Frightening. Jacobs himself is frightened.
- The aliens from outer space, he contends,
do not come to earth with benign motives. On the contrary. They have an
agenda. As he describes in The Threat, with the subtitle The Secret Agenda:
What the Aliens Really Want . . . and How They Plan to Get It, the motive
is nothing less than "the systematic and clandestine physiological
exploitation, and perhaps alteration, of human beings for the purposes
of passing on their genetic capabilities to progeny who will integrate
into the human society and, without doubt, control it."
- And it may be too late to stop them.
"My own complacency is long gone, replaced," he writes, "by
a sense of profound apprehension and even dread."
- Jacobs, 55, a tenured associate professor
of history at Temple, special izing in 20th-century America, is also, according
to his publisher, "the world's foremost expert on the UFO and abduction
- A man of medium height, with a halo of
white hair and a white moustache, he speaks with the confidence of a man
who knows his subject. He's been studying UFOs since 1965. He's written
two previous books on the subject. He appears regularly on the TV talk
show circuit -- Larry King Live, Howard Stern, Geraldo, A&E, the Learning
Channel, the Discovery Channel. He recently returned from the sixth annual
international UFO conference sponsored by the Republic of San Marino.
- Jacobs started studying UFOs as a student
at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he majored in history.
In 1973, he obtained a master's degree in history at the University of
Wisconsin and, later, his doctorate, with a dissertation on the UFO controversy.
- In The Threat, Jacobs recounts the abduction
experiences that people he's interviewed have described. He writes that
he has used hypnosis in more than 700 abduction investigations. He learned
it on his own: "Doing hypnosis is the easiest thing in the world."
- There is something, for example, that
he calls "mindscam," in which the abductors stare into the abductees'
eyes at a distance of a few inches or less, sometimes provoking intense
sexual arousal in both men and women.
- A woman Jacobs calls "Laura"
said that one night she was lying in bed with her husband when five of
these creatures entered the bedroom, and one of them got on top of her.
There was nothing she could do to stop him.
- "Donna," when she was 20, met
a hybrid on a beach in Maine. He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and his
hair was down past his ears. He began kissing her, she recalled, and "you
feel your brain exploding and your toes tingling and everything in between
absolutely -- firecrackers!"
- Unfortunately, all we have to go on is
Laura's and Donna's word. All we have to go on in all the cases that Jacobs
describes is what the people involved told him.
- "Anecdotal evidence is not evidence
at all," says James Randi, a professional magician, also known as
the Amazing Randi, who has gone around the world debunking claims of the
paranormal, supernatural and occult.
- Randi, who received a MacArthur Foundation
award for his work in investigating such claims, says he has offered a
million dollars "for the performance of any paranormal, supernatural
or occult phenomenon under proper observing conditions, and that includes
contact with alien beings from nonterrestrial sources." The money,
he says, is in negotiable bonds at Goldman Sachs in New York. So far, no
- What about it, professor? There's a million
dollars waiting for you.
- Randi, Jacobs says, is like a lot of
other critics who "have done absolutely no research whatsoever."
- Even if we had an ashtray stamped "made
in Mars," Jacobs contends, the skeptics would claim it had been made
on earth. "Ultimately, what you need is an alien. You need one of
these little guys wiggling on the end of a pole, and then you would have
something. That would be convincing."
- What about photographs? Didn't it occur
to any of these people who claim multiple abductions to have a camera handy
the next time?
- The problem, he explains, is that there's
a consciousness alteration at the beginning of every abduction that renders
the abductee passive.
- Sure, people hijacked aboard those spacecraft
have picked up things. But see, they're naked, so there's no place to hide
- How is it, a Wall Street Journal reviewer
of The Threat wondered, that the aliens always seem to abduct people no
one's ever heard of? Why don't they abduct somebody important, like Alan
Greenspan or Kathie Lee Gifford?
- "The answer," says Jacobs,
"is that they do." Like who? "Can't tell you. If the people
want to come forward, they will. . . . I cannot give you names right now."
- Jacobs, like many UFO researchers, contends
that the government, along with the media and the scientific community,
determined long ago that the phenomenon had no objective reality. So "because
the normal avenues of academic discourse have been closed to UFO researchers,"
he said, "they have been forced to take to the popular culture airways
to bring their message."
- "There are no alien spaceships.
There never have been," said Robert Baker, emeritus professor of psychology
at the University of Kentucky. "There's absolutely no respectable
scientific evidence of any alien invasion or that aliens have abducted
any human being."
- How then does he explain how people who
come from all walks of life have told Jacobs such similar stories? of being
abducted by aliens from outer space?
- It's a phenomenon, well-known to psychiatrists
and psychologists, called "sleep paralysis" -- people wake up
in the middle of the night, find themselves paralyzed, and have psychological
experiences in which they think their dreams are real, Baker said.
- "It's a universal human experience
that has been reported from the beginning of time," he said.
- At Temple, Jacobs, in addition to his
main job of teaching 20th-century American history, also conducts a course
called "UFOs in American Society," in the American studies program.
He believes it's the only course on UFOs taught at any American university,
and he's pretty sure there's nothing of the kind anywhere else in the real
- He teaches both sides of the issue, he
says, including required reading of a debunking book by Philip Klass, UFO
Abductions: A Dangerous Game, "that contends I'm a total jerk."
- Jacobs' colleagues in the Temple history
department speak highly of his teaching. There is, said Morris Vogel, former
department chair, "a fundamental disconnect between the David Jacobs
of The Threat and who is on Howard Stern and the David Jacobs we see every
day as a colleague and a teacher. In the classroom, he's a gifted instructor
who covers the same 19th and 20th century United States in the way most
of his colleagues do . . . and differs from us only in doing that teaching
with more success."
- Jacobs admits he's never seen one of
these extraterrestrials himself, but he knows they exist. How can he be
sure they haven't installed thoughts in his mind? Laughing, Jacobs dismisses
the question. He knows that many people, including some of his colleagues,
think he's a nutcase.
- "I've learned to accept that,"
he says. It's a sacrifice he makes to "have the opportunity to make
a contribution in a field of potentially surpassing importance."
- "You have to remember," he
says seriously, "that I've come to these conclusions after an adult
lifetime of studying this subject, and I've come to them with full realization
of how fringy they are, of how off-to-the-side they are. I've come to them
with the full realization of the damage it does to my career and to my
credibility. And yet, as an academic and as a person who is intellectually
honest, I feel I must go where the evidence leads me."