I first became aware of Dr. David Jacobs when I saw an acknowledgement to him in Whitley Streiber’s Communion. A professor at my alma mater, Temple University, Dr. Jacobs has written several books including Secret Life, The ThreatUFOs and Abductions. Dr. Jacobs continues to teach, runs ICAR, International Center for Abduction Research (www.ufoabduction.com) and is one of the foremost experts in the world on UFO abductees and the abduction phenomena.

How did you become interested in UFO phenomena?

I am not sure how I actually became interested in UFOs. It captured my imagination when I was an undergraduate at UCLA. I began to read in it for recreation as others would read mystery novels or science fiction. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. By 1966 I was pretty much hooked. I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school in that year and I was determined to become an expert in this area by reading everything that could be read about the subject. (In those days that was a feasible goal, today, of course, it is not.) I finally decided to write my doctoral dissertation within the field of intellectual history on the subject of the controversy over unidentified flying objects. I received my Ph.D. in 1973.

How did this interest lead into the study of the abduction experience?

I, like most other serious UFO researchers felt that the abduction phenomenon was almost certainly a psychological in origin. In 1981 I was casually introduced to abduction researcher Budd Hopkins at a conference we were both present papers at. I was so uninterested in the subject that I preferred to stand in the hall and talk with my friends while Hopkins gave his paper. The following year a mutual friend took me over to Hopkins home in New York City and I was able to talk with him and find out exactly what he was up to. I was impressed by his depth of intelligence and his research methodology. By a fluke, I was spending a few weeks for vacation that summer in Wellfleet, MA where, as it turned out, Hopkins had a summer home. I visited him there and he introduced me to some abductees and I was able to spend more time learning about his findings. I was impressed again. I decided that he might be on to something potentially important. I began to be a regular visitor to his New York home and I after a few years I decided that if I ever wanted to do research in this area to find out for myself what, if anything was happening to alleged abductees, I would have to learn how to do hypnosis. By 1986, I was ready for my first client. Since that time I have conducted over 850 hypnotic regressions with about 145 different individuals.

It seems that the first abduction that received national attention was Betty and Barney Hill in 1961. Why did it take so long for the abduction experience to become “news” in the eyes of the public?

UFO research is, to a great extent, a search for patterns. Once case does not a pattern make. Other cases began to slowly trickle in after the Hill case and researchers began to get a better sense of what was happening. Most, of course, thought it was all psychological. The Hill case however was fairly sensational. It became a best-selling book and was made in 1975 into an NBC “Movie of the Week.” It was quite a good film. Furthermore, the Hills were straight, upstanding, contributing, honest members of their community. This was in sharp contrast to the “contactees” of the 1950s who claimed on-going contact with Space Brothers who were on earth for benevolent reasons to help humankind. These people were generally charlatans who made ridicule seem like the appropriate response to all UFO witnesses. The Hills credibility and honesty set them apart from the claimants of the past. Still, it was the slow accretion of other abduction narratives by equally credible people that enabled the phenomenon to get a foothold in the public's attention.

Since most abductees acquire “missing time”, what are some of the indications that one has been abducted?

Some people have fully conscious memories of all or parts of their abductions. However, most people have forgotten what has happened to them within seconds after an abduction event. But they often know that something strange has occurred. They assume what the society allows for them to think. They think that they have traveled on the astral plane, seen a ghost or a deceased relative. They think they have seen a religious figure. They think that they have had some sort of a strange out of body experience. They sometimes see inexplicable lights in their room of which they do not know the origin. There are a number of other indications, but ultimately, one has to use competent hypnosis to fully understand what has happened to these individuals.

Perhaps the most well known UFO event is the supposed crash in Roswell in 1947. Based on all of your research, what do you think happened there?

I am not an expert on Roswell and there are many UFO researchers who know more about it than I. However, the evidence I have seen so far is not persuasive to me that an extraterrestrial craft crashed at Roswell.

The film Close Encounters of the Third Kind was the first blockbuster film to chronicle UFO sightings. Do you think this helped or hindered the study of the phenomena?

We do not have studies of the effects of this film. It was widely predicted by UFO debunkers and critics that the movie would set of a torrent of UFO reports. The assumption was that publicity causes sightings. After the release of the move in 1977, the amount of sightings did not significantly rise. The Air Force had in 1952 come to the conclusion that publicity did not cause sightings and the movie once again made that point.

In your book, you hypothesized that at least 2% of the American public has been abducted. Why is this happening and for what purpose?

A Roper poll of almost 6,000 randomly selected people conducted in 1991 determined that at least 2% of the American adult public had experiences that abductees had reported although it is, of course, impossible to tell whether the polled people actually are abductees without competent investigation. What researchers have found during the past forty years of investigation is that the UFO phenomenon is not as random as was previously believed and that most, if not all close level UFO sightings mask abductions. They have found that the abduction phenomenon is intergenerational, and lasts throughout the course of one's life. The frequency of abduction for any individual can increase and decrease over time. But, all abductees have their first abductions in very early childhood and they are abducted many, many times. At first we thought that this was a study of some sort; a learning situation. I have found no evidence for that. I found that this is a structured program that is goal directed. It has a beginning, middle and an end when the goal is reached. It is, at its core a reproductively oriented program. Abductees indicate that they are shown bizarre babies who they characterize as looking like crosses between humans and aliens. The evidence has, to my extreme embarrassment, pointed to a program of ultimate integration into our society by these grown-up hybrids. At least that is what abductees say that the aliens and hybrids have told them.

Should we be afraid?

I think we should be very, very concerned. I am extremely uneasy about what the UFO and abduction phenomenon represents.

At Temple University you teach the first and only regularly offered course in the United States on UFOs in American Society. How did this come about?

After my dissertation was published as The UFO Controversy in America in 1975, the Director of the American Studies Program at Temple University suggested that I might want to teach a course on the subject in the Program. I was enthusiastic at this prospect and I began to teach the course in 1977. Of course, I knew nothing about abductions in those days. I have been teaching the course fairly regularly since that time.

The X-Files created an elaborate mythology surrounding that government and UFO cover-ups. Do you believe the government has been harboring extra-terrestrial life forms and/or UFO technology?

Once again, I am in a minority of UFO researchers who does not find the evidence persuasive for systematic cover-up of sensitive UFO material by the government. In the 39 years that I have spent looking into the UFO subject, I have not had occasion to change my mind. I think that the government takes its cues on this subject from the scientific community. The scientific community is not ambivalent to subject, it is downright hostile. And, it has grown more hostile over the years.

Do you think the commonly portrayed “Gray” alien is the result of actual abduction reports or popular media’s portrayal?

The media picked up the image of the Gray from abductions and from “occupant” sightings before we were aware of abductions. In the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the images were taken from UFO accounts and with the help of famed UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek.

Where do you see all of this heading? Is Mankind in danger?

I have learned not to like the UFO and abduction phenomenon. I do no like where this heading. I am very uneasy about it. I think we should be very concerned.

Why do you think we are not being told and what can we do about it?

I do not think there is much we can do about the abduction phenomenon. I think that the technology that abductees describe is far too advanced for us to intervene in the program. However, this is an area where talented people might be able to make a difference if they were to make a concentrated, coordinated effort to address these issues. We are very, very far away from this fantasy scenario. Right now all we can do is watch and wait.