The anxieties of an academic outgroup form the subtext of this collection of 11 essays by UFO and abduction researchers from both inside and outside he academy.
Editor Jacobs (The Treat, 1998, etc.) and his colleagues want the scientific and intellectual establishment to take reports of unidentified flying objects and tales of earthlings kidnapped by extraterrestrials seriously, but the evidence on display here is far from compelling. The contributors include three psychologists, a psychiatrist, a sociologist, a folklorist, a natural scientist, and two full-time UFOlogists. Their papers examine the reception of UFOlogy in the academy and the excursions of established academics into UFOlogy; evidentiary paradigms in science, law, and military intelligence; the development of the responses to the saucer sightings of the early Cold War years; the place of UFOs in modern mythology and popular culture; the abduction phenomenon; and directions for future research. Jacobs believes that thousands of people have been abducted by space aliens as part of a sinister breeding experiment, and provides a history of the abduction controversy. Other contributors believe in the benign intentions of the abductors, and defend them the against sinister charges. Over the years, many people have reported seeing strange objects in the sky. Some of these reports are puzzling, and their significance is certainly worthy of discussion. But surely the abduction phenomenon, like the recent rash of cases of Satanic ritual abuse, belongs more to the study of the origin and diffusion of mass delusions than it does to the physics of space travel or the possible biologies of alien races.
For all its earnestness and its academic trappings, this study will persuade few who are not already believers.