Wednesday Weirdness Roundup

Fake nuns with fake Anthrax, real vampires, UN conspiranoia, hateful lies about hate speech, and Bigfoot’s disgusting ancestry

  • After years of top-secret lab work, Dr. Melba Ketchum has announced the results of her DNA analysis of alleged Bigfoot hair and tissue samples (including, perhaps, the “Bigfoot steak” that was central to the Sierra Kills hoax). The upshot: Bigfoot isn’t an ape or a human. It’s descended from an unknown primate and a human female, who mated about 15,000 years ago. Ew. Ketchum is calling for Bigfoot to be afforded full Constitutional rights, as an aboriginal. Best title about this, to date: “Boffin claims Bigfoot DNA reveals BESTIAL BONKING“. Not even avid Sasqwatchers are wholefootedly accepting Ketchum’s results, though; Bigfoot Lunch Club, for instance, shares a few of the same reasonable doubts expressed by the Houston Chronicle‘s “SciGuy”, Eric Berger (and the rest of the scientific community).
  • In the Serbian village of Zarozje, a different inhuman beast is supposed to be amuck. The mayor and the village council have warned locals that Zarozje’s legendary vampire, Sava Savanovic, might be pissed off and looking for blood now that the abandoned mill where he has dwelt for years untold has finally collapsed. In all apparent seriousness, officials have advised villagers to stock up on garlic and religious paraphernalia to keep Savanovic at bay. But given the vampire’s tourist appeal, garlic might not be the only thing that smells in Zarozje…
  • “Big Brother is watching, and he really is gay.” That’s the title of a chapter in Dr. Michael Brown’s book A Queer Thing Happened to America. In a recent webcast of an interview with Brown, Rick Joyner of MorningStar Ministries claimed that at a Christian conference he attended in Switzerland last summer, Swiss attendees refused to use the words “wife” or “husband” to describe their spouses. Instead, they used the word “partner”.  Asked why, a Swiss man supposedly informed Joyner that gender-specific titles for your significant other are classified as hate speech in Switzerland; you can actually go to jail for saying you have a wife or a husband. I’m calling BS on this one. Such radical restrictions on free speech would raise an international outcry, and there simply isn’t one. Either Joyner was misinformed, or he’s lying. His claims are remarkably similar to hate crime urban legends and misinformation that have been circulating in the Christian community for years: Hate crime legislation will prevent pastors from preaching against homosexuality, gays are trying to ban straight marriage, legislation could forbid homeschooling parents from sharing their opinions on gay marriage with their kids, etc.
    When it comes to human rights, gays are not at the top of the list, as a particularly nasty bit of proposed legislation in Uganda shows.
  • The last time I wrote about fake nuns, there was a serial killer/cult leader involved. This time, a fake nun in England simply sent some white powder to politicians and aristocrats because she was annoyed by their worship of Satan. Over the summer and autumn, 71-year-old “Sister” Ruth Augustus mailed envelopes stuffed with some harmless substance to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Baroness Scotland, Baroness Kennedy, and MP Edward Leigh.  On the envelopes Augustus had written “devil worshipping”, “freemason”, “sex with 30 plus women”, “stop this evil devil worshipping”, and “stop these evil devil-worshipping freemasons.” The one addressed to Baroness Scotland also bore a swastika.  Augustus refers to herself as a disabled Catholic nun who works for a children’s charity, but she does not actually belong to any Catholic order, and does not seem to be employed by any charity organization.  For sending “noxious substances” through the mail, she has been ordered to undergo mental health treatment and serve a two-year community order.
  •  Also this autumn, the entire town of Gypsum, Colorado, rallied behind a 9-year-old cancer patient named Alex Jordan, a boy no one in the community had ever met. According to a Jordan family friend, Alex’s parents relocated to Gypsum earlier this year so the boy could spend his final days in the mountains. He was dying of leukemia, after defeating it two years earlier. From his hospital bed, Alex enthusiastically followed the local high school football team, the Eagle Valley Devils, over the Internet. As soon as they learned about their number one fan, team members signed a football for Alex, began displaying the letter A on their helmets, and even wrote his name on the fence that surrounds their field. Soon, hundreds of other locals joined a Facebook page in support of Alex. When they learned at the end of October that Alex had died, Gypsum residents mourned the brave little boy who had become the Devils’ unofficial mascot. But, as in the cases of Kaycee Nicole Swenson, Jonathan Jay White, and Anthony Godby Johnson, a few people wondered why no one had actually seen this kid or his parents. The only individual with a known connection to the Jordan family was that mysterious family friend who had first mentioned him to local reporters and football parents, 22-year-old Briana Augustenborg. As it turned out, Augustenborg had created “Alex” out of thin air, for reasons that are not entirely clear (she didn’t attempt to raise any money, and didn’t accept any gifts or donations). Alex Jordan now joins a long list of cancer-related hoaxes that preyed upon the tenderhearted.
  • Meanwhile, UN conspiracy theories are in full bloom – and they’re actually getting a bit of mainstream attention. A small but vocal coalition of U.S. senators led by Rick Santorum is opposing ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing that it will impinge upon parental rights, if not actually make every disabled child a ward of the New World Order global superstate (a view shared by the Home School Legal Defense Association and other homeschooling advocates). Other Republicans have succumbed to Agenda 21 paranoia, believing the UN and Obama are conspiring to forcibly relocate rural dwellers, and/or control their minds.

I would love to combine all these stories into a TV series about a gay, undead Bigfoot. He must defeat a bogus nun who pretends to have cancer and sends hate mail to the UN.


Fake Teens

Perpetual adolescence may sound like hell, but these folks went to astounding lengths to make it happen…

Part I: James Hogue, self-educated cowboy and Ivy League track star
Part II: Brian McKinnon and other fake students
Part III: Predatory Fake Teens
Part IV: Serial Teen Treva Throneberry, the female Peter Pan
Part V: Frederic Bourdin, the bizarre case of a real-life changeling
Part VI: Online Teens
1. Jailbait
2. Caught (spoiler alert: contains spoilers for the movie Catfish)
Part VI: The Messiah, cult victim or cult leader?

Fake Teens Part II: Brian MacKinnon and Other Fake Students

Close, but no degree

Like the career criminal James Hogue, Brian MacKinnon of Scotland tried to recapture lost opportunities by impersonating a high school student. He just wasn’t terribly good at it.

From boyhood, Brian wanted to be a doctor. And at the age of 18 he was on his way, leaving Bearsden Academy in East Dunbartonshire to enroll in the medical course at Glasgow University. The year was 1980.
MacKinnon claims he became very ill with mono and coxsackie his first winter at university. Fatigued, he fell behind in his studies and failed all his major exams the following spring. He also claims Dean Edward McGirr kindly offered him a second chance, but McGirr wasn’t dean until 1992. At any rate, neither his health nor his grades showed any improvement the following term. MacKinnon was expelled.
In 1986 he began working toward a science degree, in the hopes of successfully re-applying for med school. Those hopes were smacked down when he failed an important chemistry exam. He continued to study, living with his mother and terminally ill father in a Bearsden council flat.

By 1993, 30-year-old MacKinnon despaired of ever getting back into med school by conventional means. His own account of his troubles reads like something out of Dickens; illness, poor circumstances, horribly unfair professors. He had been banished most cruelly from the halls of learning, without recourse.
So it was only fair that he forge some transcripts and re-enroll at Bearsden Academy as a 17-year-old boy.
While MacKinnon’s tale brims with the sadness of the dejected scholar, the details of his fraud show the distinct mark of the Hollywood-obsessed fantasist. He chose the name “Brandon Lee”, and made Brandon’s late father a professor of zoology, his mother an opera singer. Fortunately for MacKinnon, no one at Bearsden checked his background too carefully; his references included an English zoologist and a Canadian schoolteacher named Marsha Hunt – both fictitious. If his Canadian accent lacked authenticity, no one noticed.

Unlike James Hogue, MacKinnon made serious mistakes. First of all, he didn’t really look like a teenager. His classmates quickly, and aptly, nicknamed him “Thirtysomething“. Secondly, he took the risk of enrolling at the very same school he attended in the ’70s, where many of the same teachers were still employed. Lucky for him, he hadn’t been a conspicuous presence back then, and no one recognized him.
On one occasion, MacKinnon slipped up by commenting that he could recall the day Elvis died. Pretty odd for a kid born in 1977. The other students looked askance at him but said nothing.
His mother, May, knew Brian had returned to school. She just didn’t know it was high school.

MacKinnon didn’t take the wallflower route. He captured the lead in the school’s production of South Pacific, worked on the school magazine, and made a lot of friends. His life as the son of a traveling opera singer probably didn’t hurt; even late headmaster Norman McLeod presumed Brandon had a “cosmopolitan background”, which accounted for his mature confidence and good manners. All in all, he was a model student.

Brandon Lee graduated from Bearsden in the spring of 1994 with straight As and an acceptance to the medical course at Dundee University. If anyone found it odd that his jet-setting mother attended neither his stage premiere nor his graduation, they politely said nothing to him. The ruse had succeeded.

The first half of his freshman year at Glasgow University was equally successful, aside from a family illness that forced him to leave school in December. He was set to return in the fall of ’95. Jubilant, Brandon arranged to take a summer holiday to Tenerife with three female school chums. That was his fatal mistake. One of the girls caught a glimpse of MacKinnon’s real passport, and a call was made to the school.
May MacKinnon turned on the TV one day to learn that her 32-year-old son had posed as a teenager for two years, directly under her nose.

Rather pitifully, MacKinnon insisted he would make a good doctor. In 2002, he was reported to be living in his car.

The Stanford Two

In 2007, Stanford officials discovered that a pretty 18-year-old named Azia Kim had been living in a Stanford dorm and studying biology even though she was not (and had never been, and probably never will be) a Stanford student. At the start of the first semester of ’06, Kim told Kimball Hall residents Jenssy Rojina and Missy Penna that she was desperately in need of housing due to some mix-up, and Rojina offered to let her crash in their room until it was straightened out. Rojina and Kim became friends and even traveled to San Francisco together on winter break.
At the start of second semester, Kim sought out a new roomie at another dorm, Okada. She told Amy Zhou that she didn’t like her old roommate. Zhou spent most nights with her boyfriend, so she had no clue that Kim had to crawl through their window night after night because she didn’t have access to the building. This might have gone on longer if Kim hadn’t told a resident advisor she lived in another dorm, Otero. The subject came up at an RA meeting, sparking an investigation.

The whole point of Kim’s ruse is rather murky, as she didn’t speak to the press after being caught. She apparently didn’t attend any classes, and she had never actually applied to the university. She did, however, con her way into Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) courses by pretending to be enrolled at another school, Santa Clara University.
Kim graduated from Troy High School in Fullerton. She reportedly told friends she planned to attend a community college and transfer to Berkeley, but never enrolled anywhere. Instead, she announced at Christmas break that she had gotten into Stanford. Kim’s parents and sister. evidently believed this, too.
Kim considered herself a devout Christian and was regarded as a sweet, studious girl. Her only known bad habits were, you know, breaking into dorm rooms and joining a rigorous military program under false pretenses. So I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, and tentatively conclude that she is not hardened-criminal material. Maybe she even got into a good school by the front door, and put those impeccable study habits to use.

Of course, it was quite embarrassing for Stanford to have an imposter actually living on-campus for a full 8 months, and many students were spooked (Zhou had a chain installed on her window after Kim was “evicted”). But that embarrassment and unease mushroomed when another young Asian woman was found to be living at Stanford.

Perhaps due to the Azia Kim incident, students and staff were becoming more observant on campus and within a week of Kim’s ousting a second intruder, thirtysomething Elizabeth Okazaki, was rooted out. For at least three years, she had been posing as a grad student in physics, hanging around the lab and sometimes claiming to be an assistant to famed string theorist Leonard Susskind. Not only had Susskind never heard of Ms. Okazaki, but a student by that name had never been enrolled at Stanford. She did attend physics seminars, though, which indicates she could have been an aspiring physicist without the background needed to study at a major university. Students reported that she often puttered around the Varian Hall Physics Lab, making tea or simply hanging out. One university official wildly speculated she was looking for a “sugar daddy” in the physics lab, which would make about as much sense as searching for pearls in a lobster.

It’s beyond ironic that these two girls became, for a brief period in 2007, Stanford’s most famous students. Kim even has a sort of cult status; fans argue she’s actually far brighter and more inventive than your average Stanford student. Stanford alum and author Jeremy Iverson, who went undercover as a student to write his book High School Confidential, said of Kim, “I’m really proud of her for pulling it off as long as she did. I hope she had a great time at our college, and I hope they go easy on her. I salute her.”

But I’m Not a Cheerleader

In August 2008, a cheerleader failed to show up for classes at Ashwaubenon High School in Wisconsin, though her parents hadn’t called in sick for her. Truant officers went in search of the errant blonde 15-year-old and unexpectedly found the girl’s mother, Wendy Brown, in county lock-up. She had been charged with check fraud.
And she was about to be charged with a few other kinds of fraud, because 33-year-old Wendy had stolen her own daughter’s identity to enroll at Ashwaubenon High that summer. The girl was living with her grandmother in Nebraska at the time, oblivious to her mom’s weird scheme.
Brown gave police a sob story about wanting to relive her teen years, but her long criminal record showed she was not just a sentimental fool. She was a career petty criminal who had carried out thefts, forgeries, and frauds for a number of years.
Cheerleaders and teachers commented that the new girl had seemed very mature-looking, but hadn’t raised any red flags with her behaviour.
One wonders how long a thirtysomething woman, only moderately fit, could have kept up with teen cheerleaders without giving herself away.

Brown struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to identity theft “by reason of mental disease or defect”. She was committed to a mental health facility for three years.

She wasn’t quite as criminally savvy as the former cheerleader who led a team bank robbers in Fullerton. What is it with these Fullerton girls, anyway?

Fake Teens Part I: James Hogue

“You ever come across anything like time travel?”
– Uncle Rico, Napoleon Dynamite

James Arthur Hogue, now 51, was possibly the first high-profile fake teen. Unlike the “serial teens” we’ll meet later in this series, his reasons for impersonating a high-schooler weren’t terribly complex: He wanted a second shot at athletic glory, and he felt entitled to grab it by any means necessary. He became a career criminal… with an Ivy-League education.


In the mid-’70s, Hogue set national records as a runner with the cross country team at Washington High in Kansas City, Kansas. But at the University of Wyoming, he unexpectedly choked. His performance was so lackluster that after just one meet, he left the team. Before finishing his sophomore year, he dropped out of school and returned to Kansas City. He never competed under his own name again.

After brief stints at a community college and the University of Texas at Austin, Hogue turned to petty thievery. It isn’t known if this was a habit he picked up in earlier years, but conning and stealing quickly became his way of life. In 1983, at the age of 24, he was convicted of theft and sentenced to three years of parole. He violated it freely, drifting first to Colorado and then California.

The Orphan

In September 1985, a wiry 16-year-old boy enrolled at Palo Alto High as a senior. He had a lean, impish face and super-straight brown hair chopped in an awkward bowl cut. Jay Mitchell Huntsman explained to school officials that he was a Swedish-born orphan. After his parents died in Bolivia, he was raised by friends on a commune near Elko, Nevada. Though he had been barely been homeschooled, he seemed to be of average intelligence.
The mysterious Swede told his classmates he would earn a track scholarship to Stanford, and he wasn’t screwing around. Just one month after starting high school, he won the Stanford Invitational Cross Country Meet.
Jason Cole, a reporter for the Peninsula Times-Tribune, was intrigued by the so-called Mystery Boy of Palo Alto High, and suspicious of his colourful background. He began researching the orphan’s history. It didn’t take him long to learn that no commune existed in or around Elko, Nevada. Palo Alto police discovered that the “orphan” was a 25-year-old Kansas native with a police record, who had stolen the identity of a baby boy deceased at birth. Weirdly, they didn’t charge him with any crime.

Hogue “dropped out” of Palo Alto, of course, but remained in the area. The following May, he was nabbed for forging checks and sentenced to 90 days in jail. Upon his release he promptly broke parole and made his way to Colorado and posed as a bioengineer with a doctorate from Stanford. The phantom credentials didn’t get him far, though; he ended up as a running instructor at the Cross Training Clinic in Vail. He worked there until the early summer of ’87, when a co-worker exposed him as a fraud, then drifted back to California and attached himself to custom bike-builder Dave Tesch in San Marcos. He lived in Tesch’s home and helped him with his bikes until October. That’s when his criminal tendencies overwhelmed his common sense again. He swiped a cache of pricey bike parts from Tesch’s workshop and fled to Utah.

The Orphan, Take Two

That November, Princeton University received a most unusual application from a young man in St. George, Utah. 18-year-old Alexi Indris-Santana was a ranch hand at the Lazy T Ranch. Mostly self-educated, he had scored 1450 on his SATs and seemed like an all-around upstanding citizen. He excelled in sports, particularly running, and read the classics. His mother, a sculptress, lived in Switzerland. His references included the owner of the Lazy T.
In March 1988, this remarkable cowpoke traveled to New Jersey and toured the famous Ivy League campus. He told track coach Bill Ellis that if accepted, he would love to join the team.

Indris-Santana was offered a scholarship to Princeton, but James Hogue wasn’t so lucky. He was arrested for stealing bike parts. Police were disturbed to find high-school track trophies and fake applications to Ivy League schools among his possessions. Hogue pled guilty to theft, receiving a 6-month prison sentence. That put a serious crimp in Indris-Santana’s college plans. Hogue had little choice but to ask Princeton for a one-year deferment. His mother the sculptress was dying of leukemia, he explained, and he had to travel to Switzerland to be by her side. Princeton granted the deferment.

Two Men Go to Princeton

In June 1989, Hogue once again broke parole. He went to Princeton and became Alexi Indris-Santana, orphan ranch hand. Throughout the summer he worked on a grounds crew and attended orientation courses, gaining his footing on alien territory. Now 28 years old, he hadn’t been in a classroom since his “expulsion” from Palo Alto High 4 years earlier.
Just before the school year began, the Trenton Times profiled Alexi in a story titled “A Different Path to Glory”. When classmates asked about his famous background, he told stories of riding through the Mojave Desert on a horse called Good Enough. He certainly looked the part: He still had the bowl-cut hair, the ropy physique. No one would have mistaken him for a child of privilege. If he sometimes reverted to prison slang or spoke of things that the average 19-year-old wouldn’t know about, nobody noticed.

For the next two years, Indris-Santana was a solid performer both in the classroom and on the track. Whatever had stymied him at the University of Wyoming years earlier was no impediment at Princeton, alma mater of Alan Turing and Richard Feynman. He was even admitted to the university’s oldest, boys-only eating club, the Ivy. He hung out with other runners and had a girlfriend, a student from a well-off family.

His freshman and sophomore years passed without a hitch. Utah authorities had no idea where he was, and thanks to scholarship money he wasn’t stealing (or at least wasn’t stealing often enough to get caught). Then, in February 1991, someone recognized “Alexi” at a Princeton-Harvard-Yale track meet in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale senior Renee Pacheco later said she would have recognized that bowl haircut anywhere; it belonged to a former classmate at Palo Alto High, the “boy” known as Jay Huntsman. She knew he was really James Hogue.
Pacheco phoned Palo Alto’s track coach, Paul Jones, to tell him of her sighting. Jones alerted Peninsula Times-Tribune reporter Jason Cole, the man who had pegged “Jay Huntsman” as too good to be true.

Within two days, the details of Alexi’s true identity were in the hands of Princeton officials and police. There was no Lazy T Ranch in Utah. Hogues‘ mother was alive and well in Kansas.
James Hogue was arrested in a Princeton geology lab and charged with forgery, falsifying records, and wrongful impersonation. He initially pled not guilty, and somehow managed to post his own bail. One year later, however, he faced the futility of fighting the massive evidence against him and accepted a plea deal; 3 years in jail, 5 years probation, and 100 hours of community service. Not a bad rap for defrauding Princeton of over $20,000.

Two Places At Once

Hogue appealed his sentence. He did this from Massachusetts, because he had enrolled in an extension program at Harvard. Really. Crazy as it seems, the court had granted him permission to continue his studies, and Harvard accepted him on the strength of his Princeton grades. He got a job as a cataloguer at the Harvard Mineralogical Museum and rented an apartment in Somerville.
In December 1992, New Jersey authorities ordered Hogue to finish out his prison sentence. The following May, Harvard museum curators realized that $50,000 worth of gemstones were missing. Bizarrely, though Hogue had supposedly been locked up in the Mercer County Correctional Center in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, from December ’92 to early May ’93, he had somehow managed to appear for work at the mineralogical museum several times in February and March. Sgt. Samuel Gordon insisted he couldn’t have slipped away to Massachusetts. This mystery was never adequately solved, it seems.
The gems, along with a microscope and other lab equipment stolen from Harvard, were found in Hogue’s apartment. More jail time for larceny, then for parole violation. He ended up spending more time behind bars than he had in the classroom.

Deja Vu

Is this the end of Hogue’s story? Of course not. In 1996, Hogue was arrested on the Princeton campus for trespassing, trying to pass himself off as a grad student.
Now his story runs almost in reverse. In 1997, he returned to Colorado, adopted the name James Haag, and stole a bicycle in Aspen. He was charged with resisting arrest. In 1998 he received community service for swiping food and Rogaine from an Aspen supermarket. An employee at the Aspen Daily News filed a restraining order against him for trashing her car and harassing her with phone calls. He was arrested for theft again in 2000.


In 1999, one of Hogue’s Palo Alto classmates began making a movie about him. Naturally, Jesse Moss had never forgotten the “new kid” from Nevada who was exposed as a twentysomething thief just one month into the first semester of his senior year. He tracked his subject to Colorado, where Hogue was living his usual rootless existence, drifting from town to town doing construction work and occasionally being arrested for theft. He had no real insight into his own behaviour, other than viewing it as a sort of hopeless addiction for which no cure has been found. He ultimately settled on a ranch in the southern part of the state, bringing at least one small part of his fantasy life into reality by legal means.
Moss’ Con Man was released in 2001.

Deja Vu Again

In 2006, a police raid on Hogue’s house in San Bernardo, Colorado uncovered $100,000 worth of goods he had stolen from Telluride and Mountain Village homes, probably over a period of several years. A month later, U.S. Marshals tracked him to Tuscon, Arizona. He struck another deal, pleading guilty to one count of felony theft in exchange for the dropping of other charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In phone calls to his nephew, he suggested that someone tell his Russian fiancee he was killed in a car crash.

Other Sources:

– “The Runner” by David Samuels. The New Yorker. Sept. 3, 2001. (subscription required)

Wednesday Weirdness: More Hybrids

As I did with the Satanic Nephilim hybrids of Pastor Doug Riggs, I’m giving you another big chunk of weirdness in lieu of the Wednesday Weirdness Roundup… this time involving alien-human hybrids, hypnosis, and deeply disturbing allegations about the professional conduct of Dr. David M. Jacobs of Temple University.

Dr. Jacobs is an associate professor of history at Temple, but since the ’70s he has been far better-known as an investigator of UFO sightings and alien abduction accounts. His second book on the subject, Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions, was an examination of data provided by about 60 alien abductees Jacobs had hypnotized. He concluded that alien abductions were very structured, typically consisting of the same procedures conducted in the same order. After floating their captives into a UFO, the small gray-skinned aliens place the person on a metal table that seems designed specifically for humans, then perform a strange physical exam that usually involves skimming their fingers over the person’s body and taking a tissue sample from behind the knee. Sometimes an “implant” roughly the size of a BB is inserted into the person’s nose, or an implant is removed. (Over time, Jacobs came to believe these implants allowed the aliens to access abductees’ memories.)
Examination is followed by what Jacobs refers to as “Mindscan”; an alien entity slightly taller than the others approaches the abductee and stares fixedly at him/her with its enormous black eyes. Though Mindscan often elicits strong emotional responses, Jacob explains, its exact purpose remains unknown.
After Mindscan, the most important procedure of all is performed. Using odd suction devices, the aliens remove sperm or eggs from the abductee and presumably squirrel away the samples for an arcane breeding project. This, in Jacobs’ opinion, is the point of all the abductions. The aliens have little to no interest in the affairs of earthlings; they just want our genetic material, and they’re using it to create alien-human hybrids that will eventually take over the planet. He shares this view with his friend and associate Budd Hopkins, a New York author and artist who also conducts hypnosis sessions with abductees. Hopkins was the first abduction researcher to suggest the alien breeding hypothesis, in his 1987 book Intruders (an examination of the Debbie Jordan-Kauble case).

The aliens seem to have more on their agenda than mere genetic engineering, however. The abductions described by Jacobs and Hopkins occur throughout the abductees’ lifetimes, as though the people are being monitored.

This was certainly the case with “Emma Woods”, a middle-aged woman who contacted Jacobs in 2002, after reading Secret Life. She suspected that anomalous events she had experienced since her childhood in the ’60s could have something to do with aliens.
Jacobs offered to conduct hypnosis sessions with her over the phone, beginning in late 2004.

Full conscious recollection of alien abduction is rare. According to Jacobs and other researchers, the aliens have some means of artificially suppressing memories of abduction events, and these can only be retrieved through hypnotic regression. This is a controversial practice even within the UFO/abduction field, yet it has been used on most of the famous abductees: Betty and Barney Hill, Herb Schirmer, Betty Andreasson-Luca, Debra Jordan-Kauble, Linda Napolitano. Some of these people were hypnotized by hypnotherapists, but many abductees have been hypnotized by Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and other UFO researchers who haven’t actually been trained in the use of hypnosis. As you probably know, and as Jacobs himself realizes, hypnotic regression can lead to confabulation.

The following information comes from Emma’s website,, on which she has extensively documented her dealings with Jacobs and another abductee known as “Elizabeth Smith”. She has posted audio clips of some of her phone conversations with Jacobs, but obviously I can’t vouch for the veracity or accuracy of anything on her website. I encourage you to review her materials and decide for yourself.

Prior to hypnosis, Jacobs had Emma sign a Temple University research consent form. (It’s unclear, at this point, if Temple has any official connection to his abduction research.) He also suggested that someone be with her during the sessions, but Emma assured him she felt comfortable proceeding alone. Over the next 3 years, Jacobs carried out 37 hypnosis sessions with Emma, averaging 5 hours in length. They all included hypnotic regressions, to help Emma recover details of her experiences, from childhood to the present (she had only fragmentary conscious memories of the “anomalous experiences”). For example, Emma consciously recalled feeling an urge to sleep in her backyard one night in 1967, when she was five years old. She did so, and was awakened by a bright overhead light. That’s all she could remember. Under hypnosis, however, she described herself and a friend who was spending the night being herded along a corridor by five gray aliens. She was examined on a table, then taken to a room to stare at a black screen (similar to the Mindscan and Imaging described by Jacobs). Afterward, she and her friend were introduced to a roomful of human-looking children that Jacobs identified as alien-human hybrids.

Emma now suspects that her memories could be the product of hypnosis and Jacobs’ leading questions. He had warned her that some memories can be confabulated under hypnosis. But that’s only one disturbing aspect of her interactions with Dr. Jacobs. In 2006, “Elizabeth Smith” (who was not only a research subject, but Jacobs’ webmaster) began receiving emails and instant messages from alien-human hybrids, and these same hybrids sent messages to Jacobs from her computer. One message warned Jacobs to stop working with Emma, as a group of hybrids believed her sessions were compromising “security”. Jacobs shared these communications with Emma. Naturally, she thought they were written by Elizabeth herself, but Jacobs professed to believe they were really from hybrids. The communications continued for the next two years, growing more sinister and complex.

In 2007 Emma began to share her experiences online, on her own website. Jacobs became “overwrought”. He told Emma this would render him vulnerable to criticism by debunkers (BINGO), and in violation of the Temple University research agreement, he even threatened to publicize Emma’s name and “paint a horrible picture” of her if she went public. He later retracted these threats, but the hybrids took over where he left off. They warned Jacobs and Elizabeth that they and/or their families would be killed if they went public with their stories. By this time, Elizabeth had entered into a sexual relationship with a hybrid she called “Jay” or “J”, who actually rented an apartment near her home and passed as human.

As batsh** crazy as all this sounds, it’s perfectly in keeping with Jacobs’ views on the abduction phenomenon. He contends that abductees are helping hybrids adjust to life on Earth so they can successfully pass as human and effect a global takeover.

Disturbingly, Jacobs shared details of Elizabeth’s experiences with Emma and vice versa, apparently without either woman’s permission. The two women were also in contact with one another via email. This sort of cross-contamination and lack of professionalism would cast serious doubt on Jacobs’ research results, but if Emma’s allegations are true, that ship sailed a long time ago.
Jacobs told Emma that Elizabeth had twice confessed to writing the hybrid messages herself, but he refused to accept this explanation and concluded that hybrids had forced her to write the confession emails while she was in an altered state, or perhaps took over her consciousness for brief periods. He claimed the hybrids were manipulating Elizabeth’s actions through a system of threats and punishments. In one email sent to Emma he wrote, “The aliens have decided that Elizabeth should come down and visit me. I do not want that and neither does she. They are obviously trying to locate me. Paranoia runs rampant as I realize I am definitely a target for them.” In August 2006, he told Emma he was “on the run” from aliens who opposed his work, viewing him as a threat to their “program”. He entered into a tense negotiation with the aliens, and kept Emma apprised of developments via email. By late September, he had reached an agreement whereby the aliens would not put an implant in his body if he kept quiet about Jay’s apartment.

Weirdly, Jacobs received hybrid emails from Emma’s computer, as well. She came to believe she wrote them in her sleep. They were similar to Elizabeth’s.

When the hybrids warned Dr. Jacobs that it was dangerous for him to work with Emma, she decided it was time to end her cooperation with his research. (Note, please, that since Emma began spilling the beans in 2007, no harm has come to Dr. Jacobs.)

Jacobs told Emma that in order to protect them all from hybrid retaliation, he needed to pretend he was interacting with Elizabeth and Emma for some reason unrelated to alien abduction. You see, Jacobs is something of an expert on alien/hybrid telepathy, and he feared the hybrids would read their minds. So he suggested to Emma, while she was under hypnosis, that she had Multiple Personality Disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder), on the pretext that if he posed as an MPD researcher, this would fool the hybrids.

This part of Emma’s story, at least, has some truth to it. In March of this year, some audio clips of the phone calls between Jacobs and Emma were featured on the Paratopia podcast hosted by Jeremy Vaeni and Jeff Ritzman, bringing attention to Emma’s allegations. Jacobs responded to Emma’s allegations on his website, and in that response he admitted to the MPD ruse.
In his version of the story, Jacobs alleges that “Alice” may have Borderline Personality Disorder, though this conclusion was reached solely through informal consultations with mental health professionals who have never met Emma and relied solely on Jacobs’ interpretation of her behaviour. How very ethical.
According to Jacobs, it was Emma – not Elizabeth or himself – who claimed to be menaced by hybrids. Not knowing if this was the case or not (!), and knowing that hybrids may be telepathic (!!), he arranged with “Alice” to discuss MPD during their hypnosis sessions so that the hybrids wouldn’t know what was really going on. But wouldn’t the hybrids learn of this scheme by reading their minds? If Jacobs is trying to convince us that he’s a sane and rational guy, then FAIL.

Emma now believes that Jacobs never really bought into the hybrid threats, but used them to intimidate and guilt her into silence.

The only firm conclusion I can reach after reviewing the allegations and counter-allegations in this case is that both Emma Woods and David Jacobs experienced a serious disconnect with reality. At best, the three people involved fed off each other’s fantasies to create a delusional belief system that undermined their mental and emotional well-being. At worst, Jacobs used bizarre alien psychodrama to psychologically abuse and gaslight an already vulnerable woman, in a vain effort to protect his reputation as an “academic historian”. Either way, Jacobs is not currently fit to work with emotionally troubled people in any sort of quasi-therapeutic manner. If it is affiliated with Jacobs’ “research”, Temple University has a responsibility to investigate his methods.

Other sources:

– Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: Alien Abduction, UFOs, and the Conference at M.I.T. by C.D.B. Bryan (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)
Hopkins and Jacobs were presenters at the 1992 alien abduction conference co-chaired by M.I.T. physicist David E. Pritchard and the late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack. In addition to summarizing Jacobs’ “common abduction scenario matrix”, which some attendees criticized as imposing a pattern on what many see as a highly unpredictable phenomenon, Bryan’s book extensively documents Budd Hopkins’ use of hypnosis in questioning abductees Anna Jamerson and Beth Collings (“Alice” and “Carol”).

– Hopkins explains and defends his use of hypnosis in his essay “Hypnosis and the Investigation of UFO Abduction Accounts”, published in the book UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge (University Press of Kansas, 2000), edited by David Jacobs.

– Many of Jacobs’ conference lectures and radio interviews have been posted to YouTube. Together with Jacobs’ website, they give a fair overview of his positions on the abduction phenomenon and confirm that he does, indeed, believe human-alien hybrids are infiltrating our society.

Wednesday Weirdness Roundup

  • From the program schedule of a conspiracy-themed radio show: “Myrna & Sondra Marshak created The Phonics Game; Junior Phonics & The Comprehension Game their latest Phonicsopoly, is a board game for all ages, if you think your kids are doing good in school and can read and understand, your kidding yourself. One out of two can’t read.”

And one out of one can’t write.

  • James Bartley is an alien abductee who lectures on the characteristics of ETs, particularly the Reptilians that are able to render themselves invisible. According to this talk he gave at a Roswell convention, the Reptilians are responsible for pretty much every bad thing that has happened on Earth, ever: Rape, pedophilia, serial murder (he says Ted Bundy might have been a hybrid), erectile dysfunction, and of course the Jackass movies.
  • This site contains very detailed stats about a planet in our solar system: Mobius. Though it has the same “orbitational flow” as Earth, you’ve never seen it because it’s on the other side of the sun. It’s also the home planet of Sonic the Hedgehog, but the site doesn’t mention that. And they call themselves scientists…

Another Fun-Filled Friday Night with TrutherBitch

It’s quite obvious that TrutherBitch is racist, but this is low even for her…

“UK Schools Stop Teaching the Holocaust Because It Offends Muslims!!”

This is a hoax spread by bogus emails, of course. Snopes set the record straight a couple of years ago, and the BBC dealt with it last year.

Americans Assaulted and Harrassed for Conservative Views

It’s an outrage. It’s an abomination. It’s utter B.S.

The short-lived hoax of Ashley Todd isn’t particularly interesting (nor unique), but the reactions it elicited in the blogosphere were quite revealing.

For those who missed it: Ashley Todd is a 20-year-old Texan, a member of the College Republican National Committee, and a McCain campaign volunteer. Two weeks ago, the CRNC sent her to Pennsylvania to recruit college students for McCain’s campaign. Last Wednesday night she reported to Pittsburgh police that as she stood at a Citizens Bank ATM in the city’s East End, she was mugged by a tall man. She gave him $60. When the man noticed the McCain bumper sticker on Todd’s car, he knocked her to the ground in a rage, blackened her right eye, and used a knife to carve a backwards, capital letter B on her left cheek. He indicated he was an Obama supporter.

There were niggling problems with Todd’s story from the very beginning. First off, the B was very neatly done, not at all the slice-and-dice affair you’d expect from a vicious attack in the dark. Secondly, records showed she had not used the ATM that night as she claimed. Asked to sketch her assailant, she seemed unable to do so.

The Drudge Report picked up the story on Thursday afternoon, and it immediately went viral. McCain and Palin reportedly phoned Todd to offer their sympathy, or maybe just to thank her for taking one for the team.

To their credit, some conservative commentators, like Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs, were suspicious of the story. But others made it clear that they thought Obama had a black eye, as well. Bloggers at placed full blame for the attack on Obama, for encouraging his supporters to “get in people’s faces”; he should’ve known that a deranged supporter might take that literally. posted under “Thugs for Change“: “Obama has run his campaign just like a street thug out of Chicago. Now we get to see what some of his worst supporters are like.” Atlas Shrugs initially expressed the same opinion, writing, “Shame on those who doubted this poor girl.” Similiar comments, even Todd’s entire blog, have been sucked down the memory hole since she confessed to faking the attack.

On Friday Todd finally admitted that she had given the black eye and backwards B to herself, and reportedly told one officer that she has a history of mental problems. Worst of all, Todd had taken the Susan Smith/Charles Stuart route by identifying her attacker as a black man.

It seems Todd has a history of political agitation. This spring, she notified a group of Ron Paul supporters in Brazos County, Texas, that her tires had been slashed because her car contained Ron Paul campaign material. She joined the group, but according to leader Dustan Costine she was asked to leave it in March after she repeatedly phoned Mike Huckabee’s campaign and pretended to be a Huckabee supporter in order to glean information about their campaign strategies.

While Michelle Malkin stated that most staged hate crimes are perpetrated by liberals, I’ve been noticing an uptick in conservative ones. For instance, there was last year’s horrific Orangina Abstinence Attack.
In November 2007 a Princeton junior named Francisco Nava phoned campus police to report a vicious, unprovoked attack by thugs who opposed his conservative lifestyle. He said two black-hatted men cornered him, battered him with a bottle of Orangina, and beat his head against a brick wall while warning him to “shut the f*** up.” He was covered in cuts and bruises. The impetus for the attack: Nava had recently penned an editorial on the perils of campus promiscuity (“Princeton’s Latex Lies“) for The Princetonian; he and fellow campus conservatives allegedly received death threats after it was published.

Nava was a member of Princeton’s Never Get Laid Anscombe Society, a student group that promotes chastity and exalts sex as “the actualization of the marital union, concretizing the mutual gift of self between the partners.” (and if they keep talking like that, they’ll never get to do any “actualizing”…)

Anyway, leading lights of the right instantly rallied to the lad’s defense: Robby George, Harvey Mansfield, David Horowitz, Brit Hume. They excoriated Princeton for its liberal bias and its supposed record of discrimination against conservative students, calling the beating a hate crime against a (political) minority.

On December 17, Nava confessed to police that he had staged the entire incident and beaten himself black-and-blue.

These politically charged cases of staged attacks and what I call “self-stalking” are rare, but far from unique:

In late September, 42-year-old Michelle Renee Wood of St. Johns County, Florida, was found beaten, with ropes knotted around her wrist and ankle. She said a “Satanic Santeria Voodoo” group to which she had once belonged before becoming a born-again Christian last year had abducted and bound her, beaten her, and taken her to a home in Flagler Estates where she was forced to participate in a Devil-worshipping Autumnal Equinox ritual that involved drugs, a bonfire, and the summoning of spirits. The group included several men and a petitie blonde woman they called Sky.
The sheriff’s department Criminal Investigation Unit supervisor, Major David O’Brien, found the story highly suspect. “Voodoo” and Santeria and Satanism are completely different, and investigators had been unable to uncover indiciations of any abberant occult activity in the area. Also, Wood had a history of making false reports to police. The case was dropped. (Source: “You Mean There Isn’t a Satanic Santeria-Voodoo Pagan Cult?” @ The Wild Hunt Blog)

O.C. Smith was a Memphis coroner who played a key role in the mysterious death of Don Wiley, the case that sparked the Murdered Microbiologists conspiracy meme. In late 2001, Smith declared Wiley’s death accidental. The following year, Smith was involved with the equally mysterious death of Katherine Smith (no relation), a Memphis woman accused of providing fake drivers’ licenses to suspected terrorists. He had been receiving bizarre, religious-themed hate mail for about a year. So it came as little surprise when Dr. Smith was attacked outside his office in June of 2002 by a crazed assailant who threw acid in his face, bound him with barbed wire, and attached a bomb to his chest. The investigation dragged on for over a year before Memphis police decided to go with their gut instinct: Dr. Smith staged the attack, for reasons unknown. How could an assailant have escaped notice while hauling around barbed wire, a bomb, and acid? Why was Smith virtually unharmed in the attack, sustaining only a few superficial scratches and burns that healed quickly? Smith firmly denies any wrongdoing.

New Zealand’s “Mars-Venus case” created a nationwide backlash against Satanism and the film Reservoir Dogs in 1995. 32-year-old Palmerston police detective Brent Garner was found bound, gagged, and soaked in gasoline in the yard of his home, which was ablaze. He said a man with a “cultured voice” had attacked him and left him in the house to burn, but he managed to wriggle out of a window. It was assumed that the assailant was The Executioner, the letter-writer who had been sending threatening missives to Garner’s police station for a month. Public fears of occult violence erupted when police psychologist Ian Miller issued his profile of the attacker: A well-traveled, educated man immersed in the Satanic and occult, who considered himself an “agent of the devil” and was acting out a “Satanic fantasy” in his persecution of Garner. Condemnation of Reservoir Dogs followed an observation that the attack on Garner bore some resemblance to the “Stuck in the Middle With You” scene.
Police organized a task force codenamed Operation Venus to solve the crime, but Senior Sergeant Grant Nicholls was skeptical of Garner’s story and secretly launched “Operation Mars” to examine it. It didn’t take him long to discover that Garner had purchased gasoline, duct tape, and a timer shortly before the arson. The following month, Garner confessed that he had staged the attack by cutting himself with a scalpel, dousing himself wth gas, and setting his own house on fire. Why? He wanted the insurance money so that he could leave his wife and marry a mistress. The Satanic stalker had been an elaborate ruse. Garner was fined, charged, and fired.

To date, no one has apologized to Quentin Tarantino, Barack Obama, or the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (makers of Orangina).

– “McCain Volunteer Admits to Hoax” by Michael A. Fuoco, Jerome L. Sherman and Sadie Gurman. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Oct. 25, 2008.
– “Terror at the Morgue: Did A Medical Examiner Strap a Bomb to His Own Neck?” CBS News. July 8, 2006.
– “The Venus Case“.

A Sad Day

Ben Stein is the star of a new documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It’s an examination of how Intelligent Design is not being allowed in the public school system or universities.
It’s perfectly alright to study alternative scientific views and to question some of the tenets of Darwinian theory, but I fear this film is just going to become the new rallying point for dogmatic Creationists. It will probably be the first film Kent Hovind watches when he gets out of prison.