(Schnabel 1994) The 1980s brought a major degree of mainstream attention to the subject. (Schnabel 1994) Also of note in the 1980s was the publication of folklorist Dr. Bullard's comparative analysis of nearly 300 alleged abductees. With Hopkins, Jacobs and Mack, several shifts occurred in the nature of the abduction narratives.
Matheson notes that unlike earlier abduction researchers, Mack is generally quite cautious in his interpretations of physical evidence and corroborative testimony.
He places little value in the scars and scratches often attributed to alien "medical" exams, and argues that trying to prove the actuality of alleged "implants" placed in abductees is largely a futile effort.
Eventually Sprinkle came to believe that he had been abducted by aliens in his youth; he was forced from his job in 1989.
(Bryan, 145fn) Budd Hopkins — a painter and sculptor by profession — had been interested in UFOs for some years.
Despite the relative paucity of corroborative evidence, Jacobs presents this scenario as not only plausible, but self-evident.
Hopkins and Jacobs have also been criticized for selective citation of abductee interviews, favoring those that support their hypothesis of extraterrestrial intervention.
There were anecdotal reports of phantom pregnancy related to UFO encounters at least as early as the 1960s, but Budd Hopkins and especially David M.
Jacobs were instrumental in popularizing the idea of widespread, systematic interbreeding efforts on the part of the alien intruders.
Mack argued that the abduction phenomenon might be the beginning of a major paradigm shift in human consciousness, or "a kind of fourth blow to our collective egoism, following those of Copernicus, Darwin and Freud." (Bryan, 270) Mack also noted that, after an initial period of terror and confusion (a phase he dubbed "ontological shock"), many abductees ultimately regard their experiences more positively, saying that their experiences broadened their consciousness. Pritchard organized a five-day conference at MIT to discuss and debate the abduction phenomenon. Bryan attended the conference, initially intending to gather information for a short humorous article for The New Yorker.