Lawson developed a fascination with UFOs in the 1940s after reading UFO reports in the Los Angeles Times. The professor taught courses on the subject of UFOs, and also started the UFO Report Center of Orange County.
Through his research, Lawson became convinced that people who claimed to have been abducted were actually using memories of their birth to describe encounters with extraterrestrials. Along with a doctor, Lawson used hypnosis on people who reported being abducted. He started to become skeptical, so he started hypnotizing people who made no claims of abduction, and began seeing strong similarities when he would ask the subjects to imagine being abducted.
Lawson’s daughter acknowledges that his views made him a “rebel” in the UFO community.