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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 7

'The Village Voice' On NY Abduction Conference

From: Stig Agermose <stig.agermose@get2net.dk>
Date: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 06:55:58 +0200 (MET DST)
Fwd Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 08:48:14 -0400
Subject: 'The Village Voice' On NY Abduction Conference

[List only]

Source: The Village Voice (New York, Weekly),



Apri1 7 - 13, 1999

austin bunn                              

The Alienist

Artist Brings UFO Abduction Home To New York 


Budd Hopkins keeps a scrapbook of scars=97 close-up photographs of
lashes, wales, and scabs that people can't explain. He flips
through the images and points to an indentation the size of a
teaspoon on a woman's upper arm. "These are scoop marks," he
says. "You see them a lot." In another shot, a woman's labia are
spread to reveal two perforations in the skin, supposedly
incised by aliens while she slept. On another woman's shoulder
swells a giant, deep bruise that, he says, "healed by the end of
the day."

This Saturday, Hopkins takes his latest findings =97 scars and all=97
public at a daylong conference on UFO abduction, featuring the
leading lights in the field: UFO Encyclopedia author Jerome
Clark, nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman (speaking on the
possibility of interstellar travel), and Temple University
historian David Jacobs (on abductions in the 19th century). Over
50 abductees will also be present, including Linda Cortile, the
victim of New York's best-known incident, the 1989 Brooklyn
Bridge abduction case.

"What you're dealing with are tightly imagined testimonies" by
abductees, says Hopkins, who has interviewed hundreds of them.
For example, "No abductee has ever reported any interest [by the
aliens] in the heart." It's as if the alleged victims of an
interstellar human buffet all somehow got their stories
straight. As if they were all telling the truth.

Hopkins, a veritable Alan Lomax of UFO abductions, has been
listening to abductees for over 20 years. An established artist
with paintings in the permanent collections of the Whitney and
Guggenheim, the 67-year-old has been collecting abductees'
testimony since his first (and only) sighting back in 1964 of a
"dark, elliptical object" hovering outside Provincetown. He has
amassed over 650 histories and transformed them into books like
Missing Time and the bestseller Intruders, which became a CBS

No doubt Saturday's "crash course," sponsored by Hopkins's own
Intruders Foundation, comes at a strange time for ufology. On
St. Marks Place, the city's extraterrestrial airstrip, you can't
escape merchandise printed with little green aliens toking on
spliffs and popping the peace sign. Cults seem to regularly make
the jump for Heaven's Gate. And who doesn't have a "scoop mark"?
According to a 1996 Newsweek poll, 48 percent of Americans think
UFOs are real and 29 percent of us think we have made contact.
For Hopkins, the cultural saturation vindicates the cause.
"We've gotten a tremendous fair shake from the media because of
it," he says.

The problem is that all the media attention is "contaminating
the pool" of subjects, notes Hopkins. "The more material that is
publicized, the easier it is for somebody with psychological
problems to invent something."

He already filters huge amounts of delusion from his mailbox
(people contact him through a P.O. box listed at the back of his
books). The majority of mail gets dumped immediately. Of the
remaining correspondents, only 30 percent can recall their
experience coherently afterward. As a result, Hopkins gets their
testimonies by hypnosis (free of charge), which raises eyebrows.
He claims it's necessary because aliens submerge people's
memories of abduction. Usually, each person has multiple
encounters. "If people have had one abduction experience, then
they will have others," he says. "It's as if you become a
specimen for them."

Why would a superior race waste its time wiping out people's
memory when pop-cult awareness of its activities is at an
all-time high? "It's extremely difficult to get inside the alien
mind," explains Hopkins. "There may be reasons for them to
forget the experiences so that they're tractable."

Unfortunately, the testimonies themselves don't tell us very
much, and for Hopkins, that is the most alarming part. In all
the records he's got, he's never seen any sign of alien
malevolence=97 "they don't pull out chin whiskers one by one," he
says=97 or benevolence. "That goes a long way to eliminating the
fantasy element to this=97 we tend to fantasize angels or devils
because most fantasy is connected to our needs and fears. But
this is something that doesn't have coloration and it leaves
people completely confused. It is truly alien."

Hopkins resists the idea that his own abstract expressionist art
might be influenced by his UFO research, through it's impossible
not to see parallels. His "Guardian" paintings=97 canvases
fractured by color that he calls "sentinel-like"=97 and his
"Altars" series of wooden sacred objects resonate with a
spiritual questioning. But he's cagey on the topic. "A
relationship ends, you move to a studio with a higher ceiling,
it all affects [the art]," says Hopkins. "I withstood the
connection [to the UFO research] for many years, and I still
don't like to stress it." He admits it has done "more harm than
good" to his art career.

He provides an invaluable service for the abductees, regardless
of whether they're telling the truth. "If it wasn't for Budd, I
don't know what would have happened to me," says Cortile (not
her real last name), who claims she was abducted from her
apartment on the Lower East Side. Her story is renowned in the
UFO community as one of the only witnessed abductions.
(Hopkins's book Witnessed examines the case.) In November 1989,
Cortile was preparing for sleep when she "looked up and there
was a four-foot guy across the room." She threw a pillow at it,
but then a white fabric fell over her head. "The next thing I
remember was dropping into my bed," she says. Three witnesses
later wrote letters to Hopkins claiming to have seen Cortile
floating up from her window into a spacecraft.

The case gets weirder. The woman who saw the abduction from her
car on the Brooklyn Bridge spoke to Hopkins, but now refuses to
be interviewed. The two other witnesses were unidentified
"agents" whom Hopkins never met and who continually harassed
Cortile to explain what had happened. One even claimed to have
been abducted repeatedly with Cortile (and to have fathered one
of her kids). If that weren't enough to undermine credibility,
Cortile herself must have floated through grilles on her window
to even make it into the open air. "You can't really believe
them," says Greg Sandow, a New York journalist and moderator at
the conference. "On the other hand, the more I looked into it,
it's a hoax of unimaginable complexity because of the number of
people that had to be involved."

Hoax or not, Hopkins is doing a kind of social work right in the
gap. He brought Cortile to a free monthly support group for
abductees he runs out of his art studio, and she's been
attending ever since. "I didn't know what to expect, but they
were people just like me," she says. "I made friends and they
pulled me through." Unfortunately, there's no cure for the
stories they're now living with. "I wish I was crazy," Cortile
says, exasperated. "There's a treatment for that."

The 1999 UFO Abduction Conference will be held at the O. Henry
Learning Center on West 17th Street, Saturday, April 10. Call
645-5278 for full information.

Tell us what you think.


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