Friday, February 18, 2011

A Response to Budd Hopkins

(Blogger's note: Yes, this is much longer than it should be but I wanted to cover the topic as completely as possible. I found Budd Hopkins' response to Carol Rainey's article to be little more than an attack. It provide little in the way of fact but quite a bit of opinion. I hope I have not followed that lead, but have rebutted his arguments in a dispassionate way, using fact rather than opinion. At any rate, here is my take on this argument... and let me say, this debate has been a long time coming.)

I have been very reluctant to enter this fight because I have great empathy for Budd Hopkins who is very ill. I had empathy for Phil Klass when he was ill. But I disagree with many of the conclusions that both men drew based on their research techniques.

But as Lee said at Gettysburg, "The enemy is here. I did not want this fight, but the fight is here." So, with reluctance, I enter the fight because I don’t like the way part of it has been conducted.

I read Carol Rainey’s article and am aware of the old adage that the true test of another’s intelligence is how much he or she agrees with you. I have thought, based on my investigations, my research, and my discussions with many others, that the answers for alien abduction did not lie in the stars, but here on Earth. I found terrestrial explanations that were far more satisfying than a group of aliens abducting humans to perform genetic experiments that would have been crude a half century ago.

And now I have read Hopkins’ response ("Deconstructing the Debunkers: A Response,") to Rainey’s article and found it to more in line with a smear and less with a discussion of the scientific merit the abduction phenomenon. He reduced the discussion to his beliefs in UFO debunking, erecting strawmen to knock down but providing little in the way of objective evidence for his point of view.

He suggested that Rainey, and others he labels as debunkers, believe that nearly all abductees are liars who are participating in elaborate hoaxes, though I saw nothing in Rainey’s article to suggest that. Hopkins explains the complexity of attempting to keep all the lies straight during convoluted investigations, but never mentions that these alleged liars have the assistance of the researchers to help them keep the story consistent and in developing corroborative details.

What do I mean?

Just look at the transcripts as published in the various books by abduction researchers. You see the same questions asked again and again until the correct answer is supplied... and often those old mistakes in the story are ignored and forgotten. In other words, it is the researcher who is supplying much of that corroborative detail, helping to keep the complex story straight and selecting only those parts that confirm their preconceived notions.

What do I mean?

John Mack mentioned during a video taped interview with Russ Estes (which I mention here only because abduction researchers often claim that we had never interviewed them), that he found a curious matching of researcher and abductee.

Let me explain. In C.D.B. Bryan’s book about the MIT Abduction conference (Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind, 270 – 271), Bryan quoted Mack as saying, "And there’s another dimension to this, which Budd Hopkins and Dave Jacobs and I argue about all the time which is I’m struck by the fact that there seems to be a kind of matching of the investigator with the experiencer. So what may be the archetypal structure of an abduction to Dave Jacobs may not be the uniform experience of, say, Joe Nyman or John Mack or someone else. And the experiencers seem to pick out the investigator who will fit their experience."

He then adds, after agreeing he might have that backwards, that "It seems to me that Jacobs, Hopkins, and Nyman [another abduction researcher] may pull out of their experiencers what they want to see."

And right there we have the indictment that there is implantation of the researchers belief structures on those claiming alien abduction. For some reason Mack doesn’t see that he had just explained why there is an agreement from abductee to abductee in a researcher’s investigations and an agreement with a particular investigator’s belief structure. He or she is pulling out what they want to see.

That suggests that the abductees are not liars. Sure, we can point to a couple of cases in which it eventually became clear that the witness was being less than honest. After I had reported on the Susan Ramstead case, I had an opportunity to review the evidence with her and soon learned that she had been making it all up. She had read the necessary books on abduction so that she knew what to say and how to say it.

She was the exception though. Few people who claim abduction are lying about the experience. It is more likely that they have had some sort of an experience and through their own research or their contacts with abduction researchers come to believe that aliens are involved.

Nowhere has any of us suggested that the majority of abductees are liars. In fact I argued the point with Philip Klass. He wanted the abductees to take lie detector tests. I said it would do no good because the majority believed what they were saying. Didn’t mean it was grounded in reality, only that they believed they were telling the truth.

As noted, Mack understood this and he recognized that there was an implantation of ideas by the researcher. Maybe it is time to mention Richard Boylan who had two clients come to him who believed they had been ritually abused by Satan worshipers. They came to him confused and when they left, there were even more confused because Boylan told them that Satanists were not responsible... it was alien creatures. Here is a blatant example of the abduction researcher implanting his own belief structure on his clients.

So none of us are saying that all the abductees are lying, as Hopkins repeats in his attack. Mistaken... led... duped... hypnotized, but not lying. We realize that there is often some sort of a precipitating incident. In many cases this is sleep paralysis.

Yes, I know what the response is going to be. Many abductees were not asleep when the abduction allegedly happened. They were wide awake. If I wanted to be flippant, I would point out that cataplexy, which is basically sleep paralysis while wide awake, might answer this... But cataplexy is always associated with narcolepsy and as far as I know, no one has tested abductees to learn if narcolepsy is a problem with them. (For more information see: J. Hoed, E.A. Lucas and W.C. Dement, "Hallucinatory Experiences During Cataplexy in Patients with Narcolepsy," American Journal of Psychiatry, 136 (1979) 1210 – 11; E. Kahn, A. Edwards K. Grabowski, N. Roese , D.M. Jones and J. Fine, "Psycho-physiological Study of Nightmares and Night Terrors: Mental Content and Recall of Stage four Night Terrors, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (1974) 174 – 88, and David Hufford, The Terror That Comes in the Night, 1982.)

The real point is that the symptoms of sleep paralysis mirror those of alien abduction and no one, in the last decade and a half, since we raised the issue, has attempted to develop a protocol that separates cases of sleep paralysis from alien abduction. Kathleen Marden did tell me that abductees report the events in color but victims of sleep paralysis report the case in black and white. If true, meaning, if confirmed, then we are making progress.

But I don’t want to argue the merits of sleep paralysis versus the possibility of alien abduction. Instead I want to look at Hopkins’ attack and where it slipped off the rails. That would be in his recitation of the Santa Rosa crash/retrieval.

I will say that if nothing else, we now have a great deal of additional information about this event, and anything that does that can’t be all bad. I will also note that with much gnashing of teeth we are still left with a single witness case that has no corroborating information and that makes it very weak.

Hopkins makes it clear that the only real witness is likeable woman he called Beanie, though there were hints to other witnesses. She mentions the name of the state trooper who was on the scene. He might have been the man who covered the alien bodies with sheets but he was certainly there to witness part of this. He would be a wonderful corroborative witness because he was a state trooper, well known to Beanie. He was a man called, "Dutch."

Hopkins wrote, "This detail was, of course, extremely important, because the last person a hoaxer wants to locate is a ‘designated witness’ who says, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. What incident?’"

And that sounds very good and logical, except it isn’t necessarily true. Gerald Anderson who, as a five-year-old child, said he had seen the crashed alien ship and the bodies of the flight crew on the Plains of San Agustin and even provided the name of one of the witnesses. He said that Adrian Buskirk was the archaeologist who had been there.

The name was actually Winfred Buskirk who was clearly the man Anderson described and who was, in fact, alive, to say that he wasn’t there. He had been on the Apache Indian reservation during the summer of 1947 and even had pictures to prove it. So, was Anderson’s tale rejected? No, Buskirk was labeled a liar and a government agent of some sort. Anderson’s discredited tale is still believed even after he admitted to forging documents and after Buskirk refuted his claims.

Hopkins noted that hoaxers "of anything, when the subject of possible witnesses arises, will say something like, ‘I don’t remember him exactly but I think he might have had... blonde hair... I don’t remember his name.’"

And yet when Robert Willingham was inventing his tale of a crashed UFO, named many names. Now, it is true that every name he supplied turned out to be a dead friend, but it also gave us a place to begin looking for corroboration. So, despite Hopkin’s stark claim, this is not borne out by other cases.

What disturbed me most about this new data on Santa Rosa was Hopkins’ attack on Walter Webb. For those who don’t know, Webb has been investigating abduction cases before Budd Hopkins even believed that UFOs were extraterrestrial. But Hopkins dismisses Webb, writing, "Essentially Walt was an astronomer, not someone with extensive experience in working face to face with people like Beanie and I was right to be concerned."

He then goes on to say, "He [Webb] came in quickly [to a house where there were addition witnesses], bearing his equipment, and immediately asked the widow for a table so that he could put his instrument in the center of what he hastily improvised as a kind of circle so that he could record everyone. Since I had not yet mentioned tape recording any of the family, or asked permission, one can imagine the family’s shocked response."

Hopkins then reports, "If Walter Webb had set off a small cherry bomb in the room he couldn’t have caused more of a disruption."

The interview in question was with the widow of the ambulance driver and not the widow of the recently deceased state trooper. Careful reading of Hopkins’ "Response," makes that clear. So this is a woman who had no direct knowledge of the UFO crash or the recovery of the bodies. In other words, a second-hand witness at best.

Jerry (Jerome) Clark, in his massive The UFO Encyclopedia of UFOs (2nd Edition) wrote about Walter Webb. "One of ufology’s most respected investigators... Webb spent 32 years of his working life at the Charles Hayden Planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science as a senior lecturer, assistant director and operations manager... As a scientific advisor to the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), Webb investigated the classic Hill abduction case..."

This doesn’t sound like a guy who has no people skills and who just bursts into a room setting up equipment without a thought about the impact of that on those already in the room. Why would Hopkins make any such claims? Could it be that Webb suggested that the Beanie case was not one worth further research? That it was single witness with no corroboration?

I’ll note something else that struck me here. Hopkins wrote that they had visited with the widow and developed a warm relationship. He, with Beanie, visited her to talk about the possible UFO crash. According to Hopkins, this mystery woman (I say this only because Hopkins provides no name... and given the way some people do operate in the UFO field, he is probably justified in sparing her some of those communications), said that she had done all the paperwork for the local ambulance that would include the trip tickets and billing. She explained to Hopkins that on this visit to Santa Rosa they were never paid to pick up the bodies and "what’s more, she recalled that her trip book had a number of consecutive pages missing around the same time."

Great. The documentation is conveniently missing. But I see nothing to suggest that Hopkins asked to see that trip book or attempt to verify the information. The trip book with the missing pages would, after a fashion, provide some corroboration for the tale. Yes, I know that people lose paperwork and this would have been nearly fifty years ago... but as near as I can tell, he never asked about it.

What all this tells me is that there is but a single witness here. The ambulance driver’s widow suggests there is missing paperwork from the time frame but nothing that actually proves this. The trooper is dead and his brother, who was a sheriff, never heard the story. There is absolutely nothing except the tale told by Beanie and the vague memories of the widow who was not involved.

So, the only defense of this rather poor crash/retrieval story is an attack on Walter Webb because it is clear that Rainey’s reporting of Webb’s attitudes is accurate. I verified this with Webb, who told me that it was "essentially correct."

Rather than providing us with a coherent response that includes evidence that can be verified by others, Hopkins, instead, labels Rainey as a debunker who has fixed opinions and no amount of evidence will sway her opinion. In reality, Hopkins offers no evidence that alien abduction is real but more of the same anecdotal evidence that has failed to convince science that here is something that demands further research. All attempts to provide the physical evidence has failed to this point. There is always some reason why it can’t be offered or why it has disappeared.

When challenged, the abduction researchers retreat to a line suggesting that they have interviewed hundreds of witnesses, conducted hundreds of investigations including dozens of hypnotic regression sessions. They tell us that hypnotic regression is a solid research tool but the majority of the scientific evidence refutes this. Hypnosis might be a valuable therapeutic tool, but is not useful in gathering evidence. There are simply too many ways to lead the subject.

In fact, as Russ Estes, Bill Cone and I suggested more than a decade and a half ago, we need to move beyond the case studies in abduction research. We need to gather some useful evidence that can be analyzed but every attempt to provide that additional evidence has failed. The implants cannot be proven to be of alien manufacture. The electronic surveillance always fails for a variety of reasons. The photographs don’t turn out. The DNA analysis is either never attempted or fails to provide the corroboration. All we have, in the end, are the stories told by those claiming abduction and those attempting to investigate it.

Hopkins, unable to prove that alien abduction is real, or that he has solid evidence to prove his case must show that Rainey is wrong in her various assertions and attacks her as a debunker. Hopkins knows, just as anyone around this field knows, that labeling someone a debunker is a quick way to refute what he or she says without having to provide evidence that he or she is wrong. If a debunker said it, then it must not be true.

The title of his paper, "Deconstructing the Debunkers: A Response," tells us all we really need to know about the paper. Hopkins isn’t going to deal with the issues raised by Rainey in her article, or by others who have preceded her. He is going use the debunker brush to smear her arguments so he doesn’t have to answer them.

Going back to the Santa Rosa crash, Hopkins wrote, "In her paper she dismisses the [ambulance driver’s] widow’s testimony in this way: ‘When pressed, she seemed to vaguely recall that the Air Force had indeed once stripped the ambulance clean and taken the billable trip ticket, as Beanie claimed.’ Ms. Rainey is good with adverbs: note the word ‘vaguely.’ But she also wields verbs as well: ‘when pressed’ I assume that what she is trying to get across is the idea that since she believes there was never an Air Force visit to the ambulance and no missing trip ticket, (facts Beanie had only learned from the widow) she is claiming that Beanie somehow forced the old lady to join her hoax by accepting her – Beanie’s – lies and then passing them on to me."

But, of course this analysis is not accurate. I’m not sure how you prove that the trip ticket is missing, but that isn’t a fact. There is no evidence that the Air Force stripped the ambulance. And under close questioning, asking about missing trip tickets may certainly produce a positive response but doesn’t prove the Air Force was responsible or that alien bodies were involved.

Hopkins then defends the use of hypnosis and challenges the rest of us to "...go back to my books if you wish, and good luck in finding any mistakes or leading moments you’d like to quote against me."

Ok, challenge accepted.

First, let’s look at an interview conducted by Jerry Clark, editor of the CUFOS International UFO Reporter ("Conversations with Budd Hopkins," Nov/Dec 1988, 4 – 12). Hopkins told Clark, "The first point is, of course, that we have 20 to 30 percent of the abduction accounts recalled without resort to hypnosis."

Clark was pursuing the idea that hypnosis could lead to confabulation, suggesting that abduction reports were similar to past life regressions in that they both emerged under hypnosis. The subject, for example, entered into the session believing in past life and under hypnosis, told of a past life that was rich in detail.

Hopkins told Clark, "A person enters a past-life regression out of a desire to believe in reincarnation. He's entered a situation - allowed himself to be hypnotized - for that reason alone."

Yet in reading what Hopkins wrote about Steve Kilburn in Missing Time, we find the same thing is true. The whole investigation of Kilburn's experience came out of UFO research. Ted Bloecher brought him around because of his fear of the stretch of highway, but Hopkins had noted the "pattern" of victims being taken from deserted highways. During the discussion that preceded the hypnosis, Kilburn said, "It was a very dark road, that was for sure, and it did occur to me as I was driving that this is the kind of place that something like that (a UFO encounter) should happen."

What that says, simply, is that Kilburn had entered the situation, expecting some sort of a UFO encounter. They had discussed it before the hypnosis began. And they found a UFO event. This was a point that seemed to be lost on Hopkins, though he had already demonstrated that he understood it when he was describing the past life regression therapy.

Hopkins in that same interview with Clark, also said that stories of reincarnation are pleasant, but tales of alien abduction are "at least unpleasant and sometimes horrifying, something where the person has every reason to feel terrified, humiliated and upset about the whole experience. Who would want something like that? Yet the stories emerge nonetheless."

Hopkins is suggesting that the tales must be true because the victims of alien abduction would not make up horrifying tales. They must be true, because, as John Mack has said repeatedly, "This is not a club that anyone would want to join."

But these arguments are based on the logic of those making them. There is no evidence that such is the case. When the victim appears at the therapist's office, or at Hopkins' group meetings, he or she expects to find an alien abduction and they do. The relative pleasantness of the experiences is irrelevant to those telling them.

And the parallel to reincarnation can be drawn even further. Although Hopkins suggests the tales of reincarnation are pleasant, often they are not. In one case, a woman afraid of the water learned during a hypnotic probing of a past life that she had been killed by an alligator as she jumped into a river.

Hardly a pleasant experience.

Hopkins has spent the years since the Kilburn case interviewing others who claim abduction. During the Clark interview, he pointed out that he had a number of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists who had come to him to explore segments of missing time with hypnosis. If these people, and their clients, aren't already "programmed" to believe in an abduction, then why search out Hopkins for assistance? Wouldn't anyone versed in hypnosis be able to help them learn what happened during this supposed missing time? Aren't each of them "primed" for an abduction, just as those who go to a reincarnation specialist are "primed" for learning about a past life.

Even that testimony in these sessions is somewhat contradictory. In Hopkins' own work there is evidence that the subjects do not easily accept the notion of abduction. Hopkins reports the tale of a man he called Philip Osborne. Hopkins wrote, "I noticed his interest in the subject had a particular edge to it. It was almost as if he accepted too much, too easily." Hopkins believed "that someone with a hidden traumatic UFO experience might later on be unconsciously drawn to the subject."

Osborne called Hopkins after an NBC UFO documentary and said that he had been struck by Kilburn's remark that anyone could be the victim of abduction. Osborne had been searching his memory for anything in his past that would indicate some sort of strange experience. Then, one night after the NBC program, Osborne awoke in the middle the night, paralyzed. He could not move, turn his head or call for help. The experience was over quickly, but it reminded him of another, similar event that happened while he was in college. That earlier event had one other, important addition. He felt a presence in the room with him.

Hopkins, along with others, met Osborne a few days later to explore these events using hypnosis. During the initial hypnotic regression, Osborne gave only a few answers that seemed to direct them toward an abduction experience. According to Hopkins, Osborne told them that he "had more or less refused to describe imagery or events that seemed 'too pat,' too close to what he and we might have expected in a UFO encounter."

During the discussion after the hypnosis, Osborne told Hopkins that "I would see something and I would say to myself in effect, 'Well, that's what I'm supposed to see.'"

And, in a second hypnotic regression session held a few days later, while under hypnosis, Osborne said, "I'm not sure I see it... I think it's my imagination... It's gone now."

Osborne, it seems, had recognized one of the problems with abduction research, had communicated it to Hopkins, and then had it ignored. Osborne was wondering if the "memories" he was seeing under hypnosis were real. Hopkins believed they were so took no notice of Osborne's concern. Hopkins, as he noted in his response to Rainey, believes in the reliability of hypnosis as a method for uncovering the truth. I, however, see those statements by Osborne as extremely important in attempting to understand alien abduction.

Osborne's initial experiences are also classic forms of sleep paralysis. Even the belief that an entity is in the room happens in about eighty percent of the cases of sleep paralysis. This simple explanation is all too often ignored by UFO researchers.

The point, I think is made. Here were Hopkins own words, from one of this books, telling us a story that Hopkins refused to hear. Both these examples seem to suggest leading the witness to the point where a fear of a stretch of highway, and an episode of sleep paralysis turns into an alien abduction and there is just no physical evidence to take us there. Just the hypnosis used to question the witnesses about their experiences.

So, here’s the dirty little secret about abduction research. All the evidence is anecdotal. There is no real physical evidence. Oh sure, they talk of implants, but when those have been removed and analyzed, there is nothing to suggest an extraterrestrial technology.

Here’s the second dirty little secret. Contrary to what Hopkins believes, or David Jacobs believes, hypnosis isn’t a good research tool. Oh sure, Hopkins talks about a "peer reviewed book" about hypnosis, published by a university press, but the editor is David Jacobs. Do you really believe that any paper suggesting that hypnosis might not be the best investigative technique would have made it into that book? Wouldn’t a better source for objective opinion by the various psychological journals that have studied hypnosis? (See, for example, "Scientific Status of Refreshing Recollection by the Use of Hypnosis, International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 34, 1 (1986) 1 –12; Robert A. Baker, "Hypnosis, Memory and Incidental Memory, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 25, 4 (1983) 253 – 300; Eddie Bullard, "Hypnosis No ‘Truth Serum’," UFO 4,2 (1989) 31 –35: J.H. Conn, "Is Hypnosis Really Dangerous?" International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 20 (1972) 61 – 69; M. Garry and E. Loftus, "Pseudo-memories without Hypnosis," International Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 42, 4 (1994) 363 – 78; K. Grabowski, N. Roese and M. Thomas, "The Role of Expectancy in Hypnotic Hypermnesia: A Brief Communication," International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 39 4 (1991) 193 - 7, to name just a few)

As Hopkins said, this has now gone on much longer than I intended. However, I wanted to address issues raised in his response, and I hope I did it without calling into question his personal integrity or motives the way he went after Carol Rainey and even Walter Webb.

What all this tells me is that after a decade and a half, others are beginning to raise the issues that Estes, Cone and I did in The Abduction Enigma. I think it’s about time, and I sincerely hope that the discussion can say on a level of reviewing the evidence, or lack thereof, rather than descending into the cult of personality as it too often does. We have a chance here. Let’s not let it get away. Again.


jeff thompson said...

This is all very interesting, but the only thing that counts is evidence. When it comes to alien abductions,there isn't any. Period.

Jeff Thompson

Kandinsky said...

'I think it’s about time, and I sincerely hope that the discussion can say on a level of reviewing the evidence, or lack thereof, rather than descending into the cult of personality as it too often does. '

The catalysts of this current discussion have been Vaeni, Ritzman, Woods and Rainey. Each of them have been attacked in a way that sometimes undermines the credibility of their detractors. When was the last time anyone was dismissed for being a 'woman of a certain age (Hopkins rebuttal to Rainey)?' Is it suddenly within the remit of ufologists and forum posters to diagnose borderline personality disorder (Woods)? If someone is of a certain age or BPD, are their claims unworthy of attention regardless of the evidence they cite?

Questions of 'decency' and 'ill-health' have been used to defend personalities and provide red herrings that deflect attention from reasonable concerns about ethical, objective research. If the 'abduction phenomena' is as described by Budd Hopkins et al, it should be able to withstand such questions and retain integrity.

Unknown said...

I am writing to correct Kevin's statement about my comment. Kevin stated, "Kathleen Marden did tell me that abductees report the events in color but victims of sleep paralysis report the case in black and white." That is not exactly what I said. I stated that hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations are usually seen in full color even though the room is dark. However, suspected abductees have reported to me that the aliens in their nocturnal bedroom visitations, have the appearance that one could expect to see when a figure moves in a dark room, except that the eyes might glisten or glow. Sleep paralysis involves shadowy figures and lasts for a few seconds.

Kathleen Marden

KRandle said...

Welcome Kathleen -

Thank you for the clarification. As you remember, we really didn't discuss it at length given the symposium circumstances but I did want to credit you with an attempt to develop a protocol to distinguish sleep paralysis from alien abduction.

That probably my fault for not following up on this brief conversation. I do wonder if any additional progress has been made.

Doc Conjure said...

I think this is very poor taste.

It's okay to criticize the subject of abduction, but Carol Rainey's thinly-vieled motivations are quite apparant.

Honestly, if you wanted to write a blog criticising abduction research you should have distanced yourself from Rainey's 'scorned woman' routine and possibly have allowed for a coolling off period before approaching the subject.

Now for the very hard and sad truth.

I'm glad Randle that you apply skepticism to abduction research. However, the problem I have with people in the UFO community who say criticize abduction research or some other avenue of so-called inquirty is that if they apply the same skepticism to UFOs in general they will come to the conclusion that there is nothing to it.

Do you understand this?

This is hard for me to write, but when it comes to say Roswell, you rank write up there with Hopkins & Jacobs and all the other's that you would critize simply because you cannot provide proof.

So taking the skeptical route is always a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways.

Sorry, after reading all the drama on UFO Updates I tried my best to stay out of this discussion. What truly bugged me is that only a few people seemed to realize Rainey's true motivations simmply because they too were skeptical of Abductions. I'm not against Rainey's criticizing of abductions & Hopkins & Jacobs' work. I'm against her motivations for doing so. A woman who stands at her man's side, co-authors books with him, attends speaking events with him and now that their relationship is overwith she's seen the light and now realizes its a big sham. Rainey is not the person to get behind on this.

Steve Sawyer said...


You really don't even have a shadow of a clue, do you?

Your semi-coherent rant (aside from the poor syntax, grammar and multiple spelling errors) doesn't convince me you present any cogent arguments at all to challenge the actual facts in this case, or Rainey's veracity, and which I will remind you are documented on film and audio tape, and that further revelations about Hopkins will emerge once Rainey's film on this affair is completed.

That's right; there is much more to be revealed.

You sound just like a disciple or apologist for Hopkins, and a denier of the known facts, by resorting to puerile and sexist ad hominems such as "Carol Rainey's thinly-vieled motivations are quite apparant," and "Rainey's 'scorned woman' routine," and "A woman who stands at her man's side, co-authors books with him, attends speaking events with him and now that their relationship is overwith she's seen the light and now realizes its a big sham," all of which show how very little you apparently know, or have attempted to find out, and how transparently you undercut your own ludicrous and presumptuous assertions.

You (and Budd) aid Rainey greatly in making her arguments for her via your (and his) own words.

By the way, she has been divorced from Hopkins for several years now, so their relationship is not just "overwith" any time recently.

Are you even aware of how and why Rainey came to write her article for Paratopia magazine? Do you even care?

It was due to her reading about the "Emma Woods" case and David Jacobs abuse there that led and motivated Rainey to finally go public with what she knew.


["Priests of High Strangeness"]

When you say things like, "...only a few people seemed to realize Rainey's true motivations simmply because they too were skeptical of Abductions," tell us, would you, specifically what you think her motivations are and just how did you divine these prospective insights?

And don't you think it's actually appropriate to be honestly skeptical of Hopkins' or Jacobs' interpretation of the "alien abduction" scenarios they paint, given their biased, unprofessional, and uncertified use of regressive hypnotic techniques and leading interrogatory processes on primed subjects?

Considering what is actually now known scientifically about the use of RH, which is that it does not in any reliable or objective way allow the retrieval of actual "repressed memories" or "missing time," but rather allows the implantation of false memories, creates confabulation, and exacerbates whatever emotional or psychological problems or trauma that may be present in the "abductee," perhaps permanently, don't you think Hopkins at least needs to be closely questioned or to stop using RH in these cases?

If not, see my follow-up post, below. for a relevant clue. It seems you may need a few to speak intelligently about these issues in future. Do yourself a favor, and do some research beforehand.

Steve Sawyer said...

For some real insight into the genuine horror and long-term negative impact on the mental health of those subjected to abusive "therapies" and/or "therapists," and relevance to the misuse of regressive hypnosis [RH], see the following lengthy excerpt from a 2007 issue of Scientific American:

"Brain Stains--Traumatic therapies can have long-lasting effects on mental health," by Kelly Lambert and Scott O. Lilienfeld [October 3, 2007]

BTW, Dr. Lilienfeld was recently interviewed on the Paratopia podcast about the use of regressive hypnosis in general, and how its use in attempting to retrieve "repressed memories" such as in "abduction" cases is both simply empirically wrong and thus deeply abusive to human subjects' legal rights and mental health.


[mp3 audio file of lengthy free excerpt of podcast #55 interview with Dr. Lilienfeld.]

[See also podcast episodes 57 and 60 for free audio excerpts about Emma Woods' story and interview, ref. Dr. Jacobs, by clicking on home page archive button.]

This is all nothing new--myth and belief, such as in the Salem witch trials and the original Catholic Inquistion, were based on similar false beliefs, cultural hysteria, and confabulation, among several other, darker motivations and pretexts.

There is a very broad and deep wealth of scientific data about the problems and pitfalls of the incorrect use of RH now online over the past several years for those interested in the issues.

While this SciAm article is largely about the effect of "iatrogenic" (meaning a medical or psychological disorder caused by the diagnosis, manner, or treatment of a physician or therapist, often based on their own cultural or personal beliefs or biases) therapies applied to children and adults who, for example, in the 1980's and early '90's came to believe after repeated, leading questioning and hypnotic regression that they had multiple personality disorder or "repressed memories" induced by either organized child sex abuse and/or satanic ritual cults (and which the FBI investigated at length and found no systemic evidence for), and which has now been largely discredited (as a form of cultural hysteria, and delusional susceptibility to conspiracy and rumor-mongering), and which was subconsciously created by less than objective therapists, law enforcement interrogators, and psychologists or psychiatrists hired to investigate such anecdotal reports (and who so had various financial and personal vested interests and motivations, whether they were conscious of it or not), to come up with such findings to satisfy or confirm parental, LE, or school authority suspicions and rumors (such as in the infamous McMartin pre-school case, among many other similar cases of the era), these same deleterious, long-term, damaging effects on the mental health and brain functions of human subjects, patients, and, of course, in turn, supposed "alien abductees," subjected to such misbegotten and unscientific processes, is very pertinent to the issues at hand in the Hopkins (and Jacobs) scandal.

Sorry for the excessively loquacious length of the last paragraph/sentence--it's late, and I'm too tired and bleary to parse it into more succinct or neat paragraphs at the moment. Mea culpa... 8^}

KRandle said...

Boy -

You have missed the point. I did not defend Carol Rainey, just suggested that her commentary on the state of abduction research was accurate. I did nothing to impugn Budd Hopkins but looked at his own words. I accepted his challenge.

On the other hand, you attacked the messenger, Rainey by suggesting she was the woman scorned. You offered no evidence that her information was inaccurate, only that we ignore it because she was the woman scorned.

On Roswell, you missed the boat again. Everyone, believer, researcher, skeptic and debunker agree that something fell. Everyone agrees that the Army Air Force covered it up. The problem is in the interpretation of the evidence.

There are dozens of witnesses who were there telling us that it was alien. There are others, who were there, telling us it was a Mogul balloon. I believe the evidence rules out the balloon but that doesn't take us to the alien.

However, if you can't see the difference between the Roswell case with dozens of related witnesses and the abduction phenomenon with its dozens of unrelated witnesses who are connected by the researchers, then it is your problem.

Please look at the various writings on this narrow topic as it has played out over the last couple of weeks and see if there is not a difference in tone between those who believe in Budd Hopkings and those who believe that abduction research needs to be redefined.

David Rudiak said...

Kevin wrote:
On Roswell, you missed the boat again. Everyone, believer, researcher, skeptic and debunker agree that something fell. Everyone agrees that the Army Air Force covered it up. The problem is in the interpretation of the evidence.

There are dozens of witnesses who were there telling us that it was alien. There are others, who were there, telling us it was a Mogul balloon. I believe the evidence rules out the balloon but that doesn't take us to the alien.

However, if you can't see the difference between the Roswell case with dozens of related witnesses and the abduction phenomenon with its dozens of unrelated witnesses who are connected by the researchers, then it is your problem.

Now allow me to point out the similarities. Hopkins, Jacobs, etc. are being accused of creating the alien abduction scenarios by leading the witnesses. And going beyond this, the arguments have been alien abductions period are purely the result of researcher bias.

Similarly, you, Friedman, etc. have been accused of creating the alien crashed saucer scenario by leading the witnesses. (No need to look further than your own blog comments from the skeptical likes of cda, Gilles F., etc.)

It doesn't matter if the witnesses are unrelated or related. In fact, relatedness is also used against you, since now all the witnesses are allegedly "contaminated", not only by contact with you and your leading questions, but allegedly by contact with each other, or media--doesn't really matter.

And Kevin, you can protest all you want that you are trying to be very careful NOT to lead the witnesses, but these charges will still be levied against you regarding Roswell, just as they are Hopkins, et. al. regarding abductions.

And if at times your questions might be a bit leading (as you yourself have honestly admitted that you are not perfect when it comes to questioning witnesses, just as nobody is), then the skeptics will jump on that as well, and claim the whole Roswell crashed saucer scenario was the creation of you, Schmitt, Friedman, etc., etc., who have taken an allegedly trivial event and blown it all out of proportion in order to sell books, promote yourself, etc., etc.

Let us also not forget that a large percentage of abduction witnesses do NOT have regressive hypnosis and recall events on their own. In these people, there is no chance that their stories are due to misuse of regressive hypnosis or implanted false memories by incompetent researchers. One classic example: the 1973 Pascagoula abduction of Hickson and Parker.

And some cases DO involve related witnesses, such as Travis Walton (1975) and multi-abduction cases, Pascagoula again, Allagesh abductions (1976)--four people, and the original classic 1961 Betty and Barney Hill case.

Also, the Hill's had their regressions done not by "amateurs" but by a highly experienced and skeptical psychiatrist. No "leading" of witnesses or following preconceived abduction scenarios here. Still the same basic elements of abductions emerged in the Hill case just as later: missing time, medical examinations, interest in human reproductive biology, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, etc.

More classic cases before the emergence of Hopkins, Jacobs, Mack, etc.: Schirmer case (1967) and Antonio Villas Boas (1957).

Point: Hopkins, et. al. were not the ones to create alien abductions. Are they flawed human beings and researchers? No doubt, just as we all are. Maybe they deserve all the criticisms they are getting. But whatever alien abductions represent, they existed well before the present crop of prominent abduction researchers and will no doubt exist after they are long gone. That key point seems to be getting lost in this current firestorm of criticism.

cda said...


Be careful.

You say, regarding Roswell: "I believe the evidence rules out the balloon but that doesn't take us to the alien". But have you not been telling us for some 20 years that this DOES "take us to the alien"? You have promoted a 'Roswell was alien' continuously since about 1990. Don't tell me you are beginning to have small doubts. Are you?

Concerning regression or hypnosis, have you not tried it yourself with a few of the Roswell witnesses, such as Jesse Marcel jr? Am I right?

Also concerning hypnosis, I believe Jacobs conducted hypnosis on Emma Woods BY TELEPHONE. A total absurdity. What's more, he even mentioned getting something for her from a sex shop! Boy that takes some beating, that does.

KRandle said...


We attempted hypnosis (and by we, I mean Schmitt and me) with Jesse Marcel, Jr. and I found it a very distressful situation. We used a trained psychologist to perform the hypnosis and it was only after many interviews with Marcel had been conducted. I have not used anything revealed in that session which was quite disturbing (Jesse was reliving an event with his father and it was almost as if we had killed him). Nothing useful came from it. And that is the only time in the Roswell case that I participated in something like that.

I said the rejection of the Mogul scenario did not lead us to the alien. We get there from other points and other evidence. Mogul does not work. Period.

There is no doubt in my mind that Roswell was alien... it just doesn't follow because Mogul is rejected, it must be alien.

KRandle said...

David -

No one here is accusing anyone of creating the alien abduction scenario. You mention cases that predate their (Hopkins, Jacobs) entry. I will point out pop cultural references that predate them. How about "Killers from Space"? Every element of abduction can be found in this 1953 movie. There are other examples that predate that movie. And before Hopkins we had a number of researchers attempting to validate Hill by finding other, similar abductions. Jim Harder told me that as we investigated the Pat Roach case.

I will remind you that Dr. Simon, who conducted the hypnotic regression did not believe that the Hills had been abducted... Travis Walton failed his first polygraph... Hickson and Parker's first move was to go to the media... and the Allagesh abductions were first revealed through dreams (nightmares?) of two of them but not the two others.

This was not about Roswell, though some are now turning it into that. It was not about who invented abductions... in fact, I was the first to report aliens in the house so you could blame that aspect on me... but about how that research has been conducted for decades and how no progress has been made.

And what I meant about related was that we had lots of witnesses to Roswell, some of them interviewed long before Friedman, Schmitt or I entered the case. Hints were already out there. I meant there were the officers and soldiers at Roswell who could relate information about the case. One case. Not crashes all over the world as in abductions.

But this seems to be another assault on the messenger. Was there any factual errors in my rejection of Budd's "Response"? That would be the germaine question here.

Doc Conjure said...

@ Steve Sawyer:

You wrote:

"You really don't even have a shadow of a clue, do you?"

Apparently neither do you. I'm in no way trying to stifle criticism of the abduction phenomenon nor am I a Hopkins or even a Jacobs apologist as you claim.

Doc Conjure said...

@ KRandle,

You wrote:

"You have missed the point. I did not defend Carol Rainey, just suggested that her commentary on the state of abduction research was accurate. I did nothing to impugn Budd Hopkins but looked at his own words. I accepted his challenge.

On the other hand, you attacked the messenger, Rainey by suggesting she was the woman scorned."

I think I made myself clear in my post that I am criticizing Rainey's motivations. I am aloud to do so and I think everyone else should too. I do not think it is appropriate to have Rainey as a key player in any discussion of criticism of alien abduction simply because she has already crossed the line and made her motivations quite visible to all by bringing up the issue of Hopkins' art career and making discouraging remarks concerning such. Do you get this? This is a woman scorned plain as day. Art has nothing to do with the Abduction phenomenon. Therefore my criticism of Rainey's motivations is in no way attacking the messenger. Instead, I am suggesting someone else be given the role of "messenger".

You wrote:

"On Roswell, you missed the boat again. Everyone, believer, researcher, skeptic and debunker agree that something fell. Everyone agrees that the Army Air Force covered it up. The problem is in the interpretation of the evidence."

What evidence? Now, I'm playing devil's advocate here but when I wrote that you are just like Hopkins with regard to your assertions on Roswell I was not jesting. Big claims and circumstantial evidence does nothing to prove or even warrent the belief that what crashed in Roswell was extraterrestrial in origin. It really doesn't matter how many witnesses you speak to. Without hard evidence for the claim of Roswell being the crash of an extraterrestrial craft then you are exactly like Hopkins. I'm not a fan of selective skepticism. If you are going to be skeptical of abduction research then why would you not be skeptical of Roswell being exterrestrial?

Again, I'm all for people criticizing abduction research or the work of anyone in the field. That's great. However, let's be honest about our application of skepticism.

Doc Conjure said...

@ Steve Sawyer,

Yes, my spelling and grammar can be atrocious. I usually pick the worst times to reply to things, either extremely late at night or when I am multi-tasking.

Doc Conjure said...

I guess this would be the proper time to give my opinion on the abduction phenomenon.

I feel that such would probably follow the same as UFO sightings. Most reported UFO sightings have nothing to do with extraterrestrial, likewise most reported abductions also are likely to have nothing to do with extraterrestrials as well.

This said the notion of aliens abducting people to experiment on or do who-knows-what is not as far-sounding as it may first seem. It's actualy a logical activity that any visiting aliens may peform on our species. We would likewise do the same if we encounter a more primitive race in the future. So there may be a core of truth to the phenomeon, but like all the other things associated with UFOs the whole proof thing remains a huge problem.

I have spoken with reported abductees. Some of them I did not believe, while others I did. My belief or disbelief in their stories speaks nothing of the actual truth of their claims. To add to the complexity and confusion surround this issue, I believe it is quite possible that a good number of so-called "real" abductees may have their testimony contaminated with exposure to other abductees or self-confabulation. Human beings have a tendancy to try to interpret or give meaning to a mysterious experience or transitory phenomeon. As a result, I am very skeptical of abductees interpretations of their claimed experiences, as in the bigger picture, what the aliens motivations are, what form the aliens take and what the is the 'grand plan'. As a result of such I am more willing to believe abductees who don't have the answers over those who claim to have all the answers. Perhaps this is my weakness.

tinyjunco said...

Hello Mr. Randle! thank you for taking the time and effort to address Mr.Hopkins' recent article. I was especially disturbed by Mr. Hopkins' 'takedown' of Mr. Webb's investigative techniques and results - Mr. Hopkins' just said, "Don't listen to him, he's so gauche!' This is ridiculous on it's face, and you did a wonderful job of popping that balloon.

i've been interested in ufo's and paranormal events for the last 40 years, and Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Jacob's approach towards 'helping' people who had had strange experiences disturbed me from the start. in short, the focus seemed to be on generating lurid, titillating stories to pump up book sales - with little to no regard for the mental/emotional health of the experiencers.

A handful of UFO investigators have spoken out against these practices over the years(Jenny Randle and Jaques Valle come to mind). But now the issue is all out in the open, and Ms. Rainey and Ms. Woods have provided ample documentation of the abuses - these people deserve our respect for their brave efforts. I am very heartened to see prominent investigators such as yourself standing up with these people and pointing out the flaws with certain methods of investigation (both to people's well being and to the quality of the investigation itself). Thank you Mr. Randle for taking this principled stand in such a public manner - it can only help us get closer to the truth.

re: the 'scorned woman' argument. many commenters, such as Boyinthemachine, make this argument. 'Don't listen to what Ms. Rainey says - she's a scorned woman!' how do you know she's been scorned? 'Look at what she wrote in that article!" They are 'circling' the wagons, indeed. steph

Doc Conjure said...

@ tinyjunco

You wrote:

"re: the 'scorned woman' argument. many commenters, such as Boyinthemachine, make this argument. 'Don't listen to what Ms. Rainey says - she's a scorned woman!' how do you know she's been scorned? 'Look at what she wrote in that article!" They are 'circling' the wagons, indeed. steph"

I'm amazed concerning the low reading comprehension skills in this comment section.

I have not once argued against critcizing abduction research or criticizing the work of Budd Hopkins, David Jacbos, or anyone else involved in the subject. Instead, I am criticizing Carol Rainey's motivations. I do not believe she is the person people should get behind on this. We are talking about a woman who stood by Hopkins, co-authored books with him, attended speaking engagements with him, and now that their relationship is over-with she suddenly flip-flops and has seen the light and now is skeptical. That's great she has changed her mind. That's great she is now skeptical, but I would just urge caution in holding her up as a voice of reason when her motivations are suspect.

Paul Kimball said...

Hi Kevin,

As you know, I agree with you when it comes to "alien abductions", so kudos for your work in years past, and kudos for this thoughtful response.

Unlike most of the people commenting on Ms. Rainey and her motivations, I actually have had direct experience with couples during and after a relationship break-up, one of my two areas of specialization in law school being family law, which I saw a fair bit of action in as a legal aid student and articled clerk. From experience, I can tell you that it is perfectly fair to question Ms. Rainey's motivations in coming forward now - indeed, there may be other factors as well, such as a desire to drum up some publicity or financing for her film (something else I know a bit about). Who knows? But it's certainly not sexist, as some have suggested, to raise these matters, which would apply equally if it were Hopkins writing about Rainey. The need to paint a full picture not only allows for these concerns to be raised; it requires them to be raised.

Once raised, however, they can be dismissed as largely irrelevant to the central point. While Ms. Rainey's motivations may account for some of her hyperbole, and it certainly undercuts any claim that she's being "courageous" (where was this "courage" in preceding years?), it does not change the nature of the information that she has presented, much of which has been known for some time, but has now been fleshed out to an even greater degree. It is damning to Hopkins, just as the Emma Woods tapes have been damning to Jacobs. In Ms. Rainey's case, she might be late to the "party", and she might have shown up for the wrong reasons (I offer no opinion on that point), but the fact remains that when she got there, for whatever reason, the information that she has presented is damning... and neither Hopkins nor Jacobs has offered anything in response, other than the traditional rejoinder of the true believer that this is all the work of debunkers. Sad, and shameful.

Keep up the good work,

Doc Conjure said...

@ Paul Kimball,

You wrote:

"and neither Hopkins nor Jacobs has offered anything in response, other than the traditional rejoinder of the true believer that this is all the work of debunkers. Sad, and shameful."

There's absolutely nothing Hopkins or Jacobs can respond with save actual hard physical proof for abductions.

I would just like the rest of the UFO community to realize they are in the same boat. So to see the bickering amongst UFO people who use select skepticism is both amusing and rather saddening as well.

I think my new personal motto for the time being is "just say no to select skepticism". If one is choosing to be skeptical, go all or bust.

Paul Kimball said...

@ Jason

You overreach.

One can and should be sceptical of anyone offering definitive answers. That's why sceptics sit in the middle, as healthy agnostics, while the true believers and disbelievers sit on the extremes (and have far more in common with each other than they do with the sceptics).

But there are different degrees of scepticism, based on the subject-matter.

Alien abductions? I'm well beyond being sceptical of that. To me, there has not been a scintilla of valid evidence presented that points to that conclusion being valid.

The extraterrestrial nature of some UFO cases? I am sceptical, but still very open-minded towards what I consider a perfectly valid hypothesis. A case like the 1957 RB47 case may well be indicative of some form of non-human intelligence. It is at least an open question, worthy of serious consideration.

The objective reality of the UFO phenomenon? No need to be sceptical, because I can prove it, beyond any reasonable doubt.

So scepticism, you see, is a matter of degree, dependant on the subject matter at hand. That's not selective sceptism; it's the very essence of scpeticism.


Doc Conjure said...

@ Paul Kimball,

"You overreach."

Nah. I'll get more into that below.

"One can and should be sceptical of anyone offering definitive answers."

Technically one is supposed to be skeptical of any claim, especially the extraordinary variety.

"But there are different degrees of scepticism, based on the subject-matter."

Perhaps in your subjective view, having meaning or value only to you, but for me skepticism is skepticism, doesn't matter if the subject is UFOs or the latest cancer research.

"Alien abductions? I'm well beyond being sceptical of that. To me, there has not been a scintilla of valid evidence presented that points to that conclusion being valid."

Yes, I pegged you as a disbeliever in alien abductions many years ago. But here's what's so interesting. In the long haul, the very things you use to justify your position on alien abduction are applicable to the subject of UFOs as a whole.

"The extraterrestrial nature of some UFO cases? I am sceptical, but still very open-minded towards what I consider a perfectly valid hypothesis."

Yes, but an unproven hypothesis is ultimately of little importance.

"The objective reality of the UFO phenomenon? No need to be sceptical, because I can prove it, beyond any reasonable doubt."

Of course when I refer to using skepticism with regard to UFOs I am actally referring to the notion of extraterrestrials. UFOs are real in the same way that ghosts are real, in the sense that people have reported seeing them since the dawn of time. However, what the phenomenone ultimately is, whether it has any existance outside of the mind of the observers, is up for debate.

"So scepticism, you see, is a matter of degree, dependant on the subject matter at hand. That's not selective sceptism; it's the very essence of scpeticism."

Remember that phrase, "Question Everything". Skepticism is skepticism. When someone mentions degrees of skepticism they are basically admitting to the use of selective skepticism.

Of course the only reason why I even bothered to bring this up is because I can see so many viewpoints and from my current position I have observed such much in-house fighting and bickering between parties who have no idea they are aboard the same boat.

And I'm not immune to selective skepticism either. I am deeply prejudiced against the contactee movement. I cringe at the thought of Billy Meier or Adamski. I have changed my opinion of people in the field simply after hearing them speak positively about famous contactees. The only thing I can respond with is that I have my opinions and beliefs but that I'm intelligent enough to realize that my opinions and the actual truth are seperate things. They may overlap to various degrees but it would be extremely foolish of me to confuse my opinions/beliefs with the truth.

Paul Kimball said...

When someone mentions degrees of skepticism they are basically admitting to the use of selective skepticism.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, because I don't think you have a true understanding of what scepticism really is, and I suspect that you would say the same about me. Vive le difference.

cda said...

Everyone has a right to be skeptical of UFOs and ETs. This skepticism is valid for UFOs but not valid, in the same sense, for things like astrology and PSI phenomena. This is because with UFOs and ET visits you would expect some sort of proven physical evidence after 60-plus years of UFOs, whereas with astrology and PSI (both much older pseudo-sciences) you can never get hard evidence, by definition. You have to rely solely on probabilities, with all the associated problems and contradictions with that.

To those who say we shall never get the hard evidence of UFOs because the government(s) continue to hush it up, I can only say this is a cop out and merely an excuse (and a feeble one) for the lack of such evidence. The hard evidence aint there because someone on high is withholding it from us. Sure.

tinyjunco said...

okay, Mr. Boy, let's talk 'reading comprehension'. "...and now that their relationship is over-with she **suddenly** flip-flops and has seen the light and now is skeptical."

Mr. Hopkins and Ms. Rainey have been divorced for several years now. This is 'suddenly' in your dictionary?

**scorned woman** means a woman whose affections have been rejected by the man she favors. Has anyone presented ANY evidence that Mr. Hopkins is the one who rejected Ms. Rainey? not that this would affect the damning information she presents, as Mr. Kimball demonstrates. it just goes to show the straws at which defenders are forced to grab.

i used the phrase 'circling the wagons' in a feeble attempt at a pun. I've frankly never been accused of poor reading comprehension before, but my lousy jokes are notorious. the use of the word 'circling' was meant to point at the circular reasoning you use to paint Ms. Rainey as 'the woman scorned'.

and a person has only to look at the crap people are heaping on Ms. Rainey in this comment section to realize that, yes, coming out with this information takes guts. Even Mr. Kimball engages in rampant speculation about her various motivations, states of mind, etc. while defending the facts she presents (and saying her motivations are "largely irrelevant to the central point" - even though the "need to paint a full picture not only allows for these concerns to be raised; it requires them to be raised)". (???). Oy! it's a wonder any progress ever occurs in this field. steph

Doc Conjure said...

@ Paul Kimball,

Well, I won't be agreeing to disagree with you, as such tactic is used to slyly imply equality of ideas.

However, you surely are free to believe whatever you want to believe. I have no desire to play thought police.

cda said...

Re Steph's remarks,
I wonder what the reaction would be if and when Linda Cortile came out and admitted her whole abduction tale was a hoax. The natural reaction from pro-abductionists will be that Linda has some grudge against Hopkins (similar to a scorned ex-wife) and has chosen to hit back at him.

Once you are hooked on abductions (or UFO crashes), the likelihood is that nothing in the way of a later admission or confession by a 'witness' is going to alter your views at all. Any such confession will be taken as a form of taking revenge, and thus carry no weight.

If someone admits to faking a photograph or film (so easy nowadays), it will likely be assumed, by the pro-ETH brigade, that the authorities forced him to do so, and that he is covering up the truth for obvious reasons.

Doc Conjure said...

@ Tinyjunco,

I'm not getting into this with you. I definitely won't be arguing semantics with you either.

The whole idea that Rainy has decided to come forward, write articles, and create a documentary "exposing" Hopkins, Jacobs, and the field of abdution research as being a sham based solely on the accusations of one Emma Woods is plain silly. Personally, I feel such is just the excuse masking her true motivations.

But if you want to get behind such a figure, ignoring her past history with Hopkins and her past support of his work, then that's on you. Because you, nor anyone else, is required to get behind her. You can choose to distance yourself from her while still subscribing to a critical or skeptical take on alien abductions.

Paul Kimball said...

You're right, Jason, about one thing - there is no equality of ideas between us. ;-)

Paul Kimball said...

@ Steph -

There is a difference between "rampant speculation" and informed and reasonable discussion about all aspects of an issue, which is absolutely fair game, and necessary to consider and address, if you're truly interested in getting a full and fair picture of events. It's unfortunate that you can't see that.


Doc Conjure said...

@ Paul Kimball,

Of course there isn't any equality of ideas between us. I run into this problem many times, especially when debating Creationists who oppose evolution. Eventually a point is reached where the Creationist will say, "Let's just agree to disagree...", indicating that our stances are equal and that it's merely a matter of subjective opinion. Of course it's no such thing.

Now I've played Devil's Advocate long enough. I'm taking off my skeptic hat for now as hopefully I've made my point that it's easy to be skeptical of things we don't believe and very difficult to be skeptical of that which we already believe.

Jeremy Vaeni said...

"Please look at the various writings on this narrow topic as it has played out over the last couple of weeks and see if there is not a difference in tone between those who believe in Budd Hopkins and those who believe that abduction research needs to be redefined."

I hope that point doesn't get overlooked.

Kevin, I appreciate your courage in making a public statement like this. Thank you.

And for anyone who says we need to question the ol' ball-n-chain, the beauty of the article is, she stated exactly what her motives are in it. You don't have to do any guess work there. Now, you can choose not to believe her and that's fine. But let's not pretend her answer doesn't exist, and let's not pretend that in real life, things don't take a while to sink in.

Imagine that you are married to the most famous abduction researcher on the planet. You are in love with him. Now you're documenting his work and finding it suspicious and it's tearing your marriage apart. Honestly, what would any of you do? How long would it take to sink in, first of all? And then... really... what would you do? Who would even listen to you in the ufological good old boys club? Who would take up your cause?

Who is doing it now? Kevin is the exception that proves the rule, unfortunately.

If Carol can't speak her truth this many years out of the marriage without being tarred by the "angry ex wife" smear, what do you think the response would have been if she'd written this article just after their divorce?

Yes, Budd is in ill health and the timing is terrible. But the spark that lit this was the David Jacobs mess, so timing be damned.

Please, get off your high horses "angry ex wife" people and get with reality. Relationships are complicated, not black and white. You should be thanking this woman for stepping forward at all. In fact, let's turn this around. Why aren't any of you questioning Budd & Dave's friends who support them publicly despite the facts staring them in the face? When confronted with explosive facts, these "researchers" choose friendship over the topic they've dedicated their lives to. Why do they do that? Because relationships are COMPLICATED and this is real life, not something you get to Monday morning quarterback through the lens of pure rationality.

End of story.

Unknown said...

What will the final verdict be regarding the scientific value of the alien abduction investigations conducted by Mr. Hopkins? It is not yet possible to say. Judging from history, it will not matter whether or not he was a nice person or even if he made errors (all investigators do on occasion). It all hinges on how well his assertions ultimately match up with the facts.

Many posters have noted that objective evidence is the key to moving alien abduction investigations forward. It might also provide the means for Mr. Hopkins to both silence critics and cement his future reputation. Hard evidence is in limited supply in this realm, but some potential avenues of investigation do offer the tantalizing prospect of corroborating data. If hybrid, transgenic or genetically-modified entities walk among us now or female abductees are being used as incubators, direct genetic evidence may be obtainable. If the frightening hypotheses are accurate, such evidence must be discoverable by systematic examination of DNA sequences using methods now routine in forensic investigations and biomedical research. That is not to say the effort will be simple or cheap, but there may be a way to get to solid data. At least there are places to seek the critical confirmatory data that have been so elusive for so long.

This task may fall to the next generation of abduction investigators. There is plenty of incentive, the first person to prove Mr. Hopkins correct is guaranteed fame and fortune. For those who accept the challenge, time may be short. DNA sequencing technology is advancing rapidly, making it possible (if certain hypotheses are factual) hybrid entities just might be discovered accidentally as genetic data acquisition and analyses become routine in medical practice. Should the hypotheses of Mr. Hopkins be substantiated, I expect the troubling issues involving his methods will fade away. The trajectory of technology suggests that even if no one elects to specifically carry forward the investigation, a true data-based judgment will not be long in coming.

Tyler Kokjohn

Deirdre said...

Excellent piece, Kevin.

tinyjunco said...

Mr. Kimball: your concern for my hermeneutical well being is duly noted and appreciated.

as Mr. Vaeni points out, human relationships are incredibly complicated, so much so that i doubt the ability of anyone to truly know another's motivations, or often even their own.

and focusing on 'motivation' merely wastes time and diverts attention from the substance of Ms. Rainey's information, which you agree is confirmed and relevant. it's incredibly frustrating to me that we don't use this venue as an opportunity to figure out where we go from here and how do we do good research that actually HELPS people?

my best wishes to those in this thread who have made thoughtful and productive comments, steph

Rev. Lynn said...

After reading it all, the jury is still out for me. Problems with research does not automatically rule out abduction but there are many questions. One of those areas that we may not ever know about while we are here on earth.

Don Maor said...

Hello Kevin.

you wrote:
"Was there any factual errors in my rejection of Budd's "Response"?"

IMPO, the error is to respond a letter that should have been attended by Rainey. Budd's Response is intended for her.

I personally think alien abductions are probably real events. I have a little case not from U.S.A.. Some days ago, I and my girlfriend were dinning with a couple of friends (we know them for about 5 five years), and in the middle of a relaxed conversation, UFOs popped up, and the girl said that she remembered two ocassions she was being inspected by a number of beings. She described some of the tipical stuff, big black eyes, grey skin, later she emphasized that their heads were bald. I did not lead her to describe that. First I told her that it was probably a dream. Later, asked wheter it looked like a real experience or like a dream, she said that to be honest, it seemed pretty real. I then told her gently that probably she had been watching some TV program showing aliens, etc. She said that probably yes, for the last dream, but the first “dream” was much time ago. She is a young and sober country-woman born and raised far from big cities. (south of Chile).

My conclusion is that she is very minimally "contaminated" by the "abduction myth". However, the final conclusion I gave to her is that she had most probably a dream (i dont think so, but she is a friend and I did not want her to get worried, also, I am not an abduction specialist). She took that conclusion calmly.

I think that alien abductions in some way lend substance to the ETH. If abductions are not real, then what the heck are doing the aliens here?

And after all, the beings described in the Roswell case are very similar to the ones described in the abduction cases. In some way, if Roswell is proven to be real, then it would reinforce the alien abduction scenario. And if abductions are proven to be real, then Roswell would be reinforced.

Not withstanding, and curiously, it happens that Randle is skeptic of abductions, and Jacobs is skeptic of Roswell.

Ricky Poole said...

"Problems with research does not automatically rule out abduction but there are many questions."

While technically true that problems with the research does not rule out abductions as possible real events, "problems" with "how the research was conducted" could very well rule out abductions having occurred as the "research" seems to suggest they are. In other words the way research is conducted could invalidate the data, which is what the evididence against hypnotically regresion actully suggests.

KRandle said...

Don -

Budd published his response on the Web which gives us all the right to respond to it. If there is factual information that is in error, then we all should correct those errors. Isn't the point of the research to learn what is actually happening rather than creating a new myth?

Anonymous said...

cda wrote: "wonder what the reaction would be if and when Linda Cortile came out and admitted her whole abduction tale was a hoax. The natural reaction from pro-abductionists will be that Linda has some grudge against Hopkins (similar to a scorned ex-wife) and has chosen to hit back at him." - - -

Oh, it's much more paranoid. I've come across some discussion of this on the paracast forum (which is highly pro-Hopkins/pro-Jacobs).

The postings so far is that *if* it's a hoax (horrors!) Linda Cortile most certainly was/is an abductee but was used or taken over by shadowy government operatives - psyops types to discredit Hopkins. [You just can't make this stuff up!]

** Thankyou to Kevin Randle for a well-written response to Budd Hopkins 'Deconstructing the Debunkers' hit piece. I found Hopkins ad hominems about Walter Webb to be so out-of-bounds, having read of Webb's investigations and work in the New England area (Raymond Fowler's books ect.) He's well-respected.

~ Susan

TLC said...

You folks are arguing for and against the "alien" origin for some of these events. There are alternative explanations. For one, what if these events are generated by the human mind? What if the Roswell UFO was a psychoid manifestation? What if cattle mutilations are the result of psychical events generated by the collective human unconscious?

TLC said...
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Luckyluke said...
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Grant said...
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Grant said...

Ah a blog of researchers/ufoologists arguing about the field and the validity of abductions and ufos. If you haven't personally been affected by the phenomenon, I don't understand the obsession. Hell, I wish I could forget about it and can for years (thank god for the power of denial), but the phenomenon won't leave me alone.

I knew Budd and actually had a short hypnosis session with him.. other than that I attended a few meetings and parties at his place over the years, but kept my distance as the whole field seemed insane to me. I never trusted the man as I never wanted to believe in something I had spent a lifetime successfully denying and he obviously believed in it.. I originally believed he was part of a cult, but was so desperate to talk to someone, that I took the chance.

I had numerous extreme up close encounters over the years, many in broad daylight,with multiply witnesses who also instantly remembered the scary beginnings and sometimes even the ends.. some with 6-7 hours of lost time. Some of these people still are upset over these encounters 35 years ago.

I am still waiting for someone to prove to me this is all mass insanity/illusions, sleep paralysis anything so I can move on and stop being scared. 58 years, 53 of them with abductions.. hell, I am tired.

No comments required, I doubt anyone can help, but dam, I bet the B.S would be intellectually least among yourselves.

Fred Riley said...

Hopkins and Jacobs were amateurs who seriously damaged abduction research imo. Mack was certainly much more substantial and his work deserves to be taken seriously.

I can't help going back to the iconic Betty and Barney Hill case. They were hypnotised by an eminent professional psychoanalyst Dr Benjamin Simon who made it clear in his conclusions that he did not believe the alien abduction hypothesis, and at the time there was virtually no precedents that they could have used to confabulate the alien experience. So how did those very dramatic and consistent experiences get implanted in them ?

The physical evidence as usual is disappointing vaporous. The shiny spots on their car and the way a compass reacted to them seem to be the only confirming evidence, and that doesn't prove much really.

What are the other theories ? A grand hoax ? Doesn't seem likely. Can two people have sleep paralysis at the same time while driving in a car ? Was it all a bad dream transferred from one of the Hills to the other as Dr Simon thought ?

If Mr Randle could give his views on this case I'd be interested. Otherwise I think that the whole alien abduction hypothesis has been so contaminated by media coverage, enthusiastic amateurs and impressionable "experiencers" that trying to find the truth by hypnosis is a waste of time. DNA evidence is probably the only way of getting anywhere and even that seems unlikely due to the lapse of time between the experience and when the experiencer tells anyone about it. Although maybe some experiencers will be enough on the ball to have their clothes analysed before they wash them and we may get something useful then.

Unknown said...

Walton's first polygraph, which you mention him failing, was a gigantic cluster**** of multiple malpractices which would have invalidated itself, whatever the result showed.
All subsequent (of many) tests performed on him have resulted in passes in every question but one, taken during a television programme. (He passed all the other questions in the same test, which was rather bizarre.) He must be one of the most polygraphed people in the world and the only test people keep referring to is the one which violated just about every known precept of polygraph use.

Fred Riley said...

I agree with Jamie Sleeman.

Walton was pressured by his brother to take the first polygraph when he had just reappeared after his experience. If he was actually abducted he would have been in a state of high stress that would have invalidated the polygraph.

I believe some of the other witnesses have also passed polygraphs as to their observance of Walton's abduction. This would seem a pretty tough case for the debunkers to crack.

Slave of God said...

'Rainey is not the person to get behind on this.'

Even were this statement true, we'd be making the argument that the messenger matters at least as much as the message. Let's say she's the worst person who's ever existed, what about the truth-value of the message she brings?