Tag Archives: Abduction Phenomenon

Pascagoula UFO Incident: Navy Retiree Says He Also Saw Spaceship 28 Years Ago

Pascagoula UFO Incident: Navy Retiree Says He Also Saw Spaceship 28 Years Ago

     PASCAGOULA – When Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker told the world in 1973 they were abducted by aliens while fishing on the Pascagoula River, few people believed them.

Now after 28 years, it appears they weren’t alone in their experience on that Oct. 11 night.

By Natalie Chambers
The Mississippi Press
10-21-01

A retired Navy chief petty officer recently contacted The Mississippi Press about the sighting that he can’t forget.

Mike Cataldo of Rotonda West, Fla., said he was on the pre-commissioning crew of the USS Tunney under construction at Ingalls Shipyard. Dusk was setting in as he and crew mates Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna were on U.S. 90 heading to Ocean Springs. Peralta was driving, Hanna was in the front passenger seat and Cataldo was in the back seat.

“We saw a very strange object in the horizon going from northwest across Highway 90. It was going pretty fast. It went down into a wood area and into the marsh. It hovered over the tree line, I guess, maybe a minute. We actually pulled off the road and watched it. We said, ‘My God, what is that.”‘ Cataldo said.

“We saw it, no question about it. We talked about it. Was it a shooting star, a meteorite? This was very different,” he said.

Cataldo said the object looked like a large tambourine with little lights flashing on it.

“As quickly as we saw it, it just vanished,” he said.

Cataldo said he had a second sighting minutes later, this time in St. Andrews as he neared his home.

“It wasn’t as high up as we saw the first time. It was real,” he said.

Cataldo said he rushed and told his wife what happened.

“I was almost hyperventilating. I wasn’t shook up, but I was excited I saw this thing,” he said.

The next morning, Cataldo contacted his executive officer on the submarine and made a report.

The following Monday, he contacted Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and left his telephone number, he said.

“My executive officer and crew members thought we were just lunatics, just whacked out,” he said.

“It never came up again. Keesler never called or did anything,” he said.

“It was the strangest thing. It was kind of scary,” Cataldo said.

Cataldo retired from the Navy 19 years ago. He was last in Jackson County in 1974.

Cataldo said he has never met or talked to Hickson.

Hickson said neither he nor Parker wanted their story given to the media. Their only objective was to notify the proper authorities, the sheriff’s department.

“I’ve had a few people who said they didn’t believe it, but I’ve never had any ridicule and my family never had. That’s one reason when this thing first happened to Calvin and I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want to be called crazy. But it seemed to me we had to tell the proper authorities,” said Hickson, 70, who lives in Gautier.

The rest is history.

Hickson said he knows other people saw the space craft but wouldn’t come forward.

“They would have sure helped us if they would have said something,” he said.

Hickson penned a book about the encounter, was interviewed numerous times by the scientific community and made the circuit at seminars on extraterrestrial. In 28 years, he never deviated from his claim of the occurrence behind the old Shaupeter Shipyard building on the Pascagoula River – even under hypnosis.

Parker, who was 19 then, had trouble dealing with what happened. He is now living in Louisiana.

“He’s not the same man as before. It just ruined him,” Hickson said.

Hickson described the three creatures that floated out to them as pale, ghostlike and about 5-feet high. They had crab-like claws or pinchers and rounded feet. He said they appeared to glide rather than walk.

Hickson said he was taken aboard the oval-shaped, well-lit space craft and examined with some type of “eye.”

“Some kind of way they examined me. I’ve had a feeling ever since it happened that they know where I’m at all times and what I’m doing,” he said.

“These things are robots. I didn’t see any eyes. They had no indication of breathing. They didn’t have a mouth. It was a straight slit. It seems they had something to do and they just actually done it. Took us back out there, put us down and they left,” he said.

Hickson said he does not know how long they were with the aliens but he would like another encounter with them.

“When it first happened, I wouldn’t go in the night by myself. I would have nightmares. My wife really helped me get through this thing,” he said. “Now the fear is all gone. I want to meet them again and see if they will take me to their world. I believe if they do, they’d bring me back. Our whole world here is getting into a terrible shape.”

Glenn Ryder, sheriff’s department shift captain that night the call came in from Hickson, said it was a busy night, around 11 p.m. when Hickson called from a pay phone and was insistent on talking to then-Sheriff Fred Diamond, who happened to be in bed.

Ryder said Hickson then asked for the second person in charge. That happened to be Ryder. Hickson told Ryder he had something to tell but feared Ryder would laugh.

Ryder told him to go ahead and when Hickson finished, he did laugh.

“I told him to wait there and I would come and talk to him. He said he was going back to his house and gave me the address so I could come there,” Ryder said.

“Calvin Parker was just hysterical. He was having fits. I took them in the patrol car to the sheriff’s office,” Ryder said.

Hickson and Parker were questioned extensively apart and then put in a secluded room together where a tape recorder had been planted to catch them in a lie.

“That boy (Parker) was really shook up. Charles was composed. The boy had just come down here from Jones County had always lived out in the country. He kept telling Charles on the tape not to talk to us. He said if (Charles) told them anything about what happened they would come back and get them,” Ryder said.

“One thing led to another. We went to the site at Shaupeter, where Colley Towing is now. He showed me where it landed and picked him up.”

Ryder said no physical evidence of a landing – burn marks or footprints – were found.

He said after the story broke calls came in from across the United States, England and Canada.

“They were pretty well convincing something did happen to them,” he said.

Ryder said there were other calls fielded about sighting of a streak of light that night, but only Parker and Hickson reported being taken aboard the space craft.

Read more »

Read More

The Pascagoula UFO Incident: There Were More Witnesses

The Pascagoula UFO Incident: There Were More Witnesses

As Weird as it Gets – Part 4

Serious UFO-related journalism has often been hard to come by via the conventional media, especially in the U.S., but recent events may encourage more credible reporting of the seemingly incredible.

     Mike Cataldo, now long retired from the Navy, served in 1973 as a chief petty officer in Mississippi. Like most of the country, he was familiar with the Hickson-Parker report and never met or spoke with either man, but for all the years that followed he shared with friends and family another side to the story, something of vital significance
By Robert Barrow
robert-barrow.blogspot.com
4-25-07

that he finally decided to impart publicly late last year. He tried to locate a reporter in Pascagoula who wrote the original UFO story, and eventually was put in touch with Natalie Chambers of the Associated Press.

Chambers’ interview with Cataldo appeared in The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal of October 21 last year, but it failed to make the coast-to-coast splash it should have, though even famed radio commentator Paul Harvey realized Cataldo’s importance and devoted part of his Saturday, October 27 national broadcast to Natalie Chambers’ shocker.

“When Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker told the world in 1973 they were abducted by aliens while fishing on the Pascagoula River, few believed them,” her article began. “Now, after 28 years, it appears they weren’t alone in their experience on that October 11 night.” Indeed, at about the same time and in the same area as the UFO incident, Cataldo and fellow crew mates Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna were driving on U.S. 90, heading to Ocean Springs. Cataldo was in the back seat.

“We saw a very strange object in the horizon going from northeast across Highway 90,” Cataldo recalled. “It was going pretty fast. It went down into a wood area and into the marsh. It hovered over the tree line. . .maybe a minute. We actually pulled off the road and watched it. We said, ‘My God, what is that?'” Cataldo said the thing looked like a large tambourine with little lights flashing on it. “As quickly as we saw it, it just vanished.” Some daylight still remained as dusk approached, so the men got a good look at the object. But Cataldo tells of a second sighting minutes later, this time in St. Andrews, as he neared his home. “It wasn’t as high up as we saw the first time. It was real.”

Almost hyperventilating when he ran inside to tell his wife, Cataldo knew he had to tell Navy officials. As a member of the pre-commissioning crew of the USS Tunney, under construction at Ingalls Shipyard, he reported for work the next morning and immediately contacted his executive officer to make a statement. After the weekend, he contacted Keesler AFB in Biloxi and left his phone number. However, if Cataldo expected tea and sympathy, he was mistaken. “My executive officer and crew members thought we were just lunatics, just whacked out,” he told Chambers. “It never came up again. Keesler never called or did anything.”

UFO researcher Kenny Young (Author’s April, 2007 notation to this 2002 article: Mr. Young is now deceased) also contacted Cataldo following Natalie Chambers’ article, also attempting – so far unsuccessfully — to locate his two fellow Navy witnesses. Cataldo provided a few more details of the object, perhaps the most intriguing being that it “was less than half a mile away and looked as big as any big American airliner I’ve ever seen.” He also confirmed that other motorists had slowed down to look at the seemingly inexplicable sky object. “We were the only ones on the road to stop and look at it though,” he advised.

Importantly, Cataldo admitted, “I never knew of the Hickson-Parker abduction until days later. It happened on Thursday and it was not until the following Sunday that I saw the headline in the morning paper about two men taken aboard a flying saucer, I’m telling you I about died.” He emphasizes that he can’t be absolutely sure that his UFO and the fishermen’s were the same, but the place and time were so close that the relationship must surely be taken seriously.

Read more »

Read More

Some Scientific Explanations For Alien Abduction



Bookmark and Sharevar addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true};

Some Scientific Explanations For Alien Abduction

     Accounts of mysterious flashing lights in the sky, spacecrafts and encounters with “real” aliens reflect high levels of public interest in UFOs and the belief that there is “something out there”. However, many
theconversation.com
1-27-17

psychologists are less convinced, and think they can provide more down-to-earth, scientific explanations.

Belief in aliens has increased steadily since the birth of modern alien research in the 1940s and 1950s, following the news surrounding a classified US military project at Roswell Air Force Base, New Mexico. Surveys in Western cultures estimated belief in aliens to be as high as 50% in 2015. And despite the fact that it is considered rare, a significant number of people also believe they have experienced alien abduction.

Read more »

Read More

Branching Out: Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

Branching Out - Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

     Our research interests may change as our horizons widen. This may ironically come about through honing in on specific aspects of reported UFOs and related phenomena such as alleged alien abduction. Focusing on finer points can result in studying potentially important yet often overlooked subject matter. In my experience, a working knowledge of some of the following topics is essential to understanding various theories and explanations offered. Whether or not we choose to pursue such theories, we simply will not understand them if we remain uninformed.
Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
12-14-16
Psychological Trauma

This is square one. It may very well be among the most significant and least understood aspects of the UFO community. In my admittedly professionally unqualified opinion, symptoms of psychological trauma and the related emotional distress account for the vast majority of reports of alien abduction, high strangeness, military abductees (MILABS), targeted individuals (TIs) and similar titles applied. I have come to the conclusion we must accept that to be the case in order to proceed rationally and credibly.

That stated, I do not consider myself entitled to tell people what did or did not happen to them. People may interpret experiences as they choose and discuss them as they see fit. Psychological and physiological conditions, relevant as they may be, do not account for all reports. As researchers, we are best served to proceed cautiously, professionally, and respectfully.

 Barbara Lamb
Hypnotist Barbara Lamb, who “helps” people learn they are ET-human hybrids and presents them at conferences
Challenges arise when self-described investigators put forth witness testimonies as supportive of a preferred hypothesis, such as alleged alien abduction and/or military abduction, while refusing to entertain alternative, more likely possibilities. Similar challenges arise when organizations, such as the Mutual UFO Network and the International UFO Congress, offer such researchers (or the human subjects of their research) platforms to promote their interpretations while claiming to be dedicated to scientific study. Doing so tends to take the witness narration more into public scrutiny, as it arguably should at that point. At the least, the professional research process requires questioning the methodologies of the “researchers” involved once they play the science card. That bleeds into issues of ethics and integrity as have been explored on this blog at length, and I’m sure we will consider them more in the future.

My current point, please, is that if we do not make intentional efforts to adequately understand such inherently human conditions as emotional trauma and false memories, and how they pertain to ufology, we are left with substantially incomplete renderings of the very topic we claim to pursue. It is a given that many reports involve incorrect interpretations, so it is only reasonable to acknowledge that to be the case while taking the responsibility to learn more about how they manifest and encouraging others to do the same.

Additional reading:

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Trauma, helpguide.org

How childhood trauma could affect your life expectancy, relationships and mental health, Independent

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part One: Sharon Weinberger and Nigel Watson on Responsible Reporting, The UFO Trail

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part Two: Mark Pilkington on Deception Operations, Witness Claims and More, The UFO Trail

False Memories

I recently browsed some UFO discussion forums and discovered participants who remain terribly under informed about topics such as memory functions and dynamics surrounding hypnosis. If you’re considering reasons ufology gains no traction, this is a huge one.

Witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence. I’m more than willing to reiterate it’s not my place to accept and reject claims of personal experiences, but if we want to present testimonies as indicative of a preferred hypothesis, collaborating evidence is extremely helpful.

The work of such experts as Loftus, Shaw, Morgan, and what has now become the accepted paradigm of the entire scientific community demonstrates memories are riddled with inaccuracies. It’s a characteristic of human memory. It’s also been demonstrated again and again how easily people can be led to form memories of events that never happened.

Point for emphasis: A hypnosis subject does not have to be intentionally led in order to produce false memories. It can occur during a biased, ill advised hypnotic search for memories of aliens. Actually, it’s extremely likely. That’s a big part of the point. The same can be said for (non-hypnosis) interviews conducted by overeager “investigators.”

Additional reading:

Memory Distortion and False Memory Creation, Elizabeth Loftus, PhD

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened, Association for Psychological Science

Most of us recall events that never happened, Unexplained Mysteries

Classified Flying Objects

We’ve heard UFO witnesses explain, “It wasn’t any kind of craft like I’ve ever seen. It couldn’t have been one of ours.”

The Lockheed Martin P-791
The Lockheed Martin P-791 is an experimental aerostatic/aerodynamic hybrid airship

It should be apparent that unless a person is up on classified aircraft and related advancements, they’re not in a position to offer such an assessment. There have been fascinating developments in manned and unmanned aerial vehicles over the years, and our eyes might play tricks on us when we see things we’re not used to seeing, such as planes refueling during flight. Did you know, for instance, NOVA reported reported in 2013 about an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies?

At the risk of sounding cynical, this point has long perplexed me. I find it difficult to identify anything other than cultural conditioning (scifi, movies, questionable talk radio, etc.) as a primary reason one would suspect a flying object not to be made by humans.

To try to offer some context, isn’t it kind of like not knowing the make and model of an automobile that drives past and then jumping to the conclusion it must have been manufactured by non-human beings? What would lead a person to think such a thing about aircraft? The answer to that question would be movies like Star Wars and stories like Lonnie Zamora, but I think my point is valid: If it’s flying around and it’s a physical craft, one should suppose it’s made by humans until substantial reasons arise to think differently.

Additional reading:

One Nation Under Drones, The UFO Trail

Thought Drones Were New to the Skies? Think Again, The UFO Trail

One of Those Posts About Validated Conspiracy Theories, The UFO Trail

Intelligence Community

The problem with discussing the influence of the intelligence community in ufology is that many people who would challenge its significance do not have a working knowledge of its history and circumstances. While it is admittedly difficult to identify cause and effect in the often nebulous and confusing intersections of the intel and UFO communities, that doesn’t change the fact many interested in the latter know nearly nothing about the former, and it doesn’t change the fact those intersections are indeed easy to demonstrate.

What’s more, the lack of knowledge of or interest in the IC is found throughout both demographics of what we might term believers and skeptics. It’s okay if they’re not interested, but it’s unbecoming to attempt to argue about topics that they are obviously unequipped to meaningfully discuss in the first place.

In order to add constructively to such discussions, one should not only make efforts to understand specific points presented by others, but activities and context of the applicable era as well. Recent developments in the U.S. intelligence community serve as excellent examples of ways volatile and dramatic situations may arise, as well as the importance of understanding their significance when exploring events that surround them.

Additional reading:

Influence of the Intelligence Community in Ufology, The UFO Trail

Psy Ops and Mind Control: Then, Now and the UFO Community, The UFO Trail

In closing, I’d like to add that the same dynamics could be applied virtually across the board to UFO research: If it’s not something you’re interested in, and you haven’t spent time researching it, perhaps you shouldn’t try to explain it to others.

For example, my interest in UFOs – literal reports of unidentified flying objects – has admittedly decreased significantly in recent years. I have come to be much more intrigued by cultural aspects of ufology. You therefore won’t find me going on at length about something I choose not to pursue and I recognize as an area in which others develop a substantial knowledge base.

I identify the differences between things I suspect and things which can be demonstrated to be factual. I’m willing to change my mind when facts dictate. I most respect the work and actions of others who show abilities to do the same, and those are the people I’m most willing to learn from and with. Partisan arguing is unbecoming and unproductive on either side of the aisle. Most importantly, it’s not on the path to truth.

Read more »

Read More

Branching Out: Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

Branching Out - Honing In On Specific Aspects of Reported UFOs and Related Phenomena

     Our research interests may change as our horizons widen. This may ironically come about through honing in on specific aspects of reported UFOs and related phenomena such as alleged alien abduction. Focusing on finer points can result in studying potentially important yet often overlooked subject matter. In my experience, a working knowledge of some of the following topics is essential to understanding various theories and explanations offered. Whether or not we choose to pursue such theories, we simply will not understand them if we remain uninformed.
Jack Brewer
By Jack Brewer
ufotrail.blogspot.com
12-14-16
Psychological Trauma

This is square one. It may very well be among the most significant and least understood aspects of the UFO community. In my admittedly professionally unqualified opinion, symptoms of psychological trauma and the related emotional distress account for the vast majority of reports of alien abduction, high strangeness, military abductees (MILABS), targeted individuals (TIs) and similar titles applied. I have come to the conclusion we must accept that to be the case in order to proceed rationally and credibly.

That stated, I do not consider myself entitled to tell people what did or did not happen to them. People may interpret experiences as they choose and discuss them as they see fit. Psychological and physiological conditions, relevant as they may be, do not account for all reports. As researchers, we are best served to proceed cautiously, professionally, and respectfully.

 Barbara Lamb
Hypnotist Barbara Lamb, who “helps” people learn they are ET-human hybrids and presents them at conferences
Challenges arise when self-described investigators put forth witness testimonies as supportive of a preferred hypothesis, such as alleged alien abduction and/or military abduction, while refusing to entertain alternative, more likely possibilities. Similar challenges arise when organizations, such as the Mutual UFO Network and the International UFO Congress, offer such researchers (or the human subjects of their research) platforms to promote their interpretations while claiming to be dedicated to scientific study. Doing so tends to take the witness narration more into public scrutiny, as it arguably should at that point. At the least, the professional research process requires questioning the methodologies of the “researchers” involved once they play the science card. That bleeds into issues of ethics and integrity as have been explored on this blog at length, and I’m sure we will consider them more in the future.

My current point, please, is that if we do not make intentional efforts to adequately understand such inherently human conditions as emotional trauma and false memories, and how they pertain to ufology, we are left with substantially incomplete renderings of the very topic we claim to pursue. It is a given that many reports involve incorrect interpretations, so it is only reasonable to acknowledge that to be the case while taking the responsibility to learn more about how they manifest and encouraging others to do the same.

Additional reading:

Coping with Emotional and Psychological Trauma, helpguide.org

How childhood trauma could affect your life expectancy, relationships and mental health, Independent

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part One: Sharon Weinberger and Nigel Watson on Responsible Reporting, The UFO Trail

Ethics of Exploring the Fringe, Part Two: Mark Pilkington on Deception Operations, Witness Claims and More, The UFO Trail

False Memories

I recently browsed some UFO discussion forums and discovered participants who remain terribly under informed about topics such as memory functions and dynamics surrounding hypnosis. If you’re considering reasons ufology gains no traction, this is a huge one.

Witness testimony is the least reliable form of evidence. I’m more than willing to reiterate it’s not my place to accept and reject claims of personal experiences, but if we want to present testimonies as indicative of a preferred hypothesis, collaborating evidence is extremely helpful.

The work of such experts as Loftus, Shaw, Morgan, and what has now become the accepted paradigm of the entire scientific community demonstrates memories are riddled with inaccuracies. It’s a characteristic of human memory. It’s also been demonstrated again and again how easily people can be led to form memories of events that never happened.

Point for emphasis: A hypnosis subject does not have to be intentionally led in order to produce false memories. It can occur during a biased, ill advised hypnotic search for memories of aliens. Actually, it’s extremely likely. That’s a big part of the point. The same can be said for (non-hypnosis) interviews conducted by overeager “investigators.”

Additional reading:

Memory Distortion and False Memory Creation, Elizabeth Loftus, PhD

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened, Association for Psychological Science

Most of us recall events that never happened, Unexplained Mysteries

Classified Flying Objects

We’ve heard UFO witnesses explain, “It wasn’t any kind of craft like I’ve ever seen. It couldn’t have been one of ours.”

The Lockheed Martin P-791
The Lockheed Martin P-791 is an experimental aerostatic/aerodynamic hybrid airship

It should be apparent that unless a person is up on classified aircraft and related advancements, they’re not in a position to offer such an assessment. There have been fascinating developments in manned and unmanned aerial vehicles over the years, and our eyes might play tricks on us when we see things we’re not used to seeing, such as planes refueling during flight. Did you know, for instance, NOVA reported reported in 2013 about an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies?

At the risk of sounding cynical, this point has long perplexed me. I find it difficult to identify anything other than cultural conditioning (scifi, movies, questionable talk radio, etc.) as a primary reason one would suspect a flying object not to be made by humans.

To try to offer some context, isn’t it kind of like not knowing the make and model of an automobile that drives past and then jumping to the conclusion it must have been manufactured by non-human beings? What would lead a person to think such a thing about aircraft? The answer to that question would be movies like Star Wars and stories like Lonnie Zamora, but I think my point is valid: If it’s flying around and it’s a physical craft, one should suppose it’s made by humans until substantial reasons arise to think differently.

Additional reading:

One Nation Under Drones, The UFO Trail

Thought Drones Were New to the Skies? Think Again, The UFO Trail

One of Those Posts About Validated Conspiracy Theories, The UFO Trail

Intelligence Community

The problem with discussing the influence of the intelligence community in ufology is that many people who would challenge its significance do not have a working knowledge of its history and circumstances. While it is admittedly difficult to identify cause and effect in the often nebulous and confusing intersections of the intel and UFO communities, that doesn’t change the fact many interested in the latter know nearly nothing about the former, and it doesn’t change the fact those intersections are indeed easy to demonstrate.

What’s more, the lack of knowledge of or interest in the IC is found throughout both demographics of what we might term believers and skeptics. It’s okay if they’re not interested, but it’s unbecoming to attempt to argue about topics that they are obviously unequipped to meaningfully discuss in the first place.

In order to add constructively to such discussions, one should not only make efforts to understand specific points presented by others, but activities and context of the applicable era as well. Recent developments in the U.S. intelligence community serve as excellent examples of ways volatile and dramatic situations may arise, as well as the importance of understanding their significance when exploring events that surround them.

Additional reading:

Influence of the Intelligence Community in Ufology, The UFO Trail

Psy Ops and Mind Control: Then, Now and the UFO Community, The UFO Trail

In closing, I’d like to add that the same dynamics could be applied virtually across the board to UFO research: If it’s not something you’re interested in, and you haven’t spent time researching it, perhaps you shouldn’t try to explain it to others.

For example, my interest in UFOs – literal reports of unidentified flying objects – has admittedly decreased significantly in recent years. I have come to be much more intrigued by cultural aspects of ufology. You therefore won’t find me going on at length about something I choose not to pursue and I recognize as an area in which others develop a substantial knowledge base.

I identify the differences between things I suspect and things which can be demonstrated to be factual. I’m willing to change my mind when facts dictate. I most respect the work and actions of others who show abilities to do the same, and those are the people I’m most willing to learn from and with. Partisan arguing is unbecoming and unproductive on either side of the aisle. Most importantly, it’s not on the path to truth.

Read more »

Read More

UFO Encounter & Missing Pilot Still a Mystery After 40 Years

UFO Mystery (Frederick Valentich) The Australian 10-21-1978

Frederick Valentich disappearance:
How UFO helped inspire The Kettering Incident

‘It’s not an aircraft’

     A pilot who disappeared nearly 40 years ago after reporting a UFO is one of the inspirations for the plot of the new television drama series The Kettering Incident.
By Carol Rääbus
www.abc.net.au
7-11-16

While the show revolves around fictional mysterious disappearances in the Tasmanian bush, the disappearance of Frederick Valentich was very real.

Valentich was a 20-year-old pilot who went missing over Bass Strait in 1978, leaving nothing behind except a mysterious radio transmission.

Historian Reg Watson has been researching the disappearance for many years.

“I’ve looked at it for gosh, three decades,” he told Leon Compton on 936 ABC Hobart.

“I have to say, in my opinion, he had an encounter with a UFO — and I don’t say that lightly.”

Read more »

Read More

Missing Teesside Man Claims UFO Abduction (UK)

Missing Teesside Man Claims UFO Abduction
     Many claiming to have been abducted by a UFO have described it as a terrifying experience.

But for one alleged Teesside abductee, what should have been an

By Ian Johnson
www.gazettelive.co.uk
6-26-16

ordeal simply turned into a trip to Durham.

Data disclosed by Cleveland Police has revealed details of all the 999 calls made by people who think they’ve spotted a flying saucer.

And in one incident last December, police found a missing Middlesbrough man “safe and well”.

However he couldn’t offer an explanation about his disappearance as he had apparently “been on a UFO to Durham”.

And he wasn’t the only Teessider to have a close encounter in 2015. …

Read more »

Read More

The Experiencers: Not Your Dad’s Alien Abductees

The Experiencers: Not Your Dad’s Alien Abductees
     They used to be called alien abductees; these days they have rebranded and call themselves experiencers.

The earliest-known alien abduction that was extensively reported was the Betty and Barney Hill case in the 1960s. The New England couple’s experiences were widely reported, published in a book, and a movie was even made about them starring James Earl Jones.

Cheryl Costa
www.syracusenewtimes.com
2-26-16

In the ’60s and through the ’70s, the topic was relatively obscure and it was folks like Dr. John Mack who did the early research on the topic, publishing several books of his own.

In the mid 1970’s, some loggers in Snowflake, Arizona had one of their members abducted while they were returning from some logging work in an isolated wooded area. For five days, the whereabouts of Travis Walton was the subject of television coverage and nationwide news stories. When Walton was finally found, he and his team were subjected to integration and lie detector tests, all if which they passed. In 1993, a major film titled Fire In The Sky was released about the abduction events. […]

Read more »

Read More

The Singer’s Hybrid Daughter -Pt 1-

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+’://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);
Bookmark and Sharevar addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true};

The Singer's Hybrid Daughter -Pt 1-

Excerpt from The Abductionist’s Wife: A Memoir


“Extraordinary…beautifully written…with a highly original, almost unbelievable story.”

– Candy Schulman, author of essays and articles, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Newsweek, and the book Lost and Found.

Author’s Note
     It seems timely now, in this era of frighteningly extreme beliefs, to make public my own personal story of how even the unlikeliest person can find herself drawn to enter into an extreme belief system. How she gets caught up in its mythic power, becomes part of the community, and finally, faces the painful fact that she must leave it and people she loves behind. What are the forces that collude to cause a thoroughly modern, educated woman like me to embrace such an unconventional set of beliefs as that of alien abduction and UFOs? It would be easy to explain away by blaming it on my falling in love with and marrying the charismatic leader of this community at the far edges of society. But it’s more than that. There’s a deeper reason, even, than love.
Carol Rainey

Carol Rainey
The UFO Trail
2-5-16

Carol Rainey at work, 1994
Author at work, 1994
As I write this unfinished memoir, poking at the past a little every day, it is extraordinarily difficult to tell you – or to understand myself — what happened to me inside that chaotic, exciting, almost cultish environment for well over a decade. Just as somebody entering thick woods might pick up a sturdy stick, I picked up my video camera to help me understand the beliefs of my husband and the victims who came to him for counsel and hypnosis. Making the film only drew me closer into his investigations, case by case. I saw how a UFO researcher actually did his recovered memory work; not what he said he did. If I questioned his methods or what seemed like a willingness to believe almost anything, that temerity landed me on the enemies list. Days later, we wouldn’t be able to keep our hands off each other. It was the most madly in love, rage-filled, crazy-making, tumultuous relationship of my life.

Some readers may dismiss my story for that very reason. The angry ex-wife…motives…too close for objectivity. But there is no one else to tell this story. On a day-to-day basis, abduction researchers work alone, with no peer review and no one to double-check their methods and ethics.i It was only the abductionist’s wife who saw, first-hand, how researchers could and did shape the alien abduction narrative they wanted — the terrifyingly invisible alien takeover of the planet and the human species. It is my hope that The Abductionist’s Wife digs far below the surface of the UFO community to reveal the compulsion and complexities of any belief. What I want to offer is a poignant, but clear-eyed story about a great love gone awry in a tangled, emotionally taut search for answers to a human mystery.

****

The events in this excerpt occurred early on in our marriage. “The Singer’s Hybrid Daughter” involved two fragile and volatile people, a case that I found particularly disturbing. Pseudonyms are used for the singer and her daughter, as well as for Linda Cortile. All other events and people are depicted as I remember them, aided by personal journals, correspondence, planning calendars, emails, and extensive audio and video.

Serious inquiries from publishers are welcome.

One late afternoon in the winter of 1997, snow began falling all over Manhattan. Not much at first, barely four or five inches, but rumors of a coming snowstorm cast a spell over the city. I was headed home up Seventh Avenue, arms full of groceries, delighted as a child to be out in the fresh falling snow. For a brief moment in time, New York seemed to have been draped in reams of shimmering white silk. Everything had become equally beautiful, simple and pure – a sculpture in the park, potholes, a bus-stand, gargoyles in the architecture. The surprised city forgot its city-ness. Traffic thinned to almost nothing; yellow taxis crept along. Avenues and streets grew hushed and the trees that lined them made pale, blunt shapes with their boughs. I’d only been living here for two years and had never seen the city like this, so still and quiet. It seemed in a rare mood for listening.

Blizzard on West Sixteenth Street
Blizzard on West Sixteenth Street

I thought: This is the kind of enchantment that happens in fairy tales, when the world suddenly turns strange and the girl wandering in the woods somehow knows that her life is about to change. It needed to; it must.

I juggled the bags for balance and twisted to look back through a scrim of falling snow. A single set of footprints trailed behind me. They were dark holes punched in the snow, like bullet holes in a wedding gown. At the sight of those lone footprints, I felt joy begin to leak out of me. It was for the promise of a true partnership that I’d taken the chance of marrying again. But, so far, even as recently as last night, evidence suggested that I might have been an idealistic fool.

A middle-aged broad with a middle-school girl’s swoony notion of a couple’s side-by-side stroll through marriage. Sad, sad, sad.

On West Sixteenth Street, I let myself into the lobby of the modest two-family brownstone that Budd had owned and shared, before me, with two earlier wives and a now-grown daughter. There were signs of these women all through the house. Hanging here in the hallway, for instance, his daughter Grace’s abstract photographs, so like her father’s canvasses – vibrant with color, intentionally flat, and devoid of the human figure. In that same hallway laid a woven wool rug of cerise and green stripes that was made by Wife #1 sometime in the sixties. I thought it looked dated and homely, but Budd liked things to stay as they were. The heavy snow slid down off my hair and coat, forming a dark pool of water on the rug.

And here she stands now, poor thing, hemorrhaging enchantment all over the ugly rug.

I considered my immediate options. If I went downstairs now, we’d probably run into each other – two people who’d barely spoken all day – and I’d know he still hadn’t forgiven me for the question I’d asked last night. The injustice of that would then trigger the anger I’d been so good (so far) at keeping under wraps. Oh, what a volatile pair, the two of us!

Rainey and Hopkins Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 1996
Rainey and Hopkins Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 1996 
But my half-finished video segment about the Brooklyn Bridge abduction was calling. I headed down to my studio, following the twists and turns of the hallway, remembering how well the plan started out. I’d left behind in Boston a long career in producing well-funded films about science so I’d have the freedom to make my own films and to marry Budd. Still blissed-out newly-weds, we’d been so charged by that sense of kinship with the other, we’d work around the clock, seven days a week, on the mysterious phenomenon that Budd had already devoted twenty-five years of his life to investigate.

For reasons I didn’t yet fully understand, the fragmented memories of the people Budd called “abductees” had fascinated me from the start. Most seemed quite sane and sincere – which proved nothing, of course, about the physical reality of their experiences. When someone tells you, however haltingly, that they’ve been snatched from a picnic or a nice warm bed by five or six humanoid creatures, then floated through walls and placed on a table in a round, domed room – it’s not so easy to suspend your disbelief and wait to see how the fuller story unfolds.

A scar, often called a “scoop mark,” photographed on the leg of an alleged alien abductee

They’d roll up their pants legs and reveal scars that might have been made by scalpels; they’d brought snapshots of a large circular burn in the field next to their house. Innately more skeptical than my husband, I simply couldn’t explain what had happened to the people who were here to consult with Budd. But the abductees saw that my interest in them was genuine and so trusted me to document their stories. It pleased me, too, to watch the way my artist husband worked with them. You might have thought he was a pastor, this silver-haired, attentive man. It was his unusual combination of humor, fatherly compassion, and complete acceptance that provided these baffled and angry people with the safest of places for saying the craziest things.

Our plan had been this: I’d begin the production phase of a documentary about my husband’s strange work, while Budd would carry on as usual, bringing in new individuals for initial interviews and hypnosis sessions. I’d shoot with him every step of the way, knowing that I’d end up not using most of this early footage. I’d bide my time until Budd would zero in on one individual’s story, the way he’d done with Linda Cortile (Witnessed) and Kathie Davis (Intruders). Both of these women had complex narratives that Budd had turned into influential and popularly successful books.

But after fourteen months, I was getting concerned. What if we continued like this for another year – even two or three years? There didn’t seem to be any end in sight, no goal we were moving toward. If only I could make out a method or specific process in the way Budd worked with new people! There was rarely, if ever, any second, third or fourth session with the people I had on tape – over forty individual cases, so far. They were all “one-offs,” still at the anecdote level: a first interview, followed by a single hypnosis session. Then goodbye and good luck and we rarely saw a single one of them again. Meanwhile, all production costs were coming out of my own pocket. The nature of the subject matter itself made my movie a funding pariah to foundations and state arts organizations. Add in the sad truth that low-budget indie docs rarely returned a profit and you just might feel my growing panic. Goodbye, my life-savings! Hello, my dread future as a bag lady.

Possible new witness to Cortile abduction, 2003
Possible new witness to Cortile abduction, 2003
Silly me, I’d had visions of shooting fly-on-the-wall, detective-style scenes with Budd as he investigated a particular story. The viewer would be compelled go along with him, following this intelligent man’s obsession to pin down a phenomenon that delighted in thumbing its nose at anyone who tried to do that. But viewers would see that Budd Hopkins was an extraordinary man, one with a reputation of having come closer to touching that mystery than anyone else had. Everybody loved a good story, especially a convincingly scary paranormal tale, and Budd knew how to tell this one with exceptional conviction. The film would build in power and suspense as the investigator explored the where, when, and why of his subject’s reported abductions. He’d draw out family members and friends, each of them shining light on a different facet of the story.

Over dinner last night, I’d explained my production worries to Budd. I was genuinely baffled, I said, puzzled about what he was looking for: “What criteria do you use to select that one person whose abduction experiences you want to investigate?”

I’d been taken aback by his instant reaction. He stopped eating, pushed back from the table and said he wouldn’t sit here pretending to have a nice dinner with his wife, when he was actually being attacked. He left the apartment so abruptly that I remember my mouth open to respond but he was gone before any words emerged. Later, looking from the kitchen across the rooftop garden, I could see him in his studio writing-loft, banging away on the keyboard. I was sorry to have caused such turmoil and turned the question this way and that in my mind to see what disturbance it held. I couldn’t put my finger on it. The question had been logical; my tone genuinely puzzled.

After a while, I gave up and read myself to sleep. In the morning, a three-page typed letter lay folded on my nightstand. In it, he said I constantly discouraged and disempowered him with my “innocent-seeming” questions. That I clearly knew nothing about research, which must always begin as an exploration with no known outcome in sight. From here on out, he ordered, it was essential that I not interfere with the exploratory phase of his research.

The letter set me back on my heels. What could a person do with such condescension, bordering on contempt? He knew full well that I’d come to New York, to this house, straight from years of making films with epidemiologists. He knew that the scientists and I had co-written dozens of hefty proposals to the National Institutes of Health – and that we’d been awarded a high percentage of them. If he’d ever read one of the proposals, he’d have seen the way we developed hypotheses and designed the study; reviewed similar research in the field; described the goals of our own project; and wrote protocols for collecting data and protecting our research subjects. The section I most loved was always this one: “Describe how your research [and related film] will advance knowledge in the field.” Imagine actually doing that – or trying to! There was something sacred, really, about a person’s desire to add even one true thing to the body of human knowledge.

Hopkins writes in loft during snowstorm, 1997
Hopkins writes in loft during snowstorm, 1997

Reading Budd’s letter to me was unsettling, disturbing on several levels. My right to question him was certainly the front and center issue, but was he actually denying that my very recent past life in the academic and scientific worlds had ever happened? Or did he mean that whatever I thought I knew about mainstream research was utterly meaningless when facing a phenomenon this enormous and mysterious and menacing? Or that only a select few investigators like he and David Jacobs knew how to “ask the right questions” about alien abduction? Or that they were “the only two people in the world who really knew what was going on” in this silent, largely unseen invasion of the planet by alien forces? They did say things like that to each other. Often, in fact. But if that’s what he meant, he should say that, not make seemingly factual statements about the questioner, me, that almost made me doubt my own sanity.

Gaslighting. Such a strange old word to come floating into my head. But I couldn’t recall what it meant.

In the lower studio, I went quickly past the long wooden staircase that led up to Budd’s studio – then turned around, went back and stood at the base. Okay, I could let the evening drag on with both of us miserable….or I could send out a white dove to test the waters, so to speak. Misery or the dove?

I called out: “The snow’s still falling, Budd! And the city seems so strange. Why don’t we go out for dinner? Make an adventure of it?”

From upstairs, the silence stretched on just long enough to suggest that he was still angry at me. But then my husband, handsome, silver-haired and grave, was standing at the top of stairs. He seemed to be looking down at me from a great distance. “It will have to be inexpensive,” he said.

As if that was news! I said I knew just the place.

Half an hour later, we were slipping and sliding on unshovelled walks toward a Jamaican joint on Greenwich Avenue, a few blocks away. Snow was falling more heavily now. City snowplows were missing in action and most of the shops had closed. It was so hard not to fall that Budd and I were forced to grab onto each other. We stopped to take in the utterly surreal sight of three cross-country skiers in high-end wilderness apparel making their way up a deserted Seventh Avenue. That gave me an idea. I grabbed a garbage can lid, took a running start on a downhill slope and jumped on. The saucer spun me around and around, gaining velocity, before it crashed into a mailbox. Here came Budd on a sheet of cardboard, zipping right past, a big grin on his face. It was this man’s constant buzz of energy that had first drawn me to him, already sixty-five when we met. We shot the avenue’s downhill slope again and again, competing to be the one who’d slide the greatest distance. In the course of all that silliness, breathless action and flirting with danger, the tensions of yesterday’s accusations and hurt fell away. We helped each other struggle through the drifts without falling, which involved a lot of body contact and touching. Any fool who had eyes could see that both of us were relieved to be back in love again. That’s the way it went with us: one day, we’d be in despair, in a fury; and the next, unable to keep our hands off each other.

The “Day-O” was a relic of old Greenwich Village, a downscale ethnic restaurant that featured coconut lampshades, metallic paint, and loud soul music, but the price was right and the food was good. Waiting for our grilled shrimp and coconut rice, Budd sipped his evening Scotch and warmed my frozen hands in his own. He told me he had a promising lead on a new case, a couple from Ohio he’d spoken to today. I told him about the documentary scene I’d just rough-cut. It was barely a fragment of the convoluted Witnessed case, Budd’s latest and most controversial book yet, claiming over twenty witnesses. At conferences and to book reviewers, he consistently referred to it as the “UFO case of the century,” while I carefully refrained from commentary on the uses and abuses of hyperbole.

Linda Cortile talks of her fear of security agent Dan
Linda Cortile talks of her fear of security agent Dan

Months earlier, I’d filmed the heroine of the story, Linda “Cortile,” in my studio. I’d seated her in front of a monitor with videotape playing on a loop. Poised and immaculately groomed as usual, Linda hadn’t a shade of reluctance about being on camera. She flipped her heavy brunette tresses back over the right shoulder, turning a now unobstructed face toward me. She explained how she’d come to be screening six hours of recorded television coverage of the 1991 international peace negotiations going on at the United Nations. It was a long shot, but she hoped to spot the two elusive federal agents, known only to Budd (and to readers) as “Richard” and “Dan.” They’d written to him about the early morning events of November 30, 1989, when they said they witnessed Linda’s abduction out of her 12th story apartment and into a glowing red UFO that hovered over her building down near the Brooklyn Bridge. In their car that night, they added, was another witness, an international VIP they were protecting. Budd based much of his book’s narrative on the traumatized men’s letters and Linda’s hypnotic recall of events. Although they refused to ever meet with Budd, the men’s fascination with Linda drove them to repeatedly pursue and abduct her for questioning. If anyone were an ideal candidate to identify the two men, it would be Linda.

The waiter brought our dinners and Budd asked how Linda did on camera. I said she’d been surprisingly capable at re-enacting the emotional, gut response she’d had when her tormentor Dan, against all odds, suddenly appeared on the screen. In fact, like a pro hitting her mark, she’d given me three or four slightly different re-enactments to choose from.

Linda identifies Dan at the United Nations, 1991
Linda identifies Dan at the United Nations, 1991
Linda’s hand had shot forward, her long fingernail rapping the monitor. “There he is!…There he is, like an eagle. Look at those eyes! He was a very cold, mean person.” She’d pointed out a tall, stern-looking, classically handsome man in a suit, striding quickly along a corridor of the United Nations, alongside Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar. The way his eyes darted left and right, non-stop, he certainly seemed to be guarding the VIP.

Budd nodded, pleased. “I’ve always said that making a positive ID like that certainly speaks directly to Linda’s credibility. If somebody was pulling a hoax, they’d never risk pointing at a photograph and saying: ‘That man is definitely Dan, the one I’ve been telling you about.’ Think how easy it would be to prove she was a liar!”

In the interest of sustaining our harmony, I kept my thoughts to myself: But if these men, “Richard” and “Dan,” really did work for one of the federal intelligence agencies, it was quite likely that their actual names and job titles were fully protected from being disclosed to anyone.

My own research had turned up “The Intelligence Identities Protection Act,” passed by Congress in 1982. It had established criminal penalties for unauthorized disclosure of information that identified U.S. intelligence agents.1 2 3 Clearly, Budd himself wasn’t familiar with the Act, although he’d discovered that local security agencies played their cards close to the chest. I wondered if Linda, with an ear much more attuned to popular culture, had known that intelligence agents were protected from identity disclosure? Might it have been a plot point in the television programs she watched or in the many mid-list novels she read? If Linda knew that, then she’d know that making a “positive ID” of Dan posed no risk at all to her. Budd could approach a hundred federal agencies, waving “Dan’s” photograph, and never find out a thing.

Dinner and the night out had been an oasis of time for us to purely enjoy each other again. A place apart from a home that sometimes felt to me like Grand Central Station for all of ufology – not only for abductees, but for other researchers, writers, journalists, foreign visitors, and camera crews. By the early 1990s, it was clear that UFOs had captivated the public’s imagination and, right behind them, the media — and they all came calling on Budd Hopkins, eventually. Reluctantly, I stood to leave while Budd retrieved our coats. Then we heard his name shouted from across the room. A woman’s voice, volume at full throttle. Not your usual restaurant etiquette, even for the Day-O. A stout woman I didn’t know was waving Budd over to her table. She seemed to have materialized straight out of the anti-fashion ‘seventies, liberated from make-up and the tyranny of fitness and style. This woman had a fuzzy ball of big hair topping a plump, bespectacled face. Latching onto Budd’s arm with great affection, the woman was bursting to tell him some news.

“Listen, Budd, there’s been a major development with the kid. Something freaky as hell.”

People at nearby tables glanced over. Budd leaned in closer, a subtle suggestion to hold her voice down. But this woman had no patience for subtleties. Her voice raised a few more decibels.

“I’ve been meaning to call….Budd, you’re the only one who’s really gonna get it!” She drew in a great breath. “Not one of her doctors can explain what’s happening to Julia. They don’t have a friggin’ clue!”

Now diners on the other side of the room were sneaking a discreet look, the way New Yorkers do when they spot a celebrity out in public but would rather die than reveal their uncoolness quotient by staring.

Budd quickly moved to contain the situation. I felt his arm encircle my shoulders, pulling me forward. The wife in her body-blocking role! Make way for the abductionist’s wife! I was used to it by now. In those first years when we were madly taken with each other, I’d been both pleased and embarrassed at the openness of Budd’s elation. Whether it was at his friend’s book-signing party in George Plimpton’s apartment or at a summer art opening in Provincetown, he always had one arm around my shoulders, steering me from one group of old friends to the next.

He’d say to each of them what he said now: “Arlene, this is my wife, Carol. The one I thought I’d never find. My soul mate.” Each time, he flashed that Hopkins bad boy grin and added: “The third time, we finally got it right!”

Arlene beamed, genuinely happy for us. She struggled to her feet and gave me a hug that was the real thing, a squeezing, rocking big old body hug. I had no idea who she was to Budd. But she wanted me to know that she’d come to see him ten years ago and that he’d helped her “discover some mind-blowing shit.” This husband of mine, she said, had saved her friggin’ life.

Okay, now I understood. One of Budd’s earlier abductees, someone he worked with years before I’d moved to New York in the spring of ‘95.

That evening in the restaurant, I’d seen Arlene as a drama-queen, a cut-up, a fat, foul-mouthed broad. I liked her immediately. I liked anyone who spoke straight from the gut, no filters. She seemed to approve of me, too, saying I had to come meet her daughter. Would I do that? She persisted until I said yes, we’d be glad to come.

“Then get ready to have your hair blown back,” she warned me. Swiveling to Budd, she added: “These are medical records you’re going to want to see, m’dear.”

I saw something flare briefly in his eyes when the woman said “medical records” – and I saw that she glimpsed it, too. Maybe she’d intended this reaction, set him up somehow. I knew nothing of their history together or what the child meant to Budd. Such a great talker and storyteller, my husband had filled me in on the back-stories of literally hundreds of abductees he’d worked with. But there’d never been mention of an “Arlene.” He glanced at his watch, exclaimed it had gotten so late and when he looked up again, the earlier flare of interest had been tamped down into an air of detachment.

“That would be great.” He concentrated on holding my coat for me. “Listen, lady, if we can find a free spot on the calendar, we’ll take a drive over – You could show the records to Carol while we’re there. She’s made quite a few films with scientists and doctors. She understands the lingo.”

You could almost call that an apology….

Out on Sixth Avenue, I asked what that had been all about. We were walking through old Greenwich Village, past the Waverly diner, its iconic red neon sign a bit bedraggled; past the old guys at the West 4th Street subway stop who’d set up folding tables under the shine of street lamps and laid out their used books and music to sell, snow or no snow. The clanking plows were out in force now – bullies and thieves – re-claiming the avenues for vehicles. Sturdy Latino men and boys, the brawn employed by many shop owners, had scooped hobbit-sized pathways through the drifts. It was a sorry business, really, watching how quickly the city gave up the ghost of its fairytale interlude.

Budd said it was his usual Mexican standoff with this woman. Every couple of years or so, Arlene got in touch, promising him the girl’s medical records, but something always came up so she couldn’t hand them over. It made him angry to talk about it. He knocked the still falling snow out of his hair. “Arlene’s a difficult woman, but she’s not stupid. She knows full well that the stakes are huge!”

“Really?” My pulse quickened. The pursuit of a cosmic mystery, I’d discovered, had a familiar addictive quality about it. In recovery from intoxicating substances for many years now, I remembered quite well that heightened sense of being alive, a rush, a buzzing in the blood. You grew convinced that any day now, just around the corner, some experiencer would show up and present us with a piece of material evidence that definitively proved the existence of aliens and their superior aircraft. If it weren’t the person in my viewfinder right now, it would be the one right around the next corner, or the one after that. Any day now, it would happen – if you just kept at it. You felt compelled to break that mystery open, even just a crack. Press your eye to it and you’d get a glimpse of something grand, a sideways slice of the cosmos, an exaltation of patterns that made up our everything.

I asked to be brought up to speed on the significance of Arlene and her daughter.

“You do know who she is, don’t you? Arlene Love?”4

“Never heard of her.”

Budd’s bushy dark brows shot up and he peered over to see if I was kidding. “Arlene Love, the star who shot to the top and made the cover of ‘Rolling Stone?’”

I shook my head.

He named a certain song, evidently quite popular, and asked if I knew it. Arlene’s break out song.

Plymouth Brethren in Illinois, 1952 (Carol’s family)
Plymouth Brethren in Illinois, 1952 (Carol’s family) 

I shook my head again. We’d apparently stepped into another one of the many black holes in my knowledge of popular culture. Each time he encountered one, Budd fumed about my Midwestern Plymouth Brethren family, calling them “religious extremists who seal off their kids from the world so they can brainwash them.” Once, I’d have been pleased to beat that drum right alongside him. But over time my feelings about my strict upbringing had grown more nuanced and complex – more aware of my own role in bringing down the curse of banishment and a long exile from family and community. It seemed impossible, though, that I’d ever be able to fill in all that cultural missing time. Cut off from most “worldly people,” television, movies, radio, novels, magazines, parties, dancing, and the aforementioned intoxicating substances, you’d have to concede that I’d missed some rather large chunks of ‘fifties and ‘sixties popular culture.

“Now you’re making me feel all Amish,” I complained.

“Oh, baby,” he said, reaching for my hand, “I can definitely take care of your Amish condition.”

“I’ll bet you can,” I said, flirting right back. He was a big hand-holder, this sweet man who had eighteen years on me. I told him the only way he could redeem himself was to tell me the whole story about this singer.

That was like tossing a Frisbee to a retriever. A born storyteller like Budd didn’t hesitate to seize the invitation. He launched into the dramatic arc of Arlene Love’s tragic rise and fall in the music industry. A singer with almost no formal training, she’d been gifted with an extraordinary vocal range – a contralto with a bluesy growl, capable of sweeping over four octaves. That sound had made her extremely, yet fleetingly famous in the 1970s. She’d been on the cover of Rolling Stone, sang hits with Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt, appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist. Her first album went gold and she’d entertained presidents and kings. Then she gave birth to a severely handicapped daughter and rumor had it that Arlene had gone a little mad. Her career took a steep dive and never recovered. She went from those early glory days to full time caregiver for Julia, a child so profoundly malformed and brain damaged that many people said she should have been institutionalized. The star fell and was lucky these days to get gigs doing commercials. It was during one of the terrible downswings in her life that Arlene had first come to see him.

At home, Budd rummaged in our merged record collection, pulling out one of Arlene’s earliest albums. “There’s a UFO on the cover!” I exclaimed. Budd smiled and dropped the vinyl LP on the turntable. I turned up the volume and we stood there listening, touching, swaying to the rhythm.

It was a lilting, guitar-based song. It was rumored that she’d written it for a married lover. Before we’d met, Budd and I had each endured our own times of love lost, pain and longing. In Arlene’s voice, we felt the authenticity and regret of that bluesy passion in our very bones. It made us wrap our arms around each other and dance the length of the faded Oriental carpet.

2.

Two weeks went by and the brief encounter with Arlene Love had faded into the background of more pressing problems at home. I was only hearing about them now — the alarming debt Budd had been kicking down the road for years; and the hazardous conditions of the one hundred year old house we lived in. Frazzled wiring cried out for attention by sometimes creating small fires that broke out inside the walls of the house. The insurance company, at one point, refused to renew the building’s policy until the falling down chimney, another fire hazard, was repaired. But nothing was done, so the building went uninsured. On this particular day, I’d just paid a carpenter out of my own account to replace the full set of tall but leaky windows that ran the length of my studio’s rear wall. They let in sunlight and air all year around; in warmer weather, I could step over one windowsill and sit out back in the narrow garden I’d started there. When one of the lower studio’s old floorboards caved in, you could reach down with one finger and touch the rocky earth of old Manhattan. It was the one place in the house where I felt safe – literally grounded.

Overhead, I could hear Budd making end-of-workday sounds. He’d been painting earlier, small collages with paper and acrylics, and now his chair rolled over to the phone machine where he’d listen to his messages. Our studios were separated by only a rough wooden floor and I couldn’t help hearing them too. A man reporting a triangle of lights hovering over his house; he was sending video. A woman anxious for advice – her five-year-old said that little people came through the window at night. People hopeful of booking a hypnosis session with Budd. A plea to hold another abductee support group. The PR woman from Simon & Schuster with more radio programs for him to do.

Then came a very different message, a full-throated voice that soared right out of the phone machine, swelled up into the rafters, and poured down the old wooden stairs into my studio. It was Arlene Love’s rough contralto, belting out: “Hey-hey-hey, Budd, are you and Carol still coming over for drinks this afternoon? Left a coupla messages for you, never heard back. But you’re not going to believe your eyes when you see this fucking kid. I swear, Budd, it has to be something they’re doing to her. Come see for yourself!” She let out a final chord that was a whoop combined with a moan and then wrapped it.

Budd came clattering down the stairs, wild-eyed. “Honey, oh god,” he said. “Can you believe it? Arlene Love just called and wants us to be in Jersey at six, I think it is. Forty minutes from now–” He was jittery and rushed, pulled abruptly out of the day’s dream of color romancing shape.

He forgets to write down some appointments, but never admits it. I sighed, put my arms around him and leaned my head on his chest. “Yeah, I heard her.” His neck still smelled sweet from this morning’s shower, an odor now mixed with acrylic paint and glue-stick. Budd hugged me back, dropped a kiss on the top of my head and was gone, a bird on the wing. Headed up to the second floor apartment. He could sure move fast, for a sixty-seven year old man with a bad leg from childhood polio.

“You better give her a call!” I cried after him, rapidly recalibrating my own plans for the evening. I’d reserved a seat at a screening where a director I admired would speak afterwards. A sharp tang of regret stung my palate. I hated to give up the screening, but Budd had asked me for help with Arlene and the missing medical records. I have to confess that Arlene’s case intrigued me, maybe for the same reason it had kept a grip on Budd’s hopes for so long: the once-famous singer and her damaged child would make one hell of a story!

I would go with him tonight and ask for more consideration, please, in giving me advance notice of such events. Three years in, I still hadn’t gained the art of living gracefully in the middle of a whirlwind. On any given day or night, you couldn’t predict who might turn up on the doorstep: a camera crew, a sheriff’s deputy, or a prince from a far-away land. It was a way of being that Budd seemed to thrive on. I definitely did not thrive on this level of anxiety or the sudden reversal of all your plans. Evidently, if you were the abductionist’s wife, you shouldn’t expect to have any plans at all, other than being a happy camper on the support team for “the most important discovery in human history.”

Speakers from 1999 UFO conference in New York
Speakers from 1999 UFO conference in New York
3.

An hour late, we pulled up to Arlene’s building in a New Jersey city across the river from Manhattan – one of those many bland, nondescript high-rises built in the ‘fifties. As the elevator rose, Budd squeezed my hand, always pleased to be able to introduce me to somebody whose art I respected. “I’m going to get the daughter’s medical records from Arlene tonight,” he assured me. “For ten years, she’s been promising to give them to me…”

“What if she doesn’t?”

He let go of my hand. “Then there’s nothing else I can do with her case! I’m not going out on a limb if she’s not willing to back me up with proof.”

“Sounds reasonable. But I’m not certain what you want to prove.”

“It’s not the time to get into that.” Budd didn’t feel like talking about it anymore. A bell clanged, the door slid open directly into Arlene’s apartment, and he grinned, back to his old genial self. “Here we are!” He pulled me forward quickly.

And there was Arlene, beaming and moon-faced. She hugged us each in turn against her belly, sloshy as the waterbeds so loved by her fans back in the day. Her cloud of curly dark hair brushed my face like steel wool. Dark moles spotted her face, magnified under those unfashionably large spectacles. I’d forgotten just how loud and brash her normal speaking voice was.

“I swear, Hopkins, you’d stand up the goddamn Pope.”

“No, no, I didn’t forget, did I, honey?” He pulled me in close to be his false witness. “It was a hectic day, one thing after another, and I lost track of time.”

Hopkins working on Witnessed
Hopkins working on Witnessed

Arlene jabbed me with an elbow. “Next thing you know, this guy’ll be handing us some bullshit about ‘missing time.’”

We all laughed. Arlene clearly felt affection for Budd, as most of the abductees did. I teased him that it was because he reminded people of their fathers, or of fathers they wished they’d had. A silver-haired, generally sweet-tempered father, a natural-born raconteur, an intelligent man who loved the arts, and leaned left in all the right ways. An aging father, but one whose energy rarely flagged and who would sit down, give you his undivided attention for two hours, and seriously consider any crazy-sounding, illogical thing you’d come to tell him.

“Come in. Entrée, entrée! Missing time or not, I’m just friggin’ glad you’re here to share her with me!”

Arlene led us into a modest-sized living room that was plumply filled with round-edged, overstuffed furniture, all in beiges and browns. It was like a rabbit’s nest, one lined by the doe with fur plucked from her own belly. A place to fall down in and not get hurt. It was as utilitarian and unpretentious as Arlene herself.

Budd placed both hands on Arlene’s shoulders and stooped a bit to look directly into her eyes. He said he worried when he hadn’t heard from her for a long time.

“We have been away, my friend. I found two really fabulous doctors in this Mexican alternative clinic. Great big promises, right? They did alternative this and alternative that with Julia. They tested her up the wazoo, but medically? They did jackshit. Still, that kid kept amazing them. Things that are friggin’ impossible, scientifically! The medical team couldn’t believe it. I’ll show you their reports.”

Budd said yes, he wanted to see them. “But I’m not one whit surprised that you’re still Julia’s greatest advocate.”

“I’m in love with this child,” Arlene said, shrugging, with a big grin. “As simple as that.”

Budd glanced up, catching movement in the dimly lit hall coming from the bedrooms. Arlene turned, saw what Budd saw. And her normally loud voice grew louder, almost heraldic. This mother’s voice, announcing the coming of her damaged child, carried an undertone of golden trumpets and strings.

“Here she comes! Isn’t she beautiful?”

I turned around, a little too fast for polite. Unexpectedly, I was terribly afraid to meet this eighteen-year-old girl. There’d been so much hushed talk about multiple deformities and extreme brain damage, that I dreaded seeing an unbearably grotesque version of a human youngster. One whose own mother had hinted that the girl was only partly human. I wasn’t entirely clear where Budd stood on that question.

The girl wobbling down the hall toward us was small, her frail body topped with a head that seemed disproportionately large. Her spine curved sideways, turning her chest into a shallow bowl. Her pale face was strikingly triangular, with large dark eyes set so far apart they seemed mounted on the sides of her head. A small, flat nose made barely a bump above a long upper lip. Her ears were so low-set, I half-expected them to pivot backwards like a dog’s. Everything about Julia seemed crooked, out of sync, like she’d been cut out of the same basic material as other people, but the parts had been glued together wrong. She didn’t look like any human being I’d ever seen.

Budd and I were both stunned into silence. He’d only met Arlene’s daughter briefly, years earlier. The girl’s jolting gait came to a stop in front of us, her head low and swaying. “Say hello to our friends, sweetheart,” Arlene said.

Julia fell against me. I felt her skeletal arms surround me and her head wedged itself under my chin. Ashamed I wasn’t ready for this closeness, I gave her an awkward hug back. She didn’t quite see me, or maybe she saw two of me. One eye pointed east, the other tugged west. The movement of her eyeballs was not a smooth, continuous turning. Sunk in large, dark sockets, her hazel eyes jerked past me like digital video, in tiny mechanical jolts.

She wavered over to bump her dark, curly head against Budd’s chest. Arlene was quite pleased. “She remembers you, Budd, you see that?” Budd looked uncertain about that. This girl with low-slung ears that could not hear, who had only learned to walk at sixteen, and had never spoken a word – who could say what she remembered?

Budd seemed so oddly disconcerted that my heart went out to him. In his last two books, Intruders and Witnessed, he’d written about people with abduction experiences who, under hypnosis, recalled how the “beings from elsewhere” had presented them with their hybrid, half-alien children aboard a craft. These recollections emerged damply out of hypnotic regression, wet with tears. The experiencers had to leave the hybrid children behind. I’d always mentally filed these reports in my “Maybe/Maybe Not” box. It held all things that were hypothetically possible, but that lacked any material evidence. Now one of Budd’s abductees had presented him with an actual child-in-the-flesh instead of the theoretical ones he wrote about and he was clearly having a hard time taking it in. I slipped a hand into his elbow as we sat down.

Arlene thumped a thick album of photographs on the coffee table. Julia sat slumped sideways next to her mother. For the next hour, she was silent and immobile, except for two fingers that listlessly picked, picked, picked away at invisible lint.
“I want you to see what a goddam weird kid she was right from the start.”

Budd and I sat forward, fascinated at first, but with a growing sense of horror and sadness. In the first pages, Arlene showed off images of a newborn that could have sprung full-blown from the mind of David Lynch. This might be Eraserhead’s mewling child. Arlene’s insistence was that we look, not back off from what we were seeing. Her doughy body stretched, reached, and spread across the tabletop, never letting up. She kept doling out photos of a big-headed, listless baby with a face as flat as a dinner plate and nearly as featureless.

“Look, no lips to speak of…A little splat of a nose, almost not there. Like you-know-who, the little grey guys….And here, at fifteen months, see the long smooth upper lip, the turndown? That’s called a ‘fish mouth.’”

Arlene sorted quickly through a number of shots and then triumphantly produced the one she wanted. “Here’s the neck webbing she was born with. Like a little rhino or baby lizard. That really spooked people. You were just Momma’s little freak show, right, Stinky?”

Budd’s eyes met mine briefly. The whole scene made us both very uncomfortable. For one thing, Julia was sitting right there and her mother was going on as if she didn’t exist. When we’d first arrived, Arlene had let me know that she believed the girl was secretly and profoundly wise, preternaturally gifted even. I glanced over at Julia. The lint-picking mission was ongoing.

Hopkins talking with Rainey during production, 1995
Hopkins talking with Rainey during production, 1995

For one moment, I wondered and allowed the thought to grow: what if Julia was a genius, a super-being trapped inside that frail, droopy body? But something didn’t add up here. If Arlene really believed that her daughter was an über-genius, she’d hardly be making such brutally frank comments about her grotesqueness right in front of her. And if she had proof of something so extraordinary—in the form of medical records, say—then why hadn’t she long ago shown that evidence to Budd?

He was now shooting me a meaningful look. It was time for me to give it a try. But, without warning, everything in me resisted. Now that I was here, at the very center of the life these two were forced to share, all my desire to “investigate” Arlene’s abduction story had vanished. Like her, I’d been the single mother of a young daughter for many years. And for me, too, there had been those times when a pit yawns open in front of you and says: All is not right with your beloved girl. Our maternal experiences were similar – yet utterly different by orders of magnitude.

Stalling, my eyes followed the photographs that Arlene was slapping down in front of us like an expert blackjack dealer. One showed a young-ish man with big hair and bellbottoms, awkwardly holding the infant Julia. The camera’s flash had captured a glint of shamed panic in his eyes. With a red marker, someone, presumably Arlene, had scrawled a caption across the bottom: “O, Happy Man!”

I could feel Budd’s eyes on me. His leg was doing an anxious jig-jig-jig. Finally I managed a question: “Arlene, I’m sure you’ve taken Julia to a clinical geneticist or two. What was the diagnosis?”

“From the time this kid was born until just last year–” Arlene pounded the sofa for emphasis. “Nobody’s come up with a diagnosis. She’s been in and out of every hospital, every specialist’s office on the Eastern seaboard. Nobody in medicine has ever seen anything like the number of defects that Julia has. Twenty-one dysmorphologies! It’s one for the record books….But they can’t explain them. She doesn’t have Down syndrome, she doesn’t have Turner’s; she doesn’t have the usual ‘syndromes’—a fancy word for some kid that’s been born with a wackadoodle shit-load of major physical defects.”

“And none of those specialists could come up with a diagnosis?” Budd asked the question kindly, but I was surprised to hear a hint of doubt in his voice. Arlene picked up on it, too.

Her voice rose sharply: “Julia’s no textbook genetic fuck-up, Budd! That’s the whole point of you coming here to see her.”

From the moment we’d walked in the door, I’d sensed that Arlene had an agenda for the evening. It was as if she had seized an audience and intended to hold us hostage until she’d delivered herself of a shameless bid for…what, exactly?

“I’m sorry I don’t know the full story,” I said. “What do you mean? What’s ‘the whole point’?”

Arlene sat forward, focused and intense. “So you’ve got this kid who’s a complete mystery to the medical profession. But it gets wilder still. Fast forward to the present–to the insanely wonderful part of it. You listening, Budd?” Arlene was pleased to see that she had our full attention. “This kid’s genetic defects are being reversed! Yeah, I said ‘Reversed.’ Neuromuscular defects—she can walk now, she can hold up her own big head. Chronic edema of the hands and feet—gone. Bladder and bowel constrictions—greatly improved.” She turned to me. “You know it’s medically impossible to reverse shit like this, right?” I nodded. “They don’t have a clue how it’s happening.”

She closed the album with a thump and swung back to Budd. Her smile was broad and beatific, triumphant in its certainty. “But we know. We know why and we know how it’s happening, don’t we, Budd?”

My husband’s own smile was constrained, his voice quiet. I was relieved to see that he’d regained his footing. “Well, it’s something we can only speculate about….”

Arlene stared at him. Behind the thick glasses, her eyes seemed to bulge. “‘Speculate?’ Fuck that!” Her good humor suddenly went on the fritz. She glared at him, genuinely shocked. “You were right there with me the whole way! During those friggin’ long hypnosis sessions. On that puke green living room couch of yours. Bawling like a baby. ‘Waa-waa. Is she a bug? Oh, god, she’s one of them!’ Speculate?

Budd was kind, but firm. He reached over and covered both her hands with his own. “We can be fairly certain that the aliens—whatever, whoever they are–they were involved with you, Arlene. With you, from childhood on. But nobody can say for sure that they had anything to do with Julia.”

She glared at him again. “What the fuck? You said they did, Budd! I’m not making this stuff up.”

I was puzzled, my unease deepening by the minute. Somebody’s memory was terribly skewed. Whose? My aging husband completed the Times crossword puzzle every morning before getting out of bed. His memory, long-term and short-term, was extraordinary.

Budd stood his ground. “We only explored your early childhood experiences, Arlene. We didn’t get much further than that.”

“Bullshit. I must be losing my mind.” Arlene stared at him, then whirled and confronted me. “What, am I nuts, Carol? Do you think I’m a wack job?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Thank you very much! Because this is all that keeps me going.” She jabbed a forefinger skyward like a preacher implicating God. “What I found out with Budd about their intervention. I’ve been caring for this kid for so long, I got nothin’ left….The career, the man—long gone. It’s no picnic, I can tell you.”

“I can certainly understand that,” I said, trying to rally. “But Budd’s right—he needs you to provide him with documentation. Nobody’s going on record about genetic defects being reversed unless there’s solid, gold-star medical evidence for it. That would be a major scientific discovery!”

“Let Carol take the records home,” Budd urged. “Maybe there’s something the doctors overlooked.”

Arlene flipped back around to Budd. “Now you’re changing the subject. I guess there’s all kinds of games going on around here.” She stared at him in furious disbelief. “I’m really pissed off at you, Budd Hopkins. Unfuckingbelievable.”

His smile was sad, gentle, and charming all at once. “Arlene, I’m very sorry you’re angry. I just want to be straight with you about what happened.”

“Bullshit! That’s not being straight with me! It’s not what happened. For some reason, Hopkins, you want me to think I’m nuts! Making up stuff…” Arlene was struggling to get to her feet from the soft depths of the sofa. Her face was red and congested. Dislodged, Julia fell onto her side and began to squeal. Budd jumped up to help them, but Arlene waved him away.

“…That I’m nuts and don’t remember what happened. But I know this for a fact, Budd: This kid is proof positive that the grey guys make mistakes in this genetic game they’re playing with our silly little species. And she’s also proof positive that they can and will fix whatever they screw up. Do you read me loud and clear, Hopkins? They can fix her.”

Panting, Arlene planted her feet and glared at him one final time. Her daughter’s sounds of distress escalated and her hands flapped like the wings of a downed bird. Arlene bent down and lifted the girl up against her sturdy body, held her until the panic eased.

“Momma’s girl,” she crooned into the cap of curly dark hair so like her own. “Momma’s little freak show.”

4.

Everyone had been relieved when the evening had come to a rapid close. We’d left Arlene’s apartment shortly after Julia went into a second meltdown and needed to be taken to bed. On the way out, Budd had asked Arlene, one more time, if she’d mail us the medical records. She’d handed us our coats, yessed him, and said that she would. I was certain that she wouldn’t. The woman’s sense of betrayal was palpable.

It clung to us like a bitter odor on the trip back to the city. We were both quiet, each of us caught up in our own thoughts and turbulent emotions. Behind the wheel, Budd’s face was grim. I wished that I could offer sympathy for my husband’s discomfort—a touch or a word–but I suddenly dreaded finding out that some part of what Arlene accused him of might be true. If it was, if Budd had led this volatile woman to believe otherworldly beings were the cause of her child’s deformities and brain damage, he’d made a terribly self-serving call. If he had – he surely intended to push the envelope on what he believed was an historic discovery about alien intervention in the human gene pool. But in medical terms, Budd Hopkins was not qualified to diagnose even a case of measles in a child!

But there in Arlene’s apartment, Budd had been adamant: he denied and denied again that he’d ever made such a claim to Arlene.

Our silence lasted across the George Washington Bridge, with its elevated and northernmost view of Manhattan stretching to the right. The old blue Toyota shifted into the right lane and curved around and down, merging onto the Hudson River Parkway. With the roar of bridge traffic left behind, I broke the silence.

“I don’t understand what happened back there.”

Budd said ‘nothing happened.’ It was just Arlene being Arlene. She was a very difficult woman. He’d researched her case the way he did every other one: somebody has an experience, it disturbs their life, they come to him, and together they start to explore it through hypnotic regression. Perfectly routine. But, I countered, nothing about Arlene’s case seemed routine. I hesitated to say directly what it was that I most wanted him to explain away, but there was no way around it.

“She said you led her to believe that her daughter’s deformed because she’s a hybrid, a half-alien kid.”

“If there’s one thing you know, it’s that I do not lead people!” Now he was angry. The Toyota drifted into another lane. A horn blared. Budd jerked the wheel to the right and a red BMW shot past us on the left, doing ninety. Budd swore.

“Don’t get mad at me, please,” I said. “You asked me to be part of this and I’m trying to understand how the abduction investigation might have influenced Arlene’s care of her child. Maybe she ran wild with the idea of a cure all on her own. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I’m asking you.”

He didn’t seem inclined to answer. He stared ahead at the winding parkway.

“Budd, after the first half hour in that apartment, I felt sick about even being there…. Like we were a MUFON delegation on a field trip to a children’s cancer ward.”

“Oh, great. First, my work’s an abomination. Now it’s all a big joke.”

“Not at all. Hardly! Budd, you know I’ve always defended your right to work with abductees. But when people are as vulnerable as Arlene and Julia… Isn’t there a possibility for real damage? Please help me understand one thing – something so important to Arlene that she said it two or three times. She said you told her Julia’s condition was caused by alien intervention.”

He slapped the steering wheel. “I did no such thing! What is this third degree I’m getting from you?”

I looked out my passenger window at the silver river unfurling on the right, bearing along the gleaming facets of stars. After a moment, I said quietly: “Any time you don’t like the questions I ask, I always know that something’s wrong.”

Hudson River at dusk
Hudson River at dusk

Blogger’s Note

The work presented in both parts one and two of this post, including all written content and photos, is credited to Carol Rainey. I am pleased to provide a venue for it. – Jack Brewer

Endnotes:

i I do not count the small coterie of psychologists and academics who were groomed by the researcher to help him counter critics’ claims that he wasn’t qualified to do this work. These people were happy to be invited to the house once or twice a year and sit in on several hypnosis sessions with the researcher and one or two abductees he had pre-selected. He’d worked with them before; he knew how they’d respond. The credentialed observers had no knowledge about possible previous telephone or in-person contact between the two. Neither did they seem familiar with the substantial body of academic research regarding “the suggestive environment” and the influence of “context” on the creation of recalled memories. They left after this limited and staged presentation, believing they had witnessed the great man at work. They reported that they had observed no leading of subjects. There was nothing wrong with the researcher’s methodology.

1 NYTimes, June 11, 1982, “Bill to Penalize Uncovering of Agents Passed by Senate.”

2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_Identities_Protection_Act: The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (Pub.L. 97–200, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421426) is a United States federal law that makes it a federal crime for those with access to classified information, or those who systematically seek to identify and expose covert agents and have reason to believe that it will harm the foreign intelligence activities of the U.S.,[1] to intentionally reveal the identity of an agent whom one knows to be in or recently in certain covert roles with a U.S. intelligence agency, unless the United States has publicly acknowledged or revealed the relationship.[2]

3 CRS Report for Congress, Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, 7-5700, April 10, 2013. wwww.crs.gov. RS21636

4 Pseudonyms are used for both Arlene and her daughter Julia.

Acknowledgements

A deeply felt thank you to the following people for ongoing friendship, their trust in me to get it right, and intelligent feedback on this part of the memoir:

Jeremy Vaeni

Jeff Ritzmann

Jack Brewer

Tyler Kokjohn

Peter Brookesmith

Penelope Franklin

Ryan Harbage

Fred Thompson

Lynda Cooper

George Hansen

Marianne Macy

S.G. Collins

Read more »

Read More

Dr. Simon’s Position on Hill Abduction Isn’t New Revelation, Contrary To Forgery Claim

Dr. Simon's Position on Hill Abduction Isn't New Revelation, Contrary To Forgery Claim

It’s a “Forgery,” Marden Charges!!

By Robert Sheaffer
badufos.blogspot.com
1-2-15

     I frankly didn’t expect to get a lot of response to my posting of December 23, Dr. Simon Reveals his Real Thoughts on the Hill “UFO Abduction” Case. I scanned and posted a 48-page PDF of old letters and documents related to the case, most of them about 40 years old. In a sense, it did not reveal anything new, but merely added more detail to what we already knew: Dr. Benjamin Simon, the Hills’ psychiatrist, did not believe their story of having been abducted on board a flying saucer. I wrote about this as far back as 1981. It was also in my book UFO Sightings, published in 1998. Indeed, if you go all the way back to The Interrupted Journey (1966), the book that started it all, we find Dr. Simon saying [chapter 12] that he found the most tenable explanation for the abduction story to be that the dreams of Mrs. Hill had “assumed the quality of a fantasised experience.” In very diplomatic terms, he is saying, “I don’t buy it.” So the fact that Dr. Simon did not accept the abduction story is not exactly news, or at least it should not be to anyone carefully following both sides of this controversy. (We all know how few people that is.)

I realized that this ran counter to what Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece and heir to her celebrated Saucer Story, was saying. What I didn’t realize is how fiercely invested Marden is in preserving the illusion that Dr. Simon accepted all of the Hills’ account as being factual, including the abduction story.

On December 26, Marden wrote on her Blog, “Debunkers at it Again.” In it she says:

I received an email message from Andre Skondras on Christmas day informing me that debunker Robert Sheaffer, an associate of Philip Klass and longstanding member of CSI (formerly CSICOP) , had found a never before published letter allegedly written to Klass by Dr. Benjamin Simon. The letter dated March 1, 1976, was mailed by Klass to Betty in 1988. It spoke of Dr. Simon’s intent to “give the true story of the Betty and Barney Hill affair.” It is our opinion that Dr. Simon would not have stated that his untested, unproven conjectures were the truth. He was circumspect and professional in voicing his opinion. The intentions voiced in the letter would have been a violation of his contract with John Fuller and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality.

Of course, that confidentiality had already been breached, with permission, by the entire commercial enterprise exploiting the Hills’ account, including John Fuller’s 1966 book The Interrupted Journey, and by 1976 the NBC-TV movie dramatizing their account, The UFO Incident. Once a story gets that far out into the public eye, and questions arise about its interpretation, you can’t claim that further discussion constitutes a “violation.” Once the Hills’ sessions with Dr. Simon have become pillars of support for the pro-UFO abduction argument, you can’t release that information selectively.

But there was something in that letter even more upsetting (and ultimately threatening) to Marden’s enterprise than Dr. Simon’s skepticism about the abduction story. In his letter of March 1, 1976 to Philip J. Klass, Dr. Simon stated that “my interest in UFOs was almost entirely on the phenomenon of Barney Hill’s developing racial paranoia which seemed to me to have been the best representation on the matter I have seen.” But that was not Marden’s biggest problem. In the letter Dr. Simon writes:

the Today show [Oct. 20, 1975] was the first time I did this openly to the public at large [state his skepticism about the abduction account]. A few days later I did the same thing on the NBC TV station here, WBZ, which resulted in Betty telephoning and implying that I was lying when I said (what you have said in your book) that Betty’s sister [Marden’s mother] was much interested in UFOs and served as a stimulus, and that the idea of a true visitation had been suggested by her narration in the presence of her sister and her supervisor. She promptly telephoned WBZ and undoubtedly was looking for my appearances and affirmed that her sister was not interested in UFOs and that she had never told the story. Aside from the fact that this is a lie denying her own statements on the tapes we also received a letter from Betty’s mother proclaiming that while I have the right of free speech, I was telling lies abasing her beloved daughter! I revealed the entire story on an hour an a half radio show with Larry Glick.

So that is the true dark heresy, which cannot be admitted: that Betty’s sister was a UFO buff, and encouraged Betty’s fantasies. Every time this was mentioned, Betty Hill (and now Kathleen Marden) would pop up to deny it. But here we have Dr. Simon saying that it’s true.

Marden says that Klass sent a copy of the March 1 letter to him from Dr. Simon to Betty Hill in 1988. I do not know anything about that, but it does not surprise me. Klass and Mrs. Hill exchanged many letters, and he must have sent it along to prove a point he was trying to make. Marden continues:

I had thought about publishing the letter in my book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, with Stanton Friedman, but decided not to, due to uncertainty about the identity of the writer. Betty had marked “Forged Letter!” at the top of the letter.

Now, it does not surprise me one bit that Betty Hill had said such an absurd thing. Mrs. Hill wrote and said many absurd things, and not just about her famous UFO incident. Even Marden admits in her book Captured (p. 275), “After Barney’s death, she turned away from careful, objective evaluation, and with subjective enthusiasm began to identify any lights in the sky as UFOs.” Although as I showed in my review of this book in The Skeptical Inquirer (November/December, 2007), after Barney’s death was not the only time Betty Hill said absurd things about UFOs and aliens. There is much evidence of Betty making wild UFO claims with Barney sitting right beside her.

Taking complete leave of her senses, Marden joins in her aunt’s delusion:

I have had it and other letters that Dr. Simon wrote to Betty examined by several individuals, including three who were close to Dr. Simon, and all believe it is probably a forgery. The style and phraseology were not characteristic of Dr. Simon’s writing. An important piece of information is the fact that Dr. Simon signed a non-competition clause with John Fuller. He could not have legally written a book. It is doubtful that Klass would have known this. Dr. Simon was circumspect with regard to sharing his opinions about the Hill case, and it would have been highly uncharacteristic of him to opine or violate doctor-patient confidentiality.

Between the two of us, Marden and I have recently posted four letters from Dr. Simon, three from me (one of which she claims is a “forgery”), and one from her. As I understand it, she has clarified her claim to mean that only the letter if March 1 is a “forgery,” the others are genuine. If you’re inclined to believe her absurd claim, I urge you to compare the four letters. They are all very similar. None of them are “forgeries.”And in all of them, Dr. Simon maintains the same thing: he believed that the Hills had a “sighting” (as do I), but he believed that the abduction story was not real and came from Betty’s dreams. How did Barney learn about Betty’s dreams? Betty always maintained that she never told him about them. But as Dr. Simon explained on the Larry Glick show, Betty was telling the truth saying that she did not tell him directly. However “she did tell it in Barney’s presence [to Betty’s sister, and her supervisor], and that’s where he got it.”

And to settle the matter of Dr. Simon’s skepticism about the abduction story once and for all: you can go to the wonderful audio archive CEIV An Audio History Of Alien Abduction And Animal Mutilation 1957 1976 compiled by the well-known UFOlogist Wendy Connors. Click on track #21:

Betty Hill and Dr. Benjamin Simon are interviewed on the Today Show to promote the NBC TV movie, the UFO Incident, on October 25, 1975. 08:30

You will hear Dr. Simon describe the abduction account as a “fantasy,” and plainly state, “the abduction did not happen.”

Perhaps Ms. Marden will say that this recording is a “forgery,” too?

If you click #5, you can hear Dr. Simon on Larry Glick’s radio show, saying more “heretical” things.

Read more »

Read More