Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Budd Hopkins: An Era Ends?

My only regret at this point in my life are that there is not a larger pool of qualified people willing to continue this challenging work, despite the many lives that have been helped along the way, and despite the massive amount of intriguing data that have already been accumulated. -- Budd Hopkins, New York February, 2011

[Photo of Budd Hopkins: ]

Does the death of Budd Hopkins signal a turning point in alien abduction research?

Without any formal degree in counseling -- he was first known as an artist -- Hopkins helped people who thought they have been abducted by aliens. He always faced criticism for his abduction research. One critic was his ex-wife Carol Rainey who wrote a revealing article in Paratopia magazine (January 2011). In "The Priests of High Strangeness" she portrayed her ex-husband as someone both gullible and also willing to overlook certain facts to make his case.

In turn Hopkins wrote a rebuttal to Rainey's article entitled "Deconstructing the Debunkers: A Response." The above quote is the last line in his essay.

Of course those who still believe in Budd's work regard Rainey's essay as distortions and disinfo while most skeptics are happy to see what they regard as his dubious methods being challenged by someone who was an insider.

Whatever the truth is with the she said/he said controversy, some damage has been done to Hopkins' image. Another abduction researcher, David Jacobs, a friend of Hopkins, has been dealing with criticism from one of his subjects who calls herself "Emma Woods." With the death of John Mack back in 2004, it seems that the alien abduction field has taken some severe hits.

In her "High Priests" essay Rainey states the biggest problem with the field is that the same story keeps repeating itself. Nothing new has happened. People are abducted, probed, extracted, and then returned home.

It's like reviewing typical UFO reports. After a while they all blend in together. I know when reading a series of cases my eyes get blurry, my mind wanders. Nothing new has happened. No solid evidence. The source behind the mystery never reveals itself.

But despite the repetition and inconclusiveness with UFOs, the topic is still argued and debated. There are still followers and believers. And with alien abduction research, even though it lost a leading light like Hopkins, it will probably keep rolling along like astrology, ESP and all sorts of other New Age ideas, right or wrong.


"Deconstructing the Debunkers: A Response" by Budd Hopkins

"The Priest of High Strangeness" by Carol Rainey


X. Dell said...

It's times like this that make me wish Dr. Mack could have seen that car coming.

Hopkins caused a lot of the damage to his image, especially within ufology. I often found myself frustrated by the orthodoxy with which AIF painted itself into a corner. I also noted numerous methodological errors and conclusions without foundation.

I guess maybe one could say that he was an affable, doing to his best to do something he believed in, despite his megalomania. I'm saddened by his passing. But I hope his dogma died with him.

Kandinsky said...

'Whatever the truth is with the she said/he said controversy, some damage has been done to Hopkins' image.'

Rather than view it as 'damage' to Hopkins' image, perhaps it's more neutral to see it as an alternative view?

Rainey made valid arguments about his methods of collecting data and the interpretations he drew from them. From an outsider's viewpoint, it was notable that some of his well-known defenders were careful to support his integrity without endorsing his conclusions. As such, they relied on what a 'good man' he was and scrupulously avoided commenting on the alien abduction scenario.

From out back, it seems to me that there is something to the 'alien abduction' accounts that is hard to stick a pin in. I'm fairly Swiss about it and find that neither the supporters or detractors have presented definitive explanations.

terry the censor said...

Hopkins the "good man" helping people:

CDB Bryan sat in on some of Budd's hypnotic sessions in the early 1990s. A middle-aged subject tells Bryan she suspects but does not remember that her father raped her around the age of 12. Hopkins is unaware of this suspicion.
Under the influence of hypnosis with Budd, the rape "memory," allegedly repressed for 30 years, magically emerges. As the subject is relating the details, Budd interrupts and claims it wasn't her father who violated her, it was aliens!

What a fraud.

(Bryan, "Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind," pages 340 and 353-4 of the PB edition.)

Marvin the Martian said...

Budd died? That's awful! He was my favorite. Liver cancer's the way to go, though. Or pancreatic. Very quick.

I always thought Budd's methods were inconsistent and unscientific. His work needed to be done, but it needs to be done better.