Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

NOVA Online: Kidnapped by UFOs?
photo of Budd Hopkins INTERVIEW WITH BUDD HOPKINS—AUTHOR, ABDUCTEE RESEARCHER




NOVA: Could you tell us briefly about your own personal introduction to UFO's and what it is that got you believing in the reality?


HOPKINS: I had a daytime UFO sighting on Cape Cod. It lasted about three minutes. The object seemed to be able to hover. And then it zoomed at great speeds straight into the wind. We had thought perhaps it was some kind of flat balloon or something, but clearly it wasn't. And when you see something like that and the three of us jumping out of the car finally to watch it disappear, you realize that there's some factor in the world that you had previously been unaware of. And it could be an extraordinarily important factor.

Quote: They're here for their own reasons.  And I'm not sure what those are.

NOVA: As you know, many people have a hard time believing the literal truth of abductions. Can you please describe for us how you overcame your own skepticism and became a believer?


HOPKINS: As I was looking into a few early sighting reports, many years after I had my own sighting and I began to look into the cause, I was curious. At that point I thought that an abduction case was an extremely rare item. And when I first heard of an abduction, which was in 1966, two years after I'd had my daytime sighting, I couldn't accept it, I couldn't believe it. And I had a very simple reason; it's just too hard to believe.

I had no logical reason. If I have seen something flying around in the sky, there's no reason to think that there might be people inside the ship—occupants. Although we looked down upon that, at the time, as ridiculous. And David Jacobs made a wonderful remark that it took the investigators who took UFOs seriously, it took them 20 years to accept the idea that a UFO might have an inside.

And in retrospect, now that I know about the abduction phenomenon, and I've been looking into it for practically 20 years, I realize that in those early years before we accepted the idea of occupants, before we accepted the idea of abductions, and we were just looking at the objects themselves, that it was as if we were trying to get the license plate number on the get away car, without having figured out what the crime was.

But, as these cases began to come my way, where people were reporting a sighting, a period of missing time, they couldn't account for a couple of hours. Perhaps they were in a car, the car ended up on another road aimed in the wrong direction. They were having nightmares and fears and so on afterwards. You have to assume that something traumatic had occurred in a number of these cases. So, I used a couple of friends who were psychiatrists, psychologists and others to help us with hypnotic regressions to look into these experiences that the people were unable to recall all the details of. And one of the interesting things, of course, is the people who were doing the hypnosis for us were all skeptics. I don't think they ended up skeptics, but that's the way they began. But, as the case material mounted up, and case after case after case replicated the cases before, and these were totally believable people from all walks of life, and even down to tiny details in their descriptions of what happened to them, these tiny details were replicated again and again—you have to feel you're dealing with a phenomenon that has an absolute core of reality about it.


NOVA: Assuming that there is a literal truth to the ... abduction phenomenon, what in your opinion is the real significance of that? Why is this important?


HOPKINS: Well, if this is true and I have at this point sadly no doubt that it is true, what that means is on the silliest level that we're not necessarily the top of the food chain. But, on the most profound level, it means that an intelligence which is a controlling intelligence, which can see into our mind, so to speak, which would mean a total end to the privacy that we each have inside our heads right now. That that intelligence, which possesses the technology that is staggering, is bound to ultimately be in control. Just as the Spanish were bound to somehow control the Aztecs. That's the way things were slated.

To think that it might be an end to Eden, so to speak, if we can look at our past as Eden, I'm sure the Aztecs thought of their past as Eden too before the Spanish arrived. If I can, you know, just guess what life might be like 20 or 30 or 40 years from now should this momentum continue, it's a terrifying thought. Even though I don't see the UFO occupants as evil or conquerors or anything of that sort—it's nothing that simple. Still, control would be absolute if this finally comes to making themselves obvious, ending the covert.


NOVA: You state that the evidence for the reality of these abductions is overwhelming. Could you please briefly describe what the nature of that evidence is?


HOPKINS: I think most dramatic are the physical marks on people's bodies after these experiences. They fall into various types, but one very common one is what we call a scoop mark, which is a little round depression about the size of my thumb nail or a little smaller. As if a little—some sort of object or some sort of tool has just removed a layer of cells.

Now, a person can be asleep at night and wake up in the morning with one of these things right on the front of the shin and it's not bleeding. This can happen, of course, outside or whatever. But, these things are extremely similar. And they turn up absolutely overnight or after the experience ended. We don't know why they're there, but they happen over and over and over again.

Another type is just a straight like surgical cut that can be anywhere from oh, a small inch or so, but down to maybe three and a half, four inches long. And there is very rarely any bleeding that results from these. And, another set of these marks can be simply large bruises, especially on the insides of the thighs, as if some kind of gynecological stirrups had been used or something of that sort. Again, if this happens during the night, the person goes to bed unmarked and wakes up with these various cuts or whatever I've described. And some of them are extremely dramatic in appearance.

When people have gone to doctors—in one case a woman went to a doctor after one of these things turned up on her back after an abduction. And the doctor insisted that she'd had surgery because there were at regular intervals little extensions along the cut. And she said, "No, this is just what happened when I woke up." That is one basic, dramatic piece of evidence.

The second thing is, of course, a person will often find in the house signs that that person has been outside. In a particular case, for instance, a man woke up in the morning with the recollection that he had been outside. He remembered there were figures in the room. He remembered pieces of this experience.


NOVA: David Jacobs has his theories of his meanings of the abductions, as does John Mack. What does Budd Hopkins think this all means?


HOPKINS: Trying to speculate as to the ultimate meaning of all this is always tough. Certain things seem very clear to me. We know what they're doing, I think, beyond any doubt at this point. As to why they're doing it, that's speculation. It definitely seems to me, though, that what they're doing is for their purposes, not for ours. The hidden religious hopes that I think everyone has would connect with the idea that they're coming here to help us. It's certainly nice to think that. Our paranoid fears that many people have are they're coming here to take us over, I don't see a sign of either one of those being true. They seem to be here for their own purposes. Now, they could take what they need. Our DNA, our genetics, they could create their hybrids to solve some particular evolutionary problem that they may be facing. Who knows? And they could just simply leave and then leave us alone again, which would be quite wonderful.

But, I don't think it's possible to say. I don't have enough to go by, enough information, to say what they're here for. They're not here, that's for sure, to help us plug up the ozone layer hole. They're not here to take over our supermarkets. They're here for their own reasons. And I'm not sure what those are.


NOVA: There are those who say that the abduction stories are so similar not because they're real but because we all share the same cultural images of UFOs and aliens. Why is this, in your opinion, not enough to explain the many apparent similarities?

HOPKINS: One of the most important things about these cases, as they emerge, is that they come from all around the world, even from essentially illiterate people. Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, New Guinea, I mean cases have been reported exactly like the cases we get here from people who were totally illiterate. There is no possible way that this could have bubbled down. Also, one could do a simple test. You ask the man on the street to explain what a UFO abduction is about, and he may get one or two things right. But, most people really don't have a clear idea of what happens.


NOVA: You had said—and it's been said that the best evidence for the reality is experience, is the similarity of these stories. In other words, what do you mean by that process?

HOPKINS: Well, these accounts, of which we have literally thousands upon thousands, are so extraordinarily similar. To start with, in the sequence of events, Robert—Edward Bulwark, who's a folklorist, has broken down these various accounts into separate units of what happens, and has found out that not only are the same things reported again and again, but they're reported in the same sequence. Which is very, very different, obviously, from a fantasy or a whatever. And the details are so incredibly similar. Which I am stunned by every time I interview somebody. The power of these accounts, or the emotional resources behind them, where people are really extremely upset and going into it—which is not the kind of thing one finds behind a fantasy—the power of that, mixing with the fact that the accounts are so similar around the world, again, supported by the evidence in all the cases. You know, if somebody said the UFO came down in the yard there, where that tree is, you might look at it and find a broken tree branch, or several of them broken from the top down. That sort of thing. The background is always supported there. Which, of course, doesn't happen with a fantasy. It only happens with reality. And the evidence is absolutely there in every case. And, of course, you don't get in fantasies or imaginary experiences this—the fact that everyone is remembering the same thing the same way. And you have multiple—many multiple abductions.


NOVA: What is your best response to people who believe abductees must simply be crazy, that this is just crazy mentally stuff. Do you think they would feel differently after they got a chance to meet and hear directly from these people?


HOPKINS: Well, the issue of whether the abductees are crazy—by the thousands, we're talking about by the thousands—is, I think, a simple question to answer. I mean these people can be psychologically tested as they have been. We instituted a psychological series of psychological tests with a group of abductees, without informing the psychologists of the nature of our sample—many years ago. And there was no psychopathology that emerged from the testing. And this is what happens again and again.



alien icon: Return to alien homepage
NOVA Home | WGBH Home | PBS Home
Search | Feedback | Shop
© 1996 WGBH

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site