"I've always felt they (the aliens) are coming here
because they need our spirit."
Exclusive One-On-One Interview with Budd Hopkins
by Dick Farley
West Virginia UFO Newsletter
July/August, 1996, Vol. 2 No. 10
(c) 1996 Headline Books, Inc.
DF = Dick Farley
BH = Budd Hopkins
(GREENSBORO, NC - July 7)
When Budd Hopkins and I sat down to lunch
at the Cafe Expresso in the hotel hosting the Mutual UFO Network's
1996 convention, it wasn't the first time we'd met.
Budd and I have been in loose touch since 1987, after publication of
his second book about perceived alien abduction" experiences,
Intruders. (His first book on the topic, Missing Time, had appeared
And before that, in one of those "coincidences" which veteran "UFO"
researchers, scholars and journalists eventually come to accept as
part of the territory, Budd and I are from the same home town.
Not only the same home town, (Wheeling, WV), but actually from the
same neighborhood (Meadow Estates), where Budd and his older brother
Stewart grew up, and where I later grew up.
While older brother Stewart remained in Wheeling to take over the
family's Chrysler-Plymouth dealership (Hopkins Motors), Budd, after
graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio, "beat feet" to the Big
Apple in pursuit of full expression of his inner muses on the New
York art scene.
Eventually scoring some successes by having his pieces hang in the
Guggenheim (modem art museum) and, perhaps more helpfully, in the
pads of well-heeled art patrons, Budd says that after he had a 1964
"UFO" sighting, his interest in the subject was piqued.
As perhaps West Virginia's currently preeminent "UFO guy," and with
a long-awaited book about a purported Manhattan abduction with
multiple witnesses (the "Linda Cortile" case), Budd and I sat down
over lunch in Greensboro to chat.
With his marriage to a very nice lady approaching, and with his new
book (Witnessed) slated for publication in August, Budd was his
usual kind and candid self.
And, as is also a hallmark of this West
Budd Hopkins had some surprising things to say...
DF: Where do you see the UFO field heading, and more specifically
what do you hope Witnessed will contribute?
BH: What I'm hoping is that when people are confronted with a case
like this, they'll realize there are only two options.
Either it's a hoax, with many people going to an awfully lot of
trouble and expense to set it up, or it actually happened. After six
years of research we have more than 20 people who either were
involved in it or were witnesses to it.
And if it did actually happen, then it is important. And it has to
be considered fairly, as, well as what is being reported by
thousands and thousands of people all around the world as happening
DF: Your views about "alien abductions," as to what seems to be
taking place and why, are quite well known. How do you expect
Witnessed to influence the general UFO field?
BH: As I said, these scenarios are being reported by people all over
the world. And the recent publicity about that new movie,
("Independence Day," which Budd had not yet seen) shows that there
is great public interest... maybe even an 'obsession'... in this
I hope Witnessed will help do two things, primarily.
First, I'm hoping a case like this will, in effect, "give people
permission" to demand that these events be taken seriously, and
enormously support the idea that we need to look into it
Secondly, I'd like to pry loose more people from government who have
information that pertains to these occurrences, to present enough
logical and clear-cut evidence so people interested are free to
pursue it all wherever it may lead.
DF: Do you believe the government knows more than it's told?
BH: Maybe so. But I think the government is panicked and has been.
They don't know what to do.
As far as the government being in cahoots with aliens, I think
that's bullshit. The aliens don't need anybody's permission to do
what they're doing.
But I am greatly disturbed at the government's participation in the
cover-up, and the damage that it's done to millions of lives.
DF: How so?
BH: What if the government took this same approach to, say, another
issue entirely, like a separate more worldly crime, like rape?
Imagine the damage that would be done if, despite the evidence and
the obvious trauma exhibited by victims, government authorities
refused to acknowledge that the crime even existed, let alone had
been committed against the person making the complaint.
That's how the abduction phenomenon has been treated, and the damage
that's been done to so many people seeking only help and a degree of
understanding is unconscionable.
DF: This brings us to your views about the nature of what is going
on, and what might be its purpose. More importantly, how should we
as a people feel about it, assuming that it is real? John Mack's
position, as he restated here (at MUFON '96) last night, is that
these ostensible alien entities have come to Earth "to save us," or
at least to save the planet from our excesses. Do you agree with
BH: I've known John for several years, since being introduced to him
by Robert J. Lifton, after which I helped to spark his interest in
this field. And John and I remain very good friends, in fact we had
breakfast together this morning. But I disagree with him strongly on
this aspect of what might be going on, at a couple of levels.
First, maybe because John is a psychiatrist and has spent his
working life dealing with people who are, by definition, in some
kind of distress needing psychological help, he sees our species as
being in a state of spiritual atrophy.
But perhaps because I come at life from the perspective of an
artist, looking at the edges and fringes of human experience as
being part of our enrichment I just don't see or feel that atrophy.
DF: So, if the aliens are not coming here, as John Mack believes, to
uplift and transform us and our planet for "our own good," why do
you personally think it's all happening?
BH: I've always, felt they (the aliens) are coming here because they
need our spirit.
I don't really see this as if we (humanity) are gaining spirtually,
from their activities and interactions with us.
DF: Whoa! What are you saying here? These guys are parasites?
BH: I just mean I've never seen anything coming in from the aliens
to make me think we're getting anything from it at all.
Sure, to many experiencers the memories have had an impact, which
some translate into deeper meanings for their lives. In a way,
that's like many Vietnam veterans who have had overall a deeper,
richer experience in life than, say, a hardware, store clerk in Ohio
who had never left home. But that doesn't mean Vietnam was overall a
benevolent enrichment of the veteran's experience.
DF: So this is where you differ from John Mack in your "take" on why
the aliens are here?
BH: That's right. I've never seen any sign that the aliens bring any
attitude of real benevolence. And I think John's error is to assume
that this spiritual growth some abductees are feeling is from
"them," (the-aliens). It may be from us.
DF: Can you, expand on that?"
BH: Let's look at our astronauts as a kind of "control group." Here
are folks who are "taken away" as a group and from space they almost
uniformly have reported "transformations" in their world, as well as
of their personal approaches to life. And they've all come back
feeling very protective of our planet.
It's the same kind of question one has to ask about seemingly "channelled"
material, whether it comes from a source other than ourselves...or
maybe from an aspect of ourselves which we don't usually acknowledge
or allow to "speak" to us.
We shrink the human spirit to think that all of it has to come from
All of that idea, that help comes from outside, is not unlike a
fundamentalist approach to traditional religious experience.
The basic "UFO message" has been pretty much the same since the
earliest "contactee" reports back in the 1950s. And this may be our
human reaction to our perception of their being here, not that they
may not be taking some advantages of that.
DF: But you don't believe that is their intent, to help us?
BH: No. I just don't see this as if we're gaining spiritually from
them or their being here.
DF: Well, then, it seems as if your view is more consistent with the
theme of the new movie, "Independence Day," where the aliens are
here to take over the human race, but we finally get our act
together enough, to blow them out of our skies. John Mack told the
MUFON convention crowd last night that he was disappointed by the
movie and its "American can-do" message of technological triumph
over the aliens. So, do you believe Earth is being invaded, given
what you have written previously about their human-alien
BH: No, I don't believe at this point that we're dealing with an
"invasion." The whole situation, from what I gather, is more
misleading than that, not so clear cut, but I can't speculate more
than anyone else as to its ultimate purpose or eventual outcome.
DF: Well, if you aren't ready to welcome these aliens with open
arms, as John Mack and those of his perspective suggest, what do you
believe we humans ought to do?
BH: I would like to see Earth have a sort of resistance to these
kinds of events and whatever or whoever is carrying them out. Not in
a warlike way, but in a way that demands respect for our own status
as living beings with a right to live as we see fit on our own
planet, for better or for worse.