Red Ice Membership

On witness intimidation, the debunkers' basic weapon
2004 02 28

By Budd Hopkins

After decades of dealing with debunkers' attacks upon anyone reporting UFO abductions, I am still amazed at the ill-informed and often cruel nature of these published assaults. I am not referring here to diatribes against investigators like myself, because, as Harry Truman pointed out, to be in the kitchen involves a certain amount of heat. Instead, I mean attacks against the abductees themselves, the innocent men, women and children who have dared to report their suspicions of ongoing UFO experiences.

I believe there is a reason why debunkers have chosen these experiencers as their primary targets. If abductees can be regularly ridiculed and demeaned, fewer will dare to give their accounts publicly, and those higher up on the socio-economic scale will be even less inclined to expose their identities. Thus, their valuable credibility, the authoritative weight of their testimony, will be denied to those of us trying to make as strong a case as we can that an extraordinary phenomenon such as this demands an extraordinary investigation. This debunking ploy deflects objective scientific inquiry because some of the most important evidence necessary for informed judgement will have been effectively suppressed.

As evidence of this campaign of witness intimidation I would like to present a composite picture of the typical abduction experiencer as assembled from a number of debunking efforts over the past few years.

First, the abductee is "mentally ill." Who can forget the late Carl Sagan - no psychiatrist he - suggesting on "Nova" that while there is outer space, there is, more importantly also inner space, which he went on to describe as involving "hallucination and delusion," thereby conjuring up other such major psychological problems. Sagan subtly implied that severe mental illness - not merely neurosis - was central to abduction reports. The inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the words of this world-famous scientist was that abductees were to be regarded as sick and their accounts were not to be taken seriously. No mention was made of the work of even skeptical psychologists such as N. P. Spanos and Elizabeth Slater, which clearly demonstrated the absence of mental illness in abductees. On TV, before a large viewing public, the astronomer reversed the facts and trumped the psychologists.

Second, these "mentally ill" abductees are also, in the words of another eminent debunker, "little nobodies." Not scientists, police officers, Ph.D's, doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, successful businesspeople, government officials, and engineers such as I have worked with. To this debunker they are just "little nobodies," pathetic souls whom we can all look down upon. and demean with ease. The cruelty of this smug assertion is self-evident.

Third, according to a recent debunking book, these "mentally ill little nobodies" are also mostly gay and lesbian. (Even, presumably, prepubescent abductee children). The authors of this book provide no clue as to where they obtained this startling information. I know for a fact that they never asked David Jacobs, John Mack or myself if we, with over fifty years of research experience among us, had any statistics about the sexual orientation of the hundreds upon hundreds of abduction experiencers we have worked with. Most researchers I know - which is most of those active in the field - would probably say that the percentage of gay abductees roughly equals the percentage in the population as a whole. And this apart from the fact that no researcher I'm acquainted with routinely asks his or her clients about their sexual preferences. (Privacy issues are of paramount concern in this besieged field.) But the authors of this debunking book surely understand that by branding the abductee population as 50-60% gay, they are providing yet another reason for a potential abduction witness to refuse to come forward and make his or her name known.

Fourth, these "Gay, mentally ill little nobodies" are also publicity hounds who make up abduction stories just to gain attention. In the words of one of our favorite debunkers, they are all "just trying to get on television." Apparently they are so dim as to believe that it will add to their personal luster and fame to appear on TV a - let's remember the aura assigned to them - as "gay, mentally-ill little nobodies."

Of the nearly seven hundred abductee experiencers I've worked with over the past quarter of a century, I still have only a handful - roughly a dozen - who will appear on TV, giving their names, showing their faces and presenting their personal accounts. Many TV producers have told me of their frustration in trying to persuade abductees to come forward and present their UFO experiences. Obviously, the witness-intimidators have been effective in making this a club no one wants to belong to.

However, despite the debunkers' success and our inability to present the public with the full range and power of witness testimony, we will continue to offer what we can in order to alert the people, the press and the scientific establishment to the presence of alien intelligence on our planet. In what I regard as a momentous societal struggle, our greatest debt is to those courageous abductees who have risked both reputation and livelihood by daring to make their harrowing experiences public. They have stood up to the ridicule and outright cruelty visited upon them by militant debunkers, and have told their stories. To the intimidators they are nothing more than "Gay, mentally ill, publicity-seeking little nobodies." To me, they are heroes.

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