I first read Budd Hopkins’ book “Witnessed” in 1996, the year of its release. Having read several other good texts on alien abductions up to that point, I was aware that there existed no smoking gun evidence to authenticate the phenomenon. It seemed that this book offered just this evidence. It’s a remarkable book, even more remarkable for its inclusion of evidence that lesser authors would have chosen to exclude.
Budd Hopkins started off almost routinely investigating the claims of one Linda Cortile (pictured left) that she was abducted from her apartment by aliens of the ‘grey’ variety. She vividly recalled being floated through the closed window of her apartment, accompanied by her abductors, towards a waiting UFO hanging in the air above the building at 3 a.m. The description of her conscious travel into a UFO is actually a rarity in abduction cases, most of which have an apparent memory lapse between abduction scene and the room where the subsequent examination takes place. Generally, the transit to the UFO is inferred rather than recalled. On December 2nd 1989, Hopkins attempted to obtain as much detail as possible from Linda with the help of hypnotic regression. During the tape-recorded session, Cortile provided a full account of her experience. 'Behind the drapes. There's something there,' she began. 'There's something in the room... Ooh, I can't move my arms anymore. Now one, two, three, there's four and five. They're taking me outta bed. I won't let them. I won't let them take me outta bed.'
Hopkins then asked her to describe the entities in the room. ' They're short. They're white and dark... Their eyes, very intense eyes... Black. They shine.' Cortile then recounted being moved by the creatures. 'They lift me up and they bring me to the living room... They took me to the window. And there was a bright light. Blue-white. (inaudible) right outside. I'm outside. I'm outside the window. It's weird.'
Apparently, the creatures had somehow floated Cortile through the window of her 12th-floor apartment, despite it being locked and covered with a metal child-guard fence. The aliens then levitated the helpless Cortile up into the belly of the waiting craft, where they began examining her back and her right nostril. She was then questioned about her family before being allowed to leave the examining table. She headed for the door of the craft and suddenly found herself back in bed at home.
Anyhow, apart from this detail, this case was no different from many that Budd had investigated, a consistency that had led to his conclusion that there was a disturbing underlying reality to the phenomenon. It was what was later to emerge that made this case stand out.
Budd started to receive letters from two men who claimed to have witnessed the abduction. Their accounts of the event tallied with that of Linda. They claimed to be bodyguards escorting a senior UN statesman through Manhattan when the three of them were confronted with the site of a woman and several entities floating in mid-air up to a UFO. Their jobs required stability and level-headedness, yet the event had such a profound effect on them that their subsequent behaviour became irrational, even psychotic. One of them felt driven to stalk Linda, convinced that she somehow controlled the event and was thus responsible for his mental anguish. He became obsessed with her. Clearly something had deeply affected these men that night.
To add to Budd’s burgeoning file on the case, further witnesses came forward. They described the same incredible scene that they, too, had witnessed from the Brooklyn Bridge that night. Wisely, Budd had not widely publicised the case at that point, but it was becoming clear that he could not keep the wraps on it forever. It had been a while since the event when these additional witnesses chose to come forward, some of whom had been convinced that it was the filming of a Hollywood movie, or yet another example of ‘weird’ New York! The case became even more remarkable when Budd established the identity of the ‘Third Man’ as none other than Javier Perez de Cuellar, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Clearly, if Budd could convince him to publicly corroborate the story, then it would be sensational. Unfortunately, although the Third Man wrote him anonymous letters doing just this, he demanded anonymity. Budd even approached him and engaged him in conversation at one point, but without being able to pry from him the all-important testimony he sought.
So, Budd left the man’s identity undisclosed in the book, although dropping enough clues for others to establish who he was. The hypothesis was aired that the whole incident was for the former Secretary General’s benefit, to perhaps raise the exposure of the Greys’ presence on Earth within the corridors of power.
Apart from the Kathy Cahill case, this incident alone presents convincing third party evidence to support the theory of an underlying physical reality behind the alien abduction phenomenon. However, there were other aspects to the case that complicated matters, at the same time making the story unbelievably exotic, yet somehow compelling on a human level. It is to Budd’s credit that he decided to include these aspects in his book, rather than ditch them, worried that they might serve to bring the case’s authenticity into question.
Included in his account was the obsessive behaviour exhibited by one of the security guards. He kidnapped Linda in an effort to scare her into admitting her culpability in creating a hoax. This unsettling event is the last thing an abductee needs, and she naturally enough became increasingly concerned for her safety. Budd, in effect, became a middle man, keeping the peace, but this lessened his role as an objective investigator. More bizarre were the emergence of shared dream-like memories.
These centred around a beach, presumably remembered from the actual abduction, where the three men were witness to Linda’s co-operation with the Greys. This heightened the disturbed man’s paranoia about Linda, although she was simply seen to be digging the beach with them. An environmental message seemed to be getting played out. But it also confronted the men with the possibility that they, too, had been abducted at the time. This type of scenario is reflected in a lot of Dr John Mack’s case studies of abductions, where bizarre and seemingly impossible events occur to the abductees.
What is most interesting in all this is how little impact this case has had on our understanding of Ufology, particularly here in Europe. I remember my initial reaction to the book, and thinking that the world would now have to take notice. It hasn’t.
Sceptics, as usual, are dismissive, with little evidence to substantiate their position beyond the adage “It can’t have happened, therefore it didn’t”. They argue that people working at a nearby newspaper depot would have seen the anomalous activity, and that their normal night somehow cancels out the other witnesses’ statements. But the view from the elevated roads gave a more clear vantage point of the abduction, and Manhattan is hardly an ideal location for sky-watching. Little wonder, then, that busy people on the ground missed the action. After all, there was no noise to turn their attention to the heavens. If they had witnessed it, then the sceptics would have come up with a different potential witness who saw nothing, perhaps someone living on the street or returning from a night out. This course of enquiry is simply a diversion. To the sceptics, it matters little if the evidence is convincing or not, their raison d’etre is simply to undermine it. As Stanton Friedman often quips, “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind’s made up”.
One of the problems this amazing case has is the fact that the security men are government agents. It lends credence to the argument that the incident is a very elaborate hoax. Linda Cortile seems genuine enough and a relationship has grown between her and Budd (pictured right) that would be inconceivable if deceit had been her motive. The inclusion of these men raises the possibility of some form of government involvement, perhaps to undermine a real encounter or to inject damaging disinformation. Perhaps it is in the best interest of the government to allow, even engender, the alien myth in American society. Their reasons for doing this are not clear. I suppose the possibility exists that the abductees’ experiences are, in fact, created in their minds by some form of psychic or mind-affecting weapon, and that the Greys are a government invention all along. This mode of thought becomes increasingly paranoid and makes the intervention of genuine alien intelligence in our affairs seem quite a simple solution to UFOs in comparison.
One would have to ask what the motives behind such a deception would be. Clearly, cases such as Rendlesham Forest and Roswell would be included within this conspiracy. One would have to assume that the government are aware of the reality behind the UFO mystery and are so concerned about the impact its disclosure would have on the rest of us that this incredible and highly orchestrated deception would be deemed necessary. The creation of the societal image of Greys as the archetypal entity would thus be a human invention to hide a deeper truth. Certainly, the encounters with Greys have ballooned in recent years, a suspicious statistical aberration. It is a peculiarly American phenomenon, belying the more diverse mix of alien contact in other parts of the world. But this arch-conspiracy is an unnecessarily cumbersome construction, and lacks evidence. There is no smoking gun here.
So, if the Brooklyn
Bridge Abduction is neither a hoax perpetrated by Linda Cortile and cohorts,
nor an ingenious plot by the government to disinform the American public
about the true nature of UFOs, then what is it? Can it be an interaction
with an alien culture attempting to draw attention to our human follies
and pull us back from the brink of environmental disaster? Each of
us must draw our own conclusions.