UFO: Budd Hopkins On William Cooper & Other UFO Conspiricists
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If you've been reading the UFO posts I've been sending out this week, you
know that the topic of UFOs is messy. And to make matters worse, the human
beings researching this field are also messy. Some are honest, sincere, and
deeply credible, while others are seriously deluded, perhaps even clinically
These waters, in other words, are not only deep, but they are also invested
with sharks -- humans, to be sure, and perhaps a few aliens as well.
So we have to be careful where we swim. And who we believe.
To give you a better idea what I am talking about, I thought it would be a
good idea to share with you an article that was written by Budd Hopkins.
While I don't necessarily agree with the tone of Hopkins' article, I do
appreciate his efforts to address some of the murky waters (and
personalities) that tend to congregate around the topic of UFOs.
First, a short biographical sketch that describes who Budd Hopkins is; then
his take no prisoners essay on William Cooper and "other recent
conspiricists" (Steven Greer, in particular).
Along with being a widely respected authority in the UFO community, Hopkins
is also the most prominently featured UFO expert on the Sci Fi Channel's
--- David Sunfellow
AUTHOR PROFILE: BUDD HOPKINS
Budd Hopkins is a world-renowned artist, author and pioneer UFO-abduction
researcher. Having investigated more than 700 cases, he now heads the
Intruders Foundation (http://www.intrudersfoundation.org/), a nonprofit,
scientific research and support organization. Budd first became interested
in the UFO phenomenon when he and two others had a daylight UFO sighting
near Truro, Mass., in 1964. In 1975 he carried out his first major
investigation, which involved a UFO landing and occupant incident in North
Hudson Park, N.J. Shortly thereafter, he began to concentrate on the
investigation of the UFO-abduction phenomenon, which led to the eventual
publication of his findings.
Taken together, his three books -- Missing Time, 1981, Intruders, 1987, and
Witnessed, 1996 -- are widely regarded by researchers and skeptics alike as
comprising the most influential series of books yet published on the
abduction phenomenon. These works, Hopkins' lectures, and his other
presentations have been responsible for bringing a number of other noted
researchers -- including David Jacobs, John Carpenter, Yvonne Smith and Dr.
John Mack -- into this extraordinary area of specialization. His documented
discoveries have become the basis of most later abduction investigations and
Budd Hopkins has long been considered ufology's most visible figure. He
pioneered and continues to lead the investigation into the most
controversial aspect of the UFO phenomenon -- the systematic abduction of
human beings by UFO occupants. As the world's premier expert on this issue,
he has worked with more than 1,000 people who have reported abduction
experiences over the past 20 years. These individuals come from all walks of
life and include physicians, psychiatrists, attorneys, police officers,
military personnel, political figures, personalities from the entertainment
world and even a NASA scientist.
A prolific writer and internationally respected painter, Hopkins has
delivered hundreds of UFO lectures around the world. His groundbreaking
first book, Missing Time, was the first work to compare a number of
UFO-abduction cases in order to isolate the patterns they revealed. His
second book, Intruders: The Incredible Visitation at Copley Woods, was a New
York Times bestseller and the basis for the popular 1992 CBS miniseries
Intruders, which has since been broadcast internationally. His widely
acclaimed latest book is Witnessed: The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge
Hopkins' goal has always been to bring an objective, dispassionate
scientific intelligence to bear on the UFO-abduction phenomenon. To this
end, he founded the Intruders Foundation (IF) in 1989. IF is a nonprofit
organization devoted to research and public education concerning this
extraordinary enigma. They publish a respected journal, as well as offer a
nationwide referral service for those wishing to explore their own suspected
abduction experiences. IF also has co-sponsored several conferences of
scientists, therapists and investigators who are jointly looking into the
abduction phenomenon. IF's most important project to date was a large
national survey on the UFO-abduction phenomenon, conducted by the Roper
Organization. A full report of the survey's startling findings was published
in 1992 and distributed to nearly 100,000 mental-health professionals. It
remains a primary source of information for journalists, writers and
producers around the world.
Hopkins has received the prestigious Mutual UFO Network Award three times,
in 1985, 1987 and 1994. The award honors those who have made the year's most
outstanding contribution to the scientific advancement of UFO research.
Despite its extremely controversial nature, Hopkins' research has received
serious commentary in such mainstream publications as Time, Paris Match, The
Washington Post, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Omni,
People, and Cosmopolitan. He has been a guest on hundreds of television and
radio programs, including Nightline, Good Morning America, Today, Oprah, The
Tonight Show, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, The Charles Grodin Show, Sally
Jesse Raphael, Geraldo, 20/20, 48 Hours, Unsolved Mysteries, Encounters, A
Current Affair, Nightwatch, The Late Show, The Art Bell Show, Tom Snyder,
The Laura Lee Show, Hieronimus & Company, Weekend Edition (National Public
Radio), Voice of America, Armed Forces Radio, numerous BBC affiliates and
many other shows and forums.
NOTES ON WILLIAM COOPER & OTHER RECENT CONSPIRICISTS
By Budd Hopkins
On November 10, 2001, I was in Mobile, Alabama, speaking at a "Journeys
Beyond" conference. Five days earlier, sheriff's deputies, attempting to
serve a warrant, were shot at by conspiricist William Cooper who gravely
wounded one of them, deputy Robert Martinez. The other deputies returned
fire and Cooper was killed.
For those unfamiliar with his activities, William Cooper was once a
divisive, almost unavoidable presence at UFO conferences and on the radio
and the Internet. His wild and woolly stories were completely unbelievable,
though a loyal band of followers clung to his every word. At the time, the
belief that JFK was murdered by a CIA cabal was not at all unusual, but
Cooper gave the killing his own weird twist. Kennedy was shot, he claimed,
by the driver of his car in the middle of the Dallas parade. This Secret
Service hit man, he said, turned away from the steering wheel and fired
point blank at the president, narrowly missing Mrs. Kennedy, John Connally
and Mrs. Connally.
I once asked a Cooperite why the CIA would carry out the murder in the
middle of a parade when all eyes were on the president's car, pictures were
being taken, films were being shot, and three eyewitnesses (the Connallys
and Jackie Kennedy) were only a foot or so away from the gunman. The
Cooperite answered that since this method was so daring, no one would ever
believe that it was done that way, and so the CIA could easily get away with
it. And Cooper's idea of the motive for Kennedy's assassination? To keep him
from revealing what he knew about the UFO coverup!
I wondered at the time of Cooper's demise how long it would take before a
myth of martyrdom would arise among his fellow conspiricists. I knew that
this alcoholic, emotionally disturbed man would eventually be enthroned in
the far-right's Valhalla of "government victims" -- innocent, peace-loving
martyrs like Timothy McVeigh, James Earl Ray, David Koresh and a strange
assortment of white supremacists, psychopathic homophobes and killers of
Well, I saw signs of Cooper's elevation five days after his death, when I
was attending that conference in Mobile, Alabama. A confused young man
approached me and referred to the government's "murder" of William Cooper.
In the telling, the rural sheriff's deputies who tried to serve their
warrant soon after metamorphosized into a sinister government SWAT team. The
mythmaking machinery of paranoid rumor and Internet misinformation was on
What sort of man was the late William Cooper? Shortly after his death, he
was described by his friend Bill Hamilton as "an inveterate liar," and a man
who "had a real love for booze and firearms." Hamilton recalled that Cooper
once invited him to go to a gun show with him to "buy a type of gun that
would blow a hole in an engine block. I asked why I would want to do a silly
thing like that. His reply was that I should protect myself against the
government." Even more significant was Hamilton's delicately worded
statement that Cooper "had a difficult time telling truth from fantasy." A
perfect description of the conspiricists' central affliction.
I first came into Cooper's crosshairs through the efforts of a New York City
doctor, an emotionally disturbed man who wrote to Cooper to accuse me of
being a CIA agent. Apparently this doctor said that he knew I was a secret
CIA agent because I had told him so! (That's the way we undercover types
always work: "Hello there, I'm a secret CIA agent. Don't tell anyone,
particularly Bill Cooper.")
This ludicrous accusation appeared in Cooper's magnum opus, "Behold a Pale
Horse," a book which also included the infamous anti-semitic, 19th century
Czarist forgery, "Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion," Hitler's favorite
late-night read. Cooper's personal style of hate-mongering manifested itself
over and over again in many different areas. After UFO Magazine editor Don
Ecker exposed his lies about his military records, Cooper responded by
claiming that Don's wife and fellow editor, the delightful Vicki Cooper, was
a former prostitute. It was, of course, a charge made up out of the whole
cloth and as disgusting a false accusation as Cooper ever made.
The New York doctor in question, Cooper's source of the CIA charge against
me, has harassed me for years, sending scores of letters and leaving bizarre
messages on my answering machine. Once he accused me of hiring CIA agents to
dress up as Con-Edison workers to dig up the street near his office so that
the noise of the drilling would bother his patients. He accused me of
"complicity" in the murders of both Martin Luther King and President
Kennedy. In one message he listed the major traitors to America, intoning in
a deep, portentous voice: "Alger Hiss...Benedict Arnold...Walter
Andrus...Budd Hopkins..." Paranoia -- as well as politics -- makes strange
All the doctor's messages weren't so absurd and amusing, however. One,
delivered in a cold, sepulchral voice, was simple and chilling: "I place a
curse on your daughter's head." Grace was only about twelve years old at the
time, and though I said nothing to her about the threat, not wanting to
frighten her, for a while I tried to be near the front door to check the
street whenever she went in and out of the house. And there was another
message, one which finally sent me to the police: "My mind is completely
gone," he said. "Now I know I can kill."
But back to Cooper for a moment. In 1992 I had major surgery. My right
kidney was removed because of an encapsulated cancerous tumor, and as part
of my recuperation I left the city for a short rest. When I returned, I
found that Cooper himself had left a series of messages on my answering
machine. He had apparently come to New York the week I was away to give a
talk. His first message demanded that I attend his lecture and answer his
"charges" against me, but he very generously offered to let me in free. The
second bullying message was rather more vicious, saying that if I didn't
come it would be an admission that I was a CIA spy, and, his language
coarsening, he threatened me with even more attacks. (I assumed he had
conferred with his source, my harassing doctor, about my having sent
disguised CIA men to dig up the street.)
In the third message, Cooper, adopting an amazingly inept Russian accent,
pretended to be a friend of Bill Cooper and warned that I had better,
goddamit, show up at his lecture, OR ELSE!. For his last message, Cooper
dropped the phony accent and the fake identity and berated me so obscenely
that I cannot reprint it here on a family website.
I'm dwelling on all of this unpleasantness because there are still so many
active conspiricists among those interested in UFO phenomena. As Cooper
demonstrated, common sense is the first victim of this kind of paranoid
thinking, an unfortunate situation since we need all the common sense we can
muster. But I believe it is equally important to understand some of the
mechanisms behind a great deal of current conspiracy thinking. One basic
mechanism is the need to establish the hated group, the feared enemy, as the
real cause of whatever bad thing happens in the world. Thus, to Cooper and
the militia groups, Tim McVeigh didn't bomb the federal building in Oklahoma
City, he was somehow a dupe, and the real bombers were the Drug Enforcement
Agency and the FBI!
Come again? A number of government agents from different departments were
killed in the blast, so why would the DEA do such a thing to its own people?
Well, the conspiricists say, nervously shuffling their feet, the DEA maybe
did it so the government would be able to disarm the citizens. Or something
like that. Or whatever. Clearly, their hatred compels the belief that the
DEA really did murder their own.
As we have seen over and over again, among conspiricists fanatical hatred
and crippling paranoid fear will always edge out rational thinking and
Moving up towards the present, what are the myths-in-formation about the
horrors of September 11? Already various conspiricist Muslim sources have
said that suicidal Jews did the hijacking and brought down the towers in
order to falsely blame the Palestinians and other Arab nations and groups.
The latest mythlet is this -- 4,000 Jewish workers stayed home from their
jobs on Sept. 11 because they all knew about the plot. The FBI and the CIA
hadn't heard anything about it, apparently, because thousands of Jews can
communicate without any leaks and are really good at keeping secrets.
But as we all know, a large percentage of those who died that tragic day
were Jewish office workers! This kind of conspiratorial myth-making is utter
and despicable nonsense, yet it somehow gains some currency within society's
paranoid fringe. Turning truth and logic upside down, it makes the victims
Which brings me now to our field, UFOs and the abduction phenomenon, where
we have lived with the knowledge that at least some branch of the government
has for decades concealed from the public what it knows about UFOs. But now
this generally accepted truth has been wedded to a ludicrous assertion by
yet another medical conspiricist, Dr. Steven Greer. Greer ties the coverup
issue to his absurd claim that all UFO abductions are really being carried
out, not by the aliens, but by his own hated enemy, some dark, unknown
"black" branch of our own government!
In the same way that some militant Muslims assert the Jews bombed the world
Trade Center, Greer asserts that the government -- made up, after all, of
our fellow human beings -- is abducting and carrying out traumatic,
quasi-medical procedures on its own innocent citizens. The aliens, whom he
believes are benign and helpful, are, like Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, being
falsely accused by the evil American government.
Since I have investigated UFO abduction cases which date as far back as the
1920's, by Greer's logic Calvin Coolidge's administration and Roosevelt's
and Hoover's and Harding's all contained a black "secret government" which
possessed the technology, the motive -- whatever that may be -- and the
infallible secrecy to carry out abductions on thousands upon thousands of
American children and adults over most of the twentieth century. This idea
is not only preposterous, it is insulting to the vast number of abductees
who recall exactly who did abduct them and what was done to them.
Worse, these unfortunate abductees are being emotionally abused in several
stages: by the aliens during the abduction, by government officials who deny
the existence of UFOs, and finally by Steven Greer, who denies the existence
of the alien abductors they remember vividly, thus implying these
traumatized people are dupes or fools.
What we need within the world at large and in the UFO community in
particular, is a mighty influx of common sense and the courage to call
idiotic fanaticism by its right name. The militia types should admit that it
was one of their own, Timothy McVeigh, who committed mass murder, not the
DEA which they hate and whose employees were among McVeigh's victims. The
militant Muslims must face the fact that other militant Muslims perpetrated
the atrocities of Sept.11, not the Jews, who, along with thousands of others
of various races, religions and nationalities, were their innocent victims.
And Steven Greer must admit that non-human alien beings are carrying out
these traumatic abductions, not some hated -- and probably imaginary --
political cabal of our fellow Americans. The abductors who traumatize small
children are not Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in rubber alien masks, no
matter what else you think about them.
The William Cooper story is sad in a hundred ways. The paranoid path he
chose, and the gun-toting belligerence with which he walked it, were
probably symptoms of a severe mental illness which was never addressed.
Cooper was a sick, deluded man who caused a great deal of harm to himself
and to many innocent people, and for too long his crazed conspiracy theories
damaged the credibility of serious UFO research. And yet -- to end on a
positive note -- his unhappy, divisive life is something we can all learn
from -- especially, perhaps, budding conspiricists like Dr. Steven Greer.
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