The death of prominent New York artist and alien abduction researcher and author Budd Hopkins last Sunday August 21 has been felt deeply throughout the international UFO community. Budd traveled widely around the world, giving lectures at symposiums all over the globe and his books were translated and published in many countries. Below you can watch an exclusive interview with Budd Hopkins from Open Minds done by our former colleague Maurizio Baiata, the well known Italian journalist and editor of several UFO magazines in Italy, which was recorded during the 1997 World UFO Symposium in the Republic of San Marino. The Ministry of Tourism of this tiny and picturesque independent city-state located in central Italy has been officially sponsoring UFO conferences for nearly 20 years, and I remember seeing Budd there again around 1999 or 2000. This exclusive Hopkins-Baiata interview was never broadcast in English and is posted here in full for the first time.
Open Minds posted Monday the obituary of Budd Hopkins containing the basic biographical details of his two parallel careers as an ufologist and author specialized in alien abductions, and as a well known abstract painter and sculptor. Although Budd kept these two endeavors separated from each other, they did come together in his last book, Art, Life and UFOs: A memoir by Budd Hopkins, published in 2010. The New York Times published yesterday a good obituary of Budd, where they mention that his interest in UFOs was sparked by his own sighting of a silvery disc in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1964. Budd owned a house in Truro in the Cape where he used to spent the summers devoted to his artistic creations.
Budd’s mentor in the UFO field was Ted Bloecher, a seasoned investigator from New York and musician who had worked in one of the first UFO groups, Civilian Saucer Intelligence or CSI. Bloecher published in 1967 the classic Report on the UFO Wave of 1947, with an Introduction by Dr. James McDonald. Bloecher realized that in order to get to the bottom of the UFO phenomenon, one had to go beyond the documentation of just sightings and deal with the then thorny and controversial issue of the UFO occupants and their agenda. Budd’s first significant case was the investigation, with Bloecher, of a UFO landing and humanoid case in 1975 in North Hudson Park, New Jersey, in front of the Stonehenge apartment building, on the Hudson River across Manhattan. His report of this investigation, which included aliens coming out of the craft and scooping soil samples, was published in New York’s Village Voice, launching Budd’s public ufological career. Budd had a real talent of presenting his data to the media, which increased after the publication in 1981 of his first important book, Missing Time, and continued throughout the rest of his life.
I knew Budd for many years, meeting him for the first time around 1979 or 1980 when the French researcher Thierry Pinvidic visited New York and I accompanied him in his rounds of meeting all the prominent NY ufologists. I later remember an occasion when Budd needed a hypnotist—in his early years he didn’t do regressive hypnosis himself but used professionals like Dr. Aphrodite Clamar and others—because he had an abductee coming from out of town and Dr. Clamar was unavailable. He called my friend Pete Mazzola from the Scientific Bureau of Investigation (SBI), an ufologist and police detective who did hypnosis for the NYPD. I accompanied Pete to Budd’s studio in lower Manhattan, where the session took place. In the mid and late eighties I was a regular attendee of Budd’s abductee support group, a concept which he pioneered and which has been replicated around the country. Budd of course was not a licensed therapist, so his meetings were part-social and part discussion of the experiences and feelings by the abductees. Unlike other similar groups that started later elsewhere, Budd always invited researchers like myself and often writers and journalists who were working on stories on the subject. They were a fascinating blend of people of different backgrounds and philosophies and always highly interesting and provocative.
Budd was not really the first one to investigate or publish abduction cases—the Lorenzens and others associated with the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, APRO, had been doing this for a number of years, and high profile cases like those of Betty and Barney Hill, Charlie Hickson, and Travis Walton had all received considerable media attention. But until Budd came into the field, abductions were considered extremely rare experiences and no one was searching for wider patterns. Budd devoted a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources to look precisely for these patterns, which he later pursued through his Intruders Foundations created in 1989. He also became the chief spokesman for the reality of alien abductions, bringing the message that these experiences were real and important through his books, articles, numerous lectures and media appearances. He was also the mentor of Dr. John Mack, the prominent Harvard University psychiatrist and Pulitzer Price winner, who brought this subject closer to the mainstream. Not everybody agreed of course with Budd’s conclusions or his methodology and he had many critics, but his contribution to the field is absolutely beyond dispute. He did more than probably anybody else to bring the complex issue of alien abductions into the forefront and he will be missed by all those interested in that subject.