Joining George Knapp in the first half of the show, legendary ufologist Budd Hopkins talked about his life and his pioneering investigation into the alien abduction phenomenon. Although he has been researching abductions over 30 years ago, Hopkins noted that he is still getting new cases and hearing from new abductees. "The abduction phenomenon is not dropping off or anything like that," he observed, "it's still, unfortunately, very active." On how best to unlock the mystery of UFOs, Hopkins opined that, rather than a strictly scientific or spiritual examination of the issue, "this is so complex a phenomenon that any way we can get at it is worth trying." Beyond just the enigmatic nature of UFOs, Hopkins contended that the abduction phenomenon is so troubling that "we're in a situation where we need every single thing we can get and every person with good ideas."
Reflecting on the nature of abductions, as a whole, Hopkins lamented that "the whole thing is a lot more ominous than I allow myself to think, when my thoughts go in that direction." Based on his extensive research into the UFO phenomenon and abductions in particular, he declared that "there's no way to say that 'they' have done good." Regarding the concept of disclosure, Hopkins theorized that acceptance of the UFO phenomenon will happen on a grassroots level and grow until the government is forced to say something about it. "Although, I don't know what that statement could be," he mused, since "the cards are all in the hands of the UFO occupants." Expressing hope for some "simple" solution to defending the human race against these nefarious visitors, Hopkins ultimately conceded that "this is not some sort of competition we're going to win." Over the course of his appearance, Hopkins also talked about famous abduction cases, his response to skeptics, and his experiences working with a variety of media outlets.
In the second half, pre-historic researcher John Jensen discussed evidence of canal systems that may have been built by an ancient civilization in the United States. Jensen explained that he first made this discovery while using Google Earth to research Civil War forts along the Mississippi River. It was then that he noticed an "eroded canal" beside a fort and, upon zooming the map view out, realized that it was merely a part of a much larger system of canals. In subsequent months, he uncovered over 250 sites which appear to have ancient canals, roads, or even strange symbols in the Earth. Rather than put forward a specific theory as to their origins, Jensen stressed that he is more focused on "'what is it' rather than 'why is it.'" Moving forward, he hopes for more on-site investigations of these formations in order to create a "time map" which will indicate the ages of these anomalies as well as when they were abandoned.
Jensen revealed that he has contacted "an array of individuals" from specializations such as archaeology, anthropology and geology, in the hopes of gaining some insight into these mysterious formations. Unfortunately, these attempts have been met with a "defining wall of silence" from academia. The lone response he did receive was from a graduate student who asserted that 100 percent of the canals were the result of oil exploration. A skeptical Jensen retorted that some of the canals have Cyprus trees "that appear to be quite large" growing in them, an attribute which would make modern origins for the formations "a little hard to explain." However, he was open minded about the possibility the formations could be modern and noted that he has already removed some sites where information has revealed their contemporary origins.
In anticipation of Budd Hopkins' appearance on the program this Thanksgiving weekend, we reached out to some luminaries in the field of Ufology for their thoughts on the legendary researcher's amazing career ...
"There are few persons in this field whose company I have enjoyed as much as Budd's. For that matter, few I have liked as much, not just as a colleague but as a fellow human being. The man has a big heart and a sense of humor to match. Every time I think of Budd, I think of his hilarious stories and his warmth. I think, too, of how good a friend he has been to me. Everybody, I'd like to add, should read his memoirs, which capture a fascinating life, with jokes and wisdom. I love Budd."
--Jerome Clark, board member of the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS)
"Budd Hopkins is a pioneer, a cold-eyed realist, a leader, a messenger. He has had the ability to look directly into the face of the most bizarre, unexpected, and shattering reality of our time and persuade others to see it too. It is correct to say Budd Hopkins single handedly dragged the UFO research community kicking and screaming into acknowledging the reality of UFO abductions, but his influence extends far beyond the UFO community. In the 46 years since Budd Hopkins first saw the reality, "abducted by aliens" has become a household word in this country, in Europe, Japan and beyond. However uneasily this knowledge sits with the masses of humanity, they have been informed, and Budd Hopkins is the one who informed them.
This monumental feat of perceiving and informing makes it fair to call Budd Hopkins "the intelligence officer for the people." Those whose knew, and whose job it was to tell us, abandoned us. But Budd was present for we the people and he stood almost alone in telling us the dire facts we have every need to know. And Budd Hopkins was never duped by the phenomena. Not once in 46 years did he lapse into romantic idealism or any mystification of the phenomena. Instead, he showed us what steadfast loyalty to the human race looks like.
Budd Hopkins, a supremely effective communicator, fiercely protective of the abductees, but above all the one man who saw the truth and made us know it. Truly he is a benefactor of all mankind. Toward Budd Hopkins I feel bottomless gratitude and admiration and so, I feel, should we all."
--Elaine Douglass, Board editor, JAR, The Journal of Abduction-Encounter Research
"One of the leading alien abduction researchers Budd Hopkins has lived a complex life in which art and UFOs have been profound and interlocking themes. Anomalist books have published Budd's autobiography – "Art, Life and UFOs – A memoir." I found it to be a great read which personally powerfully resonated with these two major conjunctions of my own life – art and UFOs.
Budd Hopkins however unlike my humble connections had a rich and well recognised life in art with a reputation as a nationally known American Abstract Expressionist painter, with works displayed in the collections of prestigious institutions such as the Guggenheim, Whitney, Metropolitan Museums, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and New York's Museum of Modern Art. I found Budd's range of work to be striking and beautiful.
While my favourite artists include the likes of Dali, Magritte, Leonardo Da Vinci, the French Impressionists, through to the Australian aboriginal art of old and its modern forms, I found it fascinating that among Budd's favourites are the works of Caravaggio, whose life and work was captured in a book published by my own "The OZ Files" publisher Duffy and Snellgrove in 1998, namely "M" by Peter Robb, also author of "Midnight in Sicily."
Budd Hopkin's memoir is a rich evocation of the artist life and also of a rich and complex personal life that got swept up by the UFO sirens and taken down strange and controversial pathways, until he became regarded as one of the world's leading experts on UFO abductions. I thoroughly enjoyed Budd's memoir, not just for the UFO journey but also for its great candour, honesty and courage in describing his person life journey through his childhood in West Virginia, becoming a victim of the polio pandemic of the 1930s, his complex relationship with his father, his relationships with women, his adventures evading the attentions of the closeted gay scene, his embrace of the hectic and chaotic life in New York and summer life in Cape Cod.
He doesn't retreat from illnesses that have troubled him in more recent times and even takes us through a personal "soul map" in a rich and engaging way. Budd's memoir and its engagements with the art world and the UFO world are rich in anecdotes about people and experiences. They tumble forth in an engaging way. The UFO side of this are more familiar to me, particularly his accounts about Carl Sagan, J. Allen Hynek, John Mack and Laurence Rockefeller, but his art world stories of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and many others are just as entertaining and informative.
As I have seen Budd as a friend and esteemed colleague in the UFO research trenches, and respected his UFO abduction work, despite not always agreeing with its totality and implications at times, I had mixed feelings when reading passages like, "To sum it up, life, with all its many levels and complications, continues to be very good to me, and at my advanced age I am filled with sorrow that so little of it is left."
"The best thing any one of the abductees ever did for themselves was to contact Budd Hopkins. Seldom have I witnessed such a champion for these unfortunates stumbling in darkness, cast aside by "professionals" simply trying to recapture any state of normalcy in their lives. Budd has always been the first to lead them back and provide a warm hand of assurance that they are not alone. That their life may have changed but together, they would find the way home. Budd, you are my personal hero, a true and caring gentle man who has shown all of us the way home. I salute you."
"Budd has, in my opinion, done more to get people involved in abduction research and to take the subject seriously than has anybody else.
He made it OK to consider the subject and has brought a number of people out of the closet. Hopefully more professionals in the field of psychology and psychiatry (such as the late John Mack) will pick up the torch."
"He has been an inspiration to me. By his demeanor and his detailed and conscientious work in the investigation of abductions he has had a great impact on countless numbers of people. In great part, because of his pioneering efforts in this field, I am convinced that the abduction phenomenon is real and the investigative work needs to be continued. We all owe him our thanks for giving a credible, reliable and intelligent voice to this phenomenon."
"Budd has made significant contributions to the field. He should be recognized and applauded."
--Edgar Mitchell, Apollo Astronaut
"Budd has been a godsend to all of those individuals that were alone and afraid because of their UFO-related experiences. From young children to the elderly, all experiencers, abductees, missing-time victims, or whatever you want to call the them, Budd treats each with compassion and heart-felt concern as he helps them cope with and survive their ordeal. From the start of his research many years ago and right up to the present, he has a marvelous ability to deal with the high strangeness nature of this mystery while recording the many facets of it that other researchers have avoided. Even when attacked by the so-called skeptics, he remained true to his mission – helping others. Budd is a super-hero in this field."
--John Schuessler, Founding member & former International Director of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)
"Very few in the field of paranormal research can lay claim to creating an entire new field of study, yet Budd Hopkins did just that. His brave examination of the abduction phenomenon blew open the doors to a new era in Ufology, a field that had long been reticent to acknowledge or study cases which involved 'beings.' It is Hopkins' work that changed all that. Thanks to his work, we may be closer than ever to finding out just who or what is behind those enigmatic 'lights in the sky.' He is truly a pioneer and a giant upon whose shoulders the next generations of UFO researchers will attempt to stand."
"I've no doubt that Budd's book ‘Missing Time' is a classic in its field. I remember when I first read it. It was recommended to me by Hilary Evans in the UK. I simply could not put it down. When you read this book you can almost hear Budd himself scratching his head and asking himself "what the hell is going on ? ". In fact that's what the whole book said to me. It didn't provide any answers but brought up and endless list of questions instead.
I had the pleasure of having Budd as a guest at my home in West Yorkshire once. He was the headline speaker at a conference I had organised. I only had one spare room at my house and that was for Budd. Unfortunately a UFO researcher from Yugoslavia turned up literally out of the blue so I had no option but to put him in the same room as Budd, although I must add there was two separate beds. The following morning our guest from Yugoslavia was the first to rise. He came downstairs bright and breezy. I asked him if he'd slept alright to which he replied he had. Not long after Budd appeared and I asked him if he too had slept okay. His reply just about sums the man up. He said "boy that guy can snore." There was of course a grin on Budd's face as he said it but it shows what a really nice guy he is. There are many more such stories I could relate but this first one has always stuck with me.
All the best, Budd."
"Budd Hopkins' work in abduction research isn't just a cornerstone of ufology…it's the foundation. His unstinting and brave perseverance, often in the face of daunting skepticism and rebuke, has set the high-water mark for achievement in ufology, and one that the rest of us should aspire to.
Budd is a true pioneer. His work addresses the most important scientific question that has ever faced mankind…namely, are we alone in the Universe, or are we not. Clearly, his work leads one to conclude that we are not, and that the relationship between mankind and alien races is complex, probably more so than we on Earth are yet able to understand.
I find that there are few rewards to working in ufology, but my being able to claim Budd Hopkins as both a friend, and colleague, makes it all seem worthwhile. When the open landing finally occurs, I cast my vote for Budd to serve as Director of the Earth's greeting committee. His presence in that role would be sufficient to convince any discriminating group of beings that we humans are, indeed, a high-minded species worth communicating with.
I expect that one day, because of his immense contribution to ufology, Budd's name will appear next to those of the great scientific pioneers of all time."
--Peter Davenport, Director of the National UFO Reporting Center
"Budd appeared on the scene in the middle '70's and provided a clarity of thought regarding abduction reports which ultimately led to his discovery of a unifying characteristic of such reports. That characteristic was used as the title of his first book, Missing Time (1981).
Budd's investigative work that led to this book and his subsequent work with Aphrodite Clamar (who handled the hypnosis sessions) and Elizabeth Slater (author of the single blind study in 1983 (1984?) of a group of abductees which showed they were basically normal people who reported "unusual experiences") provided the needed "paradigm shift." Before MT, abduction cases were categorized as spurious, questionable or not-really-believed or "we don't know what to do with these reports."
Missing Time provided the unifying paradigm shift that resulted in a more serious treatment of such reports. The conclusion in that book and the information and conclusions in his later books spurred further work, including university-level studies, into psychological aspects of these reports. Numerous others were involved in researching abduction stories from some 20 years before Missing Time (e.g., the Hill case) to many years after Missing Time, but it was Missing Time that "put it all together" for the first time (at least for this investigator).
Much of the university-level work done since Missing Time has been directed toward determining whether the root of the abduction mystery lies strictly in the human psyche or if there is at least partially, if not mostly, a "hard, physical reality" (real abductions by real non-human creatures who travel in in real, "solid" craft). Budd's work and that the numerous other pre- and post - MT abduction researchers have convinced me it is the latter. I think Budd would agree."
Following the publication of this article, we received the following response from Budd Hopkins ...
I find myself stunned and overwhelmed by these responses. There's little I can say coherently because my feelings are so complex...except that I so deeply appreciate all the things my colleagues have said about me. When life grows short, all of these supportive remarks become even more precious to me...and the friendship they represent becomes even more essential to my continuing hopefulness. Thank you all again and again.