Hopkins, Budd (1931-)

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Hopkins, Budd (1931-)

Budd Hopkins, the major exponent of the importance of the abduction phenomenon within ufology, was born June 15, 1931, in Wheeling, West Virginia. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1953 and moved to New York City, where he began a successful career as an artist. His paintings now hang in many outstanding museums, and he has been a frequent contributor to art magazines and an art lecturer at colleges.

Hopkins became interested in UFOs in 1964 when he and two other people observed for several minutes a disc flying in broad daylight. He joined the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenona and began reading about ufology. He published an initial article in 1975 in the Village Voice on the case of a UFO landing in New Jersey. This led to his receiving additional reports, and he began studying incidents of claimed UFO contact with other UFO investigators and several psychologists. His first book, Missing Time: A Documented Study of UFO Abductions, published in 1981, placed the issue of abductions before the ufological community. He had become convinced by the sheer number of people who reported such abductions; he found it entirely credible that their stories of being abducted by visitants from outer space were accounts of actual events.

As described by Hopkins, many people, now in their middle years, have experienced one or more abductions earlier in their lives, the first occurrence often happening in childhood. These early abductions have been forgotten and are recovered only through hypnosis or dream recall techniques over a period of time. These abductions occurred for the purpose of medical experimentation and study. The victim of an abduction frequently reports a "cell sampling," in which tissue is removed and he or she is left with an identifying scar. The aim of the abductions might be to produce a hybrid alien-human race, considering that human female abductees supposedly have become pregnant as a result of their encounters.

Hopkins's first book not only sparked popular interest in the field but led to further research by ufologists that tended to confirm Hopkins's data, the most important being that of T. Eddie Bullard, a folklorist who conducted a comparative study of abduction stories and confirmed their high level of similarity in spite of the abductees' lack of contact with each other. By the time Hopkins published his second book, Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods (1987), abductions had become the central focus of ufology. He has found strong support from such leading UFO figures as David M. Jacobs, and his work has prompted studies by psychiatrists such as Rima E. Laibow (who founded an organization, Treatment and Research on Experienced Anomalous Trauma, to study abductions). Popular attention to Hopkins's work was provided by author Whitley Strieber, whose 1987 account of his own abduction, Communion, became a best seller and was made into a movie.

Hopkins has not, of course, been without his critics. Included are milder critics such as ufologist Michael D. Swords, who argued that UFO abduction accounts are shield fantasies, which hide traumatic experiences from the abductee's earlier life that are too painful to discuss directly. Hopkins' third book Witnessed recounts people's abduction stories, which continues to be a controversial subject in ufology.


Hopkins, Budd. Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods. New York: Random House, 1987.

. Missing Time: A Documented Study of UFO Abductions. New York: Richard Marek, 1981.

. Witnessed: The True Story of the Brooklyn Bridge UFO Abductions. New York: Pocket Books, 1996.