by Budd Hopkins
In late November 1989, 1 received a phone call from “Linda Cortile,” a woman with whom I had been working since the previous April. She had written to me at that time after reading Intruders. Certain details in my book had led her to suspect that she might have undergone partially remembered UFO abductions, and subsequent interviews and hypnotic regression sessions apparently confirmed her suspicions. We had explored several UFO experiences from Linda’s childhood, her teenage years and her twenties, but in November of 1989, she believed (hoped) that these encounters had ceased. However, the purpose of her call to me that November morning was to describe what she felt was an abduction that had occurred only six or seven hours earlier. Under the circumstances, she was more than a little agitated.
Linda’s husband normally worked nights, but this particular week he had jury duty and so was home that evening. She explained that he had gone to sleep in the master bedroom, while she — never an easy night-time sleeper — took care of the family laundry. “It’s a four-part job,” she said, “washing, folding, ironing and putting away.” She joined her sleeping husband in bed a little after 3:00 a.m., and within a very few minutes began to feel a disturbingly familiar sense of numbness moving from her feet up her body. She sensed a presence in the room and tried desperately to awaken her husband. Then she saw a small creature — large-headed, with huge black eyes — approaching the bed. Her arms and upper body were not completely paralyzed, so in panic she seized a heavy decorative pillow and threw it at the figure. She was instantly unable to move her arms, and was suffused with fearful regret: “I’ve made them mad. Now they’ll take my children.” Through her confusion and worry she told me that she had a few other memory fragments. In one she recalled being seated on a table while small hands or instruments pounded gently up and down her spine. In another she remembered seeing white fabric moving up towards her eyes and then moving down again. I calmed her as best I could and we arranged for a meeting three days hence to explore these recollections under hypnosis. In that session, she recalled three or four small figures approaching her bed, moving her into the living room, and then taking her outside, through a closed window, into a bluish white beam of light. She was now vertical, standing in space, 12 stories above the ground! Somehow she then floated upwards, passing through a circular opening and into a large object hovering just above the building. The rest of the experience was what we have come to expect — a physical examination on a table and so forth, including the soft, methodical pounding of little alien hands along her vertebra. Her return was shocking: she felt herself being dropped on her bed from what seemed to be a foot or two above it. She immediately tried to awaken her husband but he was as still as death. Fearing the worst she rushed into her children’s room, and they, too, were completely unresponsive. “They’ve killed my family.” was her horrified thought. Thinking as clearly as she could in this emergency, she managed to find a small hand mirror and thrust it under the nose of one of her sons. Moisture formed; he was alive. Instantly her other boy stirred and began breathing audibly, and from her bedroom a moment later came the now-welcome sounds of her husband’s snores. The apparently switched-off family members were all returned to normal sleep-states at almost the same instant.
The months passed and other cases unfolded, involving other people in UFO abductions in and out of New York City. Linda and about 35 others regularly attended my support group meetings, held about every three weeks. My work load never lessened, and I was still unable to get caught up with my mail. But then one day in early February 1991, about 15 months after Linda’s 1989 abduction, I received a typewritten letter addressed to my home, and signed with two first names — Richard and Dan: •
Dear Mr. Hopkins:
My partner and I are police officers ... we have been in a serious dilemma because of our strict profession. One early morning, about 3:00 to 3:30 a.m. in late November 1989, we sat in our patrol car underneath the underpass of the FDR Drive on (address details deleted - BH), observing the surroundings ahead. Sitting on the passenger side of our vehicle, I reached into my shirt pocket for a stick of gum. As I opened it, I looked down at the silver wrapping that was left in my hand and saw it reflecting a firelight type of reddish glow. I looked up through the windshield to see where it was coming from, and there it was — a strange oval hovering over the top of an apartment building two to three blocks up from where we were sitting. We don’t know where it came from. Its lights turned from a bright reddish-orange to a very bright whitish blue, coming out from the bottom of it. It moved out away from the building and lowered itself to an apartment window just below. I yelled for my partner who was sitting beside me, behind the wheel of the patrol car, and he was just as excited as I was. I had to be sure of what I was seeing so I went into the glove compartment to get a pair of binoculars. We grabbed hold of each other and were going to get out of the car, but what could we do for that poor little girl or woman wearing a full white nightgown? She was floating in midair in a bright beam of whitish blue light, looking like an angel. She was then brought up into the bottom of that very large oval (about three quarters the size of the building across). This poor person was escorted out of her window. I don’t know if she was willing or not. I don’t think so, because it seemed as though she was being escorted up into this thing by three ugly but smaller human-like creatures, one above her and two below. They seemed to be in charge. On top of our fear of getting involved, we were also carrying a load of guilt because we didn’t help her and we don’t know what’s become of her. After she was escorted up and in, the oval turned reddish-orange again and whisked away, coming in our direction, above us. It must have flown over the FDR Drive while we were sitting underneath it. It then plunged into the river behind us, not far from Pier 17, behind the Brooklyn Bridge. Someone else had to see what happened that morning. I know what we saw, and we’ll never forget it.
Mr. Hopkins, the oval never came up from under the river. It’s possible that it could have, after we drove away about 45 minutes later. We would have stayed longer but we couldn’t ignore our radio call any longer. The guilt is brutal, more so than the fear we felt when we witnessed this terrible encounter. The guilt has lingered into today and we find it difficult living with ourselves. My partner and I have been debating for 14 or 15 months if we should seek her out. We know the building and we know which window she came out of. Perhaps she was just a figment of our imagination. If she isn’t, is she alive and well?
We have to know. We’re feeling better now that we’ve had the chance to tell someone else other than ourselves. We wish to stay anonymous for the time being on account of our profession ... If we should decide to seek this person out (and she may very well value her privacy as we do, and we respect that), we’ll contact you again with further information if we do find her, and I hope we do. Many thanks, Police Officers Dan and Richard.
My astonishment at reading this letter was all the more profound because I immediately realized that the person in the long white gown was, of course, Linda Cortile. The policemen’s account corroborated, among other things, the time and date of her abduction, the location of her building, the colors of her nightgown and the beam of light that lifted her up into the UFO. But this was to be only the beginning of an extraordinarily complex saga. In the next year and a half I would receive three more letters from Dan and seven more letters and an audio-cassette tape from Richard. In April and again in October 1991, Linda would suffer hours-long forced confinements and interrogations at the hands of these confused frightened “law enforcement” officers; she would be struck by a car during a chase through the streets of lower Manhattan; and one of the two officers would suffer a serious psychological collapse.
In the fall of 1991 another extremely important development occurred: a third unrelated witness came forward and described the UFO abduction as it appeared from her vantage point on the Brooklyn Bridge. But even this list does not begin to include all the testimony — nor all the witnesses — in support of the fact that Linda Cortile was in fact taken through a window of her twelfth floor Manhattan apartment building by three diminutive, large-headed creatures; the four floated in a bluish-white beam of light and then rose effortlessly up into a hovering UFO.
After Dan and Richard’s original February letter to me, I telephoned Linda and asked her to sit down, that I had something I wanted to read to her. Her reaction to the letter was one of shock. In my experience, whenever abductees receive what they regard as confirmation — evidence establishing the physical reality of UFO abductions — their reaction is always one of shock and depression. No one really wants these events to be true. When Linda had composed herself and we began talking about the situation, I asked her to be prepared for a visit from Richard and Dan, since their letter implied that they would probably try to find her. They seemed determined to learn if she had, indeed, survived the abduction they had done nothing to prevent.
A few weeks later, Linda phoned me to say that they had just left her apartment. When she let them in, she explained, they had been astounded that she was expecting them, and that she and I had been in touch. Dan’s reaction had been powerful; he sat down on the couch, put his head in his hands, and said, “My God, it’s really her.” Richard, with tears in his eyes, hugged her with relief that she was alive and well. Each man in turn went to the window to look down and see where their car had been parked. Each then asked her to tell them what she remembered about the encounter, but she declined as I had asked her to do, since I naturally wanted to hear for myself any independent verification of this “unbelievable” event. The officers said they could not come forward, nor would they meet me face-to-face; I _was, after all, known to them primarily as a published writer on the subject. Their hard won professional reputations, they felt, would be severely damaged if their names were made public along with their UFO account. As they later explained, they had contacted me partly because they wanted the event to be known, but not their identities, and felt that they could trust me in this matter.
Their dilemma became even clearer some weeks later when Dan informed me by letter that there was a major extenuating circumstance behind their need for absolute anonymity. They were not, they admitted, New York City police officers, nor were they alone in their car that fateful November morning. They were, in fact, security agents escorting an important political figure to a downtown heliport. They had not been “undercover” when the UFO incident occurred. Their automobile engine had inexplicably died, their headlights had gone out, and their radio and car phone had ceased working. While Dan steered, Richard pushed the car under the elevated FDR Drive so that they were in a safer security position. It was in this circumstance that they saw Linda’s abduction unfold. Months later I heard from another witness who had seen the same event from her location on the Brooklyn Bridge; she told me that her car engine had died and her headlights, as well as the lights on the bridge’s roadway, had temporarily failed. Though the entire abduction procedure may have taken less than a minute, more than these two cars were apparently involved; Richard, Dan and the woman on the bridge have all mentioned other witnesses. For example, another independent witness — a woman ignorant of the details of Linda’s abduction — has told me of having seen a reddish-orange object in the sky in that general area at what turned out to be the same time and date. I fully expect other witnesses will eventually surface, and so I am keeping certain details of the event secret. Obviously, I need to be able to check the veracity of anyone who might in the future come forward claiming to have seen the Cortile abduction.
In the audio cassette tape Richard sent to me, in whom he recounted his version of the November abduction, he described Linda and the three aliens as coming through the window “in a fetal position.” (The woman on the bridge phrased it slightly differently: “They were all rolled up,” she said, when they first “tumbled out of the window.”) Neither the woman nor Dan and Richard ever described Linda as being naked, as she had feared when she recalled the white cloth of her nightgown coming up towards her face and then going away. But Linda also did not recall ever being- in a fetal position. This apparent discrepancy evaporated when I realized that the white cloth Linda saw approaching her face and then receding was most likely her own fabric covered knees as she went into, and then out of, a curled, fetal position. The altered state she was apparently in when she floated through the closed window precluded, it would seem, clear, precise recollections. In future articles I will discuss other facets of this case, and I will present, among other things, a full account of my interviews with the witness on the bridge. The case is extraordinary for many reasons, but one of the central issues has to be with the fact that there were other witnesses in the first place. One of the most puzzling aspects of the abduction phenomenon is its seeming invisibility. From the beginning we know that the abductees “disappear” from the normal world, are often searched for by family, police and others, and then magically turn up, their bodies often marked by the signs of their abduction experiences. One would think that they could not have been taken without witnesses, and yet this is almost always what the evidence suggests. The occasional exceptions to this non-witness enigma are most often family members or friends, whose testimony is therefore not as independent as one might wish. So why is the Cortile case an exception? It has to do, I believe, with the presence in Dan and Richard’s car of the third man, the important political figure. It would appear that the abduction was staged for his benefit, as a demonstration of alien intentions and power. I cannot get into the evidence at this time which supports this unusual hypothesis; let me just say that the evidence does exist, and that this conclusion seems inevitable. The aliens wanted him to see what they could do.
It follows, then, that we do not know if this staging involves any more witnesses with present-day conscious recall. It is possible that, for some reason, Dan, Richard and the woman on the bridge were “permitted” to see and to remember as support for the third man’s recollections, and that other potential witnesses in the vicinity were not; that their powers of observation and/or recollection have been blocked. Time will undoubtedly answer this thorny — but not at all unusual — question. The evidence for the reality of these events is extraordinarily rich and varied. It includes letters, taped statements, drawings, and verbal testimony. Apart from Linda, with whom I have done six hypnotic regressions on related issues, I have interviewed at length seven other witnesses to various aspects of this case. Videotapes have been made, relevant license plates have been successfully checked out, and an enormous amount of miscellaneous investigation has been conducted. Some of this work has been accomplished with the help of a law enforcement officer with special knowledge of particularly relevant material. I have availed myself of the expertise of two psychiatrists and two psychologists in the analysis of different aspects of the case: Dan’s deteriorating emotional state as demonstrated by his letters, Linda’s emotional stability and truthfulness, and the reactions of Richard, the third man, and Linda’s family, as revealed in letters and interviews. Videotapes of two interviews exist for future study by mental health professionals. The unanimous conclusion of those who know the extent of the evidence is clear. In this, as in so many other UFO cases, a straight line turns out to be the shortest distance between two points; the witnesses are simply relating what happened to them. These events actually occurred.
One of the most fascinating pieces of evidence involves the two sets of witness drawings I have been given — Richard’s and those made by the woman on the bridge. The style of the drawings is quite different. Both witnesses used crayons — probably Crayola’s — so the colors are similar, but the woman on the bridge is less skillful than Richard. Since she was farther away from Linda’s building than he and she did not have the benefit of binoculars, her images are more panoramic and include details from the bridge’s structural members as well as nearby apartment buildings. Her attempts at perspective are quite awkward, and she commits a common error among untrained artists, that of combining different points of view in the same image. For example, the highway below is rendered as if it were parallel to the bridge — in fact, it passes under the bridge virtually at a right angle — and it is presented in a flat, top view, whereas the buildings abutting the road are presented in a side view. (The contradiction is similar to that commonly found in primitive portraiture, where a wide, frontal eye is placed in a strictly profile head).
Richard, on the other hand, renders the UFO in much more accurate perspective and his drawing style is far more sophisticated. In his image showing the fetally compacted figures floating upwards toward the UFO, he attempts a degree of dark and light modelling in the craft’s underside and presents the figures in a somewhat complex three-quarter pose. The bridge witness, on the other hand, renders them in a much more primitive manner: they are shown in strict, simplistic profile, their little stick-figure feet pointing out to the left. As one might expect, there are other subtle differences between the two sets of drawings. Richard, being closer, saw a domelike bulge on top of the craft which the bridge witness does not include, but essentially the drawings strongly support the accounts of all the witnesses. I’ve used my years of experience as an artist and writer to study the many technical and stylistic differences in the drawing and writing styles of Linda and the four witnesses. In an examination of typefaces, for example, I found that Richard has used two different typewriters, the one used in his first joint letter with Dan appearing only twice — that first time and then again in the note he sent me to accompany his cassette tape. All of Richard’s subsequent letters are justified on the right and have the same typeface as all but one of Dan’s letters, suggesting either that they were produced on the same sophisticated typewriter or that both agents owned identical general-issue machines. The sole letter of Dan’s that was written on another machine was apparently composed while he was being treated in a rest home in December of 1991. Aside from that one letter, Dan consistently uses 9” x 6” paper, while Richard usually prefers regular 11” x 8 1/2” sheets. The Third Man’s letter to me was typed on yet a fourth machine, using sheets 10/2” x 7’/4”, and unlike most of Richard’s and Dan’s, his sentences were not justified on the right. The typewriter used by the woman on the bridge has still another typeface and Linda’s yet another, neither of which justifies the paragraphs on the right. All in all, at least six different machines were used to produce the various letters and notes sent to me about this case.
This is not the place for extensive analysis of the different literary styles, vocabularies, paragraphing or characteristic grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors, but the differences among the five writers are quite consistent. Dan’s and Richard’s literary styles and paragraphing are most alike, perhaps a reflection of their similar training in report construction and their close professional partnership. It is highly possible that, over the years, they have jointly written many official reports so that then” styles blend. For example, neither indents at the beginning of a paragraph and both separate paragraphs by the device of double spacing. Both use short, succinct paragraphs. For his part, Richard has one idiosyncrasy not shared by any of the other four writers, and which appears in roughly half of his letters. In these he indents the whole of alternating paragraphs, presumably to separate them visually from one another.
Unlike Richard and Dan, the third man uses a six-space indent at the beginning of the first line of each paragraph, and then separates them further by double spacing. I’ve obtained a copy of another letter sent by the third man on an unrelated official matter, and the same six-space indentation and double spacing between paragraphs is used.
In the hundreds of pages of notes I’ve received from Linda I’ve observed that she also indents six spaces in the first sentence of each paragraph, but she does not double-space between paragraphs. The woman on the bridge also uses an indent in the first sentence of each paragraph, but, like the third man and unlike Linda, she uses a double space between paragraphs. When it comes to grammar and punctuation, Richard consistently makes a common but egregious error that his partner avoids: placing quotation marks around words or phrases that he means to emphasize, rather than underlining them. Dan employs quotation marks correctly to establish a direct quote or, occasionally, to give an ironical spin to a word or phrase (a usage writers refer to as “scare quotes”). Richard also frequently places an apostrophe in the wrong place, as in “wouldn’t,” a punctuation problem Dan does not share.
Overall, Dan’s mastery of grammar, spelling, syntax and other simple writing skills is superior to his partner’s.
Many other consistent stylistic elements exist in the material I’ve received from each writer, too many to mention here. But the third man’s suppler sentences and more sophisticated vocabulary provide an especially clear example of the different cultural, educational and literary backgrounds of these five people. Beyond these issues is another of extreme subtlety. Since the letters I’ve received from the third man, Dan and Richard span a period of a year and a half, the relationships among them and their various attitudes toward Linda and the UFO phenomenon itself have remained anything but fixed. There is a dynamic to the thinking and behavior of each witness which can be felt as an undertone in each succeeding communication. Dan’s clearly deteriorating mental state is fixed on the idea that Linda in some way is an alien herself, or at least a “half breed,” to use his denigrating term. Richard’s attitude towards Linda is the most consistently supportive, yet he often despairs of what he calls her “stubbornness,” and like his partner, he also occasionally accuses Linda of being part alien. In fact, when one read’s Linda’s notes and the letters of Dan, Richard, the third man and the woman on the bridge and compares their many pages with the work of even so famous an epistolary novelist as Laclos, one finds these contemporary letters just as nuanced and clear in their revelation of character. And despite the bizarre nature of the events they disclose, they are even more believable in their subtle revelation of particular behavior and response.
The importance of the Linda Cortile case can hardly be exaggerated. It established the physical reality of the UFO abduction experience, and, as a full discussion of the case will finally reveal, the deceptive behavior of the UFO occupants at the highest levels. Publicly, this case will be severely attacked by the professional debunkers who will see it for what is — the strongest evidence yet for the reality of UFOs, their occupants, and their program of systematic abduction of human beings. This they cannot tolerate. And if rumors are true and there are officially sanctioned intelligence agents within the various UFO investigative networks, these people will also be mobilized to subvert the case from the inside, even before its full dimensions are made known to the public at large. The stakes are that high.