Witnessed – Review
Publisher: Pocket Books
Cover: John Stephens
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 11/5/1996
Summary: Not recommended. Too many logic holes describing a UFO related event supposedly occurring on November 30, 1989.
This has been an eagerly awaited book (1996). Budd Hopkins is the author of Intruders, the story line of which made its way into the national conscious when it was transformed into a made-for-TV movie. In the event you haven’t read Intruders, you should most definitely do so. But….
Witnessed relates events occurring on November 30, 1989.
A woman, Linda Cortile, is allegedly floated out of her twelfth floor apartment window accompanied by three alien “grays”. The four free-floating forms then ascend into the belly of a hovering Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). This strange event is apparently witnessed by sixteen people. Of those witnessing the abduction, four come forward–more or less. More less if you consider that the author is able to interview only one of unequivocal the witnesses. And this is where the problems start. The numbers, the tally, the buffing, the honing, the qualifying, the blue square peg fitting into that red square hole.
This, my dear friends, is a book intended for denizens of the unexplained stuck on the Alien Abduction Freeway where only left turns are permitted, as in turning a book back to the previous page to check the purported facts.
Three of the four witnesses (there may be six, depending on your method of counting) who make themselves known to the author do so by letter and cassette tape. “Richard” and “Daniel” are security agents of some type; the third-man is an internationally known statesman. In attempting to pin down the identity of these three witnesses, Hopkins relates a lot of cloak-and-dagger, James Bond stuff that is excruciatingly boring and off the mark. Having said that, we must back up and realize that Witnessed was written for Hopkin’s fellow UFO investigators more than the general reading public. The mechanics of the book–story development, the pacing, the dialogue–has all the earmarks of a book waiting for treatment as a made-for-TV-movie.
If you shuck all the material Hopkins tosses in attempting to support the validity of the abduction event and corroborate Linda Cortile’s hypnosis induced recall, you discover Mr. Hopkins has very little to say about the November 30, 1989 abduction except that it happened and that there were ramifications. Well, maybe it did happen and maybe it didn’t.
According to John L. Petersen, author of The Road to 2015–Profiles of the Future, (Waite Group Press), the total amount of information in the world is doubling every 18 months or less. He also says that if you read the entire New York Times on any given Sunday, you would absorb more information than the average person absorbed in a lifetime in Thomas Jefferson’s day. We suspect that even if you don’t read the Sunday New York Times, you are exposed to a prodigious amount of information whether you want it or not. If per chance, you are exposed to some information that doesn’t fit neatly into some established category of information, what do you do? You invent another category of course: Alien-Human Abduction experiences, for instance.
This reviewer, not believing in such phenomenon as alien abductions, grants that something happened to Linda Cortile on November 30, 1989. It is also granted that those people who say they saw the abduction in fact saw something. The problem with Witnessed, aside from its intricate and elaborate presentation of “case support”, is that it tries too hard to make the case for alien abduction specifically and alien abductions in general.
In the October 1995 issue of CRUSHIES, we reviewed Raymond E. Fowler’s The Watchers II. It is the only book of this genre we have reviewed that provides a firm foundation for possible alternatives to little gray aliens abducting humans. Things might just be a lot more complicated than alien kidnappers versus the kidnapped. Unlike Hopkin’s portraits of heroes, heroines and innocent victims suffering at the hands of masterful extraterrestrial manipulators, Fowler raises the specter of a presence so powerful, so manipulative that we haven’t even conceived of its existence yet. That presence is the human mind.
In another book, From Elsewhere: Being an E. T. In America by Scott Mandelker (to be reviewed at a later date), the author makes the very subtle point that a person’s memory of some otherworldly event can be triggered by almost anything. The interesting point about this view is that it fits in very nicely with the concept of a universal, super mind as found in Jungian psychology. (Another book, well worth reading on this subject, is John E. Mack’s Abduction, reviewed in the May 95 issue of CRUSHIES). In short, if you reject the argument of extraterrestrials involved in human affairs, the next avenue to explore is the possible existence of a mind-experience, shared by millions but perceived according to individual prejudices. Such an exploration is just as legitimate as looking for extraterrestrial influences. Moreover, exploring the unexplored territories of the mind are potentially much more rewarding. This, it should quickly be added, does not mean that aliens are not real or that aliens do not kidnap people. Could be they are and they do. But there is just nothing anywhere, especially in the tattered turned pages of Witnessed, that convinces even the most wide-eyed explorer that extraterrestrials are prowling the night skies.
From this reviewer’s standpoint, books on aliens and alien abductions are more informative when they stick to the issue at hand. We don’t have to agree with the premise on which they’re written but if the abduction/contact story has been done with integrity and a regard for the truth as they perceive the truth to be, there is usually something valuable to be gained by reading what the author has to say. In Witnessed there is nothing gained. While Hopkins says he presents new information on aliens and “bonding” of couples from childhood, hints of human “bonding” has been presented in other books, most notably in Fowler’s works and, dare I mention it, Secret Vows by Denise Rieb Twiggs and Bert Twiggs (reviewed in the May 95 issue). One abduction victim, a subject of Hopkin’s, Debbie Jordan, also approached the subject of aliens and experiments in human “bonding” (see the November 1995 issue of CRUSHIES, Abducted! By Debbie Jordan and Kathy Mitchell).
Witnessed is not recommended reading, even for the thrill value.