Monday, February 24, 2014

Carol Rainey: Open Letter to the UFO Community

The following open letter was provided Sunday to The UFO Trail by Carol Rainey. Learn more about Ms. Rainey and her work by visiting her website,, viewing her YouTube channel and watching her videos posted in the sidebar to the right.

Open Letter to the UFO Community

Over the past several years, I've posted to my YouTube channel (Carol Rainey) a dozen film excerpts on the subject of UFO abduction research. They feature the work of my then husband, Budd Hopkins, and his book, "Witnessed," about the Linda Cortile abduction case. People interested in this field might find something of worth in the comments posted recently by one of my critics, followed by my response to him.

[**Note: If I didn't think the UFO phenomenon was a real and significant human mystery, I assure you that I would never have "wasted" the past twenty years and my personal resources on caring about this research.]

I was particularly struck by the commentator's religious attitude toward the researcher and the material. It led me to wonder, not for the first time, how many researchers and observers in this field secretly harbor an attitude and a mindset that utterly mitigate against an ability to uncover what lies behind the UFO phenomenon.

Here is the essence of his remarks:

"...Do you consider yourself more of an expert on the subject of alien abduction than Bud Hopkins was?  You better be because you are going after a saint, and a lot of people will feel they have good reason to dismiss what you say out of hand."

Full quote below and my second response to the person:

tommytomted44 to Carol Rainey 20 hours ago

Thank you for your civil reply.  It just strikes me as strange.  You were married to Bud Hopkins.
You wrote books together, and now you are trying to take his work apart.

I understand this is new material, but this is not the first video you have made with this theme.  I believe I have seen them all.  To me there is just something very wrong with attacking the work of a dead man who is not here to speak for himself.

Without Bud Hopkins, David Jacobs and John Mack would never have been exposed to the subject of alien abduction.  Bud carried the water on the subject for years with no help at all.

It looks to me as if you have some problems with his methods.  It also looks to me like you are quite willing to toss the baby out with the bathwater.  That really bothers me.  It is hard enough to get people to take this subject seriously.

So you appear willing to throw out all Buds work.  Do you actually disagree with his take on every case he did?  Is there nothing of value to be saved here?  Nowhere we can say that Bud was doing good work?

Bud Hopkins and Karla Turner are the closest people we have to saints in the area of alien abduction.  So you don't agree with some of his methods.  Are you really willing to tear it all down over that? 

I'm not an expert on the history of the two of you together but didn't he do some of this work before you met and married him?  And didn't you write a book or two together?  I believe I've read those books and I don't remember you saying anything like this then.

Why now?  Were you just blind to these things when you were with Bud?  When you made that video did he know what you were intending to do with it?  If not then you were just setting him up a little bit there don't you think?

And lastly, do you consider yourself more of an expert on the subject of alien abduction than Bud Hopkins was?  You better be because you are going after a saint, and a lot of people will feel they have good reason to dismiss what you say out of hand.

I really don't like what you are doing.  I could hear you in the video.  It sure sounded to me like his partner in his work was setting him up, and he didn't even know it.  Now that is just disgusting.

With Bud dead, and no one to speak for him, this has the look and feel of a hatchet job.

cr response 2/23/14

I said all of these things, with documentation, _before_ Budd died, so that charge has little power. He and his devout supporters had their say, just as you're still having yours. 

You have some valid points, ones that I'll address in a longer form work - both in a documentary and in a book. Let me briefly say that your perspective and terminology suggest that you're in a religious frame of mind - one that won't help you be objective about good research methodology that will actually produce "knowledge." 

If you regard ANYONE in this field as "a saint," I think you've lost that ability. Budd (note the 2 D's) made significant contributions in offering support to people who felt traumatized and in making the media and popular culture aware of anomalous experiences related to UFOs. I am not suggesting otherwise. I was a participant in some cases with him that I think are quite credible and I will be showing those, too. But I AM strongly opposed to Budd's manipulation of facts and his telling the world that certain individuals's UFO reports were factual and credible when they were neither. 

Right now, I'm more interested in trying to ensure that there be no more Emma Woods out there - vulnerable people preyed upon by a "researcher" who has zero qualifications in psychology, hypnosis, medicine, cultural contagion, etc., and zero ability to handle the issues that arise. And now I'm speaking about someone who's quite alive.

Yes, I was Budd's partner and you can hear off-camera questions which indicate that I was always asking the hard questions. I supported what he was doing for many years, until the facts in front of me said that this was a deceptive and dangerous business. That's when my opinion changed and that's when I stopped being part of that community. The mark of a good investigator, scientists will tell you, is that he/she has the ability to change perceptions once the facts have changed or been more clearly perceived.


  1. P.S. You would think that people who love Budd so much would be pleased that you showed that he was being conned by hoaxer. I cannot understand why they do want to know the truth, but prefer to hang on to beliefs they must know deep down are not standing up to scrutiny.


  2. I would think that anybody who can think critically wouldn't give this stuff the time of day.


  3. I've been following the Woods and Rainey issues with a great deal of interest since I became a voyeur of ufology a couple of years ago. The first thing I noticed about these two topics was that there were people actively trying to silence any discussion of or by Woods or Rainey. This, in a field where people otherwise seemed to be willing to discuss practically anything ad nauseum!

    The manner in which Woods and Rainey were silenced and discredited was also of interest. Rainy was billed at A Bad Wife (horrors!), and I actually read a posting where someone called Woods a hysteric. It’s not easy to call a woman a hysteric and not get laughed out of the room nowadays; has ufology finally invented the time machine?

    However, I would argue that the Woods and Rainey issues are central to ufology today and merit attention. First, they are women in a field in which almost all those with a public voice, and therefore defining the narrative of the field, are men. As such, their presence and work is of intrinsic interest.

    Second, they are participating in the public discourse of ufology as agents or actors rather in the role of victim or experiencer. They are thus in direct violation of the roles set for women (subordinate or victim) by the master narrative of gender relations set in the 1950s – ufology’s heyday. Although they stand on the shoulders of other women in the field, their work is still an interesting and important development in ufology.

    Third, they have presented clear, cogent, evidence-based logical arguments which are being silenced or ignored for reasons that have nothing to do with their actual content. In addition to the 1950s-era Bad Girl argument against paying attention to what Rainey and Woods have to bring to the table, I've also heard people say it’s simply not that interesting or important. To my mind, that’s a much more disturbing dismissal of their voices. Because:

    Fourth, the issues raised by Woods and Rainey illustrate instances in which the usual goings-on in ufology cross the line from being mostly harmless to being very probably dangerous and almost certainly unethical. This is the point at which the outside world starts to sit up and take notice. Ufology seems to be lagging a decade or two behind the outside world with respect to lessons learned from things like the satanic ritual abuse panic and iatrogenic multiple personality disorder.

    Over on the UFO Collective listserv I see this topic being debated in terms of validity of the ETH, the reality of abduction experiences, and the validity of regression hypnosis for retrieving memory. To me, these are side issues, or maybe even dead issues. The central issue is, why can’t ufology address the content of the critiques posed by Woods and Rainey? It may be that ufology, as it is constituted today, is not capable of answering that question.

    1. Sue, Because you're an admitted "voyeur of ufology" you may not know that there are, in my experience, a few misogynists amongst those who support Rainy and Woods (not Jack Brewer - want to make that clear)...That should not take away from what Emma Woods has brought to the table and I continue to admire her for carrying forward and doing her own research of her own life (which I think is the future of "abductees" or "experiencers"). Nor should it take away from the piercing videos that Carol Rainy filmed of Linda Napolitano's eyes sizing up Budd Hopkins and his colleague to see if she could put yet another one over on them.

      I'd like to suggest you look into the works of abduction researchers/ufologists such as Karla Turner, Cynthia Hind, Barbara Bartholic, Elaine Douglas, Jenny Randles, Linda Howe, Lesley Kean to name some.[Many of these fine women are dead now] Though I don't agree with all of their ideas (this is ufology after all), most of them have been fearless in the field which is something I deeply appreciate.

      ~ Susan

    2. Thanks for your comments and interest, Susan. Just a word of caution here, please, about losing focus of the issue: The credibility of the work produced by Rainey and Woods, its implications and what it tells us.

      Let's be careful not to lose sight of that. Thanks.

    3. T/Y Jack for allowing my comment and yes, I completely agree with you point. It's about Rainy and Woods. And as far as we know, their work is impeccable. Emma's updated website is better than ever and easy to navigate. I'd just wanted to suggest to Sue, as she's relatively new to the subject of ufology, that the 'field' and its players can be sooooo complex.

      ~ Susan

    4. Thanks Susan! I am glad you like it.

    5. Y/W Emma! :-) ~ S.

  4. b"h

    Ms. Rainey's article, "The Priests of High Strangeness," was doubtless difficult to write, but IMHO she remains objective and names people who can be questioned, thus putting her article "on the line" for verification. The article can be found here:

    Especially disturbing is the reported interaction (or lack thereof) between Hopkins and the very Advisory Committee of the Intruders Foundation in the highly questionable Mortellaro case.

    Rainey makes reasonable calls for such things as peer review and competency qualifications for authorities involved in assisting distraught clients. In that respect John Mack certainly added desperately needed clinical experience to the field, even though he suffered career setbacks for it.

    I've had some moderate experience in the "paranormal" and thus I am convinced that something is happening during "abduction" experiences that is beyond mere physiological explanations. Nevertheless, extraordinary claims demand the most scrupulous evidence, hopefully collected by impartial investigators. Hopkins and Jacobs, acting far outside their chosen professions, seem to have fallen victim to their own hopes and fears. Rainey's inside account is welcomed.

  5. Most welcomed and appreciated comments. Thank you each very much.

  6. Jack, you continue to produce the most interesting content on this subject on the inner webs...congrats!

    Carol has provoked UFO believers with the one thing they can't abide with: truth.

    Best to both of you!


    1. Thanks, Lance! Your comments are sincerely appreciated.

      I have found the primary lines of rebuttal to Rainey's work includes such strategies as declaring one was personal friends with Hopkins or that Carol is a mean and evil woman, neither of which addresses the actual contents whatsoever of her films and articles. As Sue Johnson commented above, "The central issue is, why can’t ufology address the content of the critiques posed by Woods and Rainey? It may be that ufology, as it is constituted today, is not capable of answering that question."

      True enough, and thanks very much to those of you who both notice and speak out about it. You are appreciated.

  7. What is needed I believe (and this has just come to me) is to start something akin to Richard Dolan's "breakaway civilisation". Maybe it is time to start a new ufological field away from the freak show that it is at the moment. And, maybe that sounds a bit elitist but maybe cleaning the field of nonsense, and trying to make people see "the light" is just too much to do now. It needs a complete new start, and as that isn't going to happen in the current field, a new one should be set up ... if that's even possible without it ending up like the circus it has become.

    We need to have a field of rational, truly open minded individuals who will not follow any particular line, who will not attack someone for just voicing their opinion or criticising someone for doing something unethical in the name of research. We need to have a field that does not treat what is happening as "entertainment", and not a serious, real life thing that is happening to real people with real consequences.

    Maybe its time now to sideline the current field altogether and start again, and throw out all our prejudices and preconceptions. Start again with a blank slate, and build the field up from there. Start real investigative programmes that produced actual data rather than pornographic and violent books which just ridicule the field, ridicule academia, and the victims of abuse and/or strange and anomalous events that may be happening around us all the time.

    Best wishes

    Harvey Price

    1. Makes sense to me, Harvey! It can indeed be a revelation to back up and make a conscious effort to accurately separate what one knows to be true from what one suspects to be true and has _been told_ is true. Suffice it to say huge discrepancies are subject to arise! Thanks for your comments.

  8. Before the NSA / CIA decided to destroy Fortean research, all "UFO" sightings etc. were merely other examples of Forteana- to be added to the lists of the Damned and enjoyed, analysed, explained if possible- in a skeptical but open minded way.

    UFOlogy per se is the deliberate construct of intel agencies and has zero worth. It is akin to medieval bestiaries and carnival freak shows where people want a cheap thrill or a magical thinking explanation for unexplained events.

    Charles Fort himself would have lanced ufologists just as mercilessly as he lanced scientists of all stripes- especially astronomers- for their own brand of mumbo jumbo.

    UFOlogy must be abandoned, Fortean research must be reclaimed from the debunkers and gasbags.

    And people like Richard Dolan must be pilloried for being disinfo enablers- or worse.

  9. I will take Mr Hopkins' experience in the field of alien abduction far and above Ms Rainey's. It is obvious that she feels compelled to belittle his work of which he devoted much of his life.

    1. I do not assess it to be an 'either/or' scenario. I think a much more functional perspective would be to directly address specific points contained in Carol's letter, the videos she published and her articles posted. As Sue Johnson aptly pointed out above, the UFO community largely seems incapable of addressing the actual content of critiques posed. I very much agree with Sue that is a central issue.