Monday, February 22, 2016

The Singer's Hybrid Daughter, Part II

Excerpt from The Abductionist's Wife: A Memoir

by Carol Rainey

“Extraordinary...beautifully written...with a highly original almost unbelievable story.”

- Candy Schulman, author of essays and articles in The New York Times, The Washington PostMcSweeney'sNewsweek, and the book Lost and Found.

“Carol Rainey has had an insider's view of the decades-old argument between promoters and detractors of the reality of abductions….yet she never lost her critical, intelligent, sensitive viewpoint. [Her long-awaited book] is the first rational, deeply human appraisal of an enduring enigma that challenges all our ideas about the unknown, and our complex relationship with it.”

- Dr. Jacques Vallée, one of today's most respected researchers of unexplained aerial phenomena. He holds a master's degree in astrophysics, a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and once served as consultant to NASA's Mars Map project. Vallee is the author of several books, including Passport to Magonia (1969) and The Invisible College (1975).

“A very powerful story! I now understand why it's taken [Rainey] so long to write about all this. One really needs time and distance to dispassionately contemplate and articulate these kinds of events….I think [her] reports are exceptionally valuable…a very important contribution. The writing itself is superb.”

- George P. Hansen, author of The Trickster and the Paranormal, is a scholar primarily interested in the paranormal in its social context. His papers are published on his website and in multiple journals of parapsychology.

Blogger's Note
     The work presented in both parts one and two of this post, including all written content and photos, is credited to Carol Rainey. I am pleased to provide a venue for it. View the first half of the story at The Singer's Hybrid Daughter, Part I. - Jack Brewer

Author’s Note to Part II

It seems timely now, in this era of frighteningly extreme beliefs, to make public my own personal story of how even the unlikeliest person can find herself drawn to enter into an extreme belief system. How she gets caught up in its mythic power, becomes part of the community, and finally, faces the painful fact that she must leave it and people she loves behind. What are the forces that collude to cause a thoroughly modern, educated woman like me to embrace such an unconventional set of beliefs as that of alien abduction and UFOs? It would be easy to explain away by blaming it on my falling in love with and marrying the charismatic leader of this community at the far edges of society. But it’s more than that. There’s a deeper reason, even, than love.

New hopeful couple, 1994
As a filmmaker with a science background, I picked up my video camera to help me understand the beliefs of my husband and the victims who came to him for counsel and hypnosis. Making the film drew me closer into his investigations, case by case. Although many people will argue that it should be an outside observer, not the researcher’s wife, who narrates the story of alien abduction, the fourth great wave of American recovered memory movements. But there is no one else to tell this very personal story. On a day-to-day basis, abduction researchers work alone, with no peer review and no one to double-check their methods and ethics. It was only the abductionist’s wife who saw, first-hand, how researchers could and did shape the alien abduction narrative they wanted -- the terrifyingly invisible alien takeover of the planet and the human species. 

It is my hope that The Abductionist’s Wife digs far below the surface of the UFO community to reveal the compulsion and complexities of any belief. What I want to offer is the poignant, but clear-eyed story about a great love gone awry in a tangled, emotionally taut search for answers to a human mystery.

The events in this excerpt occurred early on in our marriage. “The Singer’s Hybrid Daughter” involved two fragile and volatile people, a case that my husband asked me to help him with. Pseudonyms are used for the singer and her daughter. On occasion, the chronology of events is slightly altered in the interest of narrative cohesiveness. All other events and people are depicted as I remember them, aided by personal journals, correspondence, planning calendars, emails, and extensive audio and video.
Serious inquiries from publishers are welcome.

“The Singer’s Hybrid Daughter”

Excerpt from The Abductionist’s Wife: A Memoir

by Carol Rainey


The morning after the disastrous visit to Arlene Love’s (pseudonym), Budd skipped our usual companionable breakfast in bed with French roast coffee, toasted English muffins with jam and sections of the “Times” traded back and forth. The night before he’d been quite cool and remote, so it wasn’t surprising to watch him leave the warm bed, shower, and head out the door on his own. He’d be spending the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, his place of refuge and renewal. But I wasn’t ready for any ritual of renewal. Not until I’d come to some understanding about why the situation of the singer and her hybrid daughter had disturbed me so profoundly.

It made sense to first take a look at what medical research had to say about children born with all the deformities and brain damage that Julia had. “Twenty-one dysmorphologies,” Arlene had said. “It’s one for the record books.” So record books it would be! I headed out to a branch of the New York Public Library and gathered a stack of textbooks on pediatric syndromes. Two hours later, I had a sheaf of Xeroxed color plates and a firm resolve that, in this case at least, Budd was going to hear what I had to say. After ten years of fruitless requests for the daughter’s medical records, Budd had pulled me into the case, thinking Arlene would be more likely to turn them over to another woman, also a single mother, and a woman who “talked doctor.” That gave me a legitimate opening to offer a suggestion for a very different path he might have taken—or could take in the future. A shorter, cleaner path, with the underbrush cleared away – one that might have spared all of us the false hopes and very real griefs.

Hopkins and Rainey's house, night
When I got home, Budd was lying on the sofa, reading “The New Yorker.” Sitting down, I said I thought he’d be interested in what I found out at the library. He lowered the magazine, but avoided any eye contact. A signal that I was still among The Unforgiven. It struck me for the first time that this exquisitely urbane man would seem strangely at home in an old-fashioned Western. He possessed that same implacable sense of moral balance. The good inevitably silences the evil. And it was Budd himself who painted the hard-edged line that starkly divided the world into those two regions: a black area and a white one. And it was Budd himself who decided which ideas and which people rightly belonged inside either the black or the white region. Not so different from the way I’d grown up, now that I thought about it. There were rigid boundaries enforced in the fundamentalist sect of Plymouth Brethren, too, but their faith held that God himself had drawn the map, laying His plan out in the Bible so that His people would know how to live. It was startling to realize now that I’d consciously thought I was choosing a husband who was worlds apart from my family. A sophisticated, worldly, well-traveled, well-read, art-loving cosmopolitan. A liberated free-thinker. 

Oh, it was shocking how thoroughly you could trick yourself!

For a moment, I regarded my husband’s profile with a certain amusement, imaging him in a John Ford Western. If “Budd’s Western Movie” ever materialized, though, I’d certainly have to recuse myself from directing it. He would never forgive anyone who humiliated him into wearing a Stetson hat or made him bounce around foolishly on a saddle horse. In that brief moment, I caught a rare glimpse of this man’s fragility and felt a burst of pity for him. It vanished almost as quickly as it had come. The stubborn set of his mouth didn’t encourage you to hold long on the pity.

Turning my attention briskly to my notes, I confirmed Arlene’s understanding that geneticists grouped sets of malformations into “syndromes.” Single birth defects, like a cleft palate, were quite common. But it was rare to have a child born with three or more birth defects that had one underlying cause. Down syndrome kids were the ones most of us knew about. You could easily identify the physical traits that cluster together in those kids—a flattened face, protruding tongue, slanting eyes, short height, and mild retardation. 

Impatient, Budd wanted to know where this was headed. I explained that I’d been in the library looking for the simplest explanation for Julia’s multiple deformities. If I could eliminate the better-known medical syndromes as possible diagnoses, then I’d be open to entertaining more exotic causes. (I deliberately avoided using the obvious term “Occam’s Razor”-- a problem-solving principle often used by scientists that went something like this: If you’re looking at two competing theories, the simplest one is usually best and if you’re dealing with unknown phenomena, the first place to look for explanations should be in arenas we already know. In his lectures at conferences around the world, Budd himself often sprinkled terms and phrases throughout the talk like “sequelae,” “we go where the data leads us,” and “Occam’s Razor,” subtly assuring the audience that he, too, worked according to scientific principles.)

“In other words, just ignore the possibility of alien intervention,” Budd said. “All right, fine. You go ahead and forget it.” The magazine shot back to the vertical plane.

I held out the color Xeroxes from the textbooks. Enough malformed children in those pages to cause permanent nightmares in any parent. When Budd finally turned his head, I saw the shock flare in his eyes.

“Nine kids here, all with different syndromes—or multiple dysmorphologies. Syndromes named ‘Costello’, ‘Factor XI’, ‘Turner’, ‘Prader Willi’, ‘Angelman’, and ‘LEOPARD’, among others,” I said and held up another page. “This kid has what’s called ‘Noonan syndrome.’ You’ll recognize some of Julia’s defects: short stature, scoliosis, protruding breast bone, large head, triangular face, webbed neck, widely set eyes, jerking movement of the eyes, and so on.”

Hopkins presents with David Jacobs at
Intruders Foundation seminar, circa 2004
“So you’re calling Arlene a liar. She said Julia didn’t have any of these conditions.”

“No, she specifically said Julia did not have Down and Turner syndrome--but she didn’t mention Noonan syndrome. So that’s one possibility.” I pulled out another photograph. “This is Angelman syndrome. These kids wear happy expressions and laugh excessively at night because they’re insomniacs—which Julia is. They also have a jerky, robot-like gait, drool, can’t speak and have seizures. So Angelman is another possibility.”

Budd crossed his arms over the magazine. “So what did your morning of research prove—in your professional opinion?”

“I never claimed to be a professional in this field, Budd. But I don’t practice on people. You do. And you need to know about these things.”

“So I’ll ask again. What have you proven?”

“Nothing definitive, not without access to Julia’s medical records. But a couple of hours spent in the library showed me that you don’t have to go outside the human species to find an explanation for Julia. All of the defects we could see are right there in the textbook--a catalog of stupendous human genetic screw-ups.”

Budd sat up, a man getting ready to go somewhere briskly. “But nothing you’ve shown me even begins to explain how Julia’s genetic defects are being reversed.”

I begged to differ, I said, although I didn’t buy Arlene’s melodramatic take that the defects were ‘being reversed.’ What the literature showed was that these kids’ genetic defects responded extremely well to management and treatment. It didn’t take alien intervention. It took physical therapy for loose muscles and crooked limbs; drugs for chronic edema or swelling; surgery for structural defects like scoliosis; growth hormones to improve short stature. To name just a few. Brain damage was the one area that was least likely to show improvement. I asked him to note that Arlene hadn’t claimed any reversals in that department.

Budd got up and limped quickly toward the outer door. Hand on the doorknob, he paused for a moment before saying: ”I appreciate your taking the time to do that research….”

“You’re welcome.”

“…But it really wasn’t necessary. Last night, I made the decision. This case is closed.”


Upper studio, work in progress
As far as I know, Budd never wrote about Arlene Love’s case and never discussed it publicly at conferences or in media interviews, as he did with the experiences of many people. On that winter night in New Jersey, I believe that the abduction researcher utterly abandoned any hope he had for developing Arlene’s abductee experiences into his next big case. His next book, his next television series or movie. He couldn’t help but see, just as I did, that Arlene was a woman genuinely suffering from the central tragedy of her life, that her losses were profound and her dreams irretrievable. I would like to believe that Budd, often so compassionate, may have felt regret at having once encouraged this distraught mother to turn to paranormal solutions for her flesh-and-blood problems.

If that is what he’d done. I simply didn’t know what was true and what was not. The two main players had radically different tales to tell about their work together. In an almost comically revealing moment the day before, Budd showed how difficult it was for him to own up to the minor, very human offense of screwing up a date in his appointment calendar! It must be a terrible burden to always have to be right. When it came to a situation this sensitive, he’d have found it unbearable to hold himself responsible for the beliefs that Arlene seemed to have held as articles of faith for the past ten years: This kid is proof positive that the grey guys make mistakes in this genetic game they’re playing with our silly little species. And she’s proof positive that they’ll fix whatever they screw up. They can fix her!

Budd never did acknowledge – not to me, not to Arlene, not to another person -- any wrongdoing or misjudgment in his dealings with the singer and her “hybrid” daughter. He simply excommunicated them.

“This case is closed.”

Maybe it was the thought of “excommunication” that rang alarm bells down the long corridors of my memory and would not stop. Or maybe it was the image of the silver-haired man turning to me in the hallway, pronouncing “the difficult woman” dismissed and then closing the door on her. Either one, either way – the sounds or the image. They seared into me a determination to discover what had happened between the researcher and his subject ten years earlier. In a very delicate situation that called for responsible and compassionate care, I was no longer certain that my husband had been an honorable man. I’d once placed him high on a pedestal, yet now I felt such terrible doubt! Oh, he could slip up here and there, make mistakes in judgment like any other human being. I’d seen that for myself over the last few years of our working so closely together. But in this case, it was impossible to ignore the very real possibility that Budd’s recovered memory work might have harmed two extraordinarily vulnerable people.

How much had Budd’s abduction investigation contributed to what I can only kindly call Arlene’s rather erratic mental state? Had he encouraged her to seize on a completely unproven hypothesis about extraterrestrial involvement in Julia’s life? She said yes, he most certainly had; he denied that he had. As I listened to her the night we visited, Arlene started off sounding almost beatific, beaming with a certainty she expected Budd to share: beings with great powers were looking out for her child. Believing Budd’s expert assurance, Arlene might even have avoided the medical establishment altogether. Perhaps she simply waited on the aliens to come “fix” her daughter. That was certainly one explanation for why Budd never received any medical records.

Speculation will get you nowhere.

That night, the terrible dynamics between the two had been hard for me to bear. I’d been struck by the singer’s certainty that, so many years earlier when she’d gone to him, he’d told her that Julia was a botched attempt at creating a human/alien hybrid; that “they” were responsible for this girl’s condition. It was a charge he denied, again and again. Her outrage at his denial, her sense of having been profoundly betrayed by his very denial of her reality–-it all felt queasily familiar to me.

“It’s not what happened…For some reason, you want me to think I’m nuts!”

Arlene was the one who cried that out during our visit. But, on many other occasions, it was a cry that just as easily might have come from the abductionist’s wife.

Once one of the Intruders Foundation advisory committee members asked me about Budd’s earlier work in ufology. What kind of a researcher had he been in the late ‘seventies or early ‘eighties? “I don’t know, I wasn’t there,” I said. At the time of this email exchange, my friend was troubled, just as I had been, by observing the researcher’s utterly credulous take on an event that happened while the committee was gathered in our living room. Our elderly housemate, Bess, had phoned from her own studio on the floor below, upset and mystified. The extremely heavy kiln she fired her ceramics in had somehow shifted on its platform. Did we know anything about that? No one in the planning meeting seemed to. When Bess’ call was reported to the group, Budd had gone silent for a few moments and all eyes turned toward him. The aliens had moved the kiln, he said solemnly. It was just like them. By manifesting the impossible, they were making their presence known to all of us assembled upstairs. Later in the day, after presenting Budd with a surprise gift, one of the committee members confessed to the group that he’d been trying to hide the gift in the ceramics studio and he was the one responsible for moving the kiln.

Kiln in studio at Hopkins' house

And then, my friend continued, there had been the issue of Budd’s handling of the alleged “alien symbols,” reluctant to cooperate in testing their validity with an interested academic trained in such studies. Not exactly qualities you wanted in a researcher, my friend said. He wondered: had Budd’s work once been more reputable, but had somehow gone off the rails in his later years? He would love to know the answer to that. So would I. Recalling that exchange now, I knew what I needed to do.

When I’d first begun shooting the documentary, Budd had given me carte blanche to make use of any resource material he had. I’d combed through those resources – audiotapes, letters, drawings, and photographs - in my own examination of the Witnessed case. For two short films I’d made – one about an alleged New Mexico crash retrieval and another about a woman I’ll call “Dora” whose abduction claims were extreme – I’d referred to the original case files on these alleged abductees only after the films were edited. In their files, I’d discovered significant aspects of the women’s stories that, unfortunately, had not been included in the researcher’s narrative. A dig into those same archives might also help me understand what had happened between Budd and the singer ten years earlier. They offered a way to go back in time and get a glimpse into the earliest work done by the field’s most influential abduction researcher. He was, as all researchers in ufology were, engaged in a quirky non-discipline that had no governing body, no funding stream, no way to enforce protocols if such existed, no peer-reviewed journal, and no professional oversight of lay researchers’ projects. Talk about the Wild, Wild West! Maybe everyone working in this field should be wearing Stetson hats.

I vote for the hats. Great visual reminders for all of us fascinated by these questions that we are, after all, riding through marginal and lawless territory. Maybe it will turn out to be frontier country, rich with discoveries. Nobel prizes will be handed out all around. Then again, the hats whisper, it’s also possible we’re lost in a storm, riding in circles, going nowhere at all.


Rainey and Hopkins work with alleged abductee

A month passed with the home fires banked and warming us nicely. We did another two interviews together, working smoothly in tandem, with the abductees responding eagerly to the questions I put to them, as well. Budd joked later that we were “playing good cop/good cop.” He seemed pleased, more relaxed, relieved to share the burden, perhaps. And I was happy to offer him that. Hope began to rise in me again, a floaty thing, mounting up as randomly as a helium balloon. If we were actually looking for evidence of the physical presence of extraterrestrial beings, my husband might be starting to acknowledge that the skills and experience I offered were valuable, complimentary contributions to his quest.

But even that fresh hope didn’t make me forget my resolve about the singer’s case. On a night when Budd was out and I knew the upper studio would be quiet and undisturbed, I pulled on a sweater and headed upstairs. In the dark, the place was cavernous and chilly. Not even moonlight spilled in through the skylight. I switched on a small gooseneck lamp and checked the old Marantz tape recorder for batteries. The audiotape archives of the Intruders Foundation were housed in a lower cabinet with sliding doors -- boxes and boxes of audiotapes, most neatly labeled in Budd’s handwriting. The voices of more than seven hundred people lived on in these cassette audio reels. They were the interviews and hypnotically refreshed memories of the people with paranormal experiences who had been Budd’s subjects for over a quarter of a century. He considered nearly all of the seven hundred to be alien abductees – just the tip of the iceberg, given the nearly four million Americans that abduction researchers believed had been contacted by the Other.1

Rainey listens to hypnosis session
Arlene’s name was clearly written on several audio cassettes from the late ‘80s. On the spine of one unnumbered cassette, Budd’s handwriting: “Arlene Love—1st Hypnosis 5/4/87.” Two other tapes with Arlene’s name were undated, but numbered #397 and #398. I listened to the three tapes in one sitting. The content of the hypnosis sessions on all tapes was closely related and, except for events involving Julia, not terribly exceptional, as far as alien abduction regressions go. Although she struggled to stay relaxed enough “to remember,” Arlene, even within the same session, moved easily from her childhood years to her adult years and back. Her childhood meeting with “the grey guys” could sometimes be baffling or frightening, but often she described the experiences with a good sense of humor. She reported insects and praying mantises in her bedroom, touching her all over. They felt her hair and corduroy pants. Saddle shoes, Arlene said, were a big joke. They made her fly around, weightless, like Superman. Her mother couldn’t see them at all. Arlene also described the fun movie “the bugs” created for her to watch when she was ill and six years old.

Arlene described other times she encountered the greys or “bugs” as “hallucinatory,” wondering if her food had been spiked with LSD. In her adult “recollections,” the recurring theme is concern about her daughter’s origins.

In the first hypnosis session on May 4, 1987, Arlene’s fear and confusion seem quite visceral. Paralyzed and in the company of a man, she seemed to be “remembering” both a relationship and an alien encounter before Julia was in her life. There was a light pulsing at the window and a sense that she was being pulled out of the room. The beings she described as skeleton-like, then morphed into dinosaurs – or maybe she was in a cartoon. They wanted to take her somewhere, but she was afraid to go. She asked if she was dying and the being said no, this is not death. He proceeded to do a physical exam with various instruments, checking all over her body; then a gynecological exam, “just checking to see if everything’s there.” She saw a small craft outside her window, smaller than a Volkswagen. “Vroom” and it was quickly out of sight. Arlene’s first session was clearly more traumatic than the later ones.

'Arlene Love' adult and childhood experiences
What follows is a short excerpt from the post-hypnosis discussion between subject and researcher after the first session is over. Julia had not been mentioned once during this first session, but soon after she was brought out of hypnosis, Arlene pleaded with Budd for genetic testing to be done on the girl. The mother was desperate to know her child’s origins and to discover what might have been done to her by the aliens:
Arlene: (Very upset) Budd. I have to say something to you. Let's get the genetic testing done, please. Even if there's regular old genetic patterns, I know they did something to her! I don't know what though, and I have to find out.  Maybe they took part of her brain away, I don't know.
Budd: (Calming her): Now here's what could have happened.  
Arlene: Talk to me.
Budd:  It could have been an experiment that didn't work out. That's possible.
Arlene: (Cries) That's cruel.
Budd: Of course it is.
Arlene: But I have to know about Julia.  I have to know!
Budd: Of course you do, but here…here's the thing.  We know you've been through this stuff…
Arlene: Fuck, yeah.
Budd: You've been through this gynecological thing; they're interested in you physically. We have to see where it leads….This is the heart of the whole experience, right at the center of it…Let me turn this off. [Sound of fumbling with the recorder, but it stays on.] Listen, I’m going to ask you not to talk to anyone about this. No one. This is very important, Arlene. I’m interested in their interest in our sexual acts. I’m not sure what that all means, yet. But let’s hold off on the genetic testing for now. It might scare them off before we….
(The recorder is shut off. End of tape.)

 The ending startled me, even though I had dreaded finding out something like this. It was a very subtle offering my husband had held out to Arlene. He didn't overdo it; no melodrama in his voice. Just that one line laid out to see what would happen: It could have been an experiment that didn't work out, that's possible. A truly astonishing idea slipped gently into the discussion: Julia's defects could be the result of a botched alien effort at hybridization. He was not qualified, not in 1987 and not now, to make such a medical diagnosis; nor had he even established incontrovertible proof that aliens were visiting our planet. But when this woman’s singularly unfortunate daughter appeared in his line of sight, he seemed to have seized on her as the perfect visual aid for developing his narrative about the coming takeover of the human species by alien “hybridization.” He had obviously considered this before the hypnosis session and brought up the possibility to Arlene afterward.

In his thinking, how had this man justified to himself that he had no knowledge of what was abnormal in the girl and how had he justified making no attempt at all to distinguish the hypothetical, alien-created abnormalities from spontaneously arising birth defects? Just “Boom!” and out comes a conclusion that had no established basis in science or in pediatric medicine. In this particular case from 1987, the evidence was right on the desk before me: Budd, despite his public persona, was not even attempting to work in the realm of modern science. He was taking Arlene right along with him into his own conjured world of alien intruders as coldly calculating doctors and conquerors.

Years later, a scientific colleague of mine, hearing of the case of the singer’s hybrid daughter, pointed out that “these behaviors and pronouncements [of the investigator] are the sort of thing that under slightly different circumstances could easily have led to criminal charges and psychiatric evaluations.”2

A second revelation to me was that relatively early on in alien abduction research -- in the spring of 1987 -- Budd had been offered an all-expenses-paid DNA work up on a damaged child he believed was a botched alien experiment. This would have been the researcher’s opportunity to test his hypothesis about the alien beings’ involvement with the human species. The genetic test would have told us, early on in abduction research, whether Julia was a human being with defective genes or if some of her genetic material was highly unusual, unrelated to the human species. The results of that single test might have altered the course of the next twenty years’ work in UFO abduction research. Yet Budd persuaded Arlene to forgo the scientific information she so longed for. He was far more intrigued by “the aliens’ interest in our sexual acts” than in his subject’s painful need to know if her child was indeed half alien and how this concrete knowledge might help her child. He urged her to hold off on the genetic testing, for fear it would scare off the aliens before….And there the tape ends and I could only surmise what he was thinking.

Maybe the next audio tape would give me the husband I wanted to hear. I certainly couldn’t stop at this point. Tape #397 was popped in and the second session began. Arlene seemed to recall childhood experiences that were more fun than traumatic. As people under hypnosis sometimes do, she related these events in the little girl voice of her earlier self. She talked of seeing bug-like beings in her bedroom and on the playground.

Sometimes they were dinosaurs. Once a “bug person” emerged from the grade school cloak room and made her fly like Superman, levitating her, rolling her around, weightless. The beings examined her clothes and body. What follows is an excerpt from Tape #397:
Arlene: They're like a little group of dinosaur people. They don't talk, they know what each other is thinking. I wish I could get the joke….My clothes are funny. My hair is funny. Quess I'm kind of funny, a very amusing thing to them. Shoes are funny too. Saddle shoes, big joke….(Suddenly loud:) Oh no! They're not bugs or dinosaurs.  They're telling me now. They're not an animal, not related to an animal….
Budd: Are they men like our men?
Arlene: Sort of. Not really. What are they then? ‘Your word: ‘humanoid.’ They think that's funny, too. Human-oid...very funny.  Like: ‘This is an amusing little species you have here.’
Budd: Are they amused at what we’re doing here right now?
Arlene: They’re indifferent. “Arlene Love, sing, Arlene Love!”  They like music. They're there when I sing.  Applause. “Bravo. Entertainment! Music!”
Budd: What do they think of Julia?
Arlene: “Beautiful. Exquisite. Highest beauty….Perfect in ways you do not know…Beautiful ballerina, but she can't dance here. She can only dance with them. Is she a bug? (She begins to cry.)  Is she a bug? Yesss, a bug. Humanoid. Beautiful fingers. It's okay….Everything's all right…. (Sniffles) Beautiful bug. A high form of life. ‘Life is precious. Don't abuse it.’ 'I won't...' (Deep sigh.)
Budd: (Gently): Did they plant their seed in you for Julia?
Arlene: Seed…(Hesitates) A seed? Yes, yes, a little tiny metallic...seed. Planted. Yes, yes. A long time ago. Many years, March 1975. Rainstorm, lightning….Seed. (Blows out her breath.)
Segment of hypnosis session with 'Arlene Love'

Stung, I hit the worn recorder’s “stop” button. Rewound and played it again: “Did they plant their seed in you for Julia?

Budd had actually introduced the idea of alien insemination to the hypnotized, highly emotional Arlene. It was a leading question—one that could easily cue the patient into shaping answers that fit the hypnotist’s agenda, either conscious or unconscious. For a moment, Arlene had been flustered: “Seed…A seed?” She then grabbed the lead and out came exactly the scenario -- alien invasion by way of secret hybridization of the human race -- that the abduction expert had suggested to her. Arlene might have easily picked it up (again, either consciously or unconsciously) from attending Budd’s abductee support groups (which she had) or from reading his last book Intruders and other literature in the UFO field—or from the thousands of extraterrestrial-themed television shows and movies.

Deflated, depressed, feeling the fool, I pressed “play” again.

Budd: How did they plant it during a storm?
Arlene: Wire, metallic. Like electricity.
Budd: Did the wire enter your body?
Arlene: No, electricity like a light bulb. Enter. Sleeping. ’We told you, a miracle message.’ I'm….home to bed. Sleeping optimum time. Optimum time. (A silence.) ‘Successful. Congratulations, you will have a baby. Congratulations. Success.’
Budd then began the process of bringing Arlene out of the hypnotic state with post-hypnotic suggestions -- positive thoughts and behaviors that he expected her to incorporate into her unconscious mind and later to act upon. Here, again, he reinforced the idea that the aliens had been influential in Julia’s life.

Budd: When you wake, Arlene, you'll feel relieved. You’ve gotten a lot of answers… Their [the alien’s] involvement with Julia will be clear… You'll move on in knowing more and more about your involvement with them. You'll feel warm friendship with Kathie [Kathie Davis, the subject of his book Intruders, also featured as having a hybrid child]… Five, four, three, two, one…and you’re awake.
Arlene: Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. (Sitting up, she cries out:) She's a bug! (Sobs)
Budd: She's yours; she's yours.
Arlene: (Sobbing) Oh, god.
Budd: She’s yours. They said, ‘Take good care of her, she's a higher form of love.’
Arlene: The dancing!…Do you know that I bought a pink tutu a month before she was born…? I know she dances. She goes someplace else. You gotta see that little girl looking out the window, you gotta see her calling out the window to them…!
Budd: What you have to realize, Arlene, is how far back their involvement goes with you.  You were six years old….
Arlene: Those bugs….They've been around all along.  Getting me ready for this.
Budd:  It's more than that. I'm sure you're featured in their world somehow…
Arlene: Oh, prominently. ‘Arlene Love. Entertainment, applause!....’ They're around when I do my shows. Oh, god, you don't think Julia’s one of them, do you?
Budd: She came from you—but she may be partly them, too.
Arlene: That's what I think.
Budd: But she's also very human.
Arlene: ...I want them to talk to me. Why won't they just sit down and talk to me?
Budd: Let’s not rush it. If you’re in a hurry to get answers, you might push out the ones you want…
[Tape #397 abruptly ends here]
I sat in the dark studio and wished fervently that the past few years of my involvement in the UFO phenomenon had been recorded on tape like this. On a tangible, magnetic strip that I could simply rewind and record over. As in “erased” and “never happened.” Bent over the banged up old Marantz recorder that night, I understood several things: Why Arlene had been so enraged at Budd, her sense of betrayal so strong. And why Budd had been hostile to the question I’d asked him in the car. The tapes showed clearly that Budd had done exactly what he’d repeatedly denied he’d done: he’d told the mother of a terribly deformed, brain-damaged child that the aliens had done this to Julia. He’d suggested it to her in a directly leading question while she was hypnotized, reinforced it in post-hypnotic suggestions, and discussed it with her after she awoke. Arlene herself had apparently taken it to the next semi-logical level for such an unproven hypothesis: Now they’re going to fix her.

Hopkins' book Intruders and movie based on book
None of this was what I’d hoped to find. The only thing left was to try to understand my husband’s actions. I attempted to see Budd’s early research through his own eyes. Given the high-flying nature of those years, Budd might well have felt invincible. Millions of people increasingly saw him as he saw himself: a pioneer, a hero of epic proportions, a man with the courage to shine light on “the greatest discovery in human history.” Then, with the arrival of Arlene Love and her daughter, he had all the makings of his next riveting story, developing the abduction narrative several degrees of terror beyond the Kathie Davis story in Intruders. The case of the singer whose brilliant career had been terminated by a botched alien experiment in developing a human-alien hybrid—this would be Budd’s next big book/movie combination. Reluctantly, I could see how a man constantly strapped for money and with enormous need for ego supplies would see this abductee as a real bonanza for him, both financially and in terms of his career.  

I got up and walked around the studio, looked up at the overcast night sky. I’d thought I might be on a path to a grand discovery about the origins of our species. Uncovering the centuries old mystery of unknown flying objects in the skies. Decoding the enigmatic interactions of a large number of people with otherworldly beings. But with research methods as badly flawed as what I’d just heard, how could anyone ever know what was true about this human experience? Unless this was the truth—that when all the facts were laid bare about the so-called “research methodologies” used in this field and the often intellectually dishonest nature of researchers’ own role in shaping the narratives were well-documented, we might have to conclude that the phenomenon itself was no more substantial than a ghost’s breath on a cold winter night.


At this point in my telling the story of the singer and her hybrid child, anyone with an interest in paranormal studies might well confront me to ask: “And what did you do, after hearing those tapes and concluding that Budd had been on very shaky ethical ground in his work with the singer? That he led the desperate mother to tell the abduction story that best suited his own needs, not hers. After having this epiphany, what did you do?”

Nothing. I did nothing. 

I told nobody what I’d discovered – not then and not for another two decades. If you’d known me during the late ‘90s, you’d never have guessed that I’d been my husband’s accomplice in that confusing, disastrous visit to Arlene. You’d never have known that even after what I learned about my husband’s ethics on those audiotapes, I put them neatly back in their boxes and slid the cabinet door shut. I’d learned more than I ever wanted to know.

Some action on my part was needed, though, if this marriage was to continue. Something in me would have to undergo a fairly radical surgery. And so I consciously set about cutting off and banishing the parts of myself that I blamed for the loss or pending loss of the two men I’d loved most in the world – my father and Budd. In all-out, tough love mode, I applied the soles of my best Frye boots to the backsides of my inborn bullshit detector, my Doubting Thomas self, and (quoting a teacher) to “the girl who always asks the hardest questions.” Those three troublemakers who’d set up residence inside me, those nosy-poker little professors, they had the nerve to pick themselves up and ask me plaintively whatever would they do now?  “Any damn thing you want. Just stop ruining my life!” I cried and shut the door in their faces.

Budd was my husband, after all, and - not to put too fine a point on it - he was my third husband. Just as I was his third wife. This would be my last chance to get it right with The Good Father, to make our peace together. In so many joyful ways, I felt Budd was the closest thing I’d ever find to what people called “a soul mate” or “a kindred spirit,” a man I loved and once could even be said to adore. There’s a photograph he took of me the year we were married and travelling abroad to promote “Witnessed.” That morning we’d taken a train from Zurich, heading toward the Alps. You’ll see me in a rowboat on Lake Lucerne, surrounded by swans. You’ll see a blue-eyed woman radiant with love, smiling at some tossed-off, witty remark her husband just made. She believed then and went right on fiercely believing that she could row this marriage to land.

Carol Rainey, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 1996


Budd and I never again discussed the case of the singer’s hybrid daughter. I never told him that I’d listened to Arlene’s hypnosis tapes. We never received Julia’s medical records and we never again saw either Arlene Love or her daughter. Silence was the answer to my many phone messages left for the singer. In 2007 when word came that Julia had died at age thirty-one, the time was long gone when I’d run upstairs to talk over such news with Budd.
Newspapers quoted Arlene’s friends as saying that Julia’s daunting and severe disabilities had never been fully understood by her doctors. In fact, at her birth, specialists had predicted an extremely short survival for such a child. But there she was, with twenty-one dysmorphologies, the miracle girl. Friends had also occasionally borne in silence Arlene’s hints that she believed the girl held some great mystery. But beyond that she wouldn’t say. People who knew Arlene best would tell you - with a scratchy mohair-ish blend of love and irritation - that the singer told very funny stories about life in the music business but, if she thought you weren’t attentive enough, she’d start telling stories that were, well, “a little hard to believe.” They added that there really seemed to be no explanation for how or why Julia had lived to be thirty-one years old, other than by Arlene’s sheer will power.

I wanted to share this sad news with somebody; and I wanted to comb through certain new details with a person who could fully appreciate the hope and the irony of realizing, yet again, there wasn’t much to hang onto in what we knew about Julia’s life and death, nothing in the way of “evidence.” What we had here at the end of Julia’s story was only a glimmer of some tantalizing, otherworldly cause that might explain the tragedy of the womens’ intertwined lives. But that’s all it was, a dancing glimmer -- the usual sly ambiguity that reigned supreme in the realm of Anomalous Phé-nom. You wanted the connections to be real, you wanted it all to add up to something at the goddamned cosmic level. You hoped to catch sight of The Grand Pattern – assuming such a thing existed.
Don’t laugh; okay, do; knock yourself out.

But by that time, there wasn’t anybody in my life that I’d care to talk to about this. Only the man who’d been my husband for ten years and no longer was. Sad, sad, sad. But that’s another story entirely. Although, it’s not, of course. The roots of that later chapter got their start right here in the dark soil of the story about the singer’s hybrid daughter. Roots of mistrust, roots of doubt about a spouse’s very integrity. The initial phase of a fatal dis-ease.

Music critics reported that a few months after Julia’s death, Arlene Love appeared at Birdland, a legendary Manhattan jazz club, where she delivered a blazing performance and brought down the house. Reading that, I closed my eyes and imagined Arlene hitting that stage like a terrible storm, her voice as big as a squall, gusting enough raw fury and pain and loss to wreck the place. But the song wouldn’t end there, she’d sustain it down low with growls and moans, the sounds between words, she’d hold on until the song came rising up again like Lazarus, full and tender, sweet and rough, all at the same time. And the audience would hear in her shameless display of sheer lung-power that hope was still alive and mighty enough to lift this body of people right off their feet.
Arlene would have been that generous with her audience, holding back nothing. Belting out the blues, jazzed, ragged, and lightened by a little pop, that’s how I imagined she’d let us in on what it took to bear the unbearable. To have the very core of your world pared out of you and lifted out whole. Arlene knew what she had to do next in order to survive: the music, the music would be the cure. But she simply ran out of time to breathe life back into her singing career. Four years after losing Julia, Arlene Love suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and, sad, sad, sad, died at the early age of sixty. The New York Times obituary quoted Arlene as saying that her devotion to her daughter was her greatest accomplishment in life.



1 Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs and Ron Westrum, Unusual Personal Experiences: An Analysis of the Data from Three Major Surveys, Las Vegas: Bigelow Holding Corporation, 1992. 

         In 1991 the Roper Organization was commissioned to administer a survey of personal experiences consisting of five questions. It was an in-home survey of nearly 6,000 individual Americans. It was co-designed by Budd Hopkins, David Jacobs, and Ron Westrum, and fiscally sponsored by Robert Bigelow. It reported findings that 3.7 million American men, women and children may have experienced UFO abductions, or abduction related phenomena. Over the years, the study’s methodology has been severely criticized, with most critics declaring the instrument an invalid measure of the UFO phenomenon.

2 Dr. Tyler Kokjohn, private communication with author, January, 2016.


A deeply felt thank you to the following people for ongoing friendship, their trust in me to get it right, and intelligent feedback on this part of the memoir:

Jeremy Vaeni
Jeff Ritzmann
Jack Brewer
Tyler Kokjohn
Peter Brookesmith
Penelope Franklin
Ryan Harbage
Fred Thompson
Lynda Cooper
George Hansen
Marianne Macy
S.G. Collins