Budd Hopkins and John Mack conducting hypnosis with a female subject in Istanbul.

Carol Rainey Books

Home >> Books >> Carol Rainey Books

Photograph of researchers John Mack (left) and Budd Hopkins (right) conducting hypnosis with an abductee in Istanbul, in 1999. Copyright Carol Rainey. Used with permission.

Carol Rainey has released two excerpts from her upcoming book, The Abductionist’s Wife: A Memoir, on author Jack Brewer’s blog, The UFO Trail.

The Abductionist’s Wife

The Abductionist’s Wife provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at “alien abduction” researcher, the late Budd Hopkins’, research practices. He taught David M. Jacobs, PhD, of Temple University, recently retired, how to perform hypnosis, although neither had professional qualifications in hypnosis or psychology. Hopkins also profoundly influenced Jacobs’ apocalyptic take on the phenomenon. They were close collaborators in “alien abduction” research for decades, and each others best friends. When Hopkins died in 2011, Jacobs told colleagues, “I’ve just lost my mentor.”

Rainey has kindly given allowed me to provide her Author’s Note, introducing the first excerpt from The Abductionist’s Wife, on this website.

Candy Schulman, author of essays and articles, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Newsweek, and the book Lost and Found, describes The Abductionist’s Wife as:

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

Rainey is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer. She is also the former wife of Hopkins. For over ten years, she worked closely with Hopkins on many of his cases of alleged alien abduction. Keep up with her through her website and YouTube channel.



Carol Rainey’s Author’s Note

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.

A photo of filmmaker Carol Rainey behind the camera.

Author at work, 1994

As I write this unfinished memoir, poking at the past a little every day, it is extraordinarily difficult to tell you – or to understand myself — what happened to me inside that chaotic, exciting, almost cultish environment for well over a decade. Just as somebody entering thick woods might pick up a sturdy stick, 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 only drew me closer into his investigations, case by case. I saw how a UFO researcher actually did his recovered memory work; not what he said he did. If I questioned his methods or what seemed like a willingness to believe almost anything, that temerity landed me on the enemies list. Days later, we wouldn’t be able to keep our hands off each other. It was the most madly in love, rage-filled, crazy-making, tumultuous relationship of my life.

Some readers may dismiss my story for that very reason. The angry ex-wife…motives…too close for objectivity. But there is no one else to tell this 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.i 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 a poignant, but clear-eyed story about a great love gone awry in a tangled, emotionally taut search for answers to a human mystery.


i I do not count the small coterie of psychologists and academics who were groomed by the researcher to help him counter critics’ claims that he wasn’t qualified to do this work. These people were happy to be invited to the house once or twice a year and sit in on several hypnosis sessions with the researcher and one or two abductees he had pre-selected. He’d worked with them before; he knew how they’d respond. The credentialed observers had no knowledge about possible previous telephone or in-person contact between the two. Neither did they seem familiar with the substantial body of academic research regarding “the suggestive environment” and the influence of “context” on the creation of recalled memories. They left after this limited and staged presentation, believing they had witnessed the great man at work. They reported that they had observed no leading of subjects. There was nothing wrong with the researcher’s methodology.

All photos copyright Carol Rainey. Used with permission.