AUSTIN, Texas, July 7 -- True believers in the UFO community call her Linda, and they claim her fantastic story is a 'definitely authentic' account of a human abduction by aliens. But one noted skeptic has spent a lot of time debunking the 'Linda case,' and he claims the New York woman is playing a dangerous game. This weekend, the true believers and the skeptic will sit in the same audience as Linda recounts her bizarre tale of abduction at an international symposium of the Mutual UFO Network -- a Texas-based group that is marking its 25th anniversary of tracking alleged visitors from other worlds. The woman who uses the pseudonym Linda Cortile claims that in the early morning hours of Nov. 30, 1989, she was levitated by a blue beam through the window of her 12th floor Manhattan apartment with three extraterrestrials and floated on board a giant spacecraft hovering overhead. What made the case unlike other abduction claims was the alleged presence of witnesses, including two 'security agents' and an anonymous 'world leader' they were supposedly protecting. Enter Bud Hopkins, who has been called the chief guru of the alien abduction movement. Hopkins began to focus on Cortile's case in February 1991, when he said he received a letter from the two security agents -- signed only Richard and Dan -- saying 'we can't live with ourselves' for not telling what they saw. Richard and Dan said they saw three 'strange figures' and a 'young woman in a white gown' floating through an apartment window and then transported to a UFO.
Hopkins and Cortile have been telling the story at UFO symposiums ever since. Walter H. Andrus, the international director of MUFON, calls Cortile's story a 'definitely authentic' case of human abductions by aliens, one of many that has occurred over the years. And Andrus, who runs MUFON from his home in Seguin, Texas, says he knows what the ETs are after. 'They have been using humans to further their species,' he said. 'These little guys are small and fragile. They cannot reproduce like humans do. They deteriorate. They are using their sperm to create hybrid children.' Cortile's story is familiar to Phillip Klass, a former senior editor for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine known as the 'Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy.' In his 1988 book, 'UFO Abductions, A Dangerous Game,' Klass describes the emergence of what he calls an alien abduction cult among UFO enthusiasts. The book examines numerous claims of ETs abducting young children and taking flesh samples, impregnating young women with 'alien' sperm and then returning to remove their unborn babies for transplant to ET females. Klass believes that people who make such claims are seeking notoriety or money, and that some have emotional problems. And he says the belief that an abduction occurred can scar not only the alleged 'victim' but their families as well. 'I would predict that of those who get involved, there will be many more victims of the UFO abduction cult than the Branch Davidians in Waco. They will have psychological scars for the rest of their lives. It will be passed on to their children and grandchilden. 'If you come to believe there has been an abduction, it's not just a one-time thing, but part of a genetic experiment. You cannot put in an alarm or get guard dogs. They (aliens) will just come in through the ceiling. 'They will abduct your children, impregnate your daughter with alien sperm and take the fetus for transplant. It's a curse for eternity, so to speak,' Klass said. Since 1992, Klass has devoted several issues of his UFO Skeptics Newsletter to the Cortile case, uncovering implausibilites and major discrepancies in her story and its handling by Hopkins. For example, Cortile later added to her story that her son had been abducted by ETs two months earlier, and that the craft that took her crashed into the East River. No such incident was reported by any witness. Klass said the two alleged security agents -- Dan and Richard -- have never been found, although Hopkins allegedly arranged for them to meet Cortile in her apartment. She later claimed that Dan kidnapped her from a Manhatten street and took her to a CIA safehouse. And Klass said Hopkins claimed to have received a letter from the 'third man' who witnessed the incident -- the world leader who refused to step forward. Hopkins reportedly believes it is Javier Perez de Cuellar, who was secretary general of the United Nations in 1989. Despite mounting evidence against Cortile's story -- even some MUFON members are skeptical -- Andrus still calls it 'the case of the century. ' 'A world dignitary was involved. That's what makes it so fantastic,' Andrus said. 'This experience did happen to a leader of the planet Earth.' Klass plans to attend the MUFON symposium, July 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, to hear Cortile's story once again and listen to other presentations on crop circles, the effect of UFOs on world history, strange lights recorded by a NASA shuttle mission and what the Russians know about UFOs. Although Klass supports legitimate scientific efforts to detect the existence of alien life, he said there is no credible evidence that earth has ever been visited by ETs. 'In the 47 years since UFOs were discovered or invented, they have not landed. They have not said 'take me to your leader,'' he said. 'Those who believe have beome terribly frustrated. They want publicity. They will pick up their ears if someone say they were abducted last night....How much wilder can the stories get?' (Edited by Larry Schuster, UPI Science and Technology Editor)