The Controversial Alien Abduction Case Of Linda Cortile

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 14, 2018
Last Updated
December 5, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Abductions

Otherwise referred to as “The Manhattan Alien Abduction” or “The Brooklyn Bridge Case”, the alleged abduction of Linda Cortile in November 1989 is, to some, “the most important UFO case of the (twentieth) century”. To others, however, it is much more controversial and even suspicious.

A superimposed UFO over the Brooklyn Bridge

Just what happened to Linda Cortile?

On the one hand, there are multiple witnesses – none of whom have ever gone back on their stories in the nearly thirty years since the incident. This makes a hoax rather unlikely. On the other hand, the account is outlandish, with equally outlandish claims occurring in the fall-out of the incident becoming public knowledge. Perhaps not least were accusations of monetary incentive by the abductee, Cortile. Respected and experienced UFO researcher, Budd Hopkins, would investigate the case. His familiarity with such incidents made him uniquely placed to do so. Until his death in 2011, he was still regarded as one of the leading minds on alien abduction cases and theories.

The short video below features Hopkins speaking in 1989 with several abductees he was working with at the time. Incidentally, following his extensive investigation, he would release the book “Witnessed: The True Story Of The Brooklyn Bridge Abduction”. Although it appears as though the below video is a dead link, it still plays.

UFO Over Manhattan!

Although she is widely known in connection with the incident near the Brooklyn Bridge as Linda Cortile, her real name is, Linda Napolitano (for this article we will use Cortile). She would use the alias upon contacting Hopkins with her claims.

In the early hours of 30th November 1989, Cortile awoke in her apartment in Manhattan, New York. [1] At the bottom of her bed, a figure stood, watching her. All windows and doors to her apartment were locked. The next thing she knew, she was in an examination room with several of the strange creatures around a table upon which she lay. She knew these creatures were the “grays” from the descriptions of others. Then, she was back in her room. All the while, her husband remained asleep.

Upon discussing the incident with Hopkins and agreeing to under hypnotic regression, a fuller picture began to emerge. Linda would describe how she was taken through the ceiling of the apartments as if they weren’t there. She would recall how she was “standing up on nothing” before seeing an opening in the disc above.

After entering the ship, she recalled seeing lots of “benches” and “sliding doors” as she was brought down a hallway. Many lights and buttons were also prominent in her field of vision. She was eventually placed on a “large table” and it was here she began to feel fear rise up in her. She would yell and scream until one of the figures said something unrecognizable to her and put a hand over her mouth until the procedure was over.

The short video below features the aforementioned Hopkins speaking on the Brooklyn Bridge, across from Cortile’s apartment.

“Richard” and “Dan”

As local publicity went further afield, Hopkins would receive communication from two men identifying themselves only as “Richard” and “Dan” who claimed to have been at the scene of the abduction on the night in question. They would originally pose as “New York policemen” before the revelation that, on the night in question, they were working as “bodyguards” to United Nations secretary general, Javier Perez de Cuellar. Furthermore, the pair also had apparent CIA connections, and their questionable behavior in the months that followed would only add another dimension of bizarre intrigue to the whole affair.

Along with their high-profile passenger, Richard and Dan would claim their vehicle stalled just beneath the underpass of FDR Drive. Above an apartment building opposite the Brooklyn Bridge, was a huge, disc-shaped UFO. Even more unbelievable, a woman followed by three creatures were “floating through the air” and into the other-worldly craft. Once on board, the object would descend at frightening pace into the East River, near Pier 17.  Both men, it would seem, were either greatly affected by the encounter, or they were receiving some very questionable orders.

In late-April 1991, both men would kidnap Linda, literally dragging her into a car as she walked along the street. They would interrogate her for several hours, even accusing her of having some involvement in recent events. They would release her without harm, but the experience shook Cortile considerably. Six months later an even more unnerving event took place. This time, Dan would kidnap her of his own accord. He would take her to a “safe house”, convinced she was “in” on the abduction incident and was a threat of some kind.  She would escape the property, only for Dan to recapture her on the beach.

View From Brooklyn Bridge

View from the Brooklyn Bridge

Bizarre Behavior and Multiple Witnesses

Only Richard arriving shortly after would stop Dan from drowning her in the sea. After he managed to sedate his partner, they would return to Manhattan. Although she didn’t see Dan again, she would hear from Richard around a month after the second kidnapping. According to Cortile, he informed her that Dan was “dangerously obsessed” with her and was in a mental facility. It doesn’t appear to be clear of the whereabouts of Dan or Richard today. And although Hopkins didn’t meet them directly, Cortile’s husband, son, and a friend of Linda’s did vouch for his existence and to having met him.

Around the same time as these bizarre events were unfolding, other witnesses were getting in touch with Hopkins. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy was, Janet Kimble (some sources spell this as Kimbell). She would claim her car had stalled on the Brooklyn Bridge in the early hours of 30th November 1989. She went on to describe the same scene as the two bodyguards/CIA agents. At the time, she would state, she believed she was witness to some special effects filming for an upcoming movie. As she learned of Cortile’s encounter, she finally felt the need to divulge her sighting.

What is interesting here is the second account of sudden car trouble. Although there are some discrepancies in the accounts of Dan and Richard (which we will come back to shortly), they too claimed a sudden cut-out in their vehicle. And as UFO researchers know now, this is a common detail in many close encounter cases.

And so, what of the “high-ranking” United Nations, secretary general, Javier Perez de Cuellar?

View from the piers of the Brooklyn Bridge

View from the piers of the Brooklyn Bridge

“If It Goes Public, I’ll Deny It!”

According to Hopkins, when he learned the identity of the high-ranking official in the care of Dan and Richard, he finally believed he would have the “smoking gun” of such cases. If he could convince Cuellar to go on record with his sighting, surely people would view such accounts more seriously. Also, the US government (who Hopkins didn’t particularly accuse of covering-up evidence as many other researchers did) would investigate the matter further.

He would speak with Cuellar, but the UN official claimed he could not go on record with such a claim. Furthermore, if his private confirmation to having witnessed the events ever went public, he would simply deny it. As you might imagine, this was a huge frustration for Hopkins, as much as he understood Cuellar’s position. Some sources claim a face-to-face, private meeting went ahead between the two men. Not only was he, Dan, and Richard witness to the events, further investigation would also suggest the abduction of all three of the men.

Not everyone believes the Cuellar angle, however. Some would point to regular “check-points” the vehicle had to pass whenever anyone such as a high-ranking UN official was in transit. And if they didn’t, a response unit would go and find their passenger immediately. This is perhaps true, although, whether the procession did miss these check-points on the evening in question is unknown.

The Claims Of Yancy Spence

Witnesses have continued to come forward well into the 2000s. It would seem, in fact, that there are several corroborating witnesses to the presence of the UN limousine procession that morning in 1989. A “well-known journalist” with the New York Post was leaving a bar close to the offices of the paper. After realizing he was too drunk to drive, he would ask one of the newspaper’s drivers to take him home. The reply came back that the lorries were unable to leave as “several limos are blocking the street!” Some believe that in one of those “limos” sat Cuellar, Dan, and Richard.

Perhaps the most intriguing, and possibly the most valuable, recollections are those of Yancy Spence. In the article “The Day Manhattan Stood Still” he would recall of being in the offices of the New York Post building, and, along with several others, witnessing the events as they unfolded. He would also put forward his belief of the abduction of several journalists that evening. [2]

Perhaps that is what ultimately happened that November morning in 1989 while most of New York slept. If the claims of other abductees are authentic, then perhaps other onlookers – who Spence claims there were many from buildings and cars on the road – were also abducted. Maybe the Manhattan abduction was the Manhattan “Mass” Abduction?

And for those who were mere spectators to the events, is it possible that some kind of mass-memory-wipe took place? A futuristic concept with highly-advanced technology? Many of the people Spence spoke with, when they were “asked” to remember, suddenly recalled the events in question, while also recalling how they immediately “forgot about it” and went on with their day. In abduction cases, this happens more than some might think.

Budd Hoplins and Linda Cortile

Budd Hopkins and Linda Cortile

Lies Within Truths?

It is hard to know what to make of the case of Linda Cortile and the Brooklyn Bridge incident. While Hopkins is surely a genuine researcher and skilled at that, there are those who believe Cortile “fabricated” parts of the story at best. It is an interesting assertion and one that comes up a lot in both UFO and paranormal circles. Although certainly not the norm, there are many instances of reports of a genuine experience leading to further claims of half-truths, exaggerations, and outright lies. George Adamski is perhaps most synonymous with this type of behavior

There are multiple theories as to why this happens. Some suggest that following the rush of publicity, attention, and (sometimes) financial reward, some people quickly make up subsequent events to keep such things coming their way. Others will exaggerate or fabricate a follow-up event merely because they believe it is what those investigating their case wish to see.

Perhaps a good example of this in this particular case would be a phone call taken by Hopkins, apparently witnessed by his wife at the time, Carol Rainey. When he hung up the phone, his wife asked who he was speaking with. He would reply, “Linda (Cortile) pretending to be Connie!” Connie was a witness to a recent event who Hopkins had not heard mentioned before. When he questioned Linda on this, she claimed her to be her cousin. Hopkins, perhaps suspicious at this point, asked that he might speak or meet with Connie. Several days later the phone call came.

The short video looks at the above scenario a little closer. It is a short documentary by Rainey. It asks how authentic the witness whose case her (then) husband had staked his reputation on, actually was.

All Part Of The Game?

While the (then) United Nations secretary general’s official response was he was “tucked up in bed” at the time of the alleged abduction, many others at least seem to recall a parade of limousines much like that utilized by such officials on the roads of Manhattan in the opening hours of 30th November 1989. And while it is perfectly understandable that such a high-ranking figure would not want to make such claims, it is the kind of action that will push the disclosure of information regarding UFO activity and extra-terrestrial contact.

There are also claims that Cuellar was “really shook up” by what he saw. Again, due to the “deny everything” policy of the United Nations official, this is another detail hard to substantiate. Ultimately, unless we are going to dismiss the entire account as a hoax, or a scam, then we have to judge it on the authenticity, respectability, and overall experience of Hopkins.

It is a recurring theme in the UFO question and the many roads searching for answers can take you down, but picking out the fact from the untruths and purposeful disinformation is, for want of a better phrase, all part of the game. And it would appear there is ample reason to further investigate what happened near the Brooklyn Bridge three decades ago.

The video below features Budd Hopkins speaking at various conferences on the UFO phenomenon, and in particular, alien abductions.


1 The Manhattan Abduction (Linda Cortile Napolitano), UFO Casebook
2 The Daze After Manhattan Stood Still, by Yancy Spence, UFO Casebook

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • Gae says:

    I’ve just ended this book with any chapters not included. I’ve found some contradictions. In a regression ” hypnosis” of Linda, she tells earlier to be escorted by “thin” aliens though very tall; inside the craft she tells of men and females aliens well “built”. A her don’t like females built, their aren’t feminine. Here clearly are involved three alien races, including the little creatures.
    Though the aliens should have powers of stopping time and other similar things, in reality they act above the consciousness manipulating it. However having perceived the whole story how a crazy one; my more deep interrogative reside upon the ability of the author to make hypnosis and conduct a like proceeding. For me can be both the things though the real one is crazy and ponder for the hoax staging. Further doubt is a craft wholly red fire and it is the first one. All the story hasn’t sense and are just a bunch of crazies stuffs.

  • David Perry Perry says:

    Where are the photos of this alien abduction in new york witnessed by hundreds of people?

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