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Aliens - Betty and Barney Hill Abduction
A historical marker on Route 3 in Lincoln tells the story of Betty and Barney Hill of Portsmouth, who 50 years ago told the world of their encounter at that spot with a UFO.
Click image to enlarge.
“On the night of September 19-20, 1961, Portsmouth, N.H. couple Betty and Barney Hill experienced a close encounter with an unidentified flying object and two hours of ‘lost’ time while driving south on Rte. 3 near Lincoln,” reads the historical marker. “They filled an official Air Force Project Blue Book report of a brightly lit cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not public with their story until it was leaked in the Boston Traveler in 1965. This was the first widely reported UFO abduction report in the United States.”
Mike Stevens helped contribute to the process of having the marker created. When asked about why he got involved, he said:
"Growing up in New Hampshire, I had always been aware of the Betty and Barney Hill case. I felt that it was too important an event to slip through the cracks of time and should not be allowed to be forgotten. So the process to have the marker installed began.I wanted the marker for a couple reasons. One so the event wouldn't be forgotten, two to have a government program admit its real (although it's not quite disclosure, it's a start), and three hopefully it will give others the courage to talk about their own experiences. I really don't think the general public knows how important this event was, and the historical marker seemed the best way to go about it. The petition is a standard protocol for anyone trying to get a historical marker. I had sent Kathleen an email explaining what I was trying to do and she became involved in the project. And that's how the whole thing got started."
In 1961, Barney Hill was a 39 year old black man who worked for the US Postal Service. His wife Betty was a 41 year old white woman, who owned a Master's Degree, and was the supervisor for the child welfare department. The fact that the Hills were an interracial couple has been given weight by some who state that Barney was suffering stress in dealing with some public ridicule about the black and white union, which was not nearly as readily accepted in the early 1960s as it is today. What ensued after the couple went public with their story, was much more stressful to him than any anti-racial remarks he may have encountered.
The story of Betty and Barney Hill begins in September 1961, in the state of New Hampshire. Barney had recently developed an ulcer, and he and his wife Betty decided to take a short vacation to Canada. The couple had visited Niagara Falls, and Montreal, and on the 19th of the month, they began their journey back home to Portsmouth. The night was clear, with a crescent moon shining on the heavily wooded landscape, that surrounded US Route 3 in the central part of New Hampshire. At about a quarter past 10:00 P.M., three miles south of the city of Lancaster, Barney noticed what appeared to be a bright star, or planet which seemed to move erratically. Barney pointed this out to Betty, and they both began to keep track of the object.
The couple began to believe that they were watching a plane, appear and disappear, as the movement of their vehicle caused the trees to come and go in obstructing their view. Later Barney would state that he tried to convince himself that the object was a plane, but that Betty thought it to be something else; an unidentified craft of some kind. As the two continued to the Flume, just north of North Woodstock, the object appeared to move in an odd way. As they reached Indian Head, Barney actually stopped the car to have a look at the object with his binoculars. He saw multicolored lights, and rows of windows on a flat-shaped object, which now seemed to be moving toward him. As the object moved to within a hundred feet of him, he could see occupants inside. Frightened, he ran back to his car where Betty waited. They climbed inside and sped away. Soon, two hours of their lives would vanish into oblivion.
After resuming their journey home, they were not able to see the strange craft anymore. Oddly though, they heard a beeping sound. They then heard the beeping a second time, noticing that they were suddenly thirty-five miles farther down the road than a minute or two ago. They were now in Ashla. The mood in the car was quiet as they proceeded home, and went to bed. They both slept until the next afternoon. When Betty got up, she called her sister Janet, and told her what had happened. Janet told her to call nearby Pease Air Force Base, and report what she had seen. Betty reported the incident, speaking to Major Paul W. Henderson, who told Betty; "The UFO was also confirmed by our radar." It is important to note at this point that Barney was against calling the sighting in to the base, hoping to keep it quiet.
At this time, neither Betty nor Barney recalled any abduction. Soon, Betty began having nightmarish dreams of her and her husband being taken aboard a craft of some kind, against their will. In a matter of weeks, two writers got wind of the story, and after interviewing the Hills, made an intensive log of the events of the night. They discovered that there were two hours of unaccounted time in the Hill's story, even allowing for stops for the Hills, and breaks for their dog, who also had made the trip with them. Shortly after Betty began having these disturbing dreams, she wrote a letter to Major Donald Kehoe, who passed her information on to one Walter Webb, who was on the staff of the Hayden Planetarium. Webb, at the time, was a scientific advisor for the National Investigations Committee on Arial Phenomena. (NICAP) What he did with the report is unknown.
It was Major MacDonald who made the suggestion to the Hills that regressive hypnosis might account for the two hours of missing time. In the spring of 1962, the Hills contacted a psychiatrist about the hypnosis sessions, but decided to put it off for a time. All the while, Betty was still haunted by the dreams, and Barney's ulcer was worse, and he was again suffering from hypertension. After dodging reporters, and doing some research on psychiatrists, the Hills made a decision to contact well-known Boston psychiatrist and neurologist, Dr. Benjamin Simon, who was one of the most respected doctors in his field. After a couple of initial interviews, Dr. Simon's preliminary diagnosis was "anxiety syndrome," relating to the incidents of the night of September 19, 1961. His next step was to find out what those events were.
The method of treatment that Dr. Simon chose for the Hills was regressive hypnosis, which was meant to get to the source of their problem, whatever that may have been. He began the sessions on Barney, and then followed up with the same treatment for Betty. The process was slow, but after six months, it was Dr. Simon's expert opinion that the Hills had been abducted, and taken aboard an unknown flying craft on the night in question. Anyone who is deeply interested in these sessions, can see transcripts of them in an excellent book on the entire Hill story, "The Interrupted Journey," written by award-winning investigative author John G. Fuller. The Hills' story was also included in a two-part article in "Look" magazine, and a movie, "The UFO Incident," a made-for-TV production. The movie was released in 1976, and starred Estelle Parsons as Betty, and James Earl Jones as Barney.
After the many sessions with Dr. Simon, the following details became evident. The Hills related that their car had stalled, and then the alien craft landed on the road in front of their vehicle, forming a kind of roadblock, hailing them down. They were taken into the craft, and given medical examinations by these aliens, and before being released, were ordered under hypnosis not to recount any of the details of their incident. The entities were described by the Hills as "....bald-headed alien beings, about five foot tall, with greyish skin, pear shaped heads and slanting cat-like eyes."-- This was the very first mention in UFO folklore of the so-called "greys." The Hills were taken into separate rooms during their examinations. These "tests" involved both physical and mental procedures.
As part of these tests, skin, hair and nail samples were taken. Betty had a long needle inserted into her navel, and was told it was a pregnancy test. Under duress, Barney related that he had given a semen specimen. Betty stated that she was given a kind of book as a token of her visit, but this item was later taken back. Another odd fact related under hypnosis was that the aliens seemed to have no conception of time, or of colors, whatever this may mean. At one point, the aliens seemed surprised to find that Barney's teeth (dentures) could be removed and replaced. Betty asked one of her abductors where they were from, and in reply, she was shown a star map of sorts, which will be discussed in more detail later. After these events, the Hills were taken back to their car, and the last thing they remembered was an orange glow disappearing into the night sky. It is very important to note that the Hills tried to keep these events out of the press, but unfortunately, an inaccurate version of the events was leaked to the press, after which, the Hills decided to come forward with the true events of the case.
Dr. Simon was under a great amount of pressure to release whatever information the Hills authorized about their case. This was considered prudent, not to exploit the story, but to stop speculation that the absence of a statement by him would seem to shed a negative light on the Hills' story. Simon concluded that the Hills were not fabricating their story. He further stated that he there were several conclusions that could be reached.  "The experience actually happened, or,  some perceptive and illusory misinterpretations occurred in relationship to some real event." What the "real event" may be, I do not know.
As the facts of the Hills' case came to public knowledge, two notable, respectable professionals investigated the story, and made their conclusions. One was Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was at the time, Professor of Astronomy at Northwestern University, and later to be an Air Force Consultant on Aerial Phenomena. He eventually would create his own "Center For UFO studies." The other was Stanton T. Friedman, a nuclear physicist and the nation's only space scientist devoting full time to researching the UFO phenomenon.
As a consultant to Project Bluebook, Hynek later released the book, "The UFO Experience," in which he discussed the Hills' case. Under hypnosis they stated that they had been taken separately aboard the craft, treated well by the occupants - rather as humans might treat experimental animals - and then released after having been given the hypnotic suggestion that they would remember nothing of that particular experience. The method of their release supposedly accounted for the amnesia, which was apparently broken only by counter hypnosis.
Dr. Stanton Friedman spent many long hours with the Hills, discussing the case, and being a nut and bolts man, issued this statement; "By no stretch of the imagination could anyone who knows them conclude that they were nuts," he emphasizes. The Hills had been interviewed and questioned by others scientists and investigators; some under hypnosis, and all are in agreement on one important fact. The Hills did NOT make their story up, and the events put forward are based upon some REAL event. Although Barney and Betty were in an interracial marriage, which unfortunately cast an unfavorable shadow on them, we must remember that Betty had a Master's Degree in social work, and Barney served on the governor of New Hampshire's Civil Rights Commission. Both of them were well-respected by those who knew them or worked with them. What benefit they could have gained from such an elaborate hoax I cannot imagine. Although many so-called abductees have lost their livelihoods because of their stories, the Hills did not, and remained involved in previous activities to the extent that the interruptions of what happened allowed them.
As I mentioned earlier, when Betty was aboard the craft, she stated she was shown a star map, and was asked by one of the humanoids, "Where are you on the map?" to which she shrugged and said, "I don't know." There has been an immense amount of discussion about the so-called "star map," and a lot of it's interpretation is up for grabs. The map that Betty says she was shown was a three-dimensional view with different size dots and lines on it. I vividly recall at the time of this incident, that the fact that scientists could not find any constellation that fit it's markings, put much doubt on the Hills claims. However, approximately 8 years thereafter, when more powerful telescopes came into use, several scientist claim to have found a match for this map.
Being intrigued with the mystery of the map, (which Betty drew from hypnosis), an Ohio schoolteacher and amateur astronomer Marjorie Fish became involved in the case in 1969. Wondering if the stars and planets on the map would match any known celestial objects, Fish got an interview with Betty Hill in the summer of 1969. Barney Hill had died earlier the same year from a cerebral hemorrhage. After a lengthy discussion with Betty, Fish released the following statement:
"On Aug. 4, 1969, Betty Hill discussed the star map with me. Betty explained that she drew the map in 1964 under posthypnotic suggestion. It was to be drawn only if she could remember it accurately, and she was not to pay attention to what she was drawing - which puts it in the realm of automatic drawing. This is a way of getting at repressed or forgotten material and can result in unusual accuracy. She made two erasures showing her conscious mind took control part of the time." "Betty described the map as three-dimensional, like looking through a window. The stars were tinted and glowed. The map material was flat and thin (not a model), and there were no noticeable Lenticular lines like one of our three-dimensional processes. (It sounds very much like a reflective hologram.)"
Betty did not shift her position while viewing it, so we cannot tell if it would give the same three-dimensional view from all positions or if it would be completely three-dimensional. Betty estimated the map was approximately three feet wide and two feet high with the pattern covering most of the map. She was standing about three feet away from it. She said there were many other stars on the map but she only (apparently) was able to specifically recall the prominent ones connected by lines and a small distinctive triangle off to the left. There was no concentration of stars to indicate the Milky Way (galactic plane) suggesting that if it represented reality, it probably only contained local stars. There were no grid lines."
Three stars in the clusters were unknown until 1969. No Astronomer on earth knew their position in 1963. Yet Betty Hill drew a map of these stars in 1963. Astronomers at Ohio State University had a computer put them in their exact position out beyond the double star system of Zeta Reticuli 1 and Zeta Reticuli 2--220 trillion miles, 37 light years from earth, looking toward our sun. The computer duplicated with virtually no variation, the map of Betty Hill.
The Betty and Barney Hill story is an intriguing one, to say the least. Everyone privy to it's details is still in wonderment; still seeking answers. It is very difficult to believe that two sane people who were driving to their home, simultaneously had some illusion. It is also difficult to believe that two well-liked and respected people would make up this story. To what end? Certainly, they were not seeking public fame, it was about two years from the time of the incident until the time that the Hills made the facts known. One important fact we must adhere to; NOT ONE of any of the professional people who had involvement in the case, shed a negative light on the fact that something very unusual occurred that night in New Hampshire, or on the Hills personally.
Proof in the Stars? - Astronomy Holds the Key to Alien Abduction
By Stanton T. Friedman
It is not usually easy to validate claims made by UFO witnesses, and it is especially difficult in those cases in which an abduction seems to have taken place. The real complication occurs when hypnosis is used to investigate missing time in conjunction with the abduction.
In the case of the very well-known abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in 1961, many individual hypnosis sessions were conducted three years later by Dr. Benjamin Simon, a psychiatrist with a long history of using medical hypnosis to recover repressed memories of traumatic experiences, especially those that occurred on the battlefield during World War II. Simon knew nothing about UFOs, yet felt it was his duty to elicit details from Betty and Barney under very deep hypnosis to try to determine what happened during their encounter with a strange space vehicle and eleven alien beings.
Following the pent up emotion released by the Hills while in their separate hypnotic states, Simon induced amnesia in each of them in order to prevent them from discussing what they were beginning to recall. This allowed for careful cross comparison between their distinct accounts.
One key validating revelation was Betty?s conversation with an alien about a three-dimensional model or map (probably a hologram) that was shown to her after she asked where they were from. There was a pattern of a dozen or so lights (stars) connected with three types of lines indicating heavy trade routes, light trade routes and occasional expeditions. Betty knew little of astronomy and was unable to explain where she was in the model. Simon instructed her to draw it after she indicated she could remember what it looked like. The drawing was subsequently included by John G. Fuller in his best-selling book, The Interrupted Journey.
At first there seemed to be no way to determine if the map had any meaning. After all, our galaxy, the Milky Way, has at least two hundred billion stars. Fortunately, a brilliant woman, Marjorie Fish, visited Betty to get more details about the map, in spite of fact that Fish was dubious about the Hills? assertion that the alien beings were humanoid. Nonetheless, over a period of a few years and more interviews with Betty, Fish built about twenty-six different three-dimensional bead and fishing line models. Her goal was to find a 3-D pattern to match the two-dimensional pattern that Betty had drawn.
I had been favorably impressed by Betty and Barney when we met in Pittsburgh in 1968 and when I read The Interrupted Journey and Fuller?s Look Magazine articles about the Hills. My colleague, Coral Lorenzen, International Director of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization??one of the two major UFO groups at the time??asked me as a scientist to assist Fish in communicating the results of her research. I agreed, and visited her during one of my lecture tours. I also helped her explain her work at a meeting at Adler Planetarium in Chicago and during a presentation at a Mutual UFO Network Symposium in Akron.
Believing Fish to be objective and credible, I published the first article about her work in Saga Magazine and later arranged to interview her and Betty for my documentary film, ?UFOs ARE Real.? I also convinced the editor of Astronomy Magazine, Terence Dickinson, to speak with her and to publish an article, ?The Zeta Reticuli Incident,? about her work. It ultimately received more response than any article Astronomy had ever published, before or since.
Also appearing in my documentary was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University, Dr. George Mitchell, who had been helpful to Fish in obtaining closely-held star catalogs. He used one of her large models as a teaching tool and testified as to her care and accuracy in constructing the models.
Through her detailed and careful research, she was eventually able to identify all the stars in the pattern, and found that all of the pattern stars were sun-like (notwithstanding that fewer than 5 percent of the stars within 55 light years of the Sun are sun-like). Some stars are too old, too new, too bright, too dim, or vary too much in the intensity of their energy production rate to be sun-like, or they have very close companion stars making it difficult to maintain stable planetary orbits in the vicinity. The pattern stars are also, amazingly enough, in a plane, like slices of pepperoni on a thin pizza rather than spread all about like raisins in a loaf of raisin bread. This makes travel between the stars much easier. The pattern is definitely not coincidental.
And most remarkably, Fish identified the base stars as Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli in the southern sky constellation Reticulum, but only after much better data on the distances to nearby stars was obtained and used to rebuild the models. Nobody building a model before the Hill experience would have obtained the right identification. A unique twosome, Zeta 1 and 2 Reticuli are the closest pair of sun-like stars in our entire local neighborhood. They are only 1/8 of a light year apart from each other, only 39.2 light years away from earth and a billion years older than the sun. These two stars had never been highlighted as special before Fish?s discoveries. It makes sense that they would be the hub of the local neighborhood.
The cosmic perspective for intelligent inhabitants of a planet around Zeta 1 or 2 Reticuli would be very different than that for an Earthling, as the sun is thirty-five times farther away from the nearest star than the distance between Zeta 1 and Zeta 2. We Earthlings are out in the boondocks with no other star close by. However, from a planet orbiting around either of these stars, the other star is visible to the eye all day long, and planets around the other star would be directly observable. No inferences would be necessary. Even with our primitive equipment, at such a close distance we could determine, from the composition of the atmosphere around these planets, if biological activity were present.
Residents of Zeta 1 and 2 would have a much greater incentive to undertake interstellar travel than we have here on Earth. They would also have had much more time for the development of advanced travel technology with their billion year head start on us. Technological progress invariably comes from doing things differently in an unpredictable way and we primitives have already determined methods for star travel.
The star map work done by Marjorie Fish was a crucial factor, along with others, in the general acceptance of the Hill story of abduction. Her work was also the target of debunkers and skeptics, including Carl Sagan, who misrepresented Fish?s methods and her results. These attacks along with many others on the Hill case, such as in the TV program, ?Cosmos,? are discussed in detail in my book, co-authored by Betty?s niece, Kathleen Marden, Captured!: The True Story of the World?s First Documented Alien Abduction, The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience.
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