When I was but a young boy, the only time anyone talked about flying saucers was after watching a movie about them, or seeing an episode of Twilight Zone, or Science Fiction Theater.
Then one morning, I was scanning over our local newspaper, and noticed about three pages deep this heading, “New Hampshire Couple Encounters UFO.”
Well, needless to say, I was intrigued. In our small town paper, you just didn’t see things on this type of subject.
As I began to read the article, I was astounded to see that these two people claimed to have been abducted by aliens, and taken inside the ship!
Well, that was enough for me to think, “What is this, some kind of joke?”
I thought I had heard the last of it, but I had not.
Soon, this story became an international one, and even today, is still considered one of the most believable, and certainly most researched UFO cases, except for maybe the Roswell incident. One thing about this whole subject that seems odd to me, is that it is considered within the realm of possibility that someone could see a UFO, but for someone to be taken aboard one, NO WAY.
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.
In my research into Mr. Hill’s life, I can’t find any reason for his stress being the cause of telling such an incredible story. 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 PM, 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 multi-colored 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, however, 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.
Another interesting note that I should interject here is that these “two writers,” which are mentioned in almost every report of this incident, (and there are literally thousands of them), have not been named, or I cannot find their names.
However, the story is true, because their interview was attended by Major James MacDonald, a former Air Force .
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 (commonly referred to as 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 Blue Book, Hynek later released the book, “The UFO Experience,” in which he discussed the Hills’ case. I will insert his own words here; “Under repeated hypnosis they independently revealed what had supposedly happened.
The two stories agreed in considerable detail, although neither Betty nor Barney was privy to what the other had said under hypnosis until much later.
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 its interpretation is up for grabs. A full understanding of astronomy would be required to study its plotting and try to find its pattern in a specific point in the skies. I am certainly not qualified to undertake this task, but I will tell you what I consider some of the more reasonable explanations by professionals.
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 its markings, put much doubt on the Hills claims. However, approximately 8 years thereafter, when more powerful telescopes came into use, several scientists 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. Before I conclude this article, I must point out that I am not one given to shallow evidence from one webpage or a supermarket tabloid.
I am simply taking the role of reporter here, and offer no opinion of my own. Everything included in this article has been confirmed by many investigators, scientists, psychiatrists, etc. I will leave you this one fact:
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 remember: 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.
By B. J. Booth