Betty and Barney Hill were
an American married
couple who rose to fame after they claimed to have been abducted by
extraterrestrials on September
The couple's story, commonly called the Hill
, and occasionally the Zeta Reticuli
, was that they were victims of a UFO abduction
. Theirs was the first
widely-publicized claim of alien
, adapted into the best-selling 1966 book The
and a television movie.
lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Barney (1923–1969) was employed by the
U.S. Postal Service
, while Betty (1919–2004)
was a social worker
. Active in a
congregation, the Hills were
also members of the NAACP
leaders, and Barney sat on a local board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission
a mixed race couple at a time in America when that was unusual:
Barney was of Ethiopian ancestry, and Betty was Caucasian.
The UFO encounter
alleged abduction, according to a variety of reports given by the
pair in interviews over a period of time, began on the evening of
September 19, 1961, the Hills were driving back to Portsmouth from
a vacation in Quebec.
There were few other cars on the road as they traveled south.
claimed to have observed a bright point of light in the sky.
While Barney navigated U.S. Route 3, Betty reasoned that she was
observing a communication
and urged Barney to stop the car for a closer look
and to walk their dog, Delsey. Worried about the presence of bears,
Barney removed a pistol that he had in the trunk of the car.
Betty, whose sister had confided to her about having a flying saucer
sighting several years earlier,
observed the object through binoculars as it moved across the face
of the moon flashing multicolored lights. Barney, who had not
observed the craft, thought the light was a conventional aircraft
The Hills claimed that they continued driving on the isolated road,
moving very slowly so they could observe the object as it came even
closer, which they said seemed to be moving in unison with the
topography and dipped in front of the peaks and descended slowly in
their direction. At one point the object appeared to land on
top of Cannon
Mountain, but quickly
began moving again.
Approximately one mile south of Indian Head, they said, a huge
craft rapidly descended toward the Hills' vehicle causing Barney to
stop directly in the middle of the highway. The craft descended to
approximately 80–100 feet above the Hills' 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
and filled the entire
field of the windshield. Barney, carrying his pistol, stepped away
from the vehicle and moved closer to the object. Using the
binoculars, Barney claimed to have seen about 8 to 11 humanoid
figures who were peering out of the craft's windows, seeming to
look at him. The one remaining figure continued to look at Barney
and communicated a message to him to "stay where you are and keep
looking." At that instant red lights on what appeared to be
bat-wing fins began to telescope out of the sides of the craft and
a long structure descended from the bottom of the craft. The silent
craft approached to what Barney estimated was within 50–80 feet
overhead and 50–100 feet away from him.
Barney tore the binoculars away from his eyes and ran back to his
car, saying, "They're going to capture us!" (Clark, 276) He saw the
object again shift its location to directly above the vehicle. He
drove away at high speed, telling Betty to look for the object. She
rolled down the window and looked up, but saw only darkness above
Almost immediately, a series of mechanical buzzing sounds, loud
enough to cause the vehicle to vibrate, seemed to come from the
rear end of the car. Betty touched the metal on the passenger door
expecting to feel an electric shock, but felt only the vibration.
The Hills say they experienced the onset of an altered state of
consciousness that left their minds dulled, and that they also felt
a tingling sensation throughout their bodies.
Arriving home at about dawn, the Hills assert that they had some
odd sensations and impulses they could not readily explain: Betty
insisted that their luggage be kept near the back door rather than
in the main part of the house. Barney noted that the leather
strap for the binoculars was torn, though he
could not recall it tearing. Barney says he was compelled to
examine his genitals
in the bathroom,
though he found nothing unusual. They took long showers to remove
possible contamination and each drew a picture of what they had
observed. Their drawings were similar.
Perplexed, the Hills say they tried to reconstruct the chronology
of events as they witnessed the
and drove home. But immediately after they
heard the buzzing sounds their memories became incomplete and
fragmented, and they could not determine a continuous chain of
events. Barney recalled saying "Oh no, not again", though he could
not place the comment in context. (Clark, 277)
After sleeping for a few hours, Betty woke and placed the shoes and
clothing she had worn during the drive into her closet, observing
that the dress was torn at the hem, zipper and lining. Later, when
Betty retrieved the items from her closet, she noted a pinkish
powder on her dress, but had no idea where it might have come from.
She threw the dress away, but later changed her mind, retrieving
the dress and hanging it on a clothesline. The powder vanished in
the wind, though Betty says a few pink stains were left on the
dress. Over the years, she said, five laboratories have conducted
chemical and forensic analysis on the dress.
Initial report to the U.S. Air Force
September 21, Betty telephoned Pease Air Force Base to report their UFO encounter, though, for fear of
being labeled insane, she withheld some of the details.
Paul W. Henderson telephoned the Hills for a
more detailed interview, lasting about 30 minutes. Henderson's
report, dated September 26
that the Hills had probably misidentified the planet Jupiter
. His report was
forwarded to Project Blue Book
the U.S. Air Force
's UFO research
Within days of the encounter, Betty borrowed several UFO books from
a local library
. One had been written by
retired Marine Corps
Major Donald E. Keyhoe
, who was also the head of NICAP
, a civilian UFO research
Within two weeks of the UFO encounter, Betty says she was troubled
with recurrent nightmares
. They occurred
almost nightly, and were so vivid that her mind was occupied with
thoughts of the dream throughout the day.
On September 26, Betty wrote to Keyhoe. She related the full story,
including the details about the humanoid
figures that she had neglected to report to the Air Force. Betty
wrote that she and Barney were considering hypnosis
to help recall what had happened. Her
letter was eventually passed on to Walter N. Webb, a Boston astronomer and NICAP member.
The Webb interview
Webb met the Hills on October 21, 1961. In a six-hour interview,
the Hills related all they could remember of the UFO encounter.
Barney asserted that he had a sort of "mental block" regarding the
encounter, and that he suspected there were some portions of the
event that he did not wish to
that the couple's panic
regarding a close UFO sighting had generated Betty's
In November, 1961, Betty began writing down the details of her
vivid, recurrent nightmares.
In the dream, Betty seemed to be struggling to regain
consciousness; she then realized that she was being forced by two
small men to walk in a forest in the nighttime, and of seeing
Barney walking alongside her, though when she called to him, he
seemed to be in a trance
. The small men stood about five
feet tall, and wore matching uniforms, with caps similar to those
worn in the U.S. Air Force. They had no hair on their heads, and
had large bulbous
Entering the craft
In the dreams, Betty, Barney, and the small men all walked up a
ramp into a disc-shaped craft of metallic appearance. Once inside,
Barney and Betty were separated. She protested, and was told by a
man she called "the leader" that if she and Barney were examined
together, it would take much longer to conduct the exams. She and
Barney were then taken to separate rooms. Though the leader and the
other men spoke to her in English, their command of the language
seemed imperfect, and they had difficulty communicating.
Betty then dreamt that a new man, similar to the others, entered to
conduct her exam with the leader. Betty called this new man "the
examiner" and said he had a pleasant, calm manner.
A quick exam and a few tests
The examiner told Betty that he would conduct a quick exam and a
few tests to note the differences between humans and the craft's
inhabitants. He seated her on a chair, and a bright light was shone
on her. The man cut off a lock of Betty's hair. He examined her
eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, throat and hands. He saved trimmings from
her fingernails. After examining her legs and feet, the man then
used a dull knife, similar to a letter opener to scrape some of her
skin on to a glass slide.
The doctor removed Betty's dress. He told her to lie on a table.
Saying he was examining her nervous
, he dragged a machine somewhat resembling an EEG
device over her front and back
body.The doctor cleaned his hands with a liquid and put examination
gloves on. He took out a hypodermic
some four to six inches long to conduct what he said was
a pregnancy exam. He used a wet swab
. He thrust the needle into it, which
caused Betty agonizing pain, but the doctor rubbed her forehead and
the pain vanished.
Betty was told that her exam was complete, and that she and Barney
would shortly be returned to their automobile. She began conversing
with the leader, only to be interrupted when another man rushed
into the room and – seemingly excited – spoke with the leader in a
strange language. They hurriedly left the room, leaving Betty
Returning in a few minutes, the leader examined Betty's mouth and
seemed to be trying to pull her teeth
mouth. When this was unsuccessful, the leader asked why her teeth
were fixed while Barney's came out of his mouth. Laughing, Betty
told them that Barney wore dentures
humans often lose their teeth as they age
leader seemed unable to understand the concept of old age. She
tried to explain what a year was, but he didn't seem to
Betty requests an artifact
In the dream, Betty asked the leader if she could take an artifact
from the ship in order to prove
of the encounter. The leader let her take a large book whose pages
were filled with symbols filled in columns.
She then asked the leader where he and his craft had come from.
Betty wrote that, in response, from the wall the leader "pulled
down a map, strange to me ... It was a map of the heavens" marked
with numerous stars
. (Clark, 281) There were different types of
lines between some of the stars which denoted, she was told, trade
and exploration routes. The leader asked Betty if she knew where
the Earth was located on the map. Betty responded by saying that
she did not, being unfamiliar with the map. The leader then said
that because of her ignorance, it was impossible to explain where
he had come from.
Leaving the craft
Betty then suggested that humanity
would like to meet other inhabitants of the universe
, and tried to persuade the leader to
openly announce their presence on Earth. Amid her pleas, the men
brought Barney into the room. He seemed to be in a daze.
The men began escorting the Hills from the ship, though an argument
broke out amongst the men in the strange language they'd spoken
before. The leader then took the large book from Betty. She
protested, saying that the book was her only proof of the
encounter. The leader said that he personally did not care if she
kept the book, but the other men of the ship did not want her to
even remember the encounter. Betty insisted that no matter what
they did to her memory, she would one day recall the events.
She and Barney were taken to their car, where the leader suggested
that they wait to watch the craft's departure. They did so, then
resumed their drive. Betty stated that the event was miraculous and
exciting, but Barney said nothing.
Aftermath of Betty's dream
Betty's dream concluded with her asking, "Now do you believe in
flying saucers?" Irritated, Barney said, "Don't be
While Betty thought the dreams might reflect actual events, Barney
was more skeptical, thinking that his wife had simply had a number
of unusually vivid dreams.
Medical help and more interviews
On November 25, 1961, the Hills were again interviewed at length by
NICAP members, this time C.D. Jackson and Robert E. Hohman.
Having read Webb's initial report, Jackson and Hohman had many
questions for the Hills. One of their main questions was about the
length of the trip. Neither Webb nor the Hills had noted that,
though the drive should have taken about four hours, they did not
arrive at home until seven hours after their departure. When Hohman
and Jackson noted this discrepancy to the Hills, the couple was
stunned, having no explanation (a frequently reported circumstance
in alleged alien abduction cases that some have called "missing time
"). However, Betty was able to
recall an image of the moon shining on the ground.
writes, despite "all their efforts the Hills could recall almost
nothing of the 35 miles between Indian Head and Ashland.
The subject of hypnosis
came up. Perhaps hypnosis could unlock the
missing memories. Barney was apprehensive about hypnosis, but
thought it might help Betty put to rest what Barney described as
the 'nonsense' of Betty's recurrent dreams." (Clark, 282)
By February 1962, the Hills were making frequent weekend drives to
try and locate the area of their UFO encounters, hoping that
locating the site might spark more memories. They were unsuccessful
in trying to locate the site for several years afterwards.
As Clark writes, "In February or March [of 1962] warts
appeared in a near-perfect circle around Barney's
; they were removed surgically." (Clark,
Private disclosure and questions about hypnosis
On November 23, 1962, the Hills attended a meeting at the parsonage
of their church where the invited guest speaker was Captain Ben H. Swett
of the U.S. Air Force, who had
recently published a book of his poetry. After he read selections
of his poetry, the pastor asked him to discuss his personal
interest in hypnosis. After the meeting broke up, the Hills
approached Captain Swett privately and told him what they could
remember of their strange encounter. He was particularly interested
in the "missing time" of the Hills' account. The Hills asked Swett
if he would hypnotize them to recover their memories, but Swett
said he was not qualified to do that and cautioned them against
going to an amateur hypnotist, such as himself, or a half-baked
First public disclosure
On March 3, 1963, the Hills first publicly discussed the UFO
encounter with a group at their church.
On September 7, 1963, Captain Swett gave a formal lecture on
hypnosis to a meeting at the Unitarian Church. After the lecture,
the Hills told him that Barney was going to a psychiatrist, Dr.
Stephens, whom he liked and trusted. Captain Swett suggested that
Barney ask Dr. Stephens about the use of hypnosis in his
When he next met with Dr. Stephens, Barney asked about hypnosis.
referred the Hills to Dr. Benjamin Simon of Boston.
November 1963, the
Hills spoke before an amateur UFO study group in Quincy Center, Massachusetts.
The Hills first met Dr. Simon on December 14, 1963.
Early in their discussions, Simon determined that the UFO encounter
was causing Barney far more worry and anxiety than Barney was
willing to admit. Though Simon dismissed the popular extraterrestrial hypothesis
impossible, it seemed obvious to him that the Hills genuinely
thought they had witnessed a UFO with human-like occupants. Simon
hoped to uncover more about the experience through hypnosis.
Dr. Simon's hypnosis sessions
Simon began hypnotizing the Hills on January 4, 1964. He hypnotized
Betty and Barney several times each, and the sessions lasted until
June 6, 1964. Simon conducted the sessions on Barney and Betty
separately, so they could not overhear one another's
Simon hypnotized Barney first. His sessions were often quite
emotional, punctuated with angry outbursts, expressions of fear,
and episodes of hysterical crying. Barney said that, due to his
fear, he kept his eyes closed for much of the UFO encounter. Based
on these early responses, Simon told Barney that he would not
remember the hypnosis sessions until they were certain he could
remember them without being further traumatised.
Under hypnosis, Barney also reported that the binocular strap had
broken when he ran from the UFO back to his car. He recalled
driving the car away from the UFO, but that afterwards he felt
irresistibly compelled to pull off the road, and drive into the
woods. He eventually sighted six men standing in the woods.
Commanding Barney to stop driving, three of the men approached the
car. They told Barney to not fear them. He was still anxious,
however, and he reported that the leader told Barney to close his
eyes. While hypnotized, Barney said, "I felt like the eyes had
pushed into my eyes." (Clark, 284)
Barney described the creatures as generally similar to Betty's
hypnotic, not dream recollection. However, he described their eyes
as being much larger, extending even to the sides of their heads.
The creatures often stared into his eyes, said Barney, with a
terrifying, mesmerizing effect. Under hypnosis, Barney said things
like, "Only the eyes are talking to me" (Clark 291) and "All I see
are these eyes... I'm not even afraid that they're not connected to
a body. They're just there. They're just up close to me, pressing
against my eyes." (Clark 291)
Barney related that he and Betty were taken onto the disc-shaped
craft, where he and Betty were separated. Taken to a room by three
of the short men, Barney was undressed by the three short men and
was then told to lie on a rectangular exam table. Unlike Betty,
Barney's narrative of the exam was fragmented, and he continued to
keep his eyes closed for most of the exam. A cup-like device was
placed over his genitals. He did not experience an orgasm
though Barney thought that a sperm
sample had been taken. The men scraped his skin,
and peered in his ears and mouth. A tube or cylinder was inserted
in his anus
. Someone felt his spine, and seemed
to be counting his vertebrae
While Betty reported extended conversations with the creatures in
English, Barney said that he heard them speaking in a mumbling
language he did not understand. The few times they communicated
with him, Barney said it seemed to be "thought transference"; at
that time, he was unfamiliar with the word "telepathy
". (Clark, 285)
He recalled being escorted from the ship, and taken to his car,
which was now near the road rather than in the woods. In a daze, he
watched the ship leave. Barney remembered a light appearing on the
road, and he said, "Oh no, not again." He recalled Betty's
speculation that the light might have been the moon, though the
moon had in fact set several hours earlier.
Betty's hypnosis sessions were not as eventful. Under hypnosis, her
account was very similar to the events of her recurrent dreams
about the UFO encounter, with two notable differences: under
hypnosis, the short men did not have large noses, and they had no
hair. Simon suggested that Betty sketch a copy of the "star map".
She hesitated, thinking she would be unable to accurately depict
the three-dimensional quality of the map she says she saw on the
ship. Eventually, however, she did what Simon suggested. Although
she said the map had many stars, she drew only those that stood out
in her memory. Her map consisted of twelve prominent stars
connected by lines and three lesser ones that formed a distinctive
triangle. (see below
) She said she was told the
stars connected by solid lines formed "trade routes" whereas dashed
lines were to less-traveled stars.
Dr. Simon's conclusions
After extensive hypnosis sessions, Dr. Simon concluded that
Barney's recall of the UFO encounter was a fantasy inspired by
Betty's recurrent dreams. Though Simon admitted this hypothesis did
not explain every aspect of the experience, he thought it was the
most plausible and consistent explanation. Barney rejected this
idea, noting that while their memories were in some regards
interlocking, there were also portions of both their narratives
that were unique to each. Barney was now ready to accept that they
had been abducted by the occupants of a UFO, though he never
embraced it as fully as Betty did.
Though the Hills and Simon disagreed about the nature of the case,
they all concurred that the hypnosis sessions were effective: the
Hills were no longer tormented by nightmares or anxiety about the
Afterwards, Simon wrote an article about the Hills for the journal
, explaining his conclusions that the
case was a singular psychological aberration.
Publicity after the hypnosis sessions
The Hills went back to their regular lives. They were willing to
discuss the UFO encounter with friends, family and the occasional
UFO researcher, but the Hills apparently made no effort to seek
But on October 25, 1965, a newspaper story changed everything: A
story on the Boston Traveler
asked "UFO Chiller: Did
THEY Seize Couple?" (Clark, 286) Reporter
John H. Lutrell of the Traveler
had been given an audio tape
recording of the lecture the Hills had
made in Quincy Center in early 1963. Lutrell learned that the Hills
had undergone hypnosis with Dr. Simon; he also obtained notes from
interviews the Hills had given to UFO
. On October 26
picked up Lutrell's story, and the Hills
In 1966, writer John G. Fuller
scored the cooperation of the Hills
and Dr. Simon, and wrote the book The Interrupted Journey
the case. The book included a copy of Betty's sketch of the "star
map". The book was a quick success, and went through several
Barney died of a cerebral
on February 25, 1969, and Betty Hill died of cancer
on October 17, 2004.
Many of Betty Hill's notes, tapes and other items have been placed
in a permanent collection at the library of the University of New
Hampshire, her alma mater.
"Deciphering" the star map
Marjorie Fish of Oak
Harbor, Ohio read Fuller's Interrupted Journey.
Map of Zeta Reticuli, according to
Betty Hill and Marjorie Fish
She was an elementary school
teacher and amateur astronomer. Intrigued by the "star map", Fish
wondered if it might be "deciphered" to determine which star system
the UFO came from.
Assuming that one of the fifteen stars on the map must represent
the Earth's sun
, Fish constructed a
3-dimensional model of nearby sun-like stars using thread and
beads, basing stellar distances on those published in the 1969
Gliese Star Catalog
Studying thousands of vantage points over several years, the only
one that seemed to match the Hill map was from the viewpoint of the
system of Zeta Reticuli
. Therefore she concluded that
the UFO might have come from a planet orbiting Zeta Reticuli.
As a result of Fish's hypothesis
have dubbed the Hills' account The Zeta Reticuli Incident.
, however, continue to prefer
the Hill Abduction
or some similar term.
Distance information needed to match three stars, forming the
distinctive triangle Hill said she remembered, was not generally
available until the 1969 Gliese Catalog came out. Fish also was the
first to note that all the stars on the map connected by lines
(which Betty Hill said she was told were trade or
frequently-traveled routes) fell in a plane, with Zeta Reticuli
acting as a hub. Thus the displayed routes would be the most
logical and efficient way of exploring the nearby stellar
neighborhood for a civilization located in Zeta Reticuli. These
points played critical roles in the subsequent debates over the
validity of the Fish match to the Hill map.
Fish sent her analysis to Webb. Agreeing with her conclusions, Webb
sent the map to Terence Dickinson
of the popular magazine Astronomy
. Dickinson did not
endorse Fish and Webb's conclusions, but he was intrigued, and, for
the first time in the journal's history, Astronomy
comments and debate on a UFO report, starting with an opening
article in the December 1974 issue. For about a year afterwards,
the opinions page of Astronomy
for and against Fish's star map.
Notable was an argument made by Carl
and Stephen Soter, arguing that the seeming "star map"
was little more than a random
chance points. In contrast, those more favorable to the map, such
as Dr. David Saunders, a statistician who had been on the Condon UFO study
, argued that unusual
alignment of key sun-like stars in a plane centered around Zeta
Reticuli (first described by Fish) was statistically improbable to
have happened by chance from a random group of stars in our
It was also pointed out that Zeta Reticuli is highly unusual in
being the only known example of a wide double star system
consisting of two stars very similar to the sun. One of the
articles in the Astronomy magazine debate, on the ages of the stars
in the Hill/Fish map, said evidence pointed to the Reticulan system
being 1 to 3 billion years older than our own, with the suggestion
that this would have permitted another intelligence race to have
evolved long before we did and thus be considerably more advanced.
Furthermore, it was noted the two stars are very close together
(now believed to be only 1/8 light year apart), whereas the nearest
star similar to the sun, Tau Ceti, is 12 light years away. It was
argued that the closeness of the two sun-like stars would likely
have acted as a considerable spur to developing interstellar
However, it was also noted that the Zeta Reticulan stars are metal
poor compared to the sun, raising questions as to whether a star
system like our own would have developed, whether sufficient carbon
existed for life to have even arisen, or whether sufficient
quantities of such metals would have been available to create a
technological civilization even if there was an earthlike planet
and advanced life in the Reticulan system.
Skeptic Robert Sheaffer in an accompanying article said that a map
devised by Charles W. Atterberg, about the same time as Fish, was
an even better match to Hill's map and made more sense. The base
stars, Epsilon Indi
and Epsilon Eridani
plus the others were also
closer to the sun than the Hill map. Fish counterargued that the
base stars in the Atterberg map
considered much less likely to harbor life than Zeta Reticuli and
the map lacked a consistent grouping of sun-like stars along the
lined routes, unlike her map.
In 1993, a new theory
with regard to the map
in question was proposed. Two German crop circle researchers, Joachim Koch and
Hans-Jürgen Kyborg, suggested that the map depicted planets in the
Solar System, not nearby stars.
The objects in the map, they discovered, closely match the
positions of the Sun, the six inner planets and several asteroids
around the time of the incident.
The 1966 publication
, by John G. Fuller, details much of the Hills' claims.
Excerpts of the book were published in Look
magazine, and Interrupted Journey
went on to sell many copies and greatly publicize the Hills'
writes, " ... the Hill
case bears upon one popular theory which has been widely but
uncritically accepted by many skeptics: the idea that such accounts
must have been implanted by hypnosis, consciously or unconsciously,
or by manipulative practitioners who 'believe in' the reality of
such events. Simon, who hypnotized the Hills, was avowedly
about the reality of the Hills' abduction
recollections. Yet the Hills stubbornly held to their interlocking,
hypnotically recovered accounts despite Simon's suggestions at the
end of treatment that their memories could not be literally true.
It can therefore be concluded that the bias of the hypnotist had
nothing to do with the content of their hypnotic recall." (emphasis
as in original; Hopkins, 218)
Later, Betty claimed to have seen UFOs a number of times after the
initial abduction, and she "became a celebrity in the UFO
- Psychiatrists reportedly later suggested that the supposed
abduction was a hallucination brought
on by the stress of being an interracial couple in early 60s
America. Betty discounted this suggestion, noting her relationship
with Barney was happy, and their interracial marriage caused no
notable problems with their friends or family. As noted in The
Interrupted Journey, Dr. Simon thought that the Hills marital
status had nothing to do with the UFO encounter.
- Critics have suggested the Hills' hypnosis brought on confabulation — the blending of fantasy with
memory — arguing that recovered memories are unreliable.
his 1990 article Entirely Unpredisposed, Martin Kottmeyer
suggested that Barney's memories revealed under hypnosis might have
been influenced by an episode of the science fiction television show The Outer Limits
titled "The Bellero Shield",
which was broadcast about two weeks before Barney's first hypnotic
session. The episode featured an extraterrestrial with large eyes
who says, "In all the universes, in all the unities beyond the
universes, all who have eyes have eyes that speak." The report from
the regression featured a scenario that was in some respects
similar to the television show. In part, Kottmeyer wrote:
- "Wraparound eyes are an extreme rarity in science fiction
films. I know of only one instance. They appeared on the alien of
an episode of an old TV series "The Outer Limits" entitled "The
Bellero Shield". A person familiar with Barney's sketch in "The
Interrupted Journey" and the sketch done in collaboration with the
artist David Baker will find a "frisson" of "déjà vu" creeping up his spine when seeing
this episode. The resemblance is much abetted by an absence of
ears, hair, and nose on both aliens. Could it be by chance?
Consider this: Barney first described and drew the wraparound eyes
during the hypnosis session dated 22 February 1964. "The Bellero
Shield" was first broadcast on "10 February 1964. Only twelve days
separate the two instances. If the identification is admitted, the
commonness of wraparound eyes in the abduction literature falls to
Though Betty was alive when Kottmeyer made his claims, he never
sought her out to ask if she or Barney had seen the episode. When a
different researcher asked Betty about The Outer Limits
she insisted she had "never heard of it". (Clark, 291) She further
noted that it was unlikely that Barney would have seen the episode
in question because he usually worked in the evenings when the
episode was broadcast, and when Barney was home in the evenings,
Betty reported that they were both usually occupied with the
or other community activities.
- Folklorist Dr. Thomas E. Bullard agrees that the similarities
between "The Bellero Shield" and Barney's story are in fact
striking and "persuasive", but he also notes that there are several
facts that blunt the impact of the similarities: First, it has not
been demonstrated conclusively that Barney watched the episode in
question, and, second, as Bullard writes, in Barney's "earlier,
conscious recall ... he remembered a being with compelling eyes
looking down at him from a UFO." Bullard thinks it plausible that
the Outer Limits episode might have helped shape Barney's
hypnotically recalled memory, but he also stresses that Barney's
"preoccupation with the staring entity and its eyes began years
before this television image could have influenced him."
The Cult of Alien Gods: H.
Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture, Jason Colavito
also affirms the connection to The Outer Limits, and also
suggests elements taken from two other contemporary pop culture
from Mars (the noses of the aliens, details of their
medical examination including the needle in the navel) and
Killers from Space
(other parts of the medical procedures, and the concept of wiping
the mind of memories of the abduction).
- A new site has proposed a solution to the Hill's abduction
story, arguing that a common but little known feature of human
physiology related to the human vision "startle reflex" — in conjunction with
confabulation — may explain the Hills'
McDonald, a resident of the area in which the Hills claimed to have
been abducted, has produced a detailed analysis of their journey
which concludes that the episode was in fact provoked by their
misperceiving an aircraft warning beacon on Cannon
Mountain as a UFO. McDonald notes that from the road
the Hills took, the beacon appears and disappears at exactly the
same time the Hills describe the UFO as appearing and disappearing.
The remainder of the experience is ascribed to stress, lack of
sleep, and false memories 'recovered' under hypnosis.
- Betty & Barney Hill -- Testimony by Ben H.
- University of New Hampshire Library
- see Clark, 1998
- The Zeta Reticuli Incident
- ZETA RETICULI INCIDENT
- New Discoveries in Betty Hill's Star Map
- Alien Abduction: Betty and Barney Hill
- The Betty and Barney Hill abduction, Part 1
- Bullard, 15; included in Clark, 1998
- Colavito, Jason. The Cult of Alien Gods: H. P. Lovecraft
and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture. New York City: Prometheus Books,
- Interrupted Journey Barney and Betty Hill
- McDonald, J. Making Light: Alien Abduction, accessed
- Clark, Jerome, The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the
Extraterrestrial (Visible Ink, 1998)
- Fuller, John G. (1975). Interrupted Journey (Mass
Market Paperback edition); Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN
- Hopkins, Budd "Hypnosis and the Investigation of UFO Abduction
Claims", pages 215-240 in UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the
Borders of Knowledge, David M. Jacobs, editor; University
Press of Kansas, 2000; ISBN 0-7006-1032-4)
- Roth, Christopher F., "Ufology as Anthropology: Race,
Extraterrestrials, and the Occult." In E.T. Culture:
Anthropology in Outerspaces, ed. by Debbora Battaglia. Durham,
N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005.
"The UFO Incident" (1975) Yahoo
The last Betty's interview for the television Quebec TV show (ALTER
EGO SPIRITUS, Francois C. Bourbeau, Host and producer), link: