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Betty and Barney Hill were an Americanmarker married couple who rose to fame after they claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials on September 19–20, 1961.

The couple's story, commonly called the Hill Abduction, and occasionally the Zeta Reticuli Incident, was that they were victims of a UFO abduction. Theirs was the first widely-publicized claim of alien abduction, adapted into the best-selling 1966 book The Interrupted Journey and a television movie.

Background

The Hills lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshiremarker. Barney (1923–1969) was employed by the U.S. Postal Service, while Betty (1919–2004) was a social worker. Active in a Unitarian congregation, the Hills were also members of the NAACP and community leaders, and Barney sat on a local board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

They were a mixed race couple at a time in America when that was unusual: Barney was of Ethiopianmarker ancestry, and Betty was Caucasian.

The UFO encounter

The 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 Quebecmarker. There were few other cars on the road as they traveled south. South of Grovetonmarker, New Hampshiremarker, they 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 satellite 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 Mountainmarker, but quickly began moving again.

Human-like figures

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 them.

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.

Immediate aftermath

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 UFO 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

On September 21, Betty telephoned Pease Air Force Basemarker to report their UFO encounter, though, for fear of being labeled insane, she withheld some of the details. On September 22, Major Paul W. Henderson telephoned the Hills for a more detailed interview, lasting about 30 minutes. Henderson's report, dated September 26, determined 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 project.

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 group.

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 Bostonmarker 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 remember.

Webb speculated that the couple's panic regarding a close UFO sighting had generated Betty's nightmares.

Betty's dreams

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 or sleepwalking. 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 foreheads.

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 system, 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 needle some four to six inches long to conduct what he said was a pregnancy exam. He used a wet swab on her navel. He thrust the needle into it, which caused Betty agonizing pain, but the doctor rubbed her forehead and the pain vanished.

Barney's dentures

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 alone.

Returning in a few minutes, the leader examined Betty's mouth and seemed to be trying to pull her teeth from her 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 because humans often lose their teeth as they age. The leader seemed unable to understand the concept of old age. She tried to explain what a year was, but he didn't seem to understand.

Betty requests an artifact

In the dream, Betty asked the leader if she could take an artifact from the ship in order to prove the reality 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 and planets. (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 ridiculous."

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

Missing time

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.

As Clark writes, despite "all their efforts the Hills could recall almost nothing of the 35 miles between Indian Headmarker and Ashlandmarker. 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.

Warts

As Clark writes, "In February or March [of 1962] warts appeared in a near-perfect circle around Barney's groin; they were removed surgically." (Clark, 282)

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 hypnotherapist.

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 case.

When he next met with Dr. Stephens, Barney asked about hypnosis. Stephens referred the Hills to Dr. Benjamin Simon of Bostonmarker.

In November 1963, the Hills spoke before an amateur UFO study group in Quincy Centermarker, Massachusettsmarker.

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 as 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 recollections.

Barney's sessions

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 sessions

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 UFO encounter.

Afterwards, Simon wrote an article about the Hills for the journal Psychiatric Opinion, 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 publicity.

But on October 25, 1965, a newspaper story changed everything: A front page 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 investigators. On October 26, the UPI picked up Lutrell's story, and the Hills earned international attention.

In 1966, writer John G. Fuller scored the cooperation of the Hills and Dr. Simon, and wrote the book The Interrupted Journey about 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 printings.

Barney died of a cerebral hemorrhage 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

Map of Zeta Reticuli, according to Betty Hill and Marjorie Fish


In 1968, Marjorie Fish of Oak Harbor, Ohiomarker read Fuller's Interrupted Journey. 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 double star 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, some have dubbed the Hills' account The Zeta Reticuli Incident. Most Ufologist, 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, editor 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 invited 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 carried arguments for and against Fish's star map. Notable was an argument made by Carl Sagan and Stephen Soter, arguing that the seeming "star map" was little more than a random alignment of 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 immediate neighborhood.

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 travel.

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 were 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 Germanmarker 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.

Interrupted Journey

The 1966 publication of Interrupted Journey, 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' account.

Budd Hopkins 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 skeptical 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 community."

Analysis

  • 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.
  • 250
    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 cultural forces."


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 NAACP 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."
  • In The Cult of Alien Gods: H. P. 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 features: Invaders 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' episode.
  • Jim 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 Mountainmarker 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.


Fictional portrayal



See also



References

  1. Betty & Barney Hill -- Testimony by Ben H. Swett
  2. University of New Hampshire Library
  3. see Clark, 1998
  4. The Zeta Reticuli Incident
  5. ZETA RETICULI INCIDENT
  6. New Discoveries in Betty Hill's Star Map
  7. Alien Abduction: Betty and Barney Hill
  8. The Betty and Barney Hill abduction, Part 1
  9. Bullard, 15; included in Clark, 1998
  10. Colavito, Jason. The Cult of Alien Gods: H. P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture. New York City: Prometheus Books, 123.
  11. Interrupted Journey Barney and Betty Hill
  12. McDonald, J. Making Light: Alien Abduction, accessed 15-05-09


  • 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 0-425-03002-4.
  • 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.


Audio/video

"The UFO Incident" (1975) Yahoo Videohttp://video.yahoo.com/watch/3717612/10220901 The last Betty's interview for the television Quebec TV show (ALTER EGO SPIRITUS, Francois C. Bourbeau, Host and producer), link: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xb7sub_ovni-ufo-entrevue-avec-betty-hill-e_tech

External links




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