The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction
On the evening of September 19, 1961, Barney and Betty Hill, along with their dog Delsey, were returning to their Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home after a short vacation to Niagara Falls. They were traveling on Highway 3, just south of Lancaster, when they saw a bright light in the sky. Betty, who was in the passenger seat, watched the light move lower into the sky. At first, Barney thought it was probably an airplane. Betty, who had heard of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), was sure she was looking at a flying saucer.
The Hills stopped to get a closer look at the object and let Delsey out for a short walk. Barney remained curious, but just a little frightened. He got out of the car and used his binoculars, but still could not figure out what he was looking at. He stopped the car a few more times on the way home. He described seeing lights of all different colors and rows of windows on the object. He described the object as “pancake shaped.” At one point, he approached the object and could see several occupants inside, which scared him so badly he ran quickly back to the car to join Betty where she was waiting for him.
The couple then heard buzzing sounds and felt tingling sensations throughout their bodies, but ultimately, they drove home, where they went straight to bed exhausted. They did not wake up until late the following afternoon. They then realized the four-hour trip home from Niagara Falls had taken them seven hours. Betty noticed the dress she was wearing was torn in several places and had a pinkish powder on it. The powder was later examined by five different laboratories. None of them could identify the substance.
The toes of Barney’s good dress shoes were scuffed to the point he could no longer wear them. The binoculars strap was broken and looked like it had been cut. Both Barney and Betty were wearing watches at the time of their unusual encounter. Both watches quit working and never worked again. Shiny, concentric circles appeared on the trunk of the car that seemed to have some sort of magnetic connection. They noted a strange reaction from a compass after it was placed near the circles.
At her sister’s urging, Betty called the nearby Pease Air Force base to report the incident. As Betty and Barney each recalled the incident, they became convinced they had been abducted by extraterrestrials.
The Betty and Barney Hill abduction story was the first of its kind, but certainly not the last. Although the incident happened more than 50 years ago, it is still being discussed and analyzed today. Were the Hills really abducted? If so, what happened to them during their time on the spaceship? What and who did they see? How did they communicate? Where were the extraterrestrials from? Let’s find out what exactly happened in the aftermath of this historical milestone event.
The Air Force Investigation
Barney would have preferred to just keep the experience quiet and between the two of them, fearing that he and Betty would be viewed as “eccentric.” Betty won their brief argument on the issue and on September 21, she called the Air Force to report their experience. Major Paul Henderson visited them in person and wrote a report of the interview dated September 26, 1961. It’s unclear whether or not Henderson viewed the Hills as credible; a National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) report concludes that there was “insufficient data in the Air Force files.”
The Hypnosis of Barney and Betty Hill
Dr. Simon held sessions with the two for a period of six months, beginning in early 1964. Initially, at the end of each session, he would induce amnesia so they would not talk to each other about what they remembered. Barney recalled that, at one point, he got out of his car with the .45 military issue weapon that he once used in the Army. He fired at the UFO, but soon became overwhelmed by the aliens. They took him and his wife onto the spacecraft, where he recalled a red-headed Irishman greeting him along with a number of people who did not appear human. He thought they were speaking German.
Barney described his experience, beginning with a description of the aliens’ uniforms. He said that they wore peaked caps and a uniform with silver piping — an appearance that reminded him of the SS Panzer Nazi uniforms worn during WWII. He also recalled there was a German shepherd that stayed near the red-headed Irishman.
Barney said that the Irishman spoke English, but also communicated silently in a way that Barney could understand the message. Betty gave this same report about communication. Both Barney and Betty reported that the extraterrestrials conducted medical experiments on them. They took samples of the Hills’ blood, other bodily fluids and hair. Betty added that they also scraped her skin for sampling.
Despite undergoing separate hypnosis sessions, Betty and Barney reported similar experiences. Most of Betty’s memories she recalled while under hypnosis matched what she had written about her dreams of the event. Betty also drew a map of the stars and the UFO she recalled seeing that night. Experts analyzed the sketch and determined to be a drawing of Zeta Reticuli, a pair of stars 220 trillion miles away from Earth and the home base of the aliens she and Barney encountered.
The NICAP investigator, who interviewed them shortly after the incident, said he was “impressed by their intelligence, apparent honesty, and obvious desire to get at the facts and to underplay the more sensational aspects of the sighting. Neither witness had read any books on the UFO subject before the sighting. Mr. Hill, especially, had been a complete UFO skeptic before the experience (he still detests the term ‘flying saucer’).”
The investigator concluded that the Hills were speaking the truth. Except for a few minor details, such as the size of the object and the number and description of the occupants, he believed that the encounter occurred exactly as they described it. After the hypnosis sessions, Dr. Simon allowed the investigator to listen to all seven hours of the recorded sessions. The investigator said this did not change his mind; in fact, listening to the recorded sessions helped fill in some of the gaps in their memories.
The reports of the encounter and the hypnosis sessions remained secret until somehow, confidentiality was broken. On October 25, 1964, The Boston Globe published a report of the Hills’ alien encounter and abduction, including notes from their hypnosis sessions. The story was published in a five-day series and picked up by United Press International (UPI).
The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction Aftermath
The Hills spoke to their church members about their experience, but they did not seek out nor did they desire publicity. They received an enormous amount of publicity after the 1964 story in The Boston Globe.
The Hills, along with their psychotherapist, eventually cooperated with author John G. Fuller who published a book in 1966 about the abduction, titled “The Interrupted Journey.” A second book, titled “Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience,” was written by Betty’s niece, Kathleen Marden, who studied all of the historical records as well as the hypnosis session notes. Both books can still be purchased today.
The story of the abduction of Barney and Betty Hill has stood the test of time and still intrigues UFO enthusiasts today. For more insight into this incredible historical event, watch the Dark Alliance episode of Deep Space.
Do Thousands of Alien Contact Accounts Share Same Message?
Though UFO sightings have been traced to the days of prehistoric man — with ancient drawings of spacecraft, mysterious symbols, and humanoid creatures depicted on cave walls all over the world — the overwhelming number of encounters are only now starting to receive the attention they deserve. UFO abduction stories and alien contact have poured into the mainstream for decades, even while those who claim to have had these experiences find themselves as targets of social mockery.
UFO Abduction Experiences
Detractors who disbelieve abduction experiences often fail to take into consideration the character of the individuals who claim to have been abducted. A vivid stereotype stands in the way of fair treatment for experiencers: a delusional hillbilly at a rural bar rambling about far-fetched stories, or a drug-addled person ranting to no one in particular in the middle of a populated city center. But these abductee tropes are unfair and antiquated.
Giving actual credence to contact claims are the accounts of respected professionals who’ve come forward with their own stories, including military personnel, media personalities, and political figures. There are many people from all walks of life who have reported abductions and contact, such that a new generation of dedicated researchers has emerged, interested in learning more about these vivid and often terrifying experiences. Meanwhile, a number of psychologists have attempted to understand the lingering trauma and emotional scars of these abductees who work to cope with the ensuing trauma and disruption in their daily lives.
Harvard psychiatrist John Mack observed that the fear of social rejection and invalidation can often be more traumatic to an abductee than the actual experience of abduction. He said, “Every other culture in history except this one, in the history of the human race, has believed there were other entities, other intelligences in the universe… why are we so goofy about this? Why do we treat people like they’re crazy, humiliate them, if they’re experiencing some other intelligence?”
Similarly, physicist and UFO researcher Stanton Friedman noted, “I check all my audiences [on the lecture circuit] and find that, while in agreement with polls, 10% have had a sighting but only 5-10% of these witnesses have been willing to report what they saw. Biggest reason? Fear of ridicule.”
L. Harvard Psychiatrist John Mack R. Physicist Stanton Friedman
Photographer Kim Carlsberg was a few days into working on the set of the hit television show “Dallas” when she went home and saw her first UFO, which she dubbed the “Moon Over Malibu.”
A few weeks later, Carlsberg went to bed and woke up in a spacecraft, which would be the first of a series of abduction events that continued for seven years. During abductions, she says she was the subject of experimentation and claims to have been impregnated to create hybrids of aliens and humans. She says she has learned profound spiritual lessons, having been shown the oneness of the universe and all of its species. And she reports a resounding mission among the extraterrestrials “[T]hat it is time to save Mother Earth from her inhabitants.”
Carlsberg’s first book, “Beyond My Wildest Dreams,” discusses her personal UFO abduction story, while her second book, “The Art of Close Encounters,” serves as a forum for 150 people to tell their UFO abduction stories.