THE HILL ABDUCTION CASE
DISCLAIMER: This is a long post…
Much of the following can be found in various books, and numerous accounts on the web, regarding the case.
I’ll include links as needed, but in most cases, the information is assembled as I have gleaned and verified through a variety of sources. Note
that this case relies heavily of course on witness testimony, but there is some other evidence that makes it extremely compelling.
While not the first modern account of alien abduction, the Hill case was the first such case to be thoroughly investigated and documented, and
predated the idea of such accounts being in the public mindset. Up to this point, most accounts of UFOs involved seeing them in the sky, or even more
rarely, landed, and even a few accounts of seeing the occupants. But, late on September 19th through the early 20th, 1961, a truly amazing encounter
Betty and Barney Hill (with their dog Delsey)
The Hills had gone to Niagara Falls and Montreal for a few days’ vacation. They were on their way home to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along Highway
3 through Lancaster. Just south of Lancaster, at about 10:15pm, Barney saw a light in the sky and pointed it out to Betty. They stopped the car to
both look at the strange light, and also to allow their dog Delsey (a Dachsund) to do her business. They had binoculars for viewing the Falls, and
Barney used them to observe the light.
Believe it or not, there doesn’t seem to be an online map showing the route they took, so I made one of my own, based on the route reported by the
Hills, and indicating the locations where various events took place. I think it’s more helpful to see it than read it, so the map above should
illustrate where they were, when an event occurred. I discontinued the route after the last event, as I do not have exact details as to the
particular route the Hills took from Route 3 to then get to Portsmouth (since nothing happened then, it’s really not particularly important
They got back in the car, and continued home. Just north of Woodstock, the object had grown in size, and would often dart away to the west, and then
come closer and closer.
At Indian Head, they stopped the car again, and again viewed the object through binoculars. Barney now saw a pancake-shaped object with multi-colored
lights and rows of windows. It was huge, about a hundred feet across, and only about a couple hundred feet away. It was hovering about 50 feet off
the ground. He went closer (at about a hundred feet), and could see occupants through the windows of the craft. He became frightened, and ran back
to the car, where Betty was, started it, and quickly drove off. They no longer saw the light, but did hear a beeping sound.
Betty Hill: “…well first of all, they came out in Indian head area. They came out over the highway and they stopped and that's when Barney got
out, with the binoculars to try and identify the craft. I mean, he'd been in the military in World War Two, he's puzzled”. - Betty Hill, in a
taped interview with Peter Huston, Oct. 1, 1998
Barney Hill describing the craft
Some time later, they again heard the beeping sound, now at Ashland, about thirty five miles south of when they heard the previous beeping. They
drove home to Portsmouth. Nothing else happened. They get home around 5am, which was a shock to them, as even allowing for stops, bathroom breaks
for the dog, etc. they had thought to be home around 3am instead.
Concerned, Betty called her sister the next day (technically later that day, upon waking, Sept. 20th). Betty notices several highly polished circular
areas on the car, and as mistakenly suggested to her by her sister, she takes a compass to check for radiation (this actually won’t work, but it was
the suggestion Betty followed). However, she did find that the compass needle went erratic over these spots. Her sister then called the local police
chief, who suggested contacting nearby Pease AFB, Portsmouth, NH, worried about possible radiation. They called the base, and after some reluctance
from the answering officer, discussed the sighting (omitting the part about seeing the beings inside).
The next day (Sept. 21st), the Hills got a call from Major Paul Anderson, Intelligence Officer for the 100th Bomb Group, Pease AFB. The Hills had
many friends on the base and would often meet them at the Officers’ Club on Friday nights. He asks Barney for more details, and eventually files a
case for Bluebook, Case #100-1-61, as Pease AFB also had an unidentified radar contact after the Hill sighting, which follows:
1. Date: 20 Sep 61 [early morning]
2. Location; Lincoln, NH
3. Date-Time Group: Local 0001-0100 GMT: 20 0401-05002
4. Type of observation: Ground-visual Air intercept radar.
5. Photos: No
6. Source: Military
7. Length of observation: 30 min.
8. No. of objects: 1
9. Course: N
10. Brief summary of sighting: Continuous band of lights. Cigar-shaped at all times despite changes of direction. Wings seemed to appear fm
main body. Described as V-shaped with red lights on tips: later wings appeared to extend further. Appeared about 45 deg. Varied direction
abruptly and disappeared to north.
11. Comments: Both radar and visual sighting are probably due to conditions resulting from strong inversion which prevailed in
area on morning of sighting (An inversion with visual characteristics? And of a ship with lights and wings? ! ). Actual source of light viewed is not
known but it has all the characteristics of an advertising searchlight (between midnight and 1am, in 1961?). Radar probably was looking at
some ground target due to strong inversion (a temperature inversion can take place in a perfectly clear sky). No evidence indicating objects were due
to other than natural causes.
12. Conclusions: Optical condition [later changed to "inversion", and still later changed to "insufficient data" in Bluebook.](26:file)
Betty and Barney believed they were doing their civic duty, reporting the object to the authorities. An important thing many skeptics seem to ignore
here, is that the Hills did NOT contact any press or media about the sighting (at least what they thought was just a sighting at the time), and did
not seek any publicity. They simply notified the authorities, as they believed they should have.
On Sept. 23rd, Barney Hill goes to the local library and finds on of Donald Keyhoe’s (of NICAP) books on UFOs. He takes down his address and on the
26th, Betty writes to Keyhoe in Washington, D.C., describing the sighting as remembered.
Donald Keyhoe, former 2nd Lt. In the Marines, and Naval aviator, former director of NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena).
Betty Hill: (remembering) “Oh... NICAP! I wrote to NICAP originally, because I was concerned, basically, with is it an outer space craft, what if,
health-wise, and what had we been exposed to? What about cosmic rays? What about radiation? Those things. I was thinking of my health, but nobody had
any answers. And that's how I wrote to NICAP, but then later, just very soon after that, like three weeks later, we started getting phone calls from
government agents. I mean top government people. The top people of the United States government. White house. National Security Agency. NASA. And from
that moment on, I would say... how many years... five or six years anyway. They were coming here and bringing other scientists with them. So actually
we didn't have any contacts with UFO organizations. It was all strictly government.” – Same taped interview cited earlier
On Sept. 30th, Betty starts having very vivid and disturbing dreams. They continue for about 5 days, but then cease.
On October 21st, Walter Webb, an investigator for NICAP, and astronomer with the Hayden Planetarium in New York, arrives and interviews Hills. Walter
was contacted by Richard Hall (NICAP’s Secretary) through the mail, as relayed from Keyhoe. He interviews them for several hours, but Betty does
not tell him about her dreams. Barney details what he saw of the craft, and through the windows, including one figure who appeared to be some kind of
A few days later, Betty again starts having strange dreams. Webb’s report goes to NICAP. He notes that he was very impressed with the testimony,
after initially being very skeptical. About this time, another strange event occurred. Some earrings that Betty had lost that night during the
events, had turned up.
Betty Hill: “They took my blue earings. And about six weeks later, Barney and I were up in the mountains, thinking if we could find the spot, where
we had... been stopped, we could remember what happened, and since we went and came home, right there in the kitchen, a pile of leaves, and in the
pile of leaves were my blue earrings.” – From the previously cited taped interview
In the beginning of November, two gentlemen named Robert Hohman and C.D. Jackson (after discussing the Hills over lunch with Keyhoe the previous
month) write the Hills asking for another interview. (note that many accounts by researchers do not include the names, as they were unable to find
them, they are often stated as just “two writers”. Betty since learned that C.D. Jackson was an assistant to then President Eisenhower..when
meeting the Hills, he only claimed to be a scientist.) They arrange an interview on Nov. 25th. Also visiting that day, is Major James McDonald, a
long-time friend of the Hills, and Air Force Intelligence officer. They spend hours talking, and eventually Major McDonald suggests hypnosis, but
doesn’t know any therapists to refer them to, as the Hills begin to worry if they were hallucinating, and if that was indicative of any medical
The Hills put the matter behind them for some time. This is an important note, and shows that publicity was the last thing on their minds. They were
more concerned about how this affected them, and getting to the bottom of it. In March of the next year (1962), Betty writes to a doctor that was
recommended to her by a colleague. The Hills see him, and relate the incident to him. He recommends waiting to see if the problems go away of their
own accord. No therapy is done. That summer, Barney goes to see a psychiatrist about his anxiety, but only briefly mentions the sighting.
In September of ’62, the Hills were invited to a “UFO Study Group” to talk about their experiences. Unknown to the Hills, someone tapes their
account. Betty talks about her dreams, and this is caught on tape. I mention this only because this is later how the story is introduced to the
press, not by the Hills, and they aren’t happy with it.
In September of the next year (1963), the Hills discuss the sighting with their Church group. Captain Ben Swett, of Pease AFB, explained hypnosis was
a hobby of his, but he and Major McDonald recommend seeing a professional to get to the bottom of it.
Betty Hill: “Barney started going to him. .... Talking about his early childhood and all. And then one day, he happened to mention to Doctor Stevens
that we'd been up in the mountains looking for the place where we had seen the UFO, so Doctor Stevens started picking up on this, and he was telling
him, and he recognized amnesia. So he knew Doctor Simon. So he referred both Barney and me to Doctor Simon in Cambridge”. – From the same taped
interview mentioned previously.
In December of ’63, Barney’s doctor (Dr. Stevens) refers the Hills to the highly accredited Dr. Benjamin Simon, a well-known Boston psychiatrist
(John Hopkins University, former Chief of Neuropathy and Executive Officer of Mason General Hospital for the Army…their main psychiatric center
Dr. Benjamin Simon
The sessions with Dr. Simon begin in January the next year (1964). During these sessions, the details of what really happened that night start to
emerge….and would eventually be published in a book by John Fuller, “The Interrupted Journey”.
Dr. Simon chose to use regressive hypnosis, meant to get at the source of the problem, which he diagnosed as anxiety. He began with Barney (as he was
the one referred to Simon), and later involved Betty. After nearly six months, the true story of what happened would be stranger than any fiction.
Under hypnosis, the Hills related that at one point in their trip home, the car had stalled, as the craft landed on the road in front of their car,
forming a roadblock. The beings emerged from the craft, and then took the Hills aboard. (No, I’ve seen no accounts of what, if anything, they did
with the dog) The Hills described the beings as "....bald-headed alien beings, about five foot tall, with greyish skin, pear shaped heads and
slanting cat-like eyes."
The beings, as described by the Hills, a sketch done based on their descriptions:
From the TV Movie, “The UFO Incident”, starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. Provided only as a visual.
According to their (independent) statements while under, they were each taken into separate rooms for medical examinations. Skin, hair, and nail
samples were taken, Betty had a long needle inserted into her navel (the beings explained this was a pregnancy test…this predates wide modern use or
knowledge of such a procedure by the way
), and Barney recalled having to provide a semen specimen. Barney relates that the aliens were surprised
when his dentures came out and were replaced.
Again, from the TV Movie, provided only as a visual.
Betty Hill: “… so he got out to look at the craft, to try to identify this craft, this is when he saw the people and panicked and ran back to the
car. And we turned off and 30 miles south they're standing in the middle of our road blocking our way, stopped the car, got out, took us through the
path in the woods, where the craft was on the ground. Took us on board. In separate rooms, gave each of us a simple form of physical examination, were
puzzled why Barney's teeth were removable but mine were not. Showed me a book, which I looked at briefly, looking for pictures. And.. uh.. showed me
a star map of where they were from and uh... when I'm leaving the craft, I'm telling the leader... incidentally there were eleven of them, they were
leaving the craft and I'm saying to the leader, "This is the most wonderful experience of my life. I hope you'll come back. I got a lot of friends
who would love to meet you." – From the previously cited taped interview
Betty asked the aliens where they were from. In reply, the beings showed her a holographic projection of a map (this predates the hologram too, by
the way, or at least public knowledge of it). Under hypnosis, she drew a map of what she was shown:
Betty’s hand-drawn map while under.
"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
Marjorie Fish on her interview with Betty Hill
The larger bodies (stars) were larger because they were closer in the vantage point, Betty explained.
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
Computer drawn rendition of vantage point and known stars
Many of the stars, and their colors, weren’t known at the time Betty drew the map. This made identifying the stars almost impossible in ’64. It
wouldn’t be till years later, when Marjorie Fish, a school teacher and amateur astronomer, would see the match for it…in the double star system of
Many skeptics are quick to point out, “oh, but these could be any random stars in the universe!”. That is where they are wrong. The important
point is that these aren’t just random stars, they are mostly yellow
stars, like our own (which, while not rare, are not the most common).
Also, the lines of travel drawn are between these yellow stars (just like those of Zeti-Reticuli, and our own solar system). That
kind of a
coincidence is not random, nor even in the realm of probability. According to Betty, these beings were exploring stars similar to their own.
Getting back to the events, after the examinations were finished, the Hills were taken back to their car. Under hypnosis, they recall being given
suggestions to forget about what happened, with the last thing they remembered was an orange glow disappearing into the sky.
In October of 1965, that tape I mentioned earlier (during the informal UFO discussion group), makes its way into a Boston newspaper (the Boston Herald
Traveler to be precise), relating the tale of the Hill’s experience. This is the first time the story hits the media, and it was not the doing of
the Hills, who then only came forward to correct some of the inaccuracies and untruths in such articles.
Dr. Simon concluded that the Hills were not fabricating their story. As the Hill case became more public knowledge, other researchers also contacted
the Hills and investigated their claims. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, then Professor of Astronomy at Northwestern University, and later Bluebook consultant
for the Air Force, was one such researcher.
Dr. J. Allen Hynek
"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.” – J. Allen Hynek, in his book, “The UFO Experience”
Another researcher who spent long hours with the Hills, was Dr. Stanton Friedman (former rocket scientist). He had similar conclusions after talking
with the Hills.
Dr. Stanton Friedman
"By no stretch of the imagination could anyone who knows them conclude that they were nuts," he (Friedman) 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
Barney died in 1969 due to many health problems (such as ulcers, high blood pressure, etc., which prompted his doctor visits in the first place).
Barney had done some interviews before his death, and Betty had done hundreds of interviews before her death in Oct. 2004, at the age of 85. The
Hills had numerous other recalled abduction incidents after the initial event, and were also the first such account of multiple abductions.
Betty Hill in later years
Betty had even taken lie detector tests, such as the one administered by Ed Gelb, former President of the American Polygraph Association.
The polygraph results left no doubt that Betty Hill sincerely believed that she saw that star map aboard a saucer when she was abducted. It doesn't
prove that it didn't come to her in a dream, or that it wasn't just a series of mental images that popped into her mind during hypnotic regression.
In other words, her truthful result didn't prove that the abduction truly happened. However, it was strong evidence that Betty Hill didn't just
"make up" her story - it was no hoax. She believed it happened. And she believed the details of the star map were an accurate representation of what
the aliens showed her.
Since all of this, of course, skeptics (especially one Martin Kottmeyer) have tried to downplay the Hill’s story. One of the suggestions they offer
is that the Hills concocted their story after watching an episode of the Outer Limits, called “Bellero Shield”. Nevermind the fact that the
episode aired on February 10th, 1964, more than two years AFTER the Hill’s encounter! Ah, but the skeptics claim the book “Interrupted Journey”
came out in 1966, so they still could be drawing from that episode.
Besides the fact that Betty claims she never saw such an episode, the Hills documented recollection of the beings (Oct. of '61) occurs BEFORE it
aired (not to mention BOTH she and Barney recalled the same identical beings). Even the skeptics’ assertion that the Hills could have seen the
episode and then interwoven this into the story during the hypnosis sessions doesn’t hold water, when one recalls that the one doing the hypnosis
wasn’t just any doctor, but in all likelihood, probably THE most qualified such doctor in the country. Likewise, the beings in the episode are
different than those described by the Hills.
Alien from the Outer Limits, “Bellero Shield”
Aliens described by the Hills
Of course, skeptics cannot attack the credentials of those who’ve professionally studied the case. Indeed, they are impeccable. Nor can one
explain how a social worker with no background in astronomy, somehow depicts an accurate map showing a travel route between yellow stars, when some of
those stars weren’t even known of at the time by professional astronomers, and only discovered later. (and of a constellation not even visible from
her native hemisphere) Or how she described devices and procedures that hadn’t even been public knowledge at the time. Every professional
scientist involved with the case agrees on one key point. The story was not a fabrication. Indeed, whether believer or skeptic, the Hill Abduction
Case remains an intriguing mystery.
[edit on 8-9-2005 by Gazrok]