The Betty & Barney Hill Abduction - September 1961

The Betty and Barney Hill story is one of the prototypical alien abduction cases. It contained elements which have been encountered many times since, as reports of abduction by extra-terrestrials have become a more and more important part of the modern UFO phenomenon.


It all started on September 19th 1961. Betty and Barney Hill, a husband and wife, were driving home from a brief holiday in Canada. As they travelled along the road, they noticed a strange light in the sky. At first they thought it was a star, but it appeared to be moving along with them. They each peered through binoculars at the object in the sky and Barney saw what he thought was some kind of craft whose odd-looking occupants were peering down at him.


The couple grew alarmed and tried to get away from the lights, which now seemed to be swooping down towards them. When the couple reached their home, they were puzzled by strange scuff marks which appeared on the car and on some of their belongings. Later, they realised that the journey had taken far longer than it should have and that they could not account for around two hours of their travel time.


Police Involvement In The "Alien Abduction".


Betty and Barney Hill reported their experience to the police who were as mystified by it as they were. They then tried to put the incident behind them and resume a normal life. But they found themselves haunted by anxiety in their waking hours and nightmares in their sleep. After some time, they consulted a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist hypnotised them in an attempt to recover the lost memories of whatever was troubling them. A series of frightening revelations flooded out.


It seemed that the car had stopped on the road and was surrounded by strange beings. They were humanoid in appearance with “wrap-around eyes,” prominent craniums and a dark grey skin. The couple led taken onto an alien craft, a UFO, moved into separate chambers, stripped of their clothing and subjected to some kind of experiments. Betty recalled crying out in pain as a needle was inserted into her navel. One of the aliens seemed to be surprised by her cry of pain. He made a gesture in response to it, and the pain immediately disappeared.


The extra terrestrials communicated telepathically with the Hill couple although they spoke an audible but incomprehensible language to each other. Betty asked if she could take something as a memento of the experience and was given a book with strange symbols on it. Later, however, another alien overruled this decision and ordered the book taken back, declaring that the Hills would not be allowed to retain a memory of the incident.


At one point, Betty asked the aliens where they came from and was shown an image of a star map. Lacking any special knowledge of astronomy, it didn’t mean much to her. But amateur astronomer Marjorie Fish later consulted with Betty Hill and asked her to recreate the map as best she could. Betty drew the map that she remembered seeing under post-hypnotic suggestion and, after carefully examining it, Marjorie Fish came to the conclusion that it represented the stars of the Zeta Reticuli system, about 39 million light years from Earth. Professional astronomers have examined Fish’s work on the star map and been impressed by it. One statistician declared that the chances of finding an actual set of stars which corresponded so closely to a series of randomly drawn dots would be around 1 in 1000.


One of the most striking features of the Betty and Barney story is that each recalled the same experience separately, in hypnosis sessions of their own, unaware of what the other was saying. The details matched.


Betty and Barney’s alien abduction story was made famous by John Fuller’s book The Interrupted Journey. The book became a best-seller and the media interest it attracted led to the Hills becoming minor celebrities. Barney Hill died in 1969 but his wife continued to speak about the experience they had together and to explore the UFO phenomenon for many years to come. Betty herself often spotted UFOs long after the original incident but became sceptical of the UFO movement which she felt had become too commercialised and infected by some overly fantastic ideas. Eventually, she wrote a book of her own on the subject – “A Common Sense Approach to UFOs.”


There are sceptics of the Hills’ story but few allege that the couple were frauds. The psychiatrist who treated them refused to believe that they were abducted by aliens but was nonetheless convinced of their sincerity. He speculated that perhaps a genuine UFO encounter had been followed by nightmares about it, and that dream may have become confused with reality.




The Betty and Barney Hill case remains one of the most intriguing in the annals of ufology. Its characteristic features – Grey aliens, some form of scientific test or procedure being carried out, no conscious memory of the incident in the alien abduction, and the phenomenon of “missing time” – have since been encountered in many other cases with extra-terrestrials. The Star Map, pointing to Zeta Reticuli, remains one of the most fascinating aspects of the story. Scientists agree that Zeta Reticuli is one of the nearby star systems most likely to harbour life.


An Interview with Betty Hill.

Conducted by Avis Ruffu and submitted to MAPIT.


The abduction event is a small part of Betty's history. Betty was a child welfare worker in New Hampshire and retired from a supervisory position after working for years for the state. Betty raised several children that she'd adopted while working and being a wife. Betty's family was important to her and she had many brothers and sister and her parents that she and Barney were close to. Her father was a mayor and her mother was very progressive for her time. Betty and Barney's interracial marriage was unique for its day, but they were valued members of their community and it was never an issue to them or others.


They loved and lived full lives built on mutual respect for each other  in the service of others. Betty has always held strong political views and has been involved in politics as well as other organizations that were designed to help the less fortunate. Barney was employed with the postal service after being in the military. Barney was equally busy working after-hours with civil rights, integration, his church, Community Action and other projects. They were solid citizens and gave back to their community more than most. These were people that had both feet on the ground. They were not a couple of loose canons with pie in the sky dreams or fantasies.


Betty and I went over her history spanning the time period before, during, and after her abduction.  When Barney died in February 1976, Betty believed the interest in them and their abduction would end. It did not. For years Betty traveled around the globe going to Russia, South America, and many other places. She spent a good deal of time lecturing and doing TV spots talking about the 1961 abduction incident. She gave telephone interviews, sometimes more than 120 in a month's time. Betty retired from the ufo community in September of 1991, her thirty-year anniversary of the abduction. She has never regretted her decision to do so.  She has lived a very full life and gave much of herself over the years to traveling , lecturing, and documenting sightings.


She was, as she says, "ready to retire" and become like one of the local tourist in her home state and lie on the beach and go boating.  Betty very quietly and unceremoniously slipped away from public view. But she never quite made it into that retirement. Now and then, as with the N.Y. symposium, she returns for a brief moment and then slips back into the background tending to her brood of chickens, cat, and flower beds at home.


Betty is more apt to talk these days about local or global politics. Tracing her roots and genealogy is a past-time she loves to research and discuss. If the truth be told, she would love to be known when she is gone as one of New Hampshire's finest child welfare workers rather than Betty Hill of ufo fame. It was a job she took very seriously as she worked for many years protecting children. Betty has a great love of people and I believe that is what makes her so open and friendly to all she meets. She has her opinions, as we all do, and they are held as firmly as her New England accent. Betty is extremely bright and quite articulate. A reflection of those qualities shows up in her ability to laugh. She has a warm and heartfelt laugh that she doesn't mind directing at herself when the occasion arises.  


She knows she has lived a charmed life meeting astronauts, scientist and celebrities along the way. She has woven into her somewhat controversial life a network of good friends whom she views as extended family. The telling and retelling of her story has allowed her to be on television around the world, even Chinese television, and has afforded her the luxury of traveling to many far-away places. She has lived the good life and worked hard to preserve her privacy when need be. She is in good health and spirits but is tired of telling her story of being abducted saying "it's boring." She has moved on and so have we; but every now and then she returns to us.


When Betty called the local air base to report their sighting and abduction their conversation was taped. They had numerous phone calls and were visited by military personnel to discuss their abduction in detail.  The military asked the Hill's to work with them and they did. They were never harassed nor were they ever told by the military not to discuss their abduction. Betty feels the government is in an "ambiguous situation" regarding ufo's in general.


Part of the government confirms ufo events, another part denies ufo events. With their abduction, however, Betty, laughing, points out that Pease Air Force Base (located in New Hampshire) even invited Betty and Barney to speak on base at one point  She regrets that she didn't take a picture of a banner that hung outside the gates welcoming Betty and Barney Hill to the military installation. She and Barney over the years were frequent visitors to the Officers Club, at Pease and many of the pilots became close personal friends. Betty emphasizes that neither the military nor the government has ever come forward saying that their experience was not true.


Many people know of Betty Hill and her abduction experience, but not many know of the fifteen years she spent going out in the local community with a hand picked group of people to investigate and document sightings. Included in her group were high ranking military officials, medical doctors, police, associated press, television cameramen, scientists, teachers and a priest.  


She has a collection of slides of ufo's that were made from the pictures taken over the years. She still has her dress that she was wearing the night of the abduction. Each time I see the dress, there is a little less of it to see as samples are taken and sent off to be analyzed in labs around the world. As of today, the results are inconclusive regarding the pink powdery substance that stained the dress. The dress is kept in a bag but every now and then she will bring it out for review. She has the star map still vividly ingrained in her mind. Marjorie Fish brought the star map to fame when she came across it  Betty had hand-drawn the map under hypnosis during one of her sessions with Dr. Simon in Boston. Other than the remembering of that map, Betty was left with no clues or information as to where the alien visitors came from or any information about them or their civilization.  


Now, Zeta Reticula is often referred to as a possible home of our alien visitors. She has a bust of the leader that she and Marjorie worked on many years ago. Junior, the name the local school children gave to the peculiar green/gray alien, sits retired in the bedroom on a mantel. Not many know that on the night she was abducted, Betty was also wearing a pair of blue earrings that ended up missing. Many months later when she and Barney returned home from a venture to the White Mountains, they found a pile of leaves on their kitchen table. Brushing away the leaves, they discovered the blue earrings there.


They knew that the aliens knew where they lived. The abduction took place in the town of Thornton many miles from her home. While speaking with the leader, Betty informed him that they were not from around there and that she would like to meet them again. The leader didn't seem to have any concern with where she lived nor about getting back in touch with her should they want. The earrings on the table were all the proof she needed that they knew where she lived and at any time could, if they chose, make contact with them. Some time later, a neighbor told them that he saw two men in black enter the house and did not react or think it strange as Betty and Barney had strangers visit quite often. Leaving the doors unlocked was something you did back then so the neighbor did not think it was suspect  to see them enter, believing Betty and Barney were home.


Betty says she has the proof of her abduction. She still has the dress that is covered with pink stains of some unknown substance. She has drawn the star map that Marjorie Fish brought to fame.  Betty told of having a needle in the navel and being told it was a pregnancy test. Betty said it was no pregnancy test back then in 1961, but afterwards doctors developed the "needle in the navel" pregnancy test. The local air force base picked something up on radar that evening that they couldn't account for. They also sent out two planes to check it out. Because of the military's records, Betty and Barney knew that the craft left at 2:14 a.m. Betty made an appearance on F.Lee Bailey's TV show and took a lie detector test which she passed.  Betty underwent a brain scan to look for anomalies. She passed with flying colors.


The best proof of Betty's abduction is Betty herself.  Her story is now 42 years old and she has never waivered from her story in any part. She holds fast to the validity of the event and, knowing Betty, one is immediately struck by her persona of being a woman of truthfulness and of being very grounded, exhibiting a no-nonsense approach to life.


Betty has had numerous sightings over the years around her home. As she and Barney were returning from local events, it was not unusual for them to be paced by a ufo. Betty has sat out on her back steps and seen them over the house and the trees in her back yard.  She laughs, cupping her hands around her mouth to demonstrate how she calls out to them with "ufo's? Can you hear me? I'm here!" It was typical of Betty to stick her hand out of the car and wave when she spotted a ufo in the area yelling out "hi boys." She was friendly, not afraid, and believes it had a lot to do with all the sightings she has witnessed over the years.  


Betty is that - friendly - and talks about her experiences as casually as we might talk about going to the store or seeing a meteor streak across the night sky. I asked Betty one time many years ago "why is it that your are able to see so many ufo's and the rest of us will be lucky to see one in our lifetime?" She replied "what do you see when you look up at the sky"? I answered "stars." "Then that is all you will ever see is stars" she advised. That brief statement has stuck with me throughout the years and at times I think it must mean something, but I'll be darned if I know what it is.


During her years of going out at night, Betty has been privileged to see numerous ufo's in the area.  Sometimes  it would be a lone ship coming in and at other times a squadron flying in and landing. She has talked to the local people who saw as many ufo's as she did. It was not unusual for her to be contacted by someone local telling her they saw a ufo come down in broad daylight and land in their backyard. Aliens in green suits would get off the craft and appeared to be exercising. Then the aliens would get back on the craft and leave. There were numerous sightings by families gathered in their living rooms watching TV only to turn around and see unearthly visitors peering in the windows watching TV right along with them. One elderly couple became so unhinged that they sold their house out in the country and moved closer to town, nearer to people. Betty laughs saying it was good luck for one of her family members as her niece bought the home from the elderly couple.  


Betty describes many of the craft being different in size and purpose. The mother ship seems to be the biggest and stays the farthest out and smaller and smaller ships are launched as they come down closer to the planet. Betty says most people see the smaller ships that come to observe. However, there is a craft that comes in that she calls a "sneaky one." It will come right down in close to a populated area and set down in a wooded area. The craft looks like a house with a pitched roof and the windows are lighted so that it looks like someone is home with the lights on. Betty said if you passed it while driving  you would only think it was a house sitting back in the woods. This shape and ordinary appearance allows them to come into populated areas without being seen for what they really are.  


I asked Betty if she thought the beings she encountered were biological or robotic in nature. She said they were real and not robotic. She said the beings she and Barney encountered were anywhere from 3 feet to the tallest being 5 feet. They were not weak, skinny creatures...they were rugged. They were short in statute but well proportioned and built. Each of the beings had a different face and personality just as if there were 11 different people together in a room. Again, she surprised me saying "but...they do have a robot." It is some kind of robot they use that has a dark structure and a large orange head with wires running through it. At one time she saw nine of them.  


Others in their silent ufo research group saw them as well. They nicknamed it "pumpkin head". Betty has no idea what their purpose was but that pumpkin head was some kind of mechanical device that the aliens used for research. Although Betty and Barney met the typical small grays with the wrap around eyes, she believes that others have encountered aliens that were much different than the ones they encountered.


One sobering note came out in the interview. Betty believes that some of the beings that are seen with the aliens that are very human looking may be just that...human. With all the child abductions it would not be a stretch of the imagination to fathom that some of those humans had been taken as small children to live with their abductors. They would be integrated into the alien culture and become a part of them. There have been too many humans encountered working side by side with the aliens by other abductees to dismiss the reality of it happening. This is just one explanation and although it seems quite reasonable to Betty, there could be another explanation. The aliens seem to know a good deal about us but in reality we know very little about the aliens or their purpose on this planet.


At her mothers home Betty, along with family members, saw many ufo's. One time she and her mother spotted one coming in and her mother said to her "don't you go out there. If they want you, let them come here!" Betty used to have big gardens at her mother's home. One time she took a piece of plywood and put flashing Christmas tree lights on it to represent her star map and would light it up at night. Each morning Betty would go out there and one bulb would be on the ground out of its place on the mock-up star map.  She would replace it and again, the next morning it would be on the ground. It occurred to her that the aliens might be doing this. They were trying to tell her she had it in the wrong place. She thought back and put the bulb in a different location on the lighted star map and it was never interfered with again.  Just when you catch your breath with her ending of her story she begins chuckling and says "I got their footprints". She had roto-tilled the ground in front of the star map and lo and behold, there were footprints.  She took casts of them and says they are somewhere in the house. The prints show that their feet are short and fat.  They are wider than a human's foot. Amazing...just amazing.


In the early years after their abduction, Barney and Betty received reports and saw first hand ufo's pacing  police cars. If the blue lights were flashing on the police car, the ufo had its blue lights on pacing the police car down the road. The same was true of a fire truck going to a fire with it's red lights on. The ufo's would put on red lights and pace the fire truck as it sped to a fire. They have been spotted hanging over schools while a school dance was in progress. At a local race track, it was not uncommon for folks to witness a ufo sitting silently in the sky over the track as a race was in progress. Betty claims "they were exploring primitive life forms just trying to see how we lived."  


One time Betty says they telepathically spoke to some beings in a craft when a ufo showed up at a Christmas parade. They wanted to know what it was all about. I jokingly asked Betty "and just what exactly did you say that made any sense?" The aliens were told that it was a religious holiday and we had a Santa, with a long beard and red suit that gave gifts; but that there really wasn't a Santa.  It was the parents who gave the gifts. I asked her "did they get it?"  She answered "we assumed so...they never disagreed with us." Betty told the aliens about all holidays.


Betty reports that at one point they were able to record their communications on tape with an alien. The woman who had the tape promised a copy to Betty but died and she does not know what happened to that tape. Somewhere out there I hope it still exists and someday it will be found. Betty is just so darn used to having ufo's and aliens as a part of her life she takes little interest in the gathered items she's collected and has stored away throughout her home. You would almost be tempted to think that some of the stories she tells are the ramblings of an 84 year old woman who has a very vivid imagination or has lost touch with reality. But in reality, Betty is as solid as the granite rock that the state of New Hampshire itself sits upon. Betty is a no-nonsense kind of woman. Even in her advanced age she is quick-witted, agile, and has a good strong mind for dates, names and facts. I for one would never want to have to come up against her in a court of law. She is that convincing.  


The first thing that you notice about Betty is that she is unassuming in her presence and just her natural relaxed way of being is refreshing, down-home and true. She does not feel all that important but believes it is very important that we continue to study the ufo phenomenon and gather as much information as we can. Someday we will have contact. Although having said that and laughing, she knows first-hand we already have. I asked her why is it if so many people have seen them and videotaped them and taken pictures, why does the government not come forward. She said "nobody pays attention to the government!"


The people know they are real because the ufo's and aliens let them know they are real. Betty was very impressed with Dr. Steven Greer and his attempts to bring the ufo enigma to the forefront and gain the support of our government and military. The truth needs to come out.  Even though she feels we might be looked at as a primitive life form to many of our intergalactic visitors, she really has no inside scoop nor was told why they are here. Like most, she takes an educated guess at the reasons.


"The ufo's have been coming here since time began" Betty is quick to point out. This is not something new to this generation or our past generation. Betty seems to feel they have always been a part of this planet from it's early inception when it cooled and when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Betty notes that ufo's have been a  part of New Hampshire's recorded history since 1932. At times there appear to be "flaps" in the New England area and the skies are filled with craft and sightings are abundant. Then the skies will go quiet and they seem to move to another area of the country or the world.  Betty says one thing is for sure.  When we go off to war, the aliens go along with us. She says they were with us in WWI, WWII, and every battle fought after WWII. She suspects there will be an increase of sightings in the middle east as the war heats up over there.


Betty believes that our space visitors have moved beyond war. "For them to come here they have resolved their problems" said Betty. She believes they are a peaceful people. She also believes there is a galactic federation of some sort and that beings from different parts of this universe know each other.  Soberly I asked her "do you think they will save us if we resort to nukes?  She said emphatically "no, they couldn't save us." She hopes that we don't end up like the late great planet Mars. She suspects that at one time Mars may have been as beautiful and full of life as Earth itself, but something - something terrible - happened a long, long time ago on Mars. I sat riveted as Betty went through, methodically, the events that would unfold on this planet should we resort to a full scale nuclear war. As frightening as it was to listen to, she assures me she didn't get this information from aliens but our own scientist.


If we don't blow ourselves up, we will one day resemble our intergalactic brothers. Holding Junior on her lap and affectionately patting his head, Betty shares that a physical anthropologist told her that 25,000 years from now we will look like Junior. With each succeeding generation, we are losing more hair, our noses and ears are getting smaller, or eyes bigger. Betty hopes that we continue with our space program and move away from our reliance on fossil fuel. We will have to if we are to go beyond these few planets that we know of to join the rest of the galaxy in exploration and contact. She holds out hope for us as a species. Someday someway we will throw off the restraints of war, fossil fuel and ignorance to join our fellow travelers among the stars.


Betty became quiet at one point in the interview when she said to me, "I'm the only one living. John Fuller is gone, Dr. Simon is gone, Barney's gone." I could feel her private memory tinged with sadness as she spoke. When I was last up to see Betty, another person of ufo notoriety had died. Norman Muscarello,of Exeter died, at the age of 55 on February 26, 2003. Norman's ufo story was also penned by John G. Fuller in his book Incident at Exeter. Norman and Betty lived very close to each other and although they did not know each other well, they knew each other. Only Betty is left now.


Betty, the Grandmother of Ufology  remains as "feisty" as ever, living quietly among us.  She will not be with us forever but she and her story are the stuff of  legends and it will live on in history. For those of us who know her personally, we have been given a gift.  She is everyone's grandmother in some small way and has generously over the years shared herself with us.


Betty Hill, the Grandmother of Ufology, passed away on October 17, 2004, at the age of 85. Betty struggled with cancer for the past year. Barney passed away many years back from a heart condition. The passing of Betty Hill is sad news to all of us who seek the truth. Without a doubt, the Betty and Barney Hill case of alien abduction has been the cornerstone of belief for many who have suffered the same experience, and those who dare to investigate the mystery of abduction.


Well done Avis, you did a great job!

(MAPIT) - God Bless You Betty, we will miss you dearly.....

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