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Betty, Barney, E.T. and the Military

Any meaningful attempt to try and accurately determine when the first so-called alien abduction of a human being took place is inevitably going to be a very difficult task. Most researchers and students of the UFO phenomenon would probably concede that the phenomenon that has today become popularly known as alien abduction was relatively unknown until sometime after September 19, 1961.

On that night, Betty and Barney Hill, a married couple from New Hampshire, were driving home from vacationing in Canada when they were allegedly subjected to a terrifying experience. Despite viewing some form of unusual aerial object in the night sky and what appeared to be living entities that could be seen through the craft’s portals, until their arrival back home, the Hill’s had very little indication that there was actually far more to the encounter than they realized.

Betty and Barney Hill

Betty and Barney Hill

It later transpired, however, that approximately two-hours of time could not be accounted for. After some months of emotional distress, sleepless nights, and strange dreams pertaining to encounters with unusual, otherworldly beings, the couple finally sought assistance from Benjamin Simon, a Boston-based psychiatrist and neurologist. Subjected to time-regression hypnosis, both Betty and Barney recalled what had taken place during that missing 120 minutes or so.

The Interrupted Journey - By John G. Fuller

The Interrupted Journey

Significantly, they provided very close accounts of encounters with apparent alien creatures that took the pair on board some form of alien vehicle and subjected them to a series of physical examinations – a number of which were highly distressing and intrusive in nature. The experience of the Hill’s later became the subject of John Fuller’s now-classic book, The Interrupted Journey and a 1975 movie of the same name.

By far the most commonly reported creatures present during alien abduction cases are those that have become popularly known as the Grays. Typically, the Grays are short in stature, around three-to-four-feet in height; they have gray-white skin, hence the name; and their bodies are usually described as being thin to the point of near-emaciation at times. Certainly the most striking and memorable features of the Grays are their heads.

They are hairless and overly large in proportion to their bodies with their ears, nose, and mouth being vestigial at best. Their eyes, on the other hand, are black, huge, almond-like in shape, and hypnotic in nature. And since that fateful 1961 night, when Betty and Barney Hill unwittingly added a whole new dimension to the UFO controversy, literally thousands of people from all across the globe have reported close encounters with the Grays and their distinctly motley ilk. Less well known, however, is the interest that the U.S. military took in the Hill affair.

On the day after the Hill’s encounter, Betty telephoned the 100th Bomb Wing, Strategic Air Command, at Pease Air Force Base, to report the details of her and Barney’s experience – at least, those parts of the event that they could consciously recall. Of this telephone exchange, Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden wrote in their book Captured!:

100th Bomb Wing

“Barney omitted his observation of the humanoid figures that communicated with him through a double row of windows, fearing that he might be thought a ‘crackpot.’ Later that day, Major Paul W. Henderson phoned the Hills and questioned both of them extensively. According to Betty, he seemed very interested in the wing-like structures that telescoped out from each side of the pancake shaped craft and the red lights on their tips.”

Of this aspect of the affair, Betty herself wrote: “Major Henderson asked to speak with Barney, who was hesitating about talking on the phone. But, once he was on the phone, he was giving more information than I had. Later, Barney said he had done this, for Major Henderson did not seem to express any surprise or disbelief.”

Betty then added something very interesting: “Later, Major Henderson called back and asked if we would be willing to be put through to somewhere else, and have our calls monitored. We agreed to this. One call was transferred to another place and today we do not know with whom we were talking.”

The following day, Major Henderson told Betty and Barney that he had spent the previous night burning the midnight-oil, while preparing an official report on the encounter of the Hill’s, which reads as follows:

” …on the night of 19-20 Sept between 20/0001 and 20/0100 Mr. and Mrs. Hill were travelling south on Route near Lincoln, N.H., when they observed, through the windshield of their car, a strange object in the sky. They noticed it because of its shape and the intensity of its lighting as compared to the stars in the sky. The weather and the sky were clear at the time…

UFO

“They continued to observe the object from their moving car for a few minutes then stopped. After stopping the car they used binoculars at times. They report that the object was traveling north very fast. They report it changed directions rather abruptly and then headed South. Shortly thereafter it stopped and hovered in the air. There was no sound evident up to this time. Both observers used the binoculars at this point.

“While hovering, objects began to appear from the body of the ‘object’ which they described as looking like wings which made a V shape when extended. The ‘wings’ had red lights on the tips. At this point they observed it to appear to swoop down in the general direction of their auto. The object continued to descend until it appeared to be only a matter of ‘hundreds of feet’ above their car.

“At this point they decided to get out of that area, and fast. Mr. Hill was driving and Mrs. Hill watched the object by sticking her head out the window. It departed in a generally North westerly direction but Mrs. Hill was prevented from observing its full departure by her position in the car. They report that while the object was above them after it had ‘swooped down’ they heard a series of short loud ‘buzzes.’

“They continued on their trip and when they arrived in the vicinity of Ashland, N.H., about 30 miles from Lincoln, they again heard the ‘buzzing’ sound of the ‘object’; however, they did not see it at this time. Mrs. Hill reported the flight pattern of the ‘object’ to be erratic, changed directions rapidly, that during its flight it ascended and descended numerous times very rapidly. Its flight was described as jerky and not smooth.

“Mr. Hill is a Civil Service employee in the Boston Post Office and doesn’t possess any technical or scientific training. Neither does his wife.

betty-and-barney-hill“During a later conversation with Mr. Hill, he volunteered the observation that he did not originally intend to report this incident but in as much as he & his wife did in fact see this occurrence he decided to report it. He says that on looking back he feels that the whole thing is incredible and he feels somewhat foolish – he just can not [sic] believe that such a thing could or did happen. He says, on the other hand, that they both saw what they reported and this fact gives it some degree of reality.

“Information contained herein was collected by means of telephone conversations between the observers and the preparing individual. The reliability of the observer cannot be judged and while his apparent honesty and seriousness appears to be valid it cannot be judged at this time.”

Since many abductees report apparent secret, official interest in their experiences, one has to wonder: did it all began with the Hills back in 1961? Did their encounter  provoke some agency of government, or of the military, to initiate a kind of “Project Abduction” to study and evaluate cases of cosmic-kidnap? Perhaps, when it comes to abductions, we might be better off looking for the answers not in the stars, but deep within the vaults of government…

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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