This article is part of the The Hill Abduction Files

The Hill abduction case involves the abduction of Barney and Betty Hill during a UFO close encounter in 1961. The Hills were driving through the New Hampshire countryside on September 19th, when they both witnessed an unidentified flying object halt their car for a time. During the encounter, they suffered from missing time.

UFO sightingEdit

The Hills reported sighting a UFO on September 19, 1961, around 10:30 p.m. The Hills were driving back to Portsmouth from a vacation in Niagara Falls and Montreal. Just south of Lancaster, New Hampshire, Betty claimed to have observed a bright point of light in the sky that moved from below the Moon and the planet Jupiter, upward to the west of the Moon. While Barney navigated U.S. Route 3, Betty reasoned that she was observing a falling star, only it moved upward.[1] Since it moved erratically and grew bigger and brighter, Betty urged Barney to stop the car for a closer look, as well as to walk their dog, Delsey. Barney stopped at a scenic picnic area just south of Twin Mountain.[2]

Map of US route 3

US map of route 3

Betty, looking through binoculars, observed an "odd-shaped" craft flashing multi-colored lights travel across the face of the Moon.[3] Because her sister had several years earlier said she saw a flying saucer, Betty thought it might be what she was observing. Through binoculars Barney observed what he reasoned was a commercial airliner traveling toward Vermont on its way to Montreal. However, he soon changed his mind, because without looking as if it had turned, the craft rapidly descended in his direction. This observation caused Barney to realize, "this object that was a plane was not a plane."[4] He quickly returned to the car and drove toward Franconia Notch, a narrow, mountainous stretch of the road.


Cannon Cliff, the southeast face of Cannon Mountain

The Hills claimed that they continued driving on the isolated road, moving very slowly through Franconia Notch in order to observe the object as it came even closer. At one point, the object passed above a restaurant and signal tower on top of Cannon Mountain and came out near the Old Man of the Mountain. Betty testified that it was at least one and a half times the length of the granite cliff profile, which was 40 feet (12 m) long long, and that it seemed to be rotating. The couple watched as the silent, illuminated craft moved erratically and bounced back and forth in the night sky.[5]

Franconia Notch

View of Franconia Notch, dominated by Cannon Mountain.


US 3 in Lincoln, New Hampshire

Approximately one mile south of Lincoln/Indian Head, they said, the object rapidly descended toward their vehicle, causing Barney to stop in the middle of the highway. The huge, silent craft hovered approximately 80–100 feet (24–30 m) above the Hills' 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air and filled the entire field of view in the windshield. It reminded Barney of a huge pancake. Carrying his pistol in his pocket, he 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. In unison, all but one figure moved to what appeared to be a panel on the rear wall of the hallway that encircled the front portion of the craft. The one remaining figure continued to look at Barney and communicated a message telling him to "stay where you are and keep looking." Barney had a recollection of observing the humanoid forms wearing glossy black uniforms and black caps. 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 (15–24 m) overhead and 300 feet (91 m) away from him. On October 21, 1961, Barney reported to National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) investigator Walter Webb that the "beings were somehow not human".[6]

Barney "tore" the binoculars away from his eyes and ran back to his car. In a near hysterical state, he told Betty, "They're going to capture us!"[7] 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. Almost immediately, the Hills heard a rhythmic series of beeping or buzzing sounds which they said seemed to bounce off the trunk of their vehicle. The car vibrated and a tingling sensation passed through the Hills' bodies. The Hills said that at this point in time they experienced the onset of an altered state of consciousness that left their minds dulled. A second series of beeping or buzzing sounds returned the couple to full consciousness. They found that they had traveled nearly 35 miles (56 km) south, but had only vague, spotty memories of this section of road. They recalled making a sudden, unplanned turn, encountering a roadblock, and observing a fiery orb in the road.

Missing time Edit

In an interview with C. D. Jackson and Robert E. Hohmann, on November 25, 1961, the Hills noted that they had arrived home later than anticipated, the drive should have taken about four hours (178 miles). They claimed not to have realized that they arrived home seven hours after their departure from Colebrook. When Hohman and Jackson noted this discrepancy to the Hills, the couple had no explanation (a phenomenon ufologists call "missing time"). The Hills claimed to recall almost nothing of the 35 miles between Lincoln/Indian Head and Ashland. Both claimed to recall an image of a fiery orb sitting on the ground. Betty and Barney reasoned that it must have been the Moon, but Hohmann and Jackson informed them that the Moon had set earlier in the evening.[8]

Arriving home at about dawn, the Hills assert that they had some odd sensations and impulses they could not readily explain: Betty insisted their luggage be kept near the back door rather than in the main part of the house. Their watches would never run again. Barney said that the leather strap for the binoculars was torn, though he could not recall it tearing. The toes of his best dress shoes were scraped. 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.[9]

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.[10] After sleeping for a few hours, Betty awoke 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 she retrieved the items from her closet, she noted a pinkish powder on her dress. She hung the dress on her clothesline and the pink powder blew away. But the dress was irreparably damaged. She threw it away, but then changed her mind, retrieving the dress and hanging it in her closet. Over the years, five laboratories have conducted chemical and forensic analyses on the dress.[11]

There were shiny, concentric circles on their car's trunk that had not been there the previous day. Betty and Barney experimented with a compass, noting that when they moved it close to the spots, the needle would whirl rapidly. But when they moved it a few inches away from the shiny spots, it would drop down.[12]

Abduction Edit

See also, Barney Hill's abduction
See also, Betty Hill's abduction

To explain the events that transpired during the abduction experience, the Hills underwent a three-day hypnotic regression therapy,[13] conducted by Benjamin Simon on January 4, 1964. Their results describe having been taken aboard a UFO by gray-like beings, and placed in different rooms aboard the craft. They were then subjected to physiological examinations, where their abductors took skin, hair and nail samples.[14] The following day, they were released.

Star map Edit

Betty Hill star map

Betty Hill's star map, c. January 6, 1964

Betty Hill drew a star map. By 1968, Marjorie Fish of Oak Harbor, Ohio, read Fuller's Interrupted Journey. As an elementary school teacher and amateur astronomer, she was intrigued by Betty Hill's "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 three-dimensional model of nearby Sun-like stars using thread and beads, basing stellar distances on those published in the 1969 Gliese Star Catalogue. 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—Zeta Reticuli.

756px-Zeta reticuli.svg

Marjorie Fish's 1968 interpretation of Betty Hill's star map, with "Sol" (upper right) being the Latin name for the Sun.

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 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 afterward, the opinions page of Astronomy carried arguments for and against Fish's star map, such as arguments made by Carl Sagan and Steven Soter.[15] David Saunders, a statistician who had been on the Condon UFO study, who favored the map, argued against critics that the 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.[16][17]

Interrupted Journey Edit

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. Betty's niece Kathleen Marden explored Fuller's themes along with scientist Stanton T. Friedman in her book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. Marden knew Betty well and had spoken with her at great length about the encounter. She also examined all of the historical records and scientific reports pertaining to the case and transcribed the Hills' hypnosis sessions with Benjamin Simon for her detailed comparative analysis.


  1. Webb, 1961, p. 1
  2. Friedman/Marden, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, 2007. p. 101.
  3. Friedman/Marden, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, 2007, p. 102.
  4. Fuller, The Interrupted Journey, 1966, p 76.
  5. Friedman, Stanton and Kathleen Marden. Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, 2007, pp. 103–04
  6. Webb, 1961, p. 3.
  7. Clark, Jerome. The UFO Book, 1998, p. 276.
  8. Clark, 1998, p. 282.
  9. Friedman and Marden. Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, 2007, p. 33.
  10. Clark, Jerome. The UFO Book, 1998, p. 277.
  11. University of New Hampshire Archival Collection
  12. See Friedman/Marden, 2007, p. 153
  13. The First Alien Abduction
  14. The Hills, abducted by aliens
  15. see Clark, 1998
  16. "The Zeta Reticuli Incident". 
  17. "Zeta Reticuli Incident". 

Bibliography Edit

  • Clark, Jerome. The UFO Book: Encyclopedia of the Extraterrestrial. Visible Ink, 1998.
  • Friedman, Stanton, & Kathleen Marden. Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books, 2007.
  • 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", pp. 215–40 in UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, David M. Jacobs, ed. 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, Debbora Battaglia, ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • Webb, Walter. "A Dramatic UFO Encounter in the White Mountains, NH". Confidential report to NICAP. October 26, 1961.


Tales of Horror: Aliens, by Jim Pipe, pg. 6

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