The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction Case   - by Alan Caviness

On the way home from a short vacation into Canada, a New Hampshire couple took highway US #3 southward toward their home in Portsmouth. The date was September 19th, 1961. They hoped to get home by approximately 2:30am, that night. Instead, they found themselves arriving home closer to dawn, dazed and confused, approximately two hours later than they had expected with no explanation as to why. For quite some time after their trip, they experienced significant amounts of stress-related problems such as recurring nightmares, anxiety, apprehension and insomnia. It became so bad for them that they eventually had to seek medical attention. But, eventually, they were referred to a psychiatrist in nearby Boston, Massachusetts who specialized in hypnosis therapy since the root of their problems could not be pinpointed and seemed to be emotional to a great degree. Their problems appeared to have begun immediately after arriving home that night in 1961. It is reported by Kathleen Marden----a niece of Betty and Barney Hill----in the Mutual UFO Network UFO Journal, January 2009 issue, that the Hills arrived home aware of a close approach with a large, silent, hovering craft with human-shaped figures in uniforms----but much more of the experience remained unclear. Both were plagued by significant amounts of amnesia.

They had both remembered seeing a bright and mysterious light in the sky that paced them for many miles then came much closer to them when they eventually stopped their car to get a close look with binoculars in a remote area of New Hampshire's White Mountains. But, neither could remember exactly what all happened with the light. They both remembered suddenly realizing where they were approximately 35 miles farther down the highway. They could recall strange, unexplainable beeping sounds around their car. And, after arriving home, they discovered shiny, bright spots on the trunk of their car. Oddly, both Betty's and Barney's wrist watches had stopped----never to work again.

They had heard of UFOs, and Betty had a sister who had claimed to have seen a UFO four years earlier. Even Betty's mother had reportedly seen UFOs. Betty believed UFOs probably did exist as extraterrestrial spaceships of some sort. But, Barney did not believe in the existence of UFOs and did not want to, for that matter. Both were quite educated individuals----yet conservative as to what they chose to believe----like most people at that time. Neither knew what would come out during their individual hypnosis sessions----which were done separately from each other by Boston Psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon----who was a skeptic of such things as flying saucers. Betty appeared to believe that they had an actual encounter with alien beings while Barney wanted to cling to denial.

Their physical and mental ailments became so difficult for them that they felt they had to find out what happened that fateful night in an attempt to understand the root of their problems and hopefully find a solution.

Betty experienced recurring nightmares. Barney was suffering more and more with an ulcer. Both were experiencing what would later be called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder----a condition of medical symptoms that can set in at some point after an individual has experienced an extremely traumatic event (a good example being an airliner crash survivor or a war refugee). The subconscious part of the mind becomes overburdened and seems to play a crucial role in PTSD causing problems that surface into the conscious part of the mind----such as anxiety----and can even cause physical problems in the normal regulation of body activities such as heart rates and energy levels making life very difficult for the victim. Partial or full amnesia of a PTSD-causing event often accompanies these symptoms.



Note: Approximately three months after a known abduction in 2001----confirmed by physical evidence left behind----I experienced a noticeable ringing in my ears accompanied by a heart rate that remained at a steady 105 beats per minute (from a normal 65 beats per minute). Nothing would bring the heart rate down short of medication for several years. The high heart rate caused considerable physical and mental dysfunction. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The ringing in the ears continues to this day. -A.C.


From December, 1963, until June, 1964, the Hills sought the help of Dr. Benjamin Simon. Stunned, the hypnotherapist extracted from both Betty and Barney Hill a story of a nature for which the doctor, himself, could not diagnose. But with each session, the anecdotal evidence under hypnosis kept mounting in ways the doctor could not ignore. Whether the event was true or not in reality, the doctor was forced to conclude that both Betty and Barney had indeed mentally experienced an event thought by most in the scientific field to be unreal. And, he had proven to himself that they were not actually lying. By the end of the hypnosis sessions, the overall health and well-being of both Betty and Barney appeared to have returned to normal, so the hypnotherapy appeared to help the couple.

As the hypnosis sessions continued, some detailed memories of the night of September 19th, 1961 had surfaced into the conscious minds of Betty and Barney Hill. Slowly, an event came together that would ultimately stun the Hills, themselves----and the world----and bring forth knowledge of a phenomenon previously hidden from the human race.

Betty and Barney did not necessarily like what had apparently happened to them. For quite some time, they did not want publicity. They feared scorn, ridicule and disbelief that they figured were bound to occur from the public. Betty was Caucasian. Barney was Black (Ethiopian). It was the 1960's. Betty was a social worker for the State of New Hampshire. Barney was a postal employee and civil rights leader in the region. Neither felt they could afford to have their positions in the community compromised by something as seemingly preposterous as an event that should be reserved only for science fiction. Only close friends and relatives were told of the incident. And, Dr. Simon maintained confidentiality with his patients. Later, he did submit a paper on the matter to scientific circles.

Unfortunately, for the Hills, an aggressive news reporter learned of their story and wanted to interview them, but both the Hills refused. Dr. Simon also refused being interviewed. The reporter ran a story, anyway, causing the Hills great upset. But, much to the surprise of the Hills, many people from all over the country and the world began contacting them to learn more or to tell them of their own sightings and experiences. However, once "the cat was out of the bag", they decided to go public with their story in an effort to control the accuracy of what was being told.


During the summer of 1965----four years after the Hill experience----a wave of UFO sightings was being reported by numerous individuals in the Exeter, New Hampshire area just a few miles south of the Hills' home. In this case, the local police station was involved after officers responding to calls saw for themselves strange lights and craft flying low over the area. John Fuller, a writer and reporter, began investigating the incidents at Exeter using the local police station as his base. Betty Hill was a frequent visitor to the police station where she would check on social work cases. Fuller eventually heard of Betty and Barney Hill and enlisted Betty's aid in helping him obtain information on sightings in the Exeter area. Betty had been approached by many people who had claimed to see UFOs recently in the area. But, Betty did not volunteer information about her own case to Fuller. From John Fuller's investigations came forth the 1966 book, "Incident At Exeter", where a full account of the UFO activities in Exeter, New Hampshire was presented to the world.

Eventually, the Hills decided to ask Fuller to publish their story, too, to give the world a correct version. The Hill case was introduced in the 1966 book, "Interrupted Journey".


Here is a brief synopsis of the real story:

While travelling on US #3 the night of September 19th, 1961, Betty Hill first noticed a starlike point of light that seemed to be moving against the background stars. It was brighter than the other stars. As she continued to watch, it became more intriguing to her and she notified Barney who was at the wheel. Eventually, Barney saw it and wondered what it could be. Thinking it to be a small airplane, he pulled over to try to confirm it. Both got out of the car and looked. Betty had binoculars and thought it could possibly be a UFO. While standing, the light came nearer to them. The Hills returned to their car and proceeded down the remote stretch of highway. Shortly, they saw the light had come down along the road ahead. The craft came very close to them. Barney got out of the car, took the binoculars and walked closer. He saw what appeared to be a craft at least 60 feet across with a row of windows where "men" in shiny black uniforms were seen standing inside the craft. One was staring at him. Barney became panicky. They then remembered the car shaking and a tingling sensation in their bodies.




Hypnotic recollection is responsible for the rest of the story. In the beginning of the abduction, Betty was in awe but noticed that Barney was in some kind of trance-like state. Betty remembered that the "men" were not human but were humanoid in shape and overall appearance. They possessed large eyes and oversized heads.

She found that one particular being was the leader, it seemed. He communicated with her in understandable terms----but through his mind to hers. Through telepathic exchanges, Betty remembers engaging the being in communication off and on during the entire experience. Betty and Barney recalled under hypnosis being subjected to medical examinations-some being painful. Betty, though, was informed by one of the beings that they did not intend to cause any pain and were merely wanting to probe them and learn about the human species.


Sculpture of a Zeta Humanoid


Betty had to wait for the crew to finish their examination of Barney in another compartment of the ship. Barney apparently had a difficult time during the experience due to deeply rooted fear of the beings. He had sensed that they were about to be "captured" just moments before it actually happened. And, the beings apparently had to take longer than planned to examine him possibly due to a lack of cooperation.

While on board the craft, Betty seemed to be less fearful and even curious and had asked for a souvenir, according to what she later remembered. The leader eventually handed her a book with symbols in it that she could not understand. Betty perceived the leader as friendly. In reality, according to what came out under hypnosis, Betty had indeed experienced fear at various times---- especially during the medical examination-but had apparently recovered without any lingering effects during the abduction. Upon their departure, Betty remembered the rest of the UFO crew demanding the leader retrieve the book from Betty. Betty and Barney were then taken back to their car.

Both Betty and Barney were apparently in an altered state of consciousness during the experience, Barney more so than Betty. Betty recalled that at one point, she had a needle-like instrument inserted into her navel. She was told this was a "pregnancy test". Initially, it had caused her great pain, but the leader waved his hand over her and the pain went away. The being apologized to her and told her that this was not expected. Betty remembered under hypnosis that, although she had been badly frightened at first, she came to trust the leader and became more relaxed----enough to carry on conversation with him at times. At one point, she tried to explain human life spans, but the leader did not seem to understand what a "hundred years" meant. Betty told the leader that there were other people (scientists) that would be interested in meeting him and his crew. This way, the beings could study the human race, openly. But, the leader said nothing and showed no interest. She promised the leader she would always remember the experience. But, the leader told her that she would not remember this event.

Betty recalled asking the leader where they were from. He showed her an apparent hologram of a star map and asked her where the earth was on the map. She told him she did not know. He then asked her how could he show her where he was from if she did not know where she was from on the map display. Under hypnosis, she was asked by Dr. Simon to draw the map she saw. Astronomers at that time could not identify the part of the sky she had drawn. But, in 1969, an intrigued elementary schoolteacher and amateur astronomer----and member of MENSA----decided to meet with Betty Hill and discuss the star chart. After painstaking work, Marjorie Fish was able to conclude that the star map Betty had drawn under hypnosis showed the star system of Zeta Reticuli, a double-star system composed of two sun-like stars. This star system was measured to be approximately 220 trillion miles away from earth. These stars are actually visible to the naked eye----just barely----but can only be seen from southern latitudes from Mexico City southward. Mrs. Fish's findings have held under considerable scrutiny over the years.


    Left - Starmap drawn by Betty Hill   Right - Reticulum Constellation


Approximately 35 miles down the road, the Hills found themselves travelling in their car not knowing exactly what had just happened. They would arrive home and discover they were late by approximately two hours.

Betty remembered missing her earrings after the incident. She and Barney later drove to the site in the White Mountains and looked for them but could not find them. It was reported that, approximately six weeks after the incident, Betty came home one day and discovered a circular pile of leaves on her dresser----with the missing earrings in the middle of the circle.

Dr. Simon, their hypnotherapist, never did become a believer in UFOs and aliens but was always willing to admit that there was no conventional explanation for what the Hills had told him under hypnosis. He concluded that without a doubt the Hills were not lying and that they truly felt they had experienced the alien abduction event. Baffled, he eventually wrote a paper that he submitted to scientific circles. Writer John Fuller was instrumental in making sure the Hill story was eventually told to the rest of the world in as accurate a way as possible making use of personal interviews with the Hills and taped testimony the Hills made while under hypnosis.

Upon her departure, Betty Hill told the alien leader that this was the greatest experience of her life and that it was an honor. She asked if he would please come back. The being replied that it was not his decision to make.




The UFO that the Hills encountered on the night of September 19th, 1961 had been detected and tracked by the US Air Force at Peace Air Force Base. Government agents met with the Hills three weeks after the incident. Over the next fifteen years, people would routinely visit the Hill property and watch for UFOs. According to interviews with Betty, later on, UFOs were observed many times and photographs were taken. Some of these photos can be found in Betty's book, " A Common Sense Approach to UFOs ". Betty also remained in touch for many years with the (former) Assistant Secretary of Defense----keeping him abreast of the nonhuman activity. At one point, Betty Hill had taken a lie-detector test on television----and passed. Barney had great difficulty with the entire experience and had trouble accepting it. But, he did finally accept what had apparently happened about a year after the incident, according to Betty.

Barney Hill passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1969. Betty lived until 2004 and died in her sleep with cancer. Betty went on to make personal appearances through lectures and interviews in the United States as well as in other countries abroad.

According to a personal friend of mine who was a close friend to Betty until Betty's death in 2004, the 1961 incident was not the only event Betty Hill claimed to have had with alien beings. The well-known Mutual UFO Network stated in their UFO Journal of September, 2001 that Betty had eventually claimed to have seen UFOs on many occasions over the years and had photographed them many times. The August 2002 issue of the UFO Journal included Betty Hill stating that both she and Barney had a second encounter while in their car in 1965 with a close approach of a UFO. They felt the urge to follow it but with no apparent interactions. But, they were followed often after that, she added. Friends, relatives and others were able to share in sightings with the Hills. Some of Betty's photos of these objects can be seen in her 1995 self-published book, A Common Sense Approach to UFOs. Betty held strong convictions regarding the nature of the alien beings as being nonhostile and friendly. She felt strong biases against claims by others that they had been abducted but with traumatic and hostile treatment.

According to the book, "World's Greatest UFO Mysteries," by Nigel Blundell and Roger Boar, Betty claimed that in 1978 a UFO saved her life when a craft appeared in front of her car while she was travelling down a highway. She was forced to stop and even back up a bit. Just then, a fast express train shot across the road on railroad tracks just ahead of her. She believed she would very likely have been hit by the train had she not been slowed down by the UFO.

Betty Hill had also claimed that alien craft had been seen hovering over the gravesite of Barney Hill. And, one had even landed and remained a few minutes.

In 1979, Betty was said to have been travelling along the outskirts of Peace Air Force Base in New Hampshire with TV reporter, Jim Voutrot, when they both suddenly saw a white, round object in the sky that disappeared seconds later. The reporter claimed that he had been a skeptic until that moment.

In August of 1980, it was reported that Betty Hill was driving her car and suddenly saw a UFO that had landed nearby not far from the road. She saw three figures emerge. But, as she turned herself around a bit to get a better look in that direction, she apparently hit her car horn accidentally and the UFO and beings disappeared.

Today, UFO researchers can say that the Hill story describes what is now known to be a typical alien abduction event that has since occurred to many thousands----if not millions----of people around the world. John Fuller's books, Interrupted Journey and Incident At Exeter can still be purchased, today, and can often still be found in public libraries.

Betty and Barney Hill had experienced an event that would ultimately awaken the world to a phenomenon that had otherwise been hidden from the entire human race. They boldly opened a door allowing us to glimpse into something almost beyond our ability to believe.

Further information about the Hill case can be obtained in the recent 2007 book, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, by Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden.


Presently, the Betty and Barney Hill legacy is being maintained by Betty's niece Kathleen Marden. Kathy also gives lectures on the Hill Experience and Her book- "Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience", co-authored with Stanton Friedman, can be ordered from her website:
Kathleen-Marden.com