Betty and Barney Hill Alien abduction: The story that captured the world's imagination.
Although they weren't the first to claim to have an encounter with extra-terrestrials, their story helped to shape the way in which we walk about UFOs and abductions to this day.
On a September night in 1961, Betty and Barney hill were driving down a secluded and quiet country road in New Hampshire's White Mountains. They hadn't seen a car for miles, but they noticed what appeared to be a strange light glistening in the night sky which seemed to be following them.
When the Hill's arrived back at their home in Portsmouth at around down, they noticed that their watches had stopped working, they both felt dirty, Barney's shoes were covered in scuff marks and Betty's dress was torn. Unexplainably they also appeared to be missing two hours of their drive that neither of them could remember anything about.
With some help from a psychiatrist, Betty and Barney Hill started recollect what had happened to them, and the story was nothing short of fascinating: the memory was of Gray otherworldly beings with large eyes that had taken them into a metallic disc, that Betty described "as wide as her house was long". Once inside the alien beings examined and assessed the couple before erasing their memories and releasing them.
The unimaginable story would be the start of an enquiry by the US Air Force and become part of the extremely secretive UFO sightings investigation project, known as Project Blue Book.
The Betty and Barney Hill alien abduction story also became to first globally publicised story of it's kind and has shaped how many have thought of aliens and UFOs to this day. A story of this type unsurprisingly stirred mass debate with some people believing every word they said, whilst others claimed they were liars and fantasists.
The story began with the Hill's taking a spontaneous road trip, Barney worked night shifts at the post office, having to travel 60 miles each way just to get to work, whilst Betty used to handle child-welfare for the state.
The couple were highly religious and gave most of their free time to the church and connected activities with the civil rights movement. Just 16 months into their marriage, Betty and Barney saw this road trip through Montreal and Niagara Falls as somewhat of a delayed and much needed honeymoon. They said that it was such an impulsive trip that they didn't even have time to go to the bank, they set off on the journey that was to change their lives for ever with just $70 in their pockets.
On the final night of their three-day trip, Barney decided that if they set off home they would hopefully be able to beat the bad weather that was forecast to come their way from an approaching hurricane. They departed from a diner at approximately 10 p.m., hoping the be back at home in Portsmouth in around four or five hours at the latest.
As the couple drove, trying to hurry home to beat the weather they saw a strange light shining in the sky, they said at first it looked almost like a falling star, but with each extra mile driven the light was growing larger and brighter.
Barny was a keen place watcher and a World War II veteran and told Betty that it was likely a satellite that had travelled off course. The couple said that the bright light appeared like it was moving with the car, whilst they manoeuvred down the windy mountain road, they said that the light would look as though it was ducking behind mountain ridges and trees before reappearing moments later.
As I am sure it would with many of us, curiosity got the better of them and they would pull over at various stops to try and get a better look at the bright light with their binoculars, Betty soon saw that the bright white light was actually an object that was spinning in the sky.
“Barney,” she told her husband, “if you think that’s a satellite or a star, you’re being completely ridiculous.”
Barney knew that his wife was correct, he was an intelligent man with a reported IQ of 140, he was also very pragmatic and wouldn't have given the thought of it being a flying saucer a second thought, his niece Kathleen Marden confirmed.
The night was far to quiet for it to be a helicopter, a military jet or even a commercial plane, Barny didn't want to frighten Betty but he was starting to become concerned about what this light could actually be and why it appeared to be following them.
Approximately 70 miles into their return trip, the mysterious object hovered just about the treetop line, roughly 100 feet above their car, at this point Barney stopped the car, took his handgun and ran into the field, leaving the car running with his wife Betty still sat in the passenger seat.
To Barney's amazement, what he was described as being as big as a plane but as round and flat as a pancake, "My God, what is this thing?" he later recalled thinking. "This can't be real."
He recalled there being rows of windows on this huge metallic object, and he claimed that he saw grey beings that appeared to be wearing uniforms looking right at him, Barney remembered trying to grab hold of his pistol but for some unexplainable reason couldn't do it, a voice told him not to put down his binoculars.
He had a terrifying thought: We're about to be captured, screaming hysterically, Barney ran back to the car and they shot off at high speed down the road whilst Better hung her head outside of the car window trying to keep track on the mystery craft. Unexplainably, loud and in rhythm beeps started coming from the boot of the car, both Betty and Barn Hill had a feeling of drowsiness instantly come over them before quickly losing consciousness.
They came around approximately two hours later and 35 miles further down the road than they were.
When they finally made it back home to Portsmouth, they struggled to make sense of what had happened to them that night. Barney said he felt compelled to examine his lower body whilst they both felt aware of a puzzling presence.
Betty, who was a keen reader, did her own research in books from the library, finding the UFO group, NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena). She also logged a report of the sighting that they had witnessed to the Air Force. Over the next few years since this fascinating night, Betty was suffering with disturbing dreams and Barney developed anxiety as well as an ulcer, this caused the couple to seek out some medical help regarding their mental health.
The couple met with a psychiatrist and neurologist who specialised in hypnosis called Benjamin Simon.
The Hill's had months of weekly sessions with Simon, which helped them to remember what had happened that night and put the pieces of the puzzle together: Betty and Barney recalled how a vessel had landed on their car which put them to sleep, afterwards grey beings escorted them up a long ramp and onto a spacecraft.
Whilst inside the spacecraft, Betty and Barney were separated, being taken into an examination room with curved walls and a large light that was hanging down from the ceiling. Each of them were instructed to climb up onto a metal table, they remembered how small the table was, Barney remembered vividly that his legs hung over the side of it.
They stated that during the examinations, the unknown beings took of their clothes, took clippings of their nails and scraped their skin as well as taking strands of hair from their heads. They both recollected that the samples that were taken were placed on a clear object, that looked similar to a glass slide that a Doctor may use.
The Hill's claimed that the extra-terrestrials probed their heads, arms, legs and spines with needles that were connected to long wires, Betty even saying that a large needle, approximately 6 inches long was inserted into her belly and left her writhing in pain, they both also recalled that there was one figure, the Hill's referred to as "the leader" watching from the side.
After the examinations had taken place, Betty found herself alone with the leader, she asked where the craft had flown, openly admitting that she knew very little about the universe. Betty said that the being joked with her, saying "if you don't know where you are, there wouldn't be any point in telling you where I am." Later on, under hypnosis, Betty drew a star map that she claims was shown to her whilst she was on the spacecraft.
In 1965, Betty and Barney's alien abduction story was picked up by a newspaper in Boston, this was when their lives really would change forever, leading to their story becoming the subject of a best-selling book and even a movie, two quiet, normal citizens had become alien abductee celebrities overnight.
Whatever you believe about the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story, they both stuck with their story to the very end of their lives, despite years of sceptics and detractors, Betty even claimed that she was visited multiple times in the years that followed.
Watch Betty Hill's interview below: