Still No Answer

From Yankee Magazine March 1974 Although, officially, flying saucers do not exist, unofficially, it is a different story: flying saucers have been “landing” here, there, and just about everywhere. Experienced pilots claim that their planes have been chased by interplanetary flying machines. And responsible citizens continue to insist that they saw something unearthly in the […]

By Frederick John

Jul 09 2008

From Yankee Magazine March 1974

Although, officially, flying saucers do not exist, unofficially, it is a different story: flying saucers have been “landing” here, there, and just about everywhere. Experienced pilots claim that their planes have been chased by interplanetary flying machines. And responsible citizens continue to insist that they saw something unearthly in the sky one day. All of which makes one wonder if flying saucers are as nonsensical as government officials make them out to be.

America’s most celebrated flying saucer adventure took place in New England. On the night of September 19, 1961, Barney and Betty Hill of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, were captured by space visitors and taken aboard a flying saucer — or so they claimed. It should be pointed out that no psychiatrist, psychologist, scientist, or government official has ever been able to discredit their story.

“There are quite a few people around who think I’m crazy,” said Betty Hill, now fifty-four. “I know that. I’ve learned to live with this fact since 1961. I’ll tell you one thing though: I’ve probably been examined by more psychiatrists than any other woman in history in recent years. And each and every one of them has certified me as being sane.”

Betty is superintendent of referrals for the New Hampshire Department of Public Welfare in Portsmouth. Her husband was a postal worker; he suffered a stroke and died on February 25, 1969. “It’s been lonely without Barney,” she said.”I miss him very much. Still, we had a happy married life together. I have many wonderful memories.”

Betty’s voice is on the husky side. She is a University of New Hampshire graduate and a constant reader. Her small, comfortable apartment is filled with reading material. She attends church regularly. A sincere woman, she is certainly not the type one would expect to become involved with creatures from outer space.

“Barney and I had been away to Canada on a vacation trip,” she recalled. “We actually didn’t plan to return home to New Hampshire on that night in 1961. We read the traffic signs wrong and ended up on a bridge leading to New Hampshire, so we decided to head home or keep going along Route 3 until we got tired enough to stop at a motel. Our pet dog Delsey was with us in the car. I remember it was close to midnight as we crossed the border from Canada into our home state.

“We had gone about seventy miles down Route 3 when we saw the bright light. It was in the town of Lancaster. I spotted it first. Barney was driving at the time. I remember I thought it was a star. Then I noticed the thing was moving. When I noticed that, I changed my mind. I thought it might be a satellite of some sort. Barney stopped the car, and we got out. My husband took out a pair of binoculars and tried to get a good look at the light. While he was studying it, the thing changed direction.”

At this point, the Hills were convinced that the light in the sky was either an airplane out of Pease Air Force Base, located near Portsmouth, or a commercial flight. “I remember traffic was very light that night. We continued down the highway, and the light in the sky followed us. It came close to us. It was a bright yellow light — a fantastically bright yellow light. I never saw anything like it before. We continued along the highway for another thirty miles or so, until we arrived at what they call the Indian Head area. That’s where the Old Man of the Mountains is located, and I remember that the light seemed to dance directly in front of it.

“Barney and I kept going. Naturally, we were nervous. Then a few minutes after we passed the Old Man of the Mountains, the craft, which had been following an erratic flight pattern, stopped and hovered directly over the highway. My husband got out of the car to see if he could get a good look at the thing. I stayed by the car, as he went down the road. Delsey was locked in the back of our old Chevy. Suddenly, Barney came running back. ‘Let’s get the hell out of here,’ he called out. ‘We’re going to be captured.’

“We both leaped into the Chevy and took off. Barney said it was a flying saucer. He said there was a double row of windows on the front of it, and there were people visible inside. He said there were six of them, and that one of them acted like he was the leader of the group. We raced off down the road trying to get away from the light. The thing remained directly above us though. We couldn’t get away from it. Then there were three beeping sounds, and the car started to vibrate.”

According to Betty, what happened next can best be described as “a brown study.” Simply stated, there was a blank period during which neither Betty nor Barney could remember what happened. “The next thing I remember was hearing three more beeping sounds. That’s the only way I can describe them. And I said to Barney: ‘Do you believe in flying saucers? He laughed and said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ ”

At this point, the Hills were in a town called Ashland, which is about thirty miles beyond where they heard the original three beeping sounds. “Barney and I went home,” declared Betty, “and spent most of the day asleep in bed. It was the 20th of September by then. When we woke up, after talking matters over, we decided to notify authorities at Pease Air Force Base about the sighting, and we did. After that, Barney and I decided to do our best to forget about the entire matter.”

However, the couple made several trips back to the area in the vicinity of the Old Man of the Mountains. For awhile, Betty was having nightmares. “We were bothered about the time element. We didn’t reach Portsmouth until dawn, That was two hours longer than normal for such a trip. Barney and I couldn’t figure out what happened to those extra two hours.”

Two years later, in 1963, Barney developed an ulcer. “Medication did not work,” said Betty, “so it was decided that Barney should see a psychiatrist to determine if the ulcer was caused by emotional problems.”

On December 14, 1963, Barney Hill went to the office of the distinguished Boston psychiatrist Benjamin Simon. Under hypnosis and during sessions that were tape recorded, Barney cleared up the mystery of the lost two hours. “After some sessions with Barney,” said Betty, “Dr. Simon asked permission to place me under hypnosis. He said it would help him to understand Barney’s problem better. So I agreed to allow him to hypnotize me.” Her account of what had happened during the missing
two hours was exactly like Barney’s.

Let it be clear that the Hills were hypnotized in separate sessions, and that neither was aware of what the other had said. When conscious, they had no idea of what they had revealed under hypnosis. Later, Dr. Simon played the tapes for them, and for the first time they became aware of what had happened to them during the lost hours.

“After we heard the original three beeping sounds, and our car started to vibrate, Barney and I left Route 3 in an effort to get away from the thing flying above us. We went down a side road. Up ahead, we saw a group of men in the road; I think there were six of them. Barney applied the brakes, and our motor went dead. The men separated, half on each side of the car. Then I fell into a deep trance.

“When I revived, we were walking along a path in the woods. Three of the men were helping me. The other three were holding Barney up. We went to some kind of spaceship. The best way to describe it is to say it looked like a typical UFO. They took Barney and me inside and put us in different rooms.

“Let me describe the men aboard that aircraft. They were all about five feet tall. They were small men, and their features were vaguely Oriental, but their eyes were more to the side. They were unlike any men I ever met before. They gave me some kind of physical examination. They scraped the skin on my arms and legs, and took some of my hair — things of that sort.

“This examination took place in a wedge-shaped room. It was cool and well lighted. After they were done with the examination, the leader came in. He spoke English. I was surprised by that. He indicated that they were going to let us go. I told him people would never believe what had happened to us. Then I saw a book on the table, and asked him for it. I said it was my proof.

“He smiled and gave me the book. The writing was up and down in it — similar to Japanese writing. I couldn’t understand it.

‘Finally, the leader told me Barney was ready, and that we could go to the car. However, as I started to leave with the book, some of the other men aboard got upset and spoke to the leader. He came over and took the book away. He said the others did not want me to keep the book. He said it would be best if I forgot about what had happened. Then he told me to stand by the car with Barney and watch them take off.

“I went out to the car with Barney. He also had been examined. Our dog Delsey was still inside the Chevy and was happy to see us. We watched that UFO vanish into the sky. It looked like a red moon.

“Then we got into the car,” concluded Betty, “and started driving. After a while we heard three beeps and started talking. That’s when I asked Barney, ‘Do you believe in flying saucers? ”

Three facts seem to support Betty’s story. The first is that on the night of September 19, 1961, several other reliable witnesses reported seeing an unidentified flying object in the same area where the Hills encountered their space visitors. Second, the tapes made by the Hills are presently stored in the Library of Congress. According to Betty, they have a restricted classification. Finally, no one has been able to come up with a logical explanation for the duplicate stories told by Betty and Barney Hill while in hypnotic trances. The experts might have been able to explain away one person, but two people with the same story while mesmerized just can’t be ignored.