by Ray Duckler March 17, 2018 (concordmonitor.com)
• This article recounts the alien abduction case of Betty and Barney Hill (pictured above) in 1961. Betty was a white college graduate and a social worker, and her black husband, Barney, was an honored member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The couple were driving from Canada back home to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, when they encountered the UFO.
• As Betty and Barney Hill drove south on Route 3 through the White Mountain National Forest, they reached Indian Head Resort where the encounter first occurred. Today, a green historical marker near Indian Head Resort reads: “On the night of September 19-20, 1961, Portsmouth, NH couple Betty and Barney Hill experienced a close encounter with an unidentified flying object and two hours of ‘lost time’ while driving south on Route 3 near Lincoln. They filed an official Air Force Project Blue Book report of a brightly-lit cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not public with their story until it was leaked in the Boston Traveler in 1965.”
• Between the Indian Hill Resort and Lincoln NH, Barney noticed cigar-shaped UFO hovering above the tree-line. He stopped and got out to take a look. Through his binoculars he could see humanoid beings in the UFO’s windows looking back at him. Barney immediately ran back to the car yelling at Betty that they had to leave. Their car began to vibrate and they both felt a tingling sensation. This is when they lost all memory, which was later regained through hypnosis. They recalled that by the time they had driven past Lincoln and were almost to Thornton NH, a group of aliens blocked their car on Route 3 and took the couple aboard the UFO craft.
• Barney described the beings as having spindly legs, a bulky torso, cat-like eyes, and they wore shiny black uniforms. Betty recalled throwing a punch or a kick, which might explain why her dress was torn. She said they tried to probe her naval but it hurt so much that they stopped. They were examined by the alien beings on board the UFO for two hours.
• The next thing that Betty and Barney Hill knew, they were again driving on Route 3, thirty miles south of Thornton near Ashland. By sunrise, they reached their home in Portsmouth. They reported their UFO sighting to the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Continuing to suffer from severe anxiety, Barney went to see Boston psychiatrist, Dr. Benjamin Simon. Dr. Simon hypnotized Barney and learned that his anxiety was caused by his belief that he and his wife had been abducted by aliens. Betty’s description of the event, also made under hypnosis, matched up closely with Barney’s.
• In 1965, a Boston journalist got a tip on the encounter and ran with the story, although the Hills declined requests for an interview. The Hills took refuge from the ensuing media storm at Betty’s mother’s house in Kingston NH near the Massachusetts border. Barney died in 1969 at age 46 from a brain aneurysm. A book and a movie were eventually made based on the UFO abduction. Betty recovered from a brain tumor, but died in 2004 from lung cancer at age 85.
Leon Noel moved carefully toward the row of twisted, sagging apple trees near the Interstate 93 overpass in Lincoln, each step swallowed by two feet of snow.
He pointed with a sweeping motion across the horizon. “There,” he said. “That’s them.”
The trees had been zapped by radiation emitted from an alien craft in 1961. At least that’s what Noel had always told his children and then his grandchildren. “They thought it was gospel,” Noel said.
That was a family joke. The part about Barney Hill squinting through binoculars and seeing humanoids above this same field, peering from windows like passengers on a plane, was not.
Neither was the part about Hill making a mad dash back to his car on Route 3, screaming in terror to his wife, Betty Hill, that the couple had to leave, fast, or risk capture.
Or the piece about the Hills being taken aboard the craft somewhere near Thornton, then losing all memory for two hours, then arriving at home in Portsmouth as the sun rose and their thoughts were unchained, allowing them to focus, at least partially, on what had happened.
It occurred during a six-hour stretch, beginning near midnight on Sept. 19, 1961, if you believe in that sort of thing.
And don’t take my word for it.
Look it up.
“Who knows?” Noel said. “I don’t. All I know is something happened.”
Noel drives the steam locomotive at Clark’s Trading Post. He’s lived in Lincoln for nearly 50 years.
His hands and smile are gigantic, and his silver hair rises from his head and shoots in different directions, sort of like that craft that Barney and Betty Hill insisted they saw that night 57 years ago.
The yarn is part of the town’s landscape, much like those funny-looking apple trees.
As Noel worked his way through the high snow, a 12-year veteran of the Lincoln Police Department pulled over to see what was happening. He declined to give his name.
“I have more than a passing familiarity with what happened,” the officer said. “But that doesn’t mean I’m a believer.”
What about you?
An alien concept
The Hills lived in Portsmouth and were just passing through on their way home from Canada. A mixed marriage before those unions were fully accepted, Barney, an African American, died in 1969 from a brain aneurysm at age 46, and Betty, who was white, passed in 2004 from lung cancer at 85.
And yet, like Noel and that steam locomotive, they’re forever connected to the Lincoln region. As Noel says, “It was a big thing. My aunt lived here and she was right here, so it was a big thing to talk about. But nothing ever came of it because …”
Noel’s voice trailed off, then he laughed, as though his mind had hit that universal stop sign we all approach. Look one way, and your mind tells you it’s not true.
Look the other way, however, and your mind asks, “Why not?”
“There is something out there,” Noel says. “For the billions of stars that you look out at with the naked eye at night, we can’t be the only flea on the dog.”
If what Betty and Barney – the most famous couple with those names since the Flintstones – claimed was true, the 1969 moon landing would be transformed into a walk in the park. But no matter what you believe, the story was out of this world once the media got a hold of it four years after the incident.
A zany-sounding episode, sure, but whiffs of legitimacy – including government scrutiny and hypnosis by a respected Boston physician – followed this like a comet’s tail. In fact, even the state added some credibility, planting one of those green historical markers near Indian Head Resort, right there on Route 3, to celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2011.
It reads: “On the night of September 19-20, 1961, Portsmouth, NH couple Betty and Barney Hill experienced a close encounter with an unidentified flying object and two hours of ‘lost time’ while driving south on Route 3 near Lincoln. They filed an official Air Force Project Blue Book report of a brightly-lit cigar-shaped craft the next day, but were not public with their story until it was leaked in the Boston Traveler in 1965.”
Then come the words that push you to Google: “This was the first widely-reported UFO abduction report in the United States.”
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