One of the best abduction stories/mysteries in the history of UFO sightings and alien abductions comes out of New Hampshire. While not exactly a hotbed of alien activity, the rural areas allow for the conditions we now associate with such events, such as isolation and wood cover. This abduction is widely known as the Betty and Barney Hill Abduction, but also goes by the name Zeta Reticuli Abduction, thanks to a drawing by Betty Hill. It is one of the earliest widely publicized abduction stories and is better documented, both in popular media and in news, than most others.
Betty Hill was a social worker who lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her husband Barney. Barney was a postal worker, but remember, this will well before the years when “going postal” became a thing, so neither Betty or Barney’s sanity is in question as it pertains to their backgrounds. However, Betty’s sister did mention seeing a UFO some time before the following incident occurred, so it could be argued that she was looking for UFOs where there were none. Whatever the case, both she and her husband experienced something that neither would ever forget while traveling a lonely road late at night.
In September of 1961, the Hills visited Canada as well as northern New York. They were driving home from this trip along Rte. 3 in New Hampshire when the night’s events began to unfold. At about 10 p.m., Betty saw a light in the sky that she says she first attributed to a falling star. However, when the couple pulled over to walk their dog, they looked at the object through a pair of binoculars and saw its many blinking lights fly right across the Moon. This is around the time Betty began thinking it was a flying saucer they were dealing with.
Barney remained more skeptical than Betty throughout the evening and also in the future when the events were brought up again. Nonetheless, when the object began dipping toward them, Barney reacted. They got back into the car with their dog and drove toward Franconia Notch, always keeping an eye on the UFO. At one point, they watched as it flew across the Old Man of the Mountain, a geological feature that used to be on the face of a mountain there, but has since eroded away.
At about 10:30, the craft descended upon the Hills. Barney had a gun and got out of the car with it, but did not fire upon the flying vehicle the Hills claim they saw. After being told to keep looking by one of the creatures that he could see through a window in the UFO, he went back to his wife in the car. They both say that was when a strange beeping and buzzing began. When they heard those sounds again, they were 35 miles south of the location where the craft had first descended.
When Barney and Betty got home, neither of their watches would work. Their clothes were inexplicably torn and supposedly covered in an odd dust. Their car had an odd pattern on the trunk. They claim that putting a compass near it would cause the compass to react strangely. It is unclear why they would think to take a compass to it to begin with, but it is part of the initial story. The USAF attributed the story to a misidentified planet (Jupiter) and declined further investigation.
So, the above is how Betty and Barney Hill first recalled their alleged abduction. They both lost time, but neither had any injuries or other indications of trauma. Then, Betty had five consecutive nights of dreams that left her wondering what really happened to them. She remembered somewhat kind humanoid creatures taking her aboard their ship by some method of hypnotism, being examined in innocuous ways and then being sent on her way with a book, which was subsequently taken away by another of the creatures who decided the Hills should not remember the abduction.
The Hills eventually sought hypnosis, which revealed yet another story. Betty’s descriptions from her dreams changed in subtle ways under hypnosis. For Barney, things were much more sinister. In fact, Barney recalled an anal probing under hypnosis. While a common feature in comedic representations of abduction, there are actually comparatively few probes in abduction literature. Barney also had semen collected in an entirely separate procedure. Their doctor, who conducted the hypnotism, concluded that Betty was a victim of her dreams and that Barney had been brought into the delusion by proxy. In truth, Barney was less sure they were abducted by aliens than his wife. Sadly, he passed away less than a decade after the initial incident at the young age of 46, so he only had so much time to mull it over and speak about it publicly.
In the end, it is hard to say just how authentic Betty and Barney’s abduction stories are. Betty’s so-called “Star Map,” which depicted some features of a map she reportedly saw during her experience was disproved by Carl Sagan himself. A local said he was able to replicate the UFO sighting and said it was caused by a streetlamp. On the other hand, Betty and Barney both told similar stories. Their varying levels of surety make it almost easier to believe that, at the very least, they believed something had happened. Whatever happened, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction story has not lost its fame over the decades that have passed.