Close Encounter Revisited

By Floyd Ramsey

Magnetic North, Winter 1985, pgs. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Note from  When the article was photocopied, part of the printed column at the edge of the page accidently got cut off.  Therefore, there are ...(missing letters)... where part of the word could not be interpreted.


The North Country’s Famous UFO Kidnapping


     Barney Hill braked his 1957 Belair hardtop to a stop near the middle of the highway.  He purposely left the headlights on and the engine running.  He asked his wife Betty for the binoculars.

     As he opened the car door, and stepped out on Route 3, the huge circular disk that had been following them drifted silently past him to the left and hovered over the open field.

     Overcoming a growing fear, Barney entered the field determined to identify the strange, wingless object.  As he passed a shuttered vegetable stand, the object tilted downward by a gnarled apple tree and descended toward him.  Focusing the binoculars, he could see it had windows – and several humanoid-like figures dressed in black were watching him from the windows.

     Mrs. Hill, still in the car and concerned for his safety, heard him say repeatedly, “I don’t believe it!  I don’t believe it!  This is ridiculous!”


     It was the night of September 19, 1961.  The Hills were about to become the central figures in one of the most famous and fascinating UFO abduction cases on record.

     Precisely what happened to them that night, and what became of them in the years to follow remains an incredible story nearly 25 years later.

     Following a vacation trip to Niagara Falls, the Hills along with their little dachshund Delsey, were headed home to Portsmouth on Route 3.  They had their car serviced in Colebrook, and had left a restaurant there at 10:05 p.m.  Barney estimated they would arrive home no later than 3:00 a.m.

     Just south of Lancaster, Betty spotted a bright, star like object above Jupiter.  As she watched it, it grew brighter and began moving across the face of the moon.  Barney said that she was seeing a satellite.

     A short time later Delsey grew restless so they stopped to let her out.  During this stop they both watched the object through binoculars.  As they returned to the car, the object changed direction and started flying eastward toward them.  Barney decided it was a military plane flying over to check them out.

     After they had passed through Whitefield, Betty noticed that its movements had become erratic.  Once she shouted, “Barney, look at it!  It’s jumping in the sky!”

     Barney became more puzzled than ever.


     When they came to the Cannon Mountain area in Franconia Notch, the object again turned and headed directly toward them.  When it did, Barney braked sharply and steered in to a picnic turnout.

     Standing in the chilly night air looking through the binoculars, he made out a shape like the fuselage of a plane, but one without wings.  There seemed to be a series of blinking lights running in an alternating pattern along a rim.

     When Betty took the glasses, the object passed in front of the moon revealing thin shafts of light which flashed red, amber, green and blue.  Because Delsey was whining and shivering and Barney was showing signs of irritation, she handed her husband the binoculars and got back in her car.  When Barney followed her a few minutes later, he said he thought the craft was playing games with them.

     As they passed the Old Man of the Mountains, the object continued to move with them.  Near the turnoff for the Flume they stopped again.  They almost got another good look at it, but trees interfered.  They drove on.

     Just beyond the Flume, they passed Parker’s Motel on their left.  A man was standing in the lighted doorway of an end unit.  At that moment Betty thought, “If we drive in to this motel the object will go away.”  Then she thought, “Something is going to happen.  I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is I’m prepared for it.”

     Looking up, she saw that the huge object was only a few hundred feet above them.  She also noticed that the blinking light pattern had changed a steady white glow. Looking through the binoculars, she could now clearly see a double row of windows.  Without thinking, she rolled down her car window and waved to it.

     Just south of Indian Head they both noticed two wigwams at a tourist attraction named Nature land.  (Today it is Fantasy Farm.)  A short distance beyond there, Barney stopped the car in the middle of the road and asked for the binoculars.

     He walked into the area known as Clark’s field.

      The object was no more than 80 – 100 feet off the ground.  He could see two fin-like projections sliding out from the sides, each with a red light on the end.  The windows curved around the object, which now was revealed as a thick, pancake-shaped disc.  The windows glowed with a cold, bluish-white fluorescence.  It was now within fifty feet of him.


     Back in the car, Betty watched Barney disappear in the blackness of the field.  She screamed, “Barney, Barney, you damn fool, come back here!”

     He didn’t hear her.

     He was watching a half dozen small humanoids standing at the windows and staring down at him.  Suddenly all but one stepped back.  Barney could see to a large panel in the craft where they began pulling levers.  The craft came down lower, the two lights extended out further, and an extension appeared from the underside.

     Focusing the binoculars on the one face still staring at him, Barney realized that he was looking into eyes unlike any he had ever seen before.

     He tore the binoculars from his neck and ran back to the car screaming, “We’ve got to get out of here!  They’re going to capture us!”

     He jammed the car into gear and they went speeding down the highway.  He repeatedly ordered Betty to look out the window to see where the craft was.  She could not see it.  He yelled that it was directly overhead.  She looked again.  All she could see was complete blackness.  Even the stars seemed to have disappeared.

     Suddenly a strange sounding beeping noise came from overhead.  The car vibrated.  An odd tingling sensation followed by drowsiness overtook them.  They stopped talking...


     Later Betty would remember that Barney left Route 3 just below North Woodstock.  She would remember Barney braking the car, and making another left onto a dirt road.  She would remember seeing what she thought was the moon setting.  Then everything blanked out.

     They heard a second series of beeps, and for the final time the craft flew over them.  Barney yelled, “Oh my God!  Not again!”

     Their drowsiness lifted.  They found themselves trying to return to Route 3.  Finally Betty saw a road sign that indicated they were in Ashland.  She then said to Barney, “Do you believe in flying saucers now?”

     He muttered, “Don’t be ridiculous.”

     They did not fully regain consciousness until they saw the U.S...(missing letters)... sign that read:  CONCORD - ..(missing number)... MILES.   On the outskirts or Portsmouth  they both discovered that their watches had stopped.  At home, when they saw their kitchen clock, they learned it was after 5:00 a.m.  They wondered why they arrived so late.  The night’s events were erased from their memory.

     However, before the day was over they would be puzzled by other ...(missing letters)... quieting questions.  For example, after unloading the car, why did Barney feel compelled to go to the bathroom to examine his lower abdomen?  Why were the tops of his best shoes severely scuffed?  What were the shiny spots on the trunk of the car that caused a compass needle to spin erratically?  Why were they both left with the uneasy feeling that something had happened to them?


     Barney’s health soon deteriorated.  It was difficult for him to continue to work as an assistant dispatcher at a South Boston Postal Annex.  Some nights while commuting to work, if he saw any suspicious looking lights in the sky he would panic, turn around and go home.

     He was also haunted by a vivid memory of a humanoid staring down at him in Clark’s field.  Frustrated, he’d walk around the house, bang his fist and cry, “Why can’t I remember what he said?”

     A series of warts also began to develop in an almost perfect circle ring on his groin.  They added to his concern.

     Betty’s health also suffered.

     About ten days after the sighting she began having nightmares.  She suffered several bouts of pneumonia but thinks that the stress of her job as a child welfare worker overcame stresses of the experience.

     Under treatment for high pressure and ulcers, barney’s work attendance became more erratic...(missing letters)... he stopped responding to medication, and was totally unable to work for a year.  In the summer of 1962 his doctor referred him to the distinguished Exeter psychiatrist, Doctor Duncan Stephans.

     In his sessions with Doctor Stephans, Barney tended to downplay the UFO incident.  It was not until September of 1963, in their Unitarian Church discussion group that Betty and barney publicly spoke about their UFO experience.  Also at the meeting was Captain Ben Swett from nearby Pease Air Force Base.  He thought it was interesting that their memories cut off moments after they fled the Indian Head area.  He suggested thy try hypnotic recall, but only under the direction of a psychiatrist.  They asked Dr. Stephans.  He agreed, and referred them to the prominent Boston psychiatrist, Doctor Benjamin Simon.

     Beginning on December 14, 1963, Betty and Barney had separate sessions with Simon every Saturday for seven months.  Each was hypnotically regressed back to the beginning of the experience, and then carefully brought through it.  The sessions were recorded.  Near the end of the treatment program they listened to the tapes and learned the following:

     In Clark’s field, as Barney looked up at the humanoid, he was told, “Don’t be afraid.  You are going to be all right.  Just stand there and look at me.”

     The Hills drove south, left Route 3 for 175, and were several miles south of the Russell Pond area when they turned left onto a dirt road.  It was here that the object was waiting for them.  And it was here that six humanoids, all about five feet tall and dressed in black, flagged them down.  When Barney stopped the car, the engine died and he was unable to restart it.

     As the humanoids approached, Barney and Betty “fell under their control” and entered a sleep-like state.  Barney, whose eyes remained closed through the entire ordeal, was helped from the car and held up by two of the aliens.

     Betty saw Barney being somewhat dragged along.  The tops of his shoes were scraping over the rocks.  Several times she commanded him to wake up, but each attempt failed.  Finally the alien leader assured her that no harm would come to them.  She was also told that they were going to be tested and then be put back in their car.

     As they approached the UFO ramp she balked.  The alien leader got angry.  When a feeling of helplessness came over her, she headed for the doorway.  Inside they turned left and went down a corridor to a wedge-shaped room where Betty was to be examined.  Barney was led to the next room for the same purpose.  Only the UFO leader and the examiner remained in the room with her.

     In the testing that followed, her eyes, ears, nose and throat were checked.  Next, hair, fingernail, and skin samples were taken.  After inspecting her hands and feet, the examiner had her slip out of her dress and lay on a table.  Following a study of her spine, he ran a multiple needle device over her that he said “recorded” her central nervous system.  Later, when she reacted to the pain caused by the insertion of a long needle into her navel, the testing was discontinued and the examiner left.

     Alone with the leader, Betty coaxed him into giving her a strange-looking book as proof of her experience.  Also, when she asked him where he was from he produced an oblong “sky” map.  He explained that the heavy lines were trade routes, the solid lines were places they went occasionally, and the broken lines represented expeditions.

     When Betty failed to pinpoint where earth was on the map, he put it away.  Shortly after that, the examiner and several other aliens excitedly entered the room and began to inspect her mouth.  They were confused over why Barney’s teeth came out and hers didn’t.

     Betty explained dentures to them, and also old age.  She tried to explain how we measure time.  When asked about food, she had difficulty explaining what vegetables were!  At this time Barney joined her.  The testing was over.  (Under hypnosis, he would later recall a cup-like object being placed on his groin as part of his examination.)

     As they were ready to go down the ramp, some of the humanoids became highly agitated and the leader took the book away from Betty.  Angrily she reminded him that it was her proof.

     He said, “That is the whole point.  They don’t want you to know what has happened.  They want you to forget all about it.”

     Betty forcefully replied, “I won’t forget about it.  I’ll remember if it is the last thing I do.”

     He told her, “It won’t do you any good if you do.  Barney won’t remember a single thing.  And if you should remember anything at all, he is going to remember it differently from you....”

     Finally the leader said to her, “I’m going to leave you here.  Why don’t you stand by the car and watch us leave.”

     Minutes later Betty found Barney sitting in the car.  Though his eyes were open, he appeared to be in a fog.  He responded when she invited him to join her outside the car.  She reached in and picked up a shivering Delsey.  As she leaned against her car fender, Barney stood beside her.  While they watched, the object began to glow.  Soon it was surrounded by swirling, orange-red, fiery mass.

     Betty cried, “Look at Delsey.  She may be the only dog in the world who has ever seen anything like this, and she’s hiding her head under my arm.”

     Once the craft had left, and they had found their way back to Route 3, Betty said, “Well, Barney, now try to tell me that you don’t believe in flying saucers.”


     In the years that followed, the Hills never released their experience to the news media.  They reported it only to the authorities at Pease Air Force Base, and discussed it only with members of their immediate family.  Eventually two Pease officials mentioned it to an investigative reporter at a Boston cocktail party.  When he approached the Hills, they shied away from him.  But their privacy was ebbing away.

     The Boston Herald Traveler broke the story on October 26, 1965.  It made headlines around the world.  Unfortunately the reporter had only half the facts, and the Hills came close to being held up to ridicule.  With their phone ringing constantly, they had to invest in an answering service.  They didn’t stay home any longer than was necessary.  At last, they decided to go public.

     They established contact with an author, John Fuller, who was researching UFOs in the Exeter area.  He told them, “The best way to get the public off your back is to write a book.”

     With Doctor Simon’s blessing, they collaborated with Fuller.  In 1966, The Interrupted Journey came out.  It was a best-seller.  With its appearance, they went on a nationwide TV tour.  Betty has been doing TV programs ever since.

     Barney was felled by a stroke on February 25, 1969.  He died that ...(missing letters)        ... nine.  He was forty-six years old.

     Ironically, seeming proof of the experience surfaced that year with a publication of the 1969 G...(missing letters) ... Catalogue, a publication which contains the latest findings in astronomy.  In the catalogue Marjorie Fish, a former teacher and a nuclear researcher at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, identified two of the stars which were a part of the “sky” map that Betty had recreated while under hypnosis in Doctor Simon’s office.  Experts took notice and this pattern of stars is known today as the Fish-Hill Pattern.

     In 1970 Marjorie Fish announced the humanoids were from a star known as ...(missing letters) ...eticuli 1.  When Betty's "sky" map was set up by scientists on com-(missing letters) ...

it was found that the map ...(missing letters)...cted earth looking outward from ...(missing letters)...a Reticuli I.  They concluded that no one on this planet was capable of creating such a map.

     On October 20, 1975, a made-for-NBC TV movie entitled The UFO Incident dramatized Barney and Betty's experience.  James Earl Jones starred as Barney, and Estelle Parsons played Betty.

     Betty has remained in contact with scientists throughout the world who share UFO reports with her.  She also travels around the country dong radio and press interviews, lectures on the college and public school circuit, and has appeared on every major talk show in the United States.  She has even been on Japanese and Chinese television.

     Carrying on her own UFO investigations since 1972, once a week now she travels to an isolated spot southwest of Portsmouth that she has identified as a UFO corridor.  She has taken many UFO photos, and she believes that the UFOs coming in now have a different purpose than those that arrived earlier.

     During the early period, which she calls "The Time of Exploration," she says that they were looking over the landscape.  The second period is what she refers to as "The Period of Infiltration."  She claims they are showing an interest in the events of the area and the activities of the people.  In brief, she says they are doing an in-depth study of mankind.

     She also warns that there is a danger associated with UFOs.  She attributes this to too many people shooting at them over the years.  As a consequence, they have learned to avoid people and they protect each other.  She states that they will either make darting motions at a person, or they will shoot colored balls of light called "fire bullets."  When this happens, the person becomes disoriented and confused.  She feels it affects the nervous system.

   "So," she adds, "if you see a UFO stay your distance but be friendly.  Remember, they are astronauts from a different solar system and are a long ways from home.  Be friendly to them, and they may respond in a friendly way."

     She says that during her travels people often ask her why there are so many UFOs in New Hampshire, and she replies, "Haven't you been to New Hampshire to find out?  We're simply a beautiful state."


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