The married couple Betty (actually Eunice Elizabeth Barrett, 1919-2004) and Barney Hill (1922-1969) reported that they had been the victim of a close encounter of the fourth kind on the night of 19 to 20 September 1961, by encountering a UFO and being said to have been briefly kidnapped by the occupants into the object, where it had undergone several experiments and surgical interventions. The kidnappers are said to have been extraterrestrials. The event is considered to be unproven.

Alien abduction

During a nighttime drive on a lonely section of the U.S. Highway 3 in the White Mountains (New Hampshire), the Hills observed a bright, flying object. They later found themselves sitting in their car 60 miles south, unable to remember what had happened. The Hills reported their observation to the local air base. Five days after the incident, Betty Hill also sent a short message to the NICAP (National Investigation Committee of Aerial Phenomena), which was then questioned by an employee of the organization. The Hills reported that psychological effects such as nightmares, flaccidity and anxiety occurred a few days later. A few months later, they went to a therapist. After unsuccessful treatment, he referred her to the psychiatrist Benjamin Simon at the end of 1963, who interviewed her under hypnosis.

Only under hypnosis (!) Did the Hills describe numerous details of an encounter with strange beings. They were stopped by dwarf gray creatures, brought on board a UFO, interviewed and medically examined several times. Betty Hill had hair, skin and nail samples and ear wax taken. She was also shown a star map. Later they were conditioned by the beings to suppress the experiences. However, the spouses contradicted each other in their descriptions, for example in the description of the aliens.

Barney Hill, who was chronically ill before the event, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1969. Betty Hill represented her version of the night until she died at the age of 85.


Alien abduction by Betty and Barney Hill is one of the most important events in ufology and, as an archetype, marks the beginning of the wave of alien abduction in the 1960s. The details of the case will reappear in most of the other kidnapping cases over the next few decades: the appearance of the extraterrestrials, the lack of time phenomenon, medical examinations, thought communication, and the involvement of the U.S. military.

Several ufologists claim to be able to prove Hill's alien abduction. However, none of the arguments presented as evidence was accepted by the general public. Jacques Vallée considers the processes to be an ancient earthly phenomenon and pointed to the correspondence of many descriptions of the Hills with traditional religious, mythical and fairytale ideas, for example the descriptions of ghosts, fairies and demons. The Hills psychiatrist, Simon, hypothesized that the multiracial couple (Barney was an African American, Betty was a white man) may have worked up deep-seated unresolved conflicts with the story. An actual observation through the Hills is not questioned by them. Also speaks for it: "the object observed by the Hills was also detected by the military radar".

Outside the circle of UFO believers, on the other hand, skepticism and criticism of the reality of the kidnapping by extraterrestrials were heard early on. It was criticized that the Hills had only described the "true" background more than two years after the incident. The German Magazine "SPIEGEL" mentioned in 1966 as explanation the previous magazine fee of the Hills: 96,000 DM ($ 50.000 US Dollar). Various scientific attempts to explain the kidnapping phenomenon have also been made over the years. Most studies focused on the question of which psychological or physiological processes caused these perceptions or could have deformed real experiences. Among other things, it was discussed whether the experiences are misinterpreted cognitive processes, i.e. psychological illusions similar to optical illusions, or whether the descriptions obtained under hypnosis are false memories.


  • Betty Hill: A Common Sense Approach to Ufos. Betty Hill, Greenland NH 1995, ISBN 0-9648243-0-2.
  • Stanton Friedman, Kathleen Marden: Captured! The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience. New Page Books, Franklin Lakes, NJ 2007.
  • John G. Fuller: The Interrupted Journey. Two lost hours on board a flying saucer. Kopp Verlag, Rottenburg am Neckar 1996, (Translated by Astrid Ogbeiwi).

Film / television

  • Meeting out of nowhere (1975). Directed by Richard Colla (feature film)
  • Flying Saucers Are Real (1979); Directed by Ed Hunt (documentary)
  • Dark Skies (1996) (TV series)
  • Kidnapped by UFOs? (1997); PBS Nova (TV documentary)


  • NNDB (Notable Names Database)
  • (Notable Names Database)

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