Page 11 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - Late January 2019
P. 11

The Hills: A Study in Madness                                                                                 11

           Betty and Barney Hill: A

                 Study in Madness

                   by Dr. Aaron Sakulich
                      The Iron Skeptic

          In 2005 I wrote an article on the supposed
          abduction of Betty and Barney Hill.  This
          incident was one of the first stories of modern
          alien abduction folklore; it ushered in the era of
          abductees claiming to have been kidnapped
          against their wills by space aliens, having
          terrible medical experiments performed on
          them, and so on.  The Hills' story is a golden
          icon of the UFO enthusiast community;
          metaphorically, one could say that it is at the
          center of their pantheon of higher powers. At the
          time I was writing for my university newspaper,
          which had a length limit of 1200 words;
          therefore, the article was certainly not a long or
          involved one.
                                                          road at night waylaid by a mysterious object;  after whatever happened, they both forgot about
                 The response I got was startling. E-mails
                                                          tiny gray aliens with lightbulb-shaped heads,  it. Betty then read a book on the subject of UFOs
          poured in from every country on the globe, most
                                                          bizarre medical procedures, missing time, and  by Maj. Donald Keyhoe's and started having
          of them spending quite an amount of time on
                                                          memories only recoverable through hypnosis.    vivid dreams about her "alien abduction". Mind
          detailed descriptions of my mother's birth canal
                                                          There is no doubt in my mind that their story is  you, of course, that dreams don't really work that
          and what the author had done to it the previous
                                                          hogwash. Betty was already a UFO enthusiast,   way: they pick and poke at unimportant details
          evening. On  The  Triangle's website itself,
                                                          having read at least one book by the famous    from the dreamer's daily life, and they rarely just
          comments decrying my idiocy were posted by
                                                          UFO frontiersman Maj. Donald Keyhoe, when      replay an entire event over again accurately.
          numerous sources, many of whom I would later
                                                          the abduction supposedly ocurred and later     These dreams were what convinced Betty to find
          find out were well-known names in the field of
                                                          made claims such as her cat possessed the      a hypnotist and drag the story out of her and her
          arguing about Betty and Barney Hill.
                                                          power of flight. Some have argued that her later,  husband's memories.
                 The effect of this excoriating literary
                                                          insane claims of cat-flight and invisible saucers     While in their car, the Hills became
          flood was like the opposite of what the authors
                                                          were the product of a mind addled by years of  aware of a beeping sound; they suspected that
          had intended; I dug in. Three years later I am
                                                          media overexposure. But the question remains:  the first time they heard it, it was the trigger that
          still writing articles for something that was
                                                          what if it wasn't?  What if the problem that   put them into a trance and led them to the ship,
          originally a hobby to liven up bland evenings. I
                                                          created such beliefs was already present before  and the second time they heard it, it was the
          think the main reasons that I recieved such blind
                                                          the supposed encounter? Here's some expanded   equivalent of a hypnotist snapping his fingers to
          fury as a response to my article was two-fold;
                                                          information on the case; it's been dissected all to  take them out of their trance.  That beeping
          first, it wasn't very long. The debate about the
                                                          death, so these are just the main points.      would be used to put a person in a hypnotic state
          Hill case goes on, and on, and on, and on. Even
                                                                                                         is of itself fairly strange; Earthly hypnotists
          the tinest variables in the case have been                                                     usually use some sort of visual stimulus, but, on
          dissected and written up in long, long articles.    "In fact, if you have a crime              the other hand, the (at the time) recent and
          Yet, only one group seemed to get the idea that   committed against you, and you               surprising delivery of Sputnik I into space
          I was going for: a short review. Most took the     go to have hypnosis, you can't              involved beeping. In the minds of the people of
          view that if it's not 300 pages long, it's not worth                                           the time, beeping and outer space were closely
          writing. Well.                                   testify. Because there's no way to            linked. It was later claimed that because Barney
                 The second reason is that the argument I     test what is real, what's fact,
                                                                                                         resisted more, he was put into a deeper trance
          chose to look at was Martin Kottmeyer's idea                what's fantasy."                   and his memories were a little groggier; this is,
          that the alien Barney reported seeing was                                                      in my humble opinion, and excellent way of
          similar to the one from an episode of The Outer                ~ Betty Hill
                                                                                                         explaning why he wasn't as enthusiastic about
          Limits. I think my detractors were more furious
                                                                                                         telling stories involving space monsters from
          that I was discussing this idea than they were                                                 beyond the moon as his wife was.
          that I was doing a very abbreviated view of the  It all began as they were driving home from a
          Hill case.  And I can see why: Kottmeyer's      visit to  America's mysterious neighbor to the                        (Continued on Page 12)
          argument is spot-on. People have tried to pick it  north, Canada. As they drove through the lonely
          apart, and it seems that there is always a      forest roads, they spotted a strange object in the
          reasonable response to any criticism. If I'd spent  sky, by which they were fascinated enough for  For The Best Radio Programming
          long years futilely arguing against an idea and I  Barney to pull the car over and try and get a                From The
          saw some guy in a college newspaper revive it   view of the thing through some binoculars. And        World Of The Paranormal
          (even just temporarily) I guess I'd be pissed too.  then something happened. What it is depends on
                 Also, copy editors added some mistakes   your view: some say that Barney spotted a                           To
          to the article, such as the phrase "an loving   spacecraft through the binoculars, tried to run    The Science Of Parapsychology
          couple." Hell, even I sent myself an angry email  away, and space aliens kidnapped him and his                   24/7/265
          about that.                                     wife. Others suspect that after the incident with                  Visit
                 Their story is the basic plot to all     the binoculars, Barney just got back in the car    
          modern abduction stories; a couple on a lonely  and drove home. No aliens required. Anyway,

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