Betty Hill’s descent into subdued madness: mania mitis (hypomania)?
Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.
Jerome Clark interviewed Betty Hill for the January 1978 edition of UFO Report [Page 40 ff.]
Mrs. Hill’s responses to Mr. Clark took place almost seventeen years after her encounter (or alleged abduction) in 1961.
She was lucid and engaging, but at one point she related her ongoing rendezvous with UFOs at what she called her “landing area”:
“On several occasions, while I was parked at my 'landing area,' UFO would hover over the roof of my car. It would be so close I could have thrown a rock up and hit the bottom of it."
“The ‘new’ UFOs aren’t friendly as the ‘old’ ones were…now they sometimes shoot beams, and darts at cars in menacing fashion…
I was out there one night with a military officer and his wife. When he saw the UFO, he got out of the car and started walking toward it. Suddenly, a large swirling mass shot out from the object…it looked like a red ball rolling over and over and heading directly toward him.
I jumped out and tried to film this with my movie camera. But then – I know this sounds incredible – a green light hit my camera and burned out the switch and the circuitry so that my camera wouldn’t work. When the officer saw this red ball coming at him, he turned and ran back to the car. The red ball stopped, rolled back to the craft, and disappeared.” [Page 43]
Clark doesn’t pursue this intriguing story, but goes on with this:
“Have you had any contact with UFO beings since your abduction?”
Mrs. Hill says, “No, not even a fleeting glimpse of the aliens….”
Clark, as usual, misses the import of the exchange.
Skeptic Robert Sheaffer wrote a letter to the magazine which appeared in the May 1978 issue.
He felt offended by Mr. Clark noting his (Sheaffer’s) analysis of the Hill story, citing time discrepancies, Clark not acknowledging that Mrs. Hill didn’t get back to Mr. Sheaffer with explanations or correctives.
Neither Clark or Sheaffer noticed -- or they ignored – Mrs. Hill’s bizarre account(s) of UFOs at her “landing area,”
This has always been the problem with “ufologists” – they ignore the trees for the forest, as it were.
Mr. Clark’s interview was centered, pretty much, on Mrs. Hill’s reaction to the 1975 NBC movie “The UFO Incident” with James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.
I liked Mrs. Hill, and I don’t think she consciously hoaxed her “abduction.”
She, like Socorro’s Lonnie Zamora, was a plain, normal person. Was is the operative word here.
It seems that the account she gave Mr. Clark, which he errantly ignored, indicated Mrs. Hill’s mental state had become infused with imaginings of a bizarre, and totally UFO-related kind.
But there is the possibility that what Mrs. Hill reported was what she actually experienced: the original abduction and the episode at her “landing area.”
However, one has to lean toward a mental malfunction, primarily because no one else (outside Barney Hill) witnessed the 1961 abduction and the military man in the “landing area” incident never came forward. Mrs. Hill never provided, as far as I know, his name so that he could verify what she said happened to him.
Also, in the Clark interview, Mrs. Hill said she empathized with Parker and Hickson of the Pascagoula abduction, knowing things that confirmed, for her, the reality of that event.
She wouldn’t disclose what those confirmatory things were, and Mr. Clark didn’t press the issue or follow up.
Mrs. Hills antedated interest in science fiction items, and her exploitation by ufologists after her 1961 story was made public increased her mania.
The evidence for mania is palpable. The evidence for an extraterrestrial abduction and that later UFO encounter at her ‘landing area” is nil.
Can we dismiss the Hill abduction story? Yes, but with a caveat: things, as she supposedly experienced them, are not outside the realm of possibility.
As Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his book, Profiles of the Future, “When a scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”