The Betty/Barney Hill Story: Does it matter?
That ufologists persist in portraying the episode as a bona fide UFO event goes to the heart of why UFOs, generally, are dimissed by more rational minds.
For instance in these two paragraphs from the official newsletter of the Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land, Volume 2, Number 7, July 1994 resides a premise which would disqualify Betty Hill's account of her experience as a genuine UFO event:
It was during the showing of the episode "The Bellero Shield" that I felt the uncanny frisson of deja vu. The eyes of the alien were unusually long and wrapped around the side of the face. It quickly hit me these eyes were just like the wraparound eyes that were drawn in The Interrupted Journey -- and the later more detailed drawing the Hills did in collaboration with the artist David Baker. Though I couldn't articulate it at that instant, there were other similarities which had contributed to the sense of a close relationship: no ears, no hair, no nose, and a cranium shaped like a bullet tilted backwards 45 degrees. I was excited by the possibility of a match because I was reasonably sure there were few or no other examples of aliens with wraparound eyes in science fiction cinema. Moments later however my excitement became subdued. It dawned on me that The Outer Limits was a series of the mid-Sixties and the Hill case dated to the early Sixties-- 1961 or 1962. "The Bellero Shield" couldn't have been an influence. Still, the book came out in 1966. Could the lag be significant?
After the program ended, I dug into my library for a round of late night research. "The Bellero Shield" aired February 10, 1964. The Hill's UFO encounter happened in the morning of September 20, 1961. That probably should have killed the idea of any kind of influence, but the resemblance was just so compelling I couldn't shake the feeling there had to be a relationship. I reread The Interrupted Journey. To my delight I discovered there was no mention of wraparound eyes in the earliest account. Betty's dreams, written down a matter of days after the UFO sighting, mention men with Jimmy Durante noses, dark or black hair and eyes and a relaxed human appearance that she said was "not frightening." This is all quite different from the final product. The changes emerge in the hypnotic regression with Dr. Simon. The most salient issue was to know when the wraparound eyes were first described. That turned out to be during a hypnosis session involving Barney dated February 22, 1964. Not only did "The Bellero Shield" precede Barney's first mention of wraparound eyes, it did by only 12 days! I was immensely pleased.
The writer provides what has been dismissed (intentionally?) by those hoping to use the Hill's account as a template for UFO abductions: her description(s) of the beings who allegedly kidnapped her and her husband.
The Hill episode, in toto, is tantamount to a fictional rendering of a psychotic event.
It should be looked at as a psychological or neurological episode, not as a true account of an alien abduction.
Its value lies in its rather interesting psychic breakdown that is detailed in many ways over a long period of time.
Doctors dealing with mental illness that doesn't involve a totally disabling break with normal reality should be looking at the Hill case for clues to borderline psychoses that go unrecognized in the population, and how those psychoses infect "normal" persons (ufologists, in this case), causing them to suspend common sense in order to support a bias, in this instance, that aliens beings are visiting the Earth and sometimes abducting humans for bizarre experimentation.