Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

Happy Black History Month! So for the entire month of February I’ll be sharing some supernatural and strange stories featuring African-Americans. For this first week, I’ll be taking a look at one of my favorite alien abduction stories, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction from 1961.

A lovely couple

Back in 1961, there was a couple by the name of the Hills. Barney was a Newport News native, and the son of shipyard workers now living in New Hampshire as a postal worker. 

Betty was his second wife. Betty and Barney lived painfully normal lives, but on one late night drive back from Niagara Falls back to their home in Portsmouth something truly strange happened. A bright light shone above them, Betty panicked, causing Barney to forcefully stop the car in the middle of the empty road. 

Barney stepped out of the car to investigate, the object now hovering close to the road, where the two of them heard high pitched beeps that caused Betty to shoutThey’re going to capture us!’

Barney ran back to their car and went petal to the metal as they escaped from the craft. When they arrived home, the couple went straight to bed, but Betty had some of the worst nightmares of her life. She experienced visions of men hovering over them, poking and prodding Betty. 

After waking up, they inspected the damages. Betty’s dress from that night had been ripped, and Barney’s shoes had scuff marks that looked as if he had been dragged from behind. The couple realized that they had lost 2 hours and 45 minutes of time, and they couldn’t remember anything that happened.

Betty’s dress

Betty was affected greatly by the abduction, but she was able to piece together what happened. The couple’s car had been stopped by strange stark white men in black clothing, and Barney was forcefully taken from the car alongside Betty. The men took hair and skin samples, and seemed to favor Betty, as she recalled being shown a star map, which she was able to reproduce after undergoing hypnotic therapy in the 1970s. 

Many like to say that the Hills were nothing but attention seekers, and due to them being an interracial couple, they were continulously poked fun at and ridiculed. Even after the event, Barney joined the NAACP and a local branch of civil rights activists until he died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1961. 

While Betty lived on, her mental health deteriorated due to a brain tumor that ended up killing her in 2004. I believe that something did happen to the couple, and their credibility is only heightened by the fact that they never tried to make money off of their story. Betty’s niece did write a book in the 70’s, and there was a TV movie made about their experience, but due to Barney’s early passing and Betty’s shy nature, almost no money went to Betty herself. 

Many try to account the story to Betty’s undiagnosed brain tumor, or her underlying mental health issues. But something did happen, and her cancer and Barney’s early death may even be related to the incident that occured that quiet September night. Was it aliens? Was it a government experiment? Was it a strange shared delusion between the couple? It doesn’t matter, the story remains as the Roswell of alien abduction stories. 

Got a recommendation for a Historic Hysterics story? Comment on the Critograph’s instagram!

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