Did This Couple Truly Experience The World’s First UFO Encounter?

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Jun 03, 2022

Imagine you as a young person with your spouse and you’re driving on a winding country road through rural America late at night. As you’re casually driving along, a bright white light suddenly appears before you in the sky.

Naturally, you would probably stop to check out this unusual light, but what would you do if the light started to move closer to you suddenly. And when it gets closer, you see that it’s like nothing you have ever seen or imagined before. That is exactly what happened to Barney and Betty Hill, a New Hampshire couple who ended up being one of the first reported cases of alien abduction. Read on to learn what happened when Barney and Betty Hill lost two hours of time on that dark fall night.

Two Hours of Unconsciousness and Lost Time

The incident occurred on September 19, 1961, near Lancaster, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. In the modern era, it’s not unusual to hear of UFO sightings, and there are even tons of supposed UFO abduction cases reported. However, in 1961, this wasn’t a normal occurrence.


As it turns out, much of the imagery that you commonly hear about with modern UFO abduction accounts comes from Barney and Betty’s experience. Oddly, they were driving in their car after the incident and forgot all about it until they started having unusual dreams of inhuman figures who performed strange examinations on them.


A Honeymoon Gone Awry

The Hills decided to take a spontaneous road trip because they had both been working hard and needed a break. When they weren’t at work, they were busy with their church and other activities. At the time, they had only been married for 16 months.


The trip through Niagara Falls and Montreal was to serve as a late honeymoon. They got into the car with just $70 and started their trip. It was on the last night of the trip that they left a diner at 10:00 p.m. They planned to arrive home by 3:00 a.m. at the latest.

Was It Following Them?

Barney was a former World War II veteran and not prone to fantasy and superstition. When they first saw the lights in the sky, they thought it was a satellite. However, to their astonishment, the light was erratic, and it seemed to be moving toward them.


The couple thought it was a strange illusion, even as the light seemed to duck behind trees and ridges. Eventually, they stopped the car and got out to look more closely, using binoculars. Betty said that she could see that the object was actually spinning in the air.

Their Watches Stopped Running

For more than 30 miles, the couple traveled along that stretch of highway. When they got home, they found their luggage in the wrong place and then they began to notice that their clothing had rips and tears in it. Moreover, both of them were certain that their clothing wasn’t torn when dressed earlier in the day.


Here is another strange fact: Their watches stopped running during this time. They ended up arriving home at about dawn and they couldn’t account for more than two hours of travel time. What happened during those two hours?

A Secret Government Project: Project Blue Book

Although they didn’t know what happened, Betty thought it would be a good idea to report the incident to the authorities. Betty Hill notified the Peace Air Base nearby to tell them about the odd ship where she and Barney had been taken. However, the staff at the base dismissed Betty and said that the light they saw was probably the planet Jupiter, which was unusually bright that night.

While the staff at the base didn’t take Betty’s report seriously, the U.S. government did. Officials passed the info along to a secret project run by the United States Air Force called Project Blue Book, a project that analyzed and tracked reported UFO data for the purpose of national security.


The Hills Undergo Hypnosis

Betty was still dissatisfied, so she contacted Marine Corps Major Donald Keyhoe, a noted UFO enthusiast who had written a book about his studies. One of Keyhoe’s colleagues suggested that Betty and Barney see a mental health professional so that they could perhaps analyze their unusual dreams.

Both Barney and Betty were hypnotized through several sessions by a psychiatrist named Benjamin Simon. Simon concluded that Barney and Betty were feeling a lot of anxiety and stress because they were an interracial couple. Being an interracial couple was indeed stressful in the 1960s, but naturally, Barney and Betty disagreed with the doctor’s conclusion.


The Secrets Revealed by Hypnosis

When they were hypnotized, Betty and Barney revealed shocking details. For one thing, they reported that they saw gray creatures with large eyes who walked the couple into a wide metallic disc. Betty described the disc as being as wide as the length of her house.

Once they got the couple inside, the creatures began to examine Betty and Barney before erasing their memories. In the examination, both of them were asked to lie on a metal table. Their clothing was removed as the creatures took samples of nail clippings and hair.


A Star Map Is Revealed

During the course of their time on the ship, Betty was able to ask one of the creatures from where they had come. She admitted that she didn’t know a lot about the universe, and the creature explained that if she didn’t know where she was, how could she understand where they came from?

Betty later drew a star map that had been shown to her. When he was interviewed on a radio program years later, Dr. Simon said that he completely believed in the honesty of the couple. He simply thought Betty dreamed up the entire event and Barney bought into it.


What Really Happened That Night?

Barney Hill had an IQ of 140 and was not an imaginative man. When Betty told him that there was no way they were seeing a satellite, he couldn’t disagree. At one point, he wondered to himself what in the world he was seeing. Then he was startled to realize that he and his wife were going to be captured.

He and Betty both lost consciousness and woke up 35 miles down the road three hours later. It was the Hill’s account that first gave the world’s imagination a glimpse into UFOs.


Barney and Betty White in Later Years

Barney and Betty White never sought media attention or money from their experience. Some attention came their way after Dr. Simon authored a study about working with the couple.

However, for the most part, the Hills tried to just go back to their lives as they were before the incident. The couple later collaborated with an author named John G. Fuller to write “The Interrupted Journey,” a book about their experience. Barney continued working at the post office, and Betty remained at her job working with child welfare cases. Barney and Betty Hill never changed their story.