Friday, November 23, 2012
Betty & Barney Hill : the Abduction Meme is born
Betty and Barney Hills: Dr. Simon's conclusions
After extensive hypnosis sessions, Dr. Simon concluded that Barney's recall of the UFO encounter was a fantasy inspired by Betty's dreams. Though Simon admitted this hypothesis did not explain every aspect of the experience, he thought it was the most plausible and consistent explanation. Barney rejected this idea, noting that while their memories were in some regards interlocking, there were also portions of both their narratives that were unique to each. Barney was now ready to accept that they had been abducted by the occupants of a UFO, though he never embraced it as fully as Betty did.
Though the Hills and Simon disagreed about the nature of the case, they all concurred that the hypnosis sessions were effective: the Hills were no longer tormented by anxiety about the UFO encounter.
Afterwards, Simon wrote an article about the Hills for the journal Psychiatric Opinion, explaining his conclusions that the case was a singular psychological aberration.
Influential TV show
Paranormal investigator Brian Dunning reports that the hypnosis sessions occurred over two years after the reported abductions, plenty of time for the couple to discuss their encounter. In a 2008 article, Dunning calls their story "merely an inventive tale from the mind of a lifelong UFO fanatic... [and] is unsupported by any useful evidence, and is perfectly consistent with the purely natural explanation." Dunning's statements, however, are not supported by factual information. Betty was not a lifelong UFO enthusiast. According to Barney's 1961 letter to Major Donald Keyhoe and early investigative reports, she had not read even one book about UFOs prior to her close encounter on September 19, 1961; nor had he.
An alien (played by actor John Hoyt) depicted on TV twelve days prior to the making of Hill's 'Grey' hypnosis tape
In his 1990 article Entirely Unpredisposed, Martin Kottmeyer suggested that Barney's memories revealed under hypnosis might have been influenced by an episode of the science fiction television show
The Outer Limits titled "The Bellero Shield", which was broadcast about two weeks before Barney's first hypnotic session. The episode featured an extraterrestrial with large eyes who says, "In all the universes, in all the unities beyond the universes, all who have eyes have eyes that speak." The report from the regression featured a scenario that was in some respects similar to the television show. In part, Kottmeyer wrote:
"Wraparound eyes are an extreme rarity in science fiction films. I know of only one instance. They appeared on the alien of an episode of an old TV series The Outer Limits entitled "The Bellero Shield". A person familiar with Barney's sketch in "The Interrupted Journey" and the sketch done in collaboration with the artist David Baker will find a "frisson" of "déjà vu" creeping up his spine when seeing this episode. The resemblance is much abetted by an absence of ears, hair, and nose on both aliens. Could it be by chance? Consider this: Barney first described and drew the wraparound eyes during the hypnosis session dated 22 February 1964. "The Bellero Shield" was first broadcast on "10 February 1964. Only twelve days separate the two instances. If the identification is admitted, the commonness of wraparound eyes in the abduction literature falls to cultural forces."
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