Recently, on UFO UpDates, there has been some discussion about the Barney and Betty Hill abduction and a few of the claims made by researchers about what Betty Hill might have seen at the movies or on television. The problem arose when one of the list members wrote about that Science Fiction classic, Killers from Space.
This is a really awful 1954 movie in which Peter Graves plays a scientist working around nuclear weapons. He experiences an episode of missing time, has an unexplained scar on his chest, is haunted by aliens with large eyes who come from a dying planet and who are hiding in an underground base. Nearly all the elements of the modern abduction phenomenon are covered in this film and there are those who believe that it was a government plot to ridicule the abduction phenomenon to keep it hidden from the public. This about a decade before anyone heard of an abduction.
I suppose it’s time to stir the controversy pot again and point out that in The Abduction Engima, published about ten years ago, we, meaning Russ Estes, Bill Cone, and I, discuss all the pop cultural references to alien abduction starting with a 1908 silent movie, the pulp era of science fiction meaning the 1930s and 40s, and the movies that mirror the abduction phenomenon long before anyone in the UFO field was talking about it. Does this mean that all the abductees were exposed to this material? Well, the opportunity was certainly there.
Now there is the suggestion that the Pentagon might have engineered this, meaning producing the movies so that the general population wouldn’t take abduction reports seriously. But, much of this came long before there was a Pentagon (though there certainly was an Army)... and we really don’t need to postulate about disinformers in the military or in the government because we have enough home grown ones that no program needs to exist to make the topic ridiculous.
Yes, we can say today that neither Barney nor Betty enjoyed science fiction and that they were uninterested in it. But we must also remember that in the 1960s there were three television networks, Public Television and few independent stations. You were stuck with what they broadcast and in the era before the remote control, you even tended to watch the commercials. So, who can say that late one sleepless night that Betty didn’t see one of these movies (Killers from Space, This Island Earth, Invaders from Mars, etc.)... or an trailer for it...?
And let’s not forget that on page 144 of Fuller’s hardback, The Interrupted Journey, the book about the Hill aabduction published in 1966, Betty said, "And I laughed at him[Barney when he suggested they might be captured] and asked him if he had watched the Twilight Zone recently on TV..."
Now, to be fair, Dr. Simon asks if there had been anything like this on the Twilight Zone and Betty said, "I don’t know. I never see the Twilight Zone. But I had heard people talk about this program, and I always was under the impression that it was a way-out type thing."
But, to answer Simon’s question, "Yes, there had been." Broadcast on April 4, 1962, was an episode called "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby" in which Andy Devine is abducted by aliens, taken onto their ship where they are finally revealed as gray-faced creatures with no nose and small, tear-drop shaped eyes without pupils.
(For those interested, Devine is a well-known liar, claiming all sorts of extraordinary things, which is why the aliens have searched him out. They believe he is a brilliant scientist and want to tap into his brain... which means, I suppose, interrogate him. When he pulls out his harmonic, the vibrations of the music cause the alien human appearance to shatter and we see the aliens for what they are. Devine escapes, tells his friends what happened, but, of course, they don’t believe him.)
Take a look at the picture (seen below) and see if it doesn’t bear a striking resemblance to the pictures we see of the "grays." Yes, the eyes are smaller and there are those folds in the face, but this is a interesting match. Of course there are those who will say that the designer working on the show had been abducted at some point and used his or her own subconscious memories to create the alien face. Just as there are those who claim that the writers and producers of Killers from Space had some sort of abduction experience... or that those in the Pentagon influenced the production to make claims of abduction seem ridiculous and causing the rest of us to reject such stories.
There is no amount of twisting and turning that the true believers will reject to keep their beliefs intact... which explains why even with the admission of the participants that the Alien Autopsy film is a fake and here’s who we created it, there are those who reject the proof... Or those who believe in the Allende Letters even with the confession by Allende (aka Carl Allen) that he faked the whole thing... Or those who think Maury Island was anything but a hoax... but I digress once again.
So, did Barney or Betty see this Twilight Zone episode? Did they see a preview for it? Or did they never see it and had no knowledge that it even existed? If I had to guess, I’d pick door number three, but I can’t know and neither can anyone else. To reject this possible contamination out of hand is typical of those true believers. Don’t bother me with evidence because I know the truth... I am enlightened and you are not.
What we can see here, and which I’m sure will now result in a loud chorus of "Betty Hill never watched these sci-fi programs," and "Kevin Randle is an anti-abduction propagandist," is the fact that these sorts of stories were in the public arena long before any of them reached into the UFO field. What we don’t have is an answer about the possible cultural influence of them on Barney and Betty Hill. I’m not saying that Betty Hill was affected by any of this, only that we cannot eliminate the possibility that she was...
And for a simple personal anecdote, let me say this. I don’t watch King of the Hill, but on Who Wants to be a Millionaire they asked what Hank Hill did for a living. I knew it had to do with propane. Had they not given four choices, I might not have been able to come up with the answer, but the point is, I did and I don’t watch the show. I picked it up because it was out there in the pop cultural world and we are foolish if we dismiss the possibility that someone uninterested in science fiction might not have stumbled across one of these references as she made her way around.