Thursday, March 07, 2019

Project Blue Book Episode 9 - The Hill Abduction (Almost)

I suppose the only thing to say about this latest episode is that it was really annoying. It was based, loosely, on the Hill abduction in 1961. Yes, we had the black man abducted, but his wife was also black and not abducted. Given the time frame of the episode, that is sometime in the late 1940s or the early 1950s, with laws still forbidding interracial marriages in some states, this might be a nod to keeping the time frame accurate… except they have violated that rule a number of times.

Anyway, the black man was abducted by alien creatures and the terms abducted and aliens were bandied about with no thought that such terminology was certainly not in use in the time frame of the story. He had called the Air Force to ask for help, but Quinn, it seems,
Captain Quinn
had blown him off. In the early 1950s this case would certainly have been ignored given the incredible nature of it.

The man finally bursts into the Blue Book office where Quinn and Hynek are having an argument about Hynek’s resignation. Hynek wants to take his research files while Quinn, in civilian clothes, tells him the files belong to the Air Force. Before they can resolve this dilemma, the man, armed with a .45, bursts in and demands they listen to him.

Meanwhile, the Soviet spies are attempting to compromise the Hynek’s wife so that Hynek will give them information about his investigations, though, given the time frame, I’m not sure what the agents expected. The female spy convinces Mimi to get drunk so that they can take compromising photographs of her.

We do get to learn a little about the abduction, as Hynek interviews the guy. He has a paper with dots all over it and in what can only be described as an impossible deduction, Hynek recognizes the star field, but says that it’s reversed, as if looking at it from a point in space on the opposite side from that we see on Earth… Ah, an oblique reference to the Betty Hill star map.

I won’t say anything about the military response to the locked office and the rifle shot through the window. Or the fist fight between Hynek and Quinn. Really, Hynek? In a fist fight? I don’t think so.

So, let’s talk about the Hill abduction case. The Hill abduction took place in 1961, but the Air Force really didn’t take notice of it then. Betty Hill, rather than contacting the Air Force, wrote to
Donald Keyhoe
Donald Keyhoe at NICAP, which, given the Air Force attitude at the time, and Keyhoe’s prominence in the UFO field, makes sense… Unfortunately, it also sort of contaminates the case.

The only case that I can find in the Blue Book files that references the Hill sighting is from Lincoln, New Hampshire on September 20, 1961. The Blue Book index shows the radar sighting as insufficient data and the accompanying visual sighting as insufficient data, meaning there is no solution, but that the evidence isn’t all that strong either. Neither of these have anything to do with the Hill abduction.

The visual sighting was of a cigar-shaped object that was described as a band of light. The witnesses said that wings seemed to appear on the main body. They were “V” shaped with red lights on the ends. It would change directions abruptly and disappeared to the north.

On the project card, under “comments,” it was noted that the weather might be a factor in both the visual and radar sightings. It was reported that a strong inversion layer covered the area. They thought that an advertising search light playing off the clouds might be the cause of the visual sighting, but that seems unlikely. The Air Force concluded that there was no evidence that the objects were caused by anything other than natural phenomena, though they didn’t really identify any of those phenomena.

Other than weather records, the file contained a letter from Colonel Eric deJonckheere (who would appear in the Zamora case in 1964) which referenced the Hill abduction. He noted that Barney Hill had been investigated by officers from Pease Air Force Base and the case is carried as insufficient. This, I think, is a reference to the Lincoln, New Hampshire, case because deJonckheere’s letter is in that file.

Later in the file, there are parts of a magazine article, written by John Fuller, that chronicles some of the Hill abduction. The article is incomplete.

The points of interest here are the suggestion that the Hill abduction was investigated by officers from Pease, but I found nothing in the Blue Book file to confirm this other than deJonckheere’s letter.

As usual, he mentioned inconsistencies in the sighting report and that Jupiter seemed to be visible near the location of the sighting. He wrote that the sighting lasted about an hour and that Jupiter was in the approximate location of the craft and set about the time the object disappeared. He wrote the same thing that appeared on the project card which is that there was no evidence that the sighting was due to anything other than natural causes.

The one thing I do want to talk about is the star map that Betty Hill seemed to remember in a dream. It had a number of random points with lines connecting some of them. These have been called “trade routes,” which indicates alien interest in those specific points.
I have discussed this in past blogs which can be read here:

and here:

and here:

and here:

and finally, here:

If you don’t wish to wade through all that, then let me reduce it without all the supporting information. Marjorie Fish created a number of 3D models of our section of the galaxy so that she might search for a pattern in the stars that matched that on Hill’s star map. She used the best information available to her, which has been revised over the years so that the distances to some of the stars are farther away and others are closer. She did not use any red dwarf stars in her models because there were too many of then and there wouldn’t be anything of interest circling them. If the aliens traveled to one, they should travel to them all. Or so she concluded.

This is not to mention that there are four other interpretations of the star map out there, including one that suggests the map represented not stars but planets in our own solar system. The Zeta I, Zeta II Reticuli interpretation seems to have gained the greatest popularity, but given the flaws in the Fish models, I believe that this should be revisited using computers rather than 3D models.

The point here is that one of the best bits of evidence for the reality of the Hill abduction is somewhat flawed (and no, this isn’t the only point that argues against a real event), we should be careful in our acceptance of this particular abduction.

On a person note, when I was investigating the abduction of Pat Roach, I was working with Dr. James Harder. He was conducting the hypnotic regression sessions. But he told me that he wanted to find something that would validate the Hill abduction. He wanted another case that mirrored the Hills because as second report, from an unrelated abduction, would strengthen the Hill case. What I saw during those sessions, and what I have learned about hypnosis, suggested that Harder contaminated the Roach abduction by his techniques. I firmly believe, given the research that I have done personally including my interviews with the principals, is that Roach experienced an episode of sleep paralysis… Harder managed to introduce elements of the Hill abduction into those hypnotic regression sessions. I don’t believe he realized what he was doing at the time.

All this was laid out in the book, The Abduction Enigma, which was published more than twenty years ago.

I mention these things as a way of, well, discussing the abduction enigma and some of the problems with the research. I also mention it to suggest there are terrestrial explanations for some of the abduction reports.

I will note that the writers of the Project Blue Book show seem to have done their research. They interject elements from the real cases into the plots, even if those points are subtlety made. Little things that many wouldn’t notice, such as the racial identity of the man who said he was abducted. Or the star map reference which here was even more obscure.

However, they seem to be drifting more into the realm of science fiction (though I don’t really object to that) and away from the reality of what can be found in the Blue Book files. Next week they are going to be tackling the Washington Nationals and if the previews are any indication, they’re going to move from intercepts without real conflict into intercepts in which the fighters fire on the “lights.” It’ll be interesting to see where they go with that.


Louis Nicholson said...

I was wondering whether this episode was supposed to be based on the Hill Abduction. Given all the gross factual deviations from that case, I ended up concluding that it was not. If you are right that was, then I have to say that it was ALOT more than being "loosely" based on that case. As a whole, I did not like this episode. Dr. Hynek in a fist fight with the captain which ended up in a draw, the ostensible sexual encounter between the female soviet spy and Hynek's wife and the depiction of the alleged abductee holding a gun on innocent military personnel was just too much.

Woody said...

After interference with my account I asked that future comments from Woody be ignored but my previous career was in record security and I'm sure i've secured my account.
Now ... Many reported and purely fictional accounts of abduction have flowed from the well-spring of the Hill case. Not all of abduction scenario can be traced to it but it did birth a long era of abduction reports and aliens with wrap-around eyes (which by chance were aired on a Twilight Zone episode barely weeks before the supposed Hill abduction). I admire your dedication in sitting through these shows, Kevin. Unfortunately, critical examination of incredible claims requires a patient and not-easily-exploding skeptic to fully examine, as I was duty-bound to do with the Sylvia Brown books before I could fairly level a reasoned conclusion. Thanks for this post mate.

All the best,