UNH Innovation Spotlight - Betty and Barney Hill Collection

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Betty and Barney Hill

 

Betty and Barney Hill Collection 

The University of New Hampshire is home to many unique and surprising things that the institution has collected over its 150-year history. However, there are probably none quite as unexpected as the university’s collection of authentic UFO-related artifacts from Betty and Barney Hill, the now famous couple who made the first well-documented and widely reported UFO abduction report in the United States. 

UNH received the collection after Betty’s death in 2004 (Barney passed away suddenly in 1969). Now housed at the Dimond Library, it contains artifacts related to their abduction and subsequent research, such as correspondence, personal journals and essays, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs, slides, films and audio tapes relating to UFOs. The collection also includes the dress Betty was wearing on the night of the abduction and a ceramic bust of an alien, dubbed “Junior,” which was sculpted to resemble Betty’s description of the alien leader.

Betty and Barney Hill were New Hampshire residents and lived near the seacoast in Portsmouth. Late at night on Sept. 19, 1961, the couple was returning from a trip to Montreal and driving through New Hampshire’s White Mountains when they said they saw lights approaching them in the sky. Through binoculars, Barney claims to have spotted non-human figures in a cigar-shaped craft that hovered over their car. The next thing they can recall is being 35 miles farther in their journey home. Two hours of their drive were wiped from their memories. Betty’s dress was stained and torn, and Barney’s shoes were badly scuffed, but neither had any recollection of how these and other physical changes happened to their car and belongings. 

After seeking hypnosis therapy, the couple were able to recall similar details of an alien abduction. Because of her experience, Betty became one of the most well-known voices in UFO research and the publicity she received made her internationally famous as the couple’s story captured the world’s imagination. Their descriptions of what they experienced and saw that night have shaped the way alien encounters are discussed in the media even today. The Hills, though best known for their association with UFOs and their abduction, were also active civil servants in their seacoast New Hampshire community. Both were members of the NAACP and Barney sat on a local board of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

If you have any questions about the Betty and Barney Hill collection, you can visit www.library.unh.edu/find/archives/collections/betty-and-barney-hill-pape... or contact Dr. Elizabeth Slomba, University Archivist at Elizabeth.Slomba@unh.edu.

For inquiries about licensing pieces from the Betty and Barney Hill Collection, please contact beth.sheckler@unh.edu.

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