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Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2015

Exclusive: Startling New Insights into the Betty and Barney Hill case with Kathleen Marden

by: Brent Raynes

Left to Right: Kathleen Marden, her late mother Janet Miller, and her late aunt Betty Hill

During my fairly extensive contact years ago with Betty Hill, the most well-known alien abductee in the field of ufology, she would complain how the vast majority of the so-called “abductees” were being regressed in a light trance state, comparable to what she called “stage hypnosis,” distinguishing it from “medical hypnosis,” which is what she pointed out Dr. Benjamin Simon, a Boston psychiatrist, used on her and husband Barney to penetrate the amnesia surrounding their September 1961 UFO encounter experience in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She was convinced that the vast majority of people who were describing alien abductions under hypnosis were the victims of hypnosis that was done too lightly to do the job, that such “regressions” were on the same level as “stage hypnosis,” and therefore they were dredging up only fantasies and severely distorted memories instead of factual real-life events.

“It appears that Betty misunderstood Dr. Simon”, Betty’s niece, Kathleen Marden, today herself a hypnotherapist working with UFO “abductees,” recently explained to me. “Medical hypnosis is used for medical purposes and stage hypnosis is used for performing on the stage. Hypnosis is hypnosis, but there are different stages of hypnosis and their characteristics differ somewhat. It is the facilitator’s bias or objectivity that affects the outcome, but it is also contingent upon the hypnotic subject's agenda, knowledge of the subject matter at hand, and response to the hypnotist’s suggestions. Betty and Barney were a special case because they had amnesia for their abduction and were hypnotized separately. Dr. Simon instilled amnesia at the end of each session for two reasons. 1. The degree of trauma was too great for the information to be brought into conscious memory all at once. 2. He wanted to ensure that the Hills didn't exchange information and contaminate the memories brought forth at the sessions. He was a leading expert in the psychiatric use of hypnosis. I have learned a great deal about his techniques from the hypnosis tapes.”

“Dr. Simon used deep trance hypnosis. There is a note from Simon at Fuller’s archive chewing him out for referring to the Hill’s hypnosis as regression. He treated Barney with hypno-analysis and Betty with hypnotherapy. He asked Barney to compare all of the parts of his UFO experience to past emotional experiences. He inquired over and over again, ‘What does this remind you of?’ or ‘Have you felt this way in the past?’

“Dr. Simon's technique was so effective because he went beyond the probing that most psychiatrists used in treating soldiers who suffered from conversion hysteria and got to the root of the problem. On the surface, a soldier's blindness appeared to be caused by the brutality he witnessed during battle. But when the psychologically generated condition didn't recede, he probed further. In the end, it was the combination of the horror of the battlefield and the ‘Dear John’ letter he'd received from his sweetheart that caused the blindness. When the emotional issues were resolved, the soldier was able to heal and reenter society.”

“I had given Betty accurate information about hypnosis, but as you probably know, when her mind was made up it was nearly impossible to convince her otherwise. Right or wrong, she was authoritative on Dr. Simon's use of hypnosis. It is probable that he didn't explain it to her in as much detail as he should have, but she might have developed a false memory of his explanation. It is true that he was concerned that hypnosis would fall out of favor if unqualified individuals used it for memory retrieval. Although it can be very good in facilitating recall, there is also the possibility of confabulation. This is why it was so significant that he worked with Betty and Barney separately. My comparative analysis of their independent statements, as explained in Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, was extremely important. In addition to this, their conscious, continuous recall and physical evidence was important.”

“Betty’s statements about the characteristics of hypnosis sparked my now long term interest in the academic studies on the subject and its clinical characteristics. I've written a couple of research papers on it and am now a certified hypnotherapist with advanced training in forensic hypnosis, PTSD, and regression. Betty did not have a good understanding of hypnosis.”

In the course of our recent exchange, Kathleen made this very interesting and startling statement. “Jim Harder hypnotized my mother, me, and other members of my family with regard to our possible abduction memories,” she explained.

I had spent several days with Betty Hill in Kingston, New Hampshire, back in July 1976, at which time I spoke with Kathleen’s mother Janet about two hypnotic regressions that she had had with Dr. Harder in which she recalled an early 1941 incident where a bell-shaped UFO landed and an aunt was taken onboard the craft by two humanoid beings. Betty didn’t seem to believe the hypnotic memories were accurate. “My mother and I had conscious recall of finding ourselves on a craft in 1966. Our hypnotic recall of abduction was traumatic and we needed support, but we were left only with frightening memories and no one to turn to for support. Betty attempted to convince us that Jim had led us to an abduction that hadn’t really occurred. But this is impossible because we had conscious recall of being in an alien environment in the presence of non human entities before Jim hypnotized us. I referred to our hypnosis sessions as ‘hit and run’ hypnosis because of the negative impact they had upon us. No one should ever have only one or two hypnosis sessions and be left without support. Nor should they participate in hypnosis to explore their repressed abduction memories with a person who doesn’t have a strong background in psychology. Betty was right about one thing. Hypnosis to facilitate memories of alien abduction is not a parlor game.”

“My mother told me that during one of Betty and Barney's visits to my childhood home,” Kathleen wrote, “Barney was missing and the family was concerned that he had become lost in the woods. She went into the woods looking for him and observed a craft that appeared to be releasing Barney. I don't have additional details. I was incredulous and taking everything with a grain of salt, so I didn't probe for additional details.”

Betty explained to me how at one point Janet was telling about having an experience (or experiences) that had happened to her. “When I remind her that she is talking about my own experience, she looks very puzzled,” Betty explained to me. “It makes sense that my mother's experiences on the craft were similar to Betty's,” Kathleen pointed out. “I suspect that Betty's contact experiments might have given the ETs the impression that they were invited to contact other family members. She asked them repeatedly, through telepathic communication, to land on my grandparent's farm, as part of the experiments she was doing with Hohmann and Jackson. (1) It appears that they did land in February of 1966. My grandparents and a neighbor observed the craft and it left physical trace evidence on the ground and trees. This was around the time that my mother and I remembered finding ourselves in the presence of non human entities. My family then began to witness poltergeist activity and light orbs in my childhood home (2) for the first time. Someone told my mother that it was Hannah, a child ghost. I’ve discovered that paranormal activities are common in the homes of experiencers after a contact event has occurred. It is very perplexing. I wonder if perhaps an interdimensional window has been opened that permits the ETs to enter. I have measured high electromagnetic fields around five experiencers for a few days following an event that is not present in the ambient environment or on the bodies of control subjects. There might be a scientific explanation for this.”

Naturally intrigued by the disclosure of Kathleen and her mom’s conscious alien memories, I pressed for more information. “With regard to the memories that my mother and I shared, we found ourselves in an alien environment,” Kathleen stated. “I was lying on a table undergoing a medical procedure, although I'd never been in an operating room. For personal reasons, I'm not going to go into additional detail. But my mother and I recalled the same details. I've had a missing time experience after a close encounter and periodic memories of visitation over the past 50 + or -years. They were the same entities that visited Betty and Barney. Betty became convinced that my experiences were real when I described the physical appearance, social behavior, and location of the being on the craft. She was amazed that I knew information she had not revealed to anyone. This was around the turn of the 21st century.”

I surprised Kathleen when I revealed to her how Betty had written me on June 23, 1976, in which in “very confidential” language she described to me how one night Kathleen had “heard code numbers” and “someone” telling her that they were “waiting” for her. Betty explained that Kathleen then developed an upset stomach and headed for the bathroom. Betty added, “When she went back to bed her husband asked where she had been and she said the bathroom. He told her that this was not true, for she had been gone for hours and he had looked for her and she was not in the home. They discovered the front door was open! It was dusk when she returned to the bedroom.” Betty definitely felt that Kathleen had had a genuine encounter. “I'm amazed to hear that Betty thought my encounters were real as far back as 1976,” Kathleen confessed to me. “I had partial recall of an abduction and fear after my missing time experience. Perhaps she was protecting me from the lifetime of attacks and distortion of fact that she endured at the hands of debunkers.”

On the night of February 22, 1966, Kathleen, her mother Janet, Betty, Janet and Betty’s mother, and a young neighbor woman who had described encountering a UFO the previous week [which she claimed had exerted a strong “pulling force” as it flew overhead and she had to struggle to hang onto her purse], traveled to the site near Kingston, New Hampshire, to see if any UFO activity would again present itself. It did. In fact, they spotted two UFOs flying at low altitude. Janet was startled at one point when she claimed that one of the objects had briefly projected a telescoping funnel-like light beam on her.

“The beam that my mother described is not that different than other descriptions I've received,” Kathleen pointed out. “One case in point is the beam that Jim Weiner remembered in the Allegash abduction. I suspect that it was a tractor beam capable of lifting the four men and perhaps the canoe. Some experiencers have reported that their vehicles are also lifted on this type of beam, such as was recalled by Mona Stafford, Elaine Thomas and Louise Smith. Steve Firmani, NE MUFON's former director, investigated a similar case that occurred in NH. A young man and woman were parking when their vehicle was lifted into the air. Something occurred that caused the horn to start blowing and the car came down hard on the pavement causing damage to its underside. Many experiencers have reported motion and particles within the beam to me. I have personally investigated a case in which the particles seemed to have substance similar to frog eggs in jelly. It has also been reported in a book by Virgilio Sanchez-Ocejo. He claims to have worked with Allen Hynek. Sometimes people feel as if they are coming apart in these beams (3) and they enter through the craft through an opening that is too small to accommodate the size of their bodies. I'm thankful that my mother wasn't taken on that night. As far as we know, we were able to escape. This method of procurement is a part of alien abduction phenomena that I explored in my second stage questionnaire that was a follow up study on the Marder-Stoner Commonalities Study of 2012. See http://www.kathleen-marden.com/et-contact-what-experiencers-know.php for the second stage report and http://www.kathleen-marden.com/commonalities-study-final-report.php for the commonalities study.”


1. Robert Hohmann and C.D. Jackson, both IBM employees, heard about the Hill experience while having lunch with noted UFO author and retired Major Donald E. Keyhoe, the founder of a civilian, non-profit organization known as NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena) located in Washington, D.C. They both visited Betty and Barney Hill just two months after the incident. The men kept in contact for several years and periodically revisited the Hill’s and attempted a series of experiments to contact the supposed aliens and try and obtain physical hardware or some sort of physical evidence to prove their existence. The experiments were referred to as “psychophysical” and initially involved placing the “star map” Betty had drawn under posthypnotic suggestion, and other items that were in their vehicle during the 1961 incident, and placed in her vehicle.

Shortly before my 1976 visit to Kingston, Betty Hill had purchased a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood, putting on it the star systems and trade routes from that original “star map,” drilling out holes at the locations of the stars and inserting Christmas lights in them. She lit it up on June 22, leaning it against the fence to the swimming pool at her mother’s house. She shared that relatives and two military personnel were present at the lighting. Around 9:30 p.m., she said she and the military persons left Kingston, arriving at a place a couple miles from her mother’s that she came to call “the landing area,” stating that UFOs soon showed up. “One of the military personnel was familiar with UFO sightings and was pleased by this sighting,” Betty explained. “The second one was a ‘disbeliever’, until this night. He was shaking his head, looking through the binoculars, looking away, and kept repeating that he could not believe his eyes! He knew UFOs did not exist, but he certainly was at a loss to explain what his eyes were seeing.”

Although during my visit (July 12-16) I did not see anything I could say was a UFO, and we did visit “the landing area” as well, I did note that on the 16th, as Betty was relaxing on an air mattress in the swimming pool, she told me that she got mental impressions of some sort of symbols. There was like a letter C, a big circle, something like an apple with leaves, and a circle with a dot in the center. Betty added that this was the first time that this had happened.

2. In 2012, Kathleen shared this “orb” experience she had at her mother’s house in Kingston, in 1983. She was spending the night in the bedroom that had been hers in her childhood while her then 5-year-old son was spending the night in her brother’s room. Kathleen recalled: “One night I was awoken by a ruckus coming from his room, so I went next door to check on him. I was shocked by what I saw. He was romping around the room attempting to bat a light orb out of the air. I quickly picked him up and took him to my bedroom for the remainder of the night.” 3. Ohio contactee Madeline Teagle of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, who I first met in 1975, described to me how her ufonaut named Amana would come to her: “When he appears, however, there is generally a brilliant white tube of light first. Then he just seems to ‘form’ within it. When I have touched him in the process of deforming something like a sharp electrical shock runs through the area of my own body that is touching him. And I feel sort of as though the cells of my body at that place are separated, that they are apart and loose. Can see that this is not so, but it feels as though whatever part of me is touching him is not very well tied together.”

Additional Notes:

Deep levels of hypnosis and UFO experiencers:

In a phone interview with Kathleen Marden back in March 2012 she told me: “In my research into hypnosis…I did find that people who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder are more prone to going into the deepest states of hypnosis. I was very curious about this because my uncle Barney was such a terrific hypnotic subject he could go into the deepest state, and Betty nearly as deep as Barney. I don’t know if that was post traumatic stress disorder that was the cause of that or if it was something else having to do with their abduction experiences but I have worked with abductees who can go into a very, very deep level of hypnosis as well, and they’re some of my best subjects because they can remember so much detailed information that others cannot remember.”

Other researchers in the UFO field have also commented upon the seemingly higher than normal percentage of UFO abductees/experiencers who prove to be exceptionally deep hypnotic subjects. Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Dr. Jacques Vallee discussed this matter with a hypnosis expert from Chicago, a Dr. Larry Garrett, as described in their book The Edge of Reality (1975). Dr. Berthold E. Schwarz, a psychiatrist who personally investigated many of these experiencers also noted this in his two volume book, UFO Dynamics (1983), a point that I also discussed with him in our extensive correspondence as well. “It has impressed me in the study of several UFO contactees that they were all excellent hypnotic subjects,” Dr. Schwarz noted. “This is contrary to the usual clinical experience, where people do not go into deep somnambulistic trance the first time and stay there.”

I found the following statement (regarding very enlarged corpus callosum’s in the brains of highly hypnotizable subjects) on Kathleen’s website (http://www.kathleen-marden.com/a-primer-on-hypnosis.php) quite interesting. Perhaps there is an important clue lurking nearby. It read: A 2005 article by Michael R. Nash and Grant Bentham in Scientific American Mind discussed “The Truth and Hype of Hypnosis.” They said that new hypnosis studies have shown not everyone is susceptible to hypnotic suggestion and motivation does not necessarily play a role in the success of induction. It seems to relate more to an individual's ability to concentrate and to become absorbed in activities such as reading or listening to music. It is unrelated to gullibility, hysteria, psychopathology, submissiveness or imagination. Nash and Bentham discussed a 2004 study by James E. Horton of the University of Virginia's College at Wise and Helen J. Crawford of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Using magnetic resonance imaging they attempted to determine whether or not brain structures play a part in an individual's responsiveness to hypnosis. They observed that the anterior part of the corpus callosum, the large white matter structure that connects the left and right brain, was thirty-two percent larger in highly hypnotizable subjects. This part of the brain inhibits unwanted stimuli and plays an important role in focusing attention. It would be interesting to image the corpus callosum of patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to test this finding. If this group is more suggestible, it would seem to follow that this area of their brain is more highly developed.

More perceptions of light anomalies:

In a letter to Kathleen on 12/10/14, I wrote: “Thanks for your reviewing with me what you could recall of the light beam aspect of your mom’s 1966 experience. Whatever it was it was seemingly a different kind of light production than what we normally are used to perceiving. It made me think of an experience I had back around 1977 in Manchester, Maine, at a wooded location where a family [and relatives] had been reporting to me possible Bigfoot activity, UFOs, and paranormal manifestations when I myself saw a beam of light going up into the sky where it would go a ways, stop, then go a little further and stop, finally striking the clouds (it was just before it rained). Then the beam slid back from the cloud a ways, stopped, and then back down some more and stopped, eventually going down below the treeline. Interestingly, I was toying with psychometry and had told this group huddled in this cabin that if we stepped out at a certain time and looked in a certain direction, we’d see a UFO – three of us did, and in that direction at that time what we saw, this odd beam of light.”

Kathleen immediately wrote me back and asked me if I was an experiencer, and I replied that I didn’t see myself that way, though through the years I had had a number of odd experiences. “I’ve seen an Indian blanket (twice) [I am talking Native American Indian style] that once disappeared while I was looking right at it, and I once saw a swarm of pulsating white translucent balls of light (large marble sized) inside my parents home in Maine – and then found myself laying back in bed. I thought it was real – but then after I found myself in bed I thought very lucid dream or “vision.” Or OOBE. I do know, as to possible ‘missing time,’ that it was just seconds. I also ‘knew’ during this experience that something was making me stand in the center of the room, facing the hallway, where the lights appeared, but I ‘knew’ just to keep looking straight ahead, and then the lights materialized. There was no fear whatsoever. This was a time I was going through a religious crisis. Two days earlier I had asked God to give me some sort of sign.”

I had asked in my prayer to be shown some sort of truth that would help me in my search for answers, and that I would not be frightened in any way by what I experienced, which I was not.

Kathleen replied: “A few years ago, I was very ill and at home alone when I observed a shimmering, opalescent swarm of translucent balls. I do not know what caused this, but I am certain that I wasn’t hallucinating. I rationalized that my deceased family had come to visit me. I could think of no other explanation.”

In another email (12/17/14), Kathleen wrote me: “I thought of the translucent, white lights you observed last night, when my radio host mentioned that a young boy described observing many spheres as he and his mother were being transported though a wall. They were so pretty that he wanted to hesitate and watch them, but the ETs were stern, insisting that they had to move quickly or they would be harmed. Your observation of lights was different than his, because he saw colors, but it reminded me of your encounter.”

I asked about whether this was a hypnotically recalled memory or not, and in her next email (12/19/14) Kathleen replied: “If my memory serves me correctly, the young boy mentioned the lights to his mother the morning after the event occurred. It was conscious recall. I’ve found that the majority of experiencers have some conscious recall for their events. Hypnosis has lost its popularity as a memory enhancing technique, due to the possibility of confabulation and improper use by hypnotists with an agenda. As time goes on, many of those who are taken repeatedly begin to develop greater conscious recall of their events. The rise in support groups and telephone support is helping experiencers cope. No one has to feel alone with their memories. MUFON’s ART, FREE, Starborn Support, and other groups offer non-judgmental support.”

Monday, February 26, 2024