Zeta Reticuli Incident

The case of Betty and Barney Hill, commonly called the Hill Abduction, and occasionally the Zeta Reticuli Incident, was that they were victims of a UFO abduction. Theirs was the first widely-publicized claim of alien abduction, adapted into the best-selling 1966 book The Interrupted Journey and a made for television movie. The classic case of humans abducted and examined by aliens from another world. Their story was covered extensively by John G. Fuller in the book Interrupted Journey (1966), and there was even a made-for-television movie (1975) with James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons playing Barney and Betty. On September 19, 1961, Betty, a social worker, and Barney, a mail carrier, then in their 40s, were returning to their home in New Hampshire from a short Canadian vacation when they noticed a bright object in the night sky. Barney stopped the car and used a pair of binoculars to get a better look at it. As he studied the object, its own illumination showed a well-defined disklike shape, moving in an irregular pattern across the moonlit sky.

Fascinated, Barney walked into a nearby field where from that perspective he could perceive what appeared to be windows—and, in the windows, beings—looking back at him. The feeling that he was being watched frightened Barney, and he ran back to the car, got in, and began to race down the road. Then, as if obeying some internal directive, he drove down a side road—where the Hills found five humanoid aliens standing in their path. Suddenly unable to control their movements, Betty and Barney were taken from their car and, in a trancelike condition, led to the UFO by the humanoids. The sensational details of the Hills’ story were recalled later while under hypnosis, for the couple had a complete loss of memory concerning the nearly two hours that they were abducted by the UFOnauts.

According to information later retrieved under hypnosis, Betty and Barney were returned unharmed to their car with the mental command that they would forget all about their abduction experience. The UFO then rose into the air and disappeared from sight, leaving the Hills to continue their journey home, oblivious to the whole event. Perhaps the remarkable encounter would never have been brought to light except for two factors: they began to experience strange and disconcerting dreams that they could not understand, and they could not explain the unaccountable two missing hours in their journey home from Canada. Betty decided to seek the help of a psychiatrist friend, who suggested that the memory of those lost hours would return in time, perhaps in only a few months.

But the details of that unexplained “interruption” remained in a troubled limbo of fragmented memories until the Hills began weekly hypnosis sessions with Dr. Benjamin Simon, a Boston psychiatrist. Under Simon’s guidance, the couple revealed an astonishing pastiche of bizarre physical and mental examinations at the hands of an extraordinary group of extraterrestrial medical technicians. The individual accounts of Betty and Barney agreed in most respects, although neither was made aware of what the other had disclosed until later. In essence, both told of being treated by aliens from space in much the same manner as human scientists might examine laboratory animals.

Although the couple had been given hypnotic suggestions by the aliens that they would forget their experience, their induced amnesia was apparently penetrated when they were rehypnotized by Simon. Much has been made of the Hills alien medical examinations, and their much-publicized experience may have provided the prototype for thousands of other individuals who have claimed alien abductions with their requisite physical and sexual exams. However, the single aspect that may be most essential in giving the Hills’ story credibility is the star map that Betty said she was shown by the extraterrestrials while on board the UFO.

Under hypnosis in 1964, three years after their alleged alien abduction, Betty, with little or no understanding of astronomy, drew her impressions of the map with a remarkable expertise that concurred with other, professionally drawn, star maps. As an important bonus, Betty’s map showed the location of two stars called Zeta I and Zeta II Reticuli, allegedly the home base of the space travelers who abducted them.

Map of Zeta Reticuli, according to Betty Hill and Fish's description

"Deciphering" the star map

In 1968, Marjorie Fish of Oak Harbor, Ohio read Fuller's Interrupted Journey. She was an elementary school teacher and amateur astronomer. Intrigued by the "star map", Fish wondered if it might be "deciphered" to determine which star system the UFO came from. Assuming that one of the fifteen stars on the map must represent the Earth's sun, Fish constructed a 3-dimensional model of nearby sun-like stars using thread and beads, basing stellar distances on those published in the 1969 Gliese Star Catalog. Studying thousands of vantage points over several years, the only one that seemed to match the Hill map was from the viewpoint of the double star system of Zeta Reticuli. Therefore she concluded that the UFO might have come from planets orbiting Zeta Reticuli.

As a result of Fish's hypothesis, some have dubbed the Hills' account The Zeta Reticuli Incident. Most so-called Ufologists, however, continue to prefer the Hill Abduction or some similar term. Distance information needed to match three stars, forming the distinctive triangle Hill said she remembered, was not generally available until the 1969 Gliese Catalog came out. Fish also was the first to note that all the stars on the map connected by lines (which Betty Hill said she was told were trade or frequently-traveled routes) fell in a plane, with Zeta Reticuli acting as a hub. Thus the displayed routes would be the most logical and efficient way of exploring the nearby stellar neighborhood for a civilization located in Zeta Reticuli.

These points played critical roles in the subsequent debates over the validity of the Fish match to the Hill map. Fish sent her analysis to Webb. Agreeing with her conclusions, Webb sent the map to Terrence Dickinson, editor of the popular magazine Astronomy. Dickinson did not endorse Fish and Webb's conclusions, but he was intrigued, and, for the first time in the journal's history, Astronomy invited comments and debate on a UFO report, starting with an opening article in the December 1974 issue. For about a year afterwards, the opinions page of Astronomy carried arguments for and against Fish's star map.

Notable was an argument made by Carl Sagan and Stephen Soter, arguing that the seeming "star map" was little more than a random alignment of chance points. In contrast, those more favorable to the map, such as Dr. David Saunders, a statistician who had been on the Condon UFO study, argued that unusual alignment of key sun-like stars in a plane centered around Zeta Reticuli (first described by Fish) was statistically improbable to have happened by chance from a random group of stars in our immediate neighborhood.

It was also pointed out that Zeta Reticuli is highly unusual in being the only known example of a wide double star system consisting of two stars very similar to the sun. One of the articles in the Astronomy magazine debate, on the ages of the stars in the Hill/Fish map, said evidence pointed to the Reticulan system being 1 to 3 billion years older than our own, with the suggestion that this would have permitted another intelligence race to have evolved long before we did and thus be considerably more advanced.

Furthermore, it was noted the two stars are very close together (now believed to be only 1/8 light year apart), whereas the nearest star similar to the sun, Tau Ceti, is 12 light years away. It was argued that the closeness of the two sun-like stars would likely have acted as a considerable spur to developing interstellar travel. However, it was also noted that the Zeta Reticulan stars are metal poor compared to the sun, raising questions as to whether a solar system like our own would have developed, whether sufficient carbon existed for life to have even arisen, or whether sufficient quantities of such metals would have been available to create a technological civilization even if there was an earthlike planet and advanced life in the Reticulan system.

Skeptic Robert Sheaffer in an accompanying article said that a map devised by Charles W. Atterberg, about the same time as Fish, was an even better match to Hill's map and made more sense. The base stars, Epsilon Indi and Epsilon Eridani plus the others were also closer to the sun than the Hill map. Fish counterargued that the base stars in the Atterberg map were considered much less likely to harbor life than Zeta Reticuli and the map lacked a consistent grouping of sun-like stars along the lined routes, unlike her map.

Interestingly, the existence of the two stars was not confirmed by astronomers until 1969—eight years after the Hills’ abduction experience and five years after Betty remembered seeing the star map aboard an alien spaceship. As an added bit of data to support Betty Hill’s claim that her recollection of the map was an actual memory of having been shown an artifact created by an extraterrestrial intelligence, the two fifth-magnitude stars, Zeta I and Zeta II Reticuli, are invisible to observers north of the latitude of Mexico City.

In 1993, a new theory with regard to the map in question was proposed. Two German crop circle researchers, Joachim Koch and Hans-J├╝rgen Kyborg, proposed that the map was, in reality, drawn from the perspective of the alien spacecraft as it was positioned to the eyes of the Hills in the solar system on September 16, 1961 along U.S. Route 3 near Lincoln, NH

(Source : Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things & Wikipedia)
(Pics source : Pic 1 Betty and Barney Hill taken from Encyclopedia of Unusual and Unexplained Things page 275; Pic 2 taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zeta_reticuli.png)
Zeta Reticuli Incident Zeta Reticuli Incident Reviewed by Tripzibit on 16:49 Rating: 5


  1. This brings many questions and thoughts to our minds. I've always thought life existed outside our planet. And even still, where did they come from if that's the case, too?

    Nice post again friend!

  2. (David Funk) UFO and alien things always brings so many questions. Well, i don't know where they come from either. The truth is still out there, my friend

  3. Hi! I bought my own domain and changed it from http://e-pera.blogspot.com to http://www.e-pera.info
    Kindly update your blogroll.
    Thanks and GODBLESS!

    Btw, I can't seem to find my link on your list. Kindly add me again or I'll be forced to delete you on my list.


  4. If they can come and go to our planet, they should be more advanced than humans. Because we are still not able to find them.

  5. (BOGCESS) I'm already add your link as BOGCESS in my BlogRoll. Check it out. Thanx

    (SEDONA) Yes, i agree with you. They always come n go to our planet without knowing what they real intention is. I hope someday we can meet face to face with them ^_^

  6. there are indeed things in this world that should come with great explanations...


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