(HOST) On a recent trip through New Hampshire, commentator Willem Lange was reminded that fifty years ago this fall, a space ship was famously reported to have paid a visit to New England.
(LANGE) A few weeks ago I drove south through Franconia Notch on the I-93 parkway. As the notch narrowed between Eagle Cliffs and Cannon Mountain, I couldn’t help but reflect on the dramatic event that many people believe occurred there exactly fifty years earlier.
Betty and Barney Hill, a middle-aged couple from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, were returning from a vacation in Niagara Falls and Montreal. Around 10:30 on the evening of September 19th, Betty said she saw in the sky a bright light that appeared to be moving. Just south of Twin Mountain, she asked Barney to stop to take a look.
Here’s where it gets, shall we say, interesting. These run-of-the-mill tourists – besides traveling heroically late at night with a long way to go – carried binoculars and a loaded pistol. Barney – “worried about the presence of bears,” he said – took the pistol and binoculars with him when he got out.
I’ve known personally only one man who claimed to have seen an unidentified flying object: a “rust-colored, cigar-shaped ship like a wingless airplane fuselage about a hundred feet long,” hovering above the rapids of the Ausable River just upstream from Keene, New York. But he was a bit notorious for occasionally drawing the long bow, so his report was never deemed credible.
When Barney, walking the dog with his binoculars and pistol, saw what looked like an airliner descending toward him, he scooted back to the car and continued south toward the Notch.
The light, clearly an aircraft of some kind, with multicolored lights, followed them through the Notch. Near Indian Head, it settled down in front of their Chevy, bringing them to a stop. Barney saw several humanoids looking out the ship’s windows.
What followed was a confusion of vibrations, buzzing and beeping sounds, tingling sensations, and dulled consciousness. They were apparently taken into the saucer, stripped, and intimately probed. When they regained consciousness, they were 35 miles farther south. Back home, they found their watches kaput, their clothes and shoes slightly damaged and powdered, and their car strangely magnetic. Betty called the Air Force. They interviewed her by phone and decided the Hills had confused natural phenomena with something more exciting. A civilian group, however, found the story credible. Slowly it leaked out, and the Hills became very well known.
They’re long gone now, their story almost forgotten as we deal with more mundane alien problems. But the State of New Hampshire recently placed a historical marker beside Route 3 to commemorate the Hills’ experience. Clearly an attempt to attract tourists who otherwise travel to Roswell, New Mexico, to look for for extraterrestrials. See what you’ll do when you don’t have a broad-based tax to bring in revenue?
This is Willem Lange in East Montpelier, and I gotta get back to work.