Fredericton UFO Expert Has Hot Summer
by Ron Foley MacDonald
World-renowned New Brunswick-based Unidentified Flying Object expert Stanton T. Friedman is having one hot summer. He just appeared on the widely seen CNN chat show Larry King Live to argue in support the possibility of extraterrestrial visits to earth; the former nuclear physicist has also just co-authored an exciting new book entitled Captured!: The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience.
This being the 60th Anniversary of the infamous 1947 UFO crash incident at Roswell in the American Southwest--of which Friedman is the leading civilian researcher--the affable Fredericton resident has been busy all across North America taking part in various UFO-conventions and commemorations surrounding the Roswell anniversary.
I caught Stanton T. Friedman at a Halifax Conference put on by Redstar Films last fall. He was a spellbinding speaker: funny, informed, and positively persuasive. I was looking forward to the new book--co-authored with Betty Hill's niece Kathleen Marden--because it would shed some light on what I think is the most puzzling and prominent UFO case since Roswell.
Captured! updates and deconstructs John Fuller's famous--but now out of print, alas--book The Interrupted Journey, which brought the Betty and Barney Hill story to a wide audience in the mid-1960s. Their tale reached an even bigger public in 1975 when a truly terrifying TV movie version starring James Earl Jones was broadcast on North American mainstream television.
I saw that movie as a teenager and it left an indelible impression. The nuts and bolts of the narrative are initially relatively simple. An inter-racial married couple, Barney and Betty Hill, believed they had an encounter with a UFO in September of 1961 in New Hampshire after driving down from a vacation in Canada.
They told only a few friends at first. After the couple began to experience disturbing nightmares, they contacted a psychiatrist who put them under hypnosis a couple of years later after a long course of preparitory treatment.
Astonishingly, Betty and Barney Hill recounted--under medical-supervised hypnosis--an amazing story of being taken aboard a UFO for some very uncomfortable tests. Betty even engaged in conversation with the aliens, and had them draw a star chart of where they came from. She re-drew the chart under hypnosis; it has become a key part in the controversy surrounding the Hill case.
Friedman and Marden go through the story step-by-step. They identify all of the major and minor players, and shed light on some of the short cuts that John Fuller took in constructing his version of the narrative.
All of this plays to Stanton T. Friedman's formidable researching strengths. He points out inconsistencies, gaps in logic and the many differences between Betty and Barney Hill's own testimony. More importantly, he coolly refutes the many debunkers who have grown up around the Hills' now-iconic narrative.
It's become all too easy to reduce the study of the UFO phenomena to a goofy side-show of crackpots, losers and loose canons. Friedman's lifelong crusade has been to give dignity to the process by treating the examination of UFOs through the compilation of useful and measurable data.
With the direct access to Betty Hill's diaries and other estate material provided by her niece and trustee Kathleen Marden (the other co-author of the book), an incredible amount of detail is now available to consider in what can only be considered the granddaddy of all UFO abduction cases.
And while skeptics can still spin all the metaphors about the case they can dream up--one of the favorites is that the whole thing was generated by the unconscious disturbances of a inter-racial couple in a time of deep discrimination--there's no question that Captured!: The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience represents the definitive statement on one of the great vexing para-normal encounters of our time.
Captured!: The Betty And Barney Hill UFO Experience is published by New Page Books, a division of Career Press, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, USA, 300 pages, paperback, $21.95 Canadian. For more information check out www.newpagebooks.com.