Betty Hill, whose tale of being abducted by aliens launched her to fame and became the subject of a best-selling book and television movie, has died. She was 85.
Hill died at her home Sunday after a battle with lung cancer.
Hill claimed that she and her husband, Barney, were abducted by extraterrestrials in New Hampshire’s White Mountains on a trip home from Canada in 1961.
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The Hills were puzzled when they arrived home and noticed Betty’s torn and stained dress, Barney’s scuffed shoes, shiny spots on their car, stopped watches and no memory of two hours of the drive.
Under hypnosis three years later, they recounted being kidnapped and examined by aliens.
The couple gained international notoriety after going public with their story, traveling across the country to give speeches and making numerous television and radio appearances.
Their story also became the focus of John G. Fuller’s 1966 best-selling book, “Interrupted Journey,” and a television movie starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons.
Hill retired from UFO lecturing in her 70s and complained that the quest for knowledge about extraterrestrials had become tainted with commercialism. Too many people with “flaky ideas, fantasies and imaginations” were making UFO and abduction reports, she told The Associated Press in a 1991 interview.
“If you were to believe the numbers of people who are claiming this, it would figure out to 3,000 to 5,000 abductions in the United States alone every night,” she said. “There wouldn’t be room for planes to fly.”
She also said media had fueled UFO fiction.
“The media presented them as huge craft, all brightly lighted and flashing, but they are not,” she said in a 1997 AP interview. “They are small, with dim lights, and many times they fly with no lights.”
Before devoting her life to UFOs, Hill had been a state social worker specializing in adoptions and training foster parents. Her husband died in 1969.