Marjorie Fish, Star Map Model Maker, RIP


July 8, 2013 by kittynh

It is with a sad heart I report on the death of Marjorie Fish on April 8, 2013.

Marjorie Fish is best known for designing the 3 dimensional model of the Star Map that Betty Hill had seen while supposedly abducted by aliens along with her husband Barney.  The map was supposed to show where the aliens were from.

Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece and UFO investigator and lecturer, believes that Betty Hill had a photographic memory, which is why she was able under hypnosis to remember the map accurately.

Marjorie Fish was a school teacher in Ohio, who had a fascination with UFOs.  She decided to use the Gliese Star Catalog to try to find a match for the Star Map drawn by Betty Hill.

Marjorie Fish writes in a letter to Betty Hill dated October 7, 1972 below(from the UNH archives). Her enthusiasm for the Star Map model comes across, and she writes the time of the letter as 3:30 am.

“It looks like I won’t get any sleep tonight. I’m higher than a kite. (No booze, just pure joy – elation rather! I’m in a rush so I could show the pattern to Dr.Hyneck – if he gives me permission to come). I built a rough model of the pattern.”

Photograph of letter to Betty Hill from Marjorie Fish detailing her work on the Star Map model.  Her enthusiasm and hard work comes across in the letter. (from UNH Hill Archives).  Her sincerity and dedication to detail also comes across.

Photograph of letter to Betty Hill from Marjorie Fish detailing her work on the Star Map model. Her enthusiasm and hard work comes across in the letter. (from UNH Hill Archives). Her sincerity and dedication to detail also comes across.

A perhaps less than skeptical history of this map is given here.  A more skeptic take on the Star Map model and identification is given here in a book review of Kathleen Marden’s book “Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story of the World’s First Documented Alien Abduction” by Robert Sheaffer in December 2007 for CSI.

 Selecting sun-like stars from the latest catalog of nearby stars, Marjorie Fish spent many long hours looking for a pattern that matches the sketch Betty Hill drew by posthypnotic suggestion, supposedly replicating a map she had seen aboard the saucer. After much effort, she believed she had found one. The controversy over the star map is so complex that it is impossible to cover in detail here. The detailed counter-argument is in my paper in the Encounters volume, arguments routinely ignored by Friedman, Marden, and all other pro-star-map writers. In brief, it is necessary to “fudge” the data to make the Fish map come out the way it does.”

The one thing I know about the Star Map is that whenever I speak of the Hills I am always asked at least one question about the Star Map model by Marjorie Fish. Her map is well remembered by the audiences whenever I speak.   Sadly, Marjorie Fish suffered from Alzheimer disease, so I was never able to talk to her directly about her relationship with Betty Hill.

I have done much research at the Hill archive at UNH.  There is a thick file filled with information about Marjorie Fish.  I was surprised to find that she was a talented artist and she did so much more than just design the Star Map.

Marjorie also made “Junior”. Junior is a bust that depicts the aliens that supposedly abducted the Hills, and Betty was very fond of Junior.  She kept Junior in her home, and later Junior ended up at UNH.  Sadly, Junior now has a hole in his head and a crack.

Also, there are beautiful drawings done by Fish of what she imagined the aliens described by Betty looked like.  Fish was careful to note that these were her interpretations, not Betty’s.  There is a feeling of a friendly relationship between the two women.  I include one drawing here just to show the artistry of Marjorie Fish, she writes in notes at the bottom of the page of alien drawings that the only true depictions of the aliens the Hills described are by the artist David Baker.

The obituary mentions that Fish later repudiated her own Star Map.  When I think of the time and energy she devoted to creating the her model of the Star Map this surprised me.  The UFO skeptic community, that I have been in contact with, have no recollection of this ever happening.

From the obituary

As one of her hobbies, Marjorie made an investigation into the Betty Hill map by constructing a 3-D star map in the late 1960’s using several databases. She found a pattern that matched Mrs. Hill’s drawing well, which generated international interest. Later, after newer data was compiled, she determined that the binary stars within the pattern were too close together to support life; so as a true skeptic, she issued a statement that she now felt that the correlation was unlikely. The History Channel portrayed her in at least one series.

I am currently trying to contact the writer of the obituary to find out just where the information included about the Star Map model came from.

Even skeptics are doubtful about this, and like all good skeptics we want confirming information.

Marjorie Fish from the information I’ve gleaned about her from the archives seems to have been an intelligent gifted artist, with a sense of humor.  Her signature on her letters always makes me smile.  I hope she will be remembered as something more than the woman who made a model of Betty Hill’s Star Map.  Her interest in the Hills story, and her relationship with Betty Hill was far more than just making a model.

6 thoughts on “Marjorie Fish, Star Map Model Maker, RIP

  1. CSC says:

    Regardless of whether Marjorie Fish made the comment or not, we now know from data from the Kepler satellite that close binaries do not rule out the existence of stable orbiting planets, as at least several systems have been discovered where this is the case.

  2. Steve Pearse says:

    Hi Kitty–We should talk sometime since I was the person who found Marjorie Fish’s Obituary

  3. byron weber says:

    A very interesting coincidence. Just watched “Clara” on in which Clara assists an astrophysicist in identifying an artificial structure adjacent to a super earth in the habitable zone of the M2 sun GJ 357. GJ is the alphabet designation for Gliese 357 and the super earth, just discovered by TESS after its launch in 2018, is GJ 357a that NASA claims is very interesting in that it might have liquid water. To add to this weirdness, at the end of the movie Brian Cox was listed as a producer (only listed there and not shown by Wikipedia or in any other descriptions of the movie). Brian Cox is a British physicist who claims he decided to become a physicist only after watching the movie Cosmos by Carl Sagen. One can’t help but wonder?

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