August 24, 2013 by kittynh
Betty Hill, from what I have heard from those that knew her, and her own letters and papers at the UNH Archives, was the eternal optimist. Betty Hill wasn’t just abducted by a UFO in 1961. She saw UFO’s on an almost daily basis, believed in ghosts, and even looked for Bigfoot. If it was paranormal, it was normal to Betty. Her personality was the very definition of what skeptics often refer to as “fantasy prone”.
While I have read many definitions for “fantasy prone”, my own definition comes from working with alien abduction experiencers and Bigfoot hunters. A fantasy prone person is someone that can compartmentalize their life in a way most of us are incapable of doing. The “fantasy prone” can work a 9-5 job, raise a family, be a wonderful neighbor, and do volunteer work. The person is not only “normal” but also productive and seen as an asset to society. Yet, this very same person can also throw all the common sense ,that allows them to function well with most of their life, out of the window when it comes to the paranormal. They function well yet hold a belief that most people only consider as a possibility. Many people are open to the possibility of ghosts, Bigfoot or aliens. The Fantasy Prone are firm believers, with an imagination that has the ability to provide all the proof they need.
Skeptics look for proof so they can be convinced. Fantasy prone people look for proof to convince others. One Bigfoot hunter I work with claims he only goes out to prove to the world what he already knows. He’s in the Bigfoot hunting game just to stop people from teasing him about his claims of seeing Bigfoot. He’s glad to share his many sightings with anyone that asks, but he is simply retelling what he believes actually happened to him. One reason he is so convincing is that he is also a fireman and a community member of high standing. ”Why would he make up such stories?” I am asked as the token skeptic of the local Bigfoot group.
The stories he tells, of Bigfoot gathered around a campfire or Bigfoot pushing his truck out of a ditch, are so over the top they sound crazy. He doesn’t act crazy when he is fighting a fire, helping his daughter sell Girl Scout Cookies, or shoveling snow for his elderly neighbor. He’s not crazy, so maybe his stories are real. His stories have to be real for those that know him and care about him. If his claims are not based on “something” he is “crazy”, and the possibility that someone “crazy” can appear to normal most of the time scares people. There is no reason to be scared of most fantasy prone people. They really do compartmentalize their life very well.
Now most Bigfoot hunters do not claim to have seen Bigfoots gathered around a campfire singing together. Most UFO believers do not believe they see anywhere from 8-100 UFOs in one night. People that are fantasy prone, have these very vivid experiences that they believe 100%. They aren’t lying. They just can’t seem to turn off whatever it is that make them experience things the rest of us don’t. Betty Hill was a productive respected member of her community, had a job, went to college and did wonderful volunteer work. But when it come to UFOs or other interesting paranormal phenomena she’s just had no “OFF” switch.
Betty Hill never tried to actually prove her abduction experience was real, or even the many UFOs she saw through out her life were real. She knew they were real, though she did at times debunk the UFO and abduction claims of others. Indeed, it was often others that did the majority of work defending of her claims. To this day UFO advocates such as Stanton Friedman are the ones still trying to convince the world that Betty Hill had alien interactions. Mind you, UFO advocates tend to try to focus on Betty Hill’s first abduction experience, and ignore her later thousands of UFO sightings. No one ever mentions Betty Hill and her hunt for Bigfoot! Yes, she looked for Bigfoot in New Hampshire, much as I also look for Bigfoot in New Hampshire. I have to say I have the disadvantage of having a skeptic ,rather than a fantasy prone, personality.
Among the papers at the UNH archive is what seems to be a speech Betty Hill has saved. The speech appears to hold an early written account of her abduction experience, before she and her husband were treated by Dr.Simon using hypnosis in 1963. ( Milne Special Collections, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, N.H)
I was surprised reading it that the writer of the speech seemed to be a fan of Dr.Carl Sagan.
The speech is entitled:
Tonight we will discuss UFO’s, also known as flying saucers. The UFO is the abbreviation for unidentified flying objects. At a recent meeting of the American Rocket Society in California, Dr.Carl Sagan, noted astronomer at the Univ. of Calif., said that he believes that the earth has probably been visited by creatures from advanced civilization from outer space. Moreover the earth may have been visited many times by various galactic civilizations, and a base may be maintained for such visits; the hidden side of the moon would be a reasonable location.
At this point, I was wondering if there was another Dr.Carl Sagan I had never heard of. Perhaps a cousin, who also went into astronomy but never quite lived up to his more famous and skeptic relative. The speech has other gems including:
In a Moon Exploration Conference last August Dr. Sagan, representing the Univ. of Calif. Astronautical Department, stated that organic life may exist beneath the moon’s surface. He warned that US and Russian missiles might reduce the chance of our finding such a life. Previously he has stated that life may exist on the planet Jupiter.
This was news to me. I wondered just how early Dr.Sagan had started writing science fiction.
Because of his extensive background and extensive research, Dr. Sagan’s opinions carry weight with many scientists.
This assures me the author knew who Dr. Sagan was, and it’s obvious the writer admires him. The clue to this admiration comes later in the speech:
Dr.Sagan believes that UFO’s do exist, but he has not indicated what he considers their source.
So, Dr. Carl Sagan at one time was probably believed by Betty Hill to be a firm UFO believer. He was on her side, he knew UFO’s were real, just like she did.
But was this just pure fantasy on the part of Betty and other UFO believers? Not at all. the author seems to have based their view of Dr. Carl Sagan on a speech he gave early in his career.
Sagan did speak to the American Rocket Society in 1962. Sagan seems to have shared the Drake equation, about the possibility of other planets having life. Sagan is quoted as saying:
“Let’s say that each of these civilizations sends out one
interstellar expedition per year,” he said.
“That means that every star, such as our sun, would be visited
at least once every million years. In some systems where these
beings found life, they would make more frequent visits.
There’s a strong probability, then, that they have visited
earth every few thousand years. “
“It is not out of the question that artifacts of these visits
still exist or even that some kind of base is maintained,
possibly automatically, within the solar system, to provide
continuity for successive expeditions.
“Because of weathering and the possibility of detection and
interference by the inhabitants of earth it would be preferable
not to erect such a base on the earth’s surface. The moon seems
one reasonable alternative.
“Forthcoming photographic reconnaissance of the moon from space
vehicles – particularly of the back – might bear these
possibilities in mind.”
Thisprobably seemed very pro UFO, or at least to Betty Hill and other UFO as aliens believers around 1962, as possibly being supportive of UFOs.
Sagan is asked if he believes in flying saucers and replies “I do believer there are objects that have not been identified.”
Sagan is at best open minded. Certainly, in the early 1960′s the possibility of
Not a UFO
alien space craft visiting the Earth was enough for the US government to investigate UFO sightings. Project Blue Book, the Air Force run program to investigate reports of unknown flying objects ran from 1952-1970. Dr.Sagan was not stating anything radical ,or out of line, with what many professionals and the public were speculating about themselves.
Later when Dr.Sagan became one of the most known scientists in the world, because of the popularity of the PBS series “Cosmos”, he was to let Betty Hill and other UFO fans down. Andy admiration of him turned to disappointment. Episode 12 has a brief recreation of the Betty Hill’s own well known, by this time, UFO abduction claim. Instead of being supportive, Sagan proved to be just another closed minded non believer. The reaction of Betty Hill and her friends was one of anger and derision.
One of my favorites has to be this bit from a letter by Betty Hill’s friend Stan Ferguson:
“ I didn’t realize that C. Sagan had made so many errors until playing the tape back. The UFO Incident was more factual. One would think that a documentary like Cosmos would be more factual than a Hollywood dramatization. I’m surprised that Sagan didn’t have you black and Barney white!”
(It should be noted the Hills were a bi-racial couple).
While we may wonder how Betty Hill could even assume for a moment Dr.Carl Sagan would support the Hill abduction as real, and aliens were visiting the Earth, we also aren’t fantasy prone. To Betty Hill, her experience was real, so why wouldn’t Dr. Sagan agree?
Much like my Bigfoot hunting friend, who rarely has to hunt to find Bigfoot, the skepticism of others is a puzzle to him. He knows what he has seen and experienced. The ones to be pitied are those of us that haven’t his ability to see what is out there in the woods, or in Betty Hill’s case what is up there in the sky.
(Added note: I want to be clear about this. “Fantasy Prone” is used by the skeptic community, and it’s a term I’m not 100% happy with. So I’ve decided to clarify. I can’t prove that any fantasy prone person is NOT seeing and experiencing things I have not experienced myself. It could be they have an ability to see and experience things the majority of people can not. My friend that sees Bigfoot on a regular basis can not understand why the rest of us have so much trouble. So, does this mean they do NOT see these things or that they do not exist? No. But most importantly it does not mean a fantasy prone person is crazy or a liar. To them this is real, the rest of us need a bit more. Also does it mean they did not see ONE REAL Bigfoot or have SOME real experiences? No. It may mean only some of their experiences are perhaps more their personality than reality. So does my friend see Bigfoot every trip to the woods, I doubt it. Has he perhaps seen a Bigfoot, maybe, as some of his sightings are backed by foot print and other evidence. )
- Who Invented Little Grays? Hollywood or the Hills? (yankeeskeptic.com)
- Words of wisdom from astronomer Carl Sagan: We inhabit a pale blue dot in an endless universe. It’s about time we all got along. (diverjency.com)
- Carl Sagan & Immanuel Velikovsky: Preface (maybecedarian.wordpress.com)
- Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan (wonderfanatic.wordpress.com)
- Betty Hill’s UFO Nights (yankeeskeptic.com)
- Betty Hill’s UFO Nights (yankeeskeptic.com)
- 10 Things That Might Make You Believe In Aliens (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Who Invented Little Grays? Hollywood or the Hills? (twodifferentgirls.com)