I'm Matthew Bowman, a scholar of twentieth century religion and UFOs, the author of the new book The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. Ask me about alien abduction, Betty and Barney Hill, and UFOs and religion!
Hi, Reddit! I hold a PhD in history from Georgetown and am a professor of religion and history at Claremont Graduate University, where I hold a chair in Mormon studies. My book, The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill, was just published by Yale University Press. It's the first full-length, peer-reviewed book on the most famous alien abduction case in American history.
Betty and Barney Hill were an interracial couple living in New Hampshire in 1961. Late the night of September 19, they saw a strange light in the sky and had a distressing interaction with it. After two plus years of nightmares and anxiety, they consulted a psychiatrist, and early in 1964 they began a series of hypnotic therapy sessions. By the end of that process, both had memories of that light on the road in front of them, being taken aboard by small beings, and subjected to medical examination.
By the 1970s, they were famous. A journalist wrote a bestselling book based on interviews with the Hills, James Earl Jones produced and starred in a film about the case, and the famous astronomer Carl Sagan argued their story could not be true on his wildly popular PBS series Cosmos.
While there's a lot in the book about the case, the book also explains that we can learn a lot about Betty and Barney Hill's experiences about the last fifty or sixty years in American history. Their story intersects with the civil rights movement, the collapse of trust in government, the rise of conspiracy theory, and many other trends that have produced the world we live in today.
Ask me anything on 8-29-23, my book release date. I'll be answering through the afternoon.
Thanks, folks! I'm wrapping up active participation here at 4:30 PM California time. But I'll be dropping back in periodically over the next few days - if you leave a question, I'll try to get to it.