We are used to stories of alien abduction, which all seem to have some elements in common: short grayish men with large eyes take the abductee into a spaceship, where they are given a physical examination. It’s a familiar story to us, but it wasn’t common 60 years ago. In fact, it was unheard of before the 1961 incident involving Barney and Betty Hill of New Hampshire.
The point is that “alien abduction” just wasn’t a thing that could happen to a person in 1961. All of those abduction tropes, the stuff you saw in X-Files, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Independence Day and parodied in shows like South Park, none of that existed at the time. This is where it all started.
The guy, Barney Hill, was a 39-year-old mailman with chronic ulcers. His wife Betty was a 41-year-old social worker. They lived in New Hampshire. On the night of September 19, they were on a long drive back home from a road trip in Canada, and at 10:30 p.m. they saw a light in the sky. Typical UFO stuff so far — they described the object as bright, round, and silent, moving erratically. Thinking this looked more interesting than the moose rodeo or whatever they’d gone to see in Canada, they followed the object, stopping at various points to get a closer look through binoculars.
At some point, the object noticed them.
The Hills arrived home hours later than they expected, and they noticed some things that were not quite right, but they didn’t recall what happened during that missing time. It took nightmares, hypnosis, and five years before the story leaked to the public of how Betty and Barney had been taken and examined by aliens. What would have been considered a hallucination or delusion in one person was more convincing when it came from two people. Read the story of Betty and Barney Hill and some possible explanations at Cracked.