High Strangeness: Betty Hill's Navel

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Betty Hill's Navel

A recent post over at the immensely entertaining UFO Conjecture(s) blog has got my blood boiling!!

Seems there is or was this writer for the Skeptical Inquirer named Martin Kottmeyer who loved to try poke holes in the famous Barney & Betty Hill UFO abduction story. So... RR at UFO Conjecture(s) wrote about one of Kottmeyer's attacks on the Hill case in which Kottmeyer strenuously argued that because a science fiction movie about alien abductions was made in 1953, eight years before the Hills' alleged alien abduction, the Hills must be lying...


Kottmeyer's piece, which RR excerpts extensively, is completely bewildering. The film in question is called "Invaders From Mars," a visually stylish if narratively loopy bit of early-1950s paranoid fluff. The film is noteworthy for telling its invasion story from the point of view of a young child; and, interestingly, director and noted scenic designer William Cameron Menzies very deliberately gave the film a dreamlike quality, with overly dramatic camera angles and sets, suggesting that the child's version of reality is not necessarily to be trusted.

Sadly, neither is Kottmeyer's. He presents absolutely no evidence that Betty Hill ever saw the movie, and yet he suggests that Betty's tale of hers and Barney's alleged alien abduction was directly inspired by the imagery in the film.

There's another issue as well. Even if Kottmeyer could use his forensic skills to place Betty and Barney in a theater in 1953 watching "Invaders From Mars," which he can't, some of the so-called parallels he describes are quite ludicrous...

First he references something Betty said about her captors having noses like Jimmy Durante's, and then claims that the martians in the movie had Jimmy Durante noses as well... Hmm... Please note the two pictures for comparison:
Martian movie mutant nose...
Jimmy Durante nose...
Later Kottmeyer describes a scene from the film that depicts the interior of the Martian spaceship and he claims that it looks suspiciously like... well, I'll let him explain:
Correctly interpreted, it is an overhead shot of the alien surgical theatre which reveals some of the architecture of the saucer. Dominant in the image is a large tubular beam or conduit connecting the ceiling to the floor. It bears a marked stylistic similarity to the needle being used in the implanting operation. A confusion is invited. The tubular beam and its plastic sheath takes on the appearance of the hypodermic needle. The lighting of the floor of the saucer gives the illusion of the curvature of an abdomen. The place where floor and conduit meet is tightly surrounded by a circular indentation. It's the navel. This, I believe, is the origin of Betty's bizarre image of the needle in the navel. Either she misperceived it during the watching of the film, probably on black and white TV, or her consciousness spun out the alternate interpretation in constructing the nightmare.
The stupidity just hurts... Here is the shot in question, offered without comment:
Spaceship interior... aka Betty Hill's navel.

I will grant that the scene in the movie depicting an abducted woman getting a needle stuck in the back of her neck is close enough to what Betty described happening to her, but, again, Kottmeyer can't prove that Betty ever saw the movie...

So, sorry, RR. This "UFO conjecture" is less than worthless. Especially when you consider that "Invaders" is not the only fictional science fiction story that Kottmeyer used to try to debunk the Hill's experience. I've written about that here.

There's something else about this whole tale that concerns me... Kottmeyer, like some other commentators, continually refers to Betty Hill but excludes Barney. Why is that? From what I've seen, even Kathy Marden frequently bills herself as "Betty Hill's niece," but surely she was Barney's niece as well....

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