High Strangeness: The Strange Case of the Left-Handed UFO

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Strange Case of the Left-Handed UFO

Here's a puzzler:

Betty and Barney Hill, UFO abductees
In one of the famous UFO incidents I dramatize in The Close Encounters Man, my biography of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a weird little motif appears in the testimony of the two witnesses that has always troubled me. I'm referring to the 1961 abduction case of Barney and Betty Hill, in which the couple were allegedly intercepted by aliens while driving along a lonely highway in the middle of the night, taken aboard a spaceship and medically examined. It's such a famous story that I won't go over the entire event here, because if you've heard of it then you probably know most if not all of the particulars.

But there are some details I need to point out. I presented them in the book pretty clearly (Chapter 14: Mr. UFO, pp. 208-210), hoping that someone would recognize the emerging theme and perhaps ask me about them in one of my interviews, or comment on it here in the blog. But after nearly nine months, no one has commented on it, at least not to me.

Here's the mystery: No less than five times in the Hills' depiction of their experience, recalled only under hypnosis several years after the fact, they described actions taking place to the left. Here's how I described the relevant passages of their account in my book:


#1 -- Page 208, paragraph 3:

"They were somehow diverted off of Route 3 and onto what seemed to be a small side road; Betty remembered Barney making a sharp left-hand turn."

#2 -- Page 209, paragraph 3:
"Betty was directed down a corridor—again a left-hand turn—and taken to a room."

#3 -- Page 209, paragraph 4: 
"First, the man she came to regard as the “Doctor” took a skin scraping, then swabbed her ear—the left one."

#4 & #5 -- Page 210 paragraph 3:
"Then the man touched Barney’s teeth, and a number of other men clustered around the left side of the table. Barney felt something covering his groin, then felt a scratching very lightly along his left arm."

I have a hard time believing this is purely coincidental; it appears to be a full-blown case of cosmic, left-handed synchronicity, but what the hell does it mean? I don't believe I've ever come across this kind of directional bias in any other UFO case I've ever studied. Do we perceive things to our left any differently than things to our right? Do we process and perceive reality any differently between our left and right sides? I've done some casual googling, looking for psychological studies that analyze left- or right-bias, and have come up empty-handed. The left hemisphere of the brain is, of course, in charge of logical thought, and it controls the right side of the body, so that doesn't seem to get me anywhere.

The thing that really strikes me is this: why would the Hills mention the direction of these actions at all? I mean, why should it matter? Did the hypnotherapist, Dr. Simon, ask his questions in a way that would prompt responses that specifies direction? I doubt that, but I will need to go over the full transcripts of the Hills' hypnosis sessions at some point to look for clues. Another look through The Interrupted Journey, John Fuller's legendary account of the Hill case, is also warranted.

In the meantime, though, I just scanned through my kindle copy of Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience by Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden, the Hills' niece, and was shocked to find that the "to the left" motif pops up over and over again in their book as well. Here are some of the many examples:
  • "At that moment the UFO shifted position from right to left in front of the car and hovered again in midair."
  • "And, I can see my mistake by this fork and I had continued to the right when I should have made a very sharp left turn, which would have brought me into the city in a different way."
  • "North of Lancaster, near Groveton, Betty observed a star below the moon on the lower left-hand side."
  • "Hynek revealed that she observed the planet Jupiter on the lower left side of the moon and the bright moving object above it, directly left of the moon."
  • "And I looked and I could see that this thing that I thought was a plane had made a turn to the left toward Vermont and kept turning, started coming right back."
  • "He was a 'not too big' man dressed in a military-style cap and black shiny jacket, with a scarf dangling over his left shoulder."
  • "And when I did, the object, which was to the right of the car on Betty's side, made an arc-like turn--or not a turn, but a swinging motion over to the left of my side."
So, am I being paranoid, or am I onto something here? If anyone out there knows the significance of this left-hand phenomenon, please enlighten me. It's kind of driving me crazy...



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