Since I reviewed both Ancient Aliens and In Search of Aliens this week, I don’t have another lengthy post in me. Instead, I’m going to direct you to my revised and expanded version of my post on alien anal probes, which I’ve now added as a featured article in my new UFO section of my website. In expanding this article, I went back to some of the source material about Barney Hill’s alleged 1961 alien abduction, as recounted in his 1964 hypnosis sessions, published by John G. Fuller in The Interrupted Journey.
I wrote about these back in 2012 (since updated), when I expanded on researcher Martin Kottmeyer’s 1990 observation that the aliens Hill described closely resembled the creature from “The Bellero Shield,” an episode of the Outer Limits that aired in the weeks before Hill’s hypnosis session. I concluded that Hill drew elements not just from “The Bellero Shield” but also from two other episodes of the Outer Limits from the same month, “The Invisibles” and “The Children of Spider County,” which together accounted for most of the elements present in his hypnotic account of his abduction experience.
Kottmeyer later reached out to me to criticize my findings, insisting that only the episode of the Outer Limits he is famous for identifying could have contributed to Hill’s description. I discussed the claims and counterclaims in late 2012.
If you’re willing to agree with me that more than one Outer Limits episode contributed Hill’s description, then you’ll be interested in this observation I made while reviewing the material. There was one detail of Hill’s account that didn’t quite fit with the Outer Limits. Hill described each alien as wearing a “black, black shiny jacket and scarf.” In 2012, I put this down to a garbled account of the black suits worn in “The Children of Spider County,” but now I think I’m wrong. I failed to remember at the time that the Twilight Zone episode “Black Leather Jackets” had aired on January 31, 1964. Barney Hill started hypnosis on January 4 and began describing the aliens and their apparel on February 22. In the episode, space aliens masquerade as a biker gang. They wear shiny black leather jackets and scarves, and distinctive visors that reinforce and recall the imagery of the wraparound eyes found in “The Bellero Shield” and “The Children of Spider County.” They also communicate with a giant video screen of an eyeball, much as Hill screamed about how “All I see are these eyes... I’m not even afraid that they’re not connected to a body. They’re just there.”
In his next hypnotic session on February 29, Hill first described the aliens as “hoodlums,” men wearing jeans (“blue denims”) and one with “a black shiny coat”—much like the Twilight Zone bikers. The only difference is that Hill assigned his aliens a cap, and none on either the Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits wears a hat.
Surprisingly, the plot of “Black Leather Jackets” bears a close resemblance to that of “Children of Spider County.” In both, a human-alien romance is thwarted by evil aliens planning nefarious actions that threaten the young couple. It becomes quite easy to see how Barney Hill might have run them together in his mind, reflecting on his own interracial romance with Betty Hill, his wife. Barney was black, and Betty white.
If Barney Hill was a big TV science fiction fan and watched the Twilight Zone along with The Outer Limits, this would help explain the last detail that didn’t quite fit with my idea, the shiny black jackets and scarves. The conflation of Twilight Zone and Outer Limits imagery from thematically similar episodes might explain the unusual details. Is this the source from which he derived the shiny black jackets and scarves?
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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