Those of us who grew up enjoying The X-Files or Close Encounters of the Third Kind owe a debt to Betty and Barney Hill, the New Hampshire couple whose reported abduction by a UFO in 1961 became the first widely publicized alien abduction story. And now, a TV series about the Hills is in the works. It’s based on the 2007 book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story of the World’s First Documented Alien Abduction by nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman and Betty Hill’s niece Kathleen Marden.
The show, which is also called Captured, is being produced by Bryce and Jackie Zabel’s Stellar Productions and the Los Angeles-based management firm Alta Global Media. The Hills’ story has been told several times onscreen before, notably in a 1975 TV movie starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. But this will be the first series devoted to them and their impact on both UFO abductions and the Civil Rights Movement.
Betty and Barney Hill
were an interracial couple who both worked long hours—Betty was a social worker in child welfare, and Barney worked nights as a postal clerk. The Hills were so busy they waited 16 months to go on their honeymoon, a three-day trip to Niagara Falls and Montreal.
On the way back from that trip, the Hills were driving late at night when they claimed
a strange white hovered over their car and followed them for miles. When Barney finally pulled over to confront the light source, the Hills passed out. They woke up two hours later, 35 miles down the road.
The Hills reported the incident to the Air Force, which helped kick off “Project Blue Book,” a series of investigations to determine the veracity of alien abduction claims. Years later, the Hills sought psychiatrist Benjamin Simon to help them recover memories about the incident. Under hypnosis, the Hills recalled that a flying saucer landed on their car and several “gray beings” brought them onboard. Once inside the spaceship, the aliens stripped the Hills naked and performed a battery of medical tests on them, including a pregnancy test for Betty.
While the Air Force ultimately deemed the Hills’ story not to be credible, a Boston newspaper picked it up in 1965, and the Hills became famous. Many consider theirs to be the first modern alien abduction story, and elements of their story have become staples of science fiction movies and TV shows. The Hills were also major figures in the New England Civil Rights Movement and were invited to Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 inauguration.
“Our meetings with Steve Adams convinced all of us that the right expression of this powerful content is a TV series where the larger canvas allows us to see Barney and Betty not only as abduction victims, but also as heroes in the Civil Rights movement,” said Stellar CEO Jackie Zabel. “The audience has never been more receptive to hearing the story of both their marriage and their passion for equality, and the larger TV canvas will allow us to finally do justice to the complete picture, including a re-staging of the pivotal March on Washington.”