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Famous UFO Incident in University Museum

As Portsmouth, New Hampshire resident Betty Hill drove her mother home on Route 108 at 8 p.m. on Sept. 7, 1977, she saw large red and green lights of a UFO as she neared Trickling Falls in East Kingston. Later as she was driving home, she saw another UFO with red and green lights following railroad tracks near Route 107. Her report of a UFO sighting is one of thousands she catalogued during her lifetime after she and her husband, Barney Hill, became known internationally for reporting they had been abducted by aliens in 1961 in New Hampshire's White Mountains. The media ridiculed the couple as they have done with so many other abductees who have forward with their stories, but now the University of New Hampshire is opening of an exhibition called "The Betty and Barney Hill Collection exhibition." This is the kind of exhibition one expects to see at the Roswell UFO Museum, but not at a University!

The exhibit features "Junior," the leader of the aliens depicted in a sculpture and drawings, the dress Betty wore the night of the abduction, notebooks, photographs, and documents about the abduction, as well as materials commemorating Barney Hill's work in the NAACP and on the New Hampshire Advisory Committee for the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Betty Hill was a state social worker and a white woman whose mixed-race marriage was unusual at the time. Museum director David Watters says, "What might have been a relatively private life for the couple changed forever when the story of their supposed abduction and examination by aliens in a spacecraft, not many miles below the Old Man of the Mountain, became public in 1965."

The Betty and Barney Hill Collection at UNH consists of thousands of items stored in 87 folders, including correspondence, personal journals and essays, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs, slides, films, audio tapes and artwork.

In explaining why the museum chose to exhibit these materials, Watters says, "UNH is a fitting place for the collection, since it connects to the growing collection of New Hampshire African American materials. The alien abduction collection will always be the primary source for study of the first and most famous case of this interesting American phenomenon."

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