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The Horror of an Alien Abduction Story – No One Believes You (Part 2)

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The Horror of an Alien Abduction Story – No One Believes You (Part 2)

After my recent article about Tom Lombardo’s 2007 article titled First Lady of the Grays, I contacted Tom and asked him for more insight about his fascinating interview with Betty Hill back in 1974.

This is the second part of that interview. If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1 where I ask Tom for more background about Kathleen and his evaluation of her credibility in the Betty Hill case, please do so before continuing on to Part 2.

Without further ado – part two of this interview with Tom Lombardo.

Ryan: During the interview with Betty Hill, when she mentioned that she was going to make “millions” from the story, could you describe in more detail what your thought process was and how her statement changed your perspective about the whole story?

Did Betty Say “Millions” or Not?

Tom: Not “millions.”

As I wrote in my article “The First Lady of the Grays,” which appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Chrysalis Reader:

“After I turned off the tape recorder in that 1974 interview, Betty Hill lit another cigarette, drew deeply and exhaled. Then in her gravelly voice, she asked: ‘Is that thing off now?’ I assured her it was. And she said something that ruined it all for me: ‘I’m going to make my million off this story.’ She mentioned that James Earl Jones had taken an interest in her story, and that he wanted to play the role of Barney, who was African-American.

She clearly intended her comment to be off the record, but now that she is dead, the bond of reporter confidentiality no longer exists.”

You must understand that my comment “something ruined it all for me” is intended to enhance the drama in my article, which I have described above as creative nonfiction. The article delineates my own desire to see UFOs and toys with my own desire as a child to have met aliens and possibly to fly into the stars with them.

So, my article purposely sets up literary tension in the form of jealousy on my part: What happened to Betty Hill is what I wanted to happen to me. And my comment that her remark “ruined it all for me” is part of that literary device.

betty hill abduction story

But if you think more deeply about Hill’s remark, it may be interpreted in two ways: That her abduction story could be a fabrication to gain fame and fortune. Or that given that she was in fact abducted, she was going to make money from the experience. Frankly, I don’t think her statement can be used to impugn her credibility because there may be more than one motive behind the desire to make money.

Had I been abducted, if this were my abduction story, I might like to sell the story to Hollywood, too, and make some money from it. It’s a gift from God?or some force from the heavens, eh? Let’s say you survive a plane crash into the mountains, and you eat the dead to survive and later, find your way back to civilization. Your story would be all over the media. You’d be offered book deals and movie deals.

It’s a tragedy that happened to you, but others are interested in paying money for your story. The desire to make money from events of one’s life doesn’t necessarily negate the events.

Tom’s Analysis of Captured!

Ryan: If you have any other personal perspective or opinions about either Captured! or the Betty Hill story, could you share it with readers who may also be interested in the truth behind the UFO phenomenon and alien abductions?

Tom: I found Betty Hill to be a wonderful, delightful person. I can see why she was a popular speaker. I found Kathy Marden’s Captured! to be an extremely detailed account. Kathy made an effort to prove every single detail that supported to the truth of the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill. It’s a very thorough account. In the process, she may have lost the humanity of the story. What’s most interesting to me about the Betty Hill story is Betty herself, and without Betty telling the story, the entire affair becomes a battle of finger pointing over details: who saw what, when, and where, and on and on. People can parse out every single detail, ad infinitum, and the fun goes out of the story. For me, as a writer, Betty Hill IS the story.

As I wrote in my Chrysalis Reader article, Betty was:

“a loveable character, with her pronounced New Hampshire accent, gravelly voice, a seat-of-the-pants expertise about science and psychiatry and outer space, dismissive of critics with a ‘you-know-they’re-hiding-the-truth’ air to her comments.”

Betty was Fox Mulder’s progenitor. For Betty, the truth was out there and it was being ignored or possibly covered up.

betty hill starmap

As to the veracity of Betty’s abduction story, I can’t make a judgment one way or another. Unfortunately, the only two human beings who know the truth are dead. Barney Hill, who died in 1969, and Betty Hill who died in 2004.

I will say this: I would like to believe it, and that was the point of my article in Chrysalis Reader. I do believe that in this vast universe there is other life, possibly creatures more advanced than ours. But one thing I have a good sense for is how a story comes to light in the media.

To my way of thinking, if we’d been visited by extra terrestrials, it would seem that the story would have become known widely and broadly, not just by a handful of abductees. It’s too big an event to hide or keep secret. If there were an alien corpse or a captured spaceship at Area 51, I can’t imagine that the story could be kept secret for too long. That’s possibly the biggest story in the history of mankind. Someone would leak that story for the money!

Now there’s a story that would be worth millions! If the truth were really out there, we would know it. This big a story couldn’t be covered up.

One thing I know for certain about Betty Hill – her description of the aliens that she said abducted her?The Grays?has become an icon in our culture. Sure, there have been other popular aliens in movies and books, but The Grays remain the standard figure. She put those little gray people with the big eyes and feature-less faces at the forefront of culture. Everyone recognizes The Grays. That’s the lasting legacy of Betty Hill that cannot be debunked.

Final Words

In this interview, I was seeking more information from Tom about Betty’s comment that she was excited about the millons that she expected from her story.

Tom’s recollection, as he has eloquently outlines in this interview, is of a very intelligent, sharp-witted woman who was telling her story as she remembered it. Tom has set my suspicions at ease regarding Kathleen Marden. Despite the fact that she’s working with Ufology old-timer Stanton Friedman (not considered the most unbiased figure in Ufology), Tom reports that the Kathleen he knew – and knows today – is credible.

Based on Tom’s credentials and his own writing, which reflects a very clear-headed and sane writer, I trust his assessment and now look forward to learning more about Kathy and her perspective of the Betty Hill story.

With that said, I am still not so sure about Betty Hill’s comment that she would make “millions” from her story. The comment implies that her intentions were not entirely altruistic, and only intended to spread the truth. She had other motives.

Tom’s Bio

Tom Lombardo was a working journalist for more than 35 years, and he served as the founding editor-in-chief of WebMD, the world?s most widely used health web site, from 1998-2001.

He is also the editor of After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events, an anthology featuring 152 poems by 115 poets from 15 nations. He is Poetry Editor of Press 53, a literary publisher in Winston-Salem, NC. His poems have appeared in many journals in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and India, including Southern Poetry Review, Subtropics, Ambit, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, Kritya: A Journal for Our Time, Orbis, Salamander, Ars Medica, Pearl, Asheville Poetry Review, and others.

Tom’s nonfiction work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Small Press, 2009. His essays and other nonfiction have appeared in Chrysalis Reader, Spectrum, Leisure magazine and other publications and his literary criticism has been published in New Letters, North Carolina Literary Review, and South Carolina Review. He has taught courses in Aesthetics and in Creative Writing at the Atlanta College of Art.

Tom earned a B.S. from Carnegie-Mellon University, an M.S. from Ohio University, and an M.F.A. from Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Midtown Atlanta, where he works as a freelance medical editor.

Originally published on


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“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

Top Secret Editors

Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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