Betty Hill’s UFO headquarters
Late last year, fellow New Hampshire skeptic, Kitty Mervine described to me a trip that she had recently taken to one of Betty Hill’s UFO observing areas. In our conversation, she reported seeing some unexplained lights in the distance after it got dark and asked me if we could go to the location to see what I thought. This was right before the holidays and I really could not think of such a trip before the spring thaw. Over the next year, I found one reason or another to excuse myself from taking the trip. Finally, this October, we got together to see if there was anything to the lights Kitty was seeing and how they might relate to Betty’s UFO observations.
Betty’s UFO sightings
Kitty informed me that she was told about the site’s location from a UFO enthusiast, who often brought people out to the site to watch for UFOs. According to Betty, she was led to this location by UFOs:
Driving to my mother’s house at night and coming from her house at night....usually, I mean I would be paced by...we would have a UFO on each side of the car and then they would go ahead of us and we would follow ‘em. And they led me to this spot....1
Betty would come out to observe UFOs from this location (as well as a few other spots) and write about them in her notebooks. These notebooks can be found in the University of New Hampshire’s Betty and Barney Hill collection.2
I found some of her notes a bit confusing because she used abbreviations to identify her observing sites. The location on the train tracksnearEastKingstonwasidentifiedas“SR”,whichstoodfor“SanbornRoad”. Otherlocationswere“LS”and“LA”.LSappearstobe “Linden street” in Exeter but LA is still a mystery to me.
The notebook entries are full of descriptions of lights in the sky and on the ground. Sometimes, she tallied the number of UFOs she saw each night in the margins. She even gave some of them names. There was one particular UFO that she had a fondness for because it always was landing on the tracks near Sanborn Road.
Betty’s UFO photographs
At the UNH Betty Hill collection there are several photographs of lights that were visible on the train tracks from her SR observing site. Many of them look like some sort of ground lighting in the distance but Betty felt they were important enough to photo- graph.
What I did not find in the collection was the exact photograph that Betty showed to John Horrigan back in 1999.4 In that interview, she made the claim that it was a UFO headquarters, which gave orders to all the other UFOs in the area:
Betty Hill: OK...this one would come in every night and land. John Horrigan: The same spot or same general vicinity?
Betty Hill: Yep...same general area and others would come in, fly up to this one, and then go on....So, I would call this one the headquar- ters. This is where they came in and got their orders for the night.5
Betty makes this description about a light/UFO at the end of the tracks often in her notebooks. She appears to have given this particular UFO the name “baby” and was always on the lookout for it. Sometimes “baby” was easy to see and not so easy on other nights.6
To the viewing site
After meeting Kitty and her husband, Mark, in East Kingston, my wife, Pollyann, and I followed them to the Sanborn Road observ- ing site. The location feels and appears remote even though there were plenty of houses nearby. Many of these did not exist in the late 1970s. Kitty described to us how Betty always reported seeing UFOs land on the tracks in the direction of East Kingston but never in the opposite direction. It was towards East Kingston that Kitty and her husband had seen the lights at the end of the track. After a short period of time looking at the location in daylight, we took time to go to dinner before returning after sunset.
Darkness descends and the light(s) appear
Arriving after dark, we looked down the tracks to see if the lights would appear. Kitty and Pollyann noticed one right away. Being over 6 foot, I could not initially see it until I stooped down. From this spot, the brightness of the light varied based upon where you were and your height.
Once we walked down the tracks a few hundred feet, the light became easier to see. I set up my Digital SLR with a telephoto lens on a tripod and took several photographs as well as some videos. I originally thought the light was steady and the only reason that the light varied in brightness was because I was not able to stand completely still while I was staring at the light. However, one of the videos on the tripod showed the light “twinkling” like it was a star.
My photographs looked very much like some of the photographs in the Betty Hill collection (although mine had an airplane pass above it).11 Other photographs Betty took showed brighter lighting (see page 11). Exactly what these lights were was the question and a little detective work was about to solve this mystery.
It did not take a lot of rocket science to figure out what we were seeing. Looking at Google earth on his tablet, Mark Mervine quick- ly identified that, when looking down the path of the tracks, one ends up at the East Kingston town hall and fire department about a mile away. The photographs revealed that there was the faint shape of a building with the lights in locations to the left and right of it. The foliage on the trees tended to obscure most of the structure and, when the wind blew, it would cause the light to “twinkle”. For somebody observing the lights with the naked eye in the dark, one would be hard pressed to easily identify what they were.
Despite it being dark, we decided to go to the next railroad crossing down the tracks, where the town hall was located. In front of the building was a street light. There were also security lights in the back (see view from the rear below left) as well as a parking lot. Talking to Mark and Kitty Mervine, they stated they could see additional lights of different colors that moved back and forth near the main lights when they went there in late October of 2012. What they were probably seeing were car headlights and taillights passing in front of the buildings. By then, more of the leaves from the trees had fallen and allowed a better view of the road through the gaps between the buildings.
In addition to the parking lot and security lighting, there were also two vertical windows in the back of the building. If the lights were on inside the building, it could leak out in the direction of the train tracks. Depending on the time of year and activity in and around the town hall, the lighting would appear different from night to night as viewed from Sanborn road.
While we were out in front of the town hall, a local fireman came out and my wife asked him some questions. He was a long time resi- dent of the area and stated that in the 1970s, the light in front of the town hall existed. He also pointed out that the fire hall center section had not been added until the 1980s. Examining the historical aerials web site on line, I was able to verify this last statement. We don’t know how many trees existed in the 1970s between the town hall and the observing site but it seems reasonable that it was pretty similar to what we see today.
I think it is safe to conclude that Betty’s UFO headquarters (AKA “Baby”) was probably caused by the lighting in and around the East Kingston Town Hall. With this stimulus present, it only took Betty’s belief in alien visitation and imagination to create the illusion of a landed spaceship.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2013