278. Free Show: Jim MacDonald

Retired Boston police officer, Donnie Gosselin joins in studio to speak with guest Jim MacDonald who has his own thoughts on the Betty & Barney Hill Incident. Betty’s niece, Kathleen Marden calls in as well as an informed researcher. Several other listeners call in during hour two. Subscribe here to listen to full shows. Check out Jim’s blog on the incident here

8 thoughts on “278. Free Show: Jim MacDonald

  • November 30, 2017 at 2:02 am
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    I don’t feel that anyone will ever satisfactorily explain the Hills’ case. The light on the mountain with sleep deprivation story has been presented by others many times before, and MacDonald didn’t bring anything new or original to it. Yeah, it kinda, sorta explains a little of the Hills’ reported experience, but not everything.

    A couple of years ago a self-identified skeptical blogger posted about driving the route the Hills took at the same time of year during the same hours. Beforehand, he was sure when he got to where he could see the light it would prove to be the UFO. After the drive he was no longer convinced it was, yet couldn’t provide an alternative explanation based on anything else he saw along the way.

    The Hills seem to have displayed signs of post-traumatic stress, so I believe something did happen to them on their drive. But not aliens. For example, they might have been flagged down and become victims of criminal activity so frightening they blacked it out of their conscious memories. You gotta admit, that’s less far-fetched and far more likely than encountering ETs in a flying saucer.

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    • December 6, 2017 at 10:49 am
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      The light on the mountain combined with sleep deprivation has indeed been presented many times before — by people quoting me.

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  • December 1, 2017 at 12:49 am
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    Aren’t we past condescending analysis of what educated people see.Like they can’t tell the difference between a Jack-o-lantern sign and a moving living being?They mistook a craft blocking the road with a distance light?This sort of condescending commentary is antiquated!

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    • December 13, 2017 at 11:49 am
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      The craft blocking the road, and the moving living beings, were both in recovered memories. In other words, they didn’t happen.

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  • December 6, 2017 at 10:46 am
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    What We Know and How We Know It, Part 1:

    What we know: Betty and Barney were sleep deprived on the night of 19/20 September 1961

    How We Know It: They were on the back side of a twelve-hundred mile road trip on two-lane blacktop. It is possible, though I sincerely doubt it, that they were well-rested at 10:00 am on the morning of September 19, but their event didn’t happen on the morning of September 19th. Twelve hours later, and three-hundred-plus miles farther down the road, at 10:00 pm, they were just leaving Colebrook, NH, for what would turn out to be another seven hours on the road.

    They should have stopped for the night two hours earlier, but they didn’t. Fuller (in his book Interrupted Journey) makes it clear that the reason they didn’t stop was because they had run out of money and couldn’t afford a motel, so they decided to pull an all-nighter.
    If they were tired by 10:00 pm, which common human experience suggests they must have been, by five the next morning they would have been reeling.

    How else do we know that they were sleep deprived? They were showing signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation.

    One symptom of sleep deprivation is paranoia, the feeling that someone is watching or following you. Betty and Barney felt that someone was watching or following them.
    Another symptom of sleep deprivation is not being able to remember the last several miles driven. Betty and Barney were, during one part of their journey, unable to remember the last several miles driven.

    A third symptom of sleep deprivation is a feeling of “missing time.” Betty and Barney felt they had missing time.

    A fourth symptom of sleep deprivation is irritability. During this part of the trip Betty and Barney were getting irritable with each other.

    Fuller reports they felt an “odd tingling drowsiness” and a “haze.” This is consistent with sleep deprivation.

    See: http://drowsydriving.org/about/warning-signs/ See: https://www.verywell.com/what-are-the-symptoms-of-sleep-deprivation-3015161

    As to why I doubt that the Hills were “well-rested” when they started the morning of the 19th of September, 1961, we have the following facts:

    First, Barney was a night-shift worker. He worked nights and slept days. Yet on this road trip he drove days and slept nights. His sleep schedule was severely disrupted the moment he pulled out of his driveway on the morning of September 16th.

    Common human experience shows tells us that road trips, with successive nights in unfamiliar beds in a series of motels, can result in less-than-restful sleep.

    Further, I reference this: http://www.medicaldaily.com/nearly-third-americans-are-sleep-deprived-240273 “Nearly a Third of Americans are Sleep Deprived.”

    While the study mentioned there, a 2012 study by the CDC, isn’t contemporaneous with 1961 (and there have been some significant changes in things affecting Americans’ sleep since 1961, including but not limited to the Internet, smart phones, DVD movies, and LED lights) and therefore I’m not hanging my hat on it, some of the findings are interesting and perhaps relevant: For example, that around 30% of Americans are chronically sleep deprived.
    Who are the folks most likely to be chronically sleep deprived? People who work night shifts (Barney worked the night shift) and people in the age range 30-44 (Betty, age 42, and Barney, age 39, fall into that range).

    Based on that alone, it is very likely that Betty and Barney were chronically sleep deprived.

    Therefore, I consider it proved that, by the time they had their experience on the night of 19/20 September 1961, Betty and Barney were in fact fatigued and sleep deprived.

    Please, friends, if you are driving and notice that you can’t remember the last few miles, or if you have a sense of missing time … pull off at the next motel, or at least pull over and take a nap. Your night in a motel will cost far less than a week in a hospital, or a funeral.

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  • December 8, 2017 at 10:29 am
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    What We Know and How We Know It, Part 2

    What we know: Betty and Barney misidentified the aircraft warning light on the top of Cannon Mountain as a flying saucer.

    How we know it:

    When Betty and Barney arrived in Franconia Notch, with Cannon Mountain on the west and Mount Layfayette on the east, they had been watching what they supposed was a UFO ahead of them for over an hour. They stopped in Franconia Notch and this is what they observed:
    They saw the lights on the upper station of the Cannon Mountain Tramway, and, above those lights, the UFO. What you or I would have seen, standing at that same location on that same date at that same time, would have been the lights at the upper station of the tramway, and, above those lights, the aircraft warning beacon on Cannon Mountain. The beacon, then and now, appears above and to the left of the tramway station. So: in physical reality there are two lights visible on Cannon Mountain at this point, the light on the tramway station and the beacon. What Betty and Barney saw, however, was the light on the tramway station and the UFO. They are looking at the aircraft warning beacon, they are pointing at the aircraft warning beacon, and they’re saying, in effect, ‘That’s it! That’s the UFO!’

    This is sufficient in and of itself to prove that they had mistaken the aircraft warning beacon on Cannon Mountain for a flying saucer.

    But … this is not everything we have.

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  • December 13, 2017 at 11:49 am
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    What We Know and How We Know It, Part 4

    What We Know: Betty and Barney misidentified the moon as a flying saucer.

    How we know it: A few minutes after stopping at the foot of Cannon Mountain and about a mile and a half south of the place where Betty and Barney observed their UFO and the lights on the tramway (which we now know was the beacon on the lookout tower on Cannon Mountain and the tramway), the UFO vanished behind the mountain at the same moment the tramway station lights vanished. Betty supposed that the tramway lights had been suddenly switched off, but, in fact, they were hidden at this point by the shoulder of the mountain, as was the beacon. The Hills supposed their UFO was actually flying and thus had flown to a different location. But where had it flown to? Moments later, as they passed the south edge of the cliff where the Old Man of the Mountain rock formation was located and they had a clear view of the western sky, they saw their flying saucer again, this time as a red-orange glowing orb the size of a dinner plate.

    That is to say, they looked in the direction of moonset, and saw something that looked just like the setting moon.

    Some may object that the moon is not, in fact, the size of a dinner plate. Due to the well-known Moon Illusion (an optical illusion that has been noted and described since antiquity—Google it) in which the moon looks larger the nearer it gets to the horizon, the setting moon can certainly appear to be the size of a dinner plate. A dinner plate is nothing: It can appear to be the size of a wagon wheel.

    Why were the Hills unable to recognize the moon, an object they were perfectly familiar with and had been seeing all their lives? A) They were heavily fatigued, and B) they were scared out of their wits.

    The Hills expected to see a flying saucer, so they perceived one, so they remembered one. We, knowing that it was really the moon, can calculate from the known time of moonset that they had already lost at least 30 minutes and possibly an hour of the famous missing two hours in their interrupted journey, long before their supposed abduction. Nor is this loss of time surprising: they had stopped at various places along the road to walk the dog and to observe the mysterious (to them) light in the sky, and they reported deliberately driving slowly in order to continue to observe that light during portions of their trip.

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  • December 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm
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    What We Know And How We Know It, Part 5.

    What We Know: Betty and Barney Misidentified the Jack O’Lantern Resort as a Flying Saucer

    How We Know It:

    The Jack O’Lantern Resort has been located on US 3 in Woodstock, NH, since the 1940s. Its logo is a large, stylized jack o’lantern. In the 1960s there was a billboard down along the road, and a large, lighted jack o’lantern on the roof of the main building.

    The next bit isn’t actual knowledge on my part. This is supposition, but it’s far more solid than the supposition that Betty and Barney were abducted by space aliens, because we know that the Jack O’Lantern existed (and still exists) but the “flying saucer” didn’t. In Fuller’s book we read, “Both recalled very faintly a large, luminous moon-shape, which seemed to be touching the road, sitting on end under some pines.” That could be a description of the billboard, as their headlights swept momentarily across it.

    Betty and Barney were already thinking of the “flying saucer” as a glowing red-orange orb, ever since they misidentified the moon as a flying saucer back there by the Old Man of the Mountain. So when they saw another red-orange orb, it became the same flying saucer in their minds. A little bit farther on, they came to a place where the red-orange glowing orb of the jack o’lantern on top of the motel came in view. This too became the same flying saucer in their memories. It is my belief that this was where they stopped the car and ran around an otherwise empty field, where they looked with binoculars into the jack o’lantern’s eyes, and called them windows, and all the other garish things they remembered the next day. They conflated the memory of this object with the memory of the moon that they had seen back a few miles farther north in Franconia. When, some weeks or months later, they tried to find in daylight the place where they had stopped at night, they missed it.

    In between sighting the moon in Franconia, and sighting the Jack O’Lantern Resort in Woodstock, was the portion where the flying saucer flew directly above them. They didn’t see this, of course – the car roof was in the way – rather they believed that it must be true: they could no longer see the lights in the sky (the moon had set, the beacon was obscured by the mountain). But they still felt they were being watched and followed (the paranoia due to sleep deprivation). So, where was the flying saucer? By elimination it had to be directly above them.

    After the sighting of the Jack O’Lantern Resort (where “…Barney was near hysteria. He jammed the car into first gear, spurted off down the road, shouting that he was sure they were going to be captured…”) they had no more experiences with strange lights (until the recovered memory sessions over a year later). May I suggest that Barney wasn’t “near” hysteria: he was all the way there. Even so, even then, he still didn’t believe they had seen a flying saucer: “In those first few moments of consciousness, Betty remembers faintly saying to her husband, ‘Now do you believe in flying saucers?’ And he recalls answering: ‘Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not.’”

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