Debunkers At It Again
|By Kathleen Marden|
The UFO Chronicles
I received an email message from Andre Skondras on Christmas day informing me that debunker Robert Sheaffer, an associate of Philip Klass and longstanding member of CSI (formerly CSICOP) , had found a never before published letter allegedly written to Klass by Dr. Benjamin Simon. The letter dated March 1, 1976, was mailed by Klass to Betty in 1988. It spoke of Dr. Simon’s intent to “give the true story of the Betty and Barney Hill affair.” It is our opinion that Dr. Simon would not have stated that his untested, unproven conjectures were the truth. He was circumspect and professional in voicing his opinion. The intentions voiced in the letter would have been a violation of his contract with John Fuller and a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality. I had thought about publishing the letter in my book Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, with Stanton Friedman, but decided not to, due to uncertainty about of the identity of the writer. Betty had marked "Forged Letter!” at the top of the letter. I have had it and other letters that Dr. Simon wrote to Betty examined by several individuals, including three who were close to Dr. Simon, and all believe it is probably a forgery. The style and phraseology were not characteristic of Dr. Simon's writing. An important piece of information is the fact that Dr. Simon signed a non-competition clause with John Fuller. He could not have legally written a book. It is doubtful that Klass would have known this. Dr. Simon was circumspect with regard to sharing his opinions about the Hill case, and it would have been highly uncharacteristic of him to opine or violate doctor-patient confidentiality.
Dr. Simon had always stated that he believed that the Hills had observed the UFO. But he speculated that Betty had repeated her dreams of ET contact while under hypnosis and that Barney (admittedly) overheard her talking about some of the content in her dreams to Walter Webb. All of this is discussed in Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. Their amnesia extended only to the abduction experience itself. This is the only part of their experience that was recovered for the first time through hypnosis. My comparative analysis of the Hill's statements under hypnosis is in Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. I lined up the Hill's separate statements to Dr. Simon, who reinstated amnesia after each individual's hypnosis session. Some of their memories were so frightening they couldn't be introduced into their consciousness immediately. Also, he took steps to avoid the contamination of one's memories with the others. I was originally skeptical about the abduction events, because some of Betty's memories were nearly identical to her dreams. Yet, Betty and Barney spoke of information that was not in her dream material and their statements were identical, including the number of non-human entities who were standing in a certain position. Sometimes their correlating statements contradicted the information in her dreams. Also, the ETs in her dreams were not at all like the ETs that she and Barney recalled after they were hypnotized.
With reference to Dr. Simon's statement on the Larry Glick Show (11/24/1975), he was again circumspect in his statement which I have transcribed as follows: "Barney and Betty gave the same story and this story was precisely like the story that was written by the NICAP investigator. There were no differences between the three. It was the same story they gave consciously. There was no difference. They both shared the same experience all the way. It had me in a bind and I was now faced with certain decisions that I couldn't make. I was faced with a story that was very fantastic. If this were real and true, I would have to believe that the supposed people were from outer space and having what everyone hopes we'll have and nobody has proved at all-visitation from outer space. I believed in their honesty. But the story was fantastic and unreal and had to be accepted or rejected."
We should also be cognizant that the original investigation documents indicate that Barney had conscious, continuous recall of observing figures on the craft that were "somehow not human". It is documented in Walter Webb's October 1961 NICAP report. Betty spoke of the figures in her letter to NICAP, dated September 26, 1961.
Betty’s dress was torn in several places and was damaged by a pink powdery substance that she later found on it; the tops of Barney’s best dress shoes were so deeply scraped that he was forced to purchase new shoes; their watches had stopped and never ran again; the leather strap on Barney’s binoculars was severed, and there were shiny spots on the trunk of the car that caused a compass needle to "spin and spin". Barney developed PTSD symptoms and a bleeding ulcer that would not recede with traditional medical treatment. With regard to Betty's dress, there was physical evidence that was examined in several scientific laboratories. Phyllis Budinger's report is on the Black Vault website. I have the other reports, including the first analysis from the University of Cincinnati's Chemistry Department. Mr. Sheaffer's speculation was debunked by Budinger.
Dr. Simon was under pressure from his peers with regard to making a decision to go down in history as the doctor who endorsed visitation from outer space or for the outstanding history he had as a neuro-psychiatrist. This information is at John Fuller's archival collection at Boston University.
I also read a statement that my mother, Betty's sister, had a serious interest in UFOs prior to the Hill’s event. This is an outright lie. The truth is that my mother observed a large, cigar shaped craft over a field in Kingston, NH, on her Friday night shopping trip back in 1958. It was a multiple witness sighting. She spoke of it immediately after it occurred, to my grandparents and Betty and Barney. Betty thought that it might be real, but Barney did not believe it could have been an unconventional craft. Period! There was no additional discussion until after September 19, 1961. This is confirmed on the hypnosis tapes. On the afternoon of September 20, 1961, I was shocked as I listened to my mother speak with Betty about her close encounter the previous evening. I had never heard my mother speak of a flying saucer prior to this.
In a letter to Betty dated December 8, 1966, Dr. Simon wrote to Betty, "I don't think any of the unanswered questions will be answered by dialectic discussions between 'believers' and 'non-believers' and I was happy to see that emphasized by Dr. Hynek in the articles, 'Are Flying Saucers Real?' which appeared in the 'Saturday Evening Post', December 17, 1966. I fully agree with Dr. Hynek in his point of view--and this is my point of view. Phenomena must be assessed and the excavation of little items such as Mr. Baller's data which he purported to have received from his daughter does no more than Menzel's production of phenomena which could explain U.F.O.s, nor Klass's electronic plasma. While these could explain the phenomena they do not explain your experiences, and I have steadily held that you probably did have an experience with the sighting."
I feel certain that this information will fall upon CSI members' deaf ears or perhaps trigger a backlash against me. Their minds are made up. I have no interest in engaging in dialectic discourse in which invective and pejorative are the means of evaluating data. Their mission is and always has been to destroy the Hill's credibility.
I have copied Betty's draft of her reply to Phil Klass below. Below that you'll find a copy a letter with Dr. Simon’s positive statements toward the Hills. Sheaffer requested proof that my statements are true, so here it is. This letter refutes some of the allegations made by debunkers pertaining to Dr. Simon's Freudian statements about Betty's intrusive "needle" procedure and the fact that he has never offered an opinion to Fate magazine.
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