Project Blue Book: The Abduction of Thomas Mann

1 of 3

Project Blue Book puts its spin on the Betty and Barney Hill case in this week’s episode. Did Thomas Mann have a close encounter with aliens or is he the victim of PTSD (shell shocked) from the war?

Project Blue Book is an entertaining hybrid of history and dramatization. This week the show interprets the highly publicized case of Betty and Barney Hill. Two ordinary New Hampshire citizens that had the misfortune of running into aliens one night on a deserted road.

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

Betty and Barney Hill’s Backstory

For years, they never spoke about the incident even though both of them knew something had happened to them. Barney suffered health problems while Betty was troubled by strange dreams. Finally, they decided to do something about it so they went to see a psychiatrist named Dr. Benjamin Simon.

This resulted in them recovering memories of being abducted by aliens through hypnosis. It also set off an entire series of events that would culminate in them being the first widely publicized close encounter of the third kind. Actually, according to the current classifications that Dr. J. Allen Hynek created, it would be the fourth kind.

A close encounter of the fourth kind is when the subject is “abducted by a UFO and its occupants.” Something else came out of the Hills’ experience. While Betty was in a hypnotic state during her therapy sessions with Dr. Simon, she was able to draw a map of where the aliens were from.

Project Blue Book – Betty Hill’s drawing of Zeta Reticuli – Courtesy of Armagh Planetarium-Getty Images

Since it was the 1960’s, astronomy wasn’t advanced enough to be able to identify what she supposedly drew. Later in that decade, Marjorie Fish who was a teacher compared Betty’s drawing with maps of real stars in the vicinity of Earth.

What she found was shocking. Apparently, the stars were part of the Zeta Reticulum system. After the lengthy period of research that Fish did to find this match, she declared that there is no way Betty and Barney Hill were perpetuating a hoax. Because when Betty drew the map around 1964, we had no knowledge of this star system.

Years later, astronomers concluded that Hill’s rendering was the result of “chance,” and did not validate that she and her husband made contact with extraterrestrials. What exactly happened to the Hills? We will probably never know.

Thomas Mann’s Curious Case

Project Blue Book – Abduction – Courtesy of Eduardo Araquel and the History Channel

There is quite a bit going on in Allen Hynek’s world. After promising Mimi that he would resign, Hynek is at Wright-Patterson gathering his case files from Quinn’s office. You can tell he is having second thoughts about leaving the project but he needs to keep his family safe.

Captain Quinn shows up and he is surprised to see Hynek there. He is even more flummoxed that Allen would even consider resigning. Before they can get too in-depth about this turn of events, Thomas Mann (Malcolm Goodwin) and his wife Valerie (Khalilah Joi) barge into the room.

As it turns out, Mann contacted Quinn several months back about his abduction event but Michael just thought he was a crackpot and never responded. Now, desperate to stop his recurring nightmares, Mann takes the pair as hostages.