Most UFO researchers point to the Barney and Betty Hill event in September of 1961 as the start of the modern "alien abduction" era, the same way that occult researchers point to Aleister Crowley's 1918 Amalantrah Working as the first appearance of a classic (or near-classic) Grey-type in the modern era.
But what if I told you that the two events are connected in a direct and tangible way, as well as through some stunning semiotics? And what if I told you that Jack Kirby was picking up on all of this on whatever alien frequency he spent his life tuned into?
First, let's cover the basic facts....
From Lee Spiegel's Huffpost column we read "Betty And Barney Hill UFO Abduction Story Commemorated On Official N.H. Highway Plaque":
Late at night on Sept. 19, 1961, they were driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, returning from a Canadian vacation to their home in Portsmouth when they spotted an object in the sky with lights, which at first seemed like an airplane. But when the "airplane" began to rapidly descend in their direction, they quickly continued driving south along Route 3.Based on the descriptions from the hypnotic sessions and a sketch provided by Barney an artist named David Baker created a sketch and explained his understanding of the creatures. Baker worked from a descriptions of creatures with large, slanted eyes, oversized heads, weak, pointed chins, immobility of facial expressions, lack of hair and ears and an inability to distinguish male from female.
Just south of the Indian Head resort, the Hills stopped in the middle of the road and said the silent, cigar-shaped craft hovered above their car. Through binoculars, Barney claimed to see several "strangely not human" figures at the object's windows. Fearing they were about to be captured, Barney quickly drove away.
The next thing the Hills remembered was that they were 35 miles farther along on their journey and approximately two hours had passed which they couldn't account for.
This amnesia continued to bother them, leading to physical and mental disorders until finally, three years after the experience, time-regression hypnosis was used to extract the lost information. Under separate hypnotic sessions, the Hills produced details of a reported kidnapping by aliens on board a spacecraft.
Eventually, a well-known psychiatrist and neurologist, Dr. Benjamin Simon, used a technique called regression hypnosis to help unlock the Hills' forgotten memories. Through many separate hypnotic sessions, the Hills recounted a tale of being abducted by alien beings into the UFO and given physical examinations before being returned to their car with their memories erased.
In other words, the classic Grey prototype, which has been reported for several thousand years. Echoes of the Greys have appeared in art and pop culture over the past hundred years or so, but they've been largely absent since ancient times. It was with the Betty and Barney Hill episode that the archetype burst back into the collective consciousness in a major way.
Of course, they did so with Aleister Crowley's Lam contact in a minor way 43 years earlier. And as we'll see in future installments Jack Kirby seemed rather obsessed with the archetype in the 50s as did Outer Limits mask maker Wah Chang in the early 60s.
Skeptics seized on the Grey archetypes on that landmark show to discredit Barney Hill's testimony, only because they were too lazy and smug to research how far back in history that Greys have been reported and depicted in art. They're not quite so smug now.
Here were see Baker's depiction of the Hills' captors and Crowley's sketch of Lam. Neither are as evolved as the Greys we see on the cover of Communion, for instance, but the basic architecture is the same. It's also roughly the same as the captive-taking Talosians from "The Cage" and any number of aliens in the more credible sci-fi of the 50s and 60s.
So we know the Hills' basic story- what about Crowley's? From Ian Blake's story on the Amalantrah Working from the late, lamented Excluded Middle:
(At the outbreak of WWI, Crowley) returned to New York and moved into furnished rooms on Central Park West. Roddie Minor, a married woman living apart from her husband, joined him there circa September/ October 1917 and together they set about exploring the wilder shores of magica sexualis.
Under the influence of hashish and opium, (Minor) described to Crowley a series of archetypal visions involving (among others) a king, a small boy and a wizard who introduced himself as "Amalantrah"--who delivered exhortations to "find the egg"...the details are unclear, but it seems that some stage during the proceedings he underwent a form of contactee experience involving a large-headed entity now known to occultists as Lam.
The egg has since been interpreted by some observers as a UFO, which makes sense given the fact that Lam looks like a Grey.
Though this working has become legendary in recent years, I can't find any evidence that any record of it was widely published until Kenneth Grant's The Magical Revival in 1972, and I don't believe the portrait of Lam was republished until several years after that.
In other words, there's not much chance that Crowley's drawing had much of an effect on the culture at large, and certainly no evidence the Hills ever saw it.
Sit in silence before the portrait.
Invoke mentally by silent repetition of the Name.
If response is felt to be positive, but not before, enter the Egg and merge with That which is within and look out through the entity’s eyes on what appears now to the votary an alien world.
Seal the Egg, i.e. close the eyes of Lam and await developments.
Note also the banishing ritual, an occult tradition in which the entities summoned are believed to be sent back to their native realms. Grant also warned his followers to be patient, which might make sense given the 43 years between the first Lam sighting and the Hill case:
It may take years to accumulate significant evidence of contact with Lam, and - if Lam is the Gateway - with Those who lie Beyond.OK, you might be saying-- your typical Thelemite occultism. Nothing new there. What does it have to do with Betty and Barney Hill?
AL & EV'S EXCELLENT NEW HAMPSHIRE ADVENTURE
Left: Kirby's Dr. Droom Right: The Great Beast 666
In 1916, while living near Bristol, New Hampshire, Crowley promoted himself to the rank of Magus through a ceremony of his own devising. According to Richard Cavendish, in History of Magic and The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic, and Folk Belief (both currently out of print), this involved baptizing a toad as Jesus of Nazareth, then crucifying it.Though OTO purists protest Cavendish's claims as to Crowley's ritual activities, one thing is for certain; Crowley wrote a letter to The New York Times (of all places) complaining of a strange visitation in the form of ball lightning:
To the Editor of The New York Times:Crowley wasn't there alone; he was the guest of a famous astrologer. One who traced her lineage back to two presidents born in my old neck of the woods:
I do not know whether globular lightning is a sufficiently
rare phenomenon in this country to merit remark. Yesterday a
globe of fire with an apparent diameter of about a foot burst on
the floor of the middle room of a cottage here and within a few
inches of my right foot. Curiously enough, no damage of any
kind was done.
New Bristol, N.H.,
July 13, 1916
Between 1913 and 1918, Evangeline Adams owned the Jonathan K. Pike House, which was built around 1803 as a parsonage for the village church next door. This is the cottage where Crowley stayed during the summer of 1916. Although Crowley refers to the dwelling as “a cottage on the shores of Lake Pasquaney in New Hampshire” (Confessions, p. 806), it really isn’t on the shore.Adams was an occultist whose fame overshadowed that of Crowley's, in America, at least:
Related to two United States presidents, Evangeline Adams capitalised on an upscale image to serve such clients as J.P. Morgan, Charles Schwab, Tallulah Bankhead and Joseph Campbell.And as you can see from the map, Crowley was less than an hour's drive from where the Hills reported to have been abducted by beings almost identical to the creatures Crowley would claim contact with in New York in just over a year and a half.
Adams worked on a book with Aleister Crowley in the teens; gossip has it that they were also personally involved. After they separated, however, Crowley published an attack of Evangeline's astrological skills and business methods, calling her "a grey-haired old woman of exceedingly shrewd expression".
Even more remarkable is the fact that the highway that links Crowley's stomping grounds with the Hills' abduction spot is Interstate 93: 93 being the holiest of holies in Thelemite gematria:
The number 93 is of great significance in Thelema, a religious philosophy founded by English author and occultist Aleister Crowley in 1904 with the writing of The Book of the Law (also known as Liber AL vel Legis)Boy, the Collins Elite would love all of this, eh? Of course, they should have made this connection ages ago, given all the tax dollars they were spending.
The central philosophy of Thelema is in two phrases from Liber AL: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and "Love is the law, love under will." The two primary terms in these statements are "Will" and "Love", respectively.
In the Greek language, they are Thelema (Will) and Agape (Love). Using the Greek technique of isopsephy, which applies a numerical value to each letter, the letters of both of these words when added together equal 93.
It gets better: again, the accounts have it that the Hills claimed that following their missing time even they woke up 35 miles down Route 3/93:
The next thing the Hills recalled was being frightened by the unusual flying object, and the occupants inside of it. Barney scurried back to the car where Betty was waiting. They jumped into the car, and raced down the highway.
Looking for the object, they found that it was now gone. As they drove on, they began to hear a beeping sound... once, then again. Although they had been driving only a couple of minutes, they were 35 miles down the road!
35 miles down the road would have ensured that the Hills would have woken up in the very same town in which Crowley was actually living in 1916- it was Hebron, not Bristol proper.
Adams’s cottage was located in the village of Hebron, NH, ten miles north of Bristol. According to Musgrove, “Hebron village is situated very pleasantly on a plain near the northwest shore of the lake. It contains a church, town hall, schoolhouse, a store, and several dwellings”Let me repeat that: the Hills woke up from their missing time episode in the very same town that Aleister Crowley had lived just months before his own contact experience.
THE PLACE OF THE NEPHILIM
But what do we know about Hebron? About the town in New Hampshire, not much. But from Numbers 13:22 we read that the Children of Anak (aka the Anakim, or "long-necked giants") ruled the ancient city (now located on the West Bank):
And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)And who exactly were the Children of Anak? From Numbers 13:33:
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”The descendants of the Nephilim, those who from Heaven to Earth came. Also known as the "Anunnaki" (Anak is an obvious derivation of Anunnaki), or "gods of the sky."
What are the odds? No mention of that factoid in Crowley's diaries, far as I can tell, though...
Of course, Interstate 93 was Route 3 back when the Hills were driving it, and who knows what when Crowley was there. But it gets better-- the next town over from Bristol (apparently where Crowley was getting his mail)? Hill.
Note also that the exit which the the Hills would have taken off of Route Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law is Exit 33, just to add the cherry on top.
If Crowley had intended this as a working, he couldn't have possibly arranged it more brilliantly. Why? Well, shortly before decamping to Bristol/Hebron he took over the Ordo Templi Orientis, the occult order whose highest degree is the 11th. Hill, NH is bordered on the south by Route 11.
But Crowley didn't seem to have intended his time in New Hampshire as a working, otherwise we'd never hear the end of it. And the Amalantrah Working itself never seemed to rate on his personal best list. It's only since the Hill abduction drama and the rise of alien abductions that the Working became an internet meme.
But the links here are tantalizing: even though I'd argue that Crowley's role in the UFO era has been greatly overblown and largely incidental (UFO sightings were well underway before the Amalantrah Working and all sorts of people were claiming contact with secret chiefs from Sirius and so on), the connections between Lam and the Hills' captors are undeniable.
The fact that Crowley was literally right down the road from the later Hill drama not long before his alleged contact certainly adds new pieces to the puzzle, if nothing else.
But I'll see your Great Beast and raise you a King...
SPACE AGE NOSTRADAMUS
This magazine wasn't actually released in September- comics are dated three months in advance for some crazy reason. Jack Kirby actually produced not one but two friggin' stories dealing with alien abductions in September (cover-dated Dec. 1961), but for our purposes, let's deal with this issue.
Because-- believe it or not-- it's the hidden glue between Crowley and the Hills.
In "What Lurks Within?," our bald mystic friend
And then something rather remarkable happens: rather than cast spells or shoot rayguns at the aliens, Doctor Droom goes into a mystical trance and communicates with the aliens through telepathic means. Yes, just like Crowley and the Amalantrah Working.
Cover-dated the same month as the Hill abduction.
And here we see Droom's own kind of banishing ritual, complete with knocks provided from a derrick, or on loan from the Babalon Working, depending on your point of view. And damn, if that UFO still doesn't not look like an egg, an egg with teeth.
And given that none of the details of the ritual were published until a good 11 years after this story was drawn, there's no way Kirby was basing any of this on the Amalantrah Working itself.
And if you can get past those nasty-looking pumpkin teeth, we're not a million miles away from the basic Grey archetype either. Note the similar Y-design in the oversized foreheads of Lam and our pumpkin-UFO friend there.
And now we're back where we started- with the Doctors. I'm starting to wonder if a certain British cousin wasn't in fact inspired by all of these American magi, which given the timeline might not be as far a stretch as it seems. And given recent episodes of Doctor Who, I get the very strong feeling the writers of that series most definitely read this blog. Well, I'll try to give them some new ideas to work from in the next installment...
UPDATE: The cover story of the Sept 1961 issue of Amazing Adventures has Robot X fighting off yet another alien incursion, this time featuring google-eyed, flat-nosed Martians almost identical to the Skrulls, who Lee and Kirby would introduce us to around the same time in Fantastic Four. Clip those ears and black in those eyes and it's the same old archetype, all over again.