4 Most Famous Alien Abduction Claims

For many decades, stories of alien abductions have captured our imaginations, leaving us to wonder if they’re real or not.

Oct 18, 2023By Greg Beyer, BA History & Linguistics, Journalism Diploma

famous alien abduction claims


Incidents of contact with beings purported to be from other planets are a phenomenon that played a part in characterizing the 20th century. For many skeptics, these stories are nothing more than the result of charlatans looking for attention, but for many others, these stories are widely believed to be true.


From sinister alien abductions, medical experiments, and extraterrestrial sex, here are 4 of the most interesting and famous alien abductions.


1. Betty and Barney Hill

betty and barney
Betty and Barney Hill, from Bettmann / Getty Images, via SyFy


The first widely reported incident of alien abduction in the United States happened on September 19, 1961, in a rural part of New Hampshire. Betty and Barney Hill were driving back from a vacation in Montreal and Niagara Falls at night.


While Barney was driving, Betty noticed a light in the sky that looked like a shooting star but was moving erratically, including vertically. She urged her husband to stop the car, and they pulled over at a picnic spot near Twin Mountain. With them was their dog, Delsey.

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They both exited their vehicle and took turns with their binoculars looking at the object, which was clearly visible and traveling across the face of the moon. Betty’s sister had claimed to have seen a flying saucer before, so Betty was confident that this was what she was observing. Barney, however, was not convinced. He thought it was a commercial airliner until it rapidly changed direction and moved toward them. He realized there was no possible way it could be an airplane.


They got back in their car and drove off slowly, following the object as it slowly descended and flew over the surrounding area. Betty claimed that the craft was longer than 60 feet and seemed to be rotating.


Suddenly the craft zoomed toward Betty and Barney. They stopped the car, and Barney got out. The craft was close, and Barney could see figures through windows. One of the beings communicated the message, “stay where you are and keep looking.” That was one of the last things Betty and Barney would remember that night.


bust alien betty hill
Betty Hill’s bust of one of the aliens that abducted her and her husband, via insidetheconservatorsstudio.blogspot.com


When they woke up, they felt uneasy and knew that something had happened, but their memories had disappeared. When they got home, they noticed their watches had stopped working. Barney’s shoes were scuffed, and Betty’s dress had been ripped at the hem and had a strange pink powder on it.


Several days afterward, Betty started having dreams in which she and her husband were stopped by short gray men wearing blue suits and military-style cadet caps, who took them into the forest. In her dreams, she recalled being in a trance.


Later, both Barney and Betty would undergo hypnosis sessions to regain their lost memories. Barney recalled being told to close his eyes and being put into a trance-like state. He remembered the beings mumbling in a strange language but communicating with him via telepathy, telling him not to be afraid.


Betty’s hypnosis sessions revealed her memories to be consistent with Barney’s memories, but they differed slightly from her dreams, generally in minor details such as the visitors’ appearances, the technology on the spacecraft, and the order of events. Betty drew a “star map” from her memories, later identified as pointing to the Zeta Reticuli star system.


2. Antônio Vilas-Boas

antonio vilas boas
Antônio Vilas-Boas in 1957, via aventurasnahistoria.uol.com.br


On October 16, 1957, while working at night on his family farm in Brazil, 23-year-old Antônio Vilas-Boas claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials. He said he saw a large egg-shaped craft with a cupola on top containing a rotating red light.


The craft landed by extending three legs, after which several 5-foot-tall beings disembarked. Antônio tried to escape on his tractor, but the engine died, and he continued on foot. He was eventually captured by these beings, who wore gray overalls and helmets. He was taken aboard their ship, whereupon they took their helmets off. They had small blue eyes and communicated via a series of animal-like grunts.


antonio vilas boas alien
A frame from a French cartoon depicting the story of Antônio Vilas-Boas, via Facebook


Once aboard the ship, Antônio was stripped naked and covered in a gel. He was led into a large semi-circular room through a doorway adorned with red symbols. Antônio was later able to recall these symbols with perfect clarity. The beings then took blood samples from his chin before moving him to a third room where he was left alone for half an hour. A gas was pumped into the room, which made Antônio feel nauseated. After this bout of nausea abated, the doors to the room opened, and a naked female alien of the same species joined him. Antônio recalled that she was very attractive with platinum blonde hair and red pubic hair. She had a pointed chin and large cat-like eyes. Antônio felt a powerful attraction to this woman, and they engaged in intercourse wherein instead of kissing him, she nipped him on the chin.


After the sexual act, the woman smiled, patted her belly, and pointed upwards before leaving.

Antônio was given back his clothes and shown around the ship before being escorted off. When Antônio got home, he realized four hours had passed.


A medical examination after Antônio made these claims showed that he was suffering from a mild dose of radiation sickness.


3. Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson

parker and hickson
Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, along with a sketch of one of the creatures that abducted them, via WLOX


On October 11, 1973, Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson were fishing on the banks of the Pascagoula River in Mississippi when Parker was distracted by blue lights reflecting off the water’s surface. Originally thinking it was the lights of a police car, the two men would instead be the subject of an alien abduction.


The two fishermen looked up to see a large football-shaped aircraft descending from the clouds. It made no noise save for a hissing sound. The craft hovered above them, and three creatures appeared, floating in the air and moving toward Parker and Hickson. Parker described the beings as having pincers for hands and robotic-looking slits for mouths. One was neckless and gray, while the other two seemed to have more feminine shapes.


The creatures wrapped their pincers around the two fishermen’s necks, but the two men did not fight back. Parker recounts a sensation of numbness and no fear whatsoever. He was in a trance-like state, and the two men were taken aboard the spaceship, where they were experimented on.


Hickson recalled a large machine resembling a giant eye moving over his body and that he was surrounded by five-foot-tall beings.


pascagoula river image
The Pascagoula River in Mississippi, via The Nature Conservancy


The two fishermen later found themselves back on the riverbank as if nothing had happened. They went to the police and told their story. Captain Ryder did not believe them, and after the interview, left them in the interrogation room with a hidden recording device in the hopes of hearing one of them give evidence that the whole story was a hoax, but the conversation that happened between the two men gave credence to their claim.


Hickson said to Parker, “Jesus Christ, God have mercy, I thought I’d been through enough of Hell on this Earth, and now I’ve got to go through something like this, but they could have, you know, I guess they, well, they could have harmed us, son. They had use. They could have done anything to us.”


Parker responded, “I just want to cry right now, what’s so damn bad about it is nobody’s going to believe us.”


For decades, the two didn’t speak of the event, but after Hickson died in 2011, Parker wrote a book that was published in 2018. Since then, other people who lived in the area have come forward saying that they, too, saw a UFO that night.


4. Travis Walton

Photograph of Travis Walton, via IMDB


American forestry worker Travis Walton went missing on November 5, 1975, while working in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona.


Travis was riding on a truck with six of his co-workers when they spotted a saucer-shaped object hovering above them about 110 feet (34 meters) away. Travis dismounted the vehicle and went to investigate the anomaly. A beam of light shot forth from the craft knocking Walton unconscious, and his colleagues drove away in terror.


Walton claimed that he awoke in a hospital-like room and was being observed by three short, bald creatures. He fought with them until three humans restrained him and put a transparent plastic mask over his face. He lost consciousness, and the next thing he remembered was walking along a highway five days later, catching a glimpse of the spacecraft as it disappeared into the sky.


All of Travis Walton’s co-workers took polygraph tests, and except for one inconclusive result, they all passed.


In 1978, Walton wrote The Walton Experience, a book detailing his claims which was later adapted into the movie Fire in the Sky (1993). The movie was critically acclaimed and remains one of the most popular movies about alien abduction.


Walton sometimes appears at UFO conventions and hosts his own UFO conference in Arizona.


fire in the sky
Film Still from Fire in the Sky (1993), via Back To The Movies


While these stories of alien abductions may be gripping and have received much public and media attention, they have many skeptics who claim these claims are, among other things, episodes made up to cover psychological trauma, examples of attention-seeking, or simply ways to make money.


Whatever the case, these stories have become famous and have sparked our interest in investigating aliens and UFO abductions. Perhaps one day, we’ll know the truth about alien encounters, but until then, they remain a mystery.

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By Greg BeyerBA History & Linguistics, Journalism DiplomaGreg specializes in African History. He holds a BA in History & Linguistics and a Journalism Diploma from the University of Cape Town. A former English teacher, he now excels in academic writing and pursues his passion for art through drawing and painting in his free time.