Saturday, March 18, 2017

19 - The Family Murders (Part One)

When people think of Adelaide, they think of it as it is now: the burgeoning capital of South Australia, known for its beautiful landscape as much as its vibrant community. The city was formed because of its stellar location: wedged in between the Adelaide Foothills to the east, the coastline that runs along the west and down into the southern cape, and the expanse of vast Australia that lies to the north. The Torrens River runs throughout Central Adelaide, splitting the city into primarily two halves.

Adelaide is seen as a very liberal, shining beacon of progressivism in the modern era, but back in the 1960s and 1970s, was going through a period of growing pains. Once known as "the City of Churches," Adelaide was beginning to go through a cultural renaissance. Arts festivals were popping up left and right, and the once-conservative nature of the town was beginning to fall prey to what some called "the hippie movement."

Because of this wave of progressivism, the 1970s saw many more homosexuals become comfortable in their skin. They began to embrace their sexuality, even though it was still technically illegal under Australian law.

This reached a boiling point when, in 1972, two men were thrown into the Torrens River. Members of the city's Vice Squad - a police unit primarily aimed at targeting drug users and offenders of "moral" laws - were tasked with rooting out homosexuals. Believe it or not, this was a practice of Southern Australia's law enforcement. Most of time, instead of actually arresting gay men for their perceived crimes, they would simply rough them up, as much as it pains me to say.

George Duncan

George Duncan and Roger James were two men that had been picked up by the Vice Squad on this evening, May 10th. Instead of facing any charges for being gay, the handful of police officers present decided that the best course of action would be to throw both men into the nearby Torrens River itself.

Both men hit the water, and one didn't come back out alive. George Duncan would drown in the river that evening, and the other, Roger James, would escape the Torrens with a broken ankle.

While the members of the Vice Squad began to panic, and news cameras rushed to capture video of Duncan's body being pulled from the river, Roger James was helped out of the water by a stranger.

This stranger's name was as peculiar as the man it belonged to: Bevan Spencer von Einem. von Einem helped James from the water, and actually drove him to the nearby Royal Adelaide Hospital.
This story would become historic, in more ways than one. The death of George Duncan would serve as a catalyst, ultimately leading to repeals of Southern Australia's harsh anti-homosexuality laws. Homosexuality would become decriminalized in South Australia in 1975, with the passing of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, becoming the first Australian state or territory to do so.

Bevan Spencer von Einem

However, this evening would also see the name "Bevan Spencer von Einem" first scratched into the history books. He had been present for this dark moment in Australian history, but he would go on add many more miserable chapters of his own.


Hello, and welcome to the Unresolved Podcast. My name is Micheal Whelan, and I'll be your host once again.

If this is your first time listening to the podcast, I'd like to thank you for checking it out. This podcast is all about trying to tell the story of unsolved mysteries: whether they be true crime, extraterrestrial, or paranormal in nature.

This episode is going to be another true crime story for all of you, and this one takes us back to Australia. This is a story I mentioned many months ago, when I covered the disappearance of the Beaumont Children from Adelaide in episodes ten and eleven. And, this is going to be the first half of a two-parter; this episode is going to be an introduction to the story, while the next episode is going to be focused on the investigation to identity "the Family" and any additional follow-up.

Before I truly get started, I'd like to add a disclaimer for these episodes: what you're about to hear is perhaps the most sickening story I've covered yet. The victims of this true story are all young men, who experienced extensive sexual assaults at the hands of their captor - or captors. If this material makes you squeamish in any way, or you have any people around you that it may be inappropriate to listen with, I encourage you to maybe listen to it another time.

Also, as you can guess, this episode has a strong emphasis on homosexuality, and violent offenders that were tied up in Australia's gay community in the 1970s and 1980s. If any of the terms I use are offensive, or you feel disparage the gay community at-large, I do apologize ahead of time. That is definitely not my intention; my intention is to simply tell the story of what has become known as one of Australia's darkest chapters... known only as the Family Murders.


Following the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1975, Adelaide continued its ascent of progressive ideals. Gay people began to finally embrace their identities, no longer having to hide the shame of their sexuality under threat of imprisonment or police harassment.

This saw the creation of gay clubs, such as the Mars Bar; along with other bars and nightlife scenes where homosexuals were welcome, such as the Duke of York or Buckingham Arms, also known as "The Buck."

Alan Barnes was a teenager that seemed to live in this bubble between being a child and an adult. He was seventeen, with a youthful, good-looking appearance and a care-free, fun-loving attitude.

He lived with his parents, both English immigrants, in Salisbury, a northern suburb of Adelaide. His mother, Judy, described him as being incredibly witty: "cheeky," as she tells it in a documentary about the case. She goes on to describe him as being the type of person who was quick on his feet, and would respond to any type of comment with something incredibly funny.

Alan was beginning to enter the phase of life where he was experimenting with drugs. With friends, Alan had begun smoking weed and pushing himself to the threshold of his comfort zone, trying to find out who he was in a burgeoning social scene.

On Saturday, June 16th, 1979, Alan spent the night at a friend's house. What the two were up to is anyone's guess, but rumors and theories have cropped up in the decades since. Witnesses recall seeing them at some of those local hot-spots, such as the bars and clubs I previously mentioned.

On Sunday, June 17th, Alan and his friend woke up, and tried their luck at hitchhiking home. They were trying to hitch a ride on Grand Junction Road, before realizing that the both of them were going to have no luck together. Who would have the patience to pick up TWO hitchhikers, let alone one?

Alan's friend headed back home, figuring that Alan would be okay: Grand Junction Road was always busy, and there were plenty of people around them hitting up the shops. And that was, sadly, the last that anyone remembers seeing of Alan Barnes while he was alive.

Alan wouldn't return home that Sunday. On Monday morning, his parents hadn't seen him in a matter of days, and felt that it was time to contact the police. Alan was nearly an adult, at this point in his life, but even this was a bit drastic for him. He had never disappeared before, so this was a cause for concern.

Alan's friend told police the story: that they had been hanging out together throughout Saturday and the first part of Sunday, but that they had split up. Alan was supposed to find a ride back home, and was taking his luck hitchhiking, hoping that someone was travelling north near his family's community of Salisbury.

Witnesses remembered seeing Alan on Grand Junction Road that Sunday. He was a good-looking young man with long, blonde hair; even in that day and age, he'd stick in your memory somewhat. But one witness recalled something very disconcerting: this witness told police that they saw Alan get into a vehicle. They remembered the vehicle as looking like a white sedan, which may have been a Holden, and that there were a couple of occupants inside the car, other than the driver.

For the next week, police would have to chew upon that information. And most unfortunately, the resolution they'd get the following weekend would be hard to swallow for everyone involved.


The following Sunday, June 24th, a couple of hikers were "bushwalking" up in the area known as the Adelaide Foothills. Just east of Adelaide, the area is well-known to Southern Australians, and serves as a primary destination for day-hikers and campers.

These two hikers were right next to the South Para Reservoir, when they noticed something on the ground. Whatever it was, it looked like a body, but was somehow twisted and contorted in an inhuman nature.

Police were called, and before long, Alan's father and grandfather found themselves on their way to identify the body as their teenage relative.

Judy Barnes w/ a photo of her son, Alan

The news was heart-breaking. The Barnes family had been bracing themselves for the worst, but this was confirmation of their worst fears. Alan had been murdered, and the extent of his injuries would reveal that he had suffered a worse fate beforehand.


When police arrived to the scene, they made the immediate assumption that whoever had tried to dump the body of Alan Barnes had failed, in some way. The bridge, up above, had a clearing of about a meter, meaning that whomever had tried to catapult Alan into the water below had missed the mark.

His body had fallen to the dirt below, but had twisted and contorted in such a way that if he was still alive, it would have surely resulted in death or serious injury.

However, the Adelaide medical examiners would come to the conclusion that Alan had died at least a day or two before being dumped near the South Para Reservoir. And his cause of death is where the story begins to take a drastically dark turn.

Police believed that Alan had been held for days, tortured and beaten by a sexual sadist. They identified his cause of death as blood loss from an anal injury, caused by an item that would have torn apart his insides.

What's more is that the medical examiners also found trace amounts of chloral hydrate in his blood stream, leading police to believe that he had been drugged. They quickly surmised that the drug Noctec, which was a non-prescription pharmaceutical used to aid people with sleep issues, had been given to Alan some time before his death. Whether it was in a laced drink was a serious question for them, because they also discovered alcohol in his blood stream, making it a real possibility that Alan had been given a Mickey.

The medical examiners also discovered that Alan's body had been extensively washed, his captor wanting to scrub away any evidence that could link the two together. The clothes that Alan had been wearing when he disappeared were also gone, and he was found wearing clothes that were not his.
Police immediately began investigating the crime as a personal one; the idea of a random killer hadn't even crossed their mind. This seemed like the type of murder beset by personal issues, or committed by someone with an ax to grind against Alan.

Two days after the body of Alan Barnes was discovered, an anonymous caller got in touch with the police investigating the crime. They told the detectives that a man named Bevan Spencer von Einem was responsible for the murder, and his name was added to the list of suspects. The police wanted to try and eliminate suspects that actually knew Alan first and foremost, but promised to check out von Einem.

Sadly, this dark and tragic story was just beginning. 


Neil Muir was what you could call a transient. Now twenty-five years old, Neil had spent the better part of the last few years struggling with addictions and vices that left him moving from place-to-place pretty regularly.

At this point, in August of 1979, Neil was living alone in an apartment unit on Carrington Street, putting him right at the center of Adelaide itself. If you look up pictures of Neil, he looks like your everyday rock star, including the tattoos and long hair.

None of the research I found over the past couple of months states exactly what it is that Muir did for a living, but a common theory that has popped up that Muir was prostituting himself to support his habits.

Muir was operating in social circles that took him through various hotels and gay-friendly bars. His sexuality is also never pointed out, but many of the figures he socialized with were homosexuals, leading to the theory that he was an active member in the local gay community.

Sadly, Muir's biggest vice was his ever-evolving drug addiction. He had swung from being a heroin user to trying to get clean with methadone, only to have methadone become his next addiction, back to heroin again. He had developed a dependence upon opiates, and had recently been described Rohypnol - also known as "roofies."

On the last weekend of August, 1979, Muir was spotted multiple times at his local haunts, such as the Duke of York and the Buck. He was seen in the presence of individuals who become relevant later on.

On Monday, August 27th, Neil Muir was seen alive for the last time. He had become so topsy-turvy, due to the mix of drugs and alcohol in his system, that a bouncer had to physically drag him outside. Then, he began to stumble down the street, only to be found again the next day... in pieces.


The next day - on Tuesday, August 28th - a couple of fishermen were heading out to the Port Adelaide River, on a regular week workday. They had no idea that they were about to make one of the most gruesome discoveries in Australian history.

A couple of black trash-bags were floating on the low tide of the river's coast. They looked as if they had been dropped from the higher-up wharf, just like the body of Alan Barnes had been. But, just like Alan Barnes' body, these bags had failed to connect with the larger body of water, and instead of floating out into the sea, where they'd be lost forever, they instead rested still against the coast, a mystery waiting to be unearthed.

Upon investigating the bag, on the shores of Mutton Cove, the fishermen discovered Neil Muir. Or, sadly, what remained of the man.

Neil Muir's body had been so badly mutilated that he barely resembled a human being. His body had been dissected into parts, his internal organs carved out and missing, replaced by his lower legs and arms, which had been sawed off and put inside his chest cavity. His head had also been removed from the rest of his body, but was hanging on with a rope tie and stuffed into another black trash bag. His numerous tattoos had also been cut away from his flesh, the remains of which were stuffed into his chest cavity along with his legs.

Describing this makes me a little stick to my stomach, but I think it's important to note just how much effort was gone into mutilating the body of Neil Muir. He had gone missing just a day before, but was dumped like a science experiment-gone-wrong within 24 hours of his disappearance.

When police arrived, they cordoned off the area, and began their exhaustive efforts to find out what had happened to Neil Muir. The discovery of his remains was like a scene from a horror movie, so this was the type of story that was going to attract attention from the population at-large.

When the ME's began to examine his body, they discovered a red flag that hearkened back to the discovery of Alan Barnes' corpse.

Neil Muir had the same type of anal injuries as Alan, implying that a large, bottle-shaped object had been used to injure him, causing a large amount of blood loss. They would also find a head wound on Neil, implying that he had been struck by his killer some time before his death, but it wasn't enough to kill him. No, that had come from the blood loss due to the sexual assault, just like Alan Barnes.

Police and the medical examiners were also shocked to find out that, in addition to his limbs being sawed off, Neil's genitals had been mutilated by his killer. His penis had been cut, and he was missing a testicle. Police understood why Neil's body might have been cut up, as it would make the body easier to manage and transport in a single trash bag, but the genital mutilation implied that there was a sadistic sexual nature to the crime. This made them think of one of the many signs of a serial killer, which are, of course, trophies of their victims.

The investigation to find Neil Muir's killer had begun, and it started with the most obvious of leads: Neil's drug problems.

Apparently, Neil had a number of drug debts throughout town, and that is where police began asking around. Their psychological profile showed that the body had either been carved up due to a psychotic killer getting pleasure out of the act, or someone that wanted to hide his identity.
Eventually, this led nowhere, so the police then began to investigate people within Neil's social circle.

Investigator Rod Hunter finally got around to interviewing Bevan Spencer von Einem, who had been implicated by an anonymous caller in the murder of Alan Barnes. While questioning him, at von Einem's home, the suspect asked about the investigation of Neil Muir, unabated. At that point, Bevan Spencer von Einem told the investigator that he was a homosexual that personally knew Neil Muir, having been a former lover of his roughly four years beforehand, and that he had seen Neil just days before his murder.

Investigator Hunter made note of this, finding it odd that von Einem would have ties to two victims that had suffered the same type of sexual assault before their deaths, but at this point, police already had another lead from Neil Muir's social circle.

Their first true suspect was named Dr. Peter Millhouse.

Two separate calls linked Dr. Peter Millhouse to the death of Neil Muir. Both callers - drug users and associates of the victim - were prepared to testify in favor of charging Dr. Millhouse for the crime.

Peter Leslie Millhouse was a doctor from Mt. Gambier, a city roughly five hours south of Adelaide. He was single, in his mid-forties, and was a known homosexual who had a bit of an alcohol issue.

Dr. Millhouse lived alone in a cottage in North Adelaide, and drove a ten-year old Holden sedan. He was a known relative of Robin Millhouse, who was the former Attorney General of the South Australian government and would become a South Australian Supreme Court Justice in 1982.

In the days after Neil Muir was murdered, Millhouse went on a bit of a self-described "bender," abusing alcohol. By the weekend following Neil's death, Millhouse had already consulted his attorney for any legal ramifications, and had checked himself into the Osmond House rehab center.

While in rehab, Millhouse refused to speak to police about Neil Muir. So police began to build their case against Millhouse without his cooperation, including witness statements that saw the suspect with Neil Muir the weekend before his untimely demise. Some of the employees that served them at their local bar haunts recalled seeing the two together multiple times, and other witnesses testified to the two being close.

Apparently, Dr. Millhouse was one of people Neil Muir would talk to for drugs, although there was never any proof that Dr. Millhouse supplied them. Just witness statements.

When a warrant was served on Dr. Millhouse's home, police found the same type of trash bags and rope that had been found with Neil Muir's remains. However, that was very circumstantial evidence. The closest thing to proof they found regarding Dr. Millhouse being the killer were trace remnants of what looked like blood on Peter Millhouse's bathroom floor, which had been cleaned multiple times over with a chemical agent.

Peter Millhouse had apparently known Neil Muir for years, but there was never any proof that the two had a sexual relationship. But, surprisingly, when Millhouse was arrested and charged with Neil's murder, he stated that he never even met the man, defying dozens of witness statements that claimed they were acquaintances - if not friends.

The trial would get postponed until the latter half of 1980, over a year after Neil Muir's body had been found. Throughout it, the prosecution relied heavily on their circumstantial evidence, failing to establish any motive for the crime or clear evidence. Dr. Peter Millhouse was acquitted of all charges, and let loose, leaving the police right where they had started years beforehand.

Over the next couple of years, the case would stagnate. No new real leads popped up, and police were shy to publicly admit that the true victims - Alan Barnes  and Neil Muir - were connected. There was nothing to connect them other than the sexual assault component of the case, and as we just learned, loose threads like that fail to catch on all of the time. It would be another year before anything related to the story happened, and it would take another year after that before any resolution would be made.


Peter Stogneff was a fourteen-year old, who lived with his family in a middle-class northeastern Adelaide suburb.

He was the youngest of the boys involved with this story, and his face showed it: he still had the youthful appearance of a child, and by all means, seemed to be your typical adolescent young man. His parents recalled that he loved music, both listening and playing, and he had a good rapport with his friends.

On Thursday, August 27th, 1981, Peter made the decision to skip school. He obviously didn't tell his parents his plans, but set off in the morning as if he was going to school. He took his backpack with him, and walked off, just like any other morning.

Over time, investigators have theorized that instead of going to school, he instead went to Tea Tree Plaza, which was a local haunt for youths. At some point, Peter returned home and hid his backpack in the garage, presumably so his parents wouldn't find it if they returned home before him.
Then, Peter set off towards the distant Rundle Mall, where he was due to meet up with his friend, Daniel, next to a silver sculpture.

Peter never showed up. He had simply disappeared into thin air. When Peter didn't return home that evening, his family began to look around for him, finding his school bag in the garage, where Peter had hidden it to avoid detection. After calling around to his friends and their families, they discovered the secret plot to skip school, and immediately contacted the police.

The police began asking around, but no sign of Peter would be found for some time. A witness recalled seeing a youth that resembled Peter at Tea Tree Plaza, in the company of an adult male.

However, this was never verified by police, and led to no resolution regarding Peter's fate.

Peter's fate would remain unknown over the next year, at which point, another victim would unwittingly join the fray.


Mark Langley was a young man, athletic and good-looking. He was eighteen, a hard-working young man with the entire world in front of him.

It was Saturday, February 27th of 1982, and Mark was attending the 18th birthday party of a friend of his in Windsor Gardens, in northeastern Adelaide. He had driven there with his family, who attended the party with him, but left with a couple of friends afterwards to drive around the city.

Mark was cruising around with his buddy, Ian, and Ian's girlfriend, Paula, when an argument broke out. Ian recalled it being about cigarettes, but it could have been about anything; I think we all know how teenagers are.

However, at some point, while they were parked along the Torrens River on War Memorial Drive, the argument got to a point where Mark decided to get out and walk off into the night. Ian and Paula drove off, returning just a few minutes later, but at that point, Mark was gone.

Mark's family was concerned when, the next day - Sunday - Mark had still not returned home. They phoned the police that evening, hoping that any trace of their son could be found, but the police were stumped.

They reached out to Mark's friends, hoping that he had simple wandered off and been staying with a friend. But the last recorded sighting of Mark was him wandering off from Ian's car, and he was never seen alive after that.


Mark Langley's body was discovered in the Adelaide Foothills, close to Mount Lofty, the summit after whom the local mountain range is named after. The area was known as Summertown, and it had been nine days since Mark disappeared.

Mark Langley was found wearing most of the clothes he had been wearing on the night he disappeared, minus his undershirt and without a chain he had been wearing, which contained his zodiac sign - that of Cancer.

Like the other victims, police quickly learned a lot from Langley's body. He had been killed elsewhere and then transported to his dumping ground afterwards, implying that the killer had a base of operations for his dark deeds.

Also, like the other victims, Langley showed the same cause of death: blood loss from an anal injury, caused by an unknown item. He had also been washed before being dumped, just like Alan Barnes had been.

However, unlike the other victims, Mark Langley's body showed an odd sign of surgical precision. A few inches about his groin, below his navel, there was a small surgical scar that had been sealed shut with staples and a specific type of Johnson & Johnson surgical tape. The area around the scar had even been shaved away, implying that this wasn't just an impromptu form of torture, but perhaps the actual work of a surgeon trying to fix a mistake.

Medical examiners and police began to theorize about the rationale for the surgical scar, and the most plausible explanation is one of the worst, as far as mental images are concerned. That theory was that whatever item had been used to sexually assault Mark with had gotten caught up in his intestines, requiring a quick surgical reaction on behalf of the killer to retrieve the item.

Because Mark's body had been dumped in the Australian summer months of February, and was exposed to the intense heat of the outback sun, the exposed skin of his face and neck had already begun to wither away. However, this led police to think that he had been killed shortly after his abduction, meaning that he had probably been sitting out in the wilderness for about a week before his discovery. Just like Neil Muir, whoever had taken him had killed him and dumped him pretty quickly, within a matter of a day or two.

While police began to investigate who might be responsible, medical examiners tested the system of Mark Langley and made a pretty vital discovery: the existence of drugs in his system.

As you recall, the chemical chloral hydrate was found in the system of Alan Barnes, and he had an above average level of alcohol in his system: roughly four times the legal limit, which was incredibly high for a teenager. However, when Neil Muir's body was discovered, his internal organs had been removed and were missing, meaning that police weren't able to test his blood for any drugs.

With Mark Langley, medical examiners discovered the drug Mandrax in his system. Referred to as a "Randy Mandy" among perverts and other deviants, Mandrax was a sedative that had just recently become popular worldwide with the branding "Quaalude." This popularity brought with it a poor reputation, however, and by the late 1970s, Mandax had become a regulated prescription drug throughout Australia.

The emergence of Mandax as a lead would become interesting later on, but at this point in the investigation, the police were still struggling to connect all of the dots.


Just a few months later, in June of 1982, fourteen-year old Peter Stogneff's family would get some resolution.

A farmer who lived nearby Middle Beach and Two Wells, towns roughly an hour north of Adelaide, had been cleansing his farmland during the winter months. This meant doing away with large swathes of land in a prescribed burn, to prepare for the upcoming spring months.

As the farmer's land burned, so did the remains of Peter Stogneff.

After doing away with his old crops, the farmer was looking over his land when he came across the now-charred remains of young Peter. He contacted the police, and when they looked over the burned corpse, they quickly came to the realization that it was Peter.

Sadly, almost all evidence that may have been recovered with his body were now gone. Police and medical examiners wouldn't be able to identify his cause of death, or even find out approximately when he had been killed.

The only piece of evidence that police were able to uncover from his body was the knowledge that, just like Neil Muir, his body had been cut into parts with a saw. His body hadn't been cut up exactly like Neil Muir's, but the MEs were able to identify points in the bones above his knees and along his back where a saw had carved his body into pieces.

Needless to say, over the past few months, this investigation had become a new beast entirely. The body count had doubled. The trial of Dr. Peter Millhouse had been concluded for years at this point, and with his acquittal, the police were nowhere closer to finding their suspect.

Richard Kelvin was fifteen years old, on the precipice of turning sixteen, in June of 1983. He was the son of Channel 9 News host Rob Kelvin, who had recently taken over the host gig after over a decade of reporting through the station and a radio affiliate.

Like most of the victims targeted by this unknown killer, Richard was young, athletic, good-looking, and had the entire world ripe for the taking. He played soccer for a local Lockley club on the weekends, and on the day in question - Sunday, June 5th, 1983 - was kicking around the ball with his father, Rob, and his friend, Boris, at a park nearby their home.

After they finished, Rob walked home, and Richard was going to walk Boris down to the nearby O'Connell Street bus stop, where he'd be able to catch a ride home.

As a weird joke, Richard had been wearing the family dog's collar while they were at the park. It was apparently a joke he had just started that day, and his family thought it was odd, but it made sense for Richard's sense of humor. They didn't seem to have an issue with it.

The Kelvin family home, on Ward Street, was just a few blocks away from War Memorial Drive, where Mark Langley had gone missing over a year prior.

Richard and Boris made it down to O'Connell street without incident, and the two were talking for a short bit before Boris' bus showed up to take him home. He got on, and Richard set off on the walk back to his home - a trip no more than four-hundred meters.

Boris was the last person that remembered seeing Richard alive, because he never made it home.


Richard Kelvin's disappearance was a slightly higher profile than the others. Having the son of the region's top newscaster disappear doesn't happen all of the time, so it was bound to make waves.

The police first investigated Richard's disappearance as that of a runaway, even though the Kelvins vigorously denied it. Richard had had some problems with kids at his school, but he was a relatively happy kid who had just recently gotten a serious girlfriend. The two had been dating for a month, and Richard had told his mother that he planned on proposing to her when they were both nineteen years old.

Police didn't arrange a door-to-door canvas of the area until Tuesday, nearly two days after Richard had disappeared. The Kelvins, though somber at the prospect of their son returning safe and sound, understood the process and why it took time.

However, during that door-to-door canvas, the runaway questions soon came to an end. The people living in the area quickly dispelled that with new information.

According to some of the witnesses, they had heard screams and shouts on Sunday evening, as early as 5:30, but as late as 6:30, which is closer to the time that Richard went missing.

One witness: a security guard that lived just down the street from the Kelvins, recalled some of the details succinctly. He remembers hearing a young voice shouting out - who we can only assume was Richard - and a group of voices screaming, almost in unison. Among those voices, he described, was a higher-pitched voice, which may have belonged to a woman. Police didn't believe that it was Richard, as his voice had already cracked, and he had a relatively low-pitched voice for a boy his age.

However, this supposed witness also recalled the sound of a loud exhaust system, as the shouting came to a close and the car containing the loud voices sped off.

Police had been theorizing about the prior victims, whether they were all connected and killed by the same killer. But now this abduction - the most high-profile by far - brought to light a new idea: what if there was a GROUP of killers, all working together with the purpose of sexually assaulting and murdering these young men?

Sadly, the police would have weeks to chew on these questions, as poor Richard Kelvin's fate hung in the balance.


Following the supposed abduction of Richard Kelvin, the police unit known as Major Crimes was put in charge of the investigation. Major Crimes was primarily responsible for serial killings, mass killings, and any other high-profile crimes that the local government wanted handled by the top dogs in the department.

Bob O'Brien was an investigator for Major Crimes, who had just started the prior year. He would literally go on to write the book about these abductions and murders decades later, with his true story "Young Bloods." The book is a treasure trove of information regarding the case, and where I picked up most of the details for this episode. I'd recommend it if you want to learn more about the story.

O'Brien was working when Major Crimes received an anonymous tip that stated Richard Kelvin was being held in a caravan in the Adelaide Foothills. This was as good of a tip as they were going to get, and since the most recent victim, Mark Langley, had been found in the Adelaide foothills, they decided to follow through with it. They organized a helicopter search of the Foothills, which O'Brien was present for, but unfortunately the police found nothing worthwhile.

They would receive a few more anonymous calls in the coming weeks. Most were bollocks, but a few piqued the curiosity of Detective O'Brien. The first of which was a very specific call that alleged two men - named Doug and Mark - were responsible for the abduction of Richard Kelvin. This caller alleged that these two men had been driving a 1963 EJ Holden Sedan. While investigators had been keeping some information close to the chest, they decided to publicize this information in the hopes it got somewhere. Sadly, it did not.

Another caller claimed that they had seen Richard Kelvin in a snuff film, filmed very recently. How, why, or where they had seen this tape escaped the caller, but it was enough to send detectives down the rabbit hole of snuff tapes: which, if you're happily unaware, are videos made of people dying.

However, while they were still operating under the assumption that Richard Kelvin was alive, police noticed that this would be the third young man abducted on a Sunday. Alan Barnes, Mark Langley, and now Richard Kelvin had all been taken at different times on a Sunday, establishing at the very least a loose link between the three.

While police theorized about what this meant for the killer - or killers - the life of Richard Kelvin was coming to a close. He would suffer in anguish for weeks before meeting his end, over a month after his abduction.

On July 24th, 1983, a family was looking for moss rocks outside of Kersbrooke, up in the vast northeast reaches of the Mount Crawford Forest. They certainly found more than they bargained for when they stumbled upon the body of Richard Kelvin, nearly two months after he had disappeared.

Police were called, and an extensive search of the area commenced. Detective O'Brien was put in charge of notifying the Kelvins about Richard's body, a heartbreaking task for him, as well.

Richard was found wearing the clothes he had been wearing on the day of his disappearance, along with the family dog's collar, which had disappeared with him.

Just like the previously discovered victims, Richard had been drugged and suffered the same, extensive anal injuries. And just like the others, it was ruled as his cause of death.

However, unlike the others, Richard had been held for an extended period of time. Investigators surmised that Richard had been held captive for close to five weeks before being dumped in the woods north of the Adelaide Foothills. He had likely been sexually assaulted and beaten throughout that time, enduring agony that I can't even imagine.

Just like the victims before him, Richard's blood stream was tested for drugs, trying to find a link to any of the prior victims. Surprisingly, investigators found an insane combination of sedatives in his system, including Noctec, Mandrax, valium, rohypnol, and amytal.

With these results, they were able to tie Richard's disappearance to both Alan Barnes and Mark Langley. No drugs had been detected in Neil Muir's system, because of his body's mutilation, but because of the wounds suffered by him, police linked him to the crime spree. And then there was Peter Spogneff, whose body was too burned to find any evidence, but had suffered the same type of saw wounds as Muir.

Police had finally linked all of the crimes together. Five bodies, five victims, and now five families pushing for answers. But now they had to find a suspect. And what better place to start than with their biggest piece of evidence so far: the drugs used to incapacitate at least three of the victims.


In the latter half of the 1970s, South Australia had begun regulating drugs such as Mandrax, also known as Quaaludes. They were becoming pretty notorious as "date-rape" drugs throughout the world, and the government decided that they should have a solid record of which people had them, or for what purpose.

In October of 1982, a boy - who we'll call George - had been picked up by a passing car. George, who was a teenage hitchhiker, was enticed by the older stranger's offer of a good time. He promised to know some girls in the area, and they would be having a party that evening. George got in the car with the stranger, who offered him a beer from a cooler in the backseat. George happily accepted, hoping that this good time would result in a story to be told later, at the least.

This stranger, a man with artificially-dyed hair, did take George to a house where two girls were living. He didn't bother telling George that both of them were transexuals, transitioning from men to women, just let them do the talking. One of the trans-women began to seduce and woo George, promising a good time. The young man kept finding fresh beers being handed to him by the stranger that had driven him to the house, and when George began to get sleepy, he was offered a couple of pills called "No-Doz."

At this point, George's memory began to blur. He remembered going back with one of the woman to have sex, unaware that he was being hoodwinked, and shortly thereafter lost consciousness. He woke up the next day, and was surprised to find himself at the home with extensive pain in his backside.

George would go on to report the incident to the police, and consented to analysis and tests. Police discovered a tear in his anus - implying that he had been sexually assaulted - and that there were trace amounts of drugs in his system. Medical examiners were quite sure that he had been dosed with Mandrax - aka "Mandy Randys" - that resulted in him losing consciousness and passing out. He gave the police a description of the man that had picked him up, but couldn't remember his name - nor the names of the girls at the house he had been taken to, or even exactly where it was.

Unfortunately, George's story would remain buried under layers of mystery for close to a year. Then, the discovery of similar chemical agents that had been used to dose George - Noctec and Mandrax, namely - appeared in the test results of Richard Kelvin, the fifth murder victim to experience sexual assault before his death.

Noctec, the drug that had been found in the blood stream of Alan Barnes, was an over-the-counter sleep agent, and almost impossible to track. But Mandrax? That was a serious drug, and police just needed to pull up records of who had a prescription to find a match.

As they began to pour through the list of South Australian patients who had been prescribed Mandrax, one name popped out at them in particular.

Bevan Spencer von Einem.


Well, I hope that you've all made it this far.

While putting together this episode, I often struggled with how to balance storytelling and simply stating fact. It's hard to put together an episode centered around such inhumanity without relying on gory details and potentially offending someone.

But, anyhow. Hopefully you'll get some resolution in the next episode, part two, which focuses on the investigation of Bevan Spencer von Einem, and how the case ended up getting its infamous monikker of "the Family Murders."

I'd like to give a special shout-out to all of the new Patreon supporters, including Eliot, Mack, Jeanne, Francesca, Joy, Meredith, John, and Anatoly. I honestly cannot thank all of you enough, and I'm hoping to have a couple of cool, new perks to throw at all of you in the near future.

If you're interested in becoming a supporter of the podcast, you can head on over to to learn more. As I said in the last episode, I'm trying to make an effort in getting regular episodes released, so any support you give is going to go towards that campaign, along with updating my equipment to improve the quality of the podcast.

Plus, if I could reach a certain level of support, my wife might let me make the podcast full-time, thus eliminating the need to get another job... just saying. #makethepodcastgreatagain

I'd also like to give a special thanks to Tyson, the regular producer of the show, who was joined by his buddy Sam last episode to record the great music. It perfectly accompanied the allegations of Betty and Barney Hill, and I can't thank the two of them enough.

If you want to get in-touch with me, you can do so in a variety of ways. Via email: Social media: just search for the Unresolved Podcast for Facebook or Twitter links. You can call or text in at (831) 200-3550. Or, you can just visit the podcast blog,, and find everything there, including links to the aforementioned sites and a transcript of each episode, along with research links and everything else you might need to follow along.

Anyhow, I'll end the credits now. Hope you all enjoyed this episode, if such a thing is even possible, and I'll be back shortly to bring you part two of the Family Murders.



Wikipedia - The Family Murders

"Young Blood: The Story Of The Family Murders" by Bob O'Brien

Crime Investigation Australia: The Butchered Boys (A Documentary)

Wikipedia - Murder of George Duncan

Adelaide Now - "Lost diary gives South Australian police new lead into Alan Barnes murder by The Family"

Adelaide Now - "Doctor found not guilty of 'Family' murder of Neil Muir dies in NSW"

The Age - "Lock up your sons in the world's murder capital"

Daily Mail - "Will $13 million reward solve the murders of 18 children? Australian police launch appeal to solve string of notorious killings stretching back to 1966"

Murderpedia - Bevan Spencer von Einem

Crimestoppers - Alan Barnes

Crimestoppers - Neil Muir

Crimestoppers - Peter Stogneff

Crimestoppers - Mark Langley

Crimestoppers - Richard Kelvin

Sunday, February 19, 2017

18 - The Hill Abduction

Hello, and welcome to the Unresolved Podcast. I am your host, Micheal Whelan, and before I get started, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for listening.

I took a bit of a break after the last episode, due to the holidays and keeping myself busy, but I am excited to be back in 2017, and to kick things off with a bang: a story that harkens back to the heyday of UFO sightings in the 1960s.

I know a lot of you may be disappointed with this being an oddball subject matter, but I am having some fun with it. I enjoy these type of stories that don't involve shady murders or dismemberments, so I can only hope that you end up finding it as interesting as I do.

If you'd like to learn more about how to support the podcast, listen through to the close and learn about the Patreon perks I've set up, and all that jazz.

But now, without any further adieu, let's turn back the dial and head back to the early 1960s, in the northeastern United States...

Betty and Barney Hill are not what comes to mind when you think of a couple in the 1960s.
For one, they were an interracial couple at a time in America where that wasn't very customary.

Barney was an African American of Ethiopian heritage, who had been born in 1922 in Newport News, Virginia, as the youngest of four children. As a young man, he enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, before being honorably discharged at the end of the conflict. Afterwards, he enrolled at Temple University, and would later marry a woman named Ruby Horn, with whom he had two children.

Eventually, Barney Hill and Ruby would divorce, but Barney would find another love, who he would remarry: a white woman named Betty.

Eunice Elizabeth Barrett, usually referred to as "Betty," was a couple of years older than Barney, having been born in June of 1919, but was of a similar background: the life she had led was that of a respectable social worker, whose work left her as an esteemed member of the community. She had her Master's Degree in social sciences from the nearby University of New Hampshire, and had become the supervisor of her local child welfare department.

Barney and Betty would fall in love, and throughout the following years, would remain so. Even though their coupling would see them go through treacherous territory, as far as relationships go, no one would ever question the bond that the two had.

The two would move to Betty's native Portsmouth, New Hampshire. There, they lived about an hour north of Boston, Massachusetts, where Barney would commute to every day for work. He found a job as a postal worker, a job that he would hold onto for years.

As I stated, the two were well-regarded in their community. There wasn't a lot that was unique or "quirky" about them: Barney served as a member of the local Civil Rights Commission, at a time where race relations were a very tumultuous matter. The two might have been shielded by living in one of the most liberal areas of the United States - at the time, at least - but were very involved in the ongoing racial debate.

Barney received multiple commendations for his work with the Civil Rights movement, including being honored for his outstanding service to the community by the Governor of New Hampshire. He was even invited to the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson in 1963, just to give credence to his renown in the New England community.

Both were also active in their local chapter of the NAACP, and were pioneers in their own way, being an interracial couple.

In the years since, people have seen all of this as a point in favor of their credibility, while others have seen it as a way to disparage their allegations. The former camp see them as the type of couple that wouldn't want to draw attention to themselves, while the latter view them as a couple that could have been been beset by stress not faced by most of the population.

Regardless of your thoughts on how being an interracial couple in this era of time could have weighed upon their state of mind, it was at the dawn of Fall, in 1961, that the lives of the Hills were reaching a tipping point. From this point forward, there would be no going back to normality for either Barney or Betty.

Many articles have questioned Barney's personal health, as August bled into September of 1961.

A good handful of articles have pointed out that Barney had recently been diagnosed with an ulcer, which led to both him and Betty taking some time off of work. Unfortunately, I can't find a legitimate source for that claim, so I'd offer that knowledge with just a grain of salt.

However, the fact that Barney and Betty took a brief vacation to nearby Niagara Falls is without dispute.

Both Betty and Barney would get some time off of work, and take a brief vacation to the nearby area of Niagara Falls. Roughly 500 miles west of where they were living in Portsmouth, the Hills had decided to drive the distance to the landmark on the US-Canadian border. They took with them their dog, a Dachsund named Delsey, who you could find in many photos of the couple online.

After staying at Niagara Falls for a day or two, the couple made their way northeast to Montreal, Quebec. It was there that they stayed for another few days, the exact estimates of the trip I couldn't tell you.

But on the night of September 19th, the Hills began making their journey back to the real world. That evening, they stopped at a restaurant in Oolebrook, New Hampshire, and then got back on the road for the last leg of their trip home. Then, their idea of what was real or not was turned on its head forever.

The following is audio from Barney Hill's hypnosis tape, taken in 1964.

This audio is taken straight from that hypnosis session Barney Hill would undergo with noted psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon in January of 1964. As a publisher's note, I do have to add that I edited it just a tad, taking out some of the pauses for the sake of brevity, but the audio itself is Hill's alleged subconscious mind explaining what happened on the night in-question.

According to his statements, along with what has been said by his wife, Betty, in the years since, the couple were driving along US Route 3, on their way back from Montreal. They were approaching the New Hampshire town known as Indian Head, when they spotted a bright light in the sky.

This is from an interview with Betty Hill, conducted in 1999, almost forty years later.

Betty, who had been fascinated by the stars and the heavens, along with the United States' growing fascinations with "flying saucers," began to speculate about what it may be. Barney, a former Army vet that had served in World War 2, wasn't as huge of a fan of this predicament as his wife.

According to both Betty and Barney, the craft in the sky began to follow them as they drove along the highway. They would recall passing a handful of vehicles throughout the night, but don't remember any other midnight passengers as they headed along this lone, desolate highway.

What I'm about to play for you is Barney's recollection of the same events. Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not the story is legitimate, you cannot deny that Barney was traumatized by this memory.

What you can tell, from the audio, is the different way that both Betty and Barney remember the event in question. To Betty, decades after the fact, it seems almost like a whimsical adventure. But Barney, whose hypnosis session was conducted just a couple of years after the evening of September 19th, 1961, remembers the alleged encounter with extraterrestrial life with a terrifying recollection.

For both Betty and Barney Hill, this was just the beginning of a tale that would go on to dominate the rest of their lives.

After being followed by the bright lights for miles, thirty or so by Betty's later recollections, the couple pulled over just outside of Indian Head, New Hampshire. There, they recalled encountering the inhabitants of the odd craft, whom they both considered "men" of odd variations.

However, at this point, their memory gets murky. They recalled looking at the strange men, who looked alien-like and wore odd, glossy black suits, but their memory began to fade. Beeps and shrill whistles dominated their senses, and before long, hours had passed. The couple were roughly 35 miles south of Indian Head, which had brought them closer to home, but had no idea how they had traveled the distance.

What they would find is that Betty's dress had a tear on it, and the binoculars that Barney had been holding when he encountered the odd men had been ripped from his hand, the binding torn. Apparently, both of their watches had stopped working entirely, and Betty couldn't find the blue earrings that she had been wearing.

The Hills themselves felt fine, including their dog Delsey, just hazy in what had happened to them. As they came back to themselves, the buzzing sound that had consumed them upon seeing the alien creatures faded away.

They continued their venture home in relative silence and unease. Both Barney and Betty believed that something had happened to them, but they couldn't point their finger on exactly what that was.

They both felt dirty and gross. When they pulled into their Portsmouth home, it was close to five o'clock in the morning, and there was apparently a large chunk of the evening and early morning that was now absent; having been totally vacated by their memory. They decided that the items they had had with them in the car should remain on the back porch for a few days, because Barney - the army vet - was oddly worried about radiation poisoning.

Troubling, as well, were a handful of small, circular, metallic spots on the trunk of the couple's 1957 Chevy Bel Air. These had apparently not been there beforehand, and didn't look like anything that could be caused by an accident.

Betty, who had noticed a tear on her dress, also discovered some pink powder on the surface of it. She apparently threw the dress away, but would dig it out of the trash within a few days, thinking it provided a clue.

The two would go on to take long, extensive showers. Barney recalled that he felt compelled to examine himself in the bathroom, particularly his genitals. Before they could fall asleep, the couple felt compelled to discuss what they had seen, and made some crude drawings to try and demonstrate what their memory allowed.

Fruitless, their memory not returning to them in any productive way, the two decided to go to bed. The sun was now rising, on the last day of summer, so both Betty and Barney laid down in their bed, feeling unsure of whether they were both collectively losing their minds.

That afternoon, after waking up, Betty decided to call her sister, Janet.

You see, this wasn't the first time that a member of Betty's family had claimed to have encountered a UFO. Janet had claimed to have seen one a few years beforehand, back in 1957, although the specific circumstances of that sighting aren't known publicly.

Janet referred Betty to the nearby  Pease Air Force Base. Betty reluctantly followed up on her sister's advice, placing a call to the Strategic Air Command at the installation. She apparently told an investigator  about the sighting of the strange craft, and then received a more earnest call back the next day from Major Paul W. Henderson, who would take the official statement from the couple. They withheld some of their outlandish thoughts, such as perhaps seeing strange, alien-like men, but reported what they had seen with the craft: the shape, how it moved, etc.

Apparently, during this conversation, Major Henderson informed the Hills about an observation the Pease Air Base radar had picked up at approximately 2:14 in the morning. Now, this has never been confirmed by anyone involved in the military, so take it with a grain of salt, but this would roughly fit in with the timeline that the Hills would establish over the next few years.

Henderson would spend the next few days with the report he was working on, full of the information that the Hills had given him. He would file the report on September 26th, four days after his conversation with Betty and Barney. The conclusion that he would reach was that the couple had misidentified the planet Jupiter, or seen some type of optical illusion caused by the planet, which was very visible on the night-in-question. However, this report would be forwarded to Project Blue Book, the United States government's organizational response to the UFO sightings that had been cropping up since the late 1940s.

During the conversation with her sister Janet on September 21st, Betty was told to check the small, circular spots left behind on their vehicle's trunk. Janet recommended bringing a compass out, and see how it reacted to the spots.

According to both Betty and Barney, the compass would react dramatically when brought in close to the metallic spots. Apparently, the compass would begin to spin chaotically when brought close to the spots, but would drop back to normality when taken just inches away.

To Barney, this was a sign that something was off. To Betty, though, this was a sign that what had happened to them was extraordinary, and perhaps even out-of-this-world.

Within the next few days, Betty began to investigate UFOs on her own time. She would travel to the nearby Portsmouth Library, and began reading up on flying saucers and the claims people had levied at them.

One of the books she discovered, titled "Flying Saucers Are Real," had been written by a former Marine Corps naval aviator named Donald Keyhoe, who had published books about UFOs and now gone to co-found NICAP, also known as the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena.

The book Betty found was based on the idea that UFOs had been visiting Earth for some time - perhaps centuries - but had now started to increase their observations based on humanity's nuclear technology. The book itself was marinated in Cold War suspicions, but held onto the belief that the United States government, or at least the leaders of the government, were aware of UFO visitations and had been actively suppressing that knowledge.

The book apparently whirled Betty into a frenzy. On the same day that Major Paul Henderson was filing his report, claiming that the Hills had simply seen an illusion of sorts, Betty was writing a letter of her own. Sent to Donald Keyhoe himself, who was now the leader of NICAP, a civilian nonprofit organization aimed at bringing to light claims of UFO activity (extraterrestrial and otherwise), the letter detailed everything that Betty and Barney could remember. This also included Barney's claims of seeing "man-like beings" aboard the strange aircraft, and noted that the couple were thinking of seeing a hypnotist to unearth any sort of mental blocks.

The letter itself was mailed to Donald Keyhoe, but was soon passed into the hands of a man named Walter N. Webb. From there, the story just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Hills began to settle back into their regular lives. Both Barney and Betty began to work again, but then Betty began to be plagued by dreams. These dreams apparently bordered on nightmares, but included details that she claimed to remember in sharp, succinct detail.

For five nights, she had these dreams. These were dreams of her and Barney being stopped by a group of beings, who took them from their car and began guiding them towards a type of spacecraft hidden in the nearby woods. Then, the dreams began to include alleged memories of experiments performed on Betty and Barney Hill.

Here's Betty's description of the encounter, taken from an interview in the 1970s.

According to Betty and the alleged memories retained within her dreams, they had been abducted by the aliens from the car, and were forced into a series of tests. Apparently, Barney went through the encounter in a comatose state, while she claims to have been awake throughout most of it. These tests were mostly physical examinations, where the aliens from Betty's dreams performed experiments on their nervous systems, with tiny little prods that grazed the skin.

As you heard, the aliens were surprised by Barney's teeth, which he had lost in World War 2, after getting hit with a shock wave from a grenade. He had been wearing dentures, which apparently intrigued the alien beings.

How Betty was able to remember this, in a series of dreams spanning five nights, is anyone's guess. Many have alleged that she recalled "remembering" these events after doing an extensive amount of research into unidentified flying objects.

But, I should note, that while sightings of flying saucers were becoming commonplace all over America - and even the world - this was one of the very first times that anyone had allegedly been abducted. If there were stories of people being abducted at the time, they weren't very well-known, at least not enough for Betty to hear about them in popular culture. Now, it's easy for us to pinpoint stories like the Hills and poke fun at it, but at the time, UFO abduction tall tales hadn't entered the American zeitgeist. Just wanted to mention that, because one of the biggest arguments against the Hills having been abducted is that they wanted publicity, but in actuality, they worked against it for at least the first few years of the story.

Now, that doesn't change the fact that Betty began to recall more of the events of their abduction the further out from the event. That is simply not how memory works, but there is still plenty left of the story to tell before I begin spouting off my opinions as gospel.


Mitchell N. Webb was a young man, who had graduated from Mount Union College in 1954 with a degree in Biology. However, he himself had a history with unidentified flying objects.

In 1951, while serving as a teenage camp counselor in Michigan, Webb had witnessed an odd-moving object flying in the sky above. He had become enamored with the subject, and by the time he graduated with a biology degree, he immediately went to work in the field of astronomy.

His tutor, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, is one of the most prominent astrophysicist and ufologist of all-time. He had served as the scientific adviser to Project Blue Book since its inception in 1952, and had even advised for its predecessors, Project Grudge and Project Sign. While serving as a scientific advisor for Blue Book, he was also working as the lead for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Optical Satellite Tracking Program.

Webb would work under Dr. Hynek from 1957 to 1958, at which time his career path was established. He would then begin working for the Charles Hayden Planetarium in Boston shortly afterwards, where he volunteered his time for NICAP, the non-profit organization co-founded by Donald Keyhoe that investigated UFO phenomenon.

It was here that Webb enters the story. He was a young aspiring astronomer that was handed the letter Betty Hill had hand-written, full of details alleging contact with an alien race, missing memories, and a promise of hypnosis to discover the supposed truth.

Webb contacted the Hills, and arranged an interview to take place in October. When they finally met, on October 21st, 1961, an entire month had transpired since the alleged UFO sighting, and Betty's memory seemed to be getting better and better with every passing day.

During this infamous interview, which spanned nearly six hours, the Hills recounted every detail imaginable. From the drive home, to the extraordinary craft flying in the sky, to Betty's recollection of their abduction, it was all detailed in Webb's NICAP report, which totaled in at over 60 pages when it was finalized in 1965.

In his reports, Webb insisted that what the Hills were saying seemed to be genuine. He noted that they had some inconsistencies when it came to specific points, such as the exact time that something happened, or the exact location they were at when they first saw the craft, that kind of stuff. However, he genuinely believed them, and took an open-mind to their story.

Also deciding to believe in the Hills' story was an old friend of Barney's, Major James MacDonald of the United States Air Force. The two had been friends for some time, and MacDonald came to the support of the Hills when other writers came to interview them for their story. At this point, the story had started to make the rounds outside of their inner circle, and had put the Hill couple "on the map," so to speak.

Mitchell N. Webb's initial report found its way to other NICAP members, who became fascinated with the case. In November, two more members of NICAP came to speak to them, interviewing them about the inconsistencies in their story. Their biggest gripe with the Hills was the block of missing time from their story - roughly three hours worth. However, the Hills agreed with them, and insisted that they wanted to learn.

This is when the idea of hypnosis began to seriously get floated to the couple, and they began to look for someone who could dislodge any memories from their subconscious.


Things began to look rather grim for poor Barney.

While Betty was in supposed anguish with the content of her dreams, Barney was struggling with demons of his own.

Having long been sober, Barney began to drink again. It had been over a decade since he had had an alcohol problem, but his growing anxiety at... something... urged him to pick up the habit once again.

He was becoming anxious, withdrawn, and some would say depressed. His work shift, which he had once enjoyed, now filled him with unease. According to Betty, he was driving an hour each way, five or six times a week, down to Boston, to work the midnight shift as a postal worker. After going through such an incredible affair while driving at night, I'm sure this commute didn't do him any favors.

Then, things took an odd turn just a few months after the supposed abduction. He began to develop a ring of warts around his genital region, which would require three minor operations to do away with. Many have theorized that, if he WAS experimented on, that this was some kind of side-effect, but others have theorized that it was entirely psychosomatic in origin.

And if that wasn't enough, health issues began to plague the man. At this point in time, he was definitely dealing with an ulcer, and developed high blood pressure in the months after September of 1961.

Needless to say, it surprises no one that Barney was forced into therapy to help cope with his ever-growing list of issues. As he began to divulge his issues to his therapists, the topic of hypnosis kept surfacing, with Barney hesitant to engage in the activity, due to his own insecurity. He was afraid of what may lie behind that door, so he chose not to open it.

Things appeared normal on the outside. Barney remained active in his local NAACP chapter and in the Governor of New Hampshire's Civil Rights Commission, and in 1963 he was invited to attend the inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

But as the months began to turn into years, he eventually couldn't hold back the tide of his trauma any more. In 1964, he and Betty began to visit Dr. Benjamin Simon, the psychiatrist who recorded the audio sessions you heard at the beginning of the episode.

Between 1962 and 1964, Betty had become more and more sure of her recollection of events. After her dreams had disappeared after roughly one week, she had used journals and hand-drawn photos to piece together what she could remember, and time-lined it into the common recollection we know today.

The multiple sessions that the Hills undertook with Dr. Simon proved fruitful, if only for Barney finally talking about what he believed happened on the night in question.

In a deep state of hypnosis, Barney began to tell the story as he remembered it.

Regardless of your thoughts on whether or not this was a true story, you cannot deny that Barney was traumatized by something. Between his testimony under hypnosis, his compounding health issues, and his reliance on substance abuse to cope with his problems, something was deeply unsettled within him.

His description of the encounter with the strange craft in the sky - and the inhabitants of it - roughly fit in with Betty's description. They had been driving along the highway when they noticed the light, and it followed them for some time. Then, they decided to get out and take a look, at which point the craft starting showing an interest in them. From there, they got back in the car and decided to drive away, but then faced a blank memory and no recollection.

The audio tapes made widely available, of Barney under hypnosis with Dr. Benjamin Simon, don't go into extensive detail about what happened after this first encounter with the alien beings. But in the decades since, Betty went on-the-record multiple times to tell the story of what happened aboard that alien craft.

Barney showed a great deal of distress during his hypnosis sessions, as you heard. But Betty seems to recall this encounter with the alien beings as a jovial one, like a pair of friends she hadn't seen in some time and remembers fondly.

However, I do think that it is important to note the differences that both Betty and Barney had in their recollection of the alien beings. This is perhaps one of the biggest marks against the pair, in terms of their testimony of the events that occurred.

Here is Barney's original description of the alien beings, which he describe as being very familiar to his past.

Barney describes the beings as looking a lot like humans, wearing uniforms that were close to that of Nazi's: black and sleek. As you heard, he even describes one of the figures as wearing a scarf, which isn't an item normally attributed to alien sightings.

And, as far as his description of the alien beings is concerned, he describes them as having very small, slanted eyes. In this hypnosis audio tape, he also goes on, at-length, about how they communicated telepathically. Both of these go directly at-odds with Betty's own description of the alien beings, which transformed over the years.


I would be remiss if I went without mentioning the potential outside influences on both Betty and Barney Hill's version of events. Up until this point, in 1964, their story hadn't yet become widely known outside of their social circle. They had been struggling with events, but hadn't started to receive widespread fame because of their claims. In March of 1963, roughly a year-and-a-half after their alleged encounter, they had spoken to their church about their claims in an effort to find peace in religion. But, unfortunately, we don't know all that was said, or whether these discussions of theirs included any mention of being abducted, or even personally encountering the alien beings.

Over the next few months, they would give some little lectures on what had happened to them, but remained relatively quiet about their claims.

And, as such, very little record can be found of their claims before this time. So we can't verify that any of the memories discovered during these hypnosis sessions weren't influenced by outside sources.

In January and February of 1964, roughly the same exact time as Betty and Barney began undergoing hypnosis with Dr. Benjamin Simon, two episodes of television aired. One was an episode of The Twilight Zone titled "Black Leather Jackets," and the other an episode of Outer Limits titled "The Bellero Shield." Both television episodes featured a storyline involving aliens encountering humans in gentle, friendly ways, and included imagery that may have made its way into Betty and Barney's imagination.

I just mention this, because I personally don't know what to think of the Hills' testimony. Many of the therapists that the pair had seen before Dr. Simon agreed that the couple had indeed gone through something dramatic. Apparently, Barney's trauma at the events that occurred on September 21st, 1961, paired with his substance abuse and subsequent health issues, put any matter of that to bed. SOMETHING happened on the night in question, it's just hard to parse if any of it was extraterrestrial in nature.

It's also important to note that Barney's description of the aliens, which he describes as looking like "Nazis," might be compounded by his lingering PTSD. While I don't know the specifics of his wartime records, he did serve in World War 2, and suffered an injury at the hands of a grenade, which required him to get dentures at an early age. Perhaps his memory of this encounter with alien beings triggered the part of his brain that was dealing with some severe undealt-with trauma.

However, I would like to include one last piece of audio of Barney, taken under hypnosis, just to showcase that while he was hiding some trauma, he was deeply in love with Betty and considered himself a happy individual. And while he was unsettled with what happened on the night in question, he wasn't a scarred individual hiding some deeper secret.


While I talk mostly about Barney's hypnosis session, it's also true that Betty herself went through the same hypnosis therapy with Dr. Benjamin Simon.

Apparently, her hypnosis was just as productive and emotional, with several sessions having to be cut short because of her fragile state at the end. Whenever Dr. Simon would broach the subject of her capture and abduction, she would begin to cry, which stands at clear contrast with how she has approached the matter in the years since.

Betty's hypnosis sessions were very similar to the dreams she had had a few years beforehand, but filled in a lot of details, such as her description of the aliens, their craft, etc. However, one of the most interesting pieces of information was taken from her claim that she saw one of the alien's maps. This map wasn't like our normal 2D planetary map, but was rather a holographic 3D star map, showcasing where the aliens were from.

Now, instead of trying to explain my thoughts on the star map, I'll just turn it over to the master of astronomy himself, Carl Sagan, who covered Betty's claims on his legendary show "Cosmos."

The map that Betty drew wasn't particularly advanced in any way, but ended up loosely matching up with the Zeta Reticuli system. This anomaly was discovered by elementary school teacher Marjorie Fish in 1968, and her theory would be expanded upon in 1969, when the Gliese Catalogue was released. Until then, the information about nearby star routes wasn't widely known, so it would have been theoretically impossible for Betty to have known what she did. But like you just heard Carl Sagan say, the lines and dots she put together could have been used on any number of surrounding stars, so it's evidence that doesn't draw much of a conclusion.

However, in the years since, the star map has been the closest thing to evidence that what Betty and Barney Hill saw on the night of September 21st, 1961 was actually extraterrestrial.


After their hypnosis sessions, Dr. Benjamin Simon reached his own professional conclusion. He decided that the couple had gone through a singular psychological aberration, inspired by Betty's fantasies. He noted the differences in their accounts as proof of this conclusion, and that while there was perhaps some real trauma behind it, that the story the two had told was something from their imagination.

However, through the sessions, Barney had finally grown to accept what had happened. While before, he was prepared to defend his recollection of events and deny any kind of abduction, he had started to make peace with it. Betty, on the other hand, had long since made peace with it and begun to treat the story as we know now: friendly and joyous.

The Hills began to return to their regular lives once again. Barney was still working as a postal worker, and Betty as a social worker. Over the next year or so, things went back to normality, and the two had seemed to move on with their lives.

In September of 1965, Mitchell N. Webb finished his full-length report on the Hills. Full of details gleaned from their recorded sessions with Dr. Simon, and the testimony that they had given over the years, the report is over 60 pages long and is still available to read online.

But on October 25th, 1965, they were greeted by the front page of their newspaper, the Boston Traveler. The headline, in big bold letters, read: "UFO Chiller: Did THEY Seize Couple?" The article was about Betty and Barney, and the information the reporter obtained was taken from audio recorded during one of the Hill's lectures in 1963. Apparently the reporter, John H. Luttrell, had also learned that the couple had gone to seek hypnosis therapy with Dr. Benjamin Simon, and even got ahold of the original NICAP reports written by Mitchell N. Webb.

Despite their efforts to stay sane in the public eye, the Hills were now celebrities.

The day after the Boston Traveler published the story about the Hills, it was picked up by the United Press International, now known as the Associated Press. Now, the story of Betty and Barney was being revealed to people all around the globe, and there was nothing they could do but try and embrace it.

Before long, the pair were visited by an author, John G. Fuller, who wanted to write a book about their encounter with alien beings. They agreed to cooperate, as well as Dr. Benjamin Simon, who offered his professional insights.

The book, titled "The Interrupted Journey," was published in 1966. It details the missing chunk of time that the couple had trouble remembering, and turned them into icons among the burgeoning UFO community.

Much of the original focus on the couple was pointed on them being an interracial couple. Many have theorized that the stress of being a couple in such a time was what ultimately led to a break from reality and them concocting this story, but even Dr. Simon disagreed with that statement. While the two had been under pressure, it was most likely caused by something traumatic that happened on the evening in question, not by societal pressures. All of their therapists, family, and friends agreed: they were a happy couple, that genuinely loved one another and lived in one of the most progressive parts of the country.

Over the next few years, their popularity would continue to rise. They became well-known for their allegations, and it's what ultimately might have done Barney in. In February of 1969, just seven-and-a-half years after their original sighting, he suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage. Onset by high blood pressure and compounded by his alcoholism, Barney Hill passed away at the young age of 46, leaving behind two children from a prior marriage, and making Betty a widow at the age of 48.


It's hard to say what kind of impact the fame had upon Barney's health. Many have attributed the UFO sighting to his decline in health, but it's also been pointed out that his health issues may have started before Fall of 1961.

However, Betty herself would never remarry. She described the love that she and Barney had as something permanent, something that she would never be able to break free from. And while she may have gone into seclusion to live out the last half of her life in peace, she remained at the forefront of the UFO movement, cementing her legacy as a peculiar individual. She would attend UFO conventions, speak out in defense of UFO sightings while also tearing down stories as 'obviously false,' and would become known forever as the "Grandmother of UFOlogy."

In 1975, the book based upon the Hills' alleged abduction, "The Interrupted Journey," would get turned into a television film. Starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons, the movie was called "The UFO Incident," and aired close to fourteen years after the original sighting.

Many have gone on theorize what happened to the Hills on September 21st, 1961. While some point out flaws in the story to paint the Hills as crazy people hellbent on popularity, others point to arguments that may work in their favor. Pease Air Force Base, the nearby military installation that was originally contacted by Betty on September 22nd, DID write up a report and declare the matter closed just a few days later. However, Betty continuously claimed that the major she spoke to, Paul W. Henderson, confirmed her suspicions by saying that radar picked up something on the evening they were abducted. In some stories, I've read that the radar pinged twice: once roughly seven hours before their abduction, and once two hours after.

However, it is true that the case was forwarded to Project Blue Book, which as I stated, was a real governmental program aimed at identifying UFO activity. Also, Betty would continue to claim that the information obtained by the Air Force that night, pertaining to their abduction, had been classified and gone unreleased for decades. Obviously, I have no way to know if this is true, but it is interesting to note.

Also, I found this pretty unique: the 509th Bomb Wing, which was re-stationed to Pease Air Force Base in 1958, had previously been located in Roswell, New Mexico. In 1990, the 509th Bomb Wing was moved to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and now Missouri has become one of the biggest hotbeds for alleged UFO sightings in America.

Betty herself remained a lighting-rod for controversy over the next few decades, painting herself as an icon for the UFO community. She never shied away from her claims, in fact diluting them with many more. She would continue to "see" UFOs dozens of times over the rest of her life, eventually earning herself a reputation as a crazy old lady.

Over the years, many have coined her as the driving force behind the Hills' claim of abduction. People have theorized that Barney, who was shying away from some personal trauma, was influenced by Betty's persistent claims of UFO abductions and simply went along with it. While some would call that weak-minded, it's important to note that eyewitness testimony isn't relied upon by police investigators because the mind is so easily influenced by outside sources. Perhaps Barney refused to believe Betty, but her persistent claims eventually found their way into his mind, in certain ways. It's definitely possible that the two had lived through a type of shared trauma, and had gone with Betty's imagination as a coping mechanism.

Or, perhaps, they made it all up. It's impossible to know their motivations for sure, really. Because the story is too outlandish for our minds to perceive that it actually happened the way that they claimed.

However, Betty did have a history of UFO stories. I noted earlier in the episode that her sister, Janet, had claimed to have been seen a UFO in the 1950s, and Betty seemed to have an interest in the subject before her alleged abduction. Even in the years since, her niece, Kathleen Marden, has continued to vouch for her aunt and uncle's story, publishing a book and multiple blogs online in support of their credibility.

Sadly, Betty Hill passed away of cancer in October of 2004.

Over the years, UFO believers have tried to support the story that the Hills told, and tried to back it up with evidence. The star map, pointing to Zeta Reticuli, remains the most solid piece of evidence, but even that is flawed. The dress that Betty had been wearing, which she claimed had been covered in a pink powder, was tested decades after the fact. The test results came back inconclusive, stating that the dress contained evidence of some kind of protein, none of which matched up with the Hills DNA.

The story has remained a staple among UFO supporters and skeptics, but few can deny the impact it had upon American culture. It immediately brought about dozens - if not hundreds - of copycat stories and people claiming anal probes from aliens above. There now exist markers along the New Hampshire highways where the alleged abduction happened, and a collection of the case's UFO materials reside at the University of New Hampshire, Betty's alma mater.

Regardless of the story's merit, whether aliens and UFOs were actually spotted that night, what happened to Betty and Barney Hill on September 21st, 1961 remains unresolved.


Well, this first episode of 2017 was a bit of a doozy. Took me a bit longer than intended, but I finally got it done.

I personally don't know what to believe. By-and-large, I think UFO stories are made-up fantasies invented by people who want fame and fortune... but there's also a part of me that relates to Mulder from "The X-Files," and wants to believe.

However, I think something may have happened to the Hills on the night-in-question. I don't know enough to say that it wasn't aliens, simply because I'm in my mid-twenties and know approximately 1% of the world's information. I can't say definitively whether it didn't happen or not. I'd like to think that aliens exist, and that they're friendly instead of being hostile, but... how am I to tell? Like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

Anyhow, that's enough of a diatribe. I encourage everyone to keep an open mind about everything, even if it sounds crazy. Actually, ESPECIALLY if it sounds crazy, because those are usually the most fun stories.

If you'd like to keep in-touch with the podcast, you can do so in a variety of ways. You can find us on Facebook, just search for the Unresolved Podcast. We're on Twitter, @UnresolvedPod. You can also send an email to, or even send a text or voicemail to 831-200-3550.

I've also gotten a good amount of requests for people asking about funding the show. If you're not aware, I'm trying to make a push to treat the podcast like a job, which would mean more episodes for all of you but more work and time needed by me. If you'd like to help me make regular episodes a reality, and upgrade the equipment, you can visit the Patreon page, located at Pretty easy to find, and you could always just google "Patreon" and "Unresolved," and I'm sure it'll come up.

At the Patreon page, you'll get access to all of the perks. For a dollar a month, you just get a shout-out, HOWEVER, at two-dollars-and-fifty-cents a month you start to get exclusive content, including musical tracks and the rough cut of each episode as soon as I record it. So Patreon supporters are hearing this shortly after I record it, while everyone else is hearing it a week or two later, after Tyson adds music and polishes it up.

However, at five-dollars a month, you actually get to voice what you want for the podcast. I open up a poll at the beginning of every month, with upcoming episodes that I'd like to get to. You get a vote to decide which one you want to hear next. The next episode you'll hear is actually one of those selections, an Australian-based murder mystery that I hinted at in a prior episode.

Speaking of the Patreon, I'd like to give thanks to the following people for supporting the podcast early on:

Fennoah, Rebekah, Athena, Jay, H. Bee, Bryan, Brian, Janet, Eunica, Laura, Meredith, Robin, Dan, Jennifer, Theresa, Andrew, Peter, and Aukje - apologies for any names I may have butchered. I appreciate all of the support you've shown me, and can't thank you all enough.

But, if you're interested in joining those supporters, just visit the Patreon page and you can set up monthly donations. If you'd like to support the podcast in other ways, you can find the Paypal button at the top of the podcast's website, And if you don't want to provide any monetary support, I'd appreciate it if you gave the podcast a good review on iTunes or whatever service you're listening on. That helps me get more attention and publicity, which I would greatly appreciate.

As I've stated on social media, I'm trying to make an effort in 2017 to treat the podcast like I would a job. My goal is to get episodes out every two weeks, without fail, but to justify that, I would need some help. That's why I'm hoping that anyone out there listening to this tries to help me out; if you don't want to make a donation, at least try and introduce others to the podcast who might. My dream is to make this a regular, weekly show, but to do that, I'd need your help.

But, I'll stop begging for help now. I really appreciate all of the support everyone has already shown me, and even you listening right now is helping tremendously. Thank you so much for listening. I truly enjoy making the podcast, I would just like to see it take the next step in 2017, so I'll put that in your hands.

Until next time, everyone, stay safe, and watch out for those lights in the sky.



Wikipedia - Barney and Betty Hill

Wikipedia - Pease Air National Guard Base

NICAP - "A Dramatic UFO Encounter In The White Mountains, New Hampshire - The Hill Case - Sept. 19-20, 1961" by Walter N. Webb

Youtube - Barney Hill Hypnosis video

Youtube - The Lost Betty Hill Interview by Mass UFO Show

Amazon - "The Interrupted Journey" by John G. Fuller

Amazon - "Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience: The True Story of the World's First Documented Alien Abduction" by Kathleen Marden and Stanton D. Friedman

Skeptic Report - The Hill Abduction

International Business Times - "Alien abduction of married couple 'proven' by star map they drew claims statistician"

UFO Casebook - The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction

Yankee Skeptic - Barney Hill and His Civil Rights Work

Skeptoid - "Betty and Barney Hill: The Original UFO Abduction"

New York Times - "Betty Hill, 85, Figure in Alien Abduction Case, Dies"

Los Angeles Times - "Betty Hill, 85: Claims of Abduction by Aliens Led to Fame"

Week In Weird - "An Afternoon With Betty Hill, America's Most Famous Alien Abductee"

NICAP - Radar Reports Prior To Hill Case