What We Know and How We Know It, Part 3
What we know: Betty and Barney misidentified the aircraft warning light on the top of Cannon Mountain as a flying saucer, continued.
How we know it:
The first time Betty and Barney observed the UFO was when their car crested the shoulder of Mount Prospect just south of Lancaster. The first time the aircraft warning light on Cannon Mountain is visible from US 3 south (the road Betty and Barney were driving), is when the road crests the shoulder of Mount Prospect just south of Lancaster.
Cresting the shoulder of Mt. Prospect, Lancaster, NH. In 1961 this would have been two lanes and the parking area on the right would have been missing. This is the first point where the light on the lookout tower on Cannon Mountain is visible — and the first point where Betty and Barney Hill saw their UFO.
The UFO first appeared as a “shooting star that fell up.” As soon as US 3 crests the shoulder of Mount Prospect, the road plunges steeply down a 9% grade for the next half mile; the beacon on Cannon Mountain subjectively appears to move straight up.
The UFO appeared first on one side of the road, then the other, at various altitudes. The beacon on Cannon Mountain appears first on one side of the road, then the other, at various altitudes.
The UFO appeared to get larger, brighter, and closer as the Hills continued their trip. The beacon on Cannon Mountain objectively is getting larger, brighter, and closer as one drives south toward Franconia Notch.
In Franconia Notch the UFO passed up the right side of the car. The beacon on Cannon Mountain appears to pass up the right side of a car traveling south through the notch.
These, by themselves, even without the Hills’ positive identification of the beacon as a UFO (see Part 2), prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the UFO was actually the beacon on Cannon Mountain.
Taken together, the one-to-one mapping between the UFO and the beacon, and the Hills’ identification of the beacon as the UFO when they reached Franconia Notch, the conclusion is inescapable: the Hills mistook the beacon on Cannon Mountain for a flying saucer. The true believers have absolutely no wiggle room.
Here is the question that anyone who thinks Betty and Barney saw a flying saucer must answer: If what they saw was really a flying saucer where was the Cannon Mountain light that whole time?
A note here on observation and memory: The human mind isn’t a video recorder. (See, e.g. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/what-experts-wish-you-knew-about-false-memories/ ) There is no such thing a continuous memory; if there were no one would ever lose their car keys. Short-term memory stores the Good Parts edition, and only parts of that are moved to long-term memory.
What we see is mediated through what we expect to what we perceive. What we perceive is what we remember. The Hills expected to see a flying saucer, therefore what they perceived was a flying saucer, and what they remembered was a flying saucer. It’s important to note that Betty was already a believer in flying saucers even before this event, and she spent a good part of the later portions of the trip trying to convince Barney that what they were seeing was a flying saucer. False memories are remarkably easy to implant. See: http://science.time.com/2013/11/19/remember-that-no-you-dont-study-shows-false-memories-afflict-us-all/