On the night of January 25th, 1967, Betty Andreasson found her house in South Ashburnham, Massachusetts, plunged. into darkness, and a strange glow appeared outside. Then a series of strange entities materialised through the door. Her story did not surface until 1975, when Betty wrote to the Center for UFO Studies, and was not investigated until two years later still.
Under hypnotic regression a truly bizarre a abduction story emerged. Jungian symbols proliferated in a kaleidoscope of medical, science-fictional and religious imagery. These included immersion in a brilliant light, a change of clothes, a medical examination apparently centring on a recent hysterectomy, and a nasal examination; a journey down a sort of underground corridor (a motif common in near-death experiences) and complete immersion in a soothing, undulating liquid.
Betty the entered an alien world a harsh, red landscape with strange froglike creatures, on through a science-fiction city, to a central confrontation with the fiery death and resurrection of a phoenix. During this, she believed that she heard the voice of God calling her to His service. After all this, the entities returned her home, where she was presented with a mystic book, which later disappeared, but not before her daughter also has sight of it. Under hypnosis, Betty fell into a kind of mediumistic trance, and developed glossolalia. Then an alleged entity communicated apparently with great difficulty. The communications contained motifs suggesting that the entities were units of a collectivity, outside of the boundaries of time. They wished man to develope a greater harmony with nature, and an ability to love. Images of air, fire and ashes emerged, and in a l1;ter trance a motif of 'a liquid that life has been removed from a stillness' emerged, as did. further suggestions of the beings' omnipotence.
|BETTY ANDREASSON UNDERGOING|
The symbolism of the phoenix, fire and ashes, the immersion (baptism) in a liquid suggestive of the amniotic fluid, could have been taken straight from the pages of Carl Jung, There appears to be a recurrent symbolism of rebirth and a change in life. It seems unlikely that these symbols have emerged from Betty's conscious personality; she was a conventional American fundamentalist Christian. Nor does it seem probable that their origin is in the conscious minds of the investigators. The chief investigator, Raymond Fowler, is himself a fundamentalist, and a dedicated proponent of a nuts-and-bolts ETH explanation for UFOs. Indeed, the investigators are unable to disguise their squirming embarrasment as Betty related her traumatic mystical experience with the phoenix.
The voice which speaks in Betty's mediumistic trance seems to emerge from the profoundest transpersonal levels of the unconscious. The entities appear to be part of a collectivity, reminding her of bees. This seems to suggest a layer of undifferentiated instinct. The voice proceeds from these depths with great difficulty. This reminds me of 'Ramah', the final 'guide' that Ira Progoff* evoked with Eileen Garrett, who also communicated with difficulty, and whom Progoff characterised as “ … the giver of life, a dramatisation of the deepest levels of the psyche“.
Unfortunately, there are gaps in our knowledge about Betty and her family. We know that she was a fundamentalist, who had a large family seven children, and an eighth aborted with a hysterectomy following complications in the pregnancy. We know that her marriage was shaky. These tensions had been exacerbated by her husband being seriously injured in an accident. This necessitated her making a long car-trip each night to visit him in hospital
One cannot help but feel that these concerns are reflected in Betty's visions. The imagery is replete with symbolism of the womb, birth and rebirth. At the same time there is an apparent attempt to reconcile this experience with her fundamentalist faith. At one point one of the entities takes a Bible in his hand, waves his hand over it, and other Bibles appear, thicker than the original. Perhaps this, and her feeling that the utterly inhuman aliens were 'angels', were a message from Betty's unconscious, calling for a reappraisal of her life, and a widening of her horizons, with a reassurance, in the expanded Bible, that her faith could accommodate this.
It is interesting to note that her letter to Hynek in 1975 was written shortly before she separated from her husband, and that during the hypnosis sessions she finally decided to get divorced. She then moved to Florida, where she met, and formed a relationship with, a fellow 'silent contactee'. This seems to have triggered off an MIB experience, which was followed by the deaths of her two sons in a road accident. Perhaps the anger of the beings symbolises Betty's guilt feelings about her new relationship.
There are the inevitable undercurrents. Betty and her daughter, Becky, have had various 'psychic' (hallucinatory) experiences, before and after the central abduction. It also turns out that Betty had produced a form of automatic writing, consisting of meaningless symbols, before the abduction. It is tempting to bracket this 'spirit writing' with her glossolalia as a means of· expressing feelings which cannot be articulated.
The initial incursion of the strange entities into the house appears to have been witnessed also by Becky, and Betty's father, Waino Aho. The latter's name is almost identical to Wayne Aho, a popular contactee of the 50s, another of those strange coincidences which keep cropping up in ufology.
Despite the fact that is at times painfully obvious that this book has been condensed from a much longer manuscript, it remains of great value. The fact that the story is a severe embarrassment to the conscious beliefs of both the principal witness and the chief investigator adds to its value.
* Ira Progroff. Image of an Oracle, Report on Research into the Mediumship of Eileen J. Garrett. Helix, 1964.