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UFO Abductions and Missing Time

Updated on February 2, 2015
Missing time is almost always a part of alien abduction stories. It can also be in intense UFO sightings.
Missing time is almost always a part of alien abduction stories. It can also be in intense UFO sightings. | Source

From the popular TV show Supernatural to the vast stores of urban legends, alien abduction goes hand in hand with the UFO phenomenon. Although these stories often share many things in common, like the malfunction of electrical devices and uncanny lights in the sky, they aren't always consistent. One thing that does show up in nearly every story is the experience of missing time.

What is Missing Time?

This refers to the phenomenon when the person involved realizes they have no memory of a span of time. Lost time varies from a few minutes to several days, but people usually end up losing a number of hours. Sometimes, their memory returns, but often, those chunks of life remain lost.

Many people have actually experienced this at least once in their lives. Have you ever gotten so absorbed in a task that you lose track of time? Perhaps you've come down with an illness severe enough to alter your consciousness, or experience something similar through inebriation. These lapses in perception are similar to missing time in that you may not have a conscious idea of what you were doing, but there is always an explanation.

Missing time in relation to UFO phenomenon, however, often has no explanation. The involved parties don't realize it happens until well after the encounter has ended. Often, they’re en route to another destination when they’re taken, and when they finally get there, it’s later than they thought it would be.

In other incidences, their watches stop completely, or they notice strange anomalies going on with the electronics of their vehicles or their time keeping devices when the encounter first starts. Next thing they know, it's several hours later, and they have no memory of what had happened.

Part of this has to do with the nature of the events, but another is each individual’s concept of time. If you’re keenly aware of what time it is all day, you’re more likely to notice the disconnect earlier than someone who isn’t as attentive.

We base our concept of time around the clock. When our personal timekeeping doesn't match with that of the rest of the world, it can be unnerving.
We base our concept of time around the clock. When our personal timekeeping doesn't match with that of the rest of the world, it can be unnerving. | Source

The Hills experienced other phenomenon associated with alien abduction.

  • Illness
  • Strange dreams and nightmares
  • PTSD like symptoms

Betty and Barney Hill

One of the better known abduction cases involving missing time happened one September night in 1961.

Betty and Barney Hill were on their way home from a vacation in upstate New York. While on the road to Portsmouth, they happened to see an abnormally bright star in the New Jersey sky. As they drove, Betty curiously watched the light through a pair of binoculars.

Because Barney couldn't watch the star and drive at the same time, they pulled over. Their dog needed to be walked, anyway. Betty gave her husband the binoculars to get a better look. Although he couldn't quite make out what the light was, he reasoned that it had to be an airplane of some kind. What else could it be?

As Betty watched while her husband walked the dog, the object moved to the moon and paused there before moving across its face. Multicolored lights blinked along the craft’s body, which only increased the woman's curiosity. That inquisitiveness morphed into fear when it began drawing closer to them. They hopped back in the car, and Barney pulled back into the route, hoping to get away from the suddenly threatening craft.

As they drove along route 3, Betty kept an eye out for the object, and eventually, they figured out that whoever was piloting it had been playing with them. Soon, the craft descended until it hovered about 70-100 feet above the car, forcing Barney to stop dead in the middle of the highway. Instead of dropping any further, it lingered in place above the car.

There was no way it could be an airplane.

Taking his pistol with him, Barney left the car for a closer look at it. He could see between 8 and 11 beings through the windows. Through some sort of telepathy, they told him to remain where he was, but to continue watching them.


The official book has more in depth information about this case.


When the message registered, he ripped the binoculars from his face, turned and bolted back to the car. Panicked, he got in the car, and told Betty that the beings were going to capture them. The gas petal got shoved down, and he told his wife to watch for the object.

Although the stars were bright in the sky only moments before, all she could see was blackness above them.

Immediately, the car began vibrating and odd tones sounded from somewhere in it. At that point, their minds went fuzzy. They couldn’t remember what had happened over the course of three hours or the last 35 miles of their trip.

Their story was later recorded in a book, The Interrupted Journey, and a film made in 1975, “The UFO Incident”.

Although their story is very unique in quite a few ways, including the indication of two stars which wouldn’t be discovered until 1979 on a map Betty drew, their episode with missing time ties them closely with countless other abduction stories.

The grid shown is the fabric of space, it bends with the gravity that Earth has. That's why it appears as if the grid is cushioning the planet.
The grid shown is the fabric of space, it bends with the gravity that Earth has. That's why it appears as if the grid is cushioning the planet. | Source

Why Does Missing Time Happen?

Because missing time is one of the most common symptoms of alien abduction, some believers think that the beings who take abductees manipulate their victims' minds to encourage forgetfulness. This can be seen as both a mercy and a cruelty, because although unpleasant memories are sometimes best forgotten, the experience of not knowing what happened to you can be just as bad. It may also be a way to maintain the abductor's privacy.

Others think that it has something to do with the Theory of Relativity that Einstein had proposed. It states that when an object has a stronger gravitational field, time itself slows down for said object. Supporters of this belief point to gravity anomalies present in some close encounter sites to back this idea up.

This would mean that time itself slows down for those who experience the phenomenon. They don't actually lose time, but are instead temporarily inside an area in which time moves more slowly than the rest of the world. When they emerge, it seems as if they lost time, because everyone else was moving at a normal speed.

However, there are many reasons for lost time outside of abductions.

The human brain will sometimes completely block out spans of time during which a severely traumatizing event took place as a way to protect the individual from repeated pain. This can include car wrecks or unpleasant interactions with other people.

Another cause can be because of illness or injury in which the brain is physically affected, and those patches of memory are lost with the damaged part of the brain. There is also time loss involved in cases of multiple personality disorder and other forms of mental illness, as well.

Everyone has their own filter through which they look at these types of events. There is no arguing that there are those who experience missing time, and usually there's a mundane reason for it. When that phenomenon is paired with UFO sightings, electronic malfunction and corroboration with others, it gets much harder to explain.


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