Letters to the Editor

Truth About Daggett Revealed!

It is always good to learn what is happening at UNH through the UNH Magazine, and I am pleased to see how often Professor Gwynne Daggett, one of my favorite professors, is cited. In the Winter 2008 issue, Nancy Bere Janus '59 relates that Professor Daggett smuggled a banned book, Lady Chatterley's Lover, into the United States. The professor did not smuggle in the banned book—I did. I took Professor Daggett's humanities course, which I enjoyed, for I liked his forthright candor and demeanor, his shirt sleeves rolled up high and fresh from his biking commute. At some point, he alluded to Lawrence's banned novel, adding that he wished he had a copy. I was drafted prior to graduation, and I joined the Navy. One day, walking the streets of Copenhagen, I spied Lady Chatterley's Lover in a window. I bought two copies, and when I returned to the States I sent one of them (brown paper wrapped) to Professor Daggett with a note to the effect: "Here is the book you wanted." Later, I visited him to ask for a recommendation to graduate school. He obliged; neither of us mentioned the Lawrence novel. By that time, I gather, the antics of the Manchester Union Leader were a given in academic life. Still later, when I was coordinator of the humanities program at Washington State University, I tried to do for students what Professor Daggett had done for me in the classroom.

It wasn't Lady Chatterley's Lover that got Gwynne Daggett in trouble with the state government and the Manchester Union Leader. The long-running fuss began in 1953, when the legislature gave Attorney General Louis Wyman '38 authority to investigate "subversive activities" at UNH. It was Daggett's association with Marxist economist and writer Paul Sweezy that attracted Wyman's attention. Sweezy had spoken to Daggett's classes on three occasions. Wyman summoned both men to Concord for questioning, and both refused to answer some of his questions. Wyman got a Superior Court order, at which point Daggett complied. In 1957, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Sweezy's refusal. By the way, his bicycle was a black, three-speed Raleigh. I don't recall if it had a wire basket in front, but that was fairly standard issue for English professors and modish students in the 1950s.

My first course at UNH was with Professor Perkins. I remember him rocking often on the open windowsill. Tom Williams taught me, a tech nerd, the value of language; when I switched majors, I met "Ma" Woodruff, Hans Heilbronner and Gwynne Daggett. I was there when Bill Loeb was still spy-chasing and The New Hampshire put out its "Slightly Pink" issue, but the persecution of Professor Daggett was mostly in the past. Nonetheless, his unique combination of intellect and common sense and his commitment to his principles gave me a foundation for social values that has stayed with me ever since. I've evolved from a ban-the-bomb hippie to a Republican activist, but I still find myself quoting from his lectures.

Editor's note: Anecdotes about UNH professors are online at http://alumni.unh.edu/professors/. For an article on Gwynne Daggett, see http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/f01/.

Walling In or Walling Out

Your description of Professor Nancy Lukens' seminar on walls between people correctly points out that barriers can be either physical or mental. However, the story is somewhat misleading as it lumps together the Great Wall of China, the security fence separating Israel from the West Bank, and the now-defunct wall between West and East Berlin. The Great Wall was built to protect the Chinese Empire from foreign invaders. The Israeli fence is intended to protect innocent civilians from Palestinian suicide bombers. The Berlin Wall, in sharp contrast, had the ugly purpose of preventing Germans from fleeing the "guaranteed jobs, housing and medical care" provided by the Soviet-backed police state in East Berlin. These are important historical distinctions that should not be forgotten.

UNH Magazinus/na

I was reading the winter issue, enjoying especially the cover article and the Rear View Mirror pieces and thinking about the many alumni profiles I wrote when working at UNH in the '70s, when I saw a quote from a letter I wrote 25 years ago. What fun! And of course I'm glad the magazine is no longer called The Alumnus.

Green Before Green Was Cool

How thrilling to read of UNH's dedication to sustainable practices, as evidenced in President Huddleston's column. However, "grassroots campuswide efforts" were initiated long ago. As a student in the early '80s, I was a member of Students for Recycling. We coined the phrase "Recyclers do it again and again" and staged a "dumpster dive" outside T-Hall, extracting pounds of potentially recyclable materials. We implemented the use of recycling bins. We joined the local weekly food co-op and purchased our food in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging and to support local farming. We lowered our heat, turned off lights, took the bus or carpooled. What was set in motion decades ago has grown to become nationally recognized practices. UNH is to be commended for continuing to lead the way.

The Smith Hall Ghost?

This is my daughter's first year at UNH, and receiving your magazine truly helps me feel connected to her educational experience at UNH. I especially enjoyed "The Professor Who Fell Out the Window And Other Stories." I know my daughter has already experienced inspirational professors like these. Also, I noticed something in the photo accompanying the article on Smith Hall. In the top right window is a figure peeking out slightly from behind a curtain. The famous long-term resident perhaps? Probably not, but it's ironic "she" is there!

Betty Hill's Alien Encounter

In his article "First Lady of Flying Saucers," Dennis Robinson '73 confuses scientific ufology with popular cultural mythology. Through the process of minimal extraction, creative sequencing and factual error he has presented an inaccurate and misleading account of Betty '58 and Barney Hill's 1961 UFO encounter. Additionally, he plays into a negative stereotype of those who engage in the scientific investigation of unconventional flying objects. He seems to believe that he can discuss the Hills' case apparently without an understanding of our book, Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience, and without making a serious attempt to research UFOs in general. Much of his article is based upon his interpretation of statements allegedly made by Betty during a few social visits late in her life.

Speaking of the Roswell case, for example, he states, "There in 1947, legend says, the inhabitants of a crashed flying saucer were secretly dissected in Area 51 at the nearby Air Force base." I (Stanton Friedman) am a nuclear physicist and the original civilian investigator of Roswell, and I must point out that Area 51 wasn't built until the early 1950s. It happens to be in Nevada not too far from Nellis Air Force Base, but is about 600 miles from Roswell, N.M.

Why do foolish legends matter? He says, "Marjorie Fish hypothesized that the aliens came from the Zeta Reticuli star system. And most scientists tittered." As the first to publish about Marjorie Fish's outstanding work in 1973 and as the scientist who instigated the later Astronomy magazine article, I (Friedman) can say this is nonsense. In Captured!, I discuss Fish's research in detail. The head of the Ohio State University astronomy department, Dr. George Mitchell, used one of her models as a teaching tool and testified to her accuracy on camera. She didn't hypothesize. She built 26 3-D models of the stars' locations. She deduced that the base stars were Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 Reticuli using the methods of science, not innuendo, bias and ignorance.

Robinson seems to completely ignore the outstanding credentials of neuropsychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon, who built a reputation on his ability to successfully treat combat neurosis (now PTSD) and conversion hysteria, with amnesia, in war veterans. He was skilled in the use of deep trance hypnosis to facilitate the recall of specific traumatic events. He attained a high rate of success in bringing about the amelioration of psychiatric symptoms when former therapists had failed.

Robinson seems totally unaware of the major large-scale scientific studies discussed in Captured!, including, for example, "Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14," covering 3,201 sightings. He talks about "believers" and even states that Captured! "is a book for believers, written by believers." Wrong, again. Based upon scientific investigation, Captured! is a case study of the world's first documented alien abduction, including a summary of the investigative and scientific reports.

As a social scientist and a physicist, we must insist on dealing with facts and data. For example, there is a detailed comparative analysis of the independent testimony of Betty and Barney, along with the details in Betty's dreams. This has never been published before and clearly shows that Barney was not echoing Betty's dreams.

Betty was a social and political activist. She was a compassionate, intelligent, down-to-earth woman with an uproarious sense of humor. Late in life she often made provocative statements for the sake of argument or to humor her nearly constant flow of visitors. Unfortunately, she also drifted into credulous, unscientific explorations, for which she has been sharply criticized. But scientific investigators do not judge Betty's 1961 credibility by statements she made late in life, any more than we judge Ronald Reagan by his mental acuity in the years that preceded his death.

For an autographed copy of Captured!, visit kathleenmarden.googlepages.com or stantonfriedman.com.

The author, J. Dennis Robinson '73, responds: It was an honor to get a response to my article from author Kathy Marden '71 and from Stanton Friedman, the nation's top UFO expert. I read and enjoyed every page of Captured! Before writing my article, I researched every other book, article and videotape I could find in which Friedman commented on the Hill case. No one in his right mind would debate a ufologist about ufology. Friedman is renowned for confronting UFO skeptics for what he has called the "intellectual bankruptcy of the pseudoscience of anti-ufology." In other words, those who doubt his "facts" about UFOs are not looking hard enough. Where UFO mythology ends and facts begin, however, is murky territory indeed. It is a no-win debate, and I won't attempt a rebuttal here. If I've studied the facts of the Hill case for decades and come away unconvinced that Betty and Barney Hill were abducted by aliens, it doesn't make me less convinced that intelligent life may exist beyond our planet. I don't believe I need a Ph.D. or training in ufology to write about Betty Hill any more than I need to be a registered Republican to write about George Bush. I'm also not convinced that one's scientific or academic or military credentials make that person's opinion about UFOs especially valid. Nor, in return, do I believe that my professional credentials as a career writer make my opinion about literature more valid than Marden's or Friedman's. What I know best as a writer is people, and—with or without the aliens—Betty was among the greatest humans I ever met. I prefer not to get caught in the crossfire between UFO believers and skeptics. I invite everyone who read my article and who finds Betty fascinating to get a copy of Captured! and have the courage to make up your own mind.

Your article about Barney and Betty Hill '58 reminds me of my possible UFO sighting on campus. A friend and I were walking back to North Congreve from town just after dark one night. We saw a large, unexplained light in the sky right in front of us. There was nothing we could definitely make out, but it was certainly unusual. We never told anyone, but I have never forgotten it. Now I really wonder about it, since the Hills' experience was in 1961!

"The First Lady of Flying Saucers" is a story long overdue. Betty should have graduated in the Class of '41, but she left school to get married and raise her husband's three children by a previous marriage. Betty and I were college buddies, and she, Mary Louise Hancock '42, Helen Almond Morse '42 and other associates of mine allowed no slurs, insults or misconduct to occur about or around me. They saw to it that I, as the only black on campus, was comfortable and accepted. I spent my first UNH Thanksgiving in Kingston, N.H., with Betty Barrett's family, and we stayed in touch after she dropped out in 1940. When Betty told me of her marriage to Barney Hill, I was not astounded. Long before Barney, she was concerned about world peace and equality between the haves and have-nots and racially different groups. About their White Mountains experience, I could not believe she was not telling the truth. There were too many details. Some skeptics said we couldn't go to the moon or to Mars. Well, they've been proven wrong. Who knows, perhaps Betty and Barney Hill may have been on the cutting edge all along. The fact that Dimond Library has accepted her papers, books and film may give credence and credibility to her story.

This was the best account of Betty and Barney Hill's UFO interlude that I have read, and it had personal connections for me, as she was the social worker when my husband and I adopted our two children in 1961 and 1963. When we bought the Iron Skillet in Intervale, Betty and Barney came to visit to tell us of their experience before it was exposed in the newspapers. Nary a word had been spoken of it by these nice, nice people. I thoroughly believe the whole story and do not discount their credibility one whit.

Friendships That Last

Thank you for the mention in Class Notes of the annual golf tournament honoring the late Sigma Nu brothers John Bruder '89 and Bremen Anderson '89, organized by Jeff Foy '87 and Pete Camello '89. Recently when my sister passed away all too quickly from ovarian cancer, Pete and Jeff, along with Don Voner '92 (who founded Take a Swing for Cancer) came to my aid, as did so many other friends from UNH, providing support, encouragement and the kind of friendship that one only hopes for so many years after leaving college. Jeff and Pete really exemplify what the UNH Magazine seeks to communicate in each issue: the strength of the friendships we created at school and the opportunities we still have to help one another, even when we lose friends we made at school.