Star Map maker, Marjorie Fish, has died. Did she eventually reject it?

Kitty Mervine, a UFO/aliens researcher and overall sweet person has discovered that a key figure in the Betty/Barney Hill UFO/alien abduction story has died.

Marjorie Fish, Star Map Model Maker, RIP | Yankee Skeptic.

It is with a sad heart I report on the death of Marjorie Fish on April 8, 2013.

Marjorie Fish is best known for designing the 3 dimensional model of the Star Map that Betty Hill had seen while supposedly abducted by aliens along with her husband Barney.  The map was supposed to show where the aliens were from.

Kathleen Marden, Betty Hill’s niece and UFO investigator and lecturer, believes that Betty Hill had a photographic memory, which is why she was able under hypnosis to remember the map accurately.

Kitty notes that she is always asked about the Star Map since it is so well known. Marjorie also made the model alien figure supposedly seen by the Hills (called Junior).

But also very interesting is this tidbit Kitty discovered:

The obituary mentions that Fish later repudiated her own Star Map.  When I think of the time and energy she devoted to creating the her model of the Star Map this surprised me.  The UFO skeptic community, that I have been in contact with, have no recollection of this ever happening.

Hmm. Interesting. Is there some revisionist history going on here or did she really disavow the map?

Betty and Barney Hill – Milne Special Collections – University of New Hampshire Library.

Betty and Barney Hill: The Original UFO Abduction.

  7 comments for “Star Map maker, Marjorie Fish, has died. Did she eventually reject it?

  1. July 8, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    What’s important is that nobody with meaningful astronomical knowledge ever found anything compelling in her map or its analysis. It’s hardly matters what she herself, as a crank and an amateur, thought of it (“crank” meant in the proper sense, not as an insult).

  2. spookyparadigm
    July 8, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    I think it matters if she did, and it was ignored by the wooists. If the people in occulture who generate content, rather than just pass it on, are ignored when they change their minds, just as professional science is ignored, that’s interesting.

  3. July 9, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    I think I may have found one possible source of the “repudiation.” However, what I found was not a repudiation by Marjorie Fish, but rather a conclusion in a critique.

    Marjorie Fish made a presentation titled “JOURNEY INTO THE HILL STAR MAP” at a MUFON symposium in 1974. The report is at

    In a section titled “Discrepancies” she says

    “There are slight differences in line length and angles as in any freehand drawing. Compare for yourself the projected slide of the model on Betty’s drawing.”

    In Charles A. Huffer’s Critique of Captured:The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience he refers to the MUFON presentation and quotes the sentence above. However, he adds:

    “End of quote. This sentence is also a repudiation of an almost perfect ‘fit’.”

    The Critique was included in a long article by Steve Pearse:

  4. July 9, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    > “crank” meant in the proper sense, not as an insult

    Brian, just so there is no misunderstanding, what is the non-pejorative definition of “crank”?

  5. July 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    “Crank” is not a nice word. Marjorie Fish deserves far more respect than being labelled a crank.

    If Fish did change her mind, then I feel we owe it to her history, to get the word out there “This person changed her mind.” Indeed, the more stories of believers that rethought their belief we have the better.
    Marjorie Fish was worked for over 20 years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for over 20 years, she wasn’t a “crank” she was a gifted artist and a very intelligent woman. I’m sorry but the word “crank” is just too harsh for a woman that truly put great time and effort into the study of UFOs and aliens. She may have been wrong, but she was not just “crank”.

    Indeed in making her star map model she was helped by many astronomers, including astronomers from Sproul Observatory at Swarthmore College. Walter Mitchell Jr, of the Perkins Observatory in Delaware Ohio, while described as “not a UFO buff” by Fish, helped her with her modelling and even put her model on display at the Perkins Observatory. She was an amateur, looked for professional help when making her model. Many in the UFO community never agreed with her map, liking other match ups more. Still, her name is the one mentioned when I speak, and my main goal when I give a talk is to give a critical thinking lesson rather than an astronomy lesson. It’s almost impossible to match up any set of dots that are 2D to a 3D model in space.

    My feeling, having spent hours studying the Fish file in the Hill archives, and knowing how dedicated Fish was to her star map model, is that it is important to know if she changed her mind. The obituary refers to her as a “skeptic”, if someone as passionate as Marjorie Fish changed her mind, it’s important to know. Just why and what tipped her from believer to as her obituary says “Skeptic”?
    Also, even today important UFO leaders such as Stanton Friedman still talk about her Star Map model. If we can find Fish changed her mind about it, maybe Friedman would I hope stop using it as PROOF. It’s just one hole in the story, but when I speak to audiences at libraries, and even at skeptic groups such as CNY Skeptics that have advertised the talk to the public, I get at least one question about the Star Map Model.

    It may be fine if astronomers know it isn’t true, but as long as supporters of UFOs as aliens camp continue to use it the general public will still believe there WAS a model showing where the aliens came from. As a skeptic, I have to remember I’m not always working with astronomers or people familiar with the history of the map. All it takes is a 10 second mention on a TV or radio program, and the general public will take in “Oh there is a model of the map Betty drew!”

  6. July 9, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    also I get “Crank” has many definitions, but the common one is rather an insult. I’m thinking another word might have been more kind, and also more accurate. No one wants to be called a “crank”, no matter which definition of the word is used.

  7. July 10, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    “If Fish did change her mind, then I feel we owe it to her history”

    I would guess only UFO believers would have listened to her. If she did change her mind, there’s not much chance her audience would have publicized that or even recognized her verbiage as being her admitting the improbability of her initial thesis based on new data.

    I would define “crank” as someone who reaches conclusions on the slimmest of evidence (or none) and despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary tirelessly promotes their conclusions. It certainly has a use as a pejorative, that is an “expression that expresses contempt or distaste.” “Crank” implies a kind of unpleasant noise, requiring a unpleasant effort to use/deal with.

    Wiki on the origin of crank:

    A crank can, in some cases, be a crank yet still loveable. I recall Archimedes Plutonium from the hoary old days of Usenet. A crank yet somewhat of a crowd favorite:

    And who could forget Doctress Neutopia from the Usenet days:

    When your offline usenet download packet suddenly became filled with their crank writings, it was unpleasant.

    So did Marjorie Fish tirelessly promote her map and ignored the evidence against her? Was she or her claims unpleasant to deal with?

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