Another case from Flying Saucer Review.
by R. H. B. Winder
THE setting is near-perfect for a fairy tale: the village,
60l ft. up in the Chillerns. is quite isolated by the
boundary fence of Whipsnade Park Zoo Close to the
N.W.. and a deepish valley lo the South; and by the
escarpment of these chalk hills dropping steeply away
on the far side of the Zoo. It all seems well removed
from ions and ionization. but perhaps not quite so
remote as your editor and G. W. Creighton anticipated
when they suggested that I Should report on this case.
It all started with a single flash of lightning which
struck on or near the common at about l.45 p.m on
January 28, 1966. Probably an ordinary stroke, because
rain was falling and the atmosphere was heavy, but
it could have been initiated by artificial ionization of
the air. l mention the possibility not because any
flying object was seen. But isolated strokes are not all
that frequent and this one was certainly followed by
some extraordinary events.
Alex Butler. aged I0 years, and his friends-Tony
Banks, Kerry Gahill, Andrew Hoar,
David Inglis, Colin Lonsdale and John
Mickleburgh were playing on the Common on
their way to afternoon school. They were in the vicinity
of the Dell, which is a shallow valley thickly strewn
with hawthorn, gorse and bracken; and a few Old
tin cans and motor tires. The undergrowth is riddled
with passages connecting several dens under the bigger
bushes, all no doubt the work of generations of
Children and animals; and there is a small open space
hidden in the middle. The whole is reminiscent of a
surface version of a miniature Viet Cong hideout,
providing good cover, even in Winter, coupled with
surprising freedom of movement-for diminutive
creatures. The school is about 200 yards away and the
nearest houses maybe 150 yards, but small persons
could remain concealed for a long time were it not for
the children who obviously regard this as their territory
and know virtually every blade of grass in it.
A few minutes after the lightning, and its associated
thunder. Alex was casting a proprietary eye over the
Dell from the top of its northern bank when he saw,
quite clearly over the open center, "a little blue man
with a tall hat and a beard" standing upright and still
in front of the bushes at the opposite bank.
He immediately shouted a description to his friends.
who were initially skeptical but confirmed his view on
joining him. Reacting as if to an intruder, they all
began to run down the bank towards the stranger who
was only about 20 yards away. The little man reacted,
in turn, by “disappearing in a puff of smoke".
It is easy at this stage, to rationalize the happening
into a fairy story based on optical and electrical
effects emanating from the lightning, but this tale
continues-without further discharges.
Finding nothing at the place where he was first seen,
the boys ran on. Little to their right along the bottom
of the dell and then up the far bank; still searching
for their elusive quarry. They soon saw him again
this time to their left farther along the top of the bank
and on the opposite side of the bushes that had previously
formed his background. Once again he was
standing still and facing them at a range of 20 yards.
They again approached him and he repeated his
The third time they saw him he was back at the
bottom of the Dell, not far from his original position.
His pursuers had by now reached his second location.
Looking at him through the little bushes, they
became aware of “voices" which they describe in
a manner suggesting a continuous
incomprehensible, and "foreign-sounding" babble,
coming from a point in the bushes closer to them and
down the slope to the right of their line of sight. A
feeling that the little fellow had associates who were
communicating with him and to whom he was replying,
although they could detect no movement on his part.
induced a sense of caution which deterred them from
rushing towards him as before. Instead. the boys
continued to circle the Dell until they could look
down it, whereupon they saw him for the fourth and
last time still standing as motionless as ever in the
same place. Uncertain what to do next. they milled
around for a few more minutes before they told their teacher’s
They warned Miss Newcomb that she would not
believe it, but, knowing them as well as she does and
after assessing their excitement and listening to their
story, she did believe them. She then very sensibly
separated them and made each write it down in his
own words. The essays were re-written two weeks later.
not in order to alter their substance but simply to
improve their spelling and tìdyness, and were pasted
into a book entitled "The Little Blue Man on Studham
Common”. It makes fascinating and convincing reading.
I only wish there were space enough to reproduce it
here. No doubt it will occupy an honored place in
the archives of the Studham Village Primary School.
The case was brought to our attention by Mr. L.
Moulsler, a long-standing reader of this review, who
sent a cutting about it from the Borough
Gazette, dated March 3. He kindly accompanied
CB., G.W.C. and myself in a preliminary survey of the
district and reminded us of local sightings investigated
by him in previous years: an apparent landing at the
rim of the hills not far from the Zoo and another,
more controversial, case at the nearby Flying Club,
of which he is a member. G.W.C. has also found another
cutting from the aforementioned newspaper: dated
October I5, 1965, it describes mystery lights in the
sky over Whipsnade. Finally, it is hardly necessary
to mention the Wildman Case (FLYING SAUCER Review,
March/April 1962,) that look place near Aston
Clinton about six miles away on February 9. i962.
Returning lo our present case: Miss Newcomb
arranged for Mr. and Mrs. Creighton, Colin McCarthy,
and myself to meet the principals at the school on
Saturday afternoon, May 13. Without any prompting
from their obviously respected and loved teacher,
they gave a very competent account of the whole
incident. They also took us to the places involved and
then returned with us to the schoolroom to go into
more detail. The following additional points emerged -
They estimate the little man as tall (by comparison
with themselves), with an additional 2ft. accounted for
by a hat or helmet best described as a tall brimless
bowler, i.e. with a rounded top. The blue color turned
out to be a dim grayish-blue glow lending to obscure
outline and detail. They could, however, discern a line
which was either a fringe of hair or the lower edge
of the hat. two round eyes, a small seemingly
triangle in place of a nose, and a one-piece vestment
extending down to a broad black belt carrying a black
box at the front about six inches square. The arms
appeared short and were held straight down close
to the sides at all times. The legs and feet were indistinct.
The "beard" is interesting: apparently it extended
from the vicinity of the mouth downwards to divide
and ran to both sides of the chest. Although agreeing
that it could have been breathing apparatus. the boys
could not see clearly enough to be certain and this
thought had not occurred to them.
The disappearances caused me some difficulty at
first, but became more understandable after further
explanation of the "smoke" was apparently a
whirling cloud of yellowish-blue mist shot towards the
pursuers, possibly from the box on the belt. They
agreed that he could have stepped into the bushes before
this camouflage cleared, although it dissipated quite
quickly. They heard no sound other than the voices
and saw no movement at any time. Nor did they smell
any smells or see anything strange in the vicinity,
either on the ground or in the air.
The glow and the mist could have been the products
of ionising radiation. Indeed, similar emanations, not
necessarily from the same source could have triggered-
off the lightning in an atmosphere already charged by
natural processes. However. we must not carry speculation too far. All that we are certain of at this stage is that this is no ordinary fairy tale. Nobody who knows the boys disputes that it really happened.