Books: Meeting on the Moor

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FLYING SAUCER FROM MARS (153 pp.)—Cedric Allingham—Brifish Book Centre ($2.75).

Simply sighting flying saucers is out of date—the big spin now is to spot them landing and to hobnob with their interplanetary passengers. Pioneer yarn-spinner among the neo-Münchausen breed is George Adamski, a self-described Southern California "philosopher, student, teacher, saucer researcher" and former short-order cook who claimed (in last year's Flying Saucers Have Landed) that he stood beside a saucer on the California desert in November 1952 and talked (telepathically) with a tanned, short visitor from Venus.

The book was followed by a rash of reports about tiny red Martians tumbling out beside an Italian farmhouse, a long-legged, long-haired spaceman chasing two Norwegian milkmaids across a field, and little green men landing in France wearing plastic helmets, orange corsets or Cellophane wrappers. Now a 32-year-old British thrilier-writer, amateur stargazer and bird watcher named Cedric Allingham reveals that he bumped into a six-foot Martian last Feb. 18 on a lonely Scottish moor not far from where the Loch Ness monster used to sport.

In Flying Saucer from Mars Author Allingham even prints photographs of the Martian, looking very like a crofter with galluses flapping, and (separately) of his saucer, which has circular portholes, three-ball landing gear and a shiny dome with a rod sticking up from it.

Birding Author. As Allingham tells it, he was out watching for rare birds that afternoon when a 50-ft. saucer skimmed right past his camera to land beside him, and this tall fellow hopped out. The stranger, Allingham says, looked just like any North Briton except for a "forehead higher than that of any man I know." When Allingham sketched a sun with planets orbiting round it on a pad, he says, the visitor smiled and pointed to the fourth planet and then to his own space-suited figure. That clearly placed his home on Mars.

The Martian lost no time popping a political question. He wanted to know, says Allingham ("Needless to say I could not understand his words, but his gestures were clear enough"), whether the Earth people would start another war. Allingham says he was only able to shrug hopefully in reply. After indicating that he had visited both Venus and the Moon says Allingham, the Martian also asked if Earthmen would soon reach the Moon. When Allingham nodded, the Martian's broad brow clouded up. "And who can blame them?" asks the author. "We have not yet proved ourselves fit to rule our own planet, let alone visit others and perhaps influence their affairs." Soon after, reports Allingham, the Martian popped back into his saucer and sped off to space.

Yearning Readers. England's eagerest astronauts, the slide-rule devotees of the British Interplanetary Society, hoot at the book's "scientific" label. Politely, they suggest that Author Allingham has a highly susceptible imagination or that somebody has elaborately hoaxed him. But Allingham, now undergoing lung treatment at a Swiss sanatorium, cares little if critics point out that saucer pictures have been faked in the past with lampshades, garbage-can covers and trapshooting targets tossed in the air. Such books as his apparently answer a deep and widespread yearning for marvels.

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