Category archives: Greetings Earthlings
Where: Caracas, Venezuela
When: November 28, 1954
Witnesses: Gustave Gonzales, José Ponce, An unnamed doctor.
Artist: Simon McGarr
While Greys, Nordics, Reptoids (etc) have (over the years) hogged their fair share of headlines, an obscure, but significant, group of “visitors” has been operating somewhat under the radar (so to speak). I speak of none other than the “Hairy Dwarfs” (or “Dwarves” if you prefer) – ufology’s
The above drawing was submitted by the mighty Mr. Simon McGarr of tuppencenworth.ie fame. Since it’s a photograph of a sketch (no scanners involved) Simon worried that it might be “one piece of home spun charm too much” for me. I assured him that such a thing was not possible.
There are quite a few descriptions of today’s dwarfs floating around online and in print, but this one, from Kevin Randle, seems as good as any:
The creatures were described as about 3 feet tall and covered with stiff, bristly hair. They appeared to be extremely light, weighing as little as 35 pounds. The hands had retractable claws. The bodies were extremely hard.
Randle, Kevin, & Russ Estes Faces of the Visitors: An Illustrated Reference to Alien Contact (New York: Fireside, 1997), p. 28.
Randle doesn’t make any mention of the creatures’ eyes – an unusual omission given that “uncanny” eyes are some of the most frequently commented upon alien features (though our old friends “glowing eyes” are referred to in the account that follows).
Covering sartorial matters, Albert Rosales (on his “Humanoid Sighting Reports” page for 1954) notes that the attacking alien daringly wore “only a loincloth”.
Ufological heavyweight Jacques Valée lists the incident as number 188 in his exhaustive contribution to (the long out of print) The Humanoids (ed. Charles Bowen):
Two truck drivers found their road blocked between Caracas and Petare (Venezuela) by a luminous sphere over 3 metres in diameter, hovering 2 metres above the ground. Coming out of the truck they met a small creature with claws and glowing eyes coming towards them. One of the witnesses, named Gonzales, grabbed the being, found it surprisingly light (about 35 pounds) and observed its body was very hard and covered with fur.
The creature pushed him back with one hand in spite of its small weight. The second truck driver rushed to the police. Two more creatures emerged from the brush and leaped into the sphere, carrying stones and other samples, while the first individual attacked Gonzalez again.
Now terrified, he tried to defend himself with a knife, but the blow did no harm to the hard skin of the entity. Then one of the dwarfs in the sphere blinded Gonzales with a light while the others re-entered the craft, which took off.
Ibid., p. 57.
Kevin Randle supplies a couple of details missing (possibly because they’re later modifications?) from Vallée’s summary.
While the hairy, be-loinclothed appearance and aggressive attitude of the creatures suggests a “primitive”, Captain Caveman-esque nature, their “craft” and “blinding light” points to a certain technological sophistication. In addition, they were interrupted while collecting “stones and other samples” – classic alien behaviour of course, and usually taken as a sign of scientific curiosity. A curious mixture of signals.
Their apparent invulnerability to harm is not altogether unusual. In fact, case “194″ in Vallée’s list describes a very similar encounter that occurred on December 10th of the same year (also in Venezuela): Two men approach a bright object near a road; Four small beings attack them; one of the men hits them with his rifle but it breaks etc. The attackers were described as “extremely strong and…covered with hair”.
One is also reminded of the famous Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins, who responded to point blank shotgun/rifle blasts by simply flipping over and running away (before returning later, apparently unharmed). The fact that the sound of the on-target shots was reminiscent of “bullets striking a metal bucket” also suggests impressively hard bodies.
A final note – Is it just me or does Simon’s sketch suggest a “Hairy Dwarf” who (having been left behind by his fellows) finds himself down on his luck, begging for Earth currency as he sits on an Earth kerb? He also seems to have “let himself go” rather, if that gut is any indication.
Artist: Hannah Byrne-Smith
It appears that the irrepressible jocundity of “The Laughing Little Men of Cennina” has inspired one of the site’s more junior readers to produce Greetings Earthlings‘ very first piece of original art. The above image arrives courtesy of my beautiful five-year-old niece, Hannah, and for me (biased though I may be) it’s every bit the equal of Walter Molino’s more polished depiction.
Thanks, Hannah! It’s fabulous.
[Part 5 of the reposted Greetings Earthlings archives. Originally posted on July 9th, 2007. See here.]
Where: Mexico City (?)
When: March 21, 1949 (?)
While eyewitness sketches (and artist’s impressions) of alien entities are almost always accompanied by colourful backstories – photographs of extraterrestrial visitors often stand alone. Details are generally vague, origins tend to be uncertain etc.
Although today’s Greetings Earthlings image may be a frequently reproduced one, almost nothing is known (as far as I can determine) about the circumstances in which the picture was taken.
In Faces of the Visitors, Kevin Randle suggests a “Reliability Rating” of zero for the image (meaning, of course, that it is totally unreliable and most probably fake). He does, however, acknowledge some of the rumours and stories that have attached themselves to it:
It seems that several discs were seen in Monument Valley on March 21, 1949. Not long after that, similar craft were seen discharging small cylinders over Mexico City. A small creature was inside one of them. He was captured and turned over to the proper authorities.
Randle, Kevin, & Russ Estes Faces of the Visitors: An Illustrated Reference to Alien Contact (New York: Fireside, 1997), pgs. 241-242.
While U.S representations of similar scenes usually involve the handcuffed “alien” being (aggressively) bundled into the back of a truck by hostile marines, the Mexicans appear to adopt a more relaxed and welcoming approach. Instead of strapping our visitor to an operating table and chopping “him” to bits, the nattily-dressed individuals above seem to have decided (good hosts that they are) to take the little fella for a brisk walk.
Having said that, it’s not entirely clear who’s leading who. The “Monkey Man” (as Randle dubs him) may, in fact, have initiated the excursion – possibly after asking the question, “Hey lads. Who’s up for a tour of my cylinder?”
All of which reminds me quite vividly of the following (enigmatic) UK road sign:
It’s ambiguous meaning was first pointed out to me by my elder sister (who will, hopefully, be contributing a few sketches to the site before long) and I engaged in the following speculations about it over on fustar.info:
Either the figure on the left is a girleen (in her nightie) being taken to the mother ship by a visiting abductor, or it is (in fact) a tiny, beneficent E.T. (of the Close Encounters variety) leading a willing, adult human away on an inter-planetary adventure. Either way it seems clear that the British government has designated those areas where this sign appears as “abduction free-for-alls”. At least the whole thing is regulated I suppose…
A final thought – Are they (one wonders) the creature’s own underpants and socks, or was “he” forced to wear them to avoid charges of public indecency? Unlike the genitalia-less “Greys”, he obviously has something to hide. Woot!
Where: Cennina, Italy
When: November 1, 1954
Witness: Rosa Lotti
Artist: Walter Molino
At first sight, aliens appear to be a pretty humourless bunch. They lecture us on the evils of war, prophesise environmental catastrophe, and mutilate our cattle in a distinctly non-jocular way. Nevertheless, they do seem to possess their own peculiar brand of mirth.
So sayeth “graylien” (over at the ever-entertaining Cabinet of Wonders) before going on to document a few chucklesome examples of black/surreal/absurd alien humour. The below case may not be too rich in extraterrestrial gag-making (alas), but in terms of joviality and merriment these “spacemen” would be hard to surpass.
Before getting into the details of the encounter, mention must be made of the beautiful Walter Molino image above (taken from the cover of La Domenica del Corriere, Nov. 14, 1954). It may appear (at first glance) like a highly-stylised impression of what was (in reality) a more banal event, but it actually captures the “fairy tale-esque” quality of the story quite gloriously.
The two beings were roughly one metre in height, and wore grey, one-piece overalls (covering even their feet). Over these they wore “a sort of doublet” (with small buttons “like shining stars”), and each had a small grey cloak on “his” back. They also wore tight-fitting trousers, “like the long underpants that our men wear in the winter.”
Though they wore “leather” helmets (which obscured their ears) their faces – which looked “normal, but small” – were uncovered. While their noses and mouths were “of normal shape”, their upper lips were “slightly curled in the centre, so that even when they were not laughing their [rather protruding] teeth were still exposed.” They also had “magnificent eyes”, suggestive of great intelligence.
At 6.30 a.m on the morning of November 1st (Feast of All Saints), 1954, Rosa Lotti (“a forty-year-old peasant woman”) set off toward Cennina’s church and cemetery. In her hands she carried a bunch of carnations “destined for the altar of the Madonna Pellegrina, whose procession had taken place the preceding evening.”
Given that it was a feast-day she was wearing a new dress and her “best” shoes (though she carried the latter, along with her stockings, to avoid getting them dirty).
As she arrived in “the middle of a small clearing among…shrubs and sparse trees” she suddenly noticed a strange object “near a pine tree and on the edge of the little grassy area” (she later described it variously as: “A sort of double cone, over 2 metres high and about a metre wide in the middle”, and, “Like two bells joined together at their bases”):
“The outside of it shone as though it was of very polished light metal. On the lower cone there was an open glass door, and inside it could be seen two little seats, little [sic] scats like those used by children. In the central part of the spindle, where it was widest, there was a sort of roundish glass, closely following the round shape of the mysterious machine.”
From La Nazione Italiana, November 2, 1954.
As Rosa stood and stared in astonishment the two beings described (and pictured) above appeared from behind the “craft” and approached her “with friendly faces”:
They gesticulated, but with no trace of menace. Indeed, on the contrary, in a friendly fashion, as though they were trying to make themselves understood and to strike up a rudimentary conversation.
All the while they chattered away in a “vigorous, lively” fashion, making noises that sounded to Mrs. Lotti like “Chinese” (‘liu’, ‘lai’, ‘loi’, ‘lau’, ‘loi’, ‘liu’ etc).
They then approached Rosa (who, in spite of all the chatter and laughing, was terrified) and grabbed one of her stockings and the bunch of carnations out of her hands (see image for details):
When she remonstrated timidly, the one who seemed the older of the two handed some of the flowers back to her, but kept five of them. Then, having examined the structure of the flowers with an air of curiosity, and laughing the while, he wrapped them in the stocking and threw them into the “spindle” through the small opening.
After stepping back a few paces they reached into the “machine” and took out two white, circular objects (which appeared to be wrapped in something akin to newspaper). Before they could turn toward her again, Rosa took the opportunity to flee – turning back only when she had put about 100 metres between her and the beings, to find (of course) that they and their “machine” had vanished.
Like the Rowley Regis case, this encounter further blurs the already fuzzy line that (just about) separates the worlds of “aliens” and “fairies”. Throw in the facts that it was the “Feast of All Saints” (the day after Halloween), and that Mrs. Lotti was on her way to honour the BVM and you’ve got a multi-layered winner on your hands.
I’m not entirely sure if you’d classify the site of the sighting as a “wood”, but it’s clear that Walter Molino felt a “wood-like” atmosphere would lend his illustration just the right flavour. He chose wisely of course – for woods and forests are places of magic; places where (as Shakespeare et al have shown) the “order” of the town/city gives way to the delirious “chaos” of the otherworld. Note: This may explain why fairies/aliens are rarely seen in shopping centre car parks…
Mischievous laughter, prodigious intelligence, petty kleptomania (etc.) are, again, all things commonly associated with “the good folk” (at least in this neck of the woods). They can also be generous gift-givers (when the mood takes them), so it’s possible the “white, circular objects” were intended as some form of reward for Mrs. Lotti’s “donation” of flowers and a stocking. Wrapping things in newspaper is never the classiest approach of course, but it’s the thought that counts.
The relentless jollity of the little fellas is, perhaps, the encounter’s most memorable detail – for though aliens may be notorious “thieves” (cow anuses, people, time) whose super-intelligence is rarely questioned, they’re not (as “graylien” correctly observes) necessarily the first beings you’d invite to a party.
Where: Burgh Marsh, Cumbria, England.
When: May 23, 1964.
Photographer: Jim Templeton.
While photographs of UFOs (from Adamski’s “Venusian scout craft” to Rex Heflin‘s “flying hat”) regularly give me those little shivers of pleasure otherworldly images often produce, photos of ‘extraterrestrials’ can leave me pretty cold.
There tends to be something vaguely crude and explicit about them (and not just because most are very obvious fakes). Perhaps they simply lack the amateurish charm of rough and ready eyewitness sketches – showing instead of merely suggesting.
There are, of course, exceptions, and I thought I’d post one such photo today.
For a concise summary of the circumstances surrounding the creation of the above image we could do worse than to turn to the photographer himself: Jim Templeton. Here’s what he had to say in a recent contribution to (urggh) The Daily Mail:
As an amateur photographer on a day-trip with my family, I took the photograph on Burgh Marsh on May 23, 1964, using an SLR camera loaded with the new Kodacolor film which was processed by Kodak.
I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose – and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodak displaying what looks like a spaceman in the background.
I took the picture to the police in Carlisle who, after many doubts, examined it and stated there was nothing suspicious about it.
The local newspaper, the Cumberland News, picked up the story and within hours it was all over the world.
The picture is certainly not a fake, and I am as bemused as anyone else as to how this image appeared in the background.
Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities – most of which make little sense to me.
It should also be noted that I have received no payment for taking this picture.
The only suggestion that struck a chord with me was a letter from Woomera in Australia which came a month after the picture was shown around the world.
The people there were keen to see a good colour copy of the photo, as they had stopped a countdown of the Blue Streak rocket within hours of my photo being taken.
Apparently, two similar looking ‘spacemen’ had been seen close to the rocket.
Only later did I find out that part of the Blue Streak rocket was made and tested within sight of Burgh Marsh.
Not mentioned above by Mr. Templeton is his subsequent (alleged) encounter with a couple of “Men in Black”. There appear to be several versions of this tale circulating and its provenance seems rather dubious. One version reads:
“A few weeks later Jim Templeton received two mysterious visitors. He had never heard of MIBs: the subject was almost unknown in Britain then. But the two men who came to his house in a large Jaguar car wore dark suits and otherwise looked normal. The weird thing about them was their behaviour. They only referred to one another by numbers and asked the most unusual questions as they drove Jim out to the marshes. They wanted to know in minute detail about the weather on the day of the photograph, the activities of local bird life and odd asides like that. Then they tried to make him admit that he had just photographed an ordinary man walking past. Jim responded politely, but nevertheless rejected their idea, at which they became irrationally angry and hustled themselves into the car, driving off and leaving him. The fire officer had to hike five miles across country to get home.”
Hmmm…I’m glad I’ve always stuck to my “never take a lift out to a marsh from two strangers who refer to one another only by numbers” rule.
More intriguing is the supposed connection (mentioned above by Jim) to the figures spotted during the Blue Streak rocket testing in Woomera, Australia. Patrick Gross (over at the excellent ufologie.net) takes up the story:
Not long afterwards the editor of the Cumberland News newspaper contacted Jim and asked if he could borrow the negative to send a copy out to Australia. Apparently the photograph had appeared in the press there and staff working at the Woomera test range area in Southern Australia had seen it. Jim was told that the day after he took his photograph, a Blue Streak space rocket was due to be launched from Woomera in Australia. The countdown was postponed when two automatic survey camera [sic] had independently spotted two large figures in the firing area during the countdown phase. They were very similar in appearance to Jim’s mysterious visitor. At the time of the launch, the photograph had not reached Australia and the staff had no knowledge of the bizarre image.
Curioser and curioser…and (as Patrick mentions) very Twilight Zone-esque.
The more one looks at the pleasant scene Mr. Templeton captured (a smiling child, flowers, green grass, sunshine) the harder it is not to be reminded of Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths’ famous Cottingley fairy photos – particularly given the ‘plastic’ unrealness of the figure itself. Part Michelin Man, part astronaut, part poorly-made action figure – it looks anything but a flesh and blood being.
There’s something slightly off (and askew) about its stance, while the flatness and absence of depth in the image make it appear that the “spaceman” is emerging from the top of Jim’s daughter’s head. In this it calls to mind the ectoplasmic, ghostly figures commonly captured (or most likely faked) by Victorian ‘spirit’ photographers. While “helmet” and “one piece suit” might suggest “spaceman”, the classic “I didn’t notice anything strange when I took the picture” refrain puts the image squarely in the spectral, supernatural camp.
Or maybe not…if you believe Fortean Times message board member Niles Calder, who sees not a spaceman (ectoplasmic or otherwise) but a living human “wearing a white jacket and a white/cream scarf”. On that same page a Justin Anstey appears to agree, before asking (rather worryingly):
Has this suggestion been made before? Has anybody returned to that place with a similarly sized child and attempted to recreate the picture?
“Fetch me my camera and a similarly sized child!”, I cry, as the distant sound of police sirens is heard…
Files newly released from The National Archives (UK) make passing reference to the Solway Firth Spaceman/Blue Streak connection. If you fancy having a look go here. The relevant section is: DEFE 24/1983 (p145-73). There’s plenty of other juicy stuff to idly browse through there too.
Unlike Jean Hingley’s hour-long ordeal in Rowley Regis, this encounter seems to have lasted but a matter of minutes. It caught my attention because, a) I was a postgraduate student in King Alfred’s College, Winchester (not far from the location of the sighting), and, b) The account in Peter Hough’s article “UFO Occupants” was accompanied by the wonderful illustration reproduced above.
While driving along a narrow country lane one night Joyce Bowles and Ted Pratt (who were either a “middle-aged couple”
Ahead of them, hovering in the middle of the road, was a glowing, orange cigar-shaped object, approximately 5 metres long. Through the windows on the object’s side three heads were visible, peering in their direction. As they watched (presumably terrified), one of the creatures exited the object and began walking towards the stalled car. Hough’s account describes “him” as:
…about 1.8 m (6 feet) tall, slimly built, wearing a one-piece foil-like suit, with a zip which went up to his chin. He had long blond hair combed back from his forehead, but wore a dark beard; his complexion was pale.
As he reached their Mini Clubman (fabulous cars, my mum used to have one) he placed a hand on the roof and (according to Joyce) “peered through the window at the dashboard controls”. The two occupants then noticed that the creature’s nose was “long and pointed”, while his eyes were “pink – entirely pink, without irises or pupils”. Joyce also recalled that as she turned her head away, “an after-image remained on her retina, similar to the effect of staring at a naked lamp”.
Hough doesn’t provide the tale with an ending but an entry on Vreflect.com (whatever that is) obliges. According to that (rather odd) source the Mini’s engine and headlights had conked out for the duration of the encounter. As soon as both returned to life the creature and the orange “craft” simply vanished. Our friends at Vreflect also point to a possible “Ley line” connection and illustrate their brief summary with an image that mixes the aesthetics of 50s “B-Movie” posters and Ladybird books to winning effect. I’m reluctant to reproduce it here (due to their scary-sounding, bottom-of-page prohibitions), but it’s well worth a look.
As Peter Hough notes, glowing eyes “abound in the annals of historical folklore, attributed to black dogs and other supernatural entities”.
Interesting too to note how hirsute the dashboard-fixated alien was. In an era where smooth, baldy “Greys” rule the imaginative roost, it’s worth remembering a time when (Nordic) “Space Brothers” wouldn’t be caught dead without a shock of blond hair.
Returning to matters ocular…I’ll leave the final word to Hough, who dryly states, that there appears to be “no biological reason why eyes should glow, although it does make the entities more ‘scary’”.
No arguments here (as I rush to pull the curtains).
Since I originally posted the above (3 years ago) an uploaded video has materialised showing Joyce & Ted telling and reliving their story (in inimitable style). Added juicy detail of a sinister phone call from London (and Mrs. Bowles’ indignant and determined response to same) is delicious. It also appears Mr. Pratt was simply “a friend of the family”. Enjoy.