UFO Hoaxing and the Story of Stephen Darbishire

David Clarke and Andy Roberts
Magonia 75, July 2001
Whenever ufologists turn their attention to the subject of hoaxing within their subject the fundamental gulf between sceptics and believers is brought sharply into focus. Those who choose to invest belief in the ETH and other exotic explanations for the UFO phenomenon tend towards the simplistic party line that, yes, hoaxes exist, but they are few and far between and have little effect on `serious ufology’. Sceptics and more open-minded students of flying saucery are a little more realistic.

It’s perfectly true that as a percentage of investigated UFO cases, known hoaxes represent a tiny fraction. But simple bean counting misses the point entirely. UFO hoaxes may be small in number but those which exist have had a massive impact upon the subject, and have been far reaching in their influence.

Hoaxes are rarely just standard UFO reports. They are invariably photographic or document based. This makes them an easily displayable, marketable media commodity. Whereas a single witness sighting of a brightly lit UFO may only get, at best, a few column inches in a newspaper, a UFO hoax photograph, such as that created by Gordon Faulkner during the 1965 Warminster flap, will receive national media coverage. In turn this sort of exposure can add a stamp of validity (however specious) on to a hitherto disparate collection of UFO reports, turning local a flap into a national phenomenon. And so the cycle continues.

Listing and discussing known hoaxes would be tedious. The information is available in the literature for those who wish to seek it out. Most of you will already be familiar with it, and how hoaxes like Gulf Breeze, MJ-12 etc have affected the subject. One small part of our research in recent years has focussed upon those suspected hoaxes that had a huge impact upon the media and ufology but, more importantly, have continued to influence the witness/perpetrator, We all too often forget that people lie at the centre of the UFO mystery and what happens to individuals who are thrust into the public eye, and how their views about their alleged experience/s change and mutate over the years, is often forgotten or overlooked.

The cases under discussion here exemplify the problem in that they are in the borderlands, being neither 100% proven hoaxes or unequivocally from ‘out there’ but continue to exert a deep influence upon the public perception of UFO mythology. The Alex Birch and Stephen Darbishire photographs are classic UFO photographs, much written about and much speculated upon. Both these cases impacted hard on British ufology. As we will see they impacted even harder on those involved with them. They also give an important insight into the nature of hoaxing and into the heart of early British ufology.

UFO cases come and go, witness names and case details used like happy family cards to justify one theory or to trump another. Classic cases are repeated by rote, the humanity ripped out of them to satisfy UFOlogical obsessions and facts. It’s the frequent cry in Internet rooms such as UFOupdates that sceptics don’t take witness testimony seriously, but how many of these smug internet keyclickers take the trouble to track down witnesses to classic cases and or try to make sense of their stories? We did. Whether there is any sense, whether their stories are true or false only you can decide.

The Stephen Darbishire photograph

Flying saucers arrived in the British Isles in the late summer of 1950, when two popular weekend newspapers, the Sunday Dispatch and the Sunday Express, launched a major media promotion campaign. Both papers competed to serialise the seminal books by Major Donald Keyhoe Flying Saucers are Real, Frank Scully’s Behind the Flying Saucers and Gerald Heard’s Riddle of the Flying Saucers. Behind the scenes, the editor of the Sunday Dispatch, Charles Eade, was quietly encouraged to promote flying saucer stories bv his friend Lord Mountbatten, whom he had served as Press officer during the Second World War (3). Mountbatten, who was at that time a personal believer in the ET origin of the saucers, felt the subject should be taken seriously and wanted to make the public aware of the ‘evidence.’

The Sunday Dispatch played an influential role in creating the first real flying saucer invasion of Britain. The popular newspaper featured saucer sightings prominently on page 1 on a number of occasions throughout the early 1950s much to the chagrin of its rivals, but Eade took great pains to protect the source for his original story that he claimed in October 1950 was “bigger than the Atom Bomb wars.” Partly as a result of this first tabloid-style hype, the Dispatch’s circulation rose from a mere 700,000 copies in the late 40s to 2,400,000 when Eade left the editor’s seat in 1957. (4)

The flying saucers had arrived and the ground was prepared for ever more bizarre and incredible stories. By the autumn of 1953 when George Adamski’s book with Desmond Leslie, Flying Saucers Have Landed was first published the Britain, the public were already primed to accept the incredible (5). It was an era of rapid technological progress and great optimism that mankind would soon be taking steps into outer space. As a result, the British public eagerly lapped up the stories describing military jets outpaced by saucers and puzzled over the photographs taken by a humble American farmer, Paul Trent, allegedly showing a flying disc (again featured on page 1 of the Sunday Dispatch). The next logical step was a story claiming a flying saucer had landed, followed by the first photograph taken in the British Isles. Both events were to follow in the space of little more than 18 months.

“… It had to happen- It has happened. A flying saucer has landed , in the United States!”

This was how science editor Maurice Goldsmith opened the story published in the October 3, 1953 edition of the popular London-bascd magazine Illustrated. Entitled ‘Happy Landings from Outer Space’ the article featured a half-page b/w reproduction of the classic ‘bottle cooler’ photograph taken by US contactee George Adamski at Palomar Gardens, California, on December 13, 1952. The photo it was said, depicted a flying saucer ‘Scout Ship’ 35 feet in diameter, complete with three portholes and three ‘landing spheres’.

Stephen Darbishire and Adrian Meyer.
From Illustrated magazine,
February 12, 1955
Also featured in the magazine were photographs of six flying saucers and a cigar-shaped ‘Mother Ship’ taken on March 5, 1951 and an artist’s impression of the ‘man from Venus’ Adamski claimed to have met near at Desert Centre, Arizona, in November the following year. Goldsmith adopted a tongue-in-cheek stance throughout his extended review of the book and concluded dryly: “…unfortunately, Adamski*s logic is poor and I am prepared to wager that if ever I see life from Venus it will not look anything like me, or Mr Adamski or the being he encountered.” (6)

Many thousands of people read the article in Illustrated, and the follow-ups that appeared in the national newspapers during the winter of 1953-54. Adamski’s photographs and claims were transmitted across the world, and the exciting story of visitors from other planets were the very stuff of schoolboy fantasy. So widespread were the stories that news of the arrival of the flying saucers reached Little Arrow Farm at Torver, in the beautiful surroundings of the English Lake District, during the winter of 1953-54. Little Arrow was the home of Dr S. B. Darbishire, a GP who had retired to run a small farm in the fells below Coniston Old Man (2,575 ft). He had a son, Stephen, then aged 13, an intelligent, creative boy who had displayed a talent for art that he would eventually develop into a career as an adult.

Dr Darbishire had been brought up as a Quaker and his son Stephen says he had “a good sense of humour and a very inquiring mind; he would accept nothing, questioned everything he was told and loved excitement.” More excitement than many people experience in a lifetime was soon to follow. Within six months of the publication of Adamski’s book, Stephen became the first person in England to take photographs of a ‘flying saucer’ hovering near the Old Man.

The story began – as in so many other UFO photo cases – as a result of what Stephen describes as “an accident” of history. On the morning of February 15, 1954, Stephen – then a pupil at Ulverston Grammar School – and his eight-year old cousin Adrian Meyer set off for an expedition on the slopes of the fell below the Old Man armed with an “old fashioned” Kodak box camera recently purchased by his father. To this day, Stephen maintains that at this point he knew “absolutely nothing” about the subject of flying saucers. According to Desmond Leslie’s account the youngster experienced “a nagging persistent restlessness” that fateful morning, as if something was urging him that he must go up the hill behind his home: “…he could not tell why: he merely knew he had to.” (7)

The pair planned to take pictures of birds and other wildlife in a small hill valley on the slopes below the Old Man. Stephen immediately raises doubts about the reality status of the photographs he obtained when, today, he recalls how: “My cousin and I had been fooling around taking pictures… [doing] trick photography and lots of other exciting things with it, double images, ghosts, jumping off rooftops and that sort of thing.”

What happened next is a little ‘out of focus’ – as were the photographs that resulted from this encounter with ‘the unknown.’ According to the story told by the boys in 1954 it was Adrian who first drew Stephen’s attention to something odd in the sky in the direction of the mountain. The older boy was at that moment looking in the opposite direction, towards Lake Coniston when Adrian thumped him on the back and exclaimed: ‘Look what on earth’s that’?” pointing to the sky above Dow Crag. The ‘object’, according to the first published account (in the Lancashire Evening Post, Preston, February 18, 1954) had a silvery. glassy appearance, shining “like aluminium in the sunlight.” It glided towards them from the direction of Coniston. descending until it disappeared behind a piece of high ground, once again coming into view again a few seconds later. It approached within 400 yards of two startled boys, travelling at tremendous speed, and then stopped suddenly and hovered, noiselessly, in the sky.

Stephen told a reporter they could clearly see every detail: “The object was glistening and it was a silvery milky colour. You could tell the outline of it very plainly indeed and see portholes along the upper part, and a thing which looked like a hatch on top. There were three bumps underneath and the centre of the underneath part was of a darker colour. I took the first picture when it was moving very slowly about three or four hundred yards away and then it disappeared from my view as there was some undergrowth in the way. When it came into sight again I took another picture but then it suddenly went up into the sky in a great swish. As it went upwards it tilted and I could see the underneath side more clearly. There was some sort of whistling sound as it went up which I think was the wind.” (8)

Immediately the boys ran down to Little Arrow Farm where they found Dr Darbishire and the family watching TV, oblivious to the events unfolding outside. Stephen recalls how the two excited youngsters rushed into the farmhouse and blurted out how they “had seen something strange … I think I used the words ‘a flying saucer’ and of course evervone fell about laughing and said ‘oh yes. Stephen, you’ve been up to your tricks again.”‘ Stephen’s father, according to Desmond Leslie, “frankly did not believe it” but made his son sit down and write a statement and make a sketch of what he had seen within half an hour of the sighting taking place.

Stephen quickly produced some remarkable and accomplished pencil sketches of a classic Adamski ‘flying saucer’ before his two photographs were reproduced in celluloid. They consisted of two detailed drawings of a ‘Scout Ship’, complete with turret, three portholes and landing gear, almost but not exactly identical to those which had appeared in the magazine Illustrated during October 1953. Other sketches depict the craft at different angles, possibly showing its method of departure. In longhand beneath the drawings appear the words: “Drawing by Stephen Darbishire, aged 13 years, of what he saw, done before the two photographs of the flying saucer had been developed.” (9)

Dr Darbishire delivered the film for development to a lab in Coniston village while Stephen was away, staying with his godmother. When the film was returned the retired GP could not believe his eves. For the final two frames on the film did show a fuzzy, saucer-shaped object apparently suspended above a grassy hillock. Although out of focus, in the best picture it is possible to pick out what appear to be ‘dark portholes’ and three ‘landing domes’ as described by Stephen at the time.

Stephen recalled: “When I came back my father greeted me off the bus at 8 o’clock in the morning and said `right, come on inside.’ He was very agitated and he said I’ve got so and so from the the Daily Mail arriving in half an hour. Before I knew it we had half the world’s press on the doorstep”. What happened next, as they say, is history. Stephen’s story and a reproduction of the clearest photograph, the first in the sequence, was published on page 1 of the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post.

Within days photos of Stephen, Adrian and the ‘flying saucer’ had appeared in the national Press. On February 26, 1954, the Lancashire Evening Post became the first British newspaper to reproduce Darbishire’s sketches and photograph alongside those of the Venusian ‘Scout Ship’ taken by Adamski, having obtained special permission from “the leading British expert on the subject,” Desmond Leslie. Al Griffin of the Post noted how “…we are assured… that Stephen had never seen the Adamski pictures” when he produced the sketch. What the paper described as “space travel enthusiasts, flying saucer fans, scientists, scoffers and sceptics” were all left to draw their own conclusions.

During the media frenzy that followed publication of the photographs, Stephen’s written statement was overlooked. The original, or what is purported to be the original, was reproduced in Leonard Cramp’s book Space, Gravity and the Flying Saucer and poses a number of questions. Most important is the sentence that reads: “…Adrian and I were down in a small hill valley so the rising in foreground of photo is due to the position we were in. Some grass is shown under the saucer.” If these words really were committed to paper within half an hour of the experience as claimed and therefore some days before the photographs were developed, how could Stephen know what, if anything, was depicted on the negatives that were, at that point, still inside his father’s camera? Sadly, no one other than the editor of Flying Saucer News felt it necessary to ask this very relevant question at the time. (10)

Equally of interest are Stephen’s words describing the point immediately after the photo was taken: “…just as I had finished the flying saucer (which I now thought it must be) shot off up into the clouds…” A curious turn of phrase for a boy who claimed he had “no knowledge” of flying saucers! Desmond Leslie, who travelled to Coniston on February 23 and was a guest of the Darbishire family for two days. soon dismissed the possibility that Stephen had faked the photographs. During his stay “Stephen never once contradicted himself [or] made a remark or inadvertent slip suggestive of a hoax,” wrote Leslie who was at that time promoting Flying Saucers Have Landed. He saw young Stephen’s photographs as corroborative evidence of Adamski’s outlandish claims. Leslie notes that Stephen did not make any slip-ups when questioned by four hardened journalists and a crew from BBC TV. The boy’s father maintained that he too had cross-examined both Stephen and Adrian thoroughly before deciding to “go public” with the photographs. He said they stuck by their story even when warned about the trouble they could be in if the story was a hoax. He was convinced thcy were not lying.

But the most suspicious statement of all is hidden within Leslie’s attempt to pursuade readers that Stephen had never read his book Flying Saucers Have Landed or even an abridged version of Adamski’s claims: “..he [Stephen Darbishirel admitted he had seen the photograph of the Adamski saucer as published in Illustrated on 30th September [sic] 1953.” (11)

If Leslie’s account is accurate then Stephen clearly had seen Adamski’s Scout Ship photo, published four months before his own photographs showing a similar craft were taken. Indeed, how else could the youngster have produced such an accurate pencil drawing of a ‘Scout Ship’ complete with three portholes and landing gear? Clearly this left just two stark alternatives: either Stephen had seen an identical Venusian Scout Ship as described by George Adamski, or he had reproduced the photograph he had seen in Illustrated and somehow transferred this to celluloid.

Perhaps realising the problems this admission created for the story Leslie claimed that Stephen maintained “although this saucer picturc [published in Illustrated] had shown a saucer with three portholes in a row, the one had seen had four in a row.” In the drawing he produced immediately after the sighting Stephen drew only three portholes. “but as the saucer went away it turned slightly so that a fourth porthole came into view.” For Leslie that was evidence enough, for he knew that in one of the unpublished Adamski photos four portholes in a row are clearly shown.

“He [Stephen Darbishire] did not know this!” exclaimed Leslie with obvious glee. “This, on top of the other evidence, fully convinced me that Stephen was not only telling the truth but also that he had seen the same saucer (or an identical model) as Adamski.” (12)

In the heady days of 1954, these problems seemed irrelevant. Through accident or design Stephen Darbishire became a national celebrity overnight. His pictures were flashed around the world, and before February was out the inhabitants of Little Arrow Farm had been introduced to what today Stephen calls “the world of sympathetic magic, modern magic” Desmond Leslie was just the first flying saucer believer to visit Coniston to experience the vibes of the ‘Space visitors’. Leslie lost no time in proclaiming Stephen’s photo as “the second of the Adamski type to be photographed in the world” and told the local newspaper: “I am satisfied that Stephen saw what he says he saw… this visit or contact has been expected for some time.” (13)

Before the March was out Stephen had been invited to a saucer-spotters convention in London where delegates scrutinised blurry enlargements of his photograph. He recalls how “it all got rather hysterical and one chap leapt up and said he could see a face in a porthole.”

It was during this visit to London in March 1954, that Stephen and his father were secreted into a car and driven to Buckingham Palace to meet one of the Duke of Edinburgh’s private secretaries. It was claimed the invitation came from the Palace via Desmond Leslie who had contacts at ‘the highest level’. In fact, the Sunday Dispatch got wind of the meeting soon afterwards and reported how Prince Philip had read about Stephen’s sighting in the newspapers “and wanted to know more.” (14)

The Royal Equerry, RAF Squadron Leader Sir Peter Horsley was at that time involved in his own “saucer” study with the blessing of the Duke, and “the Darbishire boys” became the latest in a series of saucer-spotters who were invited to his office to discuss their sightings. In his autobiography, Horsley says he was “impressed by their story and truthfulness” and notes Dr Darbishire “was not relishing the publicitv and notoriety the family were receiving from the newspapers.” Horsley sent a report of the meeting to the Duke, who was in Australia at the time, and asked a professional photographer, Wallace Heaton, to examine the negatives. His conclusion said, in summary: “Yes, they could have been faked but they were so good it would have cost quite a lot of money.” This left the RAF veteran puzzled: how could an ordinary farming family find the money to finance an elaborate hoax and even if they had, what was their motivation? “Was there a wider conspiracy?” he mused. (15)

Stephen Darbishire’s visit to Buckingham Palace was just the beginning of a series of adventures which led him and his family further and deeper into the bizarre world of the flying saucer cult. Visitors called in at the Darbishire family home without invitation, and letters arrived by the sackful including one from none other than Lord Dowding, the Battle of Britain hero – another highly placed saucer believer at that time. In 1959 Stephen was introduced by Desmond Leslie to George Adamski at a meeting held in London during the contactee’s lecture tour of Britain and Europe. Stephen, who was by then attending art school, remained “unimpressed” by the contactee who he dismissed as “mad, mad as a hatter… somewhere else altogether.” It was at this stage, Stephen told us in 2001, that he asked himself: “How can I be involved in this, how can I actually be sitting here with these people?”

The teenager was by now feeling increasingly that he was pawn in other people’s games, that the photo was no longer his property “…all I was being used for was an instrument of verification.” As a result he decided the best way out was to put the word around that his photos were in fact fakes so he could go back to living a normal life.

In a letter sent to UFO author Timothy Good in 1986 Stephen told how “…in desperation I … said it was a fake.” (16) But as Alex Birch and others who followed in Stephen’s footsteps were later to find, the ‘hoax’ declaration did not bring an end to the notoriety – rather the opposite: “I was counter-attacked, accused of working with the `Dark Powers’ … or patronisingly ‘understood’ for following orders from some secret government department.”

While Stephen remained detached from the strange characters and even stranger beliefs that surrounded his experience, he found the biggest impact of all was upon the lives of his parents. Following the experiences of 1954, Dr Darbishire underwent what his son described as “a midlife crisis.” The visitors and attention his family received from the flying saucer movement opened up a whole new world of possibilities and Darbishire senior became drawn into the world of the occult, collecting a huge library of books on a range of esoteric subjects. The workshop at his farm became a laboratory where he constructed strange machines that utilised revolving lights to detect the human aura and effect alternative cures. Similarly, Stephen’s mother was also profoundly affected by the experience and became more interested in the spiritual world.

In 2001 Stephen Darbishire – the artist – prefers to play down the significance of his best known piece of work, growing weary after almost half a century of tiresome questions. Yet the central mystery that eluded Sir Peter Horsley remains: just how could a young boy, who claimed he “knew absolutely nothing about flying saucers” manage to “create” one of most mysterious photographs in the history of the subject’? And if it wasn’t faked, then what exactly did the photograph depict?

What can be said about the photographs themselves?
Very little, because according to Darbishire both the negatives and all the surviving prints were stolen or
borrowed and never returned

“An object,” was the simple but ambiguous answer Stephen Darbishire gave when this question was asked in 2001. What is not in dispute is that Stephen shared his father’s inquisitive nature and creative talents – and clearly his sense of humour too, an attribute also associated with another influential personality entwined within this story, Desmond Leslie. Interviewed in 2001 Darbishire continues to maintain he had never seen Adamski’s photos when he produced his drawings and photographs, contradicting his own statement to Leslie in 1954 that he had indeed seen the pictures that appeared in lllustrated, the year previously.

How likely was it that the 13-year-old living in the early 50s had never heard of ‘flying saucers? Not very likely, it seems. A survey of newspapers published in Cumbria during 1953-54 revealed an earlier saucer sighting, pre-dating Darbishire’s experience, made by three Coniston schoolboys who claimed to have seen a saucer pass over the village as they waited for a bus. Another sighting followed at the village of Askam. (17) Surely a boy with such inquiring mind as Stephen Darbishire had would have heard about these sightings, if not in a newspaper then on the local grapevine, along with the stories about flying saucers widely published in the national media?

Stephen was in fact quoted in the London News Chronicle as claiming a second sighting, just five days after the photograph was taken, of “a cigar-shaped object, again near Old Man” and added “since then I have studied reports of flying saucers and believe in them.” (18) Was it entirely coincidental that the second sighting was of a cigar-shaped craft – of the `Mother Ship’ type photographed by Adamski and published alongside the Scout Ship pictures in that widely-read issue of Illustrated?

Wherever the inspiration for those sketches came from, what can be said about the photographs themselves? Very little, because according to Darbishire both the negatives and all the surviving prints were stolen or borrowed and never returned. Although Stephen remained convinced he had correctly focussed upon ‘Infinity’ before the saucer had appeared,

the “object’ depicted in both photographs is out of focus. The explanation for this curious anomaly suggested at the time was that “the bellows of his small camera were not fully extended.” This theory was disproved when Desmond Leslie experimented with the camera at the place where the photographs were taken, taking a number of exposures using different combinations of shutter speeds and bellow settings. The results suggested the camera was in fact correctly focussed, but Leslie suggested that Stephen had altered the shutter setting by mistake during the excitement of the moment.
It was one of these things that happen out
of the blue that you are caught up in.
It’s just a type of accident

The reproduction of the photo featured in most UFO books is in fact the first picture taken as the youngster spun around when alerted to the saucer’s presence by his young cousin. In the second photo, rarely published in the UFO literature, the `craft’ appears partly distorted on its right-hand side, as if the craft’s angles are ‘slewed round.’

It was an effect that a writer in Flying Saucer News explained as being the result of UFOs’ ability to change shape “prior to warping into hyperspace, or another dimension.” (20) This peculiar feature has since been seized upon by Timothy Good as evidence to support the authenticity of the notorious Silver Spring film taken by George Adamski in 1965. In the film the ‘Scout Ship’ displays a similar distortion of its dimensions. (21) On the contrary, there is no good reason why Adamski could have not been aware of Darbishire’s second photo. Darbishire met Adamski in London during 1959 – six years before the Silver Spring film was produced – and would certainly have been shown both photographs taken by the youngster in the presence of his host, Desmond Leslie.

Despite the underlying doubts, believers in the Space People were overjoyed when aeronautical engineer and Saunders-Roe hovercraft designer Leonard Cramp used a method he called ‘orthographic projection’ to demonstrate that the objects depicted in the Darbishire and Adamski photographs were proportionally identical. (22) This should not be so surprising if the object photographed by Stephen Darbishire was based upon the photograph of the Scout Ship he had seen in Illustrated and so faithfully reproduced in his pencil sketches just half an hour following his ‘sighting’.

So what was the “object? During the writing of his bestselling Above Top Secret author Timothy Good approached Stephen and asked if the experience was genuine. Stephen, then 46 and back living in his native Cumbria, would say only: “It happened a long time ago, and I do not wish to be drawn into the labyrinth again.” (23)

Today he continues to distance himself from the flying saucer buffs who staked so much of their belief system in the authenticity of those two photographs. After almost half a century Stephen’s original account of the Adamski Scout Ship with portholes and turret has been replaced by a description more fitting the preoccupations of the 21st century.”By the time I took the second photo it had gone,” Stephen said. “There was nothing dramatic like people at windows or anything… it looked like a cloud to me and when it first happened I thought ‘that’s a funny shaped cloud’”. The original glistening, translucent metal had become a “preternatural light.” (24)

And what of Adrian Meyer, who despite being the first to see the UFO, faded into the background and never received the attention of his elder cousin? Could he provide the key to what really happened that cold February afternoon in 1954?

“I met him recently for the first time in many years,” Stephen told us candidly. “He wasn’t involved in it really. He just sort of ‘blinked twice.’ He dosen’t remember anything about it and probably thinks we made it all up. He just said ‘that was a load of baloney, wasn’t it’?”

The other major player in the Darbishire photo case, Desmond Leslie, passed away in February 2001. His obituarv described his extraordinary life as rivalling “any fiction by Nancy Mitford or Anthony Powell. with overtones of a Fifties sci-fi movie, and a little Weimar decadance thrown in.” (25) One of his final notes, faxed to Stephen Darbishire, read: “Dear Stephen, how lovely to hear from you again; you know it’s extraordinary that there are still people taking pictures of the old flying saucers… where can they find those 1930s lampshades from, I thought they had all gone out of production.” Stephen said of him: “You never knew with Desmond. He appeared to believe completely, but he also had a great sense of humour.”

Echoing Alex Birch – soon to follow in his footsteps – and many others caught up in the UFO labyrinth through accident or design, Stephen summed up his feelings of that time:

“It was a one-off experience that lasted 30 seconds but the repercussions are still reverberating I don’t have any idea about its significance, except that it was one of these things that happen out of the blue that you are caught up in. It’s just a type of accident.”

  1. Leslie, quoted in Cramp, Leonard. Space, Gravity and the Flying Saucer. London: Werner Laurie, 1957, p. 173.
  2. Interview with Stephen Darbishire, 7 April 2001. All subsequent quotations are drawn from this interview unless otherwise referenced.
  3. Ziegler, Philip. Mountbatten: The official biography. London: 1985, p. 494.
  4. Sunday Dispatch (London), 14 April 1957
  5. Adamski, George and Leslie, Desmond. Flying Saucers Have Landed. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1953.
  6. Illustrated (London), 3 October 1953
  7. Leslie, in Cramp, op. cit., p. 13
  8. Lancashire Evening Post (Preston), 18 February 1954
  9. “Saucers over Britain,” by Waveney Girvan, Illustrated, 12 February 1955.
  10. See “Coniston Puzzle” in Flying Saucer News: Journal of the British Flying Saucer Bureau and Flying Saucer Club, vol 1/9 (summer 1955), 19.
  11. Leslie, in Cramp, p.17
  12. Ibid.
  13. Lancashire Evening Post (Preston), 24 February 1954
  14. Sunday Dispatch (London), 24 March 1954
  15. Horsley, Sir Peter. Sounds from AnotherRoom. London: Leo Cooper, 1997, p. 180.
  16. Good, Timothy. Above Top Secret. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1987, p.37, 373.
  17. Lancashire Evening Post (Preston), 19 February 1954
  18. News Chronicle (London), 22 March 1954
  19. [to be confirmed]
  20. Flying Saucer News, op. cit.
  21. Zinsstag, Lou and Good, Timothy. George Adamski: The Untold Story. Beckenham: CETI Publications, 1983, p. 171-3.
  22. See Cramp, Space, Gravity and the Flying Saucer, Zinsstag & Good, George Adamski: The Untold Story and Flying Saucer Review 10/1 (January-February 1964),13-14.
  23. Good, Above Top Secret, p.373
  24. Interview with Stephen Darbishire by Peter Hough and Dr Harry Hudson, 1993 (?), by courtesy of Peter Hough.
  25. Obituary by Philip Hoare, published in The Independent, 10 March 2001.