During my blog-related browsing through the odder side of life, I occasionally come across a story that I think is worth sharing with you, Dear Readers, but I’m damned if I know what to say. I just bung it down, hit the “Publish” button, and say, “Here. You deal with it.”
This is going to be one of those times.
In the July/August 1970 issue of “Flying Saucer Review,” Gordon Creighton shared a story which he titled, with admirable restraint, “A Weird Case From the Past.” He heard of the “very strange experience” from one John P. Sutcliffe, who in turn had learned of it from one of the people directly involved, a “lady who is well known to him.”
Creighton got in touch with the lady, Mrs. I.J. Goodwin, who lived in Stranden, Bournemouth, and she agreed to share what she remembered about the episode, which had taken place some forty years previously.
Mrs. Goodwin wrote, “I will tell you the facts of my personal experience exactly as I remember them.
“I was born in 1924 at 57 North Road, Hertford, Hertz. One day in 1929, at about the age of five, I was playing in the garden. With me was my eight-year-old brother (Mr. Priest, now living at Moordown, Bournemouth.) He was suffering from an infected knee, due to a fall, and was consequently confined at that time to a chair.
“At that date the road was a lane, with just two pairs of houses, one of which was ours, and behind the houses there was an orchard.
“So far as I can truthfully recall, what happened was that we heard the sound of an engine--what I would today liken to a quietened version of a trainer plane. My brother and I looked up and saw, coming over the garden fence from the orchard, this small aeroplane (of biplane type) which swooped down and landed briefly, almost striking the dustbin. It remained there for possibly just a few seconds and then took off and was gone, but in that short time I had a perfect view not only of the tiny biplane but also of a perfectly proportioned tiny pilot wearing a leather flying helmet, who waved to us as he took off.
“Neither my brother nor I ever spoke of the strange sight, so far as I recall, until about ten years ago when, in the presence of our mother and of other members of the family, I asked him whether he recalled the episode. He replied that he too had wondered many times, over the years, about that tiny plane and its tiny occupant.
“May I be permitted to add here that my brother is so honest that he would certainly not claim anything beyond what he could truthfully recall of an experience.
“I am very sorry that I cannot swear to the exact measurements, but I would estimate the wing-span of the tiny aircraft at no more than 12-15 inches, with the tiny pilot in perfect proportion thereto.
“Although I do not recall his having said it, my brother apparently went into the house and told mother: ‘That aeroplane nearly hit the dustbin.’
“This is a true and honest account as I remember it. The house and garden still exist, but the orchard has long ceased to be there.
“I have no explanation to offer, but I do know that this was not a figment of my imagination and, although I have not mentioned this correspondence to my brother, I give you herewith his address so that you may question him too should you wish to do so.
“I trust that you will glean something of interest from my experience, and I shall be most interested to hear of any explanation that you can give. You have my permission to print this account.”
Creighton believed that we should take stories like the above very seriously, no matter how bizarre they might be. He noted that “Tiny, shape-changing, size-changing, tenuous creatures of some sort of highly plastic matter have been reported throughout all history and from every land. We can no longer afford to sit back smugly and laugh them off. The reports about them must be collected and studied. We are going to be very surprised by what we find.”