Northern Lights

Jenny Randles. The Pennine UFO Mystery. Granada, 1983.

This book is an account of MUFORA's investigations into the Alan Godfrey 'abduction' case and other UFO experiences in the Pennine area. Most of these cases are told in insufficient detail for any conclusion to be reached, and the best one can say is 'interesting if true' (though with many of them 'boring if true' may be the more apt phrase). As a work of entertainment it is quite good, and Jenny's writing style has improved, though it now resembles that of Arthur Shuttlewood in places.

As a contribution to serious UFO research, however, it is seriously deficient and in parts is grossly counterproductive. The opening chapter is an account of the death of Mr Zigmund Adamski, a coalminer of Polish origin, who disappeared from home while suffering from depression after not getting early retirement, and who was found dead on a coal tip by Todmorden railway station five days later. This has been linked to the UFO myth in various subtle ways. Of course, Jenny doesn't say directly there was a connection; she uses the subtle innuendo of the "Of course I'm not saying Mr Figgis murdered his wife, and it's probably all coincidence - but" variety. Jenny calls these innuendos 'pseudoclues' (Note the neat way of avoiding responsibility).

One of these 'pseudoclues' drags in the Scoriton story and we get: "The periods between the Mantell death, the George Adamski death and the Zigmund Adamski death are almost equal - sixteen years and a couple of months in each case:
  • "7 January 1948 Thomas Mantell plunged out of the sky in Kentucky USA. His body was burnt and mutilated.
  • "7 June 1964 (sic) Edward Bryant claims he saw a UFO over Scoriton. It left burn marks on the ground. This led to him reporting the incident and his claimed contact with "Yamski" six weeks earlier.
  • " 9 June 1980 Mrs Lottie Adamski called to report that her husband Zigmund had disappeared. He was to be found with strange burn marks.' (pp 25-26)"

  • There is just one problem with this 'coincidence' George Adamski died on 23 April 1965 and Bryant claimed that his encounter with Yamski took place on 24 April 1965 and the second case on 7 June 1965. I leave it to the reader's imagination whether this convenient error was just carelessness or something else.

    Elsewhere (p. 172) reference is made to Dr Berthold Schwarz and Dr James Harder, 'two American psychiatrists'. Dr Schwarz is indeed a psychiatrist, but Dr Harder is a'professor of hydraulic engineering' and is concerned with the development of artificial internal organs (biography from Story's Encyclopedia of UFOs). A few pages on we have "Seemingly one of the first CE4s of the present century was discovered by Janet and Colin Bord in the course of their folklore research". Actually (as Janet and Colin make clear in their FSR article) the story, that of the fairy boat of Muck, comes from A. A. Macgregor's Peat Fire Flame and was first published in a UFO context by John Michell in his 1967 book Flying Saucer Vision.

    There is throughout the book a reliance on strange coincidences (an obsession with Jenny) and a willingness to take the wilder fantasies of some teenage UFO buffs at face value. When we get Paul Bennett (see Nigel Watson's articles in MUFOB) portrayed as a serious UFO researcher I for one start to get very worried.

    The major interest for the serious UFO researcher must be the account of the Alan Godfrey abduction case. Here the author presented one of the psychiatrists who investigated the case with quite a dilemma. Having gone out on a limb and established a professional reputation for the regression of rape victims on behalf of the police and being adamant that "information he has obtained has led to the capture of rapists, who are prosecuted on the basis of other evidence", he was faced with having to say, in the presence of a senior police officer and a lawyer, whether an incredible story told under regression was true.

    He said: 'Why complicate things? It is simpler to believe he is telling what happened'.

    Quite.

    Unless large parts of the regression have been omitted, it would appear that important clues have been missed. Godfrey said consciously that he is not afraid of dogs, yet under regression says that there is a black dog like an Alsatian in the 'examination room', and in another session makes an apparently irrelevant comment: "I don't like dogs". He also remembers a highway hallucination of running down a woman and a dog, accompanied by a time loss, and claims that all the dogs his family have owned have "gone crackers", and that his future wife once saw the ghost of a black Labrador (a former pet) in his house. These seem important clues to me, and I would have thought that this was a line the hypnotist should have pursued.

    Jenny makes a major point that UFO percipients have had all sorts of other strange experiences. I don't doubt this, but suspect that a great many people have had 'paranormal' experiences, and only discuss them with sympathetic people.

    In chapter 17, 'Conclusions', Jenny suggests that some of the Pennine experiences have been generated by earth lights (a la Persinger and Devereux). This may or may not be true, but she provides no convincing, reasoned train of evidence. Indeed, a few pages earlier on she was quoting several witnesses as being convinced that they had seen real physical craft. In some of these cases strange objects were seen at close quarters but could not be photographed, suggesting that they were hallucinatory. It is probably impossible to convince witnesses of this, owing to the negative connotations of the word, and the assumption that an hallucination is some sort of nebulous mental image rather than a clear quasi-sensory perception indistinguishable from a real sensory perception.

    Jenny has the interesting idea that misidentifications can lead to an altered state of consciousness in which one has access to the 'UFO message'. What a pity that this is all hedged about with vague talk of 'cosmic communications', etc., and apocalyptic forebodings.

    Unfortunately, the sensational tone and rambling structure of the book largely preclude taking it seriously. I hope Jenny will not plead the innocent in the hands of the nasty capitalist publishers again. She must decide whether she wishes to be a serious investigator or popular writer; she cannot be both. -- Peter Rogerson, Magonia 13, 1983

    Read Jenny Randles' response to this review, along with Peter Rogerson's further reply HERE


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