Guide to Extraterrestrials

Patrick Huyghe. The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials. Avon Books, 1996.
In the late 60's and early 70's Patrick Huyghe was the publisher of an excellent magazine called UFO Chronicle, [actually UFO Commentary - see Comments - JR] which was one of MUFOB's earliest exchange magazines. Huyghe later mover into mainstream journalism, but has recently re-emerged in the scene as co-editor of Anomalist. Now he has written this interesting, if not entirely deadly serious, guide to UFO occupants.

Styled after Nancy Arrowsmith's Field Guide to the Little People it contains illustrations (by Harry Trumboe) of 49 varieties of occupant, along with details of a typical case featuring each one. The collections shows how far from being dominated by classic 'greys' the occupant reports are. Huyghe divides them into several broad categories: human, humanoid, amphibian, robotic and so one, with sub-categories.

Of particular interest is the illustration of the humanoid reported by Marius DeWilde. This is now invariably portrayed as the prototype little man with a big head, but the original French newspaper drawing on which Trumboe's illustration is based shows something completely robotic, closer to Star Wars' R2D2 [left].

Of the cases mentioned, I can add some further details to the incident at Sapwood, near Hythe on November 16, 1963. Huyghe follows the standard account of a shambling, winged 'mothman'-type creature based on the report in The Humanoids, by Charles Bowen. However a longforgotten investigation by the equally long-forgotten Charles Strickland of the London UFO Research Organisation (one of BUFORA's ancestors) came up with a very different description from one of the witnesses. This describes a "man with a scarlet cloak with a flickering lantern giving a white light, held to his left, the upper part of his body in the gloom".

Strickland also reported that from November 21 onwards other groups of teenagers reported strange mists, shooting stars, a human figure 6 feet tall which disappeared, On one occasion a girl walking towards a light saw a dark figure, fled, the blacked out, (INTCAT, quoting LUFORO Bulletin, iv,5, p.2)

Huyghe comes to rather non-committal conclusions but I doubt he would disagree too much with the view that the shifting, protean nature of such accounts points to the human imagination as the origin of these images.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Actually, the magazine I published in the late 1960s and early 1970s was called UFO Commentary. It contained articles by John Keel, Dr. David Saunders, Larry W Bryant, and many others. A revised edition of The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials is in the works. It will appear from Anomalist Books in 2011. --Patrick Huyghe