Australian UFO Researcher
FLYING SAUCERY, COSMIC BETHLEHEM, AND MIDWICH CUCKOOS: THE CYNTHIA APPLETON CONTACTS (1957-1959)
By Bill Chalker
Copyright © B. Chalker 2005
Possible sexual activity, genetic experimentation, and “hybrid” or “transgenic” beings have become dominant issues in the alien abduction controversy in more recent years. It is intriguing to note that there were other intriguing alien events, beyond the well known experience of Antonio Villas-Boas, that seemingly featured those elements as early as the late 1950s.
Two such events are the strange story of English housewife Cynthia Appleton, which spans the years 1957 to 1959, and the bizarre alien claims of Credo Mutwa, an African shaman, that apparently occurred in either 1958 or 1959, which include what seemed to be a horrific variation of Villas-Boas abduction and “seduction” story.
I researched both of these situations in detail while examing different aspects for my forthcoming book “Hair of the Alien - DNA and other forensic evidence of Alien Abductions”. Ultimately it was felt the Appleton story diluted the forensic and scientific focus of the book and the section on it was deleted from the final book. Still the Appleton milieu is fascinating for a whole lot of reasons. Andy Roberts who helped me out with some details has recently had a piece published on the affair in Fortean Times and this should be read along with my piece here to get two different and largely independent takes on this curious affair. The Credo Mutwa saga however is described in some detail in my book.
I was specifically interested in the Appleton story because of its similarity to an Australian contact drama, which strikingly prefigures key aspects of the abduction drama not revealed until Budd Hopkins’ book “Intruders” emerged in 1987 such as “hybrid baby presentations” and the idea that a genetic breeding programme was at the heart of the abduction saga. This intriguing Australian story is also detailed in my new book. Both Cynthia Appleton and Credo Mutwa’s stories have aspects that strain credibility. They assault our commonsense and one’s inclination is to perhaps dismiss them. Despite their apparent shortcomings each reveal dynamics that resonate potently with aspects of my current research. They can be perhaps viewed as uncertain grist for the mind mill. One thing is certain. I suspect that had these bizarre events been subjected to the kind of general forensic approach, particularly using DNA techniques, that I have been advocating and using, we would be much more certain of their credibility or lack of it. Unfortunately the era and environs they occurred in precluded this happening.
“Suddenly, there appeared the figure of a man ... The man was tall and fair ... and he made a sweeping lateral movement with both his hands and there appeared between his outstretched fingers what she could only describe as a television ...” This is how Birmingham housewife, Cynthia Appleton described a blonde haired “Nordic” type “spaceman” with what may have been a 3 dimensional “hologram” back in 1957.
In the month proceeding Cynthia Appleton’s first claimed experience the world was agog with Sputnik 1 and 2, Russia’s two satellites that were launched into space on October 4 and November 3. Sputnik 1 was man’s first object into space and Sputnik 2 carried Laika, the first living Earth life form (as far we know for certain) to go into space, sadly only with a one-way ticket. Around Levelland Texas, on the night of November 2, something strange, described as a UFO, was stopping cars in an extraordinary way. Given the dog Laika’s wild ride into space, maybe someone was paying attention up there. On November 6 at Dante Tennessee, 12-year-old Everett Clark claimed he saw four strangers, two men and two women, standing next to a strange craft in a nearby field, and trying to grab his dog Frisky. The people then seemed to enter the object as if they “walked right through the side, as if it were made of glass.” The object then took off straight up without a sound. Yet another attempted dog-napping allegedly took place that night, this time in Everittstown, New Jersey, when John Trasco claimed he scared off a “little man” in a green suit, who fled in flying saucer that once again took off straight up. There was by all accounts a huge flying saucer wave going on in the United States during early November. Critics put it down to various explanations, not the least being Sputnik inspired madness. Things were also hotting up in South America, literally. Two Brazilian soldiers at Itaipu, an Atlantic coast fortress were subjected to a heat assault, while a UFO hovered above them on November 4. The army garrison’s electrical system failed during the terrifying encounter. Just over a fortnight earlier Antonio Villas-Boas had his exotic alien encounter in Brazil. My own country of Australian had also been experiencing a UFO wave from late September to early November. A radar visual event in Tasmania, a UFO sighting by the wartime Chief of Air Staff, a striking aerial disc sighting over Maralinga (site of British nuclear weapon tests), and a sighting by government astronomers at Mount Stromlo were the highlights of the Australian wave. It was clear that from diverse parts of the world UFOs were abroad.
The earliest account of Cynthia Appleton’s claimed experiences, beyond media stories comes from the British magazine Flying Saucer Review (FSR) which carried an article, “Birmingham Woman meets Spacemen” in its March-April 1958 edition. This was largely a report sent to the then FSR editor Brinsley Le Poer Trench by the Rev. William Cartmel, Rector of Aldridge, Staffordshire. Cartmel had also personally interviewed the lady. Le Poer Trench added information he had also gleaned from Mrs. Appleton.
I have quoted from this early article to retain the flavour of the period account and interspersed it with information from a number of sources, in particular from British researcher and writer Jenny Randles. She had the good fortune to meet psychologist Dr. John Dale who some 30 years earlier had undertaken extensive interviews with Cynthia Appleton, when he was with civilian UFO groups such as the Direct Investigation Group into Aerial Phenomena and the Manchester Flying Saucer Research Society. When Jenny Randles met with him in the late 1980s he was a successful clinical psychologist in Cheshire, specializing in the treatment of neuroses. He kindly made his research notes available to Jenny Randles who in turn made much of it available through some publications and personal communications.
The 1958 FSR article begins, ‘Twice in six weeks 27-Year-old Mrs. Cynthia Appleton, of Fentham Road, Aston, Birmingham, England, claims to have been visited by men from another planet. Mrs. Appleton has two small children, Susan, aged three, and Janet, aged one. Her husband is a sheet-metal worker. Mrs. Appleton has been interviewed since the contacts by newspaper reporters and many individuals. Among those who have been to see her are the Rev. William Cartmel, Rector of Aldridge, Staffs., the Rev. G. E. Tiley, of Powick, Worcs., Mr. Gavin Gibbons, the saucer author, and the editor of this magazine. All have been struck by her sincerity and intelligence.
Jenny Randles points out the story seems to have really begun on November 16, 1957, in the town of Aston, now a part of the suburban sprawl of Birmingham, England’s largest city after London. That afternoon Cynthia “blacked out” for no obvious reason. Rationalising it at first to motherhood stress and exhaustion she disregarded it. Later she was told it was a “failed attempt at contact”.
‘The first contact occurred on Monday, I8 November. Her story is as follows: ‘After lunch she had put Susan to bed upstairs. Baby Janet was in the pram in the front room downstairs. It was about 3 p.m. Thinking that she heard a cry she went into this room to see that all was well with Janet. It was, but she was suddenly conscious of a very real feeling of oppressiveness in the air. She described it to being similar to that experienced just before thunder. She looked out of the window to see what was the matter. She was standing near the door and facing the window within touching distance of the pram.
According to Dr. Dale’s investigation notes, supplied to Jenny Randles, outside a “rosy-colored darkness” manifested, but this did not seem to penetrate into the room where Mrs. Appleton was.
‘Suddenly, there appeared the figure of a man standing on her left by the fireplace. She said he appeared ‘Just like a TV picture on the screen, a blurred image and then suddenly everything is clear”. She was, of course, very frightened. At the same time she was conscious that he was calming her by some influence, which he exerted upon her mind. She then felt quite calm and collected.
‘Mrs. Appleton noticed too, at the moment of his appearance, a “whistle” exactly like the old wireless sets used to make when tuning in to a station. The man was tall and fair. He was wearing a tight-fitting garment in colour like a silvery plastic mackintosh. The sleeves reached to his wrist. The collar part of his garment rose up behind his head like an Elizabethan collar.
Jenny Randles indicates that as the man appeared the outside light conditions returned to normal. Dale’s notes revealed the being was tall, with features described as “elongated and angular”, a fair complexion and extremely blonde hair, and wearing a metallic grey one-piece suit with a “bowl” over the head, which was not present on subsequent visits.
‘The man’s lips were moving as if in speech but she heard no audible words. He seemed to be able to read her mind and although she used no speech her questions were read and answered mentally.
Dale’s notes reveal the man’s first words delivered in a flat monotone. “Do not be afraid.” Mrs. Appleton seemed to think the strange had somehow assumed control of her like under a form of hypnosis.
‘On the floor there was some newspaper and the man was standing on this. After he left she noticed that it appeared to be scorched. (Subsequently this newspaper was removed by a reporter from the Birmingham Evening Gazette.)
‘In reply to her unspoken query “Where do you come from?” he answered “From another world”. He did not state which one.
‘“Like yours,” he continued, “it is governed by the sun. We have to visit your world to obtain something of which we are running short. It is at the bottom of the sea.”
‘Mrs. Appleton said later that she was conscious of a word at the back of her mind, something like “titium”. When her husband returned that night she asked him what “titium” was. He knew at once what she meant and said “you mean titanium”. He, being a metal worker, was familiar with the word.
‘The space visitor had gone on to say, “you are stripping bark from the wrong tree to line the wrong boat”. She remembered his exact words. “You are concentrating on the wrong power. You are trying to go up (i.e. against the force of gravity). We go like this,” and he made a sweeping lateral movement with both his hands and there appeared between his outstretched fingers what she could only describe as a television screen.
‘On the screen she could clearly see a space ship. It was circular with the top half like a transparent dome. Within this ship she could see several figures looking at her. Her visitor told her that we on Earth called this large ship the Mother Ship, whereas they called it the “Master Craft”. There were two of the ships on the screen and several smaller craft were attached to the underpart of the Master Craft.
As Jenny Randles has pointed out this description could be seen as an attempt to describe a mid air three-dimensional holographic image, but in 1957 to the average British person TV was a new concept and holograms were unknown. Dale’s notes indicate the pictures were of two “spaceships” on pedestals. ‘They were something I have never in my life seen before,” Appleton said. Her sketch depicted a dome on top of a rotating ring or rim and three hemispherical bumps on the underside. Such details usually make the modern UFO researcher very wary as they recall the “scout craft” descriptions of notorious flying saucer “contactee” George Adamski. However, descriptions with such elements have continued to be made intermittently even up to recent years. In the fifties Adamski’s descriptions were widely known. Mrs. Appleton professed a lack of awareness of such things.
‘He said they never fought but lived in peace and harmony. He also told her they would return again in January, but he gave neither the place nor the exact date of his return. When asked in what manner the visitor left, she could only say “that suddenly he wasn’t there any more”.
‘She was frightened and returning to the back sitting-room wept for half-an-hour. After this first contact she had a remarkably increased sense of awareness of other people never before experienced. Baby Janet, whose birthday was on the day before, had then one tooth. By the end of the week she had six. Was it anything to do with her visitor?
This is a rather intriguing detail. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the extraordinary 1972 story of 73-year-old Argentine Ventura Maceiras who experienced an array of physical effects in the wake of a close encounter with a UFO including enhanced IQ and new teeth!
In the wake of the experience Cynthia Appleton told some people about it, but she had not particular desire to have publicity. However the local paper heard about the claim and published a story.
‘The second contact took place on Tuesday, 7 January. However, on the evening before, she had been sitting on a low pouffe in front of the fire, when she suddenly had a complete blackout, becoming quite unconscious and falling forward- fortunately not on to the fire. Her husband was with her in the room so no harm came to her. On recovering consciousness after a few moments she felt dazed and bewildered. She had never had a similar black-out before and was not in the habit of fainting. The possible significance of this event may be clear as this report proceeds.
‘The next day at about 2.15 p.m. (at 2.08 pm according to Jenny Randles’ account from Dale’s notes) she was in the back sitting-room. She had just put Susan and Janet to sleep. It is a small room about 12 ft. square. She was sitting on the pouffe with her back resting against the wall. She became aware of a sound similar to a “whistle”. As on the fIrst occasion it reminded her of the whistle made by an old wireless set when tuning-in.
‘Suddenly, there appeared in front of her not one but two figures. They were standing in front of a wall upon which a picture hung. The taller of the two was standing slightly in front of his companion who was to his left and slightly to his rear. They appeared in exactly the same manner as her visitor had done on the previous occasion-a blurred image and then suddenly everything came into sharp focus. She recognised the one standing to the rear as the person who had appeared to her last November. She explained how difficult it was to describe their similarity of features. Europeans find it difficult to distinguish between men of the coloured races in exactly the same way. They were both tall and slim. It was possible to judge this by the picture on the wall and they must have been six feet or more in height. They were dressed alike in close-fitting garments. The collars were low cut and circular, rising up behind the neck into an Elizabethan collar or ruff. They seemed as solid as any human being. Mrs. Appleton said, “You could not see through them although the light from the window was behind them”. They were not phantoms. The hair of her first visitor was cut page-boy fashion. The hair of the new visitor was shorter and curled over the ears.
‘You will recall that on the previous occasion Mrs. Appleton heard no audible speech but was conscious only of telepathic communication. To her surprise on this occasion they both addressed her in English. She said they spoke English as a foreigner would speak it, with careful articulation and a clipped manner.
‘Her first visitor introduced the other who was apparently the more senior. The latter then conducted the whole of the remainder of the conversation.
‘Mrs. Appleton was first informed that her black-out of the previous evening was entirely due to their action in preparing to make contact with her again. He did not explain why this was so. He mainly questioned her about the results of her previous encounter and asked whom she had told about it.
‘This time he told her that they came from Ghanus Valn (pronounced gutturally as if German) and that this country was on Venus.
According to Jenny Randles’ account from Dale’s notes it was during the first encounter on November 19 that the visitor indicated his world was called Gharnasvarn, which we apparently knew as Venus. Then he revealed the “holographic TV” imaging. This linkage to Venus makes the account seem rather unbelievable, particularly given George Adamski’s dubious claims.
‘Why did they appear to her and not to other people? Because she was one of the few who were capable of receiving such communications. Other people’s brains were not as suitable as hers to make such contacts possible. Men were so stupid and primitive that they did not even believe in another world. The human brain was in itself a radio set capable of transmission and reception. Men did not really need mechanised sets to make such contacts possible.
‘Mrs. Appleton asked if it was possible for her to touch him. He said that to do so would be very dangerous to her bodily health. What she was seeing, he said, was a projection of himself and his companion. (At this point I made the following comment in the original account: This would seem to show the possible presence of radioactivity or gamma rays. Note too, the scorched paper in the first contact and the child’s teeth. -Ed.)
‘She asked him why they did not seek wider contacts with the human race. He replied that such an immediate action might produce panic. Who could foretell the results of such contact in a world so divided as ours. She asked if it was possible for her husband to see them. “No,” was the reply, “his brain is not capable at present to receive such a transmission.” He was pleased, though, to contact her and expressed thanks for her co-operation.
Dale’s notes indicated they were delighted she had told others of her tale and were particularly impressed that “some have believed you.”
‘He then gave her some very startling information. The “bearers of the Hammer and Sickle” (obviously the Russians) were on the point of perfecting a ray gun. This could disintegrate matter without firing any shell such as is fired by ordinary artillery. He told her that in the near future there would be much bloodshed and suffering. He comforted her with the words “do not be afraid, little one”.
From Dale’s notes Jenny Randles elaborated the men indicated they were in touch with some scientists and revealed that a “ray gun” was being developed and news would emerge “very soon.” This comment particularly impressed Dale as he felt that the media announcements of the first practical lasers that emerged soon after Mrs. Appleton told him about the “ray gun” were related and that the aliens had assisted in its discovery.
He also informed her that they would pay her no further visits. This it was understood was because of the effect on her health.
‘The manner of their departure was similar to that before. The junior, after bowing to her, disappeared first. He just faded away like a TV picture does when one turns off the set. The senior placed both his hands over his breasts, bowed and left her in the same manner.
Dale’s notes, according to Jenny Randles’ account, indicate the new visitor left first revealing that he could not “manifest” any longer. The first man, remained a few more minutes, added that something in the atmosphere prevented this form of materialization visit for long periods.
‘Mrs. Appleton, on being questioned, said she did not feel frightened as on the first visit. After all, she was expecting a second visit, in accordance with the promise given in November. What were the after effects? She felt very heavy headed just as if she was recovering from a splitting headache. There was no sense of fear or distress.
‘In answer to a question from the editor of this magazine, as to whether there was any noticeable smell on either occasion, she said there was a faint sort of smell like sulphur. The kind of smell after an electrical discharge.
‘Mrs. Appleton’s health had not been too good after the first contact. She was informed that it would now improve and it is understood that this has indeed occurred.
“After these visits Dale questioned Mrs. Appleton carefully about how real they had been. She replied that, although there was a TV-image quality about the visitors, “The man did not seem like a vision or anything, because there was a three-dimensional depth and you could not see through him. He did actually seem to be here. During the visits the room got noticeably warmer and afterwards Mrs. Appleton felt an itching of her skin and a buzzing in her eardrums. She could also smell a pungent odour that she likened to sulfur. Indeed, on the first visit the entity had stood on a discarded sheet of newspaper and later this was found to be scorched in a small irregular patch. The local paper photographed it and took it away, but it appears to have been lost after that and no analysis was ever carried out, sad to say. Of course it is probably true that a scorch would be just a scorch,” Jenny suggests.
‘What conclusions can be come to about these two alleged contacts?
‘It can be stated once more that both Mr. and Mrs. Appleton are very sincere people.
They struck those who interviewed them as truthful people.
‘There are no witnesses to either of the contacts. Her husband believes in her explicitly.
‘Most of those who have had anything to do with the case agree that it is not psychic experience in the ordinary sense of the word.
‘It was not an actual physical contact either. The visitors were probably not actually present in the house. What was it then?
Possibly, as Mrs. Appleton maintains, a projection of themselves. On this planet we have only recently begun to use television. Possibly, an advanced race in space has gone far ahead in developments of this kind and can project pictures anywhere.
‘Mrs. Appleton stated that she had not previously been interested in flying saucers and had not read any books or literature upon the subject.
‘If that is so, and there is no reason to doubt her word, then researchers of flying saucers will note a certain pattern in these two contacts that is common to many other contacts and sighting reports.”
Following the initial flurry of media attention, the Rev. G.E. Tiley, vicar of Powick, near Worcester, visited Mrs. Appleton out of curiosity. He concluded she was very intelligent and trustworthy. The Reverend said, “I believe her story from beginning to end,” just as Rev. Cartmel did. At this point the Cynthia Appleton saga had a brief break from public attention. At his January 12 1958 morning sermon Rev. Tiley addressed his flock:
“If you take the trouble, as I have, to study very deeply, you cannot possibly, if you have an honest, open, sincere mind, review the mass of evidence from all over the world that men other than ourselves exist and refute that evidence.
“I believe they do exist, for what it is worth, and their visits to this earth are like another star of Bethlehem.”
Rev. Tiley explained that he had gone to talk with Mrs. Appleton and that “a higher hand that mine led me there.” I don’t know if the Rev. Tiley was being divinely prophetic with his reference to “another star of Bethlehem”. We have all been told or read of what happened with the original star of Bethlehem. Perhaps the Reverend inadvertently caste a spotlight on what was going to be the startling conclusion to the Cynthia Appleton contact saga.
However, before that development, the next phase of Cynthia Appleton’s alleged contact experiences were closely documented by John Dale, as later revealed by Jenny Randles. Mrs. Appleton had been told she would be having no further visits, but one month to the day - February 7 1958 - she opened the front door in response to it ringing. There stood a man in a navy blue homburg hat and a dark fawn overcoat. He said, “I have been here before.” Baffled she allowed the strange man in. As he took his hat off long blonde hair tumbled out revealing the stranger to be her “spaceman”.
“He looked about my age,” Mrs. Appleton recalled. When the visitor removed his overcoat and shirt, she could see the metallic suit on underneath.
The man spoke in an odd archaic style of English. For example: ‘‘Vessels of the air are affected by the pull of the moon. It can help us well or stop our vessels from leaving the ground. Scientists do not understand the moon.”
His visit this time would turn out to be the longest, some two hours, and he needed help. The man said, “I come here in my physical form this time,” apparently because he had burned his hand. To help him he told her she must scald his hand. She brought out a bowl of boiling water and after it cool for a few minutes the visitor immersed one hand into it, with no indication of pain. After a few seconds the alien removed his hand indicating the earth had bacteria and in order to survive he would need an injection.
The man took an object from his suit. It resembled a pencil flashlight. He placed a capsule inside it and screwed it shut. Mrs. Appleton said she helped the man with this activity touching his suit a number of times. She said later, ‘‘It was extremely slimy, really horrible to touch. I never experienced anything like it. It seemed elastic.” The man then placed the flashlight on his arm, with Mrs. Appleton helping. There was a momentary flash of white light. Reversing the process he removed the capsule from the device and threw it onto the open fire grate, where it appeared to burn away completely with a bluish-white flame. The visitor warned Mrs. Appleton not to try to touch any burnt remains as they could harm her. From his suit he removed a tube and spread a jelly over the burned area. A hardened “protective” skin formed over the spot almost straight away. With first aid apparently out of the way the visitor began talking in earnest.
This activity was witnessed. Mrs. Appleton’s 4-year-old daughter Susan was present in the room and saw the man. She told “The People” journalist Patrick Kent, “Yes, I remember Mummy bathing the hand of a man with funny long hair and a fur collar.” The man said he would teach her many lessons, adding, “If you wish, you may be a disciple.” She clarified to Dale later that this really only meant that she was a “messenger to carry the word,” qualifying herself with the remark, “I am no better nor worse than anyone else. I am not trying to give myself some sort of superiority. I only tell you the truth as he gave it to me.”
Accepting his suggestion, the visitor proceeded to give her a long lecture about the nature of life, which Mrs. Appleton summed up. “We are all made of the same thing. When we are dissected to the tiniest detail we find that there is a resemblance of some sort and that we are made of these tiny particles. He then spoke of how there is a ‘flow of life’ in all things.” Life seemed to be the visitor’s main focus, “Life is the most important thing. We must not destroy it. Unless we know that the other man feels we cannot begin to know what his idea of life is. That’s what he told me.” Other matters she recollected from his first lesson included the concept “time is a cycle,” and even some references to modern dancing! The visitor promised 5 more visits, the same day of each month like some form of cosmic religious prophecy conversion.
This time the visitor’s departure was no vanishing act. A chauffeured black limousine arrived shades of Men in Black! The driver appeared to have dark, olive skin - “a man of your flesh but a different species,” the visitor informed her. He also explained how he got his burn, allegedly from touching the hot, unfamiliar (earth vehicle) car exhaust!
The story takes a turn that rattles the scientist in me. Clearing up the room after her strange visitor’s departure, Mrs. Appleton found a small piece of dead skin at the bottom of the bowl! John Dale arrived soon after this third bizarre visit and was given part of the alien flesh sample for analysis. Unfortunately Dale did not photograph the piece, explaining it was pretty small. To him it looked pink and translucent like human skin. However he did take it an acquaintance a Manchester University biologist with access to an electron microscope. As a confidential favour the biologist looked at the unusual sample, advising Dale that it was apparently conclusively not human skin, but almost certainly animal skin of some sort, possibly from a pig. According to Dale’s notes the advice he got was there was nothing in the sample that suggested an extraterrestrial origin. Unfortunately the whereabouts of that piece remain unclear, although John Dale was under the impression it was consumed in the biologist’s testing.
Journalist Patrick Kent of The People newspaper saw a small part of that skin sample in May 1959. He indicated that Mrs. Appleton described the original skin sample as being “as big as the sole of a woman’s shoe. She showed it to her husband when he came home (on February 7 1958 B.C.). I saw a small piece of it at the Appleton’s home. There is only a bit left now because Mrs. Appleton sent a piece away to Birmingham University for examination (possibly the sample John Dale received B.C). They found after three weeks that the skin could not be identified in any way because it was too small. Societies connected with interplanetary travel took bits, too. And now Mrs. Appleton has just one tiny corner left.”
Given today’s DNA technology even a small piece of possible skin might be enough to contribute to a more concrete resolution of this admittedly unbelievable saga. Given the suggestion that Cynthia Appleton still had a small piece in May 1959 and societies “connected with interplanetary travel” (flying saucers or astronomical perhaps?) may have some. We would certainly like to examine any such piece, but obviously we would want to try to establish the bona fides of such evidence, before proceeding.
Whatever or whoever Mrs. Appleton’s visitor was, a precise appointment keeper he was not. But there was an excuse. With his last visit on February 7 1958 the man promised 5 more visits, the same day of each month, but he turned up just four days later (February 11) in his “TV screen” style, indicating that some earth bacteria had entered his system through the burn on his hand and he was too ill to keep the appointments. “He did look greener than usual,” Mrs. Appleton added with probably unintentional humour. Perhaps this was just “TV” projection reception difficulties? In a further confusing piece of information the visitor indicated he was stationed in Edinburgh, Scotland (about 300 miles north of Birmingham), but that he took off from Surrey (near London and about 100 miles south of the Appleton home). The man indicated he would return in three months.
His next visit was much later, in fact 6 months later. Once more, late in the afternoon of August 18 1958, while Mrs. Appleton was bringing in her washing, the visitor simply walked into the open door. Apparently by way responding to her enquiry as to why he had taken so long to return, the visitor obscurely replied, “What is time? Time is nothing. Time is nonexistent. Time is only the passing from one day to another. The beginning of a blossom. It is blooming and then it is the fading of the blossom. This is the only reason why time is known.”
Evidentially obsessed with cosmic koans, when Mrs. Appleton told the visitor that a number of flying saucer investigator had come to see her, mentioning John Dale and his desire to meet him, the being gave her an object indicating it was a message that would mean nothing to her, but would to a saucer researcher. To Mrs. Appleton it was just a small piece of metal foil with marks or symbols on it.
Further cosmic insights followed. Jenny Randles described the following excerpts from Dale’s notes on Cynthia Appleton’s account of the visitor’s words: “There are three particles in the nucleus, but your scientists believe it is one. Three small ones are pressed together. The energy around these is life’s energy for making a nucleus into an atom. The nucleus of all things is the same. Only the energy around them makes them different.”
One of my scientific associates who is better acquainted with physics than I am, highlighted to me “that until 1965 physicists regarded the proton only as a single entity. Then in 1965 Murray Gell-Mann proposed, solely on symmetry considerations, that the proton (and other baryons) might be composed of three different hypothetical particles known as “quarks”. Later experimental work in the 70s by high-energy scattering confirmed his proposal.” While the picture is rather more complex and other speculations were circulating it is curious that Cynthia Appleton’s alleged visitor was passing on information in 1957 that in a somewhat diluted fashion might have anticipated speculations in mainstream physics.
Jenny Randles account continues:
‘She was told that man is the only creature capable of understanding how to control the atom, but that this control will not come by dispersing the atom. It will be by using it for its true sense - similar as time can do to the planting of a cabbage and then its growth. It is only a matter of being able to control the atom. Then you shall be able to do what you know God does.”
‘But back to the recurrent theme, “the nucleus can be controlled by the mind.” This, she was told right at the end, is the secret of curing cancer.
“It is just that part that is being used most at a particular time which is affected. Each organ of the body is on a different frequency and this is altered by a shock of some kind ... like going upstairs, finding there is no other step and causing a fall.”
Supposedly the physical energy is then “changed by the shock, and the organ at that instant which is most in use is most vulnerable. The atom then becomes altered, because the atmosphere around the nucleus at the time is changed - so the energy left over takes up other living cells that are on the same frequency, but with less energy. Eventually the whole organ is consumed.”
Randles remarks, ‘It might be mumbo jumbo, although some of it makes a vague sort of sense given our knowledge of atomic physics 30 years later. But what of the cure? “Living minds are capable of overthrowing this energy, provided they have got the same frequency in the mind at the same time. This destroys the evil energy but does not destroy the cells.”’
Readers would be entitled to be under whelmed by all this cosmic banter as I am. Mrs. Appleton qualified her attempts to relay this information. She said, “I am sorry I cannot describe it better. I know what I am trying to say. But I cannot put it into words. But they made clear that it was not the same as psychic healing. They told me that there are earth people doing that but they are going about it the wrong way. They are using ‘the other side’ as their source... They shouldn’t do that. They should use us!”
Cynthia Appleton placed the foil message in an envelope and put it in a safe place pending John Dale’s next visit. It couldn’t be found then but she did recollect the symbols and drew them for Dale. He recognised one of them immediately as a letter that notorious flying saucer contactee received from his “Venusian” visitors. For most that revelation would have been the kiss of death for Cynthia Appleton’s credibility. There seemed to be too many suggestive correlations with the dubious tales of Adamski. However for Dale he was satisfied that Mrs. Appleton was not familiar with Adamski’s “Venusian” symbols, or in fact any of the other Adamski-Iike features of her accounts. None of this information appears to have made Dale think Cynthia Appleton’s story was a hoax. Jenny Randles believes Dale’s take is that Cynthia Appleton had a genuine “visionary” experience, but that he remained unconvinced of its physical reality, probably because the apparently prosaic results of the electron microscopy of the ‘alien’ skin sample. John Dale would loose touch with Mrs. Appleton after another year passed.
The media however rediscovered the story and it had an extraordinary new dimension one that powerfully resonates with a hidden Australia tale I will shortly revealed. That connection is probably one of the few reasons why I have dwelt on the Appleton affair. Considering what follows, I also wonder if it was more than coincidence that John Wyndam’s classic science fiction novel “The Midwich Cuckoos” first appeared in 1957, the year that Cynthia Appleton’s alien story began. Wyndam’s book told the story of how the entire child bearing female population of the English village of Midwich overnight was seeded by a mysterious alien force, which put the entire population to sleep. From this event strange “unearthly” children are born, all with fair hair, golden eyes and a monstrous group mind mediated by a strong survival instinct. In 1960 a film based on the book appeared “The Village of the Damned”, “in which sex has nothing to do with reproduction anymore, rather as in real life. British women are impregnated by a force from outer space and subsequently give birth to blond, blue-eyed children with monstrous powers of psychic control. The film ... earned $5 million in theatrical rentals, indicating a resonance between its outlandish story and a theme already in the public mind namely, the creeping sense that women’s reproductive functions could be hijacked by futuristic male science,” writes David Skal in his cultural history of horror, “The Monster Show”. What Skal was referring to was the FDA approval of the female birth control pill in May 1960.
We can’t be certain if “The Midwich Cuckoos” had a hand in Cynthia Appleton’s story, but we know that her endgame was played out by June 1959, before the 1960 film based on the Wyndam book caught theatre audiences in it’s baying alien stare.
It seems that during 1958 Cynthia Appleton had some 7 visits from her alien acquaintances. Apart from the January 7 and February 11 “projection” visitations, these occasions had her visitor turning up by car dressed in black business suits, occasionally accompanied by his associate from the January episode.
The final visit appears to have been about the middle of September 1958, when the visitor turned up at Cynthia’s back door in suit attire, while she was doing the washing. He apparently raised his black homburg hat and informed her that she was “in the state of being with child.” They talked for 20 minutes during which he said the child would be a boy, he would weigh 7lb. 3 oz., he would have fair hair, that he would be a leader of men at 14, he would be born late in May 1959, and that he must be called Matthew! Predicting sex and weight has always been a bit uncertain in pregnancies. In those days there were none of the predictive tools available today.
Cynthia didn’t think she was pregnant, but promptly visited a doctor, who confirmed she was. Conception would have only been a few days before. Unfortunately John Dale’s notes only make a brief reference to the news of the pregnancy. His last visit with Cynthia Appleton was soon after the September 1958 encounter and he curiously never appeared to have followed up this exotic development. Before Jenny Randles could follow up this aspect with Dr. Dale more than three decades later he had a heart attack which he sadly never recovered from.
The prediction of the baby’s details was reported by journalist Patrick Kent in a deprecating piece in “The People” edition of May 5 1959. It also “quoted” Cynthia, “I’m going to have the world’s first space child... Of course, my husband is the baby’s father but really the child will belong to a race who live on the planet Venus.” Jenny Randles told me that John Dale noted, that according to Cynthia Appleton, the visitors “always spoke of Gharnasvarn, not Venus, but the fact that Venus was our name for their world was suggested to be correct. I assumed that media sources used the term Venus simply because it meant more to your average tabloid reader.” The reporter indicated Mrs. Appleton told him she was “extremely sensitive”. To him she seemed “natural and sincere”, even volunteering “she was released from the Women’s Royal Army Corps when she was 21 after a nervous breakdown.” Kent felt, “Today Mrs. Appleton (29) seems fine and well. She has a loving husband and a happy family.” Her husband reflected, “Cynthia is the best wife any man could have and of course I believe her completely. I’m only sorry I haven’t been around to meet our friend, too. I’m not worried about being the father of a child inspired by a man from space.”
Following the birth the baby’s fair hair and blue eyes are hardly surprising. Cynthia Appleton had blonde hair and blue eyes. More striking was the fact that it was a boy who weighed in just one ounce over the prediction, and was born on June 1, instead of the predicted late May. Predictably he was named Matthew. Mrs. Appleton’s two previous children, both girls weighed less than 6 lb. at birth and were premature, unlike Matthew. At two weeks of age, Cynthia was describing the boy as having “the delicate features of his spiritual race.” Husband Ron indicated, “Since Matthew was born (the visitor) sent a telepathic message to Cynthia saying he was bringing along a mate from Uranus.” It is not clear whether, like their use of the term Venus rather than Gharnasvarn, if this reference to Uranus was another factual liberty, invention, or a weak attempt at coarse humour. Another prediction was also mentioned “a major collision in outer space soon.” That one like the visitor’s promise of returning never seemed to happen. A follow-up newspaper story when Matthew Appleton was 13-month-old, reported his proud mother saying, “I am puzzled. Perhaps there’s nothing special about him after all. I don’t know what to believe.... (The visitor) used to pop in quite regularly every seven to eight weeks. When he left, after forecasting Matthew’s birth he said he would be looking in again soon. But he never returned. I just can’t make it out.”
After a few years the family seemed to slip off the media radar and researchers have had no luck trying to track down any members of the family. No one seems to have detected a 14-year-old Matthew Appleton in 1973 standing out as a potential leader of men. Like all these sorts of claims of alien contact and prophecy the saga ends inconclusively, wallowing often in a swamp of at best dubious credibility.
Maybe Cynthia Appleton from Birmingham left that English city with an alien baby legacy in more ways that one. Jenny Randles gives us the story “Corrine” who as a young child in the 1970s in the Birmingham told of a “child-sized” little man with a white face and “coal black eyes” and recurring “alien dreams”. By 18 she was having “horrible dreams” that the aliens had made her give birth to “a super-intelligent baby”, which “had wrinkled skin, thin hair and ugly features.” The aliens told her “it was a ‘hybrid’ of human and alien DNA and she had to look after it.” Corrine felt her later teenage “dreams” were just ‘Frankenstein’ nightmares, but she was not so certain about the ‘aliens’ themselves.
Was there a cosmic inspired Bethlehem visited upon an ordinary English housewife in an ordinary Birmingham suburb? Was this just a most exotic cover story for some fling? Or was it some suburban housewife’s fantasy or over-stressed burn-out response inspired by a mix of flying saucer tales, Sputnik madness and Midwich Cuckoos. We may never know for sure, but if credible connected evidence such as a piece of alien skin ever surfaced again then maybe we could have a crack at where the answer really lay.
- “The Space Baby” by Andy Roberts, Fortean Times, FT191, November 2004, pgs 32-38.
- See “The Humanoids” (1969) edited by Charles Bowen and “The 1957 Saucer Wave in the United States” by Alexander Mebane, in “Flying Saucers and the Straight-Line Mystery” (1958) by Aime Michel.
- See “Flying Saucers the Startling Evidence of the invasion from outer space” (1966) by Coral Lorenzen and entries in Jerome Clark’s UFO Encyclopedia (1998).
- See my book “The OZ Files the Australian UFO Story” (1996), pgs. 85-87.
- “Birmingham Woman meets Spacemen”, FSR, March-April 1958 pgs. 5-6, quoted with the permission of the late Gordon Creighton (editor of FSR (1982-2003)); see also “Operation Earth” (1969) by Brinsley Le Poer Trench, pgs.40-46. Gordon Creighton interviewed the Appletons in about 1962. He found no books in the house, just newspapers, in terms of reading material. By then Mr. Appleton was puzzled but not “over-interested” (see “The Humanoids” (1969) edited by Charles Bowen, pg. 18. Gordon Creighton told me that FSR had lost trace of the family long ago. He added, “Not one of us perceived in those days that the important object of our study ought to be not her (Mrs. Appleton) but those two children!” (Personal communication, 20 April 2001)
- “A Visitor from Gharnasvarn” by Jenny Randles, International UFO Reporter (IUR), July/August 1988, pg. 4-8; “Investigating the truth behind MIB the men in black phenomenon” (1997) by Jenny Randles, pgs.61-66.
- See “Rejuvenation follows close encounter with UFO” by Pedro Romaniuk, FSR, Vol. 19, No. 4, July-August 1973, pgs. 10-13, 14; “The Extraordinary case of rejuvenation” by Pedro Romaniuk, FSR, Vol. 19, No.5, September-October 1973, pgs. 14-15.
- The convoluted story of the discovery and practical evolution of the laser is described in “Laser the inventor, the Nobel laureate, and the thirty-year patent war” (2000) by Nick Taylor. Needless to say aliens don’t feature in the story, but November 1957 was a key period in the formative conception work on lasers. “Birmingham Woman meets Spacemen”, FSR, March-April 1958 pgs. 5-6, quoted with the permission of the late Gordon Creighton (editor of FSR (1982-2003))
- “Men from Space A Vicar’s belief”, January 13 1958, Birmingham Evening Dispatch, courtesy of Andy Roberts.
- “The People”, 10 May 1959
- Anyone with evidence relevant to this case, such as a piece of the “skin”, or any biological evidence related to cases like this, and the others you have come across in this book, are encourage to contact the author c/- APEG, P.O. Box 42, West Pennant Hills, NSW, 2125, Australia.
- “The Midwich Cuckoos” by John Wyndam (1957) appeared as the book “Village of the Damned” in the United States in 1960.
- Perhaps a minor point but while blue eyed might resonate with the idea of the Nordic alien descriptions that exist amongst contactee and abductee claims, in the case of the black and white 1960 film adaptation of Wyndham’s novel, eye colour was never mentioned, with only a reference to “strange eyes”.
- “The Monster Show” by David Skal (2001), pgs. 288-289.
- 7 pound and 3 ounces.
- Unfortunately we only have media reports for this effort in alien prophecy. “The People” newspaper reported the elements of the expected birth of a boy weighing 7 lb. 3 oz., that he would be a leader of men at 14 and that he must be called Matthew, in its May 10 1959 edition. In its June 14 1959 edition “The People” added the elements of the baby having fair hair and arriving late in May, The latter two elements were claimed retrospectively at the baby was born on June 1 1959. The “Empire News” newspaper reporting on July 7 1960, when the child was 13-month-old, added to the “prophecy” elements retrospectively (it seems) that the alien had predicted the baby would be “a fair haired blued boy”, that he would be born on May 31, would weigh 7 lbs. 3 oz., and that by the time he was 14 he would “show signs of being a great leader among men.” Is this uncertain prophecy mediated by media inaccuracies or manipulation, variable recollections from the Appletons or incomplete knowledge of the extent of media coverage? At this stage it terms of media coverage prior to the birth of the child we can only be certain of the elements of it being predicted as a boy and weighing 7lbs. 3 oz., courtesy of “The People” 10 May story, 3 weeks before the birth.
- Personal communication from Jenny Randles, December, 2003.
- Personal communication from Jenny Randles, December, 2003.
- “The People”, 10 May 1959.
- “The People”, 14 June 1959.
- “Empire News” 17 July 1960.
- See “The Complete Book of Aliens & Abductions” by Jenny Randles (1999) pg. 91.
Source: The Australasian Ufologist Magazine Vol.9 No.1 Pgs 38-41
The Australasian Ufologist Magazine Vol.9 No.2 Pgs 38-41