Project Blue Book TV show – watched, reviled, reviewed and what is a lost opportunity for exciting television.

Project Bluebook

Project Blue Book is a new TV series by Robert Zemeckis that was premiered on the History channel on 8 January 2019, and later released via the Sci-Fi channel in the UK on 27 March 2019. The show is allegedly based on true events, and it’s been hilariously described by Wikipedia as a historical drama – both claims are inaccurate.

According to IMBD, the actual storyline is presented as follows

In this conspiratorial Sci-Fi thriller set some time after WWII and loosely based on the US government’s real life Project Blue Book, Captain Michael Quinn and Dr. Allen Hynek are tasked by the US Air Force to investigate reports of UFOs and debunk them, or at least come up with rational explanations for them. While Quinn, a smooth and tough military type, doesn’t care about anything other than doing the job he was given, at first, the more skeptical Hynek quickly becomes convinced that some kind of deadly conspiracy is afoot. Meanwhile, as Cold War paranoia spreads among the population, a charismatic blonde with an agenda of her own befriends Hynek’s lonely wife.

One of the associated pieces of trivia provided by IDBM is this

This series represents the second TV series titled “Project Blue Book”. Jack Webb created the original show and his company produced it. Also called “Project U.F.O.” the show aired on NBC from 1978-1979.

So what the viewer is really watching is TV a show that is based on a 1970s TV show that is very loosely based on the real Project Blue Book files. In fact, what the viewer appears to be watching is a combination of Project UFO, Dark Skies and the X-Files. This then means that the viewer is getting a high dose of unoriginal and uninspiring plotlines instead of a tense thriller that is based on the investigative work of astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek. Hynek was hired as a scientific advisor by the US Air Force’s to assist staff working on Project Blue Book. On that point I would like to recommend two classic texts on the subject that were authored by Hynek himself.

The UFO Experience: A Scientific Enquiry, 1974 free pdf download courtesy of the Center for UFO Studies

The Hynek UFO Report, 1977 free pdf download courtesy of the Center for UFO Studies

The books themselves enlighten the reader with the shocking revelation that the UFO subject was dismissed by US Air Force officials as a problem than an interesting challenge or means for genuine enquiry. Reported sightings were expected to be met with plausible simple solutions, dealt with on a case by case basis. These solutions were rarely based on objective scientific research but what was convenient to say.

Actual solutions can only be provided if one has access to two things – resources and data, and the US Air Force provided Blue Book staff with inadequate levels of both. In fact, there was no study of flying saucers, as UFOs were termed then, and what the authorities demanded was an end to the aerial nonsense! To their dismay the subject never went away, no matter how many cases were reported annually to the Air Force – many of the explanations offered just did not seem to make any sense to Hynek when he joined the project’s precursor Project Sign in 1948.

All in all, the US Air Force handled the subject very badly, from its ridiculing attitude based on The Estimate of the Solution provided by Project Sign in 1948, to poor PR, and to the treatment of UFO observers. In a paranoid era of anti-communism, and the rise of the Soviet Union as a super power, flying saucers were low on the Air Force’s list of priorities (the CIA, on the other hand, saw the value this subject offered them).

“The powers that be are anti-flying saucer and to stay in favour, it behooves one to follow suit.” Air Force officer quoted by Captain E.J. Ruppelt, first Director of Project Blue Book, in The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (free download).

When Hynek arrived he wanted to apply scientific methodology to the multitude of rejected UFO files – no data was being examined by the authorities. He submitted his own report in 1949 and joined Project Blue Book in 1952 under the command of Ruppelt. Hynek had the opportunity to interview hundreds of witnesses and to testify on a number of occasions to Congressional groups who expressed an interest in the subject. Clearly there were some in power who were interested in better understanding what was going on.

This is where the Blue Book TV series falls apart. In the first four episodes I have watched Hynek is invited by the US Air Force to help them investigate flying saucer sightings but by the fourth show the viewer has

  • already encountered a wreckage of a crashed flying disk secretly stored in an air force hangar
  • seen Hynek’s wife befriended by a Russian spy wanting to learn more about what the US government knows about flying saucers
  • observed senior air force officers involved in a high level conspiracy to hide the truth from US citizens
  • view mysterious men in dark suits and hats appearing at arms length, acting menacing and leading Hynek into a world of the extraterrestrial (these are the men in black but clearly the programme makers hadn’t read anything by John Keel)
  • come across strange glyphs on a photograph of a weird looking stone obelisk
  • ta-dah….. a field decorated with a crop circle

This is the equivalent to revealing the monster in the first five minutes of a Hollywood blockbuster, which rarely works and, in this case, doesn’t.

These are very obvious tropes present that are easily located within very well known conspiracy theory narratives (Roswell, Hangar 18 etc etc) and represented in earlier TV shows. It makes me realise that the makers are riding on already established stories to hook the viewer and that they’re not making any effort to explore the nuances of what persuaded Hynek to change from being a ridiculing sceptic to a more open-minded scientist who want to employ data and research methodologies to say something very real and incredible about the UFO phenomenon – that what was being experienced and reported by people was a phenomenon that requires a different even revolutionary way of thinking about the scientific laws we use to understand the world we live in.

Hynek left his UFO consultation in 1973 soon after Project Blue Book had been closed down. Instead he founded the Center for UFO studies and teamed up with fellow astronomer Dr. Jacques Vallee to continue his work into UFOs (or what is now labelled Aerial Phenomena Research).

Is it any wonder that in a convenient environment of ridicule blind scepticism and unreasonable denial, Hynek and Valle set to work behind closed doors with other scientists in their ‘Invisible College’? Both of these men were included in Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Vallee’s role was depicted by actor Francois Truffaut, Hynek himself appears in one of the final scenes in a brief cameo. The conclusion of this ‘Invisible College’ (supported partly by Jung’s work on the subject) was that the UFO had the power to influence the human world and bring change. The UFO was itself an agent of change – now that, when explored a little, has the markings of an incredible thriller, which would sensibly leave behind the tiring incredulous myths associated with Roswell, Area 51, Hangar 18 and Majestic 12.

Project Blue Book had a total of 13,134 UFO sightings reported to it, and yet this TV series hardly touches any of them.

I therefore do not recommend the funding of a third series of Project Black Book but I do recommend reading the following publication

Hynek, J.A., Vallee, J., 1975. The Edge of Reality. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company

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History and the lessons from our past

History and the lessons from our past

“We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let’s face it, is mostly the history of stupidity.” Stephen Hawking

History, (noun), – the study of past events, particularly in human affairs. From an Indo-European word histōr, meaning ‘learned, wise man.’ Online Oxford Dictionary.

The role of history

I might not have done well in my younger school days remembering facts simply to pass exams, but I’ve always had a love of history. History is more than just remembering dates and the names of British monarchs. I loved hearing about acts of bravery, resistance to cruel rulers, stories of the successful or failed underdog. I even felt anger towards those who acted selfishly, who were deluded by power or who were simply ruthless in their ambition. All of these acts impacted on the lives of the many, for good or for bad. These are human stories and we can relate them all today.

The subject of history serves a very different function in our world. Unlike science and engineering that gears students up for potential jobs in industry, history is about applying the lessons of the past so that we can transform society through ourselves. Is that an unrealistic ideology? That history can transform people into better human beings?

For those of us who have often wondered why we still remember quadratic equations and wonder about its purpose in adult life, history ensures that we remember and reflect on the actions of those peoples in our past. By questioning these events and looking at all perspectives we can actually make an attempt at making sure that they

A – happen again because they work, or perhaps more importantly

B – don’t happen again because they weren’t good ideas in the first place, and that they caused much distress and suffering as a result.

Human psychology and behaviour

“Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill.

Unlike technology, human psychology does not differ but how we interpreted the world around us varied in many ways – our predecessors tended to believe in the ruling strength of religion, and human acts were being conducted in the name of a divine being ‘to help others’ better themselves. Some people genuinely believed they were certainly better than others in terms of faith, class, wealth etc.

The subject of history is enjoyed by many but is studied by a variety of academic specialists – archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, museum ethnographers (that’s me) etc. This is because the subject of history offers an initial grounding and insight into the period of time being explored. Written documents from the time (aka primary sources) are highly valued because they were produced at the moment these historical events were happening. By reading them we can experience a reality history text books cannot offer the reader. They open up to us personal, political, economic glimpses into a very real human world.

History in our schools

“History is for human self-knowledge… the only clue to what man can do is what man has done.” R.G. Collingwood, historian.

The subject of British history is taught in schools, initially to learn of one’s identity and our relationship with our European neighbours. There is also an opportunity to learn about one of the non-European civilisations and contrast it with British history. Key stage 3 (students aged 11-14) explores Britain’s modern history and the challenges for the nations of Europe e.g. events that led to both World Wars. KS3 also includes the study of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust. Clearly students are learning to analyse and question evidence and certain points of view – this is an important skill to have and means that young people can learn to be more objective.

There’s also a lot of meaty subjects to feed student minds and encourage them to think carefully about our past. Teaching today is very different to the writing on blackboard with chalk days that I had experienced; students have access to a variety of materials, which clearly stimulate the mind and the imagination. Teachers in the UK today are not just educating our young, they’re also inspiring them. They work hard in getting students to stretch their minds.

However, for Key Stage 4 (GCSE) history is not set as a core subject, it’s an option. English, maths and science are considered core subjects, but why not history? For many of these students, aged 14-16, history can be a transformative subject. If science and maths can aid industry in the future (and according to contemporary political belief the economy) then the subject of history can act as an agent of self-development and change(and in turn help to improve society). It is acknowledged, even by the House of Lords (debate 20 October 2011: Teaching of History in Schools), that history is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses. So it is considered an important subject.

What is being missed?

History teaching in schools was traditionally done by teachers feeding students facts; the pupil’s role being passive. This was my experience of grammar school education and the only ‘O’ level I passed aged 16. Fortunately teachers today have a very dynamic role and engage students in different ways for students to see history being presented through books, plays, reenactors even museum objects and handling real artefacts from archaeological digs. Students now get to experience the reality of history through the ‘wow’ factor of touching authenticity. But is this enough? What do these things achieve?

In 2010, Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference stated what he believed was wrong with history being taught in schools – the rich history of Britain;

“Our history has moments of pride, and shame, but unless we fully understand the struggles of the past we will not properly value the liberties of the present.”

This means not teaching students singular unconnected episodes of history but rather a history that makes sense through its connectivity. From his own experience of the education system, historian Simon Schama responded with his view in the Guardian newspaper (‘My Vision for History in School’, 9 November 2010) that this should also include Britian’s role in India – to better understand the effects of colonialism. Rightwing historian Niall Ferguson was asked in that same year to rewrite the history curriculum. According to Ferguson

“A staggering 80 per cent of A-level candidates study the history of the Third Reich… there can be no justification for this excessive focus on the history of a single European country over a period of just a dozen years.”

This form of thinking is completely flawed, even nonsensical. One doesn’t just study the 12 years of the Reich but also the preceding years that were responsible for its rise – the end of the Great War, the humiliating and devastating effects of the Treaty of Versailles, the effects of Spanish flu, the great economic crash of the 20s and the failure of the Weimar Republic, the growth of National Socialism; all of these events in a 20-year period presented Hitler with the right conditions to acquire power. So we should rightly ignore Ferguson as history teachers have taught students these connected history units. It allows us to make sense of the world at that time. It teaches us that nations should instil compassion in their policies than vengeance. It shows us that the diplomatic skills in talking to one another gives nations an opportunity for positive outcomes (although sometimes this doesn’t work).

In history, much can be achieved in the world in a time span of 12-20 years, especially if you had access to technology. Does this mean that students shouldn’t learn the following? They’re all connected to British history and our identities.

1 – In 1939, fearing that the scientists of Nazi Germany would develop an atomic bomb, scientists in the US under the project name of the Manhattan Project learned how to build a bomb. It took them just six years and the bomb was detonated in Japan to end the Second World War.

2 – In 1935-6 it took Italy 8 months to invade and conquer Ethiopia as part of its desire to become an Imperial power.

3 – The Spanish Civil War lasted but 2 years 8 months but the causes that underlay the conflict reach back into the 19th century. I learnt this in school (the second time I did my A-levels).

4 – The Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519, one soldier being infected with smallpox. In 2 years the Aztec population was devastated by this Old World disease, which resulted not only in people dying in large numbers but this greatly affected the power of the ruling elite. The Spanish took advantage of this situation and subjugated a dwindled population. The Aztecs as a power were gone.

There is one solid reason why students do learn the history of the Third Reich. Post-war poverty led to a public hatred and a persecution of ethnic minorities as scapegoats, which led to the start of another major conflict because Hitler had ambition to dominate Europe. Students learn about these years (as I did at school) so that we learn from the mistakes and bad decisions made by others so that they’re not repeated. What was happening in the 1930s we’re seeing being repeated again in Europe and the USA.

History lessons for today

In the UK, history at school does not teach students much about the British Empire nor its multiple perspectives. A story that begins in the 16th century in North America and which ultimately and indirectly leads to the biggest profit-making venture of any Empire, it can also claim to be one of the cruelest in the 19th century. Its decline at the end of the Great War of European imperial egos was therefore justified. It is a history that requires challenging, especially today with increasing public display of racism. It feels like we’ve gone back in time because we’re simply not learning about the past.

Clearly, lessons have not been learnt by some people who are allowed into power. This is likely because they haven’t had a good education or simply because they’re evil and want to exploit an opportunity for their own ends. As a result atrocities are still being committed in the world. Given that today’s West is rank with an open hatred of race and fears of immigration, people are openly showing their anger and frustration towards the innocent. They lack understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Long term job loss, poverty, poor education, inadequate housing are realities for many people living in first world nations. The reasons behind their circumstances are often linked to the increased disparity between rich and poor and are rarely voiced in the media, tackled in the courts and resolved. Justice is lacking.

We see this repeated in history (the rich get richer, the poor continue to suffer) and I think this highlights the importance of having an education; it’s far more than just reading, writing and counting but a study of history provides us with a set of fresh eyes to see truths often expressed, which are rarely spelled out to us, we require a new enlightenment – one based on fact and not political or religious bias.

Knocking down historic statues in our cities is also not the answer (see my earlier entry on Cecil Rhodes). Protesting and throwing bricks at one another is also not a solution. Complaining about immigration is a falsity and not the cause of our problems, history shows us that humans have migrated around the world since time began. Our societies are rich because they are diverse. We are better people because we are surrounded by many different cultures – we’re the same humans with different beliefs and attitudes but with the very same needs. Religion won’t solve our problems and hate won’t produce any solutions and history can provide us with similar examples of routes we shouldn’t go down.

I believe that by studying history we can all learn from the past, which helps us make sense of the present that will enable us to make a better future for ourselves. Perhaps this notion is romantic. History tells us what humans are great at achieving and what they’re clearly rubbish at doing. Above all, and in seriousness, history offers us hope and hope is what the modern world needs.

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The Fall of Rhodes


Since Spring 2015, students at Oxford University have been campaigning for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes which proudly stands in front of the entrance to Oriel College.  This anti-colonial protest is becoming common place in an era of anti-colonial debate.  The idea of removing statues of Britain’s historic figures is very much aligned to, and follows on from, the idea of repatriating material culture which was unethically acquired during the colonial period.

But what will the statue’s removal accomplish?  According to BBC Trending, 24 year old South African campaigner Ntokozo Qwabe felt that seeing the statue was a particularly uncomfortable reminder of the past.  Qwabe says “I feel the same way that I would feel if I saw a statue of Hitler in Germany.”

Of course, statues erected in the 19th and early 20th centuries did much to celebrate the work of many high status figures in the British Empire.  In an age of scientific racism these statues did not represent the great work of Black people in this country or within the boundaries of the vast empire.  For example, one missed opportunity was the medical work of Jamaican woman ‘Mother’ Mary Seacole.  Our history chooses instead to remember Florence Nightingale as the heroine nurse of the Crimean War.  Ironically at the time, and because she had proven herself, it took Crimean commanders to organise a benefit for her upon her return to England.  In her autobiography WH Russell wrote “I trust that England will not forget one who nursed her sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.”   For one who was awarded a Crimean medal, and with a stone bust of her produced by Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, sculptor and nephew of Queen Victoria, she died is obscurity in 1881.  Where, I ask, is her statue in the streets of London?  Only now is this happening, sadly this is done retrospectively.

The statues that were erected in the Victorian period, and that line our main streets of towns and cities, are largely concerned with white wealthy men who contributed to the success of Empire.  Cecil Rhodes is just one example.  These one-time heroes sincerely believed, with the political and scientific-racist thinking of the day, that they were simply illuminating a world that was considered dark and godless.  The British even thought themselves superior to their white colonial counterparts in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

We know today that this belief is unfounded but we have to view their efforts with their belief in mind which was prevalent throughout the Western world.  They were convinced that it was through God’s creation and design that they were meant to go out and make the world a better place.  Well their version of making the world a better place is something very different to how we would view it today.  In fact, many of the world tensions and conflicts are due to their ‘work’.  Their attempts to conquer, civilise and convert indigenous peoples have led to what many consider acts of  genocide simply for land and resource acquisition.  For many other indigenous peoples they have had to survive colonialism and adapt.  The forced change many subjects of Empire experienced has meant that they retained as many traditions and languages as possible, fragments of identity that have almost disappeared.

Empire-building, by means of military force or by economic markets, is not a good thing and there will always be an unequal relationship between those with power and those without.  Cecil Rhodes serves to illustrate this point and this is the reason why his statue, like many others, should remain in situ.  For to remove them will simply be a quick and assured way of allowing modern people to forget, not just our history but also the role they played in it.

We cannot rely on history books and television documentaries to educate future generations in history for even these are flawed with opinion, perspective, agendas and bias.  However, the physical-cold stone statues of historical figures serve as useful reminders of our dim and dark past.  They echo the shared values of the time.  They make comment on the perspective of Imperial greatness.  To take them down is the wrong thing to do.

If looking at a colonial statue makes an observer feel uncomfortable then this can only be a good thing as it serves to remind us of a dark piece of our history.  A history that needs to be forever remembered and perhaps one of the few ways these figures of history can do penance is by allowing us in the modern world to talk about them.  In this way we try to right wrongs.  Don’t forget that many of our museums hold statues from the Classical world, fragments or whole statues that have survived being destroyed by conquerors.  We use them today to not only talk about the development of art but what they tell us about past peoples.  Statues are visually rich cultural symbols, they are educational icons and they must stay because they act as historical talking points.

There’s also one tiny point about Rhodes that protesting students fail to mention and that is the benefit of those students who have received the Rhodes Scholarship based at Oxford University and funded by the money Cecil Rhodes left behind.  A survey of those students (who are now successful professionals) will show that much of their work continues to involve, for example, fighting poverty, commitment to social justice even tackling issues of racism.

So instead of forcibly removing a statue there is an alternative action one should consider, it may not be the ideal solution.  In true British form one can always show one’s protest, distaste and even prick the ego of the pompous and that is with the simple application of a traffic cone, a tutu and a football scarf.


The statue of Sir Redvers Henry Buller on Queen Street, Exeter who served as a commanding officer in the British army in South Africa.  Photograph by Lisa Harris 

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125th Memorial of the Massacre at Wounded Knee

A new organisation that has been founded by both Native American Lakota and Dakota individuals and a wider supporting community of like-minded people who share a vision for healing amongst all those living on the planet.  

Wounded Knee

This group is called ‘Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee’ and was created to honour the memory of those who suffered and died at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, when Chief Spotted Elk or ‘Big Foot’ was massacred with his band of followers on 29th December, 1890.

This was the original event now often referred to simply as ‘Wounded Knee’ or the Wounded Knee Massacre which took place 125 years ago this December.  Since 1986, a dedicated group of Native Americans follow the route of Big Foot’s original band to the massacre site at Wounded Knee in order to promote healing and reconciliation in their community and beyond.  As this group of ‘Big Foot’ Riders have recently lost their main source of funding, Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee is campaigning for donations to help ensure that this  8-day ride on horseback (or walking or running the same route), now in its 25th year, will indeed take place.

Those at Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee have launched a new website and have created an Indie Go Go campaign.  The event video is here.

Because Wounded Knee is infamous not only in the United States, but around the world, this marks the opportunity for a great communication and communion.  All support provided by members of the public is truly appreciated.

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Secret Invasion: tales of eldritch horror from the West Country

Secret Invasion: tales of eldritch horror from the West Country

This new book is now available to the public

Editor: Tony Eccles

Artwork by John Swogger

Artwork by John Swogger

“I ran. Behind me I heard the windows break like gunshots in the heat. I turned my head as I ran, and the last thing I saw was flames licking out of the window, and small burning things attempting to crawl away but stopping and curling up into blackened shapes as they died.” The Dark, Hidden Places by Andrew Lane

What is Secret Invasion?

West of Arkham the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut.

H.P. Lovecraft, “The Color Out of Space”

The cold sea crashes upon the bare rocks below. There’s a lingering evening fog that blocks any view of this hostile water. There’s a wooden bench that faces out onto the ocean. Blind steps ahead would lead to certain doom. With the full moon above trying to break through the mist, the only other thing in view is the regular pulsating bright illumination of Pendeen lighthouse and the deep roar of its horn. Beneath one’s feet is an expanse of abandoned mines. This was my first experience of Cornwall in 2005, I had found the perfect location for a tale I was writing.

The English South West includes Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset; counties with a strong cultural identity. This special world is enjoyed by millions of visitors who flock there each year in part because it is surrounded by the sea. Here exists a long rugged coastline, with its dark coves and countless deadly rocks that jut above the waterline. On the southern Jurassic coast, cliff faces are scoured by hunters hoping to uncover fossils. Coastal sea waves all around the peninsula are adored by surfers.

Those who prefer the land encounter the wild windswept moors that are allegedly haunted by phantoms, wild cats and those hairy hands that force drivers off the road.  The lore of fairies and the legends of King Arthur abound for it is a spiritual realm. Ramblers will know well the ancient oak trees that stand in the valleys or the burial chambers and stone circles that were constructed by people several millennia ago. And of course, how can one forget the historic castles and estates of the old aristocracy who once had the fortune to reside in them?

This humble anthology, however, is concerned with a landscape tourists do not know, and hopefully will never know. For indeed if a traveller was to encounter the horrors lurking within these pages and learn of their terrible plans they would quickly perish.

Influenced by the weird fiction of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Secret Invasion is a tome of horror set in the mystical West Country landscape; Devon being the ancient ancestral home of Lovecraft’s family.

For the storyteller the land can be used to define many things such as boundaries and identity. It contributes to a story’s atmosphere, it creates obstacles and isolates characters and best of all monsters are concealed there. Landscapes vary from the city, the suburbs to the farmlands and beyond; horror can take place anywhere depending upon the nature of the tale.

Horror is a pleasure to read and it’s our pleasure to bring you this volume of 15 tales by professional and amateur writers alike. Without giving anything away, the stories herein take advantage of the rich environment many of the authors live in because it naturally offers a remote wild terrain that is so perfect for monsters. It was important to Dunsany, Machen and Lovecraft’s storytelling, it’s also important to us. It’s amazing to learn then that the South West rarely features in Lovecraft’s tales, especially as he was anglophile, and that’s another reason why this volume was created. Lovecraft was proud of the east coast America he considered home; that’s how we feel about the South West.

This book was made with typical Cygnus Alpha passion and I sincerely hope you have many nightmares afterwards. Okay maybe that’s too much to ask but I’m sure you’ll enjoy these wonderful stories with the hope that one day your curiosity will get the better of you and draw you to this part of England. You now, Exeter does have a rat    herRamsey Campbell’sstory locations of Clotton, Goatswood and Brichester are located in the Severn valley within Gloucestershire, which is considered part of the South West.


Secret Invasion includes 15 new tales by authors professional and amateur alike who have created their own weird tales to help raise money for the mental health charity MIND.

Tales provided by Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock), Jessica Palmer (Dark Lullaby and Shadowdance), Helen Stirling, Jon Arnold, Christopher Glew, Anna Norman, Dan Barratt, Simon Brett, Richard Freeman, Steven Trickey, Mark Norman, Nigel Foster and Tony Eccles.  There is also a chapter for the artists to talk about their work.

An interview with horror maestro Ramsey Campbell will be added in November.

How do I acquire a copy?

  1. Visit:
  2. Make a donation – you can donate any amount
  3. Follow the link given on the JustGiving page and download the book (you have a choice of format)
  4. Enjoy the read

Updates will be provided here and here.  Print on demand version to come.

Enquiries to me:


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Visitors of deception

“That’s not what America wants to hear,…America wants a big UFO that flies down from heaven, as in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, filled with new hopes for mankind; America wants a shiny spacecraft to replace the deflated balloon of its religious values.  If UFOs are connected with unexplained mutilation of cattle and with behavior modification on a grand scale, America doesn’t want to know about it.”

Extract from Jacques Vallee. 2008. Messengers of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults. Brisbane: Daily Grail Publishing, pp.21-22  (originally published 1979)

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Terrors Of The Théâtre Diabolique – a new anthology of horror

‘Terrors Of The Théâtre Diabolique’ is a thrilling new collection of original horror fiction from the Cygnus Alpha writers’ collective sold in aid of the mental health charity, MIND.

Facebook-20141018-033443Six seemingly random strangers are drawn by a mysterious figure to a disused, semi-derelict theatre in a sleepy, seemingly innocuous, seaside town. There they begin their journey into the bowels of the building where their innermost darkest thoughts will be revealed in an encounter that will change their lives forever…

By turns horrifying and comedic, this anthology of electrifying stories lovingly pays homage to the fondly remembered portmanteau horror films of the 1960’s and 70’s pioneered by Amicus film studios. The anthology features a series of six macabre and deliciously funny short stories from the imaginations of writers Jon Arnold, Simon A Brett, John Davies, Tony Eccles, Lee Rawlings and J.R. Southall, all beautifully illustrated by Paul Griffin. In true portmanteau horror film fashion the threads are all drawn together into a thrilling conclusion penned by lead writer, Dan Barratt.

This very special book features an exclusive foreword from legendary actor, David Warner. Since 1962, David has been thrilling audiences in an incredible career which includes a vast range of film and television credits including: The Omen, The Company Of Wolves, Straw Dogs, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Time Bandits, Titanic, Tron and The League Of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse. His television work includes Doctor Who, Wild Palms, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Twin Peaks and Penny Dreadful. David will also be familiar to listeners of Big Finish having appeared in several Doctor Who audio plays as well as Sapphire & Steel. We are thrilled to have David on board not least because he starred in the 1974 Amicus film, From Beyond The Grave alongside Peter Cushing where he played a man turned murderer in a particularly grisly tale of an evil presence trapped in an ornate mirror.

An illustrated horror anthology sold in aid of the mental health charity, MIND.
Order your copy now by visiting our Just Giving page and follow the link to

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The Twelve Doctors of Christmas


Just in time for Christmas, a new anthology of festive Doctor Who tales; 12 Doctors, 12 Christmas days, 12 stories and all with one thing in common…but I can’t tell you what that is about because that would spoil it. Twelve great authors and twelve incredible artists come together to create a special piece of Who magic.

This anthology will soon be available for sale as a low cost PDF with limited hard copies available to those who are keen. This product is produced by the team behind the amazing Cygnus Alpha fanzine. This is not a profit-making publication for all proceeds go to charity.

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Roles of the British UFO Research Association

The British UFO Research Association has many roles, mainly concerned with the investigation and research into UFO sightings and Close Encounter experiences. This also includes the so-called ‘alien abduction’ phenomena. BUFORA is there to offer people advice.

BUFORA was recently approached by an individual who was concerned about a vulnerable member of the public they came into contact with through work. They requested our advice about this individual who reported not only their recent UFO experiences but also explained that in their past they had been abused and were a witness to a serious crime. We advised the enquirer not to get personally involved but get relevant professional help from a reliable source. They actually referred this person to a good friend of theirs who is a clinical psychologist. In his last email to BUFORA he said;

…you’ll be pleased to know that the individual has accepted professional help through the correct channels to try to understand the experience and accepts that it may be PTSD. So quite pleased with that result, thank you for the advice, it was very much appreciated.

BUFORA and its members are bound by a Code of Practice. This means we honour a person’s confidentiality and respect their right of privacy. Very few UFO organisations are bound by such a code today. This year, the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena have adopted a Code of Ethics for themselves.

If you as a member of the public feel that something very strange has happened to you. That you have plenty of questions and no answers. If you are a UFO witness (percipient) who doesn’t want to be drawn into what has become a ’20th century religion’ about aliens then please do contact us. BUFORA will be happy to talk to you in confidence.

BUFORA can be contacted at:

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Google and Roswell doodle

Congratulations goes to Google for their Roswell anniversary doodle. I enjoyed playing this whilst waiting for a parcel to arrive this morning. It’s only available today so please go to the page and enjoy the moment, help the little ‘grey’ find the pieces of flying saucer that will allow him to go home.



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