Location: Parkstone, United Kingdom
Ethel May Field, 62, a housewife, had gone out to the
back garden to take in washing from the clothes-line,
when she heard a humming sound which prompted her to look
at the sky. She encountered a round object with a dome
on top. Standing inside the windows of the object were
two humanoid occupants, one at each window.
The witness, Mrs. Field, shows her bandaged hand. (credit:
Illustration of the UFO and occupants seen by Mrs. Field.
In Mrs. Field's back garden. The superimposed figure gives
an indication of Mrs. Field's
estimate of the size of the object. (credit: FSR)
Leslie Harris, FSR Vol. 24 No. 2 (1978)
UFO & OCCUPANTS:
CLOSE ENCOUNTER REPORTED WITH POSSIBLE PHYSICAL EFFECTS
account specially prepared for Flying Saucer Review and
interesting case came to my attention as the result of
a promotion organized by the manager of the local Gaumont
to publicise the opening in Bournemouth of the famed movie,
Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The idea was to invite
a number of local people, who had experienced UFO phenomena,
to be guests at the film's opening night. To this end,
the local newspaper published an appeal for witnesses
to send written reports of their sightings to me, my job
being to sort the wheat from the chaff and put forward
the names of the most worthy applicants. Among the reports
I received was this one, which I felt was sufficiently
strange to warrant proper investigation. I therefore visited
the witness on Wednesday 22nd March, taping our conversation,
and paid her a further visit on Thursday 6th April to
tidy up some points and take photographs."
local reporter, who had written the original appeal, contacted
me for details of any interesting cases which might have
come to light, and I mentioned this case. The result was
a back page splash in the local paper, followed by nationwide
coverage in the London dailies, a situation which the
witness had not wanted. Before writing to me she had reported
her sightings to no one."
lone witness of this event is Mrs. Ethel May Field, 62,
a housewife of Sea View Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset.
Her husband, Maurice, 68, and daughter, Teresa, 24, were
indoors watching television when the sighting occurred
and noticed nothing unusual."
exact date of the sighting is not known, but Mrs. Field
does recall that it occurred during the latter part of
September, 1977, at about 11 p.m. She had gone out to
the back garden to take in washing from the clothes-line,
when she heard a humming sound which prompted her to look
at the sky, which was clear."
from a SSW direction was a round object with a dome on
top. There could have been "something on the dome",
but owing to the swiftness of events, Mrs. Field could
say no more on this point. The object was emitting light
of a brilliant intensity the object itself glowing
with a "greyish" colour, whilst from around
the perimeter of the disc, light of a much more brilliant
"bluey-yellow" colour beamed downward, giving
the overall impression of an umbrella shape. This light
did not illuminate anything on the ground, and Mrs. Field
did not notice how far down it extended. Beneath the object,
Mrs. Field thought she saw a "patterned" effect,
but was unsure on this point and unable to elaborate."
object's size was difficult to determine, but Mrs. Field
eventually decided that it must have been the width of
her garden (22 ft.). The altitude was another problem,
but Mrs. Field agreed that the object could not have been,
very high up, as she was able to observe occupants within
dome had two "windows," which did not occupy
the full area of the structure, but extended to about
two-thirds its height and one quarter its circumference.
Standing at these windows were two humanoid occupants,
one at each window."
the UFO reached a point immediately above the far end
of the garden, it hovered for a moment, and Mrs. Field
put up her hands, palms outwards, to shade her eyes from
the brilliant light. At this point, she felt a slight
sensation of heat on her hands and a trembling or vibration
of the ground which lasted just a second or two. Alarmed,
she wondered whether there was about to be an earth-quake,
and expected people to come running from their houses,
but no one else seemed to notice it."
two figures inside the object were of normal proportions
and were wearing silver suits with head wear of the same
colour which covered all but the face. This headwear appeared
not to be part of the suit; Mrs. Field thought she detected
a collar. She did not notice any buttons or fasteners,
but was definite that the headwear came to a point at
the forehead. The faces of the entities appeared to possess
slender features, and Mrs. Field had the impression that
both were male. As she could see almost to the waist,
the arms were visible, also of normal appearance. The
hands appeared to match the colour of the suit, suggesting
that gloves were being worn, but Mrs. Field was not absolutely
certain about this. The cabin was lit by apparently "normal"
lighting, the colour of our own domestic lighting."
entity on the right-hand side, as Mrs. Field looked at
them, appeared to be operating controls. Mrs. Field did
not actually see any controls, but as the figure was looking
downwards with his hahds engaged in some activity immediately
below the window, she assumed this to be the case. The
other entity, however, was looking directly at Mrs. Field.
He moved over slightly and made a down-pointing gesture
with his right hand which Mrs. Field interpreted as an
intention to land. Being alone, and now alarmed, she turned
and ran back towards the house, pausing for a moment at
the door to glance back just in time to see the object
speeding away in a NW direction. The total duration of
the sighting could have been no more than 20 or 30 seconds."
Field rushed indoors where her husband and daughter were
watching television. (No interference with their reception
had occurred.) She tried to tell them of her experience,
but they just laughed at her. When Mrs. Field said she
would phone the local paper about her sighting, her daughter
dissuaded her, as she felt people would ridicule them.
The story was, therefore, reported to no one until Mrs.
Field wrote to me."
I first arrived at Mrs. Field's home, she apologised for
being unable to shake hands with me as she had a skin
infection. At the end of our interview, she told me that
this trouble had begun the week following her sighting
with a spot in the palm of her left hand. This had spread
and worsened until both hands were raw and very painful.
Her doctor diagnosed dermatitis, and treated her for this.
I examined her hands and found them to be very dry with
the skin peeling."
no time did Mrs. Field claim that this condition had been
caused by her UFO experience. She mentioned it only as
an afterthought and said she was "keeping an open
mind" about the cause. However, bearing in mind that
(a) during her sighting Mrs. Field shielded her eyes from
the intense light of the object WITH PALMS FACING OUTWARDS:
(b) she felt a slight sensation of HEAT ON HER HANDS whilst
doing this; (c) the trouble developed the week following
her sighting and she had never before suffered from a
condition of this kind, and (d) my dictionary definition
of dermatitis is "inflammation of the skin by localised
irritation, eg., external burning by the sun, X-rays,
etc." I felt it worth presenting this as tentative
evidence of a possible UFO-related physical after-effect."
reports of the case contained inaccuracies, exaggerations
and downright fabrications.
report said that "a saucer swooped on her"
a totally inaccurate and misleading statement.
of "burns" were gross exaggerations of
the actual condition of her hands.
the worst example of press distortion was the widely publicised
statement that "coastguards saw it too."
This was just not true. It arose when a reporter from
Radio Solent visited Mrs. Field and happened to mention
that his father, an auxiliary coastguard, once saw a UFO.
This case had been widely reported at the time, and even
appeared in FSR (Vol.19, No.4, Page 30). That such a chance
remark could be so grossly distorted is, to me, incredible.
have no reason to believe that the story told by Mrs.
Field is other than the complete truth. She wanted no
publicity, her family laughed at her, and she made no
play at all of the condition of her hands, a point she
could easily have used as direct evidence in her favour.
She co-operated willingly with me, but now wishes to see
no more reporters or investigators."
her story seems a little lacking in precise detail, it
must be borne in mind that she was suddenly confronted
with a phenomenon totally outside her experience, that
she was alarmed, and only observed it for a brief period
of time before running to the house."
view is that here we have a very normal 62-year-old housewife,
of limited vocabulary, attempting to describe an event
which was real to her."
that is surely what matters."