Friday, October 13, 2017

Contact! A Close Encounter of the Third Kind from 1954

Flying Saucer From Mars was a 1955 best-selling book by British amateur astronomer Cedric Allingham. It told of his story of a flying saucer sighting in 1954 and direct contact with a human-looking extraterrestrial. In may ways it resembled the story of George Adamski, and seemed to be independent confirmation that visitors from other planets were initiating contact.

Science fiction magazine ad, 1955

This historic photo is perhaps the first of its kind. Since 1947, many alleged photos of flying saucers have been produced, but in his book, Allingham presented a picture of an extraterrestrial being, his visitor from Mars.

In the 1950s, flying saucer stories were often front page news, and many newspapers and magazines discussed or reviewed Allingham's sensational book. 

Big Spring Daily Herald, April 26, 1955

The book impressed a skeptical science fiction book reviewer: “I can say this: as a book, Allingham’s “Flying Saucers From Mars” is by a long, long way the best written, sanest, most unimpassioned and convincing that I have seen to date, not excluding Dr. Menzel’s.” He went on to write, “It has none of the occultism that is making other Saucer treatises ridiculous. It’s the kind of story that could convince a jury.” P. Schuyler Miller, “The Reference Library” Astounding, October 1955

Hoax Allegations

From Return to the Far Side of Planet Moore! by Martin Mobberley

Flying Saucer From Mars by Cedric Allingham was a literary hoax by astronomer Patrick Moore who attempted to one-up George Adamski's book Flying Saucers have Landed. Not only was the saucer and encounter false, so was the author Allingham. Patrick Moore had a history as a practical joker, and he wrote the book as a spoof. At least that's the story according to Christopher Allan and Steuart Campbell's 1986 article, Flying Saucer from Moore's? in Magonia. 

Patrick Moore had a love for space and astronomy, and enjoyed educating the public about it, and was knighted in 2001 for "services to the popularisation of science and to broadcasting." Ironically, his first television appearance was for the purpose of discussing flying saucers. He argued against them. Moore was good friends with Desmond Leslie (the co-author of George Adamski's book) and appeared in Leslie's 1956 UFO home movie, "Them in the Thing!" In it, Moore portrayed a skeptic, using Dr. Donald Menzel's book as definitive evidence that flying saucers were not real.

Moore dropped references to the Allingham book in several of his lectures and articles, including
The Role of Science Fiction in the Popularization of Science, where he unfavorably includes it in the discussion of "interplanetary stories."

Sir Patrick Moore denied the allegations of the literary hoax, but did continue to discuss UFOs from time to time. In his 1972 book,  Can You Speak Venusian?, he discussed UFO history and the unbelievability of the 1950s Contactees in the chapter “Crockery from the Void.” 
“It was around this time, too, that a serious split occurred in the ranks of Flying Saucery. The Independent Thinkers divided themselves into two distinct camps. There were the ‘contacts,’ following Adamski and Allingham. Then there were the more cautious investigators, who dismissed these contact reports as being due to hallucinations or hoaxes, but who still maintained that the Earth was under surveillance. The very term ‘Flying Saucer’ was tacitly dropped, to be replaced by the much more imposing title of Unidentified Flying Object, or U.F.O."

In this clip from 1969, Sir Patrick Moore interviewed a man who 
was able to speak and write alien languages from other planets.

If Flying Saucer From Mars was a hoax, is there a clue in the name of the mysterious Cedric Allingham? Some of the anagrams it produces are "Marginal,  Clich├ęd" and "Magical Children."

As with so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book has no file on this incident. 


  1. With his wild hair Patrick Moore looks like the crazy saucerian. If you turn on the closed captioning you'll get an interesting translation of the contactee's gibberish.

  2. Gibberish, and yet still more rational than what we are hearing from today's UFO scene.

  3. > Can You Speak Venusian?

    I highly recommend the book and TV special.

    Note: the book has a 1976 edition with more material.

    1. I've only sampled a portion of either, but like what I saw!


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