Having 'enjoyed'Mark Chadbourn's Testimony in my own wibbly wobbly way, seemed like a good time to get around to another 'non-fiction' read that's been festering on the shelf for a hundred years.
Clive Harold - The Uninvited (Star, 1979)
Blurb: It began with a bright light high in the night sky
Every word in this book is as true as it is incredible.
It happened in 1977. An ordinary family living in South Wales found themselves entangled in a series of unearthly encounters.
At first the manifestations were minor. UFO's were sighted in the area. Huge burnt patches were found in the fields. Television sets and cars blew all their wiring.
But before long the Coombs family was visited by weird lights, huge white figures and a glowing, disembodied hand. Their lives were disrupted, and they were terrified by something unidentifiable, unrecognisable ....
They were the focus of The Uninvited
"Cows were more than aq livelihood to him, he really loved his herd, and the effect on them of what happened that night had been devastating. The herd never stopped stampeding - panicking for no apparent reason, charging into electrified and barbed wire fencing over and over again. One cow had literally torn herself to pieces in her frenzy to escape from something unseen that had terrified her, and she later had to be destroyed ... how would Billy be able to explain it all? Easily - but who would believe him?"
Grown men and women running away from huge, glowing orange footballs in the sky ... An alien astronaut floating past the kitchen window .... A metre length footprint in the slurry ....Televisions that explode for no reason just as the family sit down to enjoy Lee Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man ... Radioactive disembodied hands from outer space? It sounds like something out of H. G. Wells or Bron Fane - pure Science Fiction! Yet for hard-working, ordinary farming folk, the Coombs family, UFO's are no longer "comic-book things" but a hellish reality of the here and now. The Uninvited is their story.
June 1977, and the entire commonwealth is celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee. But the Coombs have more to occupy their minds than whether or not the BBC rigged the pop charts to keep the Sex Pistols off the number one spot. Son Keiran has just run down a woman with his tractor in broad daylight. But when he leaps to investigate - no corpse, no blood, no sign of anything out of the ordinary! It is but the latest inexplicable event to befall the family since the flying saucers were first reported over South West Wales, St. Brides Bay in particular. Could it have anything to do with the neighbouring Brawdy Royal Air Force base or it's missile range? Unlikely, as Air Force staff are among the first to confirm sightings of the very same craft! That the Coombs' property, Ripperton Farm, is the focal point for much of the activity is beyond dispute. It is as though the Aliens have specifically targeted Billy, Pauline and the kids, but for what purpose?
In truth, it's been a terrible time for the likeable Billy and Pauline ever since that night she was buzzed by the glowing orange football while driving home. A seven foot spaceman in a silver translucent suit is forever prowling the property, and Carol the nurse received a visit from two floating men with wax faces, too high foreheads and speech impediments who asked for Pauline by name. When Carol confirmed she was out, they drove away in a silver hover-car which vanished before her incredulous eyes. Why is the local MP denying he has heard anything about these flying saucers when it's already been reported on the news? Are the Government prepared to leave their people to the mercy of evil extra-terrestrials?
As the cover blurb states in uncompromising language: "This story is true. You'll wish it wasn't."
Clive Harold - The Uninvited (Nelson, 1981) Abridged by J. R. C. and G. M. Yglesias
Blurb: It began with a bright light in the sky. A light that disappeared without trace...
The year was 1977, the place was South Wales.
UFOs were sighted. Huge burnt patches were found in the fields. Television sets and cars-blew all their wiring.
And as if that wasn't enough...
This story is true, but you'll wish it wasn't.
The abridged version gets its business done in a slick 120 pages (the Star original runs to 170) and adds chapter titles - The Towering Figure Of A Man, The Vanishing Herd, The Monster Returns, etc. Unfortunately, it sacrifices the photo of Pauline, Layann and Joanna at the window visited by the oversized astronaut. Note the radioactive splotches.
What with the insane pets, huge drain on the electricity supply, uncanny phenomena and inexplicable events iat an isolated Welsh property, substitute 'extra-terrestrials' with 'ghosts' and you'd have something very like ... Testimony!
Chilling. Absolutely chilling.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.