© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
this section describes a 'Visitor' contact in the early Fifties in England

taken from 'So Long Ago - So Clear' by Peter Crawford
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
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1952 was a particularly significant year for Peter although Jane and John never realized this.
It was significant not just because one King had died and another had been overthrown.
1952 was the year that the 'visitors' first appeared.

The 'grown-up' Peter was browsing in Waterstones Booksellers, St Margaret's Street, Canterbury, one Saturday in 1988 when he saw a book with a vaguely familiar cover.
The cover design consisted of a portrait of a strange, oval face with huge dark olive shaped eyes. Peter felt that he had seen the face before but could not remember where.
He casually leafed through the book, reading a few passages here and there.
It seemed, at the time, a rather poorly written science fiction tale by Whitely Streiber; an author who was unknown to Peter.

About a month later Peter was in the same book shop, and picked up the same book, having recognized the cover, and the title 'Communion'.

This time he read a little more and realized that the book was not science fiction, but rather purported to record the details of a series of episodes of alien contact.
Peter was interested, but was not prepared to pay the exorbitant price required for the purchase of the book.
A few weeks later, however, he found the book in his local library; borrowed it and read it from cover to cover - and that book stirred up some very strange memories.
It wasn't that Peter had forgotten the events that he was remembering, but rather that they had gone to the back of his mind, and were only ever rarely recalled.

And these are those strange memories of things that happened so long ago, but were remembered so clearly.

When little Peter had first arrived at Pears Road he seemed to have no fear of the dark.
At night he would happily go to bed, with the door to his bedroom left just slightly ajar, and often, quietly sing himself to sleep.
Whether or not the nights before he was brought to Pears Road ever held any terrors for Peter no one would ever know, as his memories of that time seemed to have been shut away forever.
Then, after about two years, towards the end of the winter of 1952, Peter became frightened of the owls.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012

Now there were owls in the large oak trees in Inwood Park (see left) - trees that could be seen from Peter's bedroom.

But Peter was convinced that the owls (see right) were flying from the park and perching on the window-sill of his bedroom.
Despite reassurances from Jane, Peter remained convinced of the presence of these owls at his window, and so he was allowed a night-light on the chest of draws in his room.

Gradually Peter seemed to be less alarmed at the prospect of going to bed, but in reality he had just come to accept that his parents were unable to protect him from these nocturnal visitors, and so his experiences of the night became a secret, only known to him.
As the nights passed the owls seemed to be able to get through the window and perch on the table standing under the window.

It was then that Peter realized that they were not birds but small 'people', about the same size as he was, but with big heads and very big eyes, and it must have been the eyes that had made him think initially that they were owls – or perhaps they had disguised themselves as owls.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
These little people were extremely thin and in the dim glow of the night-light appeared to be greyish in colour.
At first they just sat and stood around, looking at Peter with their huge, dark eyes.
Later they started to play and dance around in a strangely stiff, awkward manner.
Initially Peter was terrified, but as the nights passed he realized that the visitors meant him no harm.

Eventually Peter would sit on the edge of his bed and watch the little guys scampering about. Then he would get tired of their antics, get into bed a go to sleep. Interestingly Peter was never awake when the visitors left.
Now you may be asking yourself if all of this really happened - (and there are even stranger things to come).
After all, many kids have rich fantasy lives and imaginary friends.
Peter, of course, did have his imaginary friends; Teddy, Doggy, Brumas and Judy, which were his stuffed toys - and one bear-shaped hot water bottle.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
But the visitors were not like imaginary friends - they had no names, and no identifiable personalities.
Now while these nocturnal visitors seem highly unlikely, they are not necessarily impossible.
It was Isaac Asimov who stated that it would be wildly improbable if wildly improbable things did not happen. Things that would be on the far end of Laplace's famous bell-curve.
But if the visitors were not real, then where did they come from ? From what corner of little Peter's imagination did they emerge ?
Now it is true that Peter had been reading, or rather looking at the pictures of the science fiction comic serial, 'Dan Dare' (see right), for over a year, and it must be remembered that to a six or seven year old Dan dare was a real person, and his adventures were real events.
But the aliens in 'Dan Dare' were the macho Treens; nearly seven feet tall, well muscled, with green skin, and wearing copper space suits. Nothing like the skinny, naked, sexless little gray guys that came to play in Peter's bedroom.

It is also true that Peter had seen 'Flash Gordon' (Flash Gordon is a 1936 science fiction film serial - see left) and 'Buck Rogers', (is a 12-part Buck Rogers serial film was produced in 1939 by Universal Pictures Company) at the Children's Saturday film club, but equally the aliens in those two science fiction serials bear not the slightest similarity to Peter's visitor's, and the emperor Ming is hardly a model for Peter's gentle 'Nordic'.

There was one other film that had a strong impact on Peter during his childhood, and that was the well known American film 'Invaders from Mars' (see right)

This film features a young boy who is woken from his sleep by the landing of a flying saucer.
Subsequently he is abducted by aliens, but once again these are hulking, macho types, who bear little or no resemblance to Peter's 'grays'.
Also significant is the fact that this film was not released in the UK until 1954, some two years after Peter's experiences began.
The only other source of fantasy, other than films, available to children at that period, apart from Rupert Bear, Andy Pandy, the Flowerpot Men and Muffin the Mule, were Disney characters.

None of these fantasy character, however, seem like good models for Peter's visitors, apart of course for 'Peter Pan' (see left).

Now Peter Pan, as we have already have seen, was the boy who would not grow up. What made him even more special was the fact that he could fly, and also taught Wendy, Michael and John how to fly.
The trip to 'Never Land', flying among the stars, as depicted in the film, could be seen to be quite similar to Peter's night time escapades.
The problem is that the film was not released in the UK until July 1953, and Peter probably did not see the film until 1954, probably around Christmas.
Peter, of course, met the 'visitors' in 1952, before the film was even released in America.

Today, of course, there would be 'Close Encounters', 'The X Files', 'Dark Skies' and 'Communion'; but their images, somewhat significantly, derive from writers who were young at the same time that little Peter was having his nocturnal visitors.
After some weeks of simply playing about in Peter's bedroom, the visitors finally enticed Peter from sitting on the bed to sitting on the table by the window.
The next step was to get him to sit on the window-sill. Peter was then encouraged to get onto a strange metal frame floating outside the bedroom window.
Once safely on this frame, and accompanied by a couple of the visitors, Peter would be taken up into the starry sky, on a breathtaking and exhilarating journey.
These journeys had a profound effect on Peter, giving him a lasting love of the night sky and the stars (see right).
There was more to these trips, however, than just having a sight-seeing tour of the starry heavens.

The trips always ended in a small, featureless, gray room - a gray room that would come to haunt Peter much later in his life.

There Peter would meet a tall young man, whom Peter took to be a teacher or a scientist. Peter would have long conversations with this person, although after these experiences he could never remember what these conversations were about.
While talking to this young man, Peter was always aware of a sinister looking robot standing in the corner of the room.
After Peter's meeting with the tall young man, the small, gray entities would take Peter back to the metal frame, which would then gently ferry him back through the starlit sky to his bedroom window.
Peter would then return to bed, leaving the little gray guys to caper around by the bed until he fell asleep.
If we accept Peter's memories as genuine, then he must be classed as an 'abductee' - one of that ever growing band of individuals who claim to have been contacted by alien entities, and spirited away to some extraterrestrial environment.
While by now many hundreds of thousands, (perhaps even millions), of individuals claim to have been abducted, Peter's case is unusual for two related reasons.
The first reason is the early date, and the second is the fact that it would have been almost impossible for Peter to have been influenced by any accounts of similar phenomena.
Peter's abductions began in 1952.
One of the earliest abduction accounts of the period was that of Villa Boas, which took place in Brazil in 1957.
A later, and far more influential case was that of Betty and Barney Hill in the USA, which took place in 1961, and clearly described the 'Grays', who also appear in Peter's account.
Whitley Streiber, the author of the book that attracted Peter's attention in Canterbury, was the author who popularised the abduction phenomenon, in which the 'Grays' play a central part.
In addition, although Streiber's fame is based on the abductions which he claimed to have experienced in 1985, Streiber's initial experiences of abduction date from the early fifties, when he was a young boy in San Antonio, in Texas, and it is significant that Streiber is only one year younger than Peter.
It should be remembered, of course, that all these abduction accounts were published many years after Peter's first experience, and therefore could not have influenced him, unless we propose that Peter's subsequent knowledge of these accounts affected his memories of some other event.
As a boy Peter did have some knowledge of UFO encounters. These were the result of John Crawford becoming interested in contactee stories, and borrowing books from the Public Library by George Adamski.
George Adamski was one of the first, modern contactees.
Adamski was born in Poland in 1891, but he was just two years old his family emigrated to America to escape the crushing poverty and political uncertainty.
As a young man he spent some years in the American Army although little is known of the details of his early life.
By 1944 he was calling himself 'Professor' Adamski and lecturing on Eastern Religions. He and a group of followers had set up a small colony near Mount Palomar, in California; site of the giant two-hundred inch reflecting telescope.
There they ran a tourist's café, and Adamski indulged in his hobby of amateur astronomy with his six inch Newtonian reflector.

In 1946 Adamski observed his first UFO through his telescope but, significantly, it was not until 1952 that he was able to successfully take his first photograph of a UFO through his telescope.
In that same year he experienced his first contact with alien entities.
These entities identified themselves a 'Venusians' and appeared to be humanoid, looking very similar to Nordic earthmen, and similar to Peter's 'scientist' or 'teacher'.

Adamski was a prolific writer, and although most of what he wrote is now discounted, even by the most ardent UFO fan, in the 1950's he was a successful non-fiction author.
Peter, however, only got to read Adamski's books when he was about thirteen years old, and there is very little similarity between Adamski's Venusians and Peter's 'visitors'.
There is, strangely enough, a strong and rather haunting similarity between Streiber's 'visitors' and Peter's experiences, although it must be remembered that Peter did not come across Streiber's account until thirty-six years had passed.
Both accounts begin with the appearance of owls, and both accounts involve nocturnal visits by small thin, gray entities.
Equally both accounts involve a small metal frame as the means of transportation away from the bedroom, and both involve a small room where further encounters take place.
Where the accounts differ is with Peter's experience of the 'Nordic' and the 'robot'.
Streiber, however, when describing his childhood abductions, which were taking place at the same time as Peter's experiences, describes how he was taken to a room where he received instruction.
Also, significantly, he describes how he saw a number of school friends at these 'lessons', although strangely these friends never discussed their presence at these 'lessons' when they met Streiber in the following days and weeks.
Peter also had sessions of 'instruction', as he often thought of the tall 'Nordic' as a 'teacher', but he had no recollection of anyone else being present at these sessions.
Peter's experience differs in one other important way that from that of most other abductees, and that is in the matter of sexuality, although this is possibly not surprising, considering how young Peter was.

Villa Boas (see left), a simple South American peasant, was abducted with the purpose of him impregnating a female extraterrestrial.

Betty and Barney Hill (see right) were both given intimate examinations, which involved taking ova from Betty and sperm samples from Barney, and Whitely Streiber, when abducted as an adult, underwent an examination involving an anal probe.

Peter, however, had no conscious memory of any such activity.
Peter was never sure exactly how often the visitors came - after all, boys of that age don't keep diaries, or consult calendars.
The visits did seem to be quite regular, however, averaging at least once or twice a week.
Despite their regularity, Peter was never comfortable with the little 'grays', and in reality, despite the fact that they never hurt or threatened Peter, they always frightened him.
It was different with the tall young man, and in retrospect, Peter felt that quite a deep relationship developed between the two of them, despite the constant and ominous presence of the robot.
So if we presume, just for the sake of argument, that Peter's memories of the 'Visitors' were genuine, and reasonably accurate; then just who were these little chaps that floated into his bedroom.
Early contactees, like Ballard, Adamski and King were convinced that their alien visitors came from Venus, Mars Jupiter, Saturn etc.
Of course we are now pretty sure that the planets, apart from the Earth, are incapable of supporting life.

When this became general knowledge, in the sixties, aliens were generally reported to come from other stars or galaxies.

An example of this was Betty and Barney Hill's aliens, who were supposed to come from the Pleiades, or possibly Reticulum.
If, however, the speed of light is taken into consideration then, unfortunately, it seems somewhat unlikely that aliens would travel for many years just to undertake gynaecological examinations of a small group of humans.
The result of all these speculations was that later contactees, and those who wrote about them, started to suggest that the visitors might not be extra-terrestrials at all.
The new possibilities were that these beings could be time travellers, multi-dimensional beings, and most alarmingly perhaps, 'The Watchers'.
And who were or are the watchers ?
Well this conveniently takes us into the realms of religion, and to the pseudepigraphical 'Book of Enoch', written in the Jewish intertestamentory period, where the 'Watchers', the Nephilim (see right), were angelic or spiritual beings who mated with mortal woman, and were punished with banishment. Not demons, and not ghosts, but 'all seeing' guardians – who no longer guard – but may now have some other agenda.
If the little gray guys weren't the 'Watchers', then possibly Peter's tall young man was, but as to his purpose Peter was unable to tell, and we are equally unable to shed any light on this mystery.
Peter, himself, had no thoughts about who his 'visitors' were, and never spoke about them to Jane and John, or to his friends, as far as he could recall, but then that should not surprise us, for J M Barrie (see left) wrote that,
'Children have the strangest adventures without being troubled by them, for what troubles a grown-up will never trouble a child'.
Eventually, after about two years, the end came.
Quite suddenly the tall young man announced to Peter that the regular visits were now coming to an end, although this didn't mean that there would never again be any contact.
In one sense Peter was relieved.
The presence of the Grays had always been stressful for him, and he welcomed the thought of undisturbed nights. On the other hand it was difficult to come to terms with the loss of his 'alien' friend.
But at least there was the knowledge that they might meet again.

Strange Aftermath

'The Stars - Night by Night'
The tall young visitor kept his promise, but that story is for another time.
The coming of the 'visitors' was preceded by Peter becoming afraid of the dark.
Oddly enough, after the departure of the 'visitors' Peter was never again frightened of the dark.
And strange to say, some months after the disappearance of the visitors, Mr Wilkinson, the old gentleman who lived in the neighbouring house, gave Peter two gifts.
The first was a book; an old, Edwardian guide to the night sky, 'The Stars - Night by Night' - giving a description of the skies for each week of the year, plus a planisphere set into the back cover.

Rather more significant was the gift of a red leather covered brass telescope, in a leather case, complete with two extra eyepieces and a table-top tripod.
Now why such an extravagant gift, apparently coming from out of the blue?
As far as Peter could remember he had told no one about the 'visitors'.

But then just maybe he had said something to Mr Wilkinson - or perhaps the old man had seen something, late one night - or perhaps the old man just knew, after all, he had been a friend of Aliester Crowley.

Of course Jane and John were far too polite to refuse, on behalf of their little boy, this rather extravagant gift.

Peter, however, was delighted.

Regularly, from then on, when ever the weather was warm enough, Peter would wait until the adults below thought he was asleep, and then open his bedroom window.

He would then place the telescope tripod on the chest, where the 'visitors' had once sat, gazing at him with their huge dark eyes, and point his prized telescope at the bright southern skies, peering at the glittering Pleiades, and nebulous glow of Orion, half hoping, and half fearing, that he would catch sight of his 'visitors' one more time.

And perhaps Mr Wilkinson, on some summer nights, would walk out into his garden, and see Peter at his bedroom window scanning the night sky, and smile to himself, for perhaps he knew what the boy was searching for - and maybe he had even searched himself, in the same way, sometime in the past - after all, it would be wildly improbable if wildly improbable things did not happen.
And so we should think back to the balmy summer nights; - the smell of freshly cut grass on the evening air, and the musty aroma of the warm earth; the endless reaches of the star-spangled sky, and the overwhelming anticipation of the approach of something alien and unsettling, and yet strangely compelling and familiar.
And all this can induce a profound nostalgia, and not just in young Peter, but in so many of us, for such reminiscences may be something that many of us hold in common - if we could but just grasp some of the memories of those strange, magical nights so long ago - 'so long ago, and so clear'.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2012
click here for more information and photos about Peter's early years