8 June 2013


Arthur Constance. The Inexplicable Sky. Werner Laurie, 1956.

It was here that I first read the story of Ernie Suddart the Bradford lorry driver who claimed to have met small aliens jumping down the street, and of Mr Wood who had seen a bullet shaped thing on Roundhill Street in that town, and of Captain Howard and the flying shaped changing things seen over Newfoundland.
Constance wrote in a kind of Charles Fort style, and a great deal of his text was devoted to Charles Fort style attacks on scientists. Much of this sounded good fun, and still provides a sort of corrective to people who think that encyclopaedias and text books are source of accurate and up to date information, but like Fort, Constance just couldn’t grasp the idea that science was provisional and that facts and theories tend to change over time. Rather they looked on it as something which should be offering some sort of fixed truth and got miffed when it didn’t.

Though Constance approved of Fort, I doubt the sentiment would have been reciprocated, and certainly Constance would not have approved of any Fort’s friends, nor they of him. For his motivations for studying anomalies was quite opposite to that of Fort, for Constance was something that Fort despised, a fundamentalist Christian, motivated by a hatred of science, socialism and Sunday cinema opening. His book is full of attacks on “godless atheistic science” and includes the complaint that a planned (but never implemented, more’s the pity) increase in technical education was giving way to communism.

These were ideas which were quite common in Britain in the 1950s, finding their most prominent expression in the works of C. S. Lewis. They were very much part of the “flying saucer” movement, especially those figures associated with Flying Saucer Review, such as its proprietor, publisher of this book and fellow Cheltenham resident, Waveney Girvan, and can be seen as part of the last century's post-WWII Romantic reaction against Modernity. – Peter Rogerson.



  1. Hi, Peter
    Can you give more details about "Ernie Suddart the Bradford lorry driver who claimed to have met small aliens"? I do not remember the incident.

    1. Anonymous11.6.13

      Peter Rogerson replies The story can be found in INTCAT under August 16 1955 BRADFORD
      A recent fuller account can be found in Hanson and Holloway's Haunted Skies Vol 1 pp 179-81
      Hope that helps

    2. Here's the INTCAT entry:

      August 16 1955, 0400hrs.
      Lorry driver Ernest Suddards (35) and his 13 year old son were driving the lorry down Roundhill Street, when, in their headlights, they saw a being like a small human, 1.2m tall, dressed in skin tight black clothing and appeared to have its arms down by its side and feet together. It progressed in jerky movements, seemed to be dazzled by the lorry headlights and had on its chest a circular silver disk, perforated with holes, situated just below its throat. The being moved forward a few yards, and then turned abruptly right down a passage below the Suddarts' home. The witnesses were very shaken and unable to move in the cab for some time. Investigations by police were fruitless.

      Suddarts later met, in a pub, warehouseman Joseph Woods, who said that at 2330 on 19 August, he had seen in a field about 800m from Roundhill Street in Bradford, a bright, chromium plated bullet shaped object that stood upright behind a small hillock, reflecting the light of a nearby street lamp. The object was about 3.5m tall, 1.2-1.5m diameter, though the base not visible. This object was emitting a high pitched buzz “like a radio out of order”, that made Wood field cold and hurry away. Returning past the spot at midnight he saw the object was still there, and a horse that approached it shied away.

      Jack Ibson in Flying Saucer News 10, p.4 citing his own investigation:: Constance 1956, p.242.