Allingham, Cedric

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Allingham, Cedric

Elusive author of the book Flying Saucers from Mars (1954), published a year after the remarkable claims of George Adamski in his influential book, written with Desmond Leslie, Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953).

Cedric Allingham's book claimed that while the author was on a caravan holiday near Lossiemouth, Scotland, in February 1954, he saw a flying saucer and met its Martian pilot. The book included a soft focus photograph of a back view of the alien moving away. Coming so soon after Adamski's book, both books initiated scores of similar "contactee" claims. While flying saucer fans welcomed Allingham's book, skeptics denounced it as a hoax.

The case against the genuineness of the book was strengthened by the fact that attempts to contact the author by other investigators /span> proved fruitless. At the time the book was published in October 1954, Allingham was said to be touring the United States planning to meet Adamski. His publisher then claimed that Allingham was suffering from tuberculosis in a Swiss sanitarium. A few months later, Allingham was said to have died.

Apart from Allingham's publishers, the only other named human contactee was said to have been a fisherman named James Duncan, however Duncan proved just as elusive as Allingham. In 1969 Robert Chapman, a perceptive critic, claimed in his own book Unidentified Flying Objects that Allingham never existed and that the story was "probably the biggest UFO leg-pull ever perpetrated in Britain." Chapman discovered that Allingham was supposed to have lectured to a flying saucer group in Kent, England, and a photograph purporting to be of Allingham standing by "his 10-inch reflecting telescope" appeared as frontispiece to Flying Saucers from Mars.

The hoax was finally resolved in 1986 by journalists Christopher Allan and Steuart Campbell in an article in the journal Magonia. Allan and Campbell claimed that Allingham's book was a hoax perpetrated by a British astronomer Patrick Moore, who presents the popular television series "The Sky at Night." Moore had claimed to know Allingham and to have met him at a lecture on UFOs given at a club in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Allan and Campbell conducted a careful comparison between the Allingham book and the writings of Moore. They found significant similarities of words, phrases, and references, but also some puzzling differences. They concluded that more than one individual was involved in the writing of the book.

Although the publishers refused to disclose the identity or whereabouts of "Allingham," they agreed to forward a letter from Allan and Campbell, asking for details of identity. The letter was returned with the remark on the envelope "not known here for at least twelve years." However, the envelope itself identified the name and address to which the letter had been sent! Allan and Campbell were thus able to contact the individual, Peter Davies, who had been living only nine miles from the home of Patrick Moore in East Grinstead, Sussex. When contacted at a later address, Davies admitted that he had been involved with the book Flying Saucers from Mars, that it was written by someone else whom he would not name, but that his task had been to revise the book to conceal the style, and that the frontispiece photograph of "Allingham" was actually of himself in disguise. He also admitted that he had given the lecture to the flying saucer group in Kent, in company with a knowledgeable "assistant" (i.e., Moore) whom he would not name. It also transpired that Davies was an old friend of Patrick Moore.

Allan and Campbell compared the photograph of "Allingham" standing by the side of the 10-inch reflecting telescope with a photograph of the 1½-inch reflector telescope belonging to Patrick Moore, taken in his garden in East Grinstead, Sussex. The telescope and the background of trees, shrub, and a garden seat matched.

The question of Allingham's identity was finally resolved; however, Moore never acknowledged his role in the hoax. Immediately after the 1986 article exposing his initiation of the affair, he tried to refute the idea and threatened to sue any who perpetuated it. He soon lapsed into silence and ufologists discovered that his authorship of the Allingham book was somewhat of an open secret among British scientists. Moore in fact had a long history of poking fun at contactee claims and had written many letters to Cosmic Voice, the periodical of the Aetherius Society, which included mention of scientists with names such as L. Puller or Dr. Huizenass.


Allen, Christopher, and Steuart Campbell. "Flying Saucer from Moore's?" Magonia vol. 23 (July 1986): 15-18.

Allingham, Cedric [Patrick Moore]. Flying Saucer from Mars. London: Frederick Muller, 1954.

Chapman, Robert. Unidentified Flying Objects. London: Arthur Barker, 1969.