THE MARK OF THE BEAST
LITTLE green men, God was an Astronaut, pyramidology and mysterious manifestations
in the sky I leave quite happily to others.
Even on a more mundane level, while the whole world, or at least that section
within three days journey of a TV screen was transfixed to it watching the
moon landing, Linda and I walked the streets of a north-eastern city, every
front room on our path aglow with the cold phosphor of the cathode ray gun.
As Man took one small step, we took many with probably equal relevance for
the Future of Mankind (or even Personkind).
As you may have gathered I am close to absolute zero Kelvin about space and
as likely to develop a belief in UFOs as in a Conservative Party manifesto.
Jjust once upon a time, for a few seconds, I came close to conversion. One
day, walking a mile or so out of town I saw something which stopped me with
the impact of a steaming heap of dinosaur droppings; unmistakably it was the
spoor of a flying saucer...
Of course I photographed it. Not an interesting picture, so you won't find
it here. One of those wide empty going straight to nowhere very much German
country roads, posts every hundred metres proclaiming the precise distance
to civilisation or Valhalla - where most of the drivers were apparently trying
to get.- or somewhere.
Unhedged. Fields in the background. A few small trees, cows, corn, blue sky,
and there on the road a circle perhaps seven metres in diameter its perimeter
formed of dark strips with regular small gaps between which some object had
Indirectly it was one of my boyhood friends who provided the answer. He was
the kind of kid your parents don't like you to hang around with, and from
his own lengthy accounts, irresistible to women, although in retrospect the
horny tales which excited us virginal cronies - the nearest we came (if you'll
excuse the pun) to sex education - almost certainly reflected more bragging
This, however, has nothing to do with this story, and the only photograph
I still have of him only establishes a marginal connection. Aged about 18,
in airline uniform in front of his shiny black Morris-Minor, this has an uncanny
resemblance - so far as my experience goes - to an alien being arriving from
In fact, soon after it was taken he left for Australia, which probably saved
growing up. Johnny would have made a big impression in Germany, I'm sure he
still would, with his Buddy Holly act that made the real thing sound like
Around forty years before, his father had made big impressions there, but
in a different role. I still recall his terse summation of this part of Germany
that I know.
Just three words:
All pictures and text © Peter Marshall, 1985, 1997