The spooky tale of The Little Blue Man of Studham Common has caught the attention of Dutchman Theo Paijmans.
He has been in touch with Dunstable and District Local History Society to try to find out more about this intriguing mystery.
And an article from Theo in the society’s August newsletter revisits the oft-told tale.
Just to remind you, it all happened on a thundery day in the Studham area in late January, 1967.
Six young boys from Studham School were playing on the common on their way to school.
A few minutes after lightning struck, one boy saw a little blue man with a tall hat and a beard, and called to his friends, who also saw the mysterious figure.
They began running towards the little man but he disappeared in a puff of smoke, then appeared in another spot, only to vanish again.
This happened four times in all. Headmistress Miss Newcomb interviewed the children and pasted their written reports into a book, called The Little Blue Man On Studham Common.
The lads said the man was 3ft tall, and wore a tall, brimless bowler with a rounded top.
He had two round eyes, a small flat triangle instead of a nose, and seemed to have short arms.
The man wore a one-piece garment and a broad, black belt carrying a black box at the front, about six inches square.
One boy commented: “I and my friends were startled, he was horrid.”
Theo has been in touch with society chairman John Buckledee, who dug out Dunstable Gazette cuttings for him, about the event and readers’ suggestions about what had happened.
One person said that the incident “resembles the old legends and folk tales of earth fairies and elementals.
“Could it possibly be that in that freak atmosphere caused by the flash of lightning, these children saw into that other dimension which generally we are only dimly aware of?”
Theo wants to find out what happened to the book containing the children’s accounts.
And he would also like to get in touch with any of the boys or their relatives or friends who remember the strange experience. - dunstabletoday
On January 28, 1967 a few young friends, aged between ten and eleven years, were playing near the Dell at Studham, Bedfordshire. The events that followed turned the day into anything but ordinary.
There's a footpath leading to the Dell, which is like a small overgrown valley, surrounded by bushes and trees beside Studham Common. It had been raining earlier but now the sky had cleared.
As the boys talked back and forth, suddenly a flash of lightning struck nearby. One of the boys, Alex Butler, who was a little bit ahead of the others, stopped in surprise when he reached the edge of the bank above the Dell. Standing near some bushes, at the foot of the opposite bank, about twenty yards away, was 'a little blue man'.
For a moment or two, Alex stared at this curious stranger in amazement, before shouting to his friends to come and look. They too stopped in bewilderment.
The little blue man was about three feet tall, with a tall hat or helmet, which added to his height, and he glowed blue all over. He had two round eyes, a strange flat triangle instead of a nose, and his arms, which were short, were held at his side and did not appear to move.
His blue beard was forked, the two parts running down each side of his chest. The strange little man wore a one-piece suit, again of a glowing blue with a black belt; in front of the buckle was a black box, about six inches square.
As the boys got near to where he was standing, a strange whirring cloud of yellow-blue mist moved towards them and, in an instant, the strange little man vanished! As their eyes searched the Dell, they spotted him again. This time they also heard strange babbling voices. Could there have been more strange little blue men hidden in the undergrowth?
Twice more, as the boys tried to approach him, the little blue man disappeared into a puff of yellow-blue mist! Then the boys heard the sound of the school bell and rushed off in great excitement to tell their teacher, Mrs. Newcomb, everything they had seen and heard. After listening to their story, their teacher made them write it all down and made sure there was no copying.
On March 3rd, 1967, the Dunstable Gazette ran a short article on the little blue man and that led to a reporter, from the Flying Saucer Review, interviewing the boys and gathering all the details together. It was a mystery that needed investigating. Who or what was the little blue man?
Some people felt the boys had imagined it all. However, the boys' teacher felt sure they had been telling the truth and that the unusual incident had really happened. UFO investigators suggested that the black box could have been a receiver and the forked beard some kind of breathing apparatus. However, no UFO sightings were reported in the area at that time.
So it seems, we can only guess at what was in the Dell that day and that it will remain a mystery. Unless, of course, the little blue man returns once more! - Myths and Legends
On March 3rd, 1967, the Dunstable Gazette apparently ran a short article on the little blue man, and that attracted ufologists Bryan Winder, Charles Bowen, Gordon Creighton and one Moulster. Research apparently revealed that there were UFO sightings in the area in the few months that followed the appearance of the blue man. Some sources tell that there were two "UFO landings" at the place where the boys had seen the figure but nothing precise and no dating seems available and the boys reported no UFO.
At least Bryan Winder heard the details of the sighting of the "blue man" from the children, having questioned them in the presence of their teacher.
Ufologists investigating the case later suggested that the black box at the figure's belt could have been some sort of a receiver and the forked beard some kind of breathing apparatus, while later still, proponents of the thesis that alien visitors are actually fairies proposed that the blue man must have been some sort of goblin like those of the British folklore and ghost hunting circles obviously propose that it was some sort of ghost.
From the briefs accounts of the ufology literature that were the easiest to find and that I read before starting this file, I could almost have created a mental image of this character as like some sort of dwarf from the Snowy White team or Alice in Wonderland kind, in traditional blue suit and bowler hat. Well, how surprising, it appears according to Winder that this pretty ready-made image is probably without much similarity with the reported character. In place of the chic blue suit, we have a luminescent gray-bluish silhouette making the perception of contours and details difficult. The bowler hat was only an image to indicate what could just as well have been a space helmet rather than really a bowler hat. Instead of a merry goblin hopping around with joyful gestures, the goblin has the arms permanently stuck at the sides and legs and feet said to have been indistinct.
Irony aside, it seems obviously unreasonable to me not to take part in this kind of Rorschach test game played to interpret this character according to the one or the other thesis, extremely risky interpretations if you agree to consider the big unsolved problem of the absence of the obviously primary documentation, that of the booklet containing the accounts that each kid is said to have written separately. Just the absence of this essential piece justifies the most extreme reservation, instead of forcing this blue man really not that blue and not that much of a man, it seems, in one or the other category.
It might not be to much an outrage to note, moreover, that there is no ufological investigation report available, no situation plan, no drawings of the character, no search on the sociopsychological aspects concerning the teacher and the pupils, obviously no physical evidence - not even alleged - no clear cut explanation of the exact participation of each kid in the various phase of the observation, not to mention rumors of UFOs or UFO landings in the area or at the exact spot of which nothing is said and so on. Can it really be sensible to see in all this an "example" to put forth one or the other UFO-theory, when it regrettably looks only like one more example of the too frequent lack of availability of precise data? - Patrick Gross
The setting is near-perfect for a fairy tale: the village, 60l ft. up in the Chillerns. is quite isolated by the boundary fence of Whipsnade Park Zoo Close to the N.W.. and a deepish valley lo the South; and by the escarpment of these chalk hills dropping steeply away on the far side of the Zoo. It all seems well removed from ions and ionization. but perhaps not quite so remote as your editor and G. W. Creighton anticipated when they suggested that I Should report on this case.
It all started with a single flash of lightning which struck on or near the common at about l.45 p.m on January 28, 1966. Probably an ordinary stroke, because rain was falling and the atmosphere was heavy, but it could have been initiated by artificial ionization of the air. l mention the possibility not because any flying object was seen. But isolated strokes are not all that frequent and this one was certainly followed by some extraordinary events.
Alex Butler. aged I0 years, and his friends-Tony Banks, Kerry Gahill, Andrew Hoar, David Inglis, Colin Lonsdale and John Mickleburgh were playing on the Common on their way to afternoon school. They were in the vicinity of the Dell, which is a shallow valley thickly strewn with hawthorn, gorse and bracken; and a few Old tin cans and motor tires. The undergrowth is riddled with passages connecting several dens under the bigger bushes, all no doubt the work of generations of Children and animals; and there is a small open space hidden in the middle. The whole is reminiscent of a surface version of a miniature Viet Cong hideout, providing good cover, even in Winter, coupled with surprising freedom of movement-for diminutive creatures. The school is about 200 yards away and the nearest houses maybe 150 yards, but small persons could remain concealed for a long time were it not for the children who obviously regard this as their territory and know virtually every blade of grass in it.
A few minutes after the lightning, and its associated thunder. Alex was casting a proprietary eye over the Dell from the top of its northern bank when he saw, quite clearly over the open center, "a little blue man with a tall hat and a beard" standing upright and still in front of the bushes at the opposite bank. He immediately shouted a description to his friends. who were initially skeptical but confirmed his view on joining him. Reacting as if to an intruder, they all began to run down the bank towards the stranger who was only about 20 yards away. The little man reacted, in turn, by “disappearing in a puff of smoke".
It is easy at this stage, to rationalize the happening into a fairy story based on optical and electrical effects emanating from the lightning, but this tale continues-without further discharges.
Finding nothing at the place where he was first seen, the boys ran on. Little to their right along the bottom of the dell and then up the far bank; still searching for their elusive quarry. They soon saw him again this time to their left farther along the top of the bank and on the opposite side of the bushes that had previously formed his background. Once again he was standing still and facing them at a range of 20 yards. They again approached him and he repeated his disappearing trick.
The third time they saw him he was back at the bottom of the Dell, not far from his original position. His pursuers had by now reached his second location. Looking at him through the little bushes, they became aware of “voices" which they describe in a manner suggesting a continuous incomprehensible, and "foreign-sounding" babble, coming from a point in the bushes closer to them and down the slope to the right of their line of sight. A feeling that the little fellow had associates who were communicating with him and to whom he was replying, although they could detect no movement on his part. induced a sense of caution which deterred them from rushing towards him as before. Instead. the boys continued to circle the Dell until they could look down it, whereupon they saw him for the fourth and last time still standing as motionless as ever in the same place. Uncertain what to do next. they milled around for a few more minutes before they told their teacher’s their experience.
They warned Miss Newcomb that she would not believe it, but, knowing them as well as she does and after assessing their excitement and listening to their story, she did believe them. She then very sensibly separated them and made each write it down in his own words. The essays were re-written two weeks later... not in order to alter their substance but simply to improve their spelling and tìdyness, and were pasted into a book entitled "The Little Blue Man on Studham Common”. It makes fascinating and convincing reading. I only wish there were space enough to reproduce it here. No doubt it will occupy an honored place in the archives of the Studham Village Primary School.
The case was brought to our attention by Mr. L. Moulsler, a long-standing reader of this review, who sent a cutting about it from the Borough Gazette, dated March 3. He kindly accompanied CB., G.W.C. and myself in a preliminary survey of the district and reminded us of local sightings investigated by him in previous years: an apparent landing at the rim of the hills not far from the Zoo and another, more controversial, case at the nearby Flying Club, of which he is a member. G.W.C. has also found another cutting from the aforementioned newspaper: dated October I5, 1965, it describes mystery lights in the sky over Whipsnade. Finally, it is hardly necessary to mention the Wildman Case (FLYING SAUCER Review, March/April 1962,) that look place near Aston Clinton about six miles away on February 9. i962.
Returning lo our present case: Miss Newcomb arranged for Mr. and Mrs. Creighton, Colin McCarthy, and myself to meet the principals at the school on Saturday afternoon, May 13. Without any prompting from their obviously respected and loved teacher, they gave a very competent account of the whole incident. They also took us to the places involved and then returned with us to the schoolroom to go into more detail. The following additional points emerged -
They estimate the little man as tall (by comparison with themselves), with an additional 2ft. accounted for by a hat or helmet best described as a tall brimless bowler, i.e. with a rounded top. The blue color turned out to be a dim grayish-blue glow lending to obscure outline and detail. They could, however, discern a line which was either a fringe of hair or the lower edge
of the hat. two round eyes, a small seemingly triangle in place of a nose, and a one-piece vestment extending down to a broad black belt carrying a black box at the front about six inches square. The arms appeared short and were held straight down close to the sides at all times. The legs and feet were indistinct. The "beard" is interesting: apparently it extended from the vicinity of the mouth downwards to divide and ran to both sides of the chest. Although agreeing that it could have been breathing apparatus. the boys could not see clearly enough to be certain and this thought had not occurred to them.
The disappearances caused me some difficulty at first, but became more understandable after further explanation of the "smoke" was apparently a whirling cloud of yellowish-blue mist shot towards the pursuers, possibly from the box on the belt. They agreed that he could have stepped into the bushes before this camouflage cleared, although it dissipated quite quickly. They heard no sound other than the voices and saw no movement at any time. Nor did they smell any smells or see anything strange in the vicinity, either on the ground or in the air.
The glow and the mist could have been the products of ionising radiation. Indeed, similar emanations, not necessarily from the same source could have triggered-off the lightning in an atmosphere already charged by natural processes. However. we must not carry speculation too far. All that we are certain of at this stage is that this is no ordinary fairy tale. Nobody who knows the boys disputes that it really happened. - R.H.B. Winder - Flying Saucer Review (FSR), vol. 13, #4, page 3, July 1967
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