Where were you in 1977? Okay so if you are under the age of 38 then it’s a redundant question, me I was in my last year of residing full time in the UK, before my Irish parents decided to return home to Dublin taking myself and my two sisters with them. It was the year of the Queens Silver Jubilee; people were celebrating with nationwide celebrations and street parties. Not to far up the road from where I was living in Buckinghamshire, a family in Enfield in North London where being terrorized by a malevolent spirit. While in South Wales another family where being terrorized an altogether different entity or entities. This is the subject of this month’s book; it’s The Uninvited by Clive Harold.
First published in 1979, by the W.H. Allen Publishing Company which eventually went on to become Virgin Publishing. The book tells the story of the Coombs family, who live on Ripperston Farm on the south Wales coast over looking St. Brides Bay between Pembroke and Fishguard. What started as a close encounter with a large glowing orb which chased Pauline Coombs home in her car one cold clear January night, escalated to shorting out numerous TV’s and a couple of cars, finally culminating in a numerous visitations by men in silvery glowing space suits. There are also ‘Men In Black’ who drove around in a mysterious large silver car and the strange, almost hysterically funny, frequent mass teleportation of nearly one hundred cows over a distance of almost mile. That’s not forgetting the radiation burns suffered by the family members and the abductions too. This all took place over the course of a year between January 1977 and January 1978.
The book is written by journalist Clive Harold who was commissioned by an English magazine in 1977 to write a feature on UFO stories to coincide with the release of the film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I came across the book last week while on a well deserved holiday in Devon. I’d brought a couple of books with me to read and review, but while casually perusing the bookshelves of our rented cottage in the town of Colyton, I stumbled upon this book. It was the blurb which caught me straight away, with its opening line “It began with a bright light high in the night sky…” and “This story is true, you’ll wish it wasn’t”. Now being a bit of a paranormal fan and a believer in the unexplained, it didn’t need much more to get me to pick it up and dive right in.
This book is the scariest thing I’ve read in ages and had me jumping at the slightest noise, while reading it late at night in a deathly quiet house in the middle of the East Devon countryside. For all I knew I could have been 200 miles away in South Wales. One thing that occurred to me was, why has this not been adapted for TV like other strange occurrences from this time such as the recently aired Enfield Haunting on Sky, starring Timothy Spall and Matthew McFadden. Having read this book, I’m convinced it’s an ideal candidate for a TV adaptation.
As for the Author Clive Harold, my research claims he wrote other books, but there is no record anywhere of any other book. As to what happened to Clive, there are uncorroborated reports that he was at school with HRH Prince Charles and that they met up when the prince visited the offices of The Big Issue in 1997 where Clive was working as a seller.
Also very little is known of what became of the Coombs family – Billy, his wife Pauline and their four children, Clinton, Kieron, Layann and Joanne in the intervening years. It’s over 35 years since the events of this book and they come across in the book as being rather innocent and publicity shy for fear of being made laughing a laugh stock of. Their names and images pop up on UFO and Unexplained forums and sites to this day but as to their whereabouts, that’s almost as big a mystery as to who or what visited them and their neighbours in 1977.
There are two types of people in the world, the believers in the unexplained and the skeptics, If you are a believer like me, then you’ll immediately go on to Amazon to buy one of the few remaining copies out there. While the skeptics may scoff and walk on by. However, those liberal and open-minded persuasion will enjoy this well written and utterly convincing story from yesteryear, which takes a very serious and non judgmental look at a topic which even today produces evidence which begs the question is there life beyond the stars and have we been visited by aliens?
So if you suffer from nightmares easily, this may not be your cup of tea as this will keep you awake long after you’ve put it down or in my case finished it in one sitting. Once you have, then definitely phone home to make sure everyone is okay.