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How did I get into UFOs?


People often ask me how I became interested in UFOs... so here's the story behind the fascination.


I was reading from an early age - I could read the sort of books used in my first school class before I even started school, thanks to my mother who taught me to read basic children's books. I skipped all of those when I started attending school and went straight onto the stuff aimed at 8 or 9 year olds without pictures. In fact, I remember feeling a bit left out when my teachers wouldn't let me read the "Jack and Jill" primary reading material as it was deemed below my standard! Anyway, I digress...


I was always fascinated by the Moon landings and can vaguely remember being woken up really early to watch the Apollo 17 launch live in December 1972 - I had turned six just a week earlier. I already had a 1/144th scale Airfix model of the Saturn V on the mantelpiece which my dad built (I "helped") and read everything I could in the local library about space travel and exploration of the Solar System.


My primary school started a book club where you could buy new paperback novels at cheaper prices than the high street stores. The titles were mostly kids' favourites and a few aimed at slightly older children - and Harry Harrison's "The Stainless Steel Rat". That got me into science fiction, aided and abetted by the sheer volume of TV SF available at the time. Star Trek (the original series) was being shown on BBC1 at 7.25pm on a weekday night (prime time!) and over on ITV, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Thunderbirds and Joe 90 were also firm favourites. I had Dinky models of Thunderbird 2, the Spectrum Patrol Vehicle and a SHADO Mobile. Pretty sure I even received a kit of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 for my seventh birthday too. I'm pretty sure I hadn't twigged UFO was about flying saucers that might actually have some truth in real life. To me at the time, it was all about cool looking spaceships and vehicles.


If you're still with me on this roundabout way of explaining things, here's the UFO connection.


By the age of nine, I'd amassed a small collection of Isaac Asimov novels, the Panther paperbacks with the amazing artwork on them. I enjoyed the stories immensely. My mother bought me what she thought was another one - one I hadn't got already. But when I looked at it closely, it turned out not to be a work of fiction, but something purporting to be fact - about UFOs, from Biblical times to the then-present (it was written in 1975). Being the inquisitive type and a sponge for anything I was interested in, the library started being raided for UFO books (it had a shelf full) and the snowball started rolling from then on...

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