We often think of myths and legends as being very old, but this story takes place not very long ago.
A schoolteacher was told about the little blue man by a group of six children, all aged between 10 and 11 years (including: Alex Butler, Tony Banks, Terry Cahill, Colin Lonsdale and David Inglis). One of our researchers, who was visiting the site, was lucky enough to meet one of the people who saw the little blue man in 1967, over 40 years ago. He still lives in the village and pointed out the exact place where the little blue man appeared.
This odd story is only one of many that tell of people seeing strange beings. Myths and legends, from early times to modern tales, are full of meetings with strange little folk or aliens.
What other myths involve meetings with strange beings?
In Celtic legends there are the Faery People
In old myths and legends, there were many meetings with non-humans. Often these beings were seen as living in a different world or hidden kingdom.
Sometimes people from our world would see a little part of the other world. The Faery people, for example, are very important in Celtic myths. They were larger than humans, tall, fair and terrible and they had a wild, strange magic. Mounds, trees and springs that marked the way into the Faery kingdom were thought to exist across the Celtic world. Musicians could be asked to their feasts or treasure seekers fall accidentally into their world - a world where anything could happen.
In other old tales, such as the Anglo Saxon Sagas and 'Icelandic Eddas' (a collection of folk-songs and tales of the northern peoples, in particular the Vikings), there are tales of meetings with elves and dwarfs.
The creatures from these myths, legends and folk tales live on in the books of Tolkien and through fairytales and children's stories, along with Goblins, Pixies, Gnomes and other mythical beings. Indeed, some people have pointed out that the little Blue Man is very like some characters in children's stories, and the way he disappeared, in a puff of smoke, is also like magic. So some people felt the story was imagined. However, others felt that this was not likely, as the boys all told the same story and did not add to or change their story when they were asked more questions later.
Why did the Flying Saucer Review become involved?
A comic from the 1930's
How people explain a strange event, depends on when it happened. Hundreds of years ago, people would have thought the little blue man was a dwarf or fairy. However, from the late 1930's and into the 1940's and 50's, there was a lot of new technology. That, and the space race, made people think of space travel and life on other planets. So today, people are more likely to look to science fact or fiction to explain strange events.
From the mid 20th century, books like HG Wells' classic "War of the Worlds" made people think there could really be alien life. There were a lot of UFO sightings in the USA, Russia and Poland and then came a report that an alien ship had crashed in the desert at Roswell in July 1947, but the US military said it was not true. In 1959, the Russian, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human in space. Soon, there were more.
Because humans were going into space, people began to wonder if aliens might visit the earth. Since this time, there have often been stories of people meeting alien space ships or beings. In the late 1950s and 1960s, science fiction films and books used these ideas and this time saw the start of magazines about UFO's, such as the Flying Saucer Review, which reported the crash. (R H B Winder, FSR Vol. 13 # 4 - July 1967, p. 3)
So what was the little blue man?
The little blue man and a more typical alien image
We are not likely to ever know what the little blue man was. This story is different because of the detail given by the six boys and the fact that the little man looked very different from the grey colour of aliens in science fiction stories. Whether you believe in aliens, pixies or earth spirits or think this was imagination, the tale of the little blue man is still a very interesting story.