Screaming skulls, bizarre Indian rope tricks (left), green children and "the changing face of alien abduction" - they're all in a day's work for the participants at the Fortean Times UnConvention, which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of UFOlogy. Andy Roberts, who will be giving a talk on screaming skulls (see front cover) describes how certain cranial remains must, well, remain in particular houses, if they're not to unleash ghosts or other vindictive phenomena. "There are stories about skulls which have been dumped in the sea and made it back into the house by tea time," he breezes. "I think these stories probably have more to do with mythology than fact," Roberts chirps, "but, having said that, I wouldn't move one. I'd let sleeping dogs lie."

Author Duncan Lunan, another of the speakers at the conference and president of ASTRA, (the Association in Scotland to Research into Astronautics) says he "doesn't believe in UFOs", a strange admission from someone who spends his days validating the arrival of two alien tourists in 12th-century East Anglia. According to Lunan, Latin texts which describe how a green boy and girl emerged from a pit in the village of Woolpit describe an ancient alien visitation. Speaking a strange language, wearing weird clothing and initially refusing all food, the children were eventually persuaded to eat bean plants, "because they were the same colour as themselves".

"We are making it up on one level," Lunan admits, but before sceptics clap their hands together in glee, they should note that Lunan is not disowning the story, just describing the imaginative extrapolations that form one part of his research.

"In science fiction it's known as world building," explains Lunan. "You take what you know of an alien world and work around it a convincing model. The records state that the children came from a planet where the sun neither rose nor set. There was a very bright territory on the horizon. From that you can work out that this was a planet always facing the sun." Lunan is also happy to speculate about their means of transport: "There was a lot of odd stuff going on astronomically at the time. They didn't come in a flying saucer, but a physicist friend of mine said that conditions could have allowed them to be instantaneously transported." After three years research into genealogy and astronomy, Lunan is now not only "convinced" that the stories record a genuine "contact", but that a member of the current Cabinet is descended from the green girl ."The coincidences are too great," says Lunan. "At the time that it happened, Henry II had already annexed Woolpit and put his powerful Vice Chancellor in charge of this tiny village. Then, in 1173, he rushed back from a major war to garrison 300 crack troops there.

"Whatever it was that happened," he adds darkly "It's part of something much bigger, and Henry was in it up to his neck".

Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London WC1, today & Sun from 10.30am. Booking: 01789 490 215

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine