The Mince-Pie Martians: a UFO Christmas story

On 4 January 1979, as the Christmas season was drawing to a close, a 43-year-old British housewife from the small town of Rowley Regis near Birmingham, had a very strange experience: she met real-life, living versions of the model fairy from the top of her Christmas tree. And they came from outer space.

Nowadays a cult classic of British ufology, “The Case of the Mince-Pie Martians“ is a Close Encounter so notorious that it has been put to music.

Awakening that cold, dark, snow-filled New Year’s morn, and spying an orange glow in her carport, Mrs Hingley presumed her husband Cyril had forgotten to switch the light off on his way to work. Going out to check, she instead found a bright light hovering over it, “like a big orange”. Jean then saw three strange beings floating speedily into her house through the open door, “with a sound like Zee … Zee … Zee …”. They looked uncannily like larger versions of the fairy on top of the Hingley family’s Christmas tree, an item they proceeded to shake about like excited toddlers. As Mrs Hingley later explained:

“They glowed with a brilliant light … As they floated past me into the lounge I saw they had wonderful wings … three little slim "men" [3-4 feet tall] in silvery-green tunics and silver waistcoats with silver buttons or press-studs [which they pushed to speak in metallic ‘robot voices’] … Their pointed hands and feet were covered in the same silvery-green, and they had pointed caps on their heads of the same colour and with something like a lamp on top. They had transparent ‘fish bowl’ helmets over their heads which rested on their shoulders … Their faces were waxy white, corpse-like, and they had ‘black diamond’ eyes … I didn't notice their noses. Their mouths were very thin. Their wings were wonderful, large, oval-shaped and glowing with rainbow colours – red, violet, gold, blue, green – but more beautiful than our earthly colours … [like] Joseph's coat of many colours.”

In short, as drawings show, they were a cross between cartoon fairies or angels of the type often used as cheap Christmas decorations, and the classic alien “Grays“ now made famous from US media films and TV shows like The X-Files.

Enemy aliens?

The entities’ very presence made Mrs Hingley’s pet dog Hobo collapse by his drinking bowl, with “his hair sticking out all over like a hedgehog’s”, as if “he was drugged”. Mrs Hingley too became paralysed, feeling “as though I was in Heaven although I was still at home.” She then levitated into the living room, where the fairies were themselves also flying about, busily reading her Christmas cards and touching all the household objects.

Although they sometimes shot laser beams into her head, freezing her to the spot, the creatures told their unwilling host not to worry, reassuring her “We shall not harm you” as “We come from the sky.” Knocking the smaller fairy from the top of the tree, the larger fairies were helpfully informed by Mrs Hingley what such a decoration was: “We put up a tree at Christmas because we believe Jesus was born then.” “We know all about Jesus,” they replied. They then read a newspaper, whose front page contained the New Year’s Honours List. “These people have been made Lords,” Mrs Hingley elucidated. “There is only one Lord,” the apparently Christian entities shot back. “Everybody will go to Heaven,” the figures promised. “There are beautiful colours there.”

The fairy-folk certainly sounded like Christians: but then they slipped up. Mrs Hingley had long been a very religious woman, but had not attended chapel for a few years, disliking new-fangled modernised services. No worries, the visitors explained. Religious worship was unnecessary to enter Heaven these days. “There is no need to worship in synagogues,” they informed Mrs Hingley – but how would Christians confuse a chapel and a synagogue?

Then the aliens began bouncing up and down on the sofa like naughty children before being told off by Mrs Hingley. What followed was a long, very strange conversation in which the beings discussed the rightful place of women in the home, performed catch-phrase impressions of the popular TV game-show host Bruce Forsythe and revealed themselves as unexpected fans of the 1950s British singer Tommy Steele.

Mrs Hingley also offered them a plateful of mince-pies: the pies simply stuck to their hands like metal to magnets. Mrs Hingley then foolishly lit a cigarette. This caused the entities to flee into the back garden and into their waiting spaceship (the source of the original orange glow), before flying away not up to Mars, but “over the fence and away across the open ground towards Oldbury”. They took  their mince pies with them.

Fairy lights    

What on earth happened here? Bemusingly, the Mince-Pie Martians left actual physical traces behind after them. The TV set, cassette-tapes and clocks they touched were electromagnetically ruined. There were melted marks in the snow in the back garden matching the landing-area of their spaceship. The dog, Hobo, subsequently fell ill, as did Mrs Hingley herself, who developed eyes so sore she had to wear sunglasses non-stop for a week, suffered repeated black-outs, and was signed off work from her factory by her doctor – that would have been a sick-note worth reading!

Given all this supporting corporeal evidence, the best non-paranormal-related guess is that Mrs Hingley actually endured a Close Encounter not with a flying saucer, but some kind of rare geomagnetic or electromagnetic anomaly which interfered with her brain, causing her to undergo vivid hallucinations influenced somehow by the presence of the fairy atop her Christmas tree, subsequently causing radiation poisoning-like symptoms in both Jean and her dog, scrambling her electronic devices, melting snow, and suchlike.



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Unorthodox theories

Are any other explanations available, though? Father Seraphim Rose (1984-1932) was a controversial California-based Hieromonk of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, who in 1975 wrote a strange tract, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, arguing that, with the UFO phenomenon, Satan had hit upon a cunning new plan to ensnare the souls of mankind: to have his demons pose as “extraterrestrials” and stage a series of fake landings and encounters with gullible humans across the Earth, spreading belief in the existence of alien beings who have access to wonderful advanced space technology.

Then, once this belief was established, their ultimate overlord, the Anti-Christ, would land in a saucer publicly, enticing people to begin worshipping him as a scientific miracle-working God on Earth instead of the real God up in Heaven, thereby damning all mankind to Hell eternally. 

If you read Fr Rose’s book, he claims science fiction novels had already subliminally primed mankind to accept the Anti-Christ’s coming lies, as imagined futurenauts like Captain Kirk in Star Trek generally inhabit a coming universe in which religion is dead and men have become as gods, able to teleport, become immortal, fly through space and so forth. Furthermore, a genre of highly popular 1960s and 70s (supposed) non-fiction “ancient astronaut” books, like Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods?, posited the idea the God of the Bible may actually just have been the ancient Jews’ misperception of a highly powerful ET flying above them in a spaceship and working apparent supernatural wonders via actual technological means.

Put together, said Fr Rose, this was all priming naïve Earthlings firstly to switch allegiance from Jehovah to false alien gods, before men then inevitably began to abuse the technology the “ETs” would gift us to blasphemously begin playing God himself, too. This was the true reason Satan was traditionally known as the “Prince of the Air”: because he knew how to fly a spaceship.    

Saucers of confusion

Fr Rose noted how many alleged landings of UFOs seemed more like deliberately staged “engineered scenes”, rather than actual encounters with biological extraterrestrial beings: “Why do such fantastically advanced craft so often need ‘repairs’?” he quite logically asked. “Why do the occupants so often need to pick up rocks and sticks (over and over again for 25 years!) … if they are really reconnaissance vehicles from another planet, as the humanoids usually claim?” Instead, Fr Rose said, citing an earlier UFO theorist, Dr Jacques Vallée, “We are dealing with a control system. What takes place through close encounters with UFOs is control of human beliefs.”

Fr Rose noted one traditional sign of demonic encounters was their seemingly inherently illogical, puzzling, or self-contradictory nature – just like that of so many of today’s aliens:

“Individual [modern UFO-related] ‘Close Encounters’ have absurd details, like the four pancakes given by a UFO occupant to a Wisconsin chicken-farmer in 1961; one of the pancakes was actually analysed by the Food and Drug Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and was found to be of terrestrial origin. More significantly, the encounters themselves are strangely pointless, without clear purpose or meaning … resembling occult initiation rituals which ‘open the mind’ to a ‘new set of symbols.’ All this points to what [Dr Vallée calls] the next form of religion.’”

That particular “next form of religion”, of course, actually being Sci-Fi Satanism …

Christian science

Writing in 1975, Fr Seraphim Rose could not have known of the 1979 Case of the Mince-Pie Martians. However, I think we can guess what he would have made of it: its explicitly absurd, comical and self-contradictory elements are obvious, and, through some of their advice, the fairy-like aliens did seem as if, like typical demonic fallen angels, they were posing falsely as being on the side of Christ so as to ensure the damnation of Mrs Hingley’s soul by discouraging her from re-attending chapel.

Would Fr Rose have been correct in such an assessment? I doubt it. But this does not mean his idea possesses no wisdom at all. Ours is indeed an age of growing aspirant post-human hubris, in which persons increasingly imagine they will be able to – indeed, actively must – seize hold of science to alter the very bounds of what it means to be a member of our species, by facilitating current impossibilities like male pregnancies, extreme longevity, and new, unnatural, transhuman forms for the human body.

These really are the demonic (whether figuratively or literally, as in the old Dr Faustus legend) temptations now increasingly placed in our path as science fiction rapidly becomes science fact. A good antidote to such temptations, however, is provided for us by traditional forms of wisdom such as religion. As Fr Rose concludes:

“The conscious Orthodox Christian lives in a world that is clearly fallen, both the Earth below and the stars above, all being equally far from the lost paradise [of Eden/Heaven] for which he is striving … He knows that man is not to ‘evolve’ into something higher, nor has he any reason to believe that there are ‘highly evolved’ beings on other planets.”

Richard Dawkins and his pals regard Christianity as nothing but a fairytale. Perhaps the greater false fairytale endemic in Western belief systems today is actually that of the supposed “perfectibility” of man via scientific means, as symbolically spoken of in so many ufological legends of human encounters with aliens. In this sense, the idea of mass ET contact with humans really is an appropriate myth for our times.   

Steven Tucker is a UK-based writer with over ten books to his name. His next, Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science, comparing the woke pseudoscience of today to the totalitarian pseudoscience of the past, will be published in summer 2023.

Image credits: Bigstock  


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  • mrscracker
    That was a great story. I finally had a moment to read through it. Thank you so much for sharing!
  • Steven Tucker
    published this page in The Latest 2023-12-18 17:05:50 +1100