The story of a man, a fled the vacuum cleaner. Sue, 39, is trying to explain the situation, apologize and justify herself all at once. "He gets terrible pains whenever I switch on electrical appliances," she says despairingly. "But you were coming and I felt really ashamed because the room looked a mess."
Sue's the first to admit - taking into account two sons and four dogs - that her house isn't exactly immaculate. It's the first time she's vacuumed for six months. Because of Tony's illness she usually has to use a brush to sweep up. Sue rarely uses her tumble drier or electric kettle either. "The vacuum's the worst," Tony says. "I feel as if my head's being pushed down and my teeth are being squeezed out of my mouth." And although he can watch a black and white television without feeling pain, he can't watch color.
Tony, also 39, suffers from some other strange complaints, too. He often feels he's suffocating, gets frequent burning sensations in his body and a metallic taste in his mouth. He's allergic to many foods and has difficulty swallowing. His diet consists mainly of tomatoes and oranges. He's so weak he spends nearly all his time lying on the sofa. Stranger still, he believes his condition is caused by radiation sickness as a result of - wait for it - getting too close to a UFO in 1988.
Tony and Sue from Bridgewater, Somerset, have been married for 18 years. Their three sons, Simon (who's left home), Daniel and Shane, are 18, 16 and 9. Tony feels so ill that he's often irritable with the boys and complains of violent pain whenever they play video games.
Before the sighting, he was a different man, one who liked a beer and country walks. "I was perfectly fit then," says the former builder's mate who's now frighteningly thin and hasn't been able to work for years.
His troubles apparently began one beautiful May day during a solitary walk in the Quantock Hills near his home. At about midday he noticed a strange black dot in the sky. But although he began to feel nervous as it came closer and lower he managed to photograph it. "It was going at about five miles an hour," he says. "It stopped about 50 feet above my head and was massive - it completely blotted out the sun. It had two wings which folded into the side when it stopped and there were flashing lights and two decks with windows."
Tony claims an alien appeared at one of the lower deck windows. His memory of the experience is patchy - though this is a common experience after UFO encounters, according to experts. "The alien I saw seemed to be glowing and wore a helmet," Tony recalls. He believes the alien communicated with him telepathically, apologizing because the craft had come too close to him. "I felt tremendous heat go through my hands. I thought I'd been badly burnt. But there were no marks," he remembers.
After what seemed like five minutes the craft moved silently away. In fact it was two hours. Why wasn't he more frightened? Tony's incredible explanation is that he'd seen two UFO's before.
In 1972 he was walking to the station early in the morning when he saw strange lights in the sky near Wincanton, Somerset.
Two years later he was camping near Bridgewater with Sue when they saw a red, saucer shaped craft in the sky at night.
All of which is astounding if true. Understandably, Tony was afraid other people wouldn't believe him. He mentioned the 1988 sighting to a friend, who laughed at him, and to Sue, who thought honesty wasn't the best policy. "This is a small town," she says. "People don't think things like that happen here when anyone used the vacuum cleaner. Once when it was on I was thrown across the room by what felt like an electric charge. Sometimes I felt as if I was on fire. One day my shirt started to smell as if it were scorching." His condition deteriorated during 1990. He began to hate water and hasn't had a bath since. Tony does wash occasionally but can't bear to be immersed in water.
End of part 1
**** THE U.F.O. BBS - http://www.ufobbs.com/ ****