Has a decade old mystery finally been solved? The world of ufology has been wracked by controversy following convicted sex offender Joel Gamby’s claim that he had been behind the notorious ‘Downy Bit Spaceman’, a silver-clad alien visitor that, more than ten years ago, had terrorised a sleepy Wiltshire village for several weeks. “It all just got out of hand,” laments Gamby, a former resident of the village of Downy Bit, who claims that he donned the silver suit in order to protect his identity whilst spying on local women. “All I wanted to do was cop an eyeful of a few bare boobs and bums – next thing I knew the whole place was crawling with flying saucer nuts and reporters!” Not surprisingly, those who experienced the terrifying events in Downy Bit first hand have been dismissive of Gamby’s claims. “What I saw that night definitely wasn’t of this world,” declares Betty Scutt, first victim of the spaceman. “There was no way any human peeping Tom, not even a mucky little bastard like Joel Gamby, could have climbed up to that window!” The farmer’s wife still shudders when she recalls the chilling events of that November evening. “I could feel someone watching me as I undressed in my bedroom, I turned around and there it was – a silver-suited spaceman staring through the window at me!” she says. “Although I couldn’t see his face as the visor of his helmet was all steamed up, I’m convinced he was an alien. He obviously wasn’t used to our atmosphere – his breathing was very laboured.” Scutt also believes that the mysterious visitor was possessed of some kind of unearthly telepathic powers which left her immobilised. “I was transfixed all the time he was at the window,” she says. “I was completely unable to move except to take my bra off! It was if some strange force was compelling me to show him my breasts!” As quickly as the apparition had appeared, it was gone, leaving Scutt free from its malign influence. “I just ran screaming from the room,” she explains. “I was too terrified to leave the house for days afterward.” Whilst Scutt’s claims were initially dismissed as the demented ravings of a sexually repressed rural housewife, subsequent appearances of the spaceman – always at the window of a semi-clad lone woman – brought scores of ufologists to the village. “There were so many sightings, and such detailed descriptions given by the witnesses – there was no way that this was a hoax,” opines Danny Bamsey, editor of the West London Flying Saucer Quarterly Digest. “Most crucially, it wasn’t just credulous yokels who saw it – several level-headed, perfectly rational flying saucer investigators saw it close-up as well. There’s no way that they could be fooled by some bloke in a homemade shiny suit!”

Indeed, shortly after her arrival in the village, top UFO investigator Jenny Chufty, a veteran of several previous investigations, including the Aberystwyth sheep molestations of ’83 and the ‘Prestatyn Probings’ of ’91, found herself confronted by the spaceman shortly after checking into a local Bed and Breakfast. “I’d just undressed and was just running a bath when I felt this prickling sensation at the back of my neck. I turned around to see him advancing toward me from the doorway,” she recalls. “He was moving very slowly and seemed to holding some kind of probe in both hands – it must have been quite heavy as despite his continual efforts to jerk it up, he couldn’t get it above his waist.” Transfixed by the probe, Chufty found herself unable to move, except to drop her towel. “Thankfully, the landlady walked into the room with fresh laundry and screamed at the sight of him,” she says. “Startled, his probe seemed to collapse telescopically and he fled from the room, pushing past the terrified woman.” Having seen the spaceman up close, Chufty is convinced of its authenticity. “There’s no way that suit was made by some teenaged prankster,” she declares. “It was clearly an advanced pressure-suit designed for space flight.” Nevertheless, sceptics remain unconvinced by her testimony, pointing out that Chufty was also involved in the infamous 1996 investigation into an alleged UFO crash in the Mendips and the alleged recovery of several alien bodies. “The ‘bodies’ turned out to be blow-up sex dolls and the ‘crash site’ a den in the hills built by local teenagers to read porn and masturbate in – the explosion reported by locals resulted from a malfunctioning primus stove they had been using to make tea,” says leading UFO debunker Stella Crupper. “Not that any of this stopped Miss Chufty from writing three books and presenting a TV documentary on the supposed government cover-up of a UFO crash. I have no doubt that her reporting of the Downy Bit incident is similarly accurate.” Chufty has been quick to defend herself against such criticisms. “Look, those sex dolls barely look human at the best of times – but when they’ve been charred and melted by fire it’s impossible to distinguish them from dead aliens,” she claims. “It’s a mistake anybody could have made.”

Crupper has no time for such explanations. “The peeping Tom thesis more than adequately explains all of the sightings,” she says. “Why else would the spaceman have preyed exclusively upon lone women? Why would an alien have any interest in snooping on another species getting undressed?” Bob Dard, who was the village’s police constable at the time of the spaceman sightings vehemently disagrees with Crupper, offering an alternative theory. “That little git Gamby was always an attention seeker, but he didn’t have the brains or the balls to do this,” he opines. “It seems obvious to me that this spaceman was some kind of alien pornographer – his probe was most likely a recording device, like a video camera. I reckon that he was filming naked women for intergalactic perverts – it would be like bestiality to them!” Dard also believes that some of the phenomena witnessed by villagers that Winter cannot be explained by Gamby’s confession. “What about that spaceship old Miss Wicket saw, eh? She said it looked like a huge cock and balls, and it hung outside her bedroom window, glowing and throbbing three nights in a row,” he asks. “Why would a seventy-nine year old lifelong spinster make something like that up?” Nevertheless, Gamby – who is currently serving a three year jail sentence for gross indecency in a public place, is sticking to his story. “The suit was an old asbestos fire-fighter’s suit I sprayed silver and stuck some hoses from a vacuum cleaner onto,” he says. “It seemed like the perfect cover for peeping – I reckoned that if I was seen, everyone would think the victims were just nuts if they said they’d seen a spaceman!” Danny Bamsey suspects that Crupper and Gamby are part of a government conspiracy to discredit ufologists and cover up alien visitations by offering seemingly rational explanations for such incidents. “It’s always the same – as soon as the evidence starts to stack up, these sceptics appear with their all too convenient explanations,” he muses. “Funny how they’re never there at the outset – they’re only deployed once it becomes obvious that there’s incontrovertible proof of an alien visitation that has to be suppressed through so-called ‘rational thought’!” However, the last word on the subject belongs to Bob Dard, who wrote a best-selling book based on the incident and is still a regular guest at UFO conventions across the world. “Damn it, that spaceman business was the most exciting thing that ever happened to this village,” declares the ex-policeman. “I’m not having some dirty little pervert – who I remember catching behind the bus shelter jerking off over a load of jazz mags – ruin it for us!”