Rest In Peace the great Neil Alden Armstrong, the quiet man of Apollo 11 and first to set foot on the Moon in 1969 has today passed into the great beyond, aged 82.
Neil was a good man with a sense of humour, and I hope he might have enjoyed the article below, which I first published as a bit of Hallowe’en fun in The Bloxidge Tallygraph. If it were not for Neil and his fellow heroes, and the dual inspiration of a certain H.G. Wells, it would never have been written, as our world would have been very different indeed.
Walsall Trolleybus at the Lower Farm terminus, late 1960s (courtesy Mr. Alan Murray-Rust)
It has long been the stuff of legend in Little Bloxwich that from time to time buses will disappear from off the Walsall to Lower Farm bus route. No-one has known where they went; the bus companies from Walsall Corporation to the privatised era have sometimes claimed mechanical failure, severe traffic or driver shortages. Sometimes, the bus timetables on these routes have borne no resemblance to reality, passengers occasionally having to wait up to half an hour for a bus supposedly running at least every twelve minutes. On rare occasions a bus may never turn up at all.
Uncharitable folks who have asked to remain anonymous have been known to speculate that perhaps Lower Farm buses on the 302 run have been deliberately taken off to keep the allegedly subsidised 301 route to Mossley going continuously, even with hardly anyone on those buses, but where is the evidence, I ask you?
Conspiracy theorists of a different water have, however, recently come forward, presenting The Bloxidge Tallygraph with an exclusive, outlandish yet surprisingly plausible explanation for the disappearing Lower Farm buses. They claim that on rare occasions these vehicles have been stolen by aliens, and hidden upon the Moon for purposes of technological study, and that this has been happening for forty years, since the Apollo Moon landings of 1969 disturbed the beings from beyond in their hidden bases within the darkest of lunar craters.
“Selenite Chief Scientist” – artist’s impression
It is suggested that, woken from their ignorance of the growth of human technology after millennia, these ‘Selenites’, or Moon-dwellers, then turned their own telescopes on the blue orb that dominates their airless sky and, intent on seeking information about the greatest technology that the Earthlings hold, concentrated their sinister investigations on the following sites:
The Apollo launch site at Cape Canaveral.
The Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur.
Area 51 in Nevada, USA.
The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire.
The Birchills Trolleybus Depot in Bloxwich Road, Walsall.
Clearly, it would be very difficult to steal anything based at the first four establishments, but it takes very little thought to realise that no-one would notice the disappearance of a Trolleybus or indeed any other kind of bus on the Lower Farm route apart from the passengers, and no notice is likely to be taken of their complaints, so, it is alleged, the Selenites slowly and surely drew their plans against Walsall Corporation Transport, and on the final day of Trolleybus operation to Bloxwich, they struck, stealing the last Trolleybus to travel from Walsall to Lower Farm.
Bus 875 leaves the Birchills bus depot on the last day of trolley bus operation in Walsall, 3rd October 1970, never to return. Allegedly, this was the first Walsall Bus to be abducted by aliens (courtesy Jack Haddock)
Of course, no-one noticed. And from then on, we are told, buses, albeit primitive (and later privatised) diesel-driven machines and therefore of little technical interest to anyone other than bus-spotters (an alien species equal in inscrutability to the Selenites) have continued to be kidnapped on rare occasions, hoisted skyward into translunar space by invisible travel discs, and delivered to the domes of the Selenites hidden in the darkest craters of the Moon.
The public of Bloxwich, of course, have known nothing of this until now. All they know is that they have had to suffer long waits in rain, hail or snow for many years and when they have been given excuses for the apparent poor service, they have often been so unlikely as to be unbelievable. Now, our sources have made it possible for the facts to be brought to light at last.
The final evidence, they claim, is a recent alleged cover-up following the American space agency NASA’s mission to ‘bomb’ the Moon in order to analyse traces of the lunar surface in the search for water supplies for possible future lunar bases.
The Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by NASA. It was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on June 18, 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, the first American mission to the Moon in over ten years.
LCROSS was designed to watch as the launch vehicle’s spent Centaur upper stage struck the crater Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon. LCROSS suffered a malfunction on August 22, depleting half of its fuel and leaving very little fuel margin in the spacecraft. But according to NASA, impact occurred successfully on October 9, 2009.
LCROSS Sodium Flash detection in Crater Cabeus (image courtesy NASA)
The impact was not as visually prominent as had been anticipated – in fact, amateur astronomers around the world were told that they would be able to see it in their small telescopes. This was not the case; in fact, nothing was seen, or at least almost nothing was shown in the images released to the world’s press, causing considerable embarrassment.
Our sources claim, however, that the real photographs of the impact were intercepted by a shadowy, unnamed secret service within the USA, lest they reveal the true nature of what lay in the dark depths of crater Cabeus and cause blind panic.
What the now-destroyed probe showed, it is said, was the destination of the abducted Walsall-Bloxwich buses: the Selenite South Polar Research Dome, which was itself, it is claimed, destroyed by the impact of LCROSS, as well as a number of abducted Bloxwich buses gathering dust upon the lunar surface beside it. We have been given the photographic evidence reproduced below, which is supposedly an image taken by ‘hacking’ the Hubble Space Telescope:
LCROSS strikes Cabeus Crater and the Selenite dome – UNOFFICIAL
Enhanced infra-red section of above image – UNOFFICIAL
I cannot confirm or deny the facts in this matter, dear reader, though the visual evidence presented above, if genuine, is compelling. There is, for obvious reasons, no official evidence forthcoming, only hearsay from those who claim to be close to official sources.
I can only ask you to consider in your own mind which is the most likely explanation: that Lower Farm buses occasionally break down or are diverted to Mossley; or that they have quietly, stealthily been stolen by lunar aliens on an occasional basis since 1969. I know which I think is the truth.
My sources have today sent me the following partial transcription of a radio transmission which they claim was received from space by Jodrell Bank last week and decoded by government experts at GCHQ before being lost in the form of a memory stick on a bus in London. I’m not sure what to make of it, but frankly, I’m worried – and so should you be, too:
“This is the voice of the Selenites. We know that you can hear us, Earthmen. You have destroyed our dome in an unprovoked attack, which requires a response. Our retaliation will be slow, but nonetheless effective. It will mean the ultimate destruction of life on Earth. It will be useless for you to resist, for we have discovered the secret of reversing matter. One of you will be under our control, who we have trained on your transport systems. He will be instrumental in avenging the Selenites. Our first act of retaliation will be to destroy Walsall Bus Station. Your world will hear from us again, before the end…”