BERTON: […] While I was still some distance away, I noticed a pale, almost white, object floating on the surface. My first thought was that it was Fechner’s flying-suit, especially as it looked vaguely human in form. I brought the aircraft round sharply, afraid of losing my way and being unable to find the same spot again. The shape, the body, was moving; sometimes it seemed to be standing upright in the trough of the waves. I accelerated and went down so low that the machine bounced gently. I must have hit the crest of a huge wave I was overflying. The body—yes, it was a human body, not at atmosphere-suit—the body was moving.
QUESTION: Did you see its face?
QUESTION: Who was it?
BERTON: A child.
QUESTION: What child? Did you recognize it?
BERTON: No. At any rate, I don’t remember having seen it before. Besides, when I got closer—when I was forty yards away, or even sooner—I realized that it was no ordinary child.
QUESTION: What do you mean?
BERTON: I’ll explain. At first, I couldn’t understand what worried me about it; it was only after a minute or two that I realized: this child was extraordinarily large. Enormous, in fact. Stretched out horizontally, its body rose twelve feet above the surface of the ocean, I swear. I remembered that when I touched the wave, its face was a little higher than mine, even though my cockpit must have been least ten feet above the ocean.
QUESTION: If it was as big as that, what makes you say it was a child?
BERTON: Because it was a tiny child.
QUESTION: Do you realize, Berton, that your answer doesn’t make sense?
BERTON: On the contrary. I could see its face, and it was a very young child. Besides, its proportions corresponded exactly to the proportions of a child’s body. It was a … babe in arms. No, I exaggerate. It was probably two or three years old. It had black hair and blue eyes—enormous blue eyes! It was naked—completely naked—like a new-born baby. It was wet, or I should say glossy; its skin was shiny. I was shattered. I no longer thought it was a mirage. I could see this child so distinctly. It rose and fell with the waves; but apart from this general motion, it was making other movements, and they were horrible!
QUESTION: Why? What was it doing?
BERTON: It was more like a doll in a museum, only a living doll. It opened and closed its mouth, it make various gestures, horrible gestures.
QUESTION: What do you mean?
BERTON: I was watching it from about twenty yards away—I don’t suppose I went any closer. But, as I’ve already told you, it was enormous. I could see very clearly. Its eyes sparkled and you really would have thought it was a living child, if it hadn’t been for the movements, the gestures, as though someone was trying … It was as though someone else was responsible for the gestures …
QUESTION: Try to be more explicit.
BERTON: It’s difficult. I’m talking of an impression, more of an intuition. I didn’t analyze it, but I knew that those gestures weren’t natural.
QUESTION: Do you mean, for example, that the hands didn’t move as human hands would move, because the joints were not sufficiently supple?
BERTON: No, not at all. But … these movements had no meaning. Each of our own movements means something, more or less, serves some purpose …
QUESTION: Do you think so? The movements of an infant don’t have much meaning!
BERTON: I know. But an infant’s movements are confused, random, uncoordinated. The movements I saw were … er … yes, that’s it, they were methodical movements. They were performed one after another, like a serious of exercises; as though someone had wanted to make a study of what this child was capable of doing with its hands, its torso, its mouth. The face was more horrifying than the rest, because the human face has an expression, and this face … I don’t know how to describe it. It was alive, yes, but it wasn’t human. Or rather, the features, as a whole, the eyes, the complexion, were, but the expression, the movements of the face, were certainly not.
QUESTION: Were they grimaces? Do you know what happens to a person’s face during an epileptic fit?
BERTON: Yes. I’ve watched an epileptic fit. I know what you mean. No, it was something quite different. Epilepsy provokes spasms, convulsions. The movements I’m talking about were fluid, continuous, graceful … melodious, if one can say that of a movement. It’s the nearest definition I can think of. But this face … a face can’t divide itself into two—one half gay, the other sad, one half scowling and the other amiable, one half frightened and the other triumphant. But that’s how it was with this child’s face. In addition to that, all these movements and changes of expression succeeded one another with unbelievable rapidity. I stayed down there a very short time, perhaps ten seconds, perhaps less (80-83).