EDITOR: JENNY RANDLES COVER ARTWORK: ROY SANDBACH
10 Marton Green Stockport Cheshire SK3 8LT
e mail address: email@example.com
Contents: Where have all the UFOs gone? Close Encounter in North Wales Do UFO investigators treat
witnesses fairly? The Unknown side to the Oz Factor - after the UFO has gone David Clark finds
Yorkshire's crashed UFO in the British Museum
Where have all the UFOs gone?
On 8 February 2018 the Daily Mail in their ‘On This Day’ column posted a
story from the paper 64 years earlier. Back then, in 1954, the MoD (or Air
Ministry as then called) investigation project was still very new. But it
took the chance to announce a significant change away from the ‘flying
saucer’ terminology of the day that had lasted since the Kenneth Arnold
sighting in 1947. Though that pilot’s account was misinterpreted by a
reporter (he never saw a saucer shaped craft and was referring instead to
The 8 Feb 1954 Mail item reported that ‘UFOs - Unidentified flying objects -
is now the official name for ‘flying saucers’ in British Air Ministry records.
It is estimated that there have been at least 10,000 ‘sightings’ of these
strange phenomena of the skies since the war. Every report made to the
Air Ministry and its US counterpart is checked.’
So we have just passed the 64th anniversary of the search for answers
about UFOs and, of course, many of these 10,000 reports (certainly the
ones from the UK) have never seen the light of day because they routinely
destroyed some of the early ones before they decided to release data 30
years later onto the public record.
As such getting a proper grounding on how the number of sightings
fluctuates and if there have been changes in what kind of things people
see has long been difficult.
Robert Moore has published on line some fascinating figures recently.
They were supplied to him by long serving Italian researcher Edoardo
This data comes from official data for UFO sightings recorded by GEPAN,
the French government agency that involves aerospace and atmospheric
scientists and has investigated activity since the 1970s.
These days it is hard to monitor official UFO sightings in either the US or
the UK as they shut down their respective UFO investigation departments
– in the case of America before the French even set up theirs and in the UK
the MoD closed their desk about 8 years ago – finally removing something
they seem to have regarded as a headache almost from the start.
Even GEPAN (now GEIPAN) have scaled things back but are at least still
trying to keep a record for what they call OVNIs (a straight translation of
UFO into French). Mostly because they are recorded by the same unit that
tracks satellite re-entries and so gets reports of these anomalies
These are the recent number of sightings :
2012: 176 reports...
2013: 204 reports
2014: 184 reports
2015: 197 reports
The sudden fall off a cliff over the last 2 years is notable. Especially given
that several times even the highest number of reports shown was common
20 or 30 years ago. So where have all the UFOs gone?
Jerome Beau does note that there is some misleading inferences from
these raw figures as these are processed reports only. Recent ones tend to
take more time to pursue and could increase in number as they get
processed. The agency also assesses cases in a way that means they
eliminate obvious IFOs before publishing these figures – something not
true of most annual figures around the world or in the past.
So perhaps the drop off is not as acute as it might seem.
As Robert himself astutely notes the true picture is hard to draw from any
part of the world nowadays owing to how UFOlogy has become very much
an on line pursuit. This comes with the demise of most of the major
international UFO groups as real world active bodies and the
disappearance of investigation groups going out and seeking sightings at a
local level in anywhere near the numbers that used to be true.
Only in America – where MUFON – the Mutual UFO Network – still seems to
be as publicly visible and active as ever – are sighting numbers holding up.
So would that be true everywhere else if we had any kind of credible
method to collate what scattered sources of ongoing UFO reporting exist
UFOlogy is suffering from fragmentation and disintegration of the
coordinated whole that we had as recently as the turn of the Millennium.
How exactly we do anything about that – if we even can or have the will to
do so – is another matter.
In reply to Robert’s comments Mark Newbold asked if this decrease was
evidence that ‘signs & wonders are becoming passé.’ Though he noted that
sightings of fairies are on the increase - not something you would likely
predict. Though it probably reveals both that the human spirit has a need
for this kind of imaginal thinking and that all phenomena within it go
through peaks and troughs of activity and always have.
So I would not necessarily write UFOs off just yet as consigned to history.
Paul Hammond noted several undoubtedly correct reasons for the present
downturn – that we all spend so much time looking at screens rather than
the sky, for instance. Plus that we have become familiar with many things
that in the past have generated UFO reports but were really IFOs – such as
satellites and fire lanterns. Something new will come along to trigger other
UFO waves soon – maybe ‘specially adapted’ toy drones
Robert himself pointedly asked - who needs real aliens when you have the
stuff Hollywood can produce in such realistic fashion these days?
Maybe that is relevant, that our need to dream is fulfilled in other ways.
Robert further flagged up what he called ‘the death of the expert’. He
means the lack of an authority figure for people to contact – so they either
‘keep a sighting to themselves or report it to other witnesses, who have
taken the role of trusted people over that of "UFO experts"’. You will see
later in this issue an actual witness talking in not dissimilar terms.
This is a valid suggestion, because we have always needed that point of
contact to bring in reports – most witnesses having no awareness of our
insular world so, unless they have a way to report via a TV show or a
lecture or an address in the back of a book, how would they know where to
go other than another person who confides in them that they have seen
In the past that would have led to the formation of a local UFO group by
witnesses bonding together out of mutual interest. This gave a new access
road to discovering future sightings. We live in a world where that no
longer happens. At best they will chat about it on Facebook or some social
media site - isolating one another from the world by accident.
Robert adds wisely that – unlike 20/30 years ago - ‘UFOs are an everyday
thing today, a significant number of people believe in them and don't
require validation from an expert. They know what they saw.....’
This is true but also if you see a UFO then you no longer need to seek out
someone who ‘knows about these things’ as you can Google it and educate
yourself in minutes. Though how accurately you will be informed by that
process is rather up to the whims of fortune and what potentially crackpot
idea has made its way up the search agent’s rankings that week to be the
first thing you are directed towards.
As President Trump might say, your perhaps very important close
encounter might get swamped by ‘fake news’ and disappear up the Uranus
of someone telling you about the demonic beings who have taken over the
body of the President and anyone else of note….because….well, because
they are talking out of their Uranus probably. So another key piece of
UFO data is swamped by on line drivel and lost forever.
Robert Moore added here that UFOs ‘are often encompassed within the
concept of "conspiracy theories" - the ultimate kiss of death for any
subject wanting to be taken seriously’.
So your sighting would once have been taken on by BUFORA or a local
investigation group and be thoroughly researched and documented and
published in the then serious UFO literature.
But these days it gets dumped alongside all those tales of beings from
Uranus and its credibility as far as the rest of the world is concerned is lost
to posterity as it lacks investigative validation.
Robert rather cleverly phrased where this all left us : - ‘Culturally, the UFO
is far from dead - they live well in our mental worlds - but not so much in
our physical one!’
My take on this discussion at the time was to say that: ‘In my view most of
the points raised are contributing to the drop in interest but the key one is
the rise of virtual everything versus real life anything….social media have
basically become life and living life has paled. You can look up anything
and assume you know everything without getting up off your seat - let
alone head off on a cold night to a UFO window area or to track down and
interview a witness.
UFO investigation groups - once thriving in every town - are on the
endangered species list. And on top of all of that UFOs always have risen
and fallen in numbers and we may well just be in a lull. This lull could be
spiced up by cultural apathy that always follows a Fortean phenomenon
after it survives a few decades and has basically stood still throughout that
Trying to think of a positive way forward I suggested: ‘The only way to
revive UFOlogy is probably to reinvent it as something else.’
If we start over again we just might find what we were always looking for
but somehow got lost on the way toward trying to find it.
Just how we reinvent UFOlogy as something else - though - is quite another
Any ideas, please let us know!
North Wales Attempted Abduction
Yorkshire UFO investigator Sacha Christie - one of the public battlers with
Rendlesham witness Larry Warren last year - has left that ongoing
internet fight for a while to relate a detailed first hand encounter that she
had in North Wales 20 years ago.
Her account appears in full on her blog, which is typically to the point of
her strong views on UFOs. Well worth you taking a look.
Sacha Christie - Infomaniac Housewife
It caught my attention for several personal reasons.
One of these is the date, which coincidentally happens to have great
personal resonance for me.
The other is the location – the Berwyn Mountains of North Wales – which is
a remote spot I visited often with Paul because his family owned a caravan
by the River Dee near the village of Llandrillo. During the 70s and 80s we
visited there for weekends or longer on his Triumph Bonneville. Indeed we
were staying there in 1981 when reporters for a tabloid pursued me trying
to get me to reveal Alan Godfrey’s identity when they first broke the story
of the Zigmund Adamski mystery death – as explained in Alan’s new book
Who or What Were They?
Llandrillo also was the scene of the celebrated ‘UFO crash’ (or earthquake/
meteor/ rabbit poachers using spotlamps - if you follow the conclusions
of UFO researcher Andy Roberts).
This was in 1974 and made national news at the time. Indeed it was widely
believed that some military operation had searched for and found a
downed UFO by locals. They chatted about this to Paul and I in the pub
when we visited the area and they had no idea of our UFO background as
this was before my first book was published in 1979.
Most likely these folk witnessed some military activity as we encountered
plenty of field exercises during our time walking between there and Bala
or Llangollen. And after the ‘crash’ there were some scientists wandering
the moors because it was thought possible the meteor had come down
locally (though it hadn’t) and these are of great interest in helping define
our knowledge of the solar system.
There are also comparisons with the case 6 years later in Rendlesham
Forest, of course. Most are obvious but one of the least well known
concerns the appearance of a shadowy bunch of ‘rogue’ UFO ‘investigators’
calling themselves APEN (Aerial Phenomena Enquiry Network) who
created mayhem in northern UFO research during the 70s and 80s.
They were particularly active in two episodes – one being the ‘crash’ near
Llandrillo in 1974 and the other being Rendlesham in 1980.
I will say more about APEN in a separate article next issue as they pose
interesting new questions based on some new data. But for now you can
see why anything happening in these parts has my attention.
‘The inane ramblings of an Anti-Pharmageddonist,Ufoologist,UFO Witness,
Experiencer, Sensitive, Par-abnormal Investigator, Agenda Bender,
TruthFINDER, Writer, Speaker, Artist, Poet, Web addict and Red Pill Rebel
Without a Pause.’
This is how Sacha introduces her report on 2 February 2018 called - A Group
Close Encounter, UFO landing in Wales, February 1997.
The incident was on 4 February 1997 and she says that it has a major
psychological reaction when every anniversary approaches. I get that
because my own resonance with 4 February – which has nothing at all to
do with UFOs – leaves me similarly distracted.
Sacha adds that others in the party who shared the close encounter 20
years ago have reported similar annual psychological stress around the
time even though they did not recall the exact date. Close Encounters in
my experience certainly can profoundly destabilise the life of a witness
over the years. Alan Godfrey is again one who can testify to that.
A party of 6 (two of whom were young children aged 4 or 5) went to a
cottage at Glyn Cieriog, about 8 miles across the Berwyn tops east of
Llandrillo. Around 7 pm on 4 February 1997 Sacha’s boyfriend called her
down from where she was planning a bath and showed her through the
kitchen door some lights in the distance.
It was a heavy winter with low cloud. I recall from my stays around there
how because you are quite elevated but confused as to this by the flowing
River Dee when any low ceiling clings to the mountains it can seem alive –
almost emerging from the slopes as if rising heavenward. Mists can
encircle you quickly too.
It took her a while to see what her friend was pointing at – ‘a little squiggle
of light’ as she described it. She told him it was just lightning, a fair
assessment as it was intermittent. He told her to keep watching and it
became obvious there was too uniform a pattern in the flashes to be
Sacha realised that the cause of this was around five miles north-west
around the small village of Berwyn which I again recall well because Paul
and I used to ride out to this quiet lovely spot beside a chain bridge. In
those days the railway between Llangollen and Bala had recently closed
and the trackbed lay empty and derelict. Today it is thriving as the line has
been reopened from Llangollen, through Berwyn, on to Corwen and is a
popular tourist attraction using steam trains.
Back in 1997 - after five minutes of pulsating the light grew much brighter.
It moved in a zig zag towards the startled group. Then it was directly ahead
and took on the appearance of an ‘enormous jelly fish rippling bright white
but gentle pink, yellow and hints of green through the clouds’.
Sacha says the light show was very bright and ‘made the clouds look like
mashed potato with light beaming through it’. Hence the rippling effect
that made it look like a jellyfish.
By now all five of them were outside the cottage they were staying in and
it seemed to hover over a field, obscured within the clouds, before edging
right over the top of them.
They stood in silence, not talking, just stunned by the sight. Only
afterwards they wondered why nobody thought to call for help, such as
from the police.
Then, as they all stared heavenward, Sacha says that an orange strobe
light appeared on the wall of the house to her right. As she switched
attention she then saw a large sphere on the ground with steam or mist
swirling all around as it pulsated slowly.
At this point her young son was shaking, and screamed that a hand had
just touched his foot through a small hedge. So she yelled out for them all
to return inside the cottage. And immediately they did as if the close
encounter had never happened
Her boyfriend started drying the dishes. The children began playing. The TV
was switched on. Only Sacha seemed mystified by this behaviour. So she
screamed that she was heading back out there - ignored by the others.
Unsure even now why she left her child inside she walked towards the
sphere that had landed nearby - now a very dull grey, no longer pulsating
Sacha recalls being baffled as to how she was doing this without fear and
in a ‘switched off’ state of mind. Possibly in the grip of the Oz factor.
On approaching the landed UFO she could see that it had a ring of lights
that were around sixty feet wide and ‘lines of light, like florescent strips’
emerging from the centre. It ‘looked like the underneath of a mushroom
white circle in the middle, fins going to the edges’.
She kept asking herself why she was out there stood next to this thing in a
‘switched off state of incredulity’. Then heard ‘bare feet running towards
me, fast’ and ‘something bump into my lower back as if it was running past
me(which) dragged my jumper with it’.
It was running towards a nearby stone wall but there was no sound of a
collision. She fled inside the cottage where it all became ‘surreal’.
Her senses went out of synch in an over-reaction of compensation. Sounds
seemed too loud and sights too bright - she was ‘utterly freaked out’.
Sacha and her boyfriend and son booked a taxi to Wrexham and fled the
cottage making their way back to Yorkshire by bus. It left her with a
terrible legacy of fear. For many years the group were driven apart by
these events and thirteen years later when they traced each other again it
was clear they had also been impacted – though none had reported what
happened or wanted to discuss it. She had really hoped that one of them
had discovered a simple explanation. But none had.
Sacha’s blog is well worth reading because this is just a summary of her
account and she has telling comments about the state of the UFO
community and how and why cases of this magnitude might not be getting
This actualises the debate just reported in this issue about how and
why we might not be uncovering the true extent of the ongoing UFO
phenomenon in 2018.
Sacha refers to a lack of ‘respect in the community’ and that amidst
‘professional UFO researchers’ and ‘professional speakers’ that ‘witnesses
aren't good enough these days unless they are all polished and ready to
speak at a conference and do the radio circuit’.
She chastises the lack of support for witnesses and the risks of hypnotic
regression. I agree. Back in the 70s and 80s when there was still a UFO
community we did try to create a code of practice to recognise many of
these things. Paul and I travelled the country on that Triumph Bonneville
where we held several discussions in far flung cities from Swindon to
The result was a ‘code of practice’ that recognised the witness as
fundamental to any case and tried to build in some protection rather than
exploitation. It prioritised anonymity unless or until a witness chose to go
public themselves and eventually a voluntary ban on the use of hypnosis.
It was I think important at that time and adopted by BUFORA later who
even would not accredit investigators unless they accepted this code.
Some refused and were thus not allowed to act in that capacity.
With the demise of UFO groups as an active reality and the rise of UFOlogy
via internet, chat shows and commercialised events I am not sure how
much of that code has survived or is even remembered that it once
existed. Certainly, given what Sacha says in her blog she must feel not a
As she puts it of the UFO community – ‘Generally everyone else knows
better than the witness and the only person who is ever wrong is the
person who had the sighting!’
I can imagine that it must feel like that at times and how frustrating that
has got to be - hence spending so much time discussing her comments.
I think they pose questions that we ought to be considering anew as we
have moved away from bothering about witnesses too much. Yet they are
at the epicentre of every UFO event. We, as analysts, are of secondary
importance coming in afterwards attempting to make sense of what they
Though often only hearing in what they say what we want to hear. We
probably need to take more seriously some of the things that seem more
incidental - such as the emotions and after effects described by Sacha
The witness is at the heart of any UFO experience and, whilst we have to
be able to regard what they say with objectivity and assess and theorise
around the events, we also should not forget that they were there and we
UFOlogy has become an internet fuelled industry and it may well have had
an effect on how willing people are to come forward and tell their stories
One of the reasons I created Ozfactorbooks alongside the release of Alan
Godfrey’s book telling his own story was because I think it is time that
more witnesses take that kind of opportunity afforded by the ease of
reaching out these days and telling their story widely in their own words.
It is too easy for those of us who investigate in an almost abstract sense to
forget the life changing consequences that having a close encounter can
bring to someone.
I saw Alan’s story was bringing that point home spectacularly and so was
happy to go all out and help him to get across to as many people as
possible this side of the equation. It reveals a truer essence of the UFO
mystery than anyone endeavouring to explain things away can ever hope
I am as conscious as anyone that I have only told part of the story and it is
important that witnesses do so for themselves. So I will endeavour to use
Ozfactors books to promote what they want to say. This is a free site with
no financial aspirations or to do anything but tell it like it really is out
In that sense the platform is yours. So, by all means, tell us your
experiences and what you think of UFOlogy in 2018! Just contact me (even
STATES OF MIND
One final observation I will make about Sacha’s story concerns the state of
consciousness that she describes in the period after it ended. How
common is that reference to an altered state where senses go haywire
once the UFO itself has departed?
It might be very important. In fact, whilst it used to be thought (even by
me) that the Oz Factor state occurs immediately before and during a close
encounter we must regard another possibility - that it continues
afterwards in perhaps a different form.
What is the Oz Factor anyway? I don’t pretend to actually know. I only
coined the word as shorthand for a set of symptoms that witnesses were
describing immediately before and during the close encounter they had.
It was typified by an odd state of mind where the perception of time and
space altered in ways that were out of the norm. So ambient sounds would
fade away, time would stretch and seem almost meaningless and there
was a sense of awe and emotional suspension that was almost mystical.
Does this cause the experience to happen - almost like shifting onto a
different mental plane that allows you access to the extraordinary? Or is it
caused by the experience itself - a physiological reaction to energy emitted
by the UFO that alters awareness and adapts the chemical responses
within our being to subsequently manifest as strange moods and
If so these can certainly be expected to outlast the event itself by a time.
That is, of course, what Sacha’s story suggests.
So are there other examples? There certainly are. Here are just a few.
A family were on a shopping trip on 8 August 1992 near Hockliffe in
Bedfordshire. The adults and two young daughters were amusing
themselves on the busy road by singing Beatles songs.
Suddenly everything changed and the children stopped singing mid note.
The adults described it as an inward focusing of consciousness that just
took over - ‘like going in on ourself’.
Everything around them then stopped. No traffic sounds or noise of car on
road. All four occupants were silent. They were also immersed within a
weird light in the form of a curtain of mist around the car. Time stretched
out and stopped. Then they just ‘emerged’ and all sounds were back.
Except they were not physically located where they had been and, it
turned out, had travelled around 8 miles whilst within the Oz factor
without any memory of doing so.
They continued to their destination at the stores but none of them
recovered quickly. For hours afterward the children were totally subdued
and the adults in a peculiar state of sullenness that they could not shake -
along with physical sensations such as tingling, muscle paralysis and
shooting pains akin to electricity coursing through them.
They were also, as the husband put it, ‘out of synch with reality’ for several
hours afterwards. The mother struggled to operate the car door handle
and kept missing it with her grasp. Her husband’s coordination was so
scrambled he could not operate the pump to fuel the car.
This persisted for the rest of the day and they were so taken over by this
lingering Oz factor that they even drove to her mother’s house and
seriously asked her if they were dead! It felt to them as if they were ghosts
trying to function in a sensory world that had phased out of somehow.
Happily they recovered the next day with only minor ongoing effects.
An almost identical aftermath to an encounter was described to me by a
man who was walking through Delamere Forest in Cheshire seeking a lift
at 3 am on 29 June 1971. An electric blue light appeared. His travelling
companion fled in terror but he became ‘oddly calm’, walked towards it
and then mysteriously found himself walking out of the woods some
He was left for hours where his senses ‘were out of line’ and his ‘body
coordination was out of synch’. His senses also seemed oddly heightened
like the aftermath of taking hallucinogenic drugs - which he had not.
Then in Oxford, Maine, on 27 October 1975 two men in their car were
surrounded by another glowing light but they lost all sense of time and
space and came to inside a greyish mist over a mile away with no clue how
they had got there.
For some hours they felt completely disorientated and they could not
coordinate their bodies to even stand properly. They could not form words
or hold anything in their hands and it took hours to regain normal
functions. One said it felt like being a baby and having to relearn how to
do the things we all take for granted. They saw what they knew was the
moon but it appeared to their senses differently with a strange hue.
It took a day for them to ‘return’ to the world they lived in before they
encountered the UFO and the Oz factor took hold.
In another case I was told when in Boulder, Colorado on a road trip with Dr
J Allen Hynek a couple driving at Longmont on 19 November 1980 - just a
week before Alan Godfrey’s experience - were surrounded by a blue glow.
Within moments the radio filled with static, the headlights failed and they
felt like they were ‘sucked up’ into the sky. A glowing mist now surrounded
them and they ‘came to’ further along the road with no idea how they got
there and an hour later with no conscious gap in time.
The comparisons with Alan Godfrey’s account are obvious here and in the
prior reports. These are far too consistent not to be important clues
pointing us towards something.
Again in Colorado for several days afterwards they were ‘not right’. Indeed
the wife, who was pregnant, was hospitalised as a precaution and
thankfully the child was born safely but prematurely a few days later.
Meanwhile her husband was just as disorientated. He had no bodily
coordination and could not walk properly. They stopped at a garage to try
to recover from this aftermath but he could not even walk through the
door to get help as he was unable to gauge doing so without bumping into
the doorframe repeatedly. He said the attendant assumed he was drunk.
Gradually both returned to normal but as these stories show (and I have
many more) coming out of the far side of the Oz factor is in many ways
more traumatic than the experiencing of it whilst the UFO event is
So Sacha’s story is certainly not a surprise to me and may, in fact, tell us
something highly significant about the nature of the UFO phenomenon.
DAVID CLARK FINDS THE SILPHO SAUCER
One of the great artefacts of British UFO history has been found by Dr
David Clarke, the Sheffield Hallam University lecturer who steered release
of the MoD UFO files over the past decade. Or at least bits of it have!
Some 35 years ago David was a teenage UFO investigator whose cases
often featured in this magazine. Later Andy Roberts and I co-authored a
book with him regarding the value of solved UFO cases (The UFOs that
never were, London House 2000).
David released the news of his accidental discovery to the Yorkshire Post -
he used to be a reporter - on 8 February and the full story will be told by
him in an article for Fortean Times next month.
It happened when he was lecturing at the British museum in London about
the completion of the release of all the MOD UFO files now they can be
accessed by any member of the public. He was told by a staff member that
they had bits of a UFO in their store room and did he want to see it.
It turned out to be from the missing ‘object’ that ‘crashed’ on Silpho Moor
near Scarborough on 21 November 1957. Only weeks after the Russians
sent the first Sputnik into space. These remains were sent to the museum
in 1963 for analysis as a potential ‘space’ junk and stored ever since.
I reported my investigation into this case in UFO Retrievals (Blandford,
1995). We knew that three men had claimed to be driving on the moors
when something was seen in the sky. One climbed a rise looking for it and
allegedly saw embedded in the soil a small saucer shaped object - 18
inches diameter and 9 inches high and weighing 15 kg.
Of course, this means that if real it would have to be piloted by VERY little
green men. But the adventurous witness was not alone - as a couple were
nearby who claimed to have seen it fall.
He returned to drag his disbelieving companions up Reasty Hill but when
they got there the couple and UFO were gone. The companions
disbelieved him but determined to prove his story he put an advert in the
local paper and was contacted by the couple who agreed to sell the UFO
for £10 - hundreds of pounds in today’s money - after quite a bit of
I got involved many years later - by which point it had long reputed to have
ended up on display in a seaside café and then just disappeared.
Living in Stockport I got to know Dr John Dale, a psychologist, who was a
pioneer investigator with the local group DIGAP in the 50s and
investigated some of the classic cases of the era when I was at school -
including this one. I was really there to discuss (and experience) regression
hypnosis so I could write about this with direct knowledge when assessing
abduction cases. But Dr Dale’s stories of 1950s UFO cases (even long before
my time as a UFO researcher began!) were fascinating
John gave me access to his files but would not let me copy them - so I saw
his interviews and the photos he took of the intact object before it was
dismantled for study. And I read the results of analysis carried out by a
metallurgist at Manchester University.
Opening the object there was no propulsion system inside and just a coil
and a series of 17 thin copper sheets that had very simplistic hieroglyphs
etched onto them as a kind of scroll book.
I possibly even met the scientist by chance as I visited the metallurgy
department when I was at the University studying physics (though without
knowing this story about his role in this case unfortunately - or I would
have asked questions). The report that I read at Dr Dale’s was conclusive -
though - and proved that the ‘saucer’ was not extra-terrestrial in origin.
The materials were just lead and copper - good quality but with signs of
machining and the symbols etched onto it using a metal stylus. The
scientist’s tests established that it could not have been heated by the
friction it would have faced if entering the atmosphere from space. It
came from Earth.
Dr Dale also got a language expert at the University to translate the
symbols. It was very easy as the code was simple. Based only on a simple
L shape in various clock face orientations. Not exactly the product of an
The message - which I read - was a very silly story and in a 2000 word tale
allegedly from a male and female alien (Ullo and Tarngee) warned humans
never to fly into space as we would not survive the physical forces. There
was some childish chatter about alien views on rock music and how they
had four women for every man on their world’. It was really as far from an
alien reality as you could imagine and very much an obvious joke.
Of course, we DID fly into space under 4 years later when Yuri Gagarin
became the first astronaut. The rest of the message was riddled with
equally dated 1950s 'banter' and in places typically sexist of the Earth
of that era. Though I guess on other worlds they might have 4 female
ETs to every 1 male, it strikes me as more likely the fantasy of the -
very terrestrial - hoaxer.
This whole case was self-evidently a hoax but, indeed, what a hoax. The
metallurgist said that the cost of materials and skilled manpower to create
the saucer exceeded the sum paid to purchase it several times over and
the motive for doing this at all is obscure given that nobody ever really
seemed to gain anything or took any credit so far as we know.
Now that David Clark has found the remains that had been stored in a ‘tin’
and kept in the Museum for 55 years we might find further answers via the
inevitable publicity that will follow. The hunt is on to try to trace the rest
and there are even plans (the BBC report) for the Museum to put it on
display next year now that they have recognised its cultural interest.
We are also trying to chase up John Dale’s files and hope that they were
retained by someone after his death - believed to be a few years ago.
So if you knew John Dale or have any clues as to the whereabouts of his
UFO records then please let me know.
Exactly who built this wannabee crashed spaceship and what they hoped
to achieve by creating modern folklore we may never know after so many
years. All the main participants are gone, sadly, as may be whoever went
to the trouble of making this object.
Though one thing is for sure - whoever that was it was not two love struck
aliens called Ullo and Tarngee!
Happy intergalactic Valentine’s Day!
190 January 2018
EDITOR: JENNY RANDLES COVER PHOTO: BBC
Address: 10 Marton Green, Stockport, Cheshire SK3 8LT
Contents: Aliens are out there special edition
The cover photo dates back to the very early days of Northern UFO News in
October 1975. It was the first ever TV show written and presented entirely by UFO
investigators in the UK and must have been one of the first anywhere in the world.
The programme was part of Open Door – a BBC 2 series when that channel was
still in its infancy. This allowed you to write and present an argument for some
message that you were trying to convey that was not getting time on TV otherwise.
We filmed that episode the same day as another feature on Chicken’s Lib – and
the chickens thought they were starring in The Great Escape and chaos ensued.
They wrecked the set back drop and my handbag had to be used as a prop to plug a
hole they chewed through it!
Those involved in this great opportunity that we blagged our way into getting
out of the BBC were part of the then trailblazing alliance of independent local
groups, UFO societies then being common in every town. We shared resources,
pooled data and arranged joint conferences and publications.
We united to argue why UFO investigation should be taken seriously from a script
that I helped to write. My first serious UFO writing outside a few issues of Northern
UFO News beginning earlier that year but this was nationwide on the BBC!
The programme resulted in nearly 200 sightings coming into NUFON for
investigation by the groups in the network. I will look at some of them next month.
Left to right: Mike Dean, of the Wirral UFO Society, Peter Warrington of the
Manchester UFO Research Association, who later wrote 2 books and an article for
New Scientist with me, Trevor Whitaker, Yorkshire UFO coordinator for BUFORA – the
British UFO Research Association, Jenny Randles (this was my first ever TV
appearance aged 23) and Roger Stanway, who was part of the Staffordshire UFO
group at Newchapel Observatory and a superb investigator and Chairman of BUFORA.
Sadly Peter Warrington is the only one other than me still in the field 43 years
later. Even he has been out of UFO research for a good while but we caught up a few
weeks ago and had a good chat about how things have changed across the decades.
You might not have heard the last of him just yet.
THIS EDITION OF NORTHERN UFO NEWS DOES NOT FOLLOW THE USUAL PATTERN
WITH REVIEWS AND SIGHTING REPORTS. THESE WILL RETURN NEXT TIME IN THE
FEBRUARY ISSUE. HERE WE ARE LOOKING AT SOME MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN THE
SCIENTIFIC SEARCH FOR ALIEN LIFE THAT ALL OCCURRED LATE IN 2017.
For many years there has been an almost assumed belief that UFOs and alien
visitors are one and the same. Prove the existence of one thing and you will establish
the reality of the other.
Of course, the truth is quite different. UFOs stand or fall as something unresolved
on their own merit and very few of them have ever provided pointers towards proof
of alien existence.
Ironically, science has moved in the opposite direction. In the early 1970s when I
was at college in Manchester I took astronomy classes from one of the first
researchers looking for alien worlds around other stars. His name was Professor
In reality he was an expert in binary stars near the Earth – systems where two
stars rotate around each other and as a result distort the orbits of one another. Much
like the Earth and the Moon are almost twin planets orbiting a common point because
the relative sizes are much closer to one another than moons and planets tend to be.
The gravitational effects of this mutual interaction on orbits is very clear to all of
us on Earth – as the pull the Moon has on our seas causes the bulge that results in the
tides that drive a lot of our weather.
So whilst observing how twin stars interact with one another he had to be aware
of the possibility of complicating factors caused by large planets circling either star in
the mix. Yet these were impossible to see at vast distances from Earth as they will not
be visible against the huge glare of the star they orbit.
Back then methods for seeking out planets around other suns in this way were
very restricted. We had only just put capsules into space and were still landing on the
Moon – in fact we got some moon rock to look at in these classes because of the
university operation of Jodrell Bank. They were involved in NASA missions and indeed
Kopal had coordinated the mapping of the Moon for use by the Apollo landings –
hence my thrill at getting to see real Moon rock at such a very early stage.
The primitive search for other planets meant that scientists had to look very
carefully at stars through the best telescopes on Earth and seek very tiny wobbles in
their orbit. These resulted from the gravity of very large planets tugging on their Sun
as they revolved around it.
Finding Earth sized planets was impossible then and finding anything at all as
much guesswork as evidence.
Still Kopal was convinced there was good enough data to think that a couple of
stars nearby had gas giants larger than Jupiter in orbit. And if these existed –
he believed – it stood to reason they were common out there and that probably a few
stars had planets that were sufficiently Earth like to be potential homes for life.
He was surprisingly downbeat about this likelihood. Not a fan of UFO reports
which he considered were all hoaxes or mistakes (I did ask him) he nonetheless was
very adamant of the consequence of us finding a potentially habitable world out
I recall his chilling words across almost half a century. ‘If we hear the space
phone ringing we should hang up and not answer.’
He explained that it would be like us going into the jungle and assuming a lion or
a tiger would come up to us and ask for a saucer of milk. They are more likely to treat
us as a threat or prey and, if unprepared, we would be in danger.
Modern astronomy has improved in leaps and bounds. Take computers for
We had one at Manchester, where Alan Turing, of course, had lived so this was
one of the key places where computers were invented. That one was the size of a
room and far less powerful than the one on the phone you carry.
Today’s computers can do far more and much faster and identify ‘wobbles’ around
stars and other measurements such as minute light output as planets pass in front of
Moreover, we have other methods not possible until the last 20 years – such as
telescopes in space above the atmosphere linked to computers and able to give visual
unobstructed views with far better definition than even giant ones on Earth could
We even now have ways to discover the elements in the atmosphere and
extrapolate a good estimate of what the planet will look like.
From all the options now available over recent years the number of proven
planets around other stars has risen dramatically from a handful to thousands. New
discoveries are made every week.
From all this we now know for certain that it is extremely common for stars to
have formations of planets around them like our Sun does. And that the make up –
small, large, some rocky with atmospheres, others dense gas giants like Jupiter or
Saturn is not far removed from what we see sharing orbit of our Sun with us.
Just before Christmas the discovery was announced of a planetary system with
the same number of planets and a similar mix to our own solar system around a
distant star. That means there will be countless others like it yet to be found and that
it is a virtual certainty that planets with similar conditions to Earth are common ‘out
Whilst this does not prove that any of them harbour life, it means that is now far
more a probability than a possibility. Aliens almost certainly ARE out there on some
well favoured planets that had just the right conditions for it . Not
necessarily close enough to easily get here. But real.
This is, of course, as big a discovery as finding microbes on Mars (another equally
likely possibility given methane changes also recently found there).
As Spielberg might say – We are not alone.
The question is whether that directly says anything about the nature and reality
of the UFO mystery. But this was given an interesting twist in the weeks before
the year's end.
If we hear that space phone ringing - oh boy!
When I was first hearing Kopal speak those words about alien contact
almost five decades ago they really inspired me. My brother was in a group that,
whilst they never turned professional, had some success touring the North. Indeed
they are named on the wall of the Cavern Club in Liverpool as one of those who
played alongside the likes of the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
In my fledgling days as a writer I did help write some songs – one based
on what Kopal had said.
It contained words like:
Somewhere in the far off depths of space
(don’t answer, don’t answer, hang up)
There is someone looking at the human race
(don’t answer, don’t answer, hang up)
They have eyes on everything that you do
(don’t answer, don’t answer, hang up)
If you don’t watch out they’ll be coming for you
(don’t answer, don’t answer, hang up)
The space phone’s ringing – oh boy
The space phone’s ringing – oh joy
The space phone’s ringing – out across the universe.
And if you think that was bad it got even worse! Though to be fair I was still in
my teens so....
Most of my song lyrics were – it will be no surprise to hear – frankly weird.
The reaction of the group usually comprised of head shakes, mumbling and words like
– what the *!*! is that supposed to mean?
Needless to say that ‘ditty’ was never in much danger of being heard ringing
around the Cavern and I soon decided on a different way of getting my thoughts
across by writing prose instead - though I never stopped trying out lyrics.
But at least the above shows how Professor Kopal’s concerns about these things
had taken root in my head and the key facts were not going away.
So what happens if there is life out in those distant solar systems? Do we answer
Kopal’s space phone or pretend that we are out?
If you were a very clever ant and found a mobile phone and it rang - what then?
Do you announce your presence as an intelligent species to the caller without a clue
who or what that entity is and, more importantly, if they could trace where you were
and had the ability to come find you pretty fast.
You might be expecting to say hi to another creature not wildly unlike an ant and
of similar intelligence and sharing your ant like concerns. Not a being who is
thousands of times bigger and heavier than you are such as any typical human and
who could crush you underfoot by accident or design and without knowing or thinking
just by coming to find where you are.
We are teased by all those science fiction movies to imagine that aliens will be
more or less like us with a few extra digits or big eyes and a green cast – plus a slight
difference in technical ability. But look at the vast array of life on our one planet or
what meeting the dominant life form from a past era on this world might entail.
A spaceship full of T Rexes would not be what you were expecting to come
crashing out of a flying saucer saying take me to your leader – we’re a bit peckish
after a long flight from zeta reticulii.
So how should we react if there are real signs that scientists might regard as a bit
more meaningful than flying saucer reports that aliens might actually be out there
and are trying to attract our attention?
In December a research study by two astronomers claimed to have found 234
possible intelligent species ‘out there’ around other stars as we are slowly one by one
searching for planets. This is a task that will take decades as there are rather a lot of
them in the cosmos.
Ermanno Borra at Laval University in Canada suggested a few years ago that we
might seek out communications beamed our way using lasers as the coherence and
intensity of these beams are well known.
Just small toy lasers can blind pilots flying thousands of feet above your head and
have led to criminal prosecutions in the UK from idiots doing this on aircraft passing
near my home in Stockport on final approach to Manchester Airport.
Other lasers are used to measure distances with phenomenal accuracy and can
be beamed from the Earth to our Moon with almost no ‘spread’ of the beam
unlike when, for example, you shine an ordinary flashlight onto a wall just a few feet
Borra suggested a search using computers for evidence of tiny variations in the
light of stars potentially caused by aliens on an orbiting planet beaming the advanced
ET version of Morse code signals through the universe. And one of his graduates – Eric
Trottier – decided to look for just that.
He used computers to search 2.5 million stars and seek out what could be such a
laser message. And he found what he was looking for in 234 of them.
That, of course, is a tiny number – just one in ten thousand of the ones scanned.
But IF these really are messages from species who have figured out this is a simple
and energy efficient way to say ‘hello’ to others out there then that number is huge
and means millions of alien civilisations must actually be out there looking for us.
The messages have the predicted periodicity (1.65 picoseconds) and they are
nearly all coming from planets around stars like our Sun that would have the best
chance of having planets with life similar to us. That is an interesting coincidence.
Borra is impressed and claimed that “intuitively’’ he strongly suspects ‘’it is an ETI
Other astronomers disagree and think it more likely there will be a natural
explanation rather than alien yobs beaming lasers at us in some cosmic attention
Indeed we have been here before when, for instance, pulsars were
first detected by radio telescope by Jocelyn Bell in November 1967 their vast energy
and regularity got some astronomers excited that these might be calls from distant
species out into the cosmos calling attention to themselves.
Even Jocelyn Bell herself admitted it crossed their mind and (mostly in jest)
labelled the signal LGM-1 (for Little Green Men) before it got its proper
astronomical term after the origin was identified.
They turned out to massive energy from rotating neutron stars - a major
discovery with great uses in stellar cartography but not as exciting to the
world at large as a ringing space phone from ET.
However, the Lick Observatory in California is sufficiently interested in these
new findings to start a programme that will search through the stars that have been
flagged up by Borra and Trottier and assess the make up of any planetary systems
they find around them from which such laser like messages might reasonably be
Nonetheless it is fair to say that most astronomers are less than convinced and
think the chances of this really being the first detection of alien messages from out
there are basically zero. They remember false dawns like pulsars too well.
No doubt we will find out more once that search of the 234 stars for planets is
Or will the findings of that scan just make the debate even more intriguing?
It is literally a case of watch this space....
Which brings us to Oumuamua - because here it started to look like maybe all
those chickens running round our BBC studio in 1975 had come home to roost.
Soon after the above stories came news that a very odd looking object had
headed our way from beyond the solar system – potentially one of those aliens come
to answer our own space phone perhaps – and origin unknown!
The unusual name is an Hawaiian word stemming from its discovery in October
2017 from a large telescope there. By then it was 85 times further than the Moon from
Earth – pretty close in cosmic terms – but already heading away from the Sun having
passed through our system on a long trek from somewhere else in the universe.
Oumuamua means ‘scout’ and whilst first assumed to be a comet, then an
asteroid, the more we discovered as it passed by the more we realised it was neither
and whilst similar something brand new - the first thing we had seen in our system
that was conclusively not from round here. It was moving so fast that it would never
be captured and stay part of our region of space by the Sun’s gravity like all the
planets, asteroids, meteors and comets we see all the time have been.
Once gone Oumuamua would never return and would head off on a vast journey
of millions of years before it potentially passed any other planets like Earth around
the next star it happened upon.
Unless, of course, Scout was a ‘scout ship’ roaming space looking for life and
being here was no accident as someone ‘out there’ had come to find out about life
on planets they had detected round OUR distant star.
Indeed it reminded some people of a similar scenario predicted by the foresight
of British Science Fiction writer Arthur C Clarke, the man behind the movie 2001: A
Space Odyssey and the TV series that investigated UFOs and other events – The
Mysterious World of Arthur C Clarke. He had penned a novel with just such an event
happening – Rendezvous with Rama - where Rama did turn out to be an alien probe.
The size (800 feet long), reddish colour and very odd shape – not like normal
meteors or asteroids and resembling an aircraft fuselage or cigar – was another thing
that intrigued on first sight and gave some people pause to wonder if that space
phone had finally rung – or that Galactic Telecom had sent engineers our way to
demand we pay the bill!
The fast speed, outward trajectory and darkish nature of what is a small object
explains why it was only seen when it was right on top of us and has limited the
window of visual observations from even large Earth based telescopes.
We do know it headed to us from roughly the direction of the star Vega –
relatively close to Earth at 25 light years distant. This is a younger star than our Sun
and larger and bluer - but in a similar stage in its life cycle to ours. No planets have
been found around it but evidence of debris from out of which planets might form.
Earth sized planets are very hard to detect around a star this big and bright by current
However, this does not mean too much because even at its fast speeds
Oumuamua has taken half a million years to get here from Vega and Vega was not
where it is now in relation to us at that time. So it came from elsewhere really, such
being the factors of time, space and astronomical dynamics at these huge numbers
It is already heading out of the solar system and, having intersected Earth’s orbit
days before first spotted it will pass the orbit of our outer planet Neptune in 2022 –
but will not actually leave the vast outer reaches of our solar system until about the
year 22018 AD! Put a date in your diary perhaps and leave it to your ancestors.
The media speculation that this was an alien probe was not entirely absurd and
many astronomers at least considered it possible – not least because of its shape and
the metal rich nature of its composition. But it was always far more likely to be a
natural part of the cosmos that may well have been flying through the Milky Way (our
galaxy) for many millions of years. If it had stayed on a steady trajectory we could
have been the first planetary system it came anywhere near and that just by chance.
Nonetheless the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia spent six hours
tuned into it across 4 frequency bands on 13 December 2017 just in case it had a space
phone aboard and this was still ringing.
Nothing was detected that suggested it was an artificial object. And other studies
by radio telescopes used in the SETI project seeking messages from other stars also
Even so Oumuamua is of huge interest to science and there are plans to try to
design a way to go study it. The fast speed taking it away from us makes that
impossible with any conventional technology and even something new and faster that
is theoretically possible would likely have to launch in the next few years or by the
time it met up with this cosmic voyager it would be so far away that it would make
study and getting data back to Earth hard.
Nonetheless it is hoped that a ‘Rendezvous with Oumuamua’ might happen in real
life during the 2020s and whilst nobody expects it to turn out like it did in the Clarke
novel, this will be one of the great space missions in human history – genuinely
probing a true unknown.
A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS
189 DECEMBER 2017
EDITOR: JENNY RANDLES COVER PHOTO: ??????
Address: 10 Marton Green, Stockport, Cheshire SK3 8LT
Contents: Why FOs, Major articles elsewhere, The big debate - (F)lying saucers, Book of the moment, Britain's Roswell?, Investigations - UFO stalker goes live in UK, 'UFO near miss at Heathrow', Isle of Man ship 'irradiated' by UFO, UFOs and atomic bomb blasts, Weird EM and Oz factor events in Co Durham, Coming Events
The cover photo matches the theme of this month's editorial
See if you can solve this UFO encounter.
The answer is after the end of the editorial if you give up!
One of the questions I have been asked about this monthly magazine since its
return, mostly by those unfamiliar with the original when it appeared between 1975
and 2002, is about the number of solved cases that appear as opposed to unexplained
What’s that all about, seems to be the concern? Why IFOs (Identified Flying
Objects) rather than just publishing the unsolved cases that are coming in – sticking
to only UFOs in other words?
It was always this way with NUN and there is a very simple reason why such cases
feature in here more than you might expect. Because there are far more out there
than the unexplained kind!
At least 95% of sightings end up as what we might term Why fo’s? So more
common by a factor of almost 20 to 1 and anybody researching any topic that has that
degree of disparity between its evidence is not doing their job properly without trying
to understand why.
With UFOs the question is usually what could these unexplained phenomena
But with IFOs it is often a different question - why was something simple radically
These Why fos actually matter a great deal. For a start they pose a key question –
which is probably the first one all those interested in UFOs should ask before taking
that interest further.
If we can solve the vast majority of cases as ordinary things then how do we know
we could not solve the rest of them given the appropriate time, data or just good
That might seem almost heretical. I have actually had people accuse me of being a
government agent for even suggesting it. But it is a really fundamental point about
the entire UFO mystery and if you do NOT consider that question at all then you are
simply investigating this subject from a biased perspective.
No scientist studying any novel phenomenon would consider it undeniably real
without first being sure that is not something else already understood being
perceived slightly differently for some reason or another.
If someone reports what looks like a new type of cloud, for instance, it has to be
measured against all the known types and meteorologists do not just leap to the
conclusion that this is a new one before being sure it is not an unusual version of one
So if UFOlogy has any pretence to be some kind of scientific study it has to adopt
that same approach.
Question number one must always be – is there a fundamental difference
between the majority – the solved cases – and the minority – those still defying
When in 1977 the French government created a team of scientists called GEPAN
(Study Group into Unidentified Aerosopatial Phenomena) they did so attached to the
aviation and space research units at Toulouse. They did some splendid work in the 20
years or so they were involved and I met some of the scientists working in France and
the US was impressed with their clear sightedness on the Why fo problem.
They tried to solve all their cases very hard and also cared about why IFOs were
perceived in the way that they were and what lessons can be learned from the
reasons why an IFO was reported as if it were a UFO.
During the years that the French team were state funded they documented over
3000 cases that were studied in conjunction with the French police - the Gendarmerie.
Many studies into the better cases (not deemed IFOs) were published as near
book length reports such as the landing with traces at Trans-en-Provence. If you can
read French try to access off the net as it is rare to have such work by scientists.
The difference with the UK was marked. Here sightings – even those made BY the
police – were filed as a simple form and often left to rot until the 30 year rule led to
their eventual release as a set of basic near meaningless data with almost always no
actual follow up investigation or conclusion.
Even then, almost inevitably with a bureaucracy saddled with a problem that they
did not really want, there were cases that went AWOL – such as any report into Alan
Godfrey’s case in Todmorden that we know was submitted by the police and that
someone claiming to be from the MoD had in their hands when interviewing this
witness as described in his new book. He enforced the Official Secrets Act onto Alan
whilst holding it.
This is bound to lead to suspicions that the best cases were handed elsewhere for
further study and escaped release under Freedom of Information alongside the tens
of thousands of less promising ones.
Whilst that conclusion is in my view probably not true the possibility that it could
be fuels conspiratorial thinking. Even if it is more likely many files are just lost or
mislaid or are still out there in unexpected filing cabinets that one day might
Most UFO groups I have been involved with have a similar problem storing data as
there was rarely any money to fund doing so and if you scatter files then the better
ones inevitably drift from place to place.
This is simply because they are the most interesting ones to active researchers
so these are bound to be the ones that get looked at most and may go astray.
Conspiracy is the exciting conclusion many UFO researchers will leap to when in
truth cock up or simple carelessness is more the likely cause.
Another study was carried out by the Battelle Institute in the early 1950s in the
USA as a series of quantitative tests looking for differences between the sub total of
IFO cases and the residual UFOs.
GEPAN later found 14% unresolved and likely to be UFOs against 86% IFOs. But
were choosing the better cases to follow up. Yet with most UFO groups and military
studies like the US Air Force they collate all cases even if little investigation occurs
into them leading to the higher consistent IFO rate.
Or, more often, a plethora of bits of paper not deemed unexplained but termed
Battelle’s study found some things that might be considered scientific proof that
the unsolved cases really are different from the solved ones. They checked a number
of factors and this certainly appeared to suggest the two data sets were not entirely
In reality it was not quite so straightforward. For example they found that IFOs
were common in less clear atmospheric conditions and UFOs more common in good
visibility. But then poor visibility is bound to obscure or alter the perception of
mundane things to perhaps make them look strange.
Does it really support the totally different nature of a UFO that these are often
seen in good conditions? To a degree, yes it might, but not quite to the extent we
Nonetheless, you can only ask such questions and reach meaningful conclusions if
you investigate IFOs in the first place to allow for this kind of comparison.
There are other reasons that the Why fo deserves our attention. They are by far
the best way to learn the art of becoming a UFOlogist.
Unsolved cases seem impressive but will be in the great minority for every
investigator just because the long consistent data we have reveals that fact. They can
also be very frustrating as they leave you with just a set of questions and no real
Yet IFOs provide a trail of clues and evidence that you can follow towards a
reasoned conclusion. They show the true way in which a UFO investigator has to act
as a paranormal detective.
The purpose is to solve a case just like a detective must seek to solve a crime. In
neither case do you always succeed. But the satisfaction when you do should be
It is from the experience of finding answers that we learn what methods to apply
to the next puzzling case that it becomes our job to solve.
An extraordinary number of different things have been put on record as resolving
UFO cases. There are literally hundreds of them – from road signs to bin bags in the
wind and from cows to telegraph poles even mistaken for alien occupants.
Teaching these cases and the way to research options was always something I put
to the fore of the investigator training course that we ran at BUFORA.
Like it or not IFOs are a major part of the UFO mystery and you cannot afford to
So they will form a feature of this magazine because it is our job to learn the
lessons that they teach and apply them to the next riddle that we confront.
By understanding the IFOs that have been solved during the past 70 years we put
ourselves in the best possible position to make reasoned inferences about the
scientific value of the remaining cases that we cannot yet explain.
And will enhance the credibility of that case if it remains unexplained after we
apply the knowledge gained from the resolved cases that came before.
Did you solve the IFO photo on the cover? It is a photo I took in my garden of the eclipse of the moon. In context, easily solved if you know all the facts. If you do not and someone submits this to you as a UFO photo you would have to ask the right questions to get to the truth. It helps to know that the odds say any photo is unlikely to be a real UFO....but, of course, that any one just might turn out to be if no solution appears after you consider different possibilities.
MAJOR ARTICLES ELSEWHERE
Fortean Times Issue 360 December 2017
80pp Cover price £4.50 12 issue subscription £48 UK, £58 Europe, £68 Rest of World, or
$89.99 US firstname.lastname@example.org
There is the intriguing story of the ‘drunk’ man arrested in Wyoming, not far from the
Devil’s Tower where a new festival was set up to mark the 40th anniversary of the
spectacular rock formation’s central role in the Spielberg movie – Close Encounters of
the Third Kind. Abductees and UFOlogists gave talks and crowds attended in costume
at this iconic venue. The said man told police that he was a time traveller from the
year 2048 back to warn locals to flee before the aliens arrive next year. He asked to
speak to President Trump. His drunken status was apparently a necessary
consequence of the time travel method used in the future! So it was just a case of
Bacchus to the future, I presume.....Sorry…..
Peter Brookesmith updates news on the 1965 Kecksburg, Pennsylvania ‘UFO crash’
assessing some of the ideas mooted to try to explain the event. And finally my
column – in tune with the Autumn season – looks at the ‘falling leaf’ effect in UFO
reports with some cases and science and theories as to its cause.
The most interesting article is an in depth look by Mark Salusbury investigating the
mystery lights of East Anglia placing the lights around Rendlesham and Orford Ness in
context with folklore and heritage sightings of strange drifting lights across the
THE BIG DEBATE
Seventy years ago on 24 June 1947 the world was introduced to the phrase ‘flying
Whilst this is a term that may have had isolated use earlier it had not become
established as a meaningful phrase or accepted as the term applied to a whole
phenomenon. But now it was something that was ‘up there’ and amenable to both
investigation and for literally anyone to see if they chanced to be in the right place at
the right time.
In other words UFOlogy was born. Though UFO itself was a term created by the
early USAF investigators five years later once they realised something important.
Most UFOs were not really shaped like ‘saucers’ and nor were they much evidence of
alien craft. Even that early they could see the world conflating all sorts of things into
one and the same as those ‘flying saucers’.
However, it is even more significant to realise something that several UFO
researchers have pointed out across the years since 1947, but which the world at large
tended not to notice. The original sighting – by pilot Kenneth Arnold – did not see a
flying saucer shape either.
He described it variously as a crescent or a tailless missile but not as a saucer
shape. The idea that he did was created by an enterprising journalist who picked up
on his description of the formation of several objects that Arnold thought were new
US air force jets or missiles.
Arnold, somewhat oddly, had specifically described how these objects skipped
through the air – talking at one point more sensibly of a boat bouncing over waves.
But settling on a saucer being tossed across water when we might think more usually
of a stone and seeing how many times we can make it bounce.
Either way the reporter coined the phrase from out of this gaggle of words as
Arnold struggled to describe NOT the shape but the motion of these objects. And his
accidental odd choice of a bouncing saucer instead of say a pebble resulted in ‘flying
saucer’ gathering an illusion of reality from that headline as if it were an actual
shape. Which it never was but had rippled through the collective unconscious over the
decades as the phrase reinforced over and over by alien invasion movies, comics and
any cultural influence you can think.
The power of words to influence reality is vividly illustrated by this impact. Even
today a saucer shaped object in – say – a cartoon will instantly conjure up in your
mind the image of little green men.
As in, the one on the readers page competition. Take a look…..an alien outside the
White House. You know it is an alien because of the saucer. Yet the saucer could just
as easily have been a pebble. And would not be in the form that it is but for a
momentary choice of words by a local journalist 70 years ago and the
misinterpretation of what a witness had meant.
Just how often does our reality in the UFO world stem from what has really
happened as opposed to someone’s assumption as to what they thought has
Because hardly any UFOs are seen skipping through the air like Arnold’s formation
of ‘jets’ did. Had that side of his story got the emphasis would it still be true that we
think of a flying saucer in the singular and not a flight pattern formation of them – as
of course was very common in 1947 just after World War Two.
Very few UFOs in today’s reports are even saucer shaped. Yes, there are one
or two. But they are surprisingly rare. It is as if the misreporting of Arnold’s 1947
sighting influenced popular culture profoundly and had an impact of sorts on the
UFOs that people see in the sky. But only a modest one that is not sufficiently
powerful to make it even one of the top five shapes of UFOs being reported today.
Balls of light, egg shapes, stars, cigars and triangles are all more common.
Flying saucer UFOs are not entirely unheard of. But they are rare enough for the
anomaly to be obvious between what culture assumes ‘alien craft’ to look like and the
far broader miscellany of how UFOs appear.
BOOKS OF THE MOMENT
The Rendlesham File: Britain's Roswell?
Flying Disk Press, November 2017
See: http://flyingdiskpress. blogspot.co.uk/
$17.81 Kindle download From Amazon
1183 pp (kindle) (786 pp softback)
ISBN: 978 0955 191 312
You might wonder what else there is left to say about Britain’s most famous case –
the events in Rendlesham Forest in late December 1980. I have lost count of how
many books have been written about it since Brenda Butler, Dot Street and I
published the first one - Sky Crash - in 1984.
But there are certainly a lot. More than about any case in history other than
Does this new venture (a major update based on a limited edition some years ago)
earn its place as a worthy new addition?
The answer is an emphatic yes. It takes an almost forensic approach from the
scientific perspective of the author. It cannot be called a light read or low on depth.
But it is not impenetrable. At times it is exhaustive in how it dissects parts of the
story. But it is never hard to follow.
Any case can benefit from a fresh look with new eyes and this is probably the first
attempt to consider the physics of what might have caused the UFO events which
certainly takes it in a new direction.
I suspect that the more you know about some of the fields of science that are
contemplated the more fascinating you will find the assessment of what might have
been going on in and around the atmosphere above the woods that weekend the
more intriguing this book will unfold.
I have long suggested that at heart of this case it appears to have involved a UAP
alongside various misperceptions. I tinkered with research going on into over the
horizon radar on Orford Ness and wrote about this in Fortean Times in early 2016. But
it never really led anywhere. This book may reveal why.
Even if some parts of it lose you amidst the blur of data and giant page total you
will have much respect for the author’s attempt to consider a wide range of sources
to offer balanced evidence on every facet of the story. He comes as it as neither a
witness nor a UFO researcher and not as someone from the MoD or USAF and his
approach is not as believer in UFOs or sceptic.
As a working scientist with crucial knowledge of plasma research (which any
reader of Who or What Were They? Knows I think is central to the nature of UAP) then
he had a head start. By chance he was on a science project in the area in 1980 and
whilst his work had nothing to do with the events he started to suspect that
something else going on locally might have been.
So he went out asking questions about the rumoured events and investigating
even before UFO researchers did. In fact it is likely he was the source of the rumours
that Brenda, Dot and I documented in Sky Crash about ‘scientists’ who were asking
questions of foresters and locals even before the Halt memo was sent to Whitehall. If
it was the author and a colleague then they inadvertently created the idea of the MoD
responding fast amidst a cover up as we assumed – wrongly – that only the
government would have been ahead of the game to send scientists in January 1981!
We are led by the author on some intriguing new paths through all the facts and
figures that he uncovered then and in later years and genuinely new insights from his
unique scientific perspective whilst on the spot.
I have no hesitation in saying this is the most important new book on the case I
have seen in years.
Does he get everything right? No, of course not. None of us ever have done that
writing about this fiendishly complicated series of events.
But I had surprisingly few quibbles and was heartened by his willingness to think
outside the box and look for different possible interpretations of events you might
have long taken for granted.
This book is exactly what the Rendlesham case has needed. An outsider with
expert knowledge coming in and reviewing things that many of us were just too close
to be able to see or even know without his expertise.
A most impressive contribution to UFOlogy.
UFO Stalker Live
An interesting new project from the US UFO group MUFON is a map of their ongoing
sighting reports. These are mainly from America, but, as one of the few remaining
longstanding and still very active international groups, following up about 6000
reports a year, they do have plenty from their UK members.
This new website is at www.ufostalker.com
The map is a clever idea that allows you to track around the planet and see recent
UFO activity and instantly identify hotspots.
You can zoom in to your local area and click on any of the symbols (a saucer or an
alien, for example) to bring up brief details. At the bottom are updated statistics for
the number of sightings coming in over the last month or year and figures to show
how numbers are changing.
A simple but very effective tool.
Recent UK cases revealed on there include (with comments added by me):
13 August 2017 Disley, Stockport, Cheshire
At 15.37 a high altitude hovering UFO was reported with lights on, seen above Lyme
Note: They have kite festivals here in the Summer. Which in the past have led to
27 October 2017 Menston, Yorkshire
At 17.38 a witness looking out of their kitchen window saw a shape changing object
that was making no sound. It appeared as both a bell and a dumbbell shape.
Note: Menston has had extensive flaps of UFO activity in the past – usually of
‘earthlight’ like phenomena.
28 November 2017 Manchester
Witness was driving on the East Lancashire Road at 09.05. On the right they saw a
bright orb of light that kept appearing and disappearing in the low sunshine. This was
followed by a ‘cylinder type object, passenger plane sized, going over’.
Note: There were several candidate aircraft that passed low enough to be seen
around this time. Notably a BMI Embraer heading North to Inverness having just
taken off from Manchester. And an inbound Flybe Bombardier from Belfast that
crossed slowly over roughly parallel to the East Lancs at between 5000 and 6000 feet.
UFO ‘buzzes’ Jet
19 November 2017 Near Heathrow Airport, London
These days video cameras offering live round the clock feeds are everywhere and for
transport enthusiasts they are proving especially popular. You can watch dozens of
train lines and stations live across the globe and quite a few airports are now
monitoring ins and outs for anyone to view wherever you are in the world.
Whilst some feeds are free often you have to pay a subscription to watch these
cameras. So if one of them catches a UFO then you can bet it will be used to good
That happened to the one overlooking the runway on the fringes of London Heathrow.
It recorded the spectacular sight at 20.09 and 36 seconds as a trail of smoky mist with
a bright oval mass at its head crossed right through the view heading left to right and
downwards. Two seconds after it disappears a large commercial airliner sails through
on its final landing path to the runway passing the ‘exact spot’ where the UFO was
moments earlier. In fact as it disappeared from view a second aircraft circling the
field is visible passing in the near ‘vicinity’ of the UFO.
The footage is stunning and a great illustration of a UFO sighting - except, of course,
this is an IFO.
The footage is not doctored. The object was very real. In fact there are19 other
reports of it - as I publish - that were submitted to astronomical sources. 14 were in
France, as far south as the alps. Another from Switzerland. And there were 4 others
from the UK – all in the South east within 20/30 miles of London.
This UFO was a stunning fireball meteor – part of the Leonid shower - probably only a
foot or so in diameter but blazing spectacularly as it vapourised. This was miles high
in the atmosphere and probably many miles away from Heathrow (given how it was
seen nearly 1000 miles south that is clearly proven).
As a result the aircraft were in no danger at all. The apparent proximity was just an
Still worth all interested in UFOs looking up the Airlive Heathrow video which they
have put on Youtube and Twitter as it shows just how impressive these things can be
to a person caught unawares and usually without a camera to hand for the few
seconds of view. So next time a witness reports one to you as a UFO – and they will! –
you can judge for yourselves exactly why.
A look back at the status of major UFO cases in the NUFON archives from the decades
1957 – 2007.
FIREBALL XL 2
If you thought the fireball event above was a one off – think again. Another
spectacular extra-large one was in the news 60 years ago. And this time it became
something of a legend on the Isle of Man where I tracked down the story in 2002
whilst researching my book – Supernatural Isle of Man.
It was also reported across the Irish Sea on the mainland as you will see.
This time it did rather more than momentarily scare plane spotters observing an
airliner. It drained the colour out of a fishing vessel – quite literally.
At 02.30, on Friday, November 29, 1957, this huge fireball slanted down out of the
starry night sky over Liverpool. It had been seen by star gazers in Dublin and County
Meath, too, and many more witnesses in England, from as far south as the West
Country right up to the Lake District.
These people out at that early hour had watched the twinkling golden blob of light
coming from the North heading south towards Wales.
It reputedly changed course as it passed above Liverpool’s deserted night-time
streets, now trailing sparks behind as it continued its descent.
As this took place, 57 year old Fred Sutton – skipper of a Fleetwood based fishing
trawler – was stunned when the man on night watch yelled as an intense flash of light
which he presumed to be lightning lit up the sky.
The watch was at the wheel of the 600-ton Ella Hewett then a mile or so off the Isle of
Man, bound for the rich fishing grounds of Iceland in the days before EEC quotas and
Cod Wars destroyed the industry on which Fleetwood then depended, I knew
Fleetwood as a thriving place from my visits as a child around 1957 and lived there
after the devastation following EU membership.
Back on the Ella Hewett it soon became apparent that the crew watch had seen the
trail of golden flames witnessed on the mainland as it exploded violently in mid air.
The flash from the object was so intense, it bathed the large ship in an eerie glow that
fell like a shower of energy with a bizarre consequence not apparent until the dawn
light of morning.
Then something utterly weird was noted as they moored off the east coast of the Isle
of Man. A new coat of white paint on the front of the vessel’s bridge, only just put on a
few days earlier in preparation for heading from Fleetwood north towards Iceland,
had been ‘removed’. As a result of the flash – the crew claimed – it had somehow been
stripped back to just visibly pinky red lead undercoat that had been put on beneath.
It stayed that way for the day but then changed back!
In a message next day to the owners back on the mainland the skipper radioed:
‘Yesterday bridge pink; today normal white’.
More correctly a few hours after the ‘UFO’ exploded the white paint had ‘disappeared’
revealing the reddish lead undercoat and then the normal top coat white returned
just as quickly a day later. The whole crew had witnessed this event.
The vessel’s owner was baffled – saying they thought the message was a joke at first,
but ‘Skipper Sutton is a most dependable man. He has sailed with us for more than 20
years. We have implicit trust in his word.’
All he could do was speculate about ‘radiation’ from the explosion seen – ‘which
caused the red oxide undercoat to show through the white finishing paint’.
Another theory was some magnetic effect separating the iron particles from the
undercoat before returning to normal after the magnetism ebbed away. Being
moored they may not have noticed any other oddities caused by the ship’s hull being
On arrival back at Fleetwood after they had sailed to Iceland and
returned to base with their catch the crew confirmed the story and skipper Sutton
added: ‘It was no fisherman’s tale. The bridge was definitely pink the morning after
the flash and while we were on passage between the Isle of Man and Scotland. But 30
hours later it was white again.’
Theories that the flash caused problems with the eyesight of the crew temporarily did
not work as all saw the effect whether they had been on deck or inside quarters and
not seeing the explosion. And for this colour distortion to only effect the paint for a
day seems unlikely.
As I discovered witnesses on the Isle of Man a few miles from the vessel had seen the
‘fireball’ too and with powerful binoculars said that they could spot “white-hot sheets
of metal” and other fragments falling from the glowing mass towards the spot where
the Ella Hewett was located. This is strange as it implies a low height whereas the
wide spread of sighting reports does not.
Another ship in the Irish Sea saw the incident, too. A coaster sailing from Liverpool to
Glasgow near the island was beneath the object as it exploded. Skipper J Jones was
one of three ‘standing at the window of the wheelhouse’ when a blue-nosed ‘shell or
projectile’ making a ‘hissing’ noise passed over at ‘mast head height’ and lit up the sea
beneath. ‘As the flash hissed over our bows everything turned light blue’.
Jones added sardonically that it was over in seconds but ‘had it hit us it would have
been a terrible mess’.
There was also a very loud bang that rudely awoke many in Merseyside, Cheshire,
Lancashire and the rest of the North-West that morning.
The Air Ministry said that no aircraft was missing, as the initial thought was that this
fireball was an exploding plane. RAF bases across the country were also besieged with
calls from witnesses asking about the fireball. Oddly the Royal Observatory
astronomers at Herstmonceux, East Sussex, said they “attached no importance” to
No doubt just their way of saying it was a meteor.
One has to presume that this was indeed a fireball of some sort and given the spread
of sightings over 200 miles exploding miles high up in the atmosphere as it exploded.
Yet – if that were so – how was it audible at the same time as it visually passed over
Given the much slower speed of sound versus that of light the lack of an obvious lag
indicates it was perhaps not as far away or high as we might think.
Just think of how far the clap of thunder lags behind the flash of lightning and we can
even judge how many miles away a storm is from that gap. This is the same effect
that should have appeared here.
Except that sounds from meteors have been reported coincident with the sighting and
not minutes later. And they are often a fizzing type noise. Indeed scientists trying to
work out why we hear sound coincident with seeing a meteor and not long afterward
discovered that those with certain hair styles or in certain paint environments and in
quiet locations such as out at sea are more prone.
This is because the intense pulses of light radiation caused by the high energy
involved is effecting your body and environment and that IS travelling at the speed of
light, not sound.
The fizzing reported by the ship crew was different from the explosion heard on the
mainland. The crew were likely detecting the pulses of intense energy showered onto
them. Those on land only heard the explosion as the object was destroyed and that
noise reached them possibly minutes later coming from many miles up in the
atmosphere where it burned up.
This certainly seems to have been a very dramatic fireball whose nature is not fully
understood. And given the effects on the Ella Hewett paintwork possibly one of a type
that we are not otherwise familiar.
Perhaps the energy pulses emitted and heard as the fizzing sound were unusually
potent and caused the odd effects on the paintwork.
So even a humble meteor can to a degree be an energy emitting UAP with interesting
physical effects associated that might relate to some very rare atmospheric effects
and so much more worthy of the tag UFO than the vast majority.
Indeed an interesting case occurred later not far from the Isle of Man, on the coast of
Galloway. Here a farmer saw another object pass over and claimed that his hair
turned white overnight as a result. Theory was that he was ‘scared’ that way. But if
this was also an energetic fireball that sent pulses of intense light energy – just as
scientists found studying why we ‘hear’ meteors – the hair is particularly susceptible
to absorbing it. And those with frizzy hair tend to hear the effect best where the
surface area of the hair exposed is maximised.
So a simple IFO these cases were not! And they prove surprisingly instructive.
As for the Ella Hewett, it suffered an even worse disaster five years on in 1962 when it
struck the wreck of the HMS Drake and sadly was completely wrecked.
In October/November 1957 planet Earth entered the space age when the Soviet Union
launched two orbital missions – Sputnik 1 and 2.
The first proved the technology, the second took the first lifeform from this world
into space – Laika the dog.
Humanity became a spacefaring race at that point.
Intriguingly, as it happened the world went through a major wave of UFO activity of a
very unusual kind. The period September to November 1957 was awash with major
It involved one of the earliest recorded ‘abduction’ cases – a man who claimed to be
‘picked up’ by aliens on the banks of the Mersey. And in October/ November
two of the earliest cases of what eventually became recognised as alien ‘genetic’
hybrid baby stories followed.
One of these was a series of encounters that began in Birmingham and resulted in the
witness supposedly giving birth to a part alien baby. Whilst over in Brazil the famous
Antonio Villas Boas case occurred to a farmer ‘seduced’ by a female entity who
indicated the intent was for her to have his baby in space.
And – literally hours before Laika the dog left Earth for ever in what will be a moment
in history taught to children for all time – a massive series of ‘car stop’
events occurred around New Mexico – where multiple vehicles were immobilised in a
spectacular series of UFO fly bys never repeated on that scale.
Sci Fi thinking of the day suggested 'they’ had witnessed our development of nuclear
weapons in and around White Sands, New Mexico in 1945 and now our ability to pose
a threat by being able to reach space, and we were now on ETs radar.
And during the above series of events a UFO appeared right over the disused bunkers
where the world’s first atomic blasts had been observed just as the world entered the
And, if that was not enough of a dig in the planetary ribs as Sputnik 2 prepared to take
off the following case was reported to me.
October (up to 4 November) 1957 Maralinga, Australian Outback,
The event was reported by an Royal Air Force man in Australia part of the team
cleaning up the site in the desert where Britain had for some time been recklessly
detonating modest nuclear weapons despite the risk of radiation exposure on not just
the observers but the innocent indigenous aboriginal population.
The Antler series of tests of up to a kiloton had occurred to two or three weeks earlier
and the testing was to move elsewhere so the area was being dismantled by the
witness and the rest of his team.
At dusk the then Corporal who contacted me and his colleagues were dragged out of
the Maralinga base canteen to go see the atom test site at dusk. Something was
sitting there – ‘like a king on his throne’ – as described to me.
It was a silver blue disk with a metallic sheen and what looked like a line of windows
on the edge. It was hovering there in total silence presenting a ‘magnificent sight’ as
he described it. He said it was so clearly visible you could even see what looked
like plating on the sides.
The local air traffic controller saw it too and contacted Alice Springs and another
airfield within range. Neither had any traffic over the outback.
As you can imagine given the nature of the site security was intense so anything
‘intruding’ into airspace was unimaginable. Such were the strict precautions that all
cameras were under lock and key and had to be ponderously signed in and out so no
footage was secured despite the object being there in plain view for several minutes.
As dusk drew in it simply flew away in total silence.
My only thought as to a possible explanation was that this was some most unusual
cloud formation caused by the outback air that was static over the site and then
drifted off as temperatures fell.
But, of course, the account from the witness as to the apparent solid
nature of the object is hard to square with that outside of a major misperception by
several trained observers.
The witness ended his report to me with these words: "I swear to you as a practising
Christian this was no dream, no illusion, no fairy story but a solid craft of metallic
1977 was a wave year in the UK. Indeed we later published a special review titled ‘The
Many have since ascribed this to the arrival of and mass publicity about the still
celebrated movie from Steven Spielberg – Close Encounters of the Third Kind – based
to some degree on his non fiction book ‘The UFO Experience’.
Indeed Hynek ruefully once told me that his publishers argued he had sold film rights
behind their back – although he never made much money from the movie and clearly
had no idea that was what anyone would think he was doing by just helping out a
young film maker to get the UFO side of his story accurate.
In fact the biggest influence of the Hynek/Spielberg liaison was possibly on his son,
Joel, who has gone on to become an award winning special effects designer on
Hollywood movies such as Predator and What Dreams May Come. Inspired to some
degree by seeing his father involved with the making of that still hugely popular UFO
movie and in which his dad even appears as himself meeting the aliens toward the
end. Allen also told me that they edited out a scene where the being from the
stars was baffled and amazed by his impressive beard and decided to stroke it!
However, Close Encounters only appeared in the US late in 1977 and did not arrive in
the UK until Spring 1978. So it had no real influence over the 315 cases we recorded at
NUFON for that year in the special report.
For comparison other year totals were 1974 (72), 1975 (157), 1976 (163) – showing how
clearly 1977 stands out.
The report lists every case with raw details and our conclusions. Of these cases by the
point of report 80% of them had been resolved as IFOs.
Some of the different things that caused UFO reports that year which we explained
(outside the most common such as aircraft (11%), meteors (10%) and astronomical
bodies (9%) ) – were frost, sunset flare, model aircraft, tornado and mushrooms! The
latter was the cause of a ‘landing site’ found in Staffordshire.
There were two ‘flaps’ of note. A week in March when 23 sightings occurred –
including one of the UKs best known ‘car stop’ cases at Nelson, Lancashire on 9 March
(described in Who or What Were They?) And another in May when 19 cases occurred
in a week including a daylight close encounter at Sandbach, Cheshire on 19 May.
During the year an unusual high of 2.2% of cases involved sightings of aliens.
Over 9% of the unknown cases occurred between 1 and 4 am. And under 5% between
8 am and 4 pm.
Below I will summarise one of the most interesting cases from that 1977 wave –
still unexplained to this day.
6 June 1977 Barnard Castle, Durham
This impressive case was investigated by the CHRYSIS local group headed by Brian
At 23.30 on a dark and dismal night for mid Summer the witness, a 16 year old farm
worker, was driving his motorbike home in heavy rain on the B 6278 near the village
of Lartington outside the market town of Barnard Castle.
There was little traffic given the weather but the rider noticed two fuzzy purple glows
behind and, thinking they were lights on a vehicle, he kept looking back in case it was
trying to overtake given the wet road and as he was climbing a hill.
Seconds later a Jaguar car started to overtake and he slowed to let it do so. But as it
did a huge fuzzy purple glow swamped both vehicles from above with a hazy pinkish
Instantly he felt power drain from his bike and the throttle would not respond. He
also felt intense heat on his back and legs and could see steam coming off his soaking
wet leathers as if being evaporated by the radiated heat from the glow.
Both the car and the bike were seemingly ‘pulled’ up over the rise despite (as the
driver of the Jaguar confirmed) each losing engine power. As they topped this the
fuzzy purple mass vanished.
The rider applied the brakes instinctively after losing control but this had had no
effect as he was ‘pulled’ upward but they were so worn as to be found to be
useless and needed resetting,
The two vehicles came to a halt and swapped notes about the amazing experience.
The car had also lost power for about 30 seconds and the bike rider’s
leathers were bone dry and stiffened by heat. Despite the heavy rain the frame of the
bike was bone dry as if all water had evaporated. It was also extremely hot to the
The car driver confirmed this to CHRYSIS but was so shaken that he chose not to get
On arrival home at about midnight the bike rider’s mother immediately noticed how
red was the hands and face of her son. It was as if he had been heavily sunburnt in
those few moments at near midnight on a rainy night. The effects faded after a day
However, he did come down with a severe stomach pain and felt unwell a few days
later. Though whether this was connected or simply a stress response we do not
I should also add that about 20 years later one of the witnesses to this case contacted
me to report they were having problems involving a tumour and were
concerned if the incident might have been involved.
What could I say to them? I can only add that I have been involved in three other
cases where a witness came in close proximity to something such as this and later
developed similar problems. So I could not rule out a connection with whatever
massive energy led to the other physiological effects and to the vehicles involved.
This is a classic case of a UAP – the kind of UFO that is clearly physically real and
highly energetic and potentially dangerous. For me the real reason why we should be
investigating these cases thoroughly.
Interestingly, Heather Dixon, the current Director of Investigations for BUFORA and
part of the North Eastern UFO team, has reported on the BUFORA site another
incident that occurred very close to this location about 7 years later. In fact it was just
a mile away on the same road as Lartington and in the location where the purple
mass flew over the motorbike and Jaguar.
This case involved a couple who rented a cottage in mid Summer at Cotherstone and
had some weird experiences there. These included numerous Oz Factor like episodes
in and around the cottage. One was when they saw a figure cross a small bridge
during a walk nearby as they ‘sensed’ tingling presences in the air around them.
The figure seemed to vanish into thin air crossing over the adjacent River Tees. As the
husband approached the structure he felt his foot disappearing downwards into
nothingness as he tried to stand on the bridge and was quickly pulled back by his
wife instead of 'falling' into the unseen abyss where the bridge physically was.
The couple decided not to go out walking again during their stay. But their days at
cottage was stressed out and largely sleepless as they felt ‘out of synch’ with reality
throughout as if they were not in the same time and out of phase by a second or two.
This is another comment I have heard from witnesses in Oz Factor cases. As if it is
distorting their entire perception of time.
As they were preparing to depart the place the wife fell into a deep sleep from
which she could not be woken and her husband, watching TV, noticed the signal start
to show interference and fade. Then the wall plug jumped out of the socket as did the
one from the fridge.
The French Windows began to vibrate and rattle and he felt very strange. Outside
above the nearby river with its bridge that seemed to act as a doorway into an unseen
reality there was a huge strange purple mass covering the sky and
seeming to pass over them very slowly. He felt disoriented and ‘sad’ as the thing
Again this is another common aspect of such cases I have heard witnesses express
before (see the case of Jay at Walsden in Who or What Were They?)
The husband reported to Heather that the weird state of consciousness during this
encounter was like ‘dreaming on your feet’. Or ‘like a plate of glass between us and
His wife had now woken from her stupor and spoke suddenly – ‘I am glad it was you,
not me’. Words she could not explain and seems to have uttered unconsciously.
They were more than happy to get away from that cottage.
The links between these two cases might be important in understanding what could
be the cause of two independent and fascinating cases.
Heather has been to the location and says there are local stories about a strange
mist. I hope she can tell us more as that, too, might well be relevant.
A reminder that Nigel Mortimer is hosting a most unusual on line event - What Really
Happened at Rendlesham Forest?
Using an ET/Spirit Communication device he hopes to uncover the truth?
Apparently this certainly different investigation methodology will scour the ether to
reveal what has been hidden from us otherwise by nefarious means.
Nigel Mortimer is hosting this experiment on
28 December 2017 at 800pm
It will be live at
OUTER LIMITS MAGAZINE Conference
Saturday 1 / Sunday 2 September 2018
Freedom Centre, Preston Road, Hull HU9 3QB
Hosted by editor Chris Evers it will be Outer Limits Magazine’s first ever two day
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT AN EARLY BIRD BOOKING FEE, (discount prices end midnight
UK time on the last day of January 2018 see here:
Retired former deputy base commander of RAF Bentwaters, Col. Charles Halt.
The man whose memo paved the way for the Rendlesham Forest case to become #
public knowledge and whose tape recording of the mysterious events over the second
night of sightings have led to it becoming world famous.
Mary Rodwell is a professional counsellor, hypnotherapist, ufologist researcher and
metaphysician. Principal of ACERN (Australian Close Encounter Resource Network)
and one of Australia's leading researchers in the UFO and Contact phenomenon.
Mary is making a rare visit to home shores and will be discussing her involvement in
the Star Kids project, her new book The New Humans, and much more, her lecture will
feature filmed footage of events.
The conference will also feature former P.C. Alan Godfrey, who is discussing the
events around his sighting, his new book and a period of missing time.
Outer Limits Magazine award winner John Hansom will present a lecture based on his
many years of investigations of UFO reports from 1940 to the present.
And welcome Bridlington’s Paul Sinclair with a fascinating discussion from his own
investigations in to UFO cases in his locality. Such as the losses over several years of
RAF Tornadoes in Bridlington Bay. Pauls first publication Pauls second book, Truth
Proof II,will undoubtedly form the basis of a great presentation.
Host and Outer Limits Magazine editor Chris Evers will present a small talk outlining
strange events from a ufological year gone by...
UFO TRUTH MAGAZINE CONFERENCE
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September 2018
Holmfirth Civic Hall, West Yorkshire
Don Scmitt, USA
Brien Foerster, USA and Peru
Robert Fleischer, Germany
Alan Godfrey, UK
For prices and details
LAPIS – the Lancashire Anomalous Phenomena Investigation Society – are also
planning to host a conference at the:-
Ashton Park Hotel in St Annes, Lancashire
Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October 2018
This is a revival of the popular events that were held by this long standing group in
various Fylde Coast resorts during the 1980s and 199
More details of the weekend as soon as they are available.
188 NOVEMBER 2017
EDITOR: JENNY RANDLES COVER DESIGN: ROY SANDBACH
Address: 10 Marton Green, Stockport, Cheshire SK3 8LT
email address email@example.com
Contents: JR Comments - Rendlesham Questions, the big debate
- ufos at sea, oz factor aboard ship, books of the moment - UFO
drawings from the national archives, investigations - Wales,
Cornwall, Somerset - cases and events from 1957, 1977, 1987,
1997 and 2007 - including sing song aliens and a daylight disk
over Majorca. Forthcoming Events.
Other than Alan Godfrey’s abduction there is probably one big
case that happened in the UK that is truly renowned around the
Interestingly it happened just 4 weeks after Alan Godfrey’s
abduction in late 1980 and does interact with it to some degree
as readers of Alan’s new autobiography – Who or What Were
They? - may discover for the first time.
In essence it seems to have sparked Cold War interest
involving the Soviet Union that in turn came to the attention of
the Ministry of Defence in London.
If you accept the origin stated by the man sent to see Alan at
Todmorden police station - professing to be a ‘man from the
ministry’- then it begs disturbing questions about why
surveillance and scare tactics were put in place.
At that time Alan was not even aware that the Rendlesham
Forest case had occurred because this intervention preceded
the first published articles even in the UFO literature from me
I should stress that I knew some of these revelations in Alan’s
book when they occurred but was constrained from talking
about them for reasons that will be apparent based on what
happened to him in their aftermath as the book describes. So he
is not claiming these things retrospectively.
You have to read Alan’s account in context – as he is not
himself persuaded that the man really was from the MoD. But
regardless of his origin someone, somewhere in high authority
and able to order senior officers about was snooping into
possible links between Britain’s two best known cases soon
after they happened. And that is something that requires us to
wonder how and why they did so.
Indeed there is no apparent evidence of this mutual interest
inside the files released by the MoD on the Rendlesham case.
But the files on Alan Godfrey’s case seem harder still to even
discover although it was officially reported to the MoD by the
police. Indeed this ‘man from the ministry’ held that dossier in
his hands when he visited Alan in Todmorden police station
proving it did at that point exist.
This is just the latest in a long line of twists and turns about
the Rendlesham case over the years. Once termed ‘a ghastly
embarrassment to UFOlogy’ by sceptical astronomer, Ian
Ridpath, supports his view that it is explainable as things like
a bright meteor, stars and a lighthouse. Many sceptics agree
with him and it has been controversial pretty much from the
Yet 37 years later it has spawned more books than any other
single incident apart from Roswell. Roy Sandbach did an oil
painting of the events witnessed inside that Suffolk forest which
features on the cover of this issue above.
There are also several forums on line and Facebook pages
devoted to discussion of the affair. And as with all big
controversies these have generated many varied attempts to
explain the evidence that has led to some internecine warfare
even between a few of the witnesses.
This has recently exploded across the internet around the
validity of the story of the first USAF witness to speak out on the
Rendlesham case – Larry Warren.
He told about the event in the very early days (1982/3) when
all we knew was largely just a bunch of rumours. Though
definitely being on the air base at the time of sighting his claim
to be an eye witness has led to some within the USAF supporting
him and others not. Some have long defended what he said.
Others suggest he heard rumours or was only peripherally
involved. Though he has always stood by his story.
Warren’s account appeared under the pseudonym Art Wallace
in the News of the World when the case first went public outside
of UFO research in October 1983 and Larry has been one of the
most voluble witnesses ever since.
Having met him I have always found him an amiable chap who
tells his story well and who is easy to get along with. But he has
a thing over how much the News of the World paid people for
their story that we have never fully agreed over. The paper did
pay big money by UFO case standards – all be it shared across
many people who assisted their series of articles – but in so far
as I know from my meetings with them it was not some of the
larger sums that I have seen bandied around the UFO field.
I know several UFO authors (not me I should stress) who have
been paid more than the paper paid to witnesses and
researchers in total. But it was between £15,000 and
£18,000 I believe. Perhaps a couple of thousand each.
Dot Street and I used our share (which was only in low four
figures combined) to fund a month in the USA to chase
the case. That research formed a key part of our book Sky Crash
that with Brenda Butler (who was unable to come with us)
we published the following year and was the first to appear
exclusively about this case.
The money was modest enough that we travelled on overnight
buses sleeping on seats for nights on end and stayed in houses
of friendly researchers rather than posh hotels. It was the only
way to get the job done. Certainly we used the ‘windfall’ from
the tabloid to investigate the case. Neither of us could have
afforded even to fly to the USA in 1983 otherwise.
I say this not to disparage Larry Warren’s credibility. The
stories about the News of the World money – like many aspects
of the Rendlesham case – have simply become self-fuelling
speculation with so much chatter and many people pondering
the whys and wherefores over every little aspect of it. I only
wanted here to set the record straight as far as I know it
because Larry is far from the only one bothered by this matter.
It was nobody’s fault, just circumstances. And because
multiple people were paid money by the paper for contributing
to weeks of features, including front pages, the ultimate
total of what they paid or even everyone they did pay something
to will be to a certain extent guesswork.
But if something as relatively trivial as who was
paid what by a newspaper kicked off some kind of row in the
UFO world surrounding Rendlesham then it is no surprise that
every little bit of every witness story has been picked apart in
the grand debate – Larry Warren’s inevitably included.
That does not mean his story about the case is true or false
- a caveat we should always bear in mind about any witness or
any sighting. They rarely go out to seek money but if the media
offer recompense for giving exclusives then most people would
accept. I see nothing wrong in that. Just as the media see
nothing wrong in exploiting witnesses all the time. So if they
fund UFO research inadvertently, all the better.
In my view you just have to listen to any witnesses and then
judge their testimony on its own merits or demerits.
With writer Peter Robbins Larry published his own account as
part of a 1997 book about the case - Left at East Gate. However,
the recent debate over aspects of his story has spilled over from
a great deal of squabbling on the net to see temporary
suspension of sales of that book by its current American
publisher seemingly due to concerns about various claims and
Hopefully this will have an amicable resolution, because -
whilst I understand the forces that have driven them to act like
this - as a writer I find it hard to defend the denial of a right to
read any testimony – no matter how disputed it may be. Yes, his
story may have doubt but as a key early part of the case it still
has to be evaluated in any overview.
Yet something has to be accessible so that it can be interpreted
alongside the resulting criticisms of it. That is the essence of a
This case is always going to be hugely contentious and like
every other controversial UFO report (of which there are many)
you have to form conclusions by balancing differing viewpoints
and extreme arguments. Removing any evidence makes this
balance much more difficult to achieve.
I can accept how some people and some witnesses will feel
protective of their own credibility and have a desire to make
Rendlesham Forest respectable in so far as they perceive it. But
in a field as fraught with extreme claims and theories such as
this sometimes we just have to agree to disagree with some who
do not share our opinion or our version of what happened.
We have to trust to the wisdom of others to decide what they
believe on due consideration of all the facts.
Some people are rallying to Larry’s defence, of course and I
will report if anything new develops on this disturbing news.
However, this much disparaged case – having been assailed on
many fronts by UFO sceptics, the media and even some UFO
proponents - is showing no sign of losing that controversial tag
any time soon.
Like Alan Godfrey’s story it is now 37 years old but neither are
remotely looking like fading away quietly or becoming a dead
But then Roswell is 70 years old and nobody is forgetting
that in a hurry. Indeed a revival of the TV series in which the
Roswell aliens take human form and become US high school kids
is in the works.
Hopefully TV will not create a Rendlesham Forest saga out of all
that has gone on after the case. But you never know.
MAJOR ARTICLES ELSEWHERE
Fortean Times Issue 359 November 2017
80pp Cover price £4.50 12 issue subscription £48 UK, £58
Europe, £68 Rest of World, or $89.99 US
As usual with the issue out over Halloween this has lots of
interesting ghost and witch stories and research. Including an
investigation into the classic Tennessee Bell witch case.
There are also reports on the mystery toxic fog over Sussex in
August and the claims of a sonic weapon attack in Cuba.
UFO copy is more limited this month with a piece from Peter
Brookesmith looking at cases of interaction between mediums
and psychics and alien contact. With some curious experiments
ongoing to ‘build a bridge'.
My report this month looks at recent scientific research that
might give pointers towards the natureof the Oz Factor state.
THE BIG DEBATE
UFOs at Sea
I have received a letter from a lady asking me to
comment on something she read in a book.
Mrs B from London was reading ‘Down to the Sea in Ships’ by
Horatio Clare (Chatto and Windus, 2014). This is an account of
his time in the occupation of ‘writer in residence’ on container
ships. Something that, like many of you I suspect, I had no idea
even was a career that you could have.
It seems that on p 214 of this book he reports a story from a
crewman about a UFO sighting that he experienced with
another sailor whilst amidst the Indian Ocean.
The object was a ‘bright blue light’ said to be ‘too fast for a
plane’ and, when it passed directly over the deck, was seen to be
‘cigar shaped’ and ‘leaving a neon blue trail which lasted for
My initial suspicion about this was a bright fireball meteor or
even space debris burning up.
However, given the location I believe it was more likely a
missile launch that exploded a cloud of gas in the upper
atmosphere. These have been done to conduct scientific
experiments by observing how the vapour spreads and
dissipates. Barium is commonly used to create a bluish colour
that is easy to track from the ground and these tests are widely
launched over the Indian Ocean given open space for this.
NASA images from such tests into things like the
magnetic and wind forces in the very upper atmosphere seem
to be very like the reported effect.
Without a sighting date it is not possible to be sure, but this
makes sense of this onservation.
However, Mrs B asked if ‘night-watch crews might
be ideally placed to witness and record exact position, time and
speed of such objects. ‘And she wonders if they have ever been
encouraged to report such sightings.
This is very sound thinking and I would add that out at sea you
are well away from any artificial lighting and no blocking
horizons and so may have one of the best possible views of
something strange up there.
We have paid lots of attention to air crew reports from
witnesses aboard aircraft above the clouds. And whilst their
stories are fascinating there are many things such as other
aircraft to be mistaken around them and there is, of course, less
time and ease of observation when in charge of a Jumbo jet than
when on a quiet night watch aboard a ship.
It would be interesting to hear if anyone has contacts in the
shipping industry or awareness of sources where we might
publish a plea for such reports.
Or, by all means do it yourself and if you get any reports back
from the project – let us know.
There is an interesting ship board UFO encounter briefly
mentioned inside Alan Godfrey’s book – this one even involving
radar tracking. I am hoping to try to get more information on
that case from the police officer reporting it to feature in a
future issue of Northern UFO News.
Meantime here is one of the strangest ever ship board
encounters that was reported to me.
I cannot explain it. If you think that you can do let us know.
The Sky and Sea Went on Forever:
This report was told to me some years ago by an elderly man,
Bill, who had spent years at sea. It happened in October 1928 at
about 8 pm when he was working on a tanker ship that ferried
goods to and fro across the Atlantic.
They were some miles out to sea but heading for Miami when
something happened, which - over half a century later - was still
vivid in his memory and that he could not get over and so
he contacted me.
As they would be docking next day he walked to the library to
relax for a little preparing for the coming exertions once they
reached the US mainland. But as he entered the door something
odd occurred. It was like reality changed and the air around him
seemingly ‘stopped breathing’.
There was an eerie silence and he felt almost isolated and
alone – something never possible when on a small vessel shared
with other crew who you could not really get more than a few
yards away from for days on end.
Baffled that nobody was in the library, as that itself was
unusual so near the end of a long crossing, he returned outside
to see that his instant isolation did not cease. There was not a
soul in sight at any point around him on the ship. He knew
immediately this just could not be.
In many ways –although he did not know it – Bill was
describing the Oz Factor to me. This sense of timelessness after
which this website is named is often reported in context with a
UFO close encounter and features strongly in both Alan
Godfrey’s case and the Rendlesham Forest episode already
mentioned in this issue.
But it does happen in other situations – timeslips being
another common scenario where witnesses will frequently
comment on this sudden shift in how they experience reality.
From back out on deck things were even more mysterious for
Bill. There was no sound of engines. No waves lapping against
hull. It was, as he put it to me, like he was inside a bottle where
everything was suspended in time.
Fearing he had somehow missed an emergency that had seen
the engines stop and the ship to be abandoned, he peered over
the edge to see if lifeboats were afloat.
What he saw was much weirder and more scary than that.
‘There was a grey misty sheen. Everywhere I looked the sea and
sky blended into one wall of seamless grey. The monotony went
on forever. I could see no horizon. Nothing was moving. It was
exactly as if time stood still and I was no longer a part of the
From where he was Bill could see almost every part of the ship
deck as it was largely flat. But not one other person was in sight.
Almost in despair, but with a degree of logic, he sat down on the
deck – which he knew was so narrow that anyone passing would
have to see him, or fall over him. And someone had to come this
way soon as they always did on a busy ship.
Then shortly after he crouched down he heard a crew member
come rushing towards him shouting with relief.
‘Where have you been? ‘
The man said they were getting convinced that Bill had fallen
overboard as the whole crew had scoured the boat repeatedly
but could not find him.
He tried to explain about the strange sight outside the ship –
but when he pointed over the rails everything was normal – sea,
sky, horizon, engines, swell. Moments after seeing what he had
it was an everyday scene.
Not possible, the crewman told Bill. He had been missing for an
hour and they had searched every inch for him during that
time. They eventually just told him that he must have fallen
asleep in some spot they had somehow missed and dreamed the
episode. It was the only option that made sense to them.
Bill never accepted that suggestion and said he knew this had
really happened but could not in any way explain what ‘this’
If this event had occurred in a more modern age than the pre
UFO mystery 1920s a UFO investigation group might have taken
it this way and I can more or less guarantee that somebody
would have had him hypnotically regressed.
What then if he had ‘recalled’ seeing a UFO and having an
Would we accept that as what really happened or should we
stick with what we know? Which is not a lot but certainly is a
very strange ‘altered state of consciousness’.
BOOKS OF THE MOMENT
UFO Drawings from the National Archives
Four Corners Books September 2017
128 pp illustrated
David Clarke started out as a teenage UFO enthusiast working
with the Yorkshire UFO team associated with NUFON over 30
years ago. Since then he has become a doctor, a historian and
has featured often on TV documentaries. But he has retained his
interest in UFOs, whilst becoming increasingly sceptical that
they are more than a psychological and sociological
phenomenon. With perhaps a few anomalies thrown in.
Dave was an ideal choice to shepherd the release of the
Ministry of Defence UFO archives into the public domain
through the first decade of this century when the Freedom of
Information Act made this inevitable. He had the hard
headedness not to be overly ebullient and yet a grounding in
the subject that was 100% genuine.
So with each new batch of files he pointed out to the media the
highs and lows within the densely packed sheafs of often
indecipherable tedium and steered the jaded press onto what
he saw as the key things from each release.
Along the way he released several books based on the data,
largely demystitying everything in sight, Whether you
appreciated that or considered him a ‘disinformer’ (which is
rubbish given that his interest in the subject is very real and
long term as I can personally testify) he did a splendid job.
Now that task is largely ended as the files are out, bar the odd
one or two that were held back and may yet appear later. And
the MoD has shut up shop and no longer collects UFO reports to
stuff into dusty files and get ignored.
So in what is probably his last word on the matter he now
releases a book with the unusual slant of basing it around the
sketches and drawings of sightings from the UK that any
seasoned UFO researcher will know well as many similar ones
will accompany cases in their own dusty filing cabinets.
That really is the gist of this book – the breadth of artistic
prowess or otherwise that brightened up the endless
questionnaires of dry text within the MoD records. And a little
about the case itself to put the images into context.
Some cases you might recognise, others likely never made an
impact on the wider world. But together they are a visual
snapshot of UFOs as they were in the UK during the second half
of the 20th century.
Space Men of Harlech
June/July 2017 Morfa Dyffran, Gwynedd, Wales
MUFON is one of the longest standing American UFO groups and
has been around since 1969. I have lectured in the States at
their conferences several times (most recently in Washington in
They have become interested in a spate of UFO reports from a
remote beach in northern mid Wales that is a favourite haunt of
naturists. So much so that MUFON has posted notices on trees
in the area asking for brave witnesses to come forward.
These sightings on Morfa Dyffryn south of Harlech have been
reported throughout Summer 2017 – not just by those on the
beach, um, ‘sunbathing’, but also locals out walking dogs or on a
The notices refer to ‘strange lights, plasma balls and other
apparitions’ being observed around the sand dune strewn
location not close to any major towns.
Typical cases include a man walking his dog who took some
scenic photographs but saw nothing whilst taking them. But on
viewing them by computer later spotted a small ‘orb’ of light in
the sky over the sea.
Another witness described an object that was composed of 5
rings that slowly circled around the beach area and stood still in
mid air at one point for up to 10 seconds.
Sadly not much photographic evidence has been captured –
perhaps not surprisingly. Nudists would have to be rather
inventive over where to hold their cameras.
Locals are not convinced anything strange is going on. They
point to the development site for UAV – Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles – to the south at Llanbedr. This is used to test
experimental pilotless craft that might catch out non locals
unaware of this technology.
It is also a popular spot for those flying their own drones for
recreation or photo reconnaissance and for kite flying given the
healthy winds that blow in off the Irish Sea.
Journey into hype – r – space
17 July 2017 Fistral, Cornwall
In mid July local and then national media sources picked up on a
series of reports coming in from Cornwall describing a blob like
UFO witnessed in daylight.
Surfer Kiefer Krishnan was one of the first to submit something
caught on his ‘Go Pro’ camera in the sea off Roche Rock. He
claimed not to see it until viewing the footage which at the very
end looks like a fuzzy blob almost ‘drawn on’ to the film. You
might at first be forgiven for thinking it is a splash of water out
of focus but it changes shape and looks a bit like a fuzzy letter
‘E’ on its edge.
The water splash idea rapidly vanished when more and more
reports were made as this ‘social media’ wave progressed.
Sightings from around Truro and St Austell also featured
further video clips of similar ‘snake’ like fuzzy blobs – some
taken from dashcams on the front of cars driving on local roads.
As the media gathered pace theories accelerated – one popular
one being a flock of starlings performing their customary
aerobatics. Though this was not to last long as the murmuration
displays do not tend to occur in mid Summer.
By now there were some worrying signs obvious if you were
paying attention to the spread of reports. The unusual number
of film clips being one and the rather ‘tacked on’ nature of the
images that made them look quite unlike something in the sky
or even filmed at the same time as the footage of the actual
goings on such as the surfing or the drive.
Another big clue that should have alerted any UFO investigator
was the disparity between what was in the sky and what the
people in the video clips were doing. They were all going about
their business not noticing or reacting in any way to the UFO
they filmed at the same time. Once or twice that would not be
too odd if they just failed to see it.
But being in all the clips it was starting to look more like a
conspiracy than bad eyesight or bad luck.
And so it proved. Once the national media started to run with
the UFO wave the admission came that this was a ‘social
experiment’ being used to harness the power of the internet
and modern communications to plug an event.
The culprits were the well-known West Country tourist draw –
the global biodomes in a disused quarry of the Eden Project.
Hence, presumably, the fuzzy 'E' shape in shot.
They were launching a new ‘Journey into Space’ zone at the very
popular attraction and had decided ‘spaceships’ of the
imagination were a clever way to get noticed.
Warminster Thing Returns (or not)
Cley Hill, Somerset, 19 August 2017
Cley Hill is a name well known to UFO researchers. It was the
focal point of strange events during the 1960s when the so
called ‘thing’ was reported in and around the nearby town of
Warminster, Wiltshire – popularised to wide media appeal by
Arthur Shuttlewood, a local journalist.
Then 20 years later during the heyday of the crop circle mystery
those various swathes of pattern in the corn and oats led to yet
more speculation about messages being marked on the Earth.
Though it is now widely thought that most were hoaxes.
So no surprise that when something weird was seen in the sky
over the infamous hill that UFOs were not very long in getting
associated this summer.
It was first seen in May by people around Frome. But three
months later several people reported the object just after dusk
on a Saturday night and one man succeeded in taking footage of
this on his way back from a day at a ‘Rum’ festival!
The footage certainly looks quite spectacular – revealing at first
a firey glow that moves and spirals upwards then erupts a trail
of sparks in its wake.
Obvious answers such as a meteor are quickly eliminated due to
the erratic flight pattern. A flare is not practical either because
this twists and turns in a very controlled way rather than
something being wind born. It is also too fast.
There is an answer – however. This case was resolved as being
an innovative stunt flying aircraft. It does aerial displays
attaching fireworks to its wings as it loops around the sky.
Whilst this might sound rather dangerous the team involved are
clearly skilled. By deliberately operating on summer nights
just after it has gone dark the stunning visual effect that this
creates is enhanced.
Of course, viewed from a distance where the plane itself is
unseen and the sound not heard or the display not known about
and we have yet another new type of IFO to add to the ever
growing list of explanations.
Whilst the above modern day reports are a tad disappointing in
terms of adding new evidence to the UFO mystery, this section
of Northern UFO News, each month will look at events and cases
that featured in Northern UFO News exactly 20, 30 and 40 years
ago - so currently that means late1977, 1987 and 1997 –
adding in my continued reports to Fortean Times during our
absence and so ringing us to 10 years ago - in 2007.
Each issue I will highlight some of the things that stand out from
any or all these time periods. The idea being to see what we can
gain from looking at these things anew after decades of
In the early phase of the then relatively new NUFON - Northern
UFO Network – an alliance of local investigation groups sharing
their case research and activities through this magazine – we
had already just held the fourth annual conference.
The first three had been in Liverpool (1974), Manchester (1975)
and Sheffield (1976). In 1977 it was the turn of the Nottingham
UFO Investigation Society to play host.
Indeed two towns were already bidding to stage the 1978 event.
In a short time it had become like the Olympics!
This kind of cooperation was innovative in the UFO field and
made it possible to stage bigger and better events by sharing
the load as part of this NUFON alliance.
The idea was to retain total autonomy of how to run yourself
locally but to share common goals in a free – no ties, no fee
network of like minded regional UFO investigation teams.
This allowed these events to act as a kind of annual summit
meeting to plan research and develop new ideas – that by the
early 1980s would lead to the Code of Practice – a voluntary set
of rules to abide by when dealing with witnesses and the media.
It set a trend for global UFO research by being the first to put
any limitations on the use of regression hypnosis to protect
The Nottingham conference was also an innovator in having half
the sessions devoted to lectures aimed at the wider public so as
to educate and inform about the subject. And the other half of
the procedings being much more fact based and research heavy
discussions of ongoing cases or proposals for joint projects
that NUFON might better organise by groups working together.
It is sad looking back now to think that with the far fewer local
groups around today and relative lack of cooperation and even
limited communication that in many senses 1977 seems like the
‘future’ and today the ‘past’.
Is there anything we can do to revive this spirit of mutual
cooperation, I wonder?
Crewe Station of the Air
An interesting case ongoing around the conference happened on
3 September 1977 at Crewe, Cheshire – location of the still busy
But this involved very busy things in the sky over the town
investigated by prolific local team FUFOR.
Several witnesses saw a hazy white light moving North
Eastwards. One group heard a faint buzzing noise aside from a
witness who heard nothing. But had to have his ears syringed
later when it turned out they were blocked. Between 22.30 and
23.08 there were several sightings, including two ambulance
The case was solved by Manchester Airport who confirmed that
in the then very early days of package tours by air things at
Ringway, as it was still known, were exceptionally busy for one
of the first times but by no means the last. As such the
inbound jets were being put into a new holding pattern over the
area around Macclesfield and Buxton still used today. The holds
and turns by the planes coupled with the unusually clear
atmospheric conditions meant that this activity was visible from
as far south as Crewe in ways that had not been obvious before.
This shows how small changes in existing everyday events can
combine to create a UFO flap.
In fact when I was doing teacher training at a village school near
Crewe four years earlier we ran a class project that
investigated UFO sightings over a local wood. The kids loved it
and the UFOs being seen then turned out to be an earlier
manifestation of this same plane effect, coupled with some
poison sadly killing fish in a pond in the wood. Local rumour
had connected this with the 'flying saucers'. Whilst my school
career was very short lived this exercise proved a nice way
to teach connected scientific thinking to intrigued children.
In those days all you could do when researching air activity was
guess possible causes and phone or write to various places
hoping that they might assist you in the solution. Often, of
course, they heard the words UFO investigator, thought notcase
and politely sent you packing.
In the UFO world of 2017 things are much improved. There are
now invaluable free resources on the internet – including plane
tracking software such as flightradar24.com.
Designed for aviation enthusiasts it is a massive plus for UFO
investigators as the software lets you put in the location of a
sighting and the time and date and it reruns what was going on
in air traffic terms overlaid onto a map. So that you can plot
where your witnesses where and in what direction they were
looking and solve many aircraft caused encounters very fast
indeed – identifying the airline, aircraft and all details of its
height and speed and flight path.
If you pay extra to subscribe to sites you can get enhanced data
allowing rerun for longer periods (free sites usually only offer a
few days of reruns which will only help with sightings that you
investigate very rapidly).
With a subscription even cases months old might
well be quickly resolved – or made more mysterious if the data
shows no air traffic was located where the witness described
seeing the UFO. The internet has in some ways killed off real
life on site UFO investigation but there are some ways in which
the technology has helped enormously. This is one.
The thing that went bump in the night
This case was investigated for IUN in Yorkshire by stalwart
researcher Rod Haworth, who I am sorry to report is not very
well at present. So it is nice to be able to reflect on better times
for Rod and his expertise.
The sighting occurred on 17 May 1987 in north east Lancashire at
Earby near Burnley.
A 47 year old company secretary was awoken at 4 am by a
terrible crash downstairs. She hastened to see what had
happened and discovered a chopping board in her kitchen had
somehow fallen to the floor and on its way had smashed a glass
into many pieces.
After clearing the mess she went back to bed but could now
hear a ‘deep droning noise’ that appeared to be hovering right
on top of the bungalow.
Though she had often seen and heard military aircraft passing
over on exercises nothing matched this sound so she went to
the window and witnessed an ‘immense light’ that was ‘the size
of an orange held at arm’s length’ but that was a deep green
colour. It seemed to be pouring out of a glassy sphere but no
actual shape was visible.
From the path it was taking it had clearly been moving slowly
right over the house about the time the ‘accident’ happened and
was now heading south towards the village of Foulridge.
Around then I was making a series of radio documentaries
called ‘Fact or Fiction?’ for the BBC in Manchester. I had spent
some time with Burnley based ghost investigator Terrence
Whitaker and as part of one episode he had explained to me
the spooky history of the aptly named Foulridge.
It was rife with a history of paranormal goings on and one of the
things persistently reported from the area was of household
objects mysteriously cracking or smashing on their own.
In the past they had been blamed on witchcraft – as
nearby Pendle Hill was associated with some of the most
infamous trials of this nature in the UK. Now here was the same
thing linked with the more modern supernatural phenomenon
This case points up the unexpected connections that can tie old
and new paranormal happenings and why sometimes you have
to look beyond the modern interpretation of any event and see
that the same thing reported long ago would have been
interpreted in an entirely different way than it can be today.
This investigation of events without described boundaries is the
Fortean approach, as in the magazine Fortean Times, and can
from time to time point research in unexpectedly interesting
directions. It is intriguing how often witnesses to UFOs also
experience other types of strange phenomenon.
The big talking point in the field 20 years ago was in the
aftermath of the movie ‘Independence Day’ featuring an alien
The movie created much interest in UFOlogy and the local
Manchester group (NARO) set up an exhibition and assisted a
local cinema in Heald Green to promote the film.
This was mutually beneficial bringing in several interesting
cases - of which more in a moment.
However, someone else tempted to speak out was Professor
Stephen Hawking, the brilliant wheelchair bound cosmologist
portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in the 2014 movie ‘The theory of
In the wake of Independence Day he was persuaded to tell the
media that the movie may well be right and the Earth could
really face danger if we were to meet aliens.
He likened ‘first contact’ to Columbus meeting the first native
Americans with humanity coming off as they did – ‘I don’t think
they were better off for it’, he quipped.
Hawking was then rather unwisely tempted to offer his views on
UFOs which resulted in him proving that even a genius destined
to go down in history alongside the likes of Newton and Einstein
is not infallible.
Saying he was surprised that Earth has not yet had alien contact
he quickly added – ‘and I don’t think UFOs are evidence’.
So far so okay until he added: ‘Why reveal yourself only to
cranks and weirdos? I think such visits would be much more
obvious and probably more unpleasant.’
I know the media can mistranslate what you say – or perhaps his
computer voice generator was having an off day – but many
close encounter witnesses have had pretty unpleasant
experiences and how overt alien contact would be surely
depends on many factors.
If we plan to study a community of carnivorous dinosaurs
discovered on a remote island we would probably not land in
numbers and set up a zoo. We would study at a distance and get
our bearings first. If we had any sense and were not writing a
movie, that is.
More to the point – dear Professor – I think labelling many of the
respectable people who have had close encounters all cranks or
weirdos suggests he has not exactly done his homework on the
But at least we know that even a genius is not infallible.
Having said that…. I did say I would come back to those post
Independence Day cases. So here is one that might have the
Alien Love Song
The report is strange. It came from a man (Ron) located in the
East Midlands and started in 1955 when he was a passenger on a
train near Prague.
He woke from a doze to find a strange woman facing him. She
had beautiful skin and piercing blue eyes and her voice had an
odd sing song like lilt.
After telling him they would meet again they did, later that
decade, hundreds of miles away in Nottingham city centre. She
walked up to Ron in a coffee shop, held his hand and in that sing
song voice asked him to marry her. Then promptly vanished!
The saga to rival Star Wars continued with Ron seeing UFOs in
the form of lights over the coming months and years zig zagging
through the air and shifting through the colour spectrum.
Then two similarly ‘beautiful’ men approached him in a pub. The
‘leader’ had the same piercing blue eyes and sing song voice
with long blond hair. These beings made reference to a ‘crash’ of
a UFO, which Ron denied knowing anything about – but as they
left the blue eyed one whispered into his ear – ‘we come to help
In the early hours of the following night Ron awoke from sleep
hearing a ‘beautiful chanting voice’. Going to the window to see
who it was, down below were the two beings from the pub –
with the blue eyed one doing the serenading!
Because he was naked Ron could not go down to them and also
felt ‘dumbstruck’ by this event (well you would, wouldn’t you?)
So did not make his presence known.
Moments later he heard the sing song blond alien say – ‘He is
not coming to the door…we may as well leave.’
And that was the last contact he ever had with the musical
entities from the X Factor galaxy.
Which, incidentally, was a newsstand magazine of the 1990s
before it was a Simon Cowell TV show and I wrote some articles
for it - meaning I can legitimately call myself a writer for the X
If I actually wanted to that is!
Whilst some of you might be thinking that this case
is less ET and more tee hee and maybe Stephen
Hawking had a point after all , it is interesting to
compare the usual alien contacts with ugly grey entities
performing medical probes and scaring the life out of those
‘abducted’ with this rather old fashioned tale that shares more
with how alien contact cases often were during the 1950s.
Indeed this Nordic (as in Scandinavian) appearance was not at
all rare in the earlier more innocent days of close encounters.
Quite how UFOlogy arrived at Indepedence Day like encounters
from ones that seem more like La La Land instead
is a good question.
And it probably has a good and significant answer.
In 1997 Northern UFO News was rather lost for words like Ron
was here. And when he asked us – ‘It is a fact, is it not – that the
space people have musical voices? We had no real idea what to
say or do next.
Perhaps one of you has a suggestion.
Fortean Times was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the birth
of the modern UFO phenomenon with the Kenneth Arnold
sighting on 24 June 1947.
In a special edition many long term UFO researchers offered
their take on where we stood at that point.
NUFON stalwarts David Clarke and Andy Roberts perceptively
noted that ‘the subject is not as clearly defined as it was and has
broadened to include a wide range of New Age beliefs….ufology
will continue to mutate.’
‘We have enough strong cases to believe a genuine mystery
exists’ – said abduction expert Thomas (Eddie) Bullard. Whose
recent paper was mentioned in the last NUN and is still active a
Nick Pope, former head of the MoD data collection team Air
Staff 2A turned UFO writer championed the Rendlesham Forest
case as ‘probably the world’s most significant UFO case’.
Long term US UFO researcher Jerome Clark who worked with
Allen Hynek at the Center for UFO Studies noted with his
customary astuteness that ‘What we call the UFO Phenomenon
appears to be two superficially related but in fact unrelated
matters. One is an event phenomenon: the UFO of radar/visuals,
ground traces, photographs and films….to all appearances
advanced technology….The other is an ‘experience’
phenomenon which links ostensible UFO encounters to older
supernatural traditions….genuinely and deeply anomalous, but
subjective and visionary, as much mysteries of consciousness
and imagination as of anything that might be out there in the
I guess it is only fair that I report what I said when asked like
many other long term researchers.
‘every sighting- however puzzling – is potentially open to an
eventual resolution, even decades after it has been
reported….The ‘UFO phenomenon’ is a catch all phrase that our
society has coined to explain what has turned out to be a
diverse range of events with various different resolutions. These
are falsely perceived as a cohesive mystery, largely due to social
and psychological factors such as media exploitation and human
desire to believe that we are not alone as a species….UFOlogy
needs to mature and accept that there is no conspiracy to hide
some shocking truth of alien invasion. There is no cover up, just
a cock up caused by typical bureaucratic ineptitude obscuring
only the fact that the powers that be were just as much out of
their depth as we are.’
Also part of the 60 year anniversary I wrote a ‘time line’ for
every year from 1947 scattered throughout the issue pointing
out things we can learn now from what happened then.
As they are relevant here these are just my ‘anniversary’ ones:
1947: Early UFOs are often seen in what are now rare
formations or patterns
(Lesson: The reported form of sightings affects what others see)
1957: Major radar encounter in Scotland and multiple car stops
in the American west demonstrate the significance of physical
(Lesson: Science will take UFOs seriously when it has analysable
1967: Colorado University is given a grant to study UFOs, but
researchers fall out over what questions to ask and the
assumption that UFOs are alien craft.
(Lesson: Disproving the existence of alien craft is not the same
thing as disproving the existence of unidentified flying objects)
1977: Close Encounters of the Third Kind awes audiences around
the world amidst the biggest ever wave of UFO sightings.
(Lesson: UFO stories, told without needless sensationalism, will
enthral and baffle)
1987: Some cases spark fears that evidence was hoaxed to fool
the UFO community,
(Lesson: While less than one per cent of all UFO cases are
hoaxed these tend to involve some degree of notoriety and hard
1997: American witnesses find implants placed in their bodies
during abductions, with some being surgically removed.
(Lesson: The universe is largely composed of the same stuff and
identifying non terrestrial origins for any claimed physical
evidence has proven tricky)
POSTSCRIPT : A REAL PUZZLER
The commemorations brought to light many old cases and here
is one that dates to an anniversary before Northern UFO News
even began – 60 years ago in 1957. It remains a riddle so if you
have any ideas about it let us know.
AN OLD FASHIONED DAYLIGHT DISK
August 1957 Port de Soller, Majorca
The witness, Geff, was a miner but had become disabled thanks
to asbestosis and was retired when he reported this case to
MUFORA, the Manchester group.
We were impressed by his objectivity and observational skills.
He had served as an aircraft recognition instructor for the RAF,
training recruits on how to observe and document and recognise
what they saw in the sky. He also had 15 years as a special
constable in the police and reached the rank of sergeant.
When he contacted us he pointed out that he had no interest in
or knowledge of ‘science fiction’ and just wanted ‘to know
whether there are answers to what I saw’.
It was the first few days of August in a year well before the
tourist industry reached the island of Majorca and this bay was
much more secluded than the hotel filled beach haven that the
late 60s and air travel brought.
To be there in the 50s you needed money or connections or to
be serving in the Med.
It was about 4 pm on a sunny afternoon with just a couple of
other people on the beach on the northern shore of the island (a
couple from Bournemouth whom Geff got to talk to and who
saw what he saw).
‘Suddenly directly overhead there was a bright flash’ he noted. ‘ I
thought it was a passing plane, until I saw another reflection in
the same area but lower down. I was still watching when there
was another reflection, lower still.’
He now realised that the flashes were caused by the sun
reflecting on a bright metal surface that was dropping vertically
down over the narrow beach with cliffs to his right and the sea
to his left.
It was a thin plate or disk like object seen edge on and
descending vertically under control towards the water.
Initially he thought it must be part of a plane such as a tail fin
falling out of the sky after a disaster high above and he was
tracking its path with relief aware it would hit away from them
or any other people he could see.
But then ‘It just stopped dead, twisted but did not turn and
presented itself full on as a flat round disk.’ As he jumped to his
feet and yelled pointing at the thing it ‘hovered’ in mid air right
before them ‘impossibly’.
Geff adds its motion was unlike any aircraft – it turned in ways
no plane could - instantly and smoothly. Aerodynamically it
made no sense.
In appearance it seemed a dull alloy that was several feet across
but not large. It now headed off the sea and started to move
away over the cliffs giving a view of the underside as it did so.
By now it was ‘travelling fast but not excessive’ and on the base
had a very strange cross shaped set of markings that might be
taken as retracted landing legs.
‘Ye Gods!’ he recalls yelling out as he had memory of seeing
German experimental aircraft in the War and he was worried
this was some super power with amazing new technology.
The ‘landing’ pods that he assumed hid the gear were peculiar
because it passed close enough over their heads for them to see
they were covered by what looked like a black tar like
substance. Other than this there were no windows or cockpit or
any sign that anybody was flying the thing.
All the time he had thought of an aircraft but he knew from the
moment it stopped dead and did an instant right angled turn
that we had no aircraft able to do these things.
If this sort of sighting happened today we would no doubt
suggest some kind of drone or secret aircraft being tested over a
remote bay. But remember this was in the pioneer days of jet
aircraft 60 years ago. If this account is as honest and accurate as
it seems there are few options I can think of as to what was ‘up
Over to you!
Nigel Mortimer is hosting a most unusual on line event -
What Really Happened at Rendlesham Forest?
Using an ET/Spirit Communication device he hopes to uncover
Apparently this very different investigation methodology
will scour the ether to reveal what has been hidden from us
otherwise by nefarious means.
Nigel Mortimer is hosting this experiment on
28 December 2017 at 800pm
It will be live at
OUTER LIMITS MAGAZINE Conference
Saturday 1 / Sunday 2 September 2018
Freedom Centre, Preston Road, Hull HU9 3QB
With five recognised speakers two not UK based, OLM is
providing the very best in investigators and experiencers
directly to our conference venue for you.
Hosted by editor Chris Evers it will be Outer Limits Magazine’s
first ever two day event. Here Chris reports on what to expect.
FULL LIST OF SPEAKERS AND EVENTS
Saturday 1st September 2018
Bridlington based Paul Sinclair will present a fascinating
discussion, highlighting events from his own investigations in to
UFO cases in his own locality. Some of which have made national
and international headlines. Including losses over several years
of RAF Tornadoes in Bridlington Bay and how these are
associated with events of high strangeness.
Our second speaker is OLM Award winner John Hanson - along
with his partner Dawn Holloway author of the Haunted Skies
series of books and the Halt Perspective publication on the
Rendlesham Forest Incident of 1980.John will be discussing
Former Police Constable, Alan Godfrey’s first attempt at
documenting, the truth about his own encounter and his period
of missing time is presented in his softback Who or What Were
They? Telling of his own extremely close encounter and the
Zigmund Adamski death, on a Todmorden coal heap, less than
six months earlier.
From being told to do press conferences to how they were trying
to have him removed from his West Yorkshire Police Force
occupation Alan will discuss these events and more.
Mary Rodwell RN is the Founder and Principal of Australian
Close Encounter Resource Network. (ACERN). Born in the United
Kingdom (UK) and migrating to Western Australia in 1991, she
currently resides in Queensland. Mary is a former nurse,
midwife, and health educator and was employed as a
professional counsellor for the National Health Service UK and
Australian counselling agencies.Since 1994 Mary has worked in
private practice as a professional counsellor, hypnotherapist,
metaphysical teacher and international speaker. ACERN’s
primary role is to offer professional counselling, support,
hypnotherapy and information to individuals and their families
with ‘anomalous’ paranormal experiences, particularly
specializing in Abduction-contact experiences.
Her talk will outline many of the accounts from children as
young as 7 to much older individuals.
Finally our Headline speaker is none other than the former USAF
and Rendlesham Forest Incident witness Col Charles Halt (ret).
He will be making a welcome return to the UK and to his first
OLM conference, where his lecture will focus on the events
surrounding what is now known as Britain's Roswell.
Sunday 2nd September
A very special one off event hosted by Outer Limits Magazine
and presented by Mary Rodwell.
Beginning at 12 noon and ending at 4pm Mary will present a
workshop designed for those who have experienced a close
encounter or who wish to investigate such encounters.
For further information on this conference join our 2018
Conference Facebook page here:
IF YOU WANT TO SEND IN ANY EVENTS OR PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS
OR DIRECT US TO LOCAL SIGHTINGS CONTACT US AT
NORTHERN UFO NEWS
10 MARTON GREEN STOCKPORT CHESHIRE SK3 8LT
187 OCTOBER 2017
EDITOR : JENNY RANDLES COVER DESIGN: ROY SANDBACH
Address: 10 Marton Green, Stockport, Cheshire SK3 8LT
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contents: Introduction:- Back to the future....Major articles elsewhere....Investigations - New twist on mid air sighting from Surrey.... The Big Debate.... Books of the Moment - three new UFO titles on Allen Hynek, 24 June 1947 and a lost abduction from 1959.... Coming Attractions
JR Comments:- Back to the future
It is 16 years since I edited what was never planned to be the final edition of
Northern UFO News. Then domestic circumstances meant that I was forced to take a long
break from the UFO field to become a full-time carer, so I promised myself on behalf of any
enthusiasts who had part of their £6 for 5 issues subscriptions still owing that one
day it would come back.
Well here it is.
Of course, what I could promise in 2001 and the reality of 2017 are very different. The
world has changed dramatically and UFOlogy has been dragged along with it not exactly
kicking and screaming - more like a feeble whimpering. A magazine such as Northern UFO
News was already an anachronism of the 21st century – one of the last of 20 or so that used
to exist in the UK alone - and is even more ‘quaint’ now with the vast expansion of social
media giving access to almost any kind of information.
This begs the question whether there is even a point to the return of NUN. And, in some
large degree, whether the UFOlogy that existed during the 1970s, 80s, 90s and (very early)
00s throughout which it was issued has been consigned to history along with it.
The good news is that it will cost nothing for anyone to read this time around, so even if it
seems like something out of the dark ages then it can carry on for as long as I have time to
edit each monthly edition – due around the end of the first week of the month for those
who want to make a regular date. And if you don’t want to bother, that’s fine by me, it will be
here if you ever want to look - with all the older editions too.
This first return edition is deliberately retro, with some of the original design logos and
Spartan design - though I will tinker with upgrading and new graphics as we progress. Treat
this as a dry run prototype learning as we go. So panic only slightly if this
might seem especially old fashioned. I may not keep it that way but will respond to what
Even if that future look updates itself to take account of modern technology,
my plan is to keep the content much as it always was in the ‘olden days’. So it will be me
collecting news and events and commenting about the debates alive in the field then
Firstly, though, I want to add a note about the cover illustration from Roy Sandbach.
Every issue after the early days we had a UFO related line drawing on the front page and
over 26 years there were several regulars who enjoyed the challenge. Roy was one of those
who illustrated several covers and was a close friend who worked with me investigating a
number of cases with MUFORA – the Manchester UFO Research Association – later renamed
NARO – Northern Anomalies Research Organisation. One of the founders of the NUFON
(Northern UFO Network) alliance of local groups working together.
As you can see from all these 'names' made out of letters and as the term 'UFO' in the
first place should imply, this field has always loved its acronyms.
MUFORA were a local team that looked into many classic cases even before I joined in the
early 1970s and with whom I worked for 30 years, Roy being part for the last 20. Sadly he
passed away in the long gap between these issues but his case work and illustrations are a
This particular image is a colour painting he developed from a line sketch that he first did
as a cover for NUN issue163 some 24 years ago. Colour was just not possible with the old
style of UFO magazine run off by a small home printer based company in the East Midlands
who kept costs down for local mags so we only had to charge a modest subscription. But it is
now nice to put that right in colour as a tribute to Roy.
So, how has the UFO world altered in these past 16 years whilst this magazine has been
engaged in a very long ‘time lapse experience’?
Ironically my editorial in that ‘final’ issue in 2001 commented on the global news story
then rife that UFOlogy was dead as a result of the reports of the closure of a group in Bristol
that had been around since the early 1950s. And whilst that was, as I think you can see,
rather premature just as my editorial then predicted. But I also noted the challenge that we
faced from the internet and how UFOlogy needed to embrace it rather than run scared. As
used well it can become our friend and help greatly in case investigations.
Certainly, as that Bristol closure presaged. there are not as many UFO groups as used to
thrive in every major town or the national associations that once had member numbers as
high as four figures and annual budgets in the tens of thousands of pounds. BUFORA and
ASSAP, two national associations, still operate – though BUFORA more as a virtual presence
than the once dynamic public face of the subject in the UK and ASSAP, whilst still thriving,
has a broader scope than just UFOs
A few local UFO teams have bucked the trend and half a dozen or so of the British UFO
researchers who were involved in the groups allied into the Northern UFO Network – with
which this magazine was always loosely aligned – have moved on from being bright young
enthusiasts to somewhat less youthful but still productive researchers.
Some key figures from British UFOlogy when this magazine began - like David Clarke -
are still out there. He is now celebrated for his role in steering the release of the MoD UFO
files through the National Archives, writing several books tied into them. Another early
pioneer with NUFON links is Andy Roberts, who was closely involved with David via the West
Yorkshire UFO Research Group. He has published books over the past 16 years.
Indeed those two and myself jointly created one of my last pure UFO books – The UFOs
That Never Were – that was published in 2000 by Allison and Busby and devoted mostly to
cases that became IFOs – or solved.
Another one in from the start of NUN, Nigel Watson, hit the headlines recently for writing
a handbook for the motoring specialist Haynes on UFOs.
This small core of ‘old and not yet quite so old UFO buffs’ aside UFO research now largely
happens in virtual reality. There are still conferences like the international ones that used to
run every year gathering investigators from around the world to present their research, but
not so many set up by long term UFO groups as today they are more commonly related to
popular magazines. These inevitably focus on the more extreme areas of UFO research,
from cover ups and conspiracies, or captured aliens and men in black. Nothing wrong in
looking into these areas, per se, as we all have done in the past.
However, it seems to me that some of the objectivity and caution that used to demark
British UFO research and its conferences has become rather lost in the process of following
the perceived audience. As magazines inevitably have to reach an audience and sell copies
so they will pursue the anticipated interests of that audience.
You get that feeling too from viewing the flood of TV shows about UFOs that now abound
on the zillion channels out there. From what used to be a rare event when the BBC or ITV or,
even in their earlier days Sky, would make a UFO documentary every now and then and do
so reasonably with a well balanced approach we now seem to get 100 shows a year that
delve into rumours and tall tales and chase an audience that sees UFOlogy as an X Files
episode rather than a real phenomenon to be scientifically resolved.
It may be an inevitable sign of changing times and there is true fascination in many of
these stories – though often more that than there is credibility. Should we mourn the
passing of an objective approach and a steady drift towards subjectivity? Does it matter if it
gives the public what they want to hear?
The UFOlogy I recall of old had its moments but often drifted into this territory too and
there always was a battlefront in any mass market magazine or large membership group.
Here that was between bringing in the money via attracting lots of members who would
probably have become interested in the subject through the mass market extremes and
possibilities. And the much smaller number of dedicated investigators who were genuinely
interested in solving the riddles of UFO reality, wherever they led us.
In a way this always came down to money. UFOlogy needed funds for groups to function
and conferences and events to happen. To get those funds it had to attract the majority
likely to believe in 10 impossible things before breakfast time. And as a result there was
some income to keep the group functioning to do the case studies and research as long as
you provided enough speculation to keep the majority subscribers happy too. Such uneasy
bedfellows were never fully compatible.
There is no easy way out of this dilemma and the demise of many UFO groups and the
virtual reality in which much UFO debate now occurs has exacerbated the trend away from
hard investigation towards colourful speculation. Web sites and forums thrive on this. You
can tell tales anonymously, which in some ways opens doors but in others releases demons
such as fabrication without the risk of retribution.
Northern UFO News will reflect the reality of the UFO community as it is and not ignore
either side of things – but as we are not in any way dependent on money coming in or really
bothered if 10 people or 10,000 people read what is in here each month we will have a
degree of freedom of discretion to attempt some level of objectivity in our discussion.
UFO sightings are still happening and they still need investigating. And I am as convinced
as I ever was that not all of them can be wished away as merely IFOs – although 95% of
them are so identified and that reality should never be ignored because we learn a lot from
There are nonetheless real mysteries to be explored and, in my view, new science to be
found behind them. And it is not impossible that some intelligence other than our own is
involved in this enigma. Though – it is equally important to emphasise – that it is
also perfectly possible that the UFO mystery has no alien component at all and this
speculation is a red herring leading us astray through understandable excitement around
the thrill of the chase.
Of course, finding aliens really is a big deal and so any possible clues that might lead us
there are worth consideration, even when they often go somewhere else in the end.
So now you know what to expect out of future issues of this magazine. Objective
commentary on what is going on – aware of the possibilities, but equally aware of the
realities – and with no axe to grind or belief system to promote.
We will be happy to debate any idea and any possibility with any of you – so long as you
accept our right to not necessarily agree with them.
Major Articles Elsewhere
In this section we will point you towards articles that appear within the UFO literature
during that month. Though we need to find them, as there are fewer now than there used to
We will be on the lookout and if you want your magazine to be featured, just point us
But to start off this month I will point you to one magazine that I do see every month
because I have been writing a column for it during the years since the previous issue of
NUN. However, this is a special publication and you can easily find it in major newsagents
such as WH Smith or you can subscribe.
Fortean Times Issue 358 October 2017
80pp Cover price £4.50 12 issue subscription £48 UK, £58 Europe, £68 Rest of World, or
Named after the great American collector of anomalous tales, Charles Fort, who wrote a
number of books in the early 20th century that still sell today and was the first to identify
and publish examples of many of the unexplained phenomena widely researched even
now. This covers all around the UFO mystery, time anomalies and much more. For decades
this magazine has continued the collection and analysis of these things in Fort’s image. It
has around 14,000 subscribers.
In this issue Alan Murdie describes apparitional events close to river crossings.
Two recent essays by long term UFO giants are reviewed looking at where we stand 70 years
after the Kenneth Arnold sighting in 1947.
Veteran Spanish researcher V J Ballester Olmos provides a pessimistic stance on how lack
of proof of alien presence has led him to speculate an almost myth based ‘reality’ created by
self-fuelling reports and theorising.
This is countered by American abduction specialist Thomas (Ed) Bullard who to a point
agrees about the lack of tangible evidence but resists descending into pronouncing UFOlogy
on its way out by hoping we can still find a path on which something truly unexplained
remains at its core.
Peter Brookesmith, who was editor of the highly regarded Orbis ‘Encylopedia’ – The
Unexplained – that sold in newsagents during the 1980s – tries to find a way to balance
these two perspectives from such highly respected figures in the field.
Liverpool professor Rob Gandy has a fascinating article looking into paranormal
experiences involving motorbikes that hit home as they were eerily linked to me in ways
these things often happen. Two of the prime cases occurred at Mersey Square in Stockport
and in a Mersey Tunnel from Wallasey on the Wirral that the author notes links him as he
has lived in both towns. Well snap, Rob. I have too. Moreover, I was a pillion rider often in
the 70s and 80s on my partner Paul’s Triumph Bonneville – during one journey on which
when passing through Wiltshire we, too, had a strange experience that I related in the one
book Paul and I wrote together – Alien Contact.
My contribution to this Fortean Times coincides with the 40th anniversary this autumn of
the release of the Spielberg movie – Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That classic was
based on the real UFO stories in Dr J Allen Hynek’s book – The UFO Experience – and Hynek
is in the movie itself. I describe how I did some work for the movie company on the UK
release of the film in early 1978 and the extraordinary social impact it had. This was a major
point for public awareness and acceptability here and I try to show some of the things that
In this section my plan is to look at a few cases every month, as we always used to do in
Northern UFO News.
Then, of course, we had a network of groups around Northern Britain investigating
sightings and sending in the results. Nowadays we do not.
So how big this section is each issue depends on you to report things that happen down
your way or point us towards stories in your local media. Then we will delve into them and
Despite the name of the magazine we will not be restricted geographically as we once
were . Except to planet Earth perhaps!
So send your contributions in to the details at the end of this magazine and we will try to
follow them up and report back in here.
First up here is a case that featured in my book – Something in the Air – published in 1998
by Robert Hale. My last of several pure UFO books for that publisher who recently closed
down after nearly a century.
As the title suggests that book is about mid air encounters – UFOs seen from aircraft or in
connection with them from the ground. Though it also coincidentally revealed the difference
in approach between the rather more subtle British presentation of the phenomenon and
the USA, where my American publisher found it necessary to retitle the book as the
somewhat hysterical – UFO! Danger in the Air.
It occurred on 27 August 1979 – by coincidence the day Robert Hale were publishing my
first ever UFO book. The event involved a Cessna 150 G-BBNX (November Xray) that took off
from Blackbushe Airfield in Surrey at 14.40 on a sunny afternoon. It was investigated by
Omar Fowler of the Surrey investigation group.
A flying instructor and a pupil he was training, a lieutenant from Sandhurst military
college, were at 2000 feet and just as the instructor was about to pass over control he was
forced to react swiftly and grab them back – putting the aircraft into a steep banking
An ‘object’ now ‘rushed past’ the front of the Cessna narrowly missing a collision. It was
about a foot wide, doughnut shaped and silver like a blob of mercury.
The experienced pilot attempted to twist and turn as the object seemed to circle round
them and radioed back to the airfield that the UFO was ‘playing’ with them. He was sure it
was under powered control and after flying underneath them then climbed to 3000 feet with
the Cessna heading up after it.
At one point, the lieutenant, more able to look at the object not being at the controls saw
it close up and described it as a series of metallic honeycombs and rotating slowly about
one revolution a minute. He even saw hint of an aerial emerging from the metal surface.
Another pilot from the airfield claimed a more distant view of the same object the following
I argued in my book that this was likely a remotely piloted craft of some sort and noted it
was heading towards Farnborough – home of much experimental aviation tech at that time.
But no proven origin of that sort from here emerged and flying such a device in and
around the known path of aircraft from a busy field would seem rather dangerous.
I mentioned this case (though not all details) in an article in Fortean Times earlier this year
and by chance this has produced a follow up.
Terry Clark contacted FT to explain that he was on duty as radar controller at Farnborough
that day and ‘controlled’ the flight of the Cessna 150. Such control still happens to this day as
Blackbushe Airfield has no radar of its own. Light aircraft usually apply visual flying rules but
there is so much air traffic in this part of the UK – with Farnborough arrivals and departures
through the air space and military traffic from Odiham – that it is good safety for radar to be
monitored for any potential traffic conflict.
It is clear that Terry is being truthful as he reports things not in my brief reference in that
issue of FT but are in the original report. He names the pilot, which I did not, pointing out he
was an ex RAF test school instructor at Farnborough with great flying experience but
how he received much ‘banter’ from colleagues after reporting this UFO sighting.
Clark even knew the Cessna itself as he had actually flown the same aircraft. So when
the pilot of November Xray reported the UFO sighting to him later he could only say that
nothing had been on his radar screen other than several other aircraft he was controlling
away from one another that afternoon.
When the Farnborough radar controller was next at Blackbushe he met with the Cessna
pilot who showed him a sketch of the object that he and his pupil both clearly saw that day.
Unfortunately Clark has since lost this in a house move but he did ask a scientist at the
space department of the Royal Aircraft Establishment to comment on the image at the time
and describe anything experimental it might be.
He suggested that it ‘might’ be a balloon with appendages attached but not know how or
why this would occur.
Interestingly Terry Clark had actually joined BUFORA out of personal interest but the
flight instructor witness told him he was ‘trying to forget’ the whole thing – possibly because
of the reaction he received after reporting it in the local newspaper.
Intriguingly Clark was later contacted by a ‘local inventor’ who said he lived near Reading
and claimed that he had built and flown this ‘flying saucer’.
Farnborough Space Department confirmed to the radar operator that they were aware of
this man and his device which used an ‘electromagnetic cannon’ that launched projectiles
high into the air.
Whether this bizarre answer is the cause of this case or this sighting remains unresolved
who knows.But it just shows how even very old UFO cases can take new twists and turns
So alongside new sightings in this section of future issues of Northern UFO News, I will be
looking back at some of the interesting cases we featured in the respective issues exactly 40,
30 and 20 years previously to see if today we can shed any new light on them – as thanks to
Terry Clark we possibly can do here.
The Big Debate
Every now and again I plan to open up space to a big issue that dominates the UFO
mystery and ask you – the readers - to contribute your thoughts or arguments or personal
experiences that push you in one direction or another on this topic.
Well to kick off this month I think we should pick up on the theme of the Ballester-
Olmos/Bullard essays mentioned earlier about the state of UFOlogy.
It is often widely (though wrongly) presumed that a UFO is, basically, an alien spaceship.
Whereas in fact it is what it says on the tin – an unidentified flying object – of which alien
spaceship is simply one possible theory to explain some examples.
Once the ‘go to’ answer for many investigators and still hugely popular on the internet
older researchers – as we saw from those essays – have become ever more cautious
because of the lack of supportive or physical evidence.
Such as? Well, such as photographs not just of blobs in the sky but landed UFOs that are
self evidently not human machines. Or good quality shots of what are clearly not human
beings but some kind of alien. Not to mention other problems – for instance – non
terrestrial DNA left at a close encounter site or materials not found on Earth like a new
element or metal alloy from elsewhere off this planet.
When we send a spaceship to another world we leave proof that beings from elsewhere
sent this probe to that world. It is reasonable to ask where the reciprocal evidence is
if UFOs are craft coming here from another planet.
Are there explanations for this? Perhaps you know of some evidence? Could there be ways
around this omission or things that we should be looking for.
Or does your personal experience of something that to you had to be non terrestrial
convince you? If so, then join the debate, tell us about it and try to persuade the doubters.
When this debate has run its course we will start another one based on the next hot issue
Books of the Moment
UFO related books from mainstream publishers in the UK are very sparse. Whilst I have
never personally had an agent for my 50 books I am advised by one successful agent who
has worked with some researchers in the field that circumstances are challenging. Some of
his clients have moved abroad to find more work and others seem to be happily publishing
on their own.
This method has been revolutionised both in simplicity and quality since the last issue of
NUN appeared and I expect it to lead to an increasing flood of new works – such as Alan
Godfrey’s Who or What Were They? (published later this month) – which appear via this
route of do it yourself book creation.
This magazine has always told you about the new literature out there for you to read
and we will do so whatever its origin.
Look out for the following recent new books that I know about:
The Close Encounters Man
William Morrow June 2017
From $12.23 on Amazon Books
A biography of the ‘father’ of modern UFO research, a man I was fortunate enough to
know a little during the final decade of his life.
He was the ‘close encounters’ man because he created the definition of UFO sightings
from which the famous movie derives its name. So he invented a phrase that has entered
the English language and has long outlived his death in 1986.
Hynek was a very kind and funny man (huge fan of Monty Python as I discovered when we
did a road trip across the States together) and who cared deeply about finding answers to
He was in at the start of UFO investigation by chance as a local astronomer to the base in
Ohio where the USAF created their UFO investigation team. This got immortalised in the
1970s TV series ‘Project UFO’. Hynek was the science consultant throughout trying to resolve,
but not always succeeding, the cases that came the way of the military.
After the USAF closed shop in 1969 he created the Center for UFO Studies with like
minded scientists. And tried hard to find a scientific way to investigate this mystery shaping
much of modern UFOlogy in the process.
This is a long overdue biography of the man and his time in and out of the subject. A man
born with the arrival of Halley’s Comet and so ‘destined’ to be a space scientist and who told
me he long knew that he would leave the stage when that comet returned. As indeed he did!
Three Minutes in June
Amazon June 2017
$14.95 $7.30 Kindle edition
Bruce Maccabee is another long time UFO researcher from the US who has specialised in
the investigation of sightings by pilots.
So it is no surprise to see him release this case study of the sighting that created the term
flying saucer and in turn the modern UFO mystery. This new book appeared on its 70th
The report by Kenneth Arnold over the Cascade Mountains in western USA on 24 June
1947 was key in so many ways and this book tells the story and its aftermath in a
Anomalist Books July 2017
$15.96 Kindle edition $11.94
Possibly the only thing that you might need to know here is that Jacques Vallee, the great
pioneer UFO thinker, pens the foreword to this book. If he agrees to do that it usually means
it is worth reading.
This is a case that many people will never have heard of but is potentially one of the very
first alien abduction cases dating back to February 1959.
It was discussed briefly in the early years of UFO research in that context but because of
what happened it fizzled out and was lost to any future consideration. But now that has
changed after a four year diligent investigation by the author.
A man who worked as a military technician driving back to his base in Utah saw
something fall from the sky and – thinking it was a plane crash – left a note on his steering
wheel saying he had gone to help and marked his car with a sign asking to stop any other
passers by on the remote road. Then headed off towards the ‘crash site’.
A day later he woke up in hospital 20 miles away telling this story but with no memory of
what happened in between. He asked if there were any survivors, only to be told nobody
found any evidence of the air crash he claimed to have seen.
Soon after recovery he disappeared from his base and was listed as a deserter but nobody
heard from him again. So the case remained a half mystery that was never resolved.
But the author traced him and has pieced together an account of what may have
happened. Looking at the options of both an alien abduction and a mind bending military
experiment of which he was an unwitting participant.
Whether either or neither resolve this puzzle it is fascinating to suddenly have a whole
new, if 58 year old, case to get your teeth into.
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