UFO sightings surge after Britain closes hotline
British military authorities give up hunt for UFOs
If some of the witness reports can be put down to enthusiastic social drinking at a summer barbecue, there is no doubt that some display distress over what those concerned believed they saw.
In one from Bolton in Lancashire in March 2009, a family, who had been in their sitting room at 1.30am, reported seeing “what at first appeared to be a large airliner in flames crashing to the ground”.
“My parents were terrified. Just as we were expecting the object to crash into the ground it stopped and hovered over Bromley Cross. The object then appeared to come towards us, stop suddenly and at high speech shoot off in a southeasterly direction towards Bury,” said the witness.
In 2007, a man in Glamorgan in Wales reported that a UFO, which had been moving quite slowly across the sky in formation with others, turned and abducted his “dog, car and tent when he and some friends were out camping”.
While some correspondents were attention-seekers, others were desperate to ensure their names were never published for fear of ridicule, but “still wanted to do our duty”.
In one report from south Yorkshire in 2007, a couple, who said “we really do value our privacy”, reported “a very bright, luminous piercing light in the sky”, “shooting sprays of light out from it”. However, the husband failed to get a photograph of “the greenish orange colour with a number of small lights on its outer rim” as his dog set off the security lights.
In Bingley in west Yorkshire, in 2008, a man claimed to have seen 30 UFOs flying in formation, while another report that year from Leeds spoke of “a jumbo jet sized object, that was flat and round with a blue rippled underside”.
To all, the staff in the unit, housed on the fifth floor of the Ministry of Defence’s Whitehall headquarters, responded courteously, even if a note of weariness crept into correspondence with their most persistent clients.
However, there was gentleness, too. In January 2009, a little girl wrote to the UFO desk from Cheshire, asking “if living things live outside our planet” because she and her father had “seen 2 little lights dancing around each other in the sky”.
An officer replied that they remained “totally open-minded about it, but we don’t know of any evidence to prove that life exists in outer space”.
He also enclosed “some RAF goodies that I thought you might like”.