• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
4,503
Cracking classic case form Jenny Randles:


In 1978 there was a spate of unusual reports - many in the north Midlands - of what was often described by witnesses as resembling a ‘manta ray’ in the sky. We never resolved the cause.

This one occurred on 28 November at 4 am.


The witness was a van driver on a delivery run from Birmingham to Warrington. His vehicle - WBY 984 S was a blue Ford Transit. Approaching junction 18 near the village of Sproston Green in Cheshire he had a strange experience.

To his left (north-west) he saw a ‘shooting star’ move at speed and land in a field in open country north of the Sproston.

As he continued to look towards where it had vanished a large light rose upwards from this spot. The glow was so bright and lens shaped that the driver called it ‘halogen’ like.


Aware this was something very odd, he slowed right down to observe it carefully - it now being the size of the full moon - something investigator Martin Keatman was able to check on his visit as he got the witness to view the real full moon that night.


Now at the motorway junction the witness decided to turn off and stop on the first point after the top of the slip road outside Sproston Green village.

Here he got out of his van and moved to the front to get a perfect view of the apparently stationary object above fields to the north-west.


At this stage a car came up off the slip road and in the dark the witness tried to flag it down, but it did not stop. Then he heard something strange. His two way radio being used to communicate with base started to crackle. It was turned right down in volume as he was out of contact area but the noise was very strange even at that level.

Looking back at the object he now felt a very strange tingly feeling as if sure it was aware of his presence and was now clearly moving towards him, stood alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere at 4 am. He deliberately stepped backwards to the van door ready to jump in if necessary.

The object was now heading right for him and he watched awestruck as it came low overhead with a large oval metallic body and two beams of light like torch beams emerging from the front - one directed upwards at 45 degrees and the other towards the ground.

The witness was unable to explain as it moved in ‘slow motion’ above him why he was not illuminated by the beam below even though he said the ground around him had a shadow of the oval object.

Passing right over his head at low altitude took several seconds and allowed him to take in detail. The underside seemed ‘bevelled’ and as it moved away there was a small ‘fin’ on the rear but not like an aircraft tail fin. In any case as it passed above there was only a faint whistling noise as if it were ‘gliding’ - no sound of an engine. The car engine ran unaffected throughout the experience as he watched the object move away to the south east and disappear into the darkness.

The only physiological effect described by the witness was a fuzziness in his eyes looking up at the object on closest approach - which he blamed on the unusual lighting.

Total duration of the sighting was about 4 minutes.


The weather data that night shows that it was - 3 degrees C, clear sky and almost no wind. Manchester Airport is north-east of this location but the path of this object is not a usual one in or out of the single runway then operating at the field.


The witness travelled the M 6 often at night given his job and had seen numerous aircraft before and was adamant this was nothing like one. What it is - though - is remarkably consistent with several other cases in a flap that occurred around that time, many described in very similar fashion by independent witnesses.

Read on for more similar reports:
http://www.ozfactorbooks.com/northern-ufo-news-january-2019.html


Jenny considered an airship or even a tanker refuelling fighter jets but this case was never resolved
 
Cracking classic case form Jenny Randles:


In 1978 there was a spate of unusual reports - many in the north Midlands - of what was often described by witnesses as resembling a ‘manta ray’ in the sky. We never resolved the cause.

This one occurred on 28 November at 4 am.


The witness was a van driver on a delivery run from Birmingham to Warrington. His vehicle - WBY 984 S was a blue Ford Transit. Approaching junction 18 near the village of Sproston Green in Cheshire he had a strange experience.

To his left (north-west) he saw a ‘shooting star’ move at speed and land in a field in open country north of the Sproston.

As he continued to look towards where it had vanished a large light rose upwards from this spot. The glow was so bright and lens shaped that the driver called it ‘halogen’ like.


Aware this was something very odd, he slowed right down to observe it carefully - it now being the size of the full moon - something investigator Martin Keatman was able to check on his visit as he got the witness to view the real full moon that night.

Now at the motorway junction the witness decided to turn off and stop on the first point after the top of the slip road outside Sproston Green village.

Here he got out of his van and moved to the front to get a perfect view of the apparently stationary object above fields to the north-west.


At this stage a car came up off the slip road and in the dark the witness tried to flag it down, but it did not stop. Then he heard something strange. His two way radio being used to communicate with base started to crackle. It was turned right down in volume as he was out of contact area but the noise was very strange even at that level.

Looking back at the object he now felt a very strange tingly feeling as if sure it was aware of his presence and was now clearly moving towards him, stood alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere at 4 am. He deliberately stepped backwards to the van door ready to jump in if necessary.

The object was now heading right for him and he watched awestruck as it came low overhead with a large oval metallic body and two beams of light like torch beams emerging from the front - one directed upwards at 45 degrees and the other towards the ground.

The witness was unable to explain as it moved in ‘slow motion’ above him why he was not illuminated by the beam below even though he said the ground around him had a shadow of the oval object.

Passing right over his head at low altitude took several seconds and allowed him to take in detail. The underside seemed ‘bevelled’ and as it moved away there was a small ‘fin’ on the rear but not like an aircraft tail fin. In any case as it passed above there was only a faint whistling noise as if it were ‘gliding’ - no sound of an engine. The car engine ran unaffected throughout the experience as he watched the object move away to the south east and disappear into the darkness.

The only physiological effect described by the witness was a fuzziness in his eyes looking up at the object on closest approach - which he blamed on the unusual lighting.

Total duration of the sighting was about 4 minutes.


The weather data that night shows that it was - 3 degrees C, clear sky and almost no wind. Manchester Airport is north-east of this location but the path of this object is not a usual one in or out of the single runway then operating at the field.


The witness travelled the M 6 often at night given his job and had seen numerous aircraft before and was adamant this was nothing like one. What it is - though - is remarkably consistent with several other cases in a flap that occurred around that time, many described in very similar fashion by independent witnesses.
Read on for more similar reports:
http://www.ozfactorbooks.com/northern-ufo-news-january-2019.html


Jenny considered an airship or even a tanker refuelling fighter jets but this case was never resolved

Here’s the locus on an OS map:

IMG_1785.jpeg


https://maps.nls.uk/view/189189057

Coming off the M6 (running North - South at right edge of the image), driving a sensible distance from the junction but stopping before Sproston Green, here’s the view to the northwest:

IMG_1787.png


Whatever the witness saw l’d say it was close, within a few hundred yards of himself. Definitely between Sproston Wood and the A54.

maximus otter
 
I suppose the problem with the aerial refuelling thing (other than Randles not being able to find an exercise booked on the date of the 1978 sightings) is that it suggests people misperceived the exercises during a period of a few months in 1977-78, but not at other times. On the other hand the fact that we don't seem to get these types of sightings so much since the end of the Cold War points towards the military doing something or other.
 
I suppose the problem with the aerial refuelling thing (other than Randles not being able to find an exercise booked on the date of the 1978 sightings) is that it suggests people misperceived the exercises during a period of a few months in 1977-78, but not at other times. On the other hand the fact that we don't seem to get these types of sightings so much since the end of the Cold War points towards the military doing something or other.
I think it almost certainly is Cold War related as you say. Reminds me of the former Royal Observer Corps chap who was working on a North Sea oil rig and saw an unidentifiable, triangular-shaped black aircraft being refuelled in the air and flanked by two identified fighters. That was about this time when a lot of black triangles were being seen. Perhaps if the Cold War had continued we would have eventually known about these black projects but maybe they were all consigned to a dusty hanger when the wall fell...

There may have also been some sort of limited range, crewed airship fitted with navigation lights that was being used over the UK and would account for those sightings of silent craft landing in fields and silver jump-suited crew then inspecting things on the ground such as in the Haven Fort, Devil's Garden (*) and two other cases of an adult witness with children that I can't recall right now. The biggest mystery from all the cases was how the craft behaved like a helicopter but was silent.

*if it happened
 
I think it almost certainly is Cold War related as you say. Reminds me of the former Royal Observer Corps chap who was working on a North Sea oil rig and saw an unidentifiable, triangular-shaped black aircraft being refuelled in the air and flanked by two identified fighters. That was about this time when a lot of black triangles were being seen. Perhaps if the Cold War had continued we would have eventually known about these black projects but maybe they were all consigned to a dusty hanger when the wall fell...

There may have also been some sort of limited range, crewed airship fitted with navigation lights that was being used over the UK and would account for those sightings of silent craft landing in fields and silver jump-suited crew then inspecting things on the ground such as in the Haven Fort, Devil's Garden (*) and two other cases of an adult witness with children that I can't recall right now. The biggest mystery from all the cases was how the craft behaved like a helicopter but was silent.

*if it happened

I suppose the potentially interesting thing about the Windermere 'object', other than the large number of police officers who saw it, is that two civilian witnesses claimed to have got binoculars on it and saw a shape like a "catamaran", with the large lights on a sort of "transom" at the front. (There's a caveat that people also perceived the object in the 1993 "Cosford incident", almost certainly a space debris reentry, as looking a bit like this).

The fact that there was a series of very similar sightings over the course of a year or so does raise the possibility of something being tested - maybe not even a 'black project' so much as an unfamiliar configuration of an existing aircraft (I guess you could include refuelling exercises under this heading). I was also interested to note Randles mentioning a regular night cargo flight where the crew were switching on their landing lights and gliding on low power, leading to a spate of UFO sightings.
 
Another case from this article and investigated by Jenny:

I personally investigated a case near the Carrington oil refinery involving a group of witnesses at a bus stop.

This happened on 14 November 1977 and shared many features of this case - including the two bright headlamps, the huge size (witnesses estimated it was half a mile long!), the very slow motion and total silence. Given the rush hour time of this earlier sighting I was baffled as to why nobody else saw the remarkable thing reported. Half of the Manchester area ought to have done so.

We looked into the possibility of an airship gliding overhead and that remains a viable option in this case. They were relatively rare in the UK at that time but I actually saw one myself on the M 6 motorway heading south to London in May 1977. This was in daylight and easy to identify but odd because of its then unfamiliarity.

Seeing an airship at 4 am would be even more baffling in 1977/78 but would also be less likely to happen especially in the proximity of an airport.


northern-ufo-news-january-2019.html
 
I tried to find out whether there were any airships in the UK in this period, other than the Goodyear one, but it seems that while the Aerospace Developments AD-500 (the first "modern" airship) started construction at Cardington in 1977, it didn't actually fly until early 1979.
 
I tried to find out whether there were any airships in the UK in this period, other than the Goodyear one, but it seems that while the Aerospace Developments AD-500 (the first "modern" airship) started construction at Cardington in 1977, it didn't actually fly until early 1979.
Mid-air refuelling was one possibility:

We did speculate about a mid-air refuelling exercise in which tanker aircraft and fighters very high in the sky fly in formation.

These practice using a hose in mid-flight to refuel planes without the need to land. There were several such NATO exercises in the 1980s but they were usually described when seen from the ground as being a huge triangle formed as a result of the mind joining the dots of the individual jets moving in formation based on the false assumption they were all lights on one huge craft much lower down.


The lack of noise and very slow speed is consistent as it occurs from the fact that the witnesses assume this is a relatively large and low object that should move faster and should be more noisy. On the other hand multiple aircraft several miles high would create an unusual muted sound.
northern-ufo-news-january-2019.html


I know there was a UFO report from Exmouth in the '90s that was described as a "flying circus ride" and turned out to be a NATO mid-air refuelling exercise ('Rising if the Moon', Downes and Watson)

But then we have the most significant events:

One other interesting link with the 26/28 November 1978 ‘manta ray’ sightings was that 4 days before they happened - and at a similar time - around 5.30 pm during rush hour as two of the 26 November sightings had been - one of the most significant close encounters in the UK took place.

This was a case I was able to investigate after being contacted by the witnesses shortly afterwards. It was never explained.


Elsie Oakensen was head of the teachers resources centre in Daventry and experienced an odd feeling of a tightening sensation round her head during the afternoon of 22 November 1978. Like a severe migraine attack.

She left work at 5.15 pm for the six mile drive home through rush hour traffic to the village of Church Stowe, Northants.

Turning onto the A 5 at Weedon she saw ‘two very bright headlights’ ahead just above the road. She thought a very low flying aircraft or one about to crash was heading right towards her, but it seemed to be hovering above in the sky. Elsie pressed her face against the windscreen peering up to see it.

Her path took her directly underneath the object which was dumb-bell shaped with one light on each circular end. It was very low yet silent.

Despite Elsie reporting what she saw to the local paper no other witnesses on the heavily trafficked A5 came forward to say they saw what she did.
At this point she had to turn off the A 5 into her village. It was now about 5.30 pm. As she headed on the side road into Church Stowe Elsie kept looking back and noticed the object still over the main road where she had just left.


She entered third gear to drive into the village when ‘the next thing I knew my foot was hard on the accelerator pedal’. Her engine was silent and she had no power and
the car was coasting to a halt - though her headlights were still on.


Elsie pressed hard on the accelerator and the car restarted. But moments later there was a jump in reality and she was stationary inside the car.

‘Everything was in absolute blackness. My engine had stopped. My lights were out. Suddenly piercing white circles of light about a yard in diameter came from nowhere, on/off, on/off starting at the left of my car, round in front of it, to the right, back again and the last one disappeared into the air.’

Then there was another jump in reality and she was driving normally - though she insisted to me ‘I did NOT switch on my ignition. I did NOT put my car into gear.’

She drove into her garage a few hundred yards ahead and nothing was now visible in the sky, the lights and car were working perfectly and never malfunctioned again.

On entering the house she was baffled to discover it was now about 15 minutes later than she expected. She drove the same route every day and this ‘missing time’ was very noticeable.
he parallels revealed here between this case and the experience of Alan Godfrey in his patrol car in Todmorden almost exactly 2 years later are obvious.


About 90 minutes later, at 7.10pm, Elsie described how the tightening band pain in her head returned briefly for one last time.

At almost exactly that point - as reported to a local UFO investigator - four young women driving in a car had another close encounter. They were driving to a meeting in Northampton from the village of Byfield and were travelling through Preston Capes at the time. This is just 4 miles south west of Church Stowe where Elseie Oakensen then was.

The four young women saw two beams of light emerge from a cloud and then a red and green light cross their path ahead on the road, at which point the car lost power and coasted to a halt. Very similar to what had occurred to Elsie 2 hours before.

As they drove south the lights paced them and the driver had to fight to retain forward motion by shifting through gears. They then coasted into the village as the lights merged into one big white light and vanished abruptly.


I later spoke to the driver of this vehicle (the other women were too scared to go public and she herself had tried hard to forget all about it and was not keen on making too much out of the matter or to connect it with Elsie’s story). I could sense there was a deeper level to what happened but sometimes witnesses just prefer to push it to the back of their mind and get on with life.

She did tell me of the car that it was nearly new and worked perfectly after that night and that: ‘I have no idea why it suddenly lost power when the lights appeared.’


Elsie Oakensen, meanwhile, like Alan Godfrey, was hypnotically regressed in August 1979 and described how the pressure in her head also occurred during the missing time and she ‘got hotter and hotter’ as she was struck full on by a beam of white light from above.
This pulsated in circles radiating out - a more complete account of what she consciously recalled on the night.


Two grey shapes - ‘people’ she called them - approached out of the light and she recalled the belief that she was ‘selected, scanned, promised a return visit, but then ultimately rejected.’

I suggested to Elsie when we later met and did a TV show together that she take the same journey at night when she was ready and use that as a way to try to trigger further memories.

She bravely did this and told me that she felt that the head tightening was a ‘scan’ on her and that the first lights outside the village put her into ‘limbo’ and she was in that state taken to a nearby location beside a farm (which she dimly recalled consciously) and where the occupants were away at the time so it was deserted.

Here she was scanned more intensely and found ‘unsuitable’ for their needs (she felt her age - close to retirement age - was a factor here and that biology was a factor).

Elsie did not suggest, but it certainly is interesting that, 90 minutes later the second experience occurred nearby involving four much younger women in their car, none of whom were keen to look too deeply into what happened. If indeed anything deeper happened to them.

northern-ufo-news-january-2019.html
 
These are all really interesting, particularly as the "two bright lights" motif appears again and again in this period, starting with the Cumbrian sighting.

The four young women saw two beams of light emerge from a cloud and then a red and green light cross their path ahead on the road

I have to say that when I hear of UFOs carrying red and green lights I can't help but notice these are the colours of aircraft navigation lights.
 
These are all really interesting, particularly as the "two bright lights" motif appears again and again in this period, starting with the Cumbrian sighting.



I have to say that when I hear of UFOs carrying red and green lights I can't help but notice these are the colours of aircraft navigation lights.
Basically matches the description of an aircraft with landing lights on. These can be seen from miles away and I was with a group of people one Summer evening when a DASH 8 aircraft headed for Plymouth (now shut) first appeared low on the horizon as two dazzling white lights that then got closer. My companions were transfixed by the lights and there were nervous jokes about a "UFO" until eventually the aircraft became large enough to see. If I hadn't noticed this before I would have been equally bemused.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BS3
I was interested to see the following passage in Randles' report:

The proximity to airports in all these cases (Gatwick is just north of Portslade, Manchester in two of the other cases and Birmingham airport near the Coventry/Nuneaton reports) led to the theory that this might be another example of gliding aircraft.

That extraordinary solution proved true for sightings in the middle of the night over the Pennines in 1978 - 1980 but were traced to a very specific once a week cargo flight where the crew throttled back the engines and only left the tail fin illumination lit so as to create a scary looking UFO when seen by witnesses in elevated rural terrain.


This does not fit the details of the reports in the manta ray cases. And the specific cargo operator involved in the gliding incident were reprimanded by the aviation authorities for a risky practice.

Well, this was the only cargo operator that got caught. Could something similar explain the sightings of these soundless, or near soundless, objects?
 
Basically matches the description of an aircraft with landing lights on. These can be seen from miles away and I was with a group of people one Summer evening when a DASH 8 aircraft headed for Plymouth (now shut) first appeared low on the horizon as two dazzling white lights that then got closer. My companions were transfixed by the lights and there were nervous jokes about a "UFO" until eventually the aircraft became large enough to see. If I hadn't noticed this before I would have been equally bemused.
Landing lights can be seen over quite a distance. Where I used to live, on clear nights I could see the lights of aircraft over Edinburgh Airport nearly 40 miles away.
 
Back
Top