“What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?”
Winston Churchill 1952
People have been seeing UFOs for centuries. Even the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel who lived some 2600 years ago claimed to have seen one.
The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
It seems that UFOs like to drop into our own corner of the galaxy from time to time as well. On August 5th 1889 during a violent storm a ‘cigar-shaped’ object 15 inches long and 5 inches wide fell slowly to earth in East Twickenham and exploded. No trace it was ever found.
These day and fully up to speed with Dr. Who, Close Encounters and Scottie’s Lithium Crystals we like to think of ourselves as being sophisticated and scientific creatures and far more sceptical about strange objects in the sky. However UFO files released by the Ministry of Defence in October 2008 suggest otherwise. After reading through over 4500 pages of eyewitness accounts you would be forgiven for thinking that St. Margarets is the middle of a UFO hotspot! Here is a taste of those reports…
- On February 21, 2005 a vague report was made indicating that something had been seen in the sky in Teddington at 10.00am.
- On June 21, 2003, a doughnut-shaped object was spotted over Richmond moving from left to right and side-to-side at 4.43pm. One side was reflective and the other black.
- On February 15, 2002 a sighting was made in Richmond of a very odd flashing light spinning above London at 3.56pm.
- On September 24, 2000 at 12.02am one or possibly two golden lights moved incredibly fast in the Twickenham skies before disappearing.
- On April 28th 1998 at 11.40pm an eyewitness claimed to have seen a single white light with a faint light behind it moving slowly over Twickenham.
- On July 27, 1998 a report was made of a large circular object that had blue spinning lights that was moving slowly over Twickenham at 11.20pm.
- On August 2, 1997 at 10.18pm lights were seen in the sky over Twickenham. They were white, very dim and moving west, making erratic movements.
Local newspapers have also picked up some strange accounts of unexplained airborne oddities. On July 17th 2008 the Hounslow Chronicle reported…
Since our initial article last week, describing the three strange lights spotted by Bedfont gran Lynne Martin, calls have flooded into the Chronicle office from all over the borough and beyond, with one teen bringing us video footage of a previous identical sighting. Dozens of callers claim to have seen the mysterious lights hovering in the night sky on Sunday, July 6, and they all insist there were no beams linking them to the ground.
Gulsheen Kaur, of Jersey Road, Hounslow, said: “My husband and I didn’t think anything of it at first we just assumed it was a spotlight. But later we realised there had been no beam and we got scared.” And over in Twickenham 68-year-old Lesley Butler insisted:
“They looked like balloons, with no middle darting about. They definitely weren’t laser lights, or aircraft and there was no beam.”
After receiving a number of calls from bewildered members of the public Met Police decided to investigate. A spokeswoman said: “Members of the public called police from approximately 11pm to reports of numerous lights in the sky in the west London area of the city. Police tracked the lights to a birthday celebration in the Bedfont area.”
So what are we to make of all this? Are we about to be invaded by aliens who will turn our planet into a car park? Are we seeing phenomena like ball lightning or static discharges that haven’t been fully explained yet? Is it because we are living underneath one of the world’s busiest flight paths? Or are U.F.Os just what they say they are - “Unexplained Flying Objects” - not aliens or intruders or top-secret military aircraft but just objects seen in the sky that cannot be readily explained? Here is a list of possible answers…Ball Lightning, Weather Balloons, Military Drones, Kites, Chinese Sky Lanterns, Piezo Static Discharges, Satellites, Venus, Searchlights, Will-of-the-Wisps (marsh gas), Dirigibles, Microlight Aircraft, Police Helicopters, Blanket Lightning, Light from Blast Furnaces, Artillery and Missiles, Frisbees, Fireworks and Model Aircraft…. or maybe just the 4.45am Jumbo coming in from Hong Kong.
“Beam me up, Scottie!”
– from Martyn Day