First there was Warminster; now it’s Bonnybridge. Every now and then a particular area seems to become a focus for UFO activity, with much more activity reported than would be the case if sightings were spread evenly around the country. There is much debate about these so-called “ufocals” or “window areas”; some people believe that they are areas which - for some unknown reason - seem to be favoured by the UFOs, while others argue that there are no more UFO sightings in Bonnybridge than in Brighton - it’s simply that all the media attention means that more sightings are reported.
Whatever the truth about these ufological hot spots, where might we look
for the next one? I have a theory -
what about London? At first it
sounds outrageous (after all, what with the light pollution, you can hardly see
the stars), but bear with me, and I’ll explain why I think London may soon
find itself in the spotlight.
I spent much of the early Nineties researching and investigating UFOs for
the British Government. When I took
up my post in Secretariat (Air Staff)2a at the Ministry of Defence I found that
cases had not been as thoroughly investigated as I thought should have been the
case. One thing that bothered me
was that no attempts had been made to examine the spread of sightings around the
country, so one of my first initiatives was to go back through the files,
marking the location of each UFO report received with a cross. I made one map for each year.
Although the statistical database of two or three hundred UFO reports
each year was probably too small to draw any meaningful conclusions, a few
pieces of information could be gleaned from this exercise. By far and away the most important was that the crosses on
the map were at their most concentrated in areas of greatest population density.
At the top of the list was London.
Actually, there should be little surprise about this.
Once we get away from the rather clichéd idea of UFO sightings occurring
on a lonely country road, late at night, it should be self-evident that there
will be more reports from the cities simply because there are more people there
to see any UFO activity that occurs. So
what’s going on in our capital city?
The first thing to point out is the oft-quoted statistic that 95% of UFO
sightings can be explained as misidentifications of known objects or phenomena. This is probably one of the few points on which most
ufologists can agree. And in London
we do have to be particularly watchful. There
is much aircraft activity over the capital, and this can certainly generate some
UFO reports. One of the first
telephone calls I took from a member of the public involved the sighting of a
bright white light with a red and green light on each side, reported from a
person living in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport.
Police helicopters have become increasingly active
over London skies, often illuminating the ground with a powerful searchlight as
the police search for suspects. This
has generated more than a few reports of UFOs firing beams of light at the
Airships - brightly illuminated from the inside - fly
regularly over London, and Skytracker machines fire circular patterns of light
into the night sky at pop concerts or other public events, generating calls
about squadrons of UFOs chasing each other around the sky.
The top of Canary Wharf Tower is brightly illuminated at night, giving
rise to reports of so-called Flying Triangles over London, especially when
glimpsed only momentarily through the glass windscreen of a moving vehicle.
I once received a call from a man looking at a UFO hovering over Regents
Park. He told me that it seemed to
be coming down to land, and reported that people were gathering around on the
ground. His voice got increasingly
excited until he screamed that the object was down.
Then his voice went strangely silent, and he told me that the object was
a kite which was now being dismantled and put back in its box.
He apologised for having wasted my time, and hung up, clearly in a state
of extreme embarrassment. And by a bizarre coincidence, as if to drive home the point,
as I write this article I can see from my window a large barrage balloon in the
sky, tethered to my local supermarket, deployed to grab people’s attention.
There are, in short, many checks that London-based
ufologists need to make when investigating sightings. And yet, this is precisely what is happening in groups such
as London UFO Studies. Every issue
of Skylink is packed with sightings for the London area which have been
meticulously researched, and which seem to defy explanation even after the most
rigorous of investigations.
I remember one fascinating case from my time in
Sec(AS)2a when I was contacted by commuters who said that they had seen a UFO
from Waterloo Bridge, hovering over the Thames one evening before moving off at
high speed. And shortly before I
took up post there had been a UFO sighting witnessed by MoD staff within Main
Building itself! I saw the report of this, which made hilarious reading as it
told of a report being phoned to Sec(AS)2a from an office on the fourth floor.
The person making the report suggested that the Sec(AS)2a staff simply
look out of the window!
if any readers want to go on a skywatch, remember that Parliament Hill on
Hampstead Heath is probably just as good as Silbury Hill.
And if some television researcher asks about a good place to talk to
people who have seen UFOs, don’t pack them off to Bonnybridge - put them in
touch with Roy Lake or any of the LUFOS team!