UFO Hotspots


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 ground. 

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! 

So 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!