Skies full of mysterious UFOs

Are we being invaded or are we about to have a close encounter of the third kind?One can only imagine what was going through the minds of radar operators at a Norfolk radar base on October 5 1996 as they detected an unidentified blip on their scopes.

Are we being invaded or are we about to have a close encounter of the third kind?

One can only imagine what was going through the minds of radar operators at a Norfolk radar base on October 5 1996 as they detected an unidentified blip on their scopes.

But as the release of the UFO files show there was no need for the air defence airman at RAF Neatishead, to panic and hit the red alert button.

For according to a MOD review the unexplained blip was not from Mars but was just the spire of St Botolph's Church in Boston, Lincolnshire

The report, which is one of hundreds of UFO reports from 1994 to 2000 released on Wednesday said: “The church spire is known in aviation circles as the “Boston Stump” and appears occasionally on some radars in certain radar propagation conditions.”

Although X files fans may be disappointed that the report of the RAF Neatishead radar blip seems to give a mundane explanation for an unidentified flying object the large volume of MOD files does give hope to ET searchers.

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For as RAF Neatishead was monitoring the Boston Stump, a series of bright multi-coloured lights was seen at the same time by police in Boston and Skegness and by a ship in the Wash.

The once confidential report states: “The lights in the Wash area were observed from three separate locations high above the horizon and in the same general direction, but without corroborating radar data.

“No associated air vehicle was detected by civil or military radars. This suggests a distant celestial source.”

As well as the East Anglian reports, the MOD files show how the skies over the country seemed full of unexplained objects - including a triangle hovering over a prominent politician's home, a Toblerone shaped flying object and seemingly football obsessed alien.

It was case of “Beam me up Michael Howard” as a large triangular shaped flying craft was spotted hovering near the former Home Secretary's Kent home on March 8 1997.

Christopher Lee, 27, who saw the object with a friend, said at the time: “It was a lot longer than a plane and moved incredibly quickly - I have no idea what it was and we were both left speechless.”

However a RAF investigation said there was no evidence that an object had been flying near Mr Howard's home and there had been no security breach.

Another “X” file shows how a UFO appeared to be eying up an invasion of Chelsea football club when four lights were seen over Stamford Bridge in London on March 10 1999.

The lights were seen by a police officer who saw them move across the sky very quickly and change shape slowly.

As well as first hand accounts, the MOD documents also feature sketches drawn by eyewitnesses of UFOs including a Toblerone like object over West Lothian during two days in 1994 and a white globe with a glowing white ring over Highbury in London in 1994.

Hidden among the documents there is also macabre physical evidence of UFO sightings and closer encounters with possible extra terrestrial life forms.

In one account a man in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, claimed to have seen a UFO as he was driving his car in January 27 1997.

In his report to police the man describes how his car was surrounded by a “tube of light” for five minutes which stopped his mobile phone and radio from working.

Following his close encounter of the second kind - a UFO sighting followed by associated physical effects - the man felt sick and developed a skin condition.

In another example a Birmingham man described how on March 18 1997 a 200ft blue triangle appeared over his back garden and then shot off leaving a silky white substance on trees which was collected by the man in jam jar.

The release of the MOD papers by the National Archive also reveals the country's UFO hot spot area - Bonnybridge in Scotland.

In October 1997 local councillor William Buchanan wrote to Prime Minister Tony Blair claiming there had been 600 UFO sightings in the area in just two years and demanded that an inquiry be carried out.

And in a further prime ministerial twist a separate release of memo from Winston Churchill in 1952 shows how he was beginning to express an interest in the then relatively new flying saucer phenomenon.

The “Churchill Memorandum” to Lord Cherwell, secretary of state for air, says: “What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth? Let me have a report at your convenience.”

Lord Cherwell response suggested four causes of UFO sightings which may still be apt today: “Known astronomical or meteorological phenomena; mistaken identification of conventional aircraft, balloons, birds, etc; optical illusions and psychological delusions; deliberate hoaxes.”