Updated: Oct 17, 2022
Birmingham UFO Group Case Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 12/10/2022
Last Updated: 17/10/2022
Note: For privacy reasons certain location details have been omitted
This case report covers the most recent of three sightings by a man from Marston Green named Steve Wheeldon. Steve primarily got in touch in late September 2022 because of this particular incident, but also discussed his previous sightings with me. This is the only one of the three which he managed to capture on camera.
As the previous two sightings appear to be un-related I have written separate reports on them. Links to these other reports can be found at the end of this one.
Early morning on Saturday 3rd September 2022 Steve was asleep in his house in Marston Green. He awoke needing the bathroom. It was around 3.45am and still fully dark outside. While awake he suddenly had the thought that he hadn’t locked the back door, so went downstairs to check.
As he approached the door he saw an unusually bright point of light through the glass window situated in the sky. Thinking it was a star being magnified by the glass, he opened the door to confirm that it was.
He was surprised to see a strange glowing object hovering motionless in the sky to the South West, visible above the roofs of neighbouring houses. It appeared to be situated ¼ of a mile away either directly over Birmingham International Airport, or over the outer edge of it, and at a height of between 500-800 feet.
Steve stared intently at the object to see it more clearly. It appeared to be a vertical rectangle or cylinder. There was a stick-like protrusion on each side, and a reddish glow coming from the top. It appeared to be covered in sparkling green and yellow lights. The shape almost reminded him of a human torso with two arms.
He had never seen anything like it before. Even more unusual than the appearance of the object was the fact that it was completely still in the sky. It also appeared to be absolutely silent. Steve estimates that it was about 20-30 feet tall if it was indeed in the position he thought it was.
He continued to stare at it for about 10 minutes. With the object still present he decided at this point that he wanted to try and capture it on video. However his smartphone was inside the house. In order to get it he would have to briefly stop looking at the object. In the end he decided to risk it, convinced that when he returned to the door it would be gone.
Luckily it was still there when he got back. At 3.59am he took a short video of the object. He was surprised to see it looked quite different on camera, so he soon stopped filming. Several minutes later he tried again, this time filming for several minutes. It looked quite different to before, but still not the same as what he could see with his naked eye.
Soon after this he tried zooming in on the object using his mobile phone camera. However it wasn’t coming out very clearly, most likely due to the low lighting and distance. At this point he decided to go and get his Nikon camera. He felt that perhaps the zoom lens on this would be able to capture a better image of it.
When he returned he was pleased to see that the object was still present. He tried taking a photograph on his camera but was disappointed to see that it didn’t come out very clearly.
After this he continued to watch the object, both fascinated and puzzled by its presence.
Shortly after 5am, with the object still visible, he decided to attempt to take some other photographs of it on his mobile phone.
A while later he saw a plane passing across the sky which did not land at the airport. It looked more like a cargo plane than civilian. He thought to himself that they must have been able to see the object.
At around 6am he started to feel extremely tired, and decided to go back to bed, with the object still present in the sky at the same position. Later in the morning, when he awoke, he checked but it was no longer there. For a number of nights following the incident Steve checked to see if it would re-appear, but there was no sign of it.
Video & Photograph Analysis
The first video Steve took was shot at 3.59am and only for 10 seconds:
As you can see, it looks nothing like what he describes seeing. The object looks like a cluster of up to 5 white lights, with what appears to be a curved line of additional white points of light coming down underneath. There are also several other dim points of light near the top and bottom at certain moments, which are likely to be stars.
Here is a still from the video taken at 3 seconds in:
Zoomed view of the lighting configuration, with and without edge find:
Steve is absolutely puzzled by the main cluster of lights and says that this was not visible at all directly. He says that the lights on the object had a shimmering effect so it might have been this which was captured but not the main body of the object itself.
I initially wondered if he had accidentally captured lights near the ground. Steve confirmed that light from the window of a neighbouring house can sometimes be seen through the trees, creating a similar pattern of speckled light. However he also confirmed that the camera was pointed up at a much sharper angle into the sky when this was taken, and at the time of the sighting his neighbour’s light was off. He believes that what the footage shows is the object. Obviously as there is no point of reference due to the lack of light this cannot be confirmed directly from the footage.
Several minutes later at 4.03am Steve took this second, much longer video:
Movement of the object is down to his attempts to locate and keep locked onto it. Even though he took it from exactly the same position as the previous video it now appears as a singular bright white orb of light.
Here is a still from the footage taken at 21 seconds into it:
A zoomed view of the orb, and the same image with edge find:
Soon after taking the videos, Steve took 5 photographs of the object on his Nikon camera. The resulting images are shown below:
It appears that Steve was only able to keep the camera steady on the first of these photographs. In this the object just looks like a bright point of light. In the remaining photographs the glowing curved line is the object stretched out due to a mix of camera shake and extended exposure.
Below is a zoomed view of the object from the first image, and a zoomed view with edge find:
The first mobile phone photograph Steve took was at 5.12am:
In this image the object looks like a curved white light with a rainbow coloured glow around it. Here is a zoomed view of the object and zoomed view with edge find:
It is possible that the curve is down to a small amount of camera movement when the photograph was taken, and without this it may have turned out as a white glowing orb of light.
This second photograph was taken just two minutes after the last:
The lighting level now looks completely different, almost as if the sun is coming up. It is possible to see the tops of some nearby trees. Steve has confirmed that it was still fully dark when this photograph was taken. It is likely that this is down to automatic light enhancement by his phone’s camera, however it is unknown why this did not happen with the previous image.
Here is a zoomed view of the object, and one with edge find:
The shape of the object is down to camera shake, as can be seen by the blur effect on the trees. Steve believes that if he had been holding the phone steady when he took the shot it would have appeared as a brightly glowing orange orb.
The last photograph was taken at 5.17am:
Like the first it now appears dark again, which Steve says is much closer to the actual lighting level.
Again, here is a zoomed view of the object with and without edge find:
As you can see, the appearance is very similar to the first photograph.
The object which Steve described seeing with his naked eyes sounds very unusual indeed. Here is a close up interpretation of what it looked like including some notes from the witness:
It is highly unusual for a UFO to remain motionless in the sky for such an extended period of time. Even though Steve described the object having such a bizarre shape I did initially wonder if he was mistakenly staring at a bright planet such as Jupiter or Venus.
To attempt to confirm whether this could have been what he saw, on 6th October I informed Steve of the position Jupiter would be in the sky and asked him to observe it after dark and take some photographs of it. He kindly agreed to do so.
According to Steve it appeared exactly as expected – as a bright white orb of light, nothing like what he had seen previously. Here are the photographs he took at 3.51 am, 3.56 am and 4.03 am:
The square cluster of lights is light from a neighbouring house window, as discussed previously in the report. Here is a zoomed view of the second photograph, with and without edge find:
As you can see, this does appear very similar to some of the photographs Steve took of the object on 3rd September, especially the first of his Nikon camera photos.
In checking Stellarium application, it can be seen that both Jupiter and Saturn happened to be to the South West at 3.50 am on 3rd September:
Steve did confirm that the direction Jupiter was situated in at 3.50 am roughly matched the direction of the object, however he also informed me that the object was at a higher position in the sky.
Much more importantly, it can be seen that between 3.50 am and 6.00 am Jupiter moved slowly to the West and also slowly descended in the sky, as can be seen by comparing the below image with the previous one:
Steve confirmed that the object did not move position throughout the sighting, it remained rooted to the same spot in the sky. This, combined with its unusual appearance and the fact that at a later date Steve directly observed Jupiter and confirmed it looked completely different to what he had previously seen points away from it being this or another bright star.
Next I looked into the possibility of the object being a drone. While drones can certainly hover motionless in the sky, most commercially available drones tend to have a flight time of between 10 – 30 minutes. However professional more advanced drones can remain airborne for a number of hours.
That said the appearance of the object does not fit in with it being a drone. It also appeared too large to be a drone. Steve estimated it was between 20-30 feet in height at the distance it appeared to be. It is hard to judge distances of objects in the sky, especially after dark. But if it had been closer then surely he would have been able to hear noise coming from it? Drones make a particularly loud buzzing sound, as can be heard in the below video:
Yet this object appeared to be completely silent. This lack of sound also puts a helicopter out of the question. Steve confirmed that he is used to seeing police helicopters taking off and landing at the airport. Not only did the object look completely different to a helicopter, but at that distance the rotor blades would certainly have been audible.
In addition to this Flight Radar 24 confirms that there were no helicopters in the vicinity of the airport at the time of the sighting:
While not all aircraft are tracked, it is unlikely that an untracked helicopter would have been hovering near or over the airport for that amount of time.
It is extremely unlikely that the object was a lit inflatable of some kind, as over that period of time it would have definitely drifted in the air, even in relatively still air conditions. Even if the object was tethered you would expect to see a small amount of drift, and if there was some kind of tether below the object it was certainly not visible in any of the photographs Steve took, including the one with enhanced light levels.
The object could not have been light from a ground structure either. There are no tall buildings or towers in the direction it was observed, and even if there were Steve would be used to seeing the light every night
I reached out to Birmingham International Airport to ask if they had anything flying over or nearby to the airport on the morning of 3rd September. They responded to my request with the following:
The photographs and videos which Steve managed to take have caused some confusion due to the variety of appearances on show and difference to how it actually looked. But with all of these possibilities dismissed for one reason or another, the object appears to be truly anomalous.
As mentioned at the start of this report, Steve has had two previous sightings – an impressive sighting back in 1975, which you can read about here, and another sighting in August 2022, which can be read about here.
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2022