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09/04/2012 – Great Barr, Birmingham – Glowing Orbs Formation Sighting

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 22/07/2022

Note: For anonymity reasons pseudonyms have been used for one of the witnesses

In mid April 2022 I was contacted via the BUFOG website by a man named Vince. He reported that back in 2012 he and a number of friends used to regularly meet up on Monday evenings at the Golden Hind pub at the junction of Greenholm Road and Kingstanding Road in Great Barr, Birmingham. He went on to state that one evening they had a sighting of a number of unexplained orbs of light. This report covers the details of what took place.

Photograph of the Golden Hind

Sighting Details

On the evening of 9th April 2012 at approximately 7.30pm Vince met up with one of his friends, “Sandra”, at the Golden Hind. After about half an hour they headed outside the front of the pub to have a cigarette. Due to the time of year it was twilight, and the stars were just starting to appear in the sky.

Aerial map of the Golden Hind

They looked up into the sky to the South South West and noticed what appeared to be a particularly bright star at an elevation of about 45 degrees. Sandra mentioned that it could not be the North Star as it was of course at the wrong position in the sky.

Witness drawing of the orb of light on the horizon
Aerial map indicating the position of the witnesses and the sighting direction
Photograph of the sighting location in the direction the orb was seen

They continued to watch the white point of light for about eight minutes. Suddenly it split into six smaller lights which quickly positioned themselves into a crucifix-shaped formation, with four of the lights arranged in a vertical line, with the fifth and sixth either side of the second one down!

Witness drawing of the initial orb of light
Witness drawing of the orbs in the crucifix-shaped formation

Vince and Sandra could barely believe their eyes! They stood there staring at the formation of lights for up to fifteen minutes. After this they decided it was time to head back inside the pub. Over the noise of the jukebox and background chatter they discussed what they had just witnessed.

About ten minutes later Vince decided he would step back outside to see if the lights were still present in the sky. Unfortunately he found that they had now completely vanished from sight. At this point it suddenly dawned on him that neither he nor Sandra had thought about taking a photograph of the lights, despite witnessing the lights for an extended period of time. Vince had his phone on him at the time, and Sandra had left hers inside.

The following week they met back up at the pub again, and discussed the incident in depth, including the fact that it had formed a cross shape. Neither Vince nor Sandra are religious, however Vince did note that the sighting took place the day after Easter. Another mystery was the fact that there were a number of other people also outside at the time but they did not appear to have noticed the lights.

Sighting Analysis

This is an interesting sighting due to the splitting of the white light into an obviously organised formation. The key witness seems serious in in the details he has provided, and is clearly fascinated by what took place. Even though the incident occurred while the men were at a pub, Vince informs me that they were still on their first pint, and I do not believe this has anything to do with what was observed.

The initial light was stationary for eight minutes meaning it cannot have been a satellite, the ISS or a distant aeroplane. An aeroplane can appear stationary for a short period of time if it is moving directly towards or away from you, and can appear as a bright white light if it’s got its landing light on and is coming in to land. However 360 radar confirms that the area does not fall within an airway:

It was the wrong colour for a Chinese lantern. A white coloured LED balloon could conceivably remain largely stationary in still air conditions, but over that time period some gradual drift would still be expected.

What if we consider that all six lights were attached to a single object which could not be seen clearly due to the distance? Perhaps the way that the single light split into six was down to the positioning of the lights on the object, and when it turned the lights could then be seen individually. Obviously a helicopter can remain motionless in the sky for a period of time, before turning. However the number and configuration of white lights is entirely wrong for a helicopter, and no other coloured lights were observed, so I do not believe this was the explanation.

Standard helicopoter navigation lights

Could the lights have been a number of direct searchlights being shone into the sky and reflecting off the cloud layer? Usually lights being shone from night clubs or events would be shone in a circular pattern, but maybe they were shone from a religious ceremony or venue, and initially shone at the same position in the sky before being spread out into a crucifix shape because Easter had recently occurred.

Although this possibility cannot be entirely ruled out it seems unlikely for a number of reasons. I have never been aware of any events/locations which have purposely shone searchlights into the sky in the shape of a religious symbol. Even if they did it would have made much more sense to do so actually on Easter itself, rather than the following evening. It also seems unlikely they would begin by grouping up all the lights at one particular spot in the sky instead of just immediately shining them in the shape of a cross. Lastly, it is usually possible to partially see the beams coming up from the ground, but the witnesses did not see this.

Another possibility worth considering is a drone display. Drones can hover motionless in the sky, and can easily be manoeuvred to form specific patterns. Perhaps initially all the drones were clustered together, giving the impression of a single bright white light, and then separated to form the cross formation. However public drone displays are generally far more impressive, with lots of drones displaying different coloured lights. It is possible they were privately owned drones, but what would be the need to initially position them at close proximity for numerous minutes?

The fact that the formation appeared similar to a crucifix does not necessarily mean it was religious in nature. It could have just been reminiscent of this shape, rather than intentional. This is certainly an anomalous and unusual sighting, and with most explanations entirely discounted the lights remain a compelling mystery.

It is a shame that neither witness managed to capture a photograph or video of the lights. This is not in any way suspicious. Only Vince had his phone on him at the time, and it is clear that they were both transfixed by what they were looking at. I have spoken with many witnesses over the years who have not captured objects on camera because of this reason.

Unfortunately at present I am unable to speak with Sandra about the incident. Vince has not kept in touch with her and does not know anyone who has her contact details. This is unfortunate as it would have been nice to hear her recollection of events.

If you have any information about this incident or think you know what took place please get in touch.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2022



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