Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Birmingham UFO Group Case Report Author: Dave Hodrien Release Date: 20/03/2010
In March 2010, multiple witnesses sighted an unusual black coloured object in the sky over Dudley Castle. One of the witnesses contacted me about the incident and sent through some photographs he had taken.
On 12th March 2010 at around 4.10pm in the afternoon, witness “PJ” was near the entrance of Dudley Castle with his girlfriend taking a look at the meerkats in the zoo area. It was a cold and cloudy day. PJ noticed that the meerkats were acting strangely, making noises and all looking up into the sky. He looked up to see what they were looking at and noticed a unevenly-shaped black object. It was almost directly overhead and appeared to be quite high up. Dudley Castle is one of the highest points of the West Midlands, and it was at much higher altitude, so PJ is not sure it would even have been seen from normal ground level. He estimates it was about the size of a car, though this was hard to judge. It initially appeared to be stationary but then slowly began moving to the left.
Aerial view of Dudley Castle showing location of meerkats enclosure:
After 10 seconds, PJ decided to take some photographs of the object. As they watched, the object began to rise in altitude. They continued to watch it for about 5 minutes until it had disappeared out of sight. Neither of them had any idea as to what the object could have been, it looked completely different to anything they had seen before.
The photos were taken on a Canon 500d camera with Sigma 300mm lens. Below is one of the original photographs:
A collection of close ups of the object taken from the various photographs:
Zoomed views of the object taken from several of the photos (in order):
Same zoomed views of the object with edge find:
The object that PJ and his girlfriend saw was certainly interesting. It is clearly black or dark in colour, with curved edges. When I first saw the photos I thought it may have been a home-made solar airship made out of one or more black bin bags. These heat up in the sun, and once the air inside them is hot enough rise into the sky. However it could not have been one of these because it was cloudy and cold weather.
I feel the most likely explanation for the object was a black or dark coloured Chinese lantern that had been set off in the daytime. Because it was still light, it is probable that the flame within it could not be seen from the ground, and would not cause the object to glow. I am certain of this as I have seen lanterns lit in daylight before first hand.
From the inital zoomed view of the object, a flat edge can be seen at the lower left. The shape of the object is that of a Chinese lantern, with the flat base widening out into a rounded balloon-like shape. I believe the object was tilting, probably due to air currents. In the first photo it can be seen at a heavy tilt, revealing the flat base edge. The second zoom shows the object more at a diagonal, and the third with it upright, and smaller as it is gaining in altitude.
Case solved? Maybe, but I do find it interesting that the meerkats appeared to be aware of the presence of the object and acting unusually towards it. If it was simply a lantern or balloon, surely they would have ignored it? This aspect will continue to bring a bit of mystery to this particular sighting.
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2010