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13/09/2008 - Tipton - Black Cigar UFO Photographs

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 20/09/2008

Sighting Details

It was 2.30pm in the afternoon of the 13th September 2008 when Sharon Demby witnessed something very unusual in the skies over Tipton. It was a bright, still day with no cloud in the sky and she was out at the back door of her house on Gordon Drive having a cigarette. She suddenly heard a scuffling sound and looked up to see a squirrel entering the loft of her neighbour’s house. But then something else caught her attention. In the sky was what looked like a long black/silver cigar shaped object.

It appeared to be quite high up, she estimates at least a couple of hundred feet but it was difficult to judge. There were no clear markings on the object. It was completely still and angled at a sharp diagonal. At first she thought it must be a balloon of some kind, but the object was hovering completely still in the sky and she soon thought it must be something more unusual. She ran inside and grabbed her camera. When she went back out, the object was still there so she took a photograph. She watched it a bit longer, and although puzzled by it, headed back inside the house.

Fifteen minutes later she headed back outside to see if the object was still there. It was in exactly the same position in the sky but its angle had changed to be vertical. She decided at this point to take a second photograph. Sharon wondered what it could be and stayed there watching it for about five minutes, during which time it did not move at all. After this she went back inside. When her partner came home she took him outside but the object had vanished.

Sighting location map, showing position of witness, direction the object was seen in, and nearby pub (1) and cemetery (2):


Photographic Analysis

The object shortly after the witness first sighted it:


1st photograph zoomed:


1st photograph edge enhanced:


The object after she returned 15 minutes later:


Previous Sighting

After Sharon’s sighting appeared in the local newspaper (The Chronicle) another witness contacted me to say that himself and others had both seen and video-taped the same object. The video shows the object turning slowly, and remaining stationary in a vertical position. It seems highly likely that it is the same object as that which was photographed by Sharon. He mentioned that he lives only several streets away from Sharon.

Still of the object taken from the video footage (Difference in length is more than likely due to the angle it is being watched from):


In this still, the object captures the sunlight at various points along it as it turns:



Available from numerous shops and websites, it is now possible to purchase something known as a Solar Airship. This is an 8 metre long inflatable, usually black in colour. It heats up in the sun until the heated air inside it lifts it into the sky. It is held in place with a tether line similar to a kite. The object is made out of very thin material so despite its size, only a thin tether is required.

Photograph of a solar airship available from Argos for under ten pounds:


It is clear that what was more than likely photographed and videoed was one of these Solar Airships, probably a bought one. The fact that the sightings occurred during bright sunny weather seems to back up this theory. I presume that the reason a tether could not be seen at the time or on the photos and video footage is because it is very thin and against a bright sky. There are many photographs of kites in flight where the tether is not visible. From the movements of the object in the video footage it looks probable that there is a tether holding it in place at one end.

There are two landmarks in the vicinity of the sighting location, both of which are in the direction the object was seen in. The first is a local pub, The Shrubbery, and beyond this is Tipton Cemetery. While visiting the witness who took the photographs, I contacted the pub to see if there had been any function around the date mentioned which could explain the object. They confirmed there had been no such event, so we can disregard this as a place which the Solar Airship was being flown from.

The Shrubbery:


Tipton Cemetery:


Looking at all the available evidence, my conclusion is that the witnesses more than likely saw a Solar Airship that was being flown by someone else from their garden in Tipton.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2008



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