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21/12/1979 to Winter 2013 - Belfast - Disc-shaped UFOs, White Orbs & Light Flashes

Birmingham UFO Group Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 07/05/2022

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

In late March 2022 I released a case report on a disc-shaped UFO sighting from Marlborough. I posted a link to this report on various Facebook pages. Anne Holland, a lady from Belfast, is a member of one of these pages. When she read the report she was deeply shocked by the similarity of what had been seen to something she herself had witnessed back in 1979. She got in touch with me to report this similarity and how the report had affected her.

When she was ready to speak in April we went over her own experience in depth, in addition to two other previous sightings. This report covers all three incidents, which appear unrelated to one another.

21st December 1979 – Lit Domed Disc

Back in 1979 Anne lived in the Divis Flats on Falls Road close to Divis Tower, Belfast. The tower still stands today but the flats have since been demolished and replaced with a housing estate. On the afternoon of 21st December about 3pm she was sitting in the living room of the flat and watching TV with her baby son Keith who was 2 years old at the time. At the time there was a lot of trouble with the IRA so she was watching the news for any updates.

Aerial map of Falls Road indicating the location where the Divis Flats used to stand
Modern photograph of Divis Tower, with the housing estate beyond it

After the news finished she stepped outside onto the 2nd floor balcony of the flat. It was a very dull day with complete cloud cover. She happened to look up into the sky to the North, and was amazed to see an unusual object. It was like two silver-grey coloured domes stuck together back to back. Around the central rim were red, blue and yellow lights, and there was also a white light on the top of the object. The entire object appeared to be rotating in a clockwise direction.

Witness drawing of the UFO

It appeared to be at least a mile away beyond Crumlin Road. If it was indeed at that distance it must have been quite large in size, at least 40 feet across. It was moving to the East on a straight and level course. It seemed to be moving extremely slowly, possibly as low as 5 mph, too slow for an aircraft to fly at. Anne knew it was something unusual and associated it immediately as a UFO. She lifted up Keith so he could see it too.

Aerial map showing the sighting location, direction of view and possible location of the UFO

She had no camera in the flat so no way to record what she was seeing. She lifted up her son so he could see it too. They both watched it for about 4 minutes. After this time, Anne wanted to get a closer look at it, so decided she would exit the flat and start approaching its location on foot. She headed down the stairwell and began walking past another block of flats near to her own. However she then noticed that there were British soldiers walking along Falls Road. At the time it was dangerous to approach them so she decided to cancel her plans.

As she was outside of the flat she then decided to walk to a local butchers. At ground level she was unable to see the UFO any more as it was blocked by the buildings. When she entered the butchers, the shop owner noticed Anne and stated “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Anne responded saying “I think I’ve just seen a UFO!” The butcher asked her “Are you serious?” to which Anne replied that she was. The butcher was interested to see where it was to see if he could see it too. They both stepped outside the shop and Anne pointed into the visible sky to the North.

After a moment they both witnessed the object suddenly shoot up into the sky at a 45 degree angle! It moved extremely rapidly and disappeared from their sight in seconds. After witnessing this amazing spectacle they walked back into the shop. Anne remembers just buying some mince and not discussing what they had just seen, which looking back at the situation seems really strange to her.

The following day she was around her parents’ house and told them about the sighting. They did not really question her too much about it. While they were there Anne remembers Keith was looking through a shopping catalogue and started pointing at the pictures of a spinning top toy. She did not buy it from the catalogue but later noticed one in a nearby shop so bought it him for Christmas. Looking back at what took place, Anne wonders if the spinning top reminded him of the shape of the UFO and this is why he liked it.

About a year later the butcher who had witnessed the UFO with Anne was sadly shot dead. Nobody ever claimed responsibility for the crime. After this took place Anne’s father warned her not to talk about the UFO with anyone else. Anne feels that he associated the death of the butcher with the incident, although it is very unlikely that they were in any way linked.

This is a very interesting sighting of what could have well been a genuine advanced craft. Anne was very familiar with how distant helicopters looked as she would regularly see military helicopters in the area due to the troubles at the time, and it seemed to be moving much too slowly to be an aeroplane. The colours did not match normal navigation lights either. 360 radar confirms that the probable location of the UFO does not lie within any airways:

It also confirms that it does lie within controlled airspace, lowering the possibility of an untracked aircraft being responsible:

Obviously these two mappings are modern, it is not possible to confirm if this was the case back in 1979. However the speed that the object departed the area puts out of the question that it was a normal aircraft. This manoeuvre also means that it cannot have been a lit inflatable covered in Christmas lights or a remote controlled model, and the sighting took place decades before drones were utilised or commercially available. It was also too large in size to be a drone.

As the sighting took place in daylight hours it is possible that there were other witnesses to it elsewhere in Belfast who have yet to come forward.

Autumn/Winter 1999 – Disc Silhouette & White Orb

By 1999 Anne had moved to a house on Brookmill Way in North Belfast. The road is on a hill with a view to the South over the rest of the city. Keith now lived nearby on Horseshoe Court.

Aerial map of Brookmill Way (A) and Horseshoe Court (B)

One evening in late Autumn or early Winter, Keith’s partner at the time had come round for a chat. It was about 9pm she was about to leave and Anne was just showing her out. They stepped outside the front door a few paces. It was a really clear evening and due to the time of year the sun had fully set and the stars were visible.

Suddenly something large passed overhead. Keith’s partner asked “What the bloomin’ hell is that? Something just passed over!” They both looked up into the sky. Just south of their position was a round dark shape which was blocking out the stars as it moved. It was hard to tell the precise altitude but it appeared to be thousands of feet up and about twice the size of a jumbo jet. There were no lights or markings visible on it.

Witness drawing of the silhouetted object

They watched the object continue to travel slowly to the South on a straight course. Unfortunately neither of them had a camera with them, nor were there any in the house which Anne could have gone and grabbed. As it was after dark it is unlikely anything would have come out anyway.

After about 30 seconds a bright white orb of light appeared off to the East of their location, seemingly hovering over Belfast Lough. It was completely motionless and no other lights were visible. At this point Anne decided to contact Keith via phone and inform him about what was going on. He immediately ran down from Horseshoe Court to meet them.

A few minutes later he showed up. The black disc-shaped object was no longer visible due to the distance but the white light was still present over the Lough. A neighbour was putting out her bins and also noticed the orb. She approached them asking “Do you see that? What is that?”

View from Brookmill Way in the direction of Belfast Lough

The witnesses continued to watch the white orb for up to 30 minutes. Suddenly without warning it shot straight upwards at an incredible speed! It was only visible a couple of seconds before it had ascended to such a height that it could no longer be seen.

Because of what had happened back in 1979 both Anne and Keith had an interest in the UFO subject. The way the object departed reminded her of the glowing object in the infamous Jerusalem’s Mount videos that she had seen online. Unfortunately these videos were proven to be hoaxes, although Anne was not aware of this at the time. She remarked on the similarity to her son.

News report showing a short clip of one of the hoaxed Jerusalem’s Mount UFO videos:

They were all shocked at what had taken place. They headed back inside the house and sat and discussed the incident for a long period of time.

This is very much a sighting of two parts, which may or may not have been linked. The disc-shaped sillouette which was seen certainly does not sound like a normal aircraft. If it was then it is likely navigation lights would have been seen, and even if it was flying dark the shape would have been more defined. And just like the previous sighting location, 360 radar confirms that the area does not fall within any airways but is in controlled airspace:

However a large inflatable of some kind such as a hot air balloon or blimp cannot be ruled out, although as it moved away the shape would have probably become apparent, even if it looked like a disc as it passed overhead.

The white orb of light seen hovering over the Lough remained motionless for an extensive period of time, so was clearly not an aeroplane. Nor could it have been a distant helicopter or lit inflatable because of the extreme speed that it ascended after hovering motionless. Drones were commercially available in 2007, so there is the possibility that it was a drone, with the lights blurred into one due to the distance. This could conceivably have been suddenly flown straight upwards, giving the appearance of a larger object ascending extremely fast.

However, the light appeared to be hovering over Belfast Lough. If it was indeed in that location this means it was at least 4 miles away, and would have to have been significantly larger than a drone. That said, it is hard to accurately judge distance of aerial objects, especially after dark, so maybe it was smaller and closer than it appeared to be.

Winter 2013 – Light Flashes

By the winter of 2013 Anne's other son "Thomas" had moved to Mountainview Parade. One evening Anne had gone to visit him and his partner "Sandra". She and Thomas were in the living room, while Sandra put their children to bed.

Aerial map of Mountainview Parade

20 minutes later Sandra came back downstairs and asked them whether they had seen the flash of light. They informed her they had not seen anything. She went and sat over by the window. Approximately another 20 minutes went by when suddenly she exclaimed “There’s that flash again!” As Anne and Thomas were positioned further away from the window they again hadn’t noticed it.

A short while later Anne went outside for a cigarette. It was a very cold but clear night, with the stars fully visible. She looked up into the sky at the Orion constellation, which she knew very well. It was now that she noticed something unusual. There was what appeared to be an additional bright star off to the right of Orion’s Belt which she knew should not be there. She stared at it wondering what it could be. Suddenly there was a bright flash of light that seemed to come directly from this “star” and cover the entire sky like a camera flash!

This frightened her enough to run back inside the house. She told Thomas and Sandra what she had just witnessed. Intrigued by what was going on, Sandra accompanied her back outside. When Anne looked to the North she saw that the additional white point of light near Orion had now vanished. Suddenly another flash of light occurred, but this time it appeared to be from further to the East.

A moment later Thomas also came outside and they informed him another flash had just occurred. He checked on Twitter on his smartphone for information. He found that the local weatherman, Bara Best, had confirmed there was sheet lightning being seen in the area. However this explanation did not seem right to Anne, as the light had seemingly come from the defined point of light, and it was also a clear sky.

Belfast weatherman Barra Best

After watching the sky a while longer with no further activity, she decided it was time to get a taxi home. When she got into the cab the driver exclaimed “It’s a strange night isn’t it?” Anne replied “Yeah. Did you see the flashes?” The driver confirmed that he had. Anne continued “That wasn’t lightning, it came from a fixed point of light in the sky near the Orion constellation.” The driver agreed, confirming that he and others had stood outside the taxi depot watching it.

This is an interesting series of events. However despite the fact that it appeared to be a clear night, and that the initial flash Anne saw appeared to emanate from an unidentified star-like light, I feel that sheet lightning cannot be fully ruled out as the explanation, especially as it was officially confirmed by the weatherman. Sheet lightning is silent and can look quite dramatic, and there may have been some light cloud which was hard to spot due to the darkness.

Example of a sheet lightning storm:

Perhaps the unidentified white light was a satellite travelling towards/away from Anne giving the appearance of being stationary, or even a distant aircraft/helicopter. Obviously it is going to be hard to confirm this either way.


Anne has had several fascinating and varied sightings. While some of her experiences may potentially have mundane explanations, the sighting of the lit disc back in 1979 is very hard to explain. Its appearance was completely different to a normal aircraft, and the extreme speed that it left the area makes this a highly impressive, if distant, sighting.

As with many incidents on record, Anne’s other sightings may possibly be explainable, however they cannot be proven beyond doubt, and there are aspects of all of her experiences which may point towards something more unusual.

If you have any information which can shed further light on any of these events, please get in touch with me.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2022



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