Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Birmingham UFO Group Case Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 03/09/2009
I have been interested in UFOs for over 20 years now, and have been investigating sightings for a year and a half. I have heard of many fascinating encounters with UFOs and alien beings from the very people that have experienced them. However in all this time I have never seen anything I could truly say was unusual and unidentified. That was all to change for me on the evening of Saturday 29th August 2009, where I would at long last have a firsthand sighting of a UFO. And of all the places I would have this first sighting, it would be during a sky watch on Cradle Hill in Warminster, one of the UK’s biggest UFO hot spots!
The Sky Watch
The UFO sky watch was arranged as part of the Weird 09 Paranormal Conference, which took place on 29th-30th August 2009 in the Athenaeum Theatre, Warminster. It was organised to kick off several hours after the first day of lectures had ended, and the designated location was Cradle Hill just to the North of the town. This has been a popular location for UFO sky watches since the late 1970s when the famous Warminster UFO flap took place.
At 8 o’clock in the evening at least forty people left the town and drove up Cradle Hill to the area where the white gates used to be. This area gives a great view of the sky in all directions, and is the traditional meet up location on the hill. The area is right next to MoD-owned land, and the organisers of the sky watch had informed them that we would be up there. The road heading uphill from where the white gates stood until recent years leads to the copse, a small wooded area where a lot of unusual activity and sightings have been recorded.
Aerial view of Cradle Hill (A = “The white gates”, B = The copse, C= Gate at edge of MoD-owned land):
Sky Watch Photographs
People starting to gather at the white gates area:
Myself with BUFOG members Larry & Diane Potter:
View to the NNE from the white gates area:
The road leading to the copse. Note the orbs over the road, more than likely caused by the quickly dropping light conditions:
Barn in the copse:
UFO graffiti on copse barn:
View through the copse trees:
Light Flashes Incident
It was approximately 11pm and the cloud had mostly cleared from the sky giving a fantastic view of the stars above. Earlier I had been up at the copse but had now returned to the area of the white gates. There were at least twenty other people remaining, although some had decided to head back down to Warminster town by this point.
Suddenly to the North North East in the distance we started to notice what looked like bright blue/white flashes of light which seemed to light up the sky and reflect off the bottom of what cloud there was. There was some low lying hills in the distance and the flashes seemed to be coming from beyond these. I would usually assume such activity to be a distant thunder storm. There was no sound whatsoever, but sheet lightning is known to be silent. However, the weather was very clear and dry, so this seems very unlikely.
Aerial view of Cradle Hill showing position of witnesses and direction flashes were sighted in:
The flashes continued irregularly for about 10-15 minutes, sometimes within a second of each other, other times longer. As we watched, the flashes seemed to get brighter and more prominent. It did not look like a flood light flickering on and off. If it was a distant firework display over the brow of the far hill, surely the flashes would have been different colours? Also it is unlikely anyone would have a fireworks display at 11pm at night, so therefore I believe this is not an adequate explanation. The flashes of light were probably caused by something mundane, but were still interesting and certainly caught everyone’s attention.
On 2nd September I was informed that there had been a rave party at the nearby Quebec Farm. However this farm lies directly to the East of Warminster, the flashes of light were clearly seen to the North North East so this cannot of been the cause.
Map showing location of Quebec Farm:
UFO Sighting Details
At approximately 11.30pm, most of the remaining people on Cradle Hill were situated at the white gates area. The weather was very clear with only a light breeze, and there was a full star-filled sky above our heads. The moon was visible to the South West. All of a sudden someone remarked that an RAF jet was approaching. I looked round and saw a white light to the South heading in a North North East direction. There was a dark shape behind the light but it was too hard to see clearly against the night sky.
As the object got closer to our position, all of a sudden the white light flared up extremely brightly, and then immediately died back down. I could then make out a dark green-blue coloured light on the object. It was completely unlike the normal bright green navigation light seen on aircraft. Others actually described this light as being blue, but I clearly saw it as a mix of green and blue. Several seconds later the white light flared back up again completely obscuring the green-blue light. It continued in this fashion for the remainder of the sighting. (Note: In the below drawings I have not drawn the actual object behind the lights as it was too dark to clearly see its shape)
Drawing of how the initial white light appeared:
Drawing of how the flared white light appeared:
Drawing of how the green-blue light appeared:
The object was moving quite fast, I would say at least a few hundred mph. I estimate it was about 1000 feet high but this was quite hard to judge. It certainly looked faster than a normal plane would appear at that height; it was more like the speed of a military jet. However for the duration of the sighting the object was completely silent. We had heard other passenger aircraft throughout the evening at a much greater distance than this object appeared to be.
The object flew within a mile of our position at a constant speed. As it got to roughly East of us, it appeared to start to slow down. A number of people shouted out that it was doing this. However, I believe it was not slowing down but was merely changing its direction in a gradual curve. It did this until it looked as if it was stationary but was actually heading away from our position to the North East East. We continued to watch the object for several minutes. Even once the green-blue coloured light was no longer visible due to the distance we could still make out the bright white flaring light for roughly a minute longer.
Map showing estimated path of the object:
When I saw the object I assumed that I was mistaking a jet of some kind for something more unusual, although I found it very odd that I could not hear any sound coming from it. However when I asked everyone else present (including a number of other experienced researchers) what they made of it, everyone was as mystified as I was.
My friend Ian from Fareham UFO Research Group attempted to record the object. Sadly the only thing that can be made out is the lights from the nearby MoD facility. However you can hear me briefly discussing it with him as it is approaching our position. Watch the footage on Youtube at the following address:
UFO Sighting Analysis
It seems very unlikely that the object was a normal aircraft or helicopter, either military or non-military. The colour of the green-blue light was different to any normal navigation lights seen on aircraft. Also the white flaring light was something I had never seen before. The fact that we could hear aircraft at a much greater distance both before and after the sighting proves that the object was either silent or emitting a sound too quiet to hear.
Below is a list of the various lights usually installed on aircraft (found online), and how the object we saw differed:
Steady navigation light at the end of each wingtip, one red, one green - There was certainly no red seen at any point and the green light was not typical bright green but a darker green-blue colour.
Steady white navigation lights at various positions on wings – Initially the object appeared to have one white steady light on it, but as the object approached this light appeared to begin flaring up in intensity which navigation lights would certainly not do.
Two anti-collision beacon lights coloured red and orange which rotate to produce a flashing effect - No red or orange lights seen at any point.
Bright white strobe lights that flash on each wingtip, smaller aircraft have one pair, larger have two – There appeared to be only one white light which flared and then dimmed in intensity, rather than instantly strobed on and off.
Bright white taxi light at the nose of most aircraft to aid in motion while on the ground - If this light were being switched on and off as a joke it would have to have been done constantly until the object was completely out of sight. This seems very unlikely to me. I am not aware if this light would flare up and down in intensity rather than just immediately switch on or off.
Bright white landing lights and runway turnoff lights - The object certainly wasn't coming in to land as it flew right away into the horizon without changing altitude. Once switched on these lights would remain on not change in intensity.
So if the object wasn’t a normal aircraft, what else could it have been? It possibly could have been a hoax created by someone who knew the sky watch was taking place. However if it was a remote controlled object, it was certainly flying very fast, and surely the engine used to power this would have made a loud noise. Also the object flew completely into the distance so there would have needed to be a very long range on the remote control.
Possibly it was some sort of secret military aircraft or remote drone. Cradle Hill is right next to army owned land. However it seems unlikely that they would fly it right over the town of Warminster, and then display this to a group of people who would then go and talk about it to everyone.
The object was certainly within the atmosphere rather than out in space. The regular flaring light, constant speed and changing of direction means it cannot have had a natural explanation such as a meteorite or earth lights.
Therefore currently the object cannot be identified and is a valid UFO sighting. If anyone has any information about what this object was or recognises the light colours and patterns seen please contact me via E-Mail or phone.
Mysterious Yellow Light Incident
At roughly midnight there were about ten people remaining on Cradle Hill. We were scanning the skies and watching several satellites on their paths. I was facing towards the West and chatting with my friends Zoe & Ian from Fareham UFO Research Group. Suddenly someone in a group to our left shouted “Look at that!” I quickly turned round and saw what looked like a long thin glowing yellow area of light that swept across the light cloud to the East. It only lasted a split-second before vanishing. People that had seen the whole thing said it moved to the left and then quickly back to the right. We were mystified as to what had caused the light.
A couple of minutes went by and suddenly it returned as a stationary light. It then moved a short distance to the left before vanishing again. Soon afterwards it reappeared and remained for a while. It was now that we realised what the light was – it was a search light coming up from the nearby MoD facility. We assumed that the people manning the facility had put the light on for a laugh as they were aware the sky watch was taking place. There seems to be no other reason why they would have done this so late at night.
Soon afterwards myself, Zoe and Ian decided to call it a night and left Cradle Hill.
Other Witness Statements
When a number of witnesses all experience something unusual, their accounts on what occurred may differ from each other slightly, as you will see with the following statements by some of the other people present on the sky watch. In reviewing all of the accounts together it is possible to come up with a clear picture of what actually occurred.
Statement by sky watcher Tom Jenkins:
“I became aware of a dimly lit sky in the distance. It was five or so minutes of self-speculation before I decided I was actually witnessing the sky lighting up over a bushy horizon opposite where we had first entered the viewing area. I tried to draw my friends’ attention to the sky. This proved difficult at first, every time they glanced up the sky would lay dormant, the moment they re-engaged in conversation facing me, a flash of light blue would emanate from the close horizon, beaconing out in a fan shape, tingeing the bottom of the clouds. The flashes continued to persist becoming brighter, more wide spread and more frequent, eventually gaining the attention of every sky-watcher up Cradle-Hill. Other than the debating of what the flashes could be the Hill remained very silent, there were no thunderous roars following each flash. The flashes continued for another fifteen or so minutes, becoming dimmer until they inevitably ceased.
The second anomaly of the night entered the scene disguising itself as a ball of linear moving light. “If you look over there you’ll see an RAF jet just coming in”. I’m not sure who boasted that but it aroused our attentions and I had no reason to believe it was anything other than an RAF jet, the fact it made no sound wasn’t a prominent factor in my process off elimination at that time. So, now ‘knowing’ the white light or perfect roundness was an RAF jet, many sky-watchers armed with 150 watt Magi-lites took to blinding the pilot with a series of unpolished Morse code. When the aggravated, decelerating RAF pilot turned off his white sphere of luminosity, apparently completely disappearing from our sights, a kind of higher panic set in immediately. The light reappeared, at first white and spherical as it had previously being but then turning an intensely vivid blue before again vanishing and reappearing to perform the act again. The whole time it continued to follow its linear path from right to left, whilst decelerating and eventually coming to a complete halt above the Ministry building. The light continued to pulsate, on and off, white and blue, whilst remaining completely stationary, neither increasing or decreasing in size or altering shape. At this point I was prompted to get out my video camera by a desperate cry from my friend along the lines of “Is anyone even recording this?”
Despite my best efforts to record the light which was now dimmer, and remaining visible for less frequent periods of time, nothing showed up on the recording (I put this down to poor equipment, rather than a bizarre inability to capture on film).”
Statement by Zoe & Ian from Fareham UFO Research Group:
“The first flashing lights most definitely had a more earthly explanation, from weather to a man-made light source coming from the distance town. The other beams of lights darting across the sky was in our opinion the MoD playing some sort of trick as the area it was coming from was their training land.
The moving light we all saw is more "unexplained". We do not think it’s a plane, commercial or military, as it just did not match up to how planes would normally been seen as at night. The lack of an engine noise, and the fact that there was a plane seen at one point definitely rules this out, as you could clearly make out the alternating lights on the probably commercial jet. The lights on this object seemed as they were pulsating from a bright white to a greenish-blue hue. A remote control device is unlikely as the object was too high up. The only other earthly explanation is that was it some sort of drone prototype. But again that’s unlikely as the MoD would not test their gear in plain view of us. Maybe that was a joke on their part as well? Whatever we saw had an air of "this is unexplained" about it - at least at the moment.”
Statement by Malcolm Robinson from Scottish Paranormal Investigations:
“I saw those flashes in the clouds and for me it was sheet lightning some miles away. Yes there was no thunder and no rain, but nothing sinister for me (But I could be wrong).
For me the light was too fast for a local or national aircraft, if it was a jet I would have expected to hear the sound but didn't. The light seemed bluey-green and seemed to pulse and eventually disappeared into a cloud. UFO or plane? I really don't know. The only way I could know is to do a proper investigation what aircraft were in the vicinity etc.”
Statement by Brian McMullan from the UFO-themed band CEIV:
“We caught the blue UFO, small but we have it on tape. On film it is moving from right to left and appears four times, first two being the brightest. I would say it's a 'true UFO' no sound etc.
The flashes of light I cant say what they were, but certainly not sheet lightning or explosives (army) in distance, again no noise. A farmer was driving a tractor in a field, uphill to the left of the flashes, which we noted when we were near the barn on Cradle Hill later on, who knows! Headlights hitting cloud as tractor bumped along uphill? Didn't come out on film as we viewed them but we have a strange flash to bottom left of film, like a flash from a camera but it's coming towards us. Anyone flashing to the sky would obviously be pointing to the sky area away from us. While filming there was no one in front of us."
I was astounded that on the organised Weird 09 sky watch we had actually seen some unusual and unexplained things. I had expected to only see satellites and the occasional “shooting star”. The flashes of light at 11pm were interesting, but the main sighting of the night was definitely the object with unusual lights on. After so many years of searching it looks like I may well have finally experienced something that will remain unexplained. I will certainly not hesitate to return to Cradle Hill in the future, who knows what further sightings may lie ahead?
This report will soon be updated with further witness statements and possibly photographs/video footage of the object seen.
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2009