Birmingham UFO Group Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 07/01/2015
Note: For reasons of anonymity pseudonyms have been used for most witnesses
Brian first got in touch with me in July 2014. In his initial E-Mail he shared with me details of several incredible sounding UFO related incidents. Over the following months I discussed these and other incidents with him in detail. It became clear that Brian has not only had numerous close encounters with UFOs and beings throughout his life, but may also be a contactee. In late 2014 and early 2015 I was able to speak with other family members via both phone and E-Mail who have provided their own testimonies of these events.
Invisible UFO Landing
Back when Brian was 18 he and his younger brother Peter were in the Royal Marines. Brian had provided me with a great amount of information about his military service, however it has been omitted on request for confidentiality reasons.
It was 4th January 1959 and Brian and Peter’s two week period of leave happened to overlap by a week (Peter’s leave commencing one week prior to Brian’s). Brian’s younger brother Steve travelled to Portsmouth by motorbike to take Peter back to his barracks. Brian took Peter’s railway warrant and travelled to Southsea Railway Station to meet with both of his brothers. It was his intention to say goodbye to Peter before returning home with Steve.
Brian arrived at the station but found that his brothers were not there. It was quite a while before Steve finally turned up alone on the bike. He informed Brian that the bike had incurred a front tyre puncture. Unfortunately because of the delay to the journey Peter had continued on his way to the barracks as it was already very late, so Brian never got to say goodbye to him.
By the time Steve and Brian set off for home it was past midnight. They left Portsmouth riding along the A3. It was a bitter cold night and Brian clung to the back of Steve to shield himself from the blast of freezing cold air. At the time he was only wearing a lightweight summer jacket because other than his uniform he possessed few civilian clothes. He sat in silence thinking about his own return to his barracks due to take place a week later. Steve would not have been able to hear him anyway because of the speed they were going.
The whole route was clear of other road traffic. Eventually they rode around the perimeter of “The Devil’s Punchbowl”. This is a rounded valley on the outskirts of Hindhead. The old A3 used to circle one side of it, but has since been replaced with a tunnel.
As they began to drive around the edge of the “Devil’s Punchbowl”, a valley on the outskirts of Hindhead, Steve brought the bike to a halt on the grass verge. Brian asked him “Problem?” his brother responded saying that “it was a good place to take a breather and spend a penny!” They stood there overlooking the deep bowl-shaped valley stretching away below them. It was a welcome respite from the cold of travelling on the motorbike.
Modern photograph of the Devil’s Punchbowl:
It was at this time that they noticed a strange sound emanating from down in the Punchbowl itself. It was almost musical to the ears. The sound rose and fell in a strange manner and was like nothing they had heard before. It sounded a bit like the sonar of a submarine, but at the same time very different. Both puzzled and curious as to where the sound was coming from they decided to make their way down into the Punchbowl to discover the source of the mysterious noise.
There was an initial steep slope of about 30 feet that they had to descend sitting down. Then with Steve leading the way they were able to continue down the barely discernible track. They headed quite far away from the road, all the time the sound becoming louder and louder. As they drew closer to it they both developed a growing sense of unease.
Modern aerial map of the Devil’s Punchbowl indicating the approximate location where the witnesses descended the slope. This stretch of the A3 now passes through a tunnel, but the old road is still visible:
Abruptly Steve stopped. He turned to Brian and said that he had a bad feeling and that they should turn back. Looking back up the slope they found that they were now uncomfortably far from the road. In hushed tones Brian agreed with his brother.
At that exact moment even before they had turned around the sound abruptly stopped and there came a sudden momentary silence. This was replaced with another sound almost like “displaced air”. This new sound rose vertically into the air very close to where they stood. They both instinctively dropped to the ground in an effort to see whatever it was silhouetted against the backdrop of stars. But there was nothing, even though they were able to follow the path of travel by the sound it was emitting. It seemed to travel away to their right before swooping back around and heading towards them.
Then without warning there was a deafening crash as whatever it was struck the ground. It was so loud that Brian was sure it must have been heard in the surrounding area, perhaps even 11 miles away in Guildford. This loud noise was followed by the sound of scrub being flattened as it slid along and then finally came to a stop possibly 20-30 feet in front of their location. They stood staring at the bushes from where the sound had come. The volume of the noise indicated that whatever it was, visible or not, was very large.
Almost immediately Brian’s attention was drawn to something approaching them from the direction the sound had emanated from. At first it was just movement of the vegetation in front of them. But then it emerged into clear sight. A towering figure between 8-12 feet in height. It appeared to be floating about two feet off the ground. The body seemed composed of a black material with lengthwise concertina-like folds in it similar to a skirt. The head was encased in an elongated glass-like helmet and around where the eyes should be there was a single round green coloured light, similar to a large LED. No other facial features were visible through the visor.
The figure glided towards them until it was only a few feet in front of them. As it approached Brian noticed a sickly odour coming from it. His mind struggled to comprehend what was happening. He was paralysed with fear and adrenalin. He stood there transfixed, unable to move. Then a second figure, identical to the first, approached from the same direction and stood to the left of the first one. Brian was overwhelmed with sheer terror. A particular thought came to him “Those in government would not believe what is happening to me right now, they are fast asleep in their beds and not here with me, seeing what I am seeing!” Brain also recalls smelling a sickly odour which he assumed was coming from the beings.
His next thought was that he wanted to look at another human being. In slow motion he managed to turn his head to the left. However he was well aware that Steve was not on his left but on his right. Brian has no idea why he turned his head to the left initially. Utilising all his concentration he slowly managed to turn his head back to the right. He was now shocked to discover that his brother was no longer there next to him.
The shock of this realisation seemed to spur him into action. He turned and ran, not daring to look behind him. He felt if he did look back he would not escape. The next moments were terrifying as he kept on feeling that he was going to be suddenly grabbed from behind. He had no sense of direction; he just wanted to get away as fast as possible. As he ran he heard high pitched screaming noises. These seemed to be away from him, but he cannot be certain that they were not coming from him. All he remembers was panicking and running.
He somehow managed to find his way back to the base of the steep slope where they had descended into the Punchbowl. There ahead of him scrambling up the slope was his brother. In later years Steve informed him that he had ran away and reached the higher ridge. He had looked back expecting to see his brother there with him, but instead was horrified to see him standing still with the two strange beings in front of him. By the time he had scaled the incline Brian had somehow managed to catch him up.
The brothers clambered up the steep incline, their feet continuously slipping as they climbed. Eventually they reached the summit. Steve jumped onto his motorbike and started the engine. Brian leapt on the back, and they rode away from the location at great haste. Even as they headed away Brian expected to be seized off the bike by the strange beings he had witnessed.
Eleven miles on as they reached the edge of Guildford, Steve finally pulled over and stopped the bike. Alongside the road was a long and tall ash fence. They stepped off the bike and leant against this fence, both extremely shocked at what had taken place. All Brian recalls thinking was “What in God’s name was it?” as he squatted down next to the fence. This is his last memory of what took place. Thinking back to the incident he cannot remember arriving home, or even the rest of his remaining leave, his return to the barracks and the intense training which followed.
Brian has never fully forgiven his brother for deserting him down in the punchbowl. For three years after the incident he had no contact with him at all. However one day in 1963 he learnt that Steve was in an isolation hospital at Feltham where he lived and that he was in a “serious condition”. He had caught Hepatitis C and had almost died. When Brian went to visit him he was shocked by the state of his brother, and this greatly reduced his anger towards him.
Years later Steve explained to Brian that he had thought he had been alongside him when he ran away. It was only on reaching higher ground that he turned to look back and realised he was not with him. His only thought at the time was to escape and to report what had happened. However this was not all Brian learnt from his brother. While talking about what had taken place Steve stated “It was those small creatures with red eyes that had almost formed a circle around you. I never thought I would see you again!” Brian assumes that the reason he did not see these other shorter beings at the time was because they were behind him and he was transfixed staring at the two tall beings in front of him. However when he turned and ran he still did not see them, so perhaps they chose to keep themselves hidden from him at that time.
Sadly I am unable to speak to Steve regarding this incident due to poor health. This means that for this experience at least we only have Brian’s testimony to go on. However he has been very forthcoming in answering my questions regarding the incident, and I have no reason to suspect him of fabricating it. Regarding the authenticity of the story, Brian says the following:
“Whether you believe my true narrative or otherwise, I leave with you. I can but sincerely express that it happened as I have recorded it. As a reluctant ufologist I have written of this 'alien encounter' quite some time ago. I wrote it out of sincere interest and possibly in the hope of eliciting a similar experience from others who maybe experienced an extra-terrestrial identical to the horrors my brother and I saw. They were definitely not Greys.”
Brian has returned to the location where the incident took place numerous times since. On one of these occasions in 1970 he went to the location with his brother Raymond. He took with him a tape recorder just in case he had another encounter with the invisible UFO he had heard 11 years before. They parked the car at a car park half a mile further along the A3. Intially Brian suggested that they go for a walk around the area on the other side of the road, where a lone memorial known as the “Sailors Stone” is situated.
Recent photograph of Brian’s son Andrew next to the Sailors Stone. The old A3 can be seen in the background. The slope at the far left is where Brian and Steve descended the slope:
While standing by the stone, they suddenly heard the same eerie sound that had been heard back in 1959! It seemed to pass over their heads at about 20 feet above them. Brian dropped to his knees in shock. He had his shotgun with him inside a case in several separate components, and with trembling hands he began to connect it to use in self defence. Upon hearing the sound Raymond exclaimed “Brian I have never doubted your story, but hearing that sound for myself, well it is certainly not of this world!”
Unfortunately as the tape recorder had been left back in the car Brian suggested that they return, have a coffee to steady their nerves and then head back to the Punch Bowl with the tape recorder to attempt to capture the sound. Raymond agreed, so they made their way back to the car.
They arrived at the car park. Brian put the shotgun in the boot of the car and then and they then sat in the car to drink their coffee. A minute later bright lights lit up the car from behind. Then a police officer knocked on the window. Brian wound down the window. The police officer asked “What are you doing here?” Brian was a little irritated by the policeman’s suspicion and told him it was a free country and to go away. The policeman asked them to pop the boot of the car.
Unfortunately he then discovered the shotgun. Despite Brian’s insistence that it was for rabbit hunting, this did not go down too well. The officer called a second police car and they were both handcuffed and taken to Godalming Police Station! Brian did not tell the police what they had really been doing at the location as he was sure they would not believe him anyway. They were released the following morning without charge.
Aerial map showing the Devil’s Punchbowl (A) and Godalming (B):
Could the fact that Brian and Raymond heard the noise again mean that the same invisible object as before was back there? If so does this mean that it is present in the area on a permanent/semi-permanent basis? Or had it returned there on purpose at that time as it was aware Brian was in the area? An alternative possibility is that the noise was unrelated to the rest of the 1959 incident and was caused by air currents passing through the Punchbowl in a certain manner.
Unfortunately Brian does not have Raymond’s direct number as he is quite a private individual. However when he is next contacted by him he says he will pass on my details. If I manage to speak with Raymond about the 1970 incident further details will be added to this section of the report as necessary.
Brian’s son Andrew has confirmed to me that his father has informed him this and other incidents, and discussed them with him from about 5 years old. He says he has accepted these events really took place both while growing up and as an adult. He has a keen interest in UFOs and the paranormal, which he says is more than likely because of what his father has told him over the years.