Birmingham UFO Group Case Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 17/12/2019
In his twenties Rob would regulary go fishing with Mick on the pier at Helensburgh, 10 miles from Dumbarton. They would often stay up the whole night fishing for cod and then travel home in the morning.
On a Saturday evening in November 1988 they caught the train to Helensburgh with the intention of fishing till the following morning. They got there around 5pm. There were lots of other people around on the pier at that time but as the evening went on there were less and less around until it was just them standing in the darkness. They had warm clothes and a bottle of Whiskey to see them through the night. It was overcast with low lying cloud cover but quite still.
Behind them at the edge of the town Rob heard the familiar sound of taxis leaving the nearby taxi rank. This meant that the pubs had closed and it was about midnight. He then began to hear a regular ticking noise in the distance.
He moved his head around and worked out that the sound was coming from the direction of Rhu along the coastline to the North West. The noise began to get louder. Rob then realised what it was. He said to Mick “Do you know what that is? That’s a helicopter! It’s actually coming down the water’s edge.”
They then caught sight of it in the distance against the base of the cloud layer which was reflecting the lights of Helensburgh. They soon noticed that there were no navigation lights visible on it, it appeared to be flying dark. As it got closer they realised it was a military helicopter and that it was flying at full speed, with its nose dipped down towards the ground. Rob exclaimed “This thing’s coming directly towards us! If he doesn’t elevate soon he’s going to crash straight into this pier!”
As soon as he had said this it started to gain altitude. It was now only about a hundred feet away from them along the beach. As it got close to the pier both Rob and Mick looked up to watch it fly overehead. It was now that they noticed a disc-shaped object in the sky directly over them! It looked completely black silhouetted against the cloud. It appeared to be about 300 feet above them and about 12 feet in diameter.
The disc remained motionless for several seconds but then suddenly began moving away from them to the South West. As it began to head out across the estuary it picked up speed until it was going a little faster than the helicopter was flying at (Rob estimates about 50mph faster). They watched as the helicopter turned, clearly giving chase to the object. Both the disc and the helicopter flew off into the distance in the direction of Greenock.
After seeing the UFO both Rob and Mick became very un-easy and felt a little vulnerable in their current location. They decided to reel their fishing rods in and head into the town. However it was now 12.30am and all the trains and buses to Dumbarton had stopped running. At the Co-Op on Sinclair Street they found a loading bay for delivery trucks and decided to rest there for the remainder of the night until morning. This felt preferable to remaining on the pier, despite the fact that they had nothing to do to pass the time, which highlights how uncomfortable they were feeling with the situation.
In the morning when the trains finally began to run again they caught an early one back home.
Further along the coastline North West of Rhu is Gare Loch. The A814 runs along the Northern edge of the Loch. The road is usually very quiet as the only people who tend to use it are MOD staff on the way to Fastlane submarine base which is situated at the North West end of the Loch or residents of the sporadic properties in the area. A third of the way along the edge of the Loch is a gradually sloping hill which leads to Blairvadach stately home. This is used by the Council Office Planning Department.
Part of the grounds of the estate were used for camping, and Mick’s dad Jimmy owned a caravan there. When he wasn’t using it himself, Jimmy would let Mick, his brother Raymond and Rob stay in it overnight. They would regularly take a boat out from Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre, go out fishing on the loch in the day and then return to the caravan for the evening.
One weekend they were out fishing when it begin to spit with a light rain. They decided to call it a day before the rain got any heavier. They tied up the boat at the boating centre and walked across the road to the caravan field. On arrival they put some music on and sat down for a relaxing evening with a few drinks.
The main window end window of the van faced in a North Westerly direction with a view of part of the field including the six foot high hedge that separated it from the A814. There were also two smaller side windows. The curtains of the right side window were closed but the main window and left side window were uncovered.
It was between 11pm-midnight and very dark outside. However it was possible to see the road due to the occasional street lights along it and the lights from the nearby Outdoor Education Centre. Looking out of the main window, Raymond suddenly remarked “Look at this guy here!” He drew Rob’s attention to a figure in the distance on the opposite side of the hedge. The figure appeared to be slowly heading in their direction and on the path alongside the edge of the road. But something wasn’t right. The figure seemed to be much too tall. It was possible to see them down to their waistline. But the hedge itself was 6 foot high, and was also at an elevated height of several feet from the road, so this meant that the figure would have to be about 15 foot in height.
Rob’s immediate thought was that it must be someone hanging out of the top of a sunroof of a car which for one reason or another was travelling on the pavement instead of the road, and was out of sight behind the hedge. This was the only way he could rationalise what he was seeing. He looked down to the base of the hedge to see if there were any car lights visible but there was just darkness.
The figure got closer and closer, moving at a constant speed. They got to about 25 feet away from the caravan. It was now possible to see features. The figure was wearing a black outfit. Its face was grey coloured, almost sickly looking. Its eyes were dark, almost like they were sunken into the head. Rob realised in that instant that he recognised this figure. It was the same being that had touched him on the shoulder back in 1971!
He turned to Raymond and said “That’s the guy from Househillmuir Road!” He, Raymond and Mick stared out at the being as it continued along the path. There was no motion of movement in its upper body, it was as though it was drifting along at a constant speed rather than physically walking. Rob recalled that the being he had seen back in 1971 was about 5 feet in height. If this was indeed the same being then it must have been 10 feet off the ground to be able to see it as they were. This meant that it was either standing on something out of sight behind the hedge, or as Rob suspected was floating in mid-air.
The being continued moving along the path. It went out of sight from the main window of the caravan. Rob, Raymond and Mick continued to watch it though the left side window. It was now only about 10 feet away from the van. As it was in alignment with them its head turned very slowly until it was looking right at them. Rob says the way that it did this was so eerie. It did not stop but continued until it was out of sight.
The three witnesses began to discuss what they had just seen. Then without warning the caravan started to shake! There were loud thudding sounds like something was banging against it. With the thudding came a high pitched screaming sound which was horrifying to listen to. Rob, Raymond and Mick soon realised that the sounds and banging were coming from the right side of the van.
Raymond slowly walked towards the right side window and pulled back the curtain. They were all shocked at what they saw. There was the face of a sheep pushed up against the glass! The sheep was terrified and letting out the screaming sounds. The thuds were its legs bashing against the outside of the van. The window was at least four feet off the ground. Something was lifting the sheep up into the air and pressing it forcefully against the window.
Raymond backed away from the window in horror and the curtain fell back down. Immediately the banging and screaming sounds ceased. They never re-opened the curtain to see whether it was still there. All three witnesses were deeply un-nerved about what had just taken place. But Mick was especially affected by the series of events that had unfolded. He began briskly looking through all the cupboards of the caravan until he found some blue coloured rope. He then started to tie the latches of the door and all of the windows closed. By the time he had finished there was rope crossing the van like a spider web. He was clearly in a panicked state and wanted to make sure that the being did not come into the van. When he had finally finished and was happy everything was locked down he went and sat underneath the table.
All three of them stayed awake all night. They were so frightened about what had happened that none of them got any sleep. They spent most of it discussing what had taken place. Around 6am when the morning light started to appear they discussed what to do. They were still nervous about going outside but decided it was time to get out of there. They untied the rope from the caravan door and all left together. There was no sign of the sheep outside. Usually they would catch a bus back to Helensburgh but it was too early for that. So they walked back to the town and caught a train home from there.
There are many unusual and un-nerving aspects to what happened here. Why could the Grey be seen over the hedge? Was it really floating in the air? I have investigated other cases where Greys have been seen to float so this is not out of the question. It seems extremely likely that it was either there specifically for Rob, or perhaps for Mick and Raymond too. But if so why did it float along the path past the caravan instead of coming towards it (or even appearing inside it directly)? It clearly sensed they were looking at it as it turned to look back at them. Why would it travel along the path then vanish from sight and never re-appear? There is no suggestion that the witnesses were abducted. Maybe this was the original intention but due to the reactions of the witnesses this was called off, we will never know for sure.
What happened with the sheep is truly horrifying. Why was it being lifted up into the air and pushed against the window? Was there some kind of energy doing this? Perhaps there was a craft over the van or in the vicinity and what was happening to the sheep was un-intentional. Perhaps the being was doing this using its mind or even physically picking it up. But if so why? To frighten the witnesses? If so, to what end? Why did this stop as soon as Raymond had put the curtain back down? Was this merely coincidence or something more? And what happened to the sheep? It clearly didn’t die as it was not lying on the grass outside of the van in the morning. Could it have been abducted aboard a craft and this is why the noises and banging instantly stopped? Or had it merely been dropped and then it ran off back to its own field? These are just some of the unanswered questions surrounding this fascinating yet disturbing incident.
Robs older brother James sadly passed away in early February 1992. After he died Rob felt it was his duty to keep in touch with people who had known him throughout his life. One of his brother’s friends was named Peter. On an evening in late February Rob went round to visit him at his house on Flanders Street, Clydebank.
When Rob arrived Peter was busy feeding his many pets. After he had finished they decided to take his pet Doberman out for a walk. At the end of Flanders Street is a small park. Beyond this is some open grassland. Peter’s dog would enjoy playing on this, so Rob and Peter made their way to the edge of it.
The sun had already set but there was a perfectly clear star-filled sky overhead. It was still and not particularly cold. Rob and Peter stood at the top of the hill and let the dog loose to run onto the grassland. The only artificial light was a slight orange glow coming from Faifley Road behind them. In the direction they were facing there were just rural farmers’ fields.
As they looked up at the stars the men suddenly noticed something up in the sky off ahead and to the left of them. There was a patch of stars which were clearly being blocked out by something solid. This patch seemed to grow and grow as it approached until it was right overhead. Rob knew exactly what it was – there was another disc directly above them! It had descended which is why it appeared had appeared to grow in size. It appeared to only be about 20 feet above them, just above the tree line. Looking up at the object they could make out no lines or markings, it was just a silhouette. They were only able to see three quarters of the object, it had descended so low that the furthest edge was obscured from view by foliage. Rob estimates it was about 25-30 feet in diameter.
Without warning many very intense beams of white light suddenly appeared all around the rim radiating outward. As they shone they slowly rotated in an anti-clockwise direction and moved up and down in a fan-like motion. The beams lit up everything in the surroundings – the trees, insects flying in the air, even the buildings on the corner of Auchnacraig Road.
Rob could barely believe what was happening. He turned to Peter and exclaimed “We are either blessed or cursed here!” The beams shone for about 30 seconds before all going out at once. Then the disc began moving away to the North East East in the direction of Milngaive. It travelled quite slowly, Rob estimates about 20-25 mph. As it moved away into the distance they were able to see a bit more of the object’s shape. It was flat on the base but gradually domed on top. The men watched it until it was out of sight. Unfortunately neither of them had a camera on them and back in the early 90s camera-enabled smartphones did not exist.
Peter was quite un-nerved by what took place. After the incident he did not get back in touch with Rob, and seemed to be avoiding him on purpose. Rob has not kept in touch with him and so I am unable to speak with him about what he recollects.
Distant UFO Sighting
In the 90s Rob used to go out fishing on Loch Fyne with various friends. On one occasion he went there with his friend Gordon, Tony and Tony’s wife Tina. He had told his friends about his previous experiences. Gordon and Tina were quite open minded but Tony was very sceptical.
It was late afternoon and the sun was starting to set. They decided to end their fishing excursion and return to the camp where they would be staying for the night. They lit a bonfire and then sat around it chatting.
On the far side of the loch about a mile away is a road. From their camping location they would often see headlights of passing cars after dark which would appear and then disappear as the vehicles moved behind the trees and hills.
It was now fully dark. Tony spotted a bright white light above the road and trees. He pointed it out asking “Is that a helicopter?” The light was quite dazzling to look directly at. It sat stationary above the trees. To the right hand side of it there was a reddish glow. The main beam of light was really intense. There were no visible navigation lights which would usually be seen on a distant helicopter. Also th