Philip Mantle Interview
Philip Mantle is one of the UK’s most well known and experienced UFO researchers. On 24th April, BUFOG investigator Dave Hodrien interviewed Phil on his research work and beliefs.
How did you first get interested in the subject of UFOs?
I was always interested in the paranormal as far back as I can remember. I used to do talks at school about ghosts and visit the local spiritualist church. In the late 1970’s I read a book, the title of which I cannot remember and was intrigued. A friend and I were in Warminster and we’d heard that UFOs had been seen there on Cradle Hill, so we went and took a look for ourselves and we saw some strange lights. I wrote a few letters to various places asking a few questions thinking I’d get all the answers I needed, but here I am 30 years later still looking for a lot of those answers.
Have you ever seen a UFO / had a contact experience, and if so what are the details of this, and did it increase your interest in the subject?
The only thing that I have seen that I could not identify were two large bright lights over a suburb of Leeds on July 23rd l984 just before 10.00 pm. I was driving home from work when I saw them. Fortunately a lot of others across the north of England that night saw the same thing. Despite a lengthy and intensive investigation we were never able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for these lights.
When and how did you decide to start looking into the subject?
Just after I saw the lights in Warminster I saw a small advertisement in the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper. It announced a meeting in Leeds about UFOs. I went along out of curiosity. The meeting was organised by Graham & Mark Birdsall who had recently formed the Yorkshire UFO Society. I was hooked. WE had monthly meetings and I just took everything in and soaked it up like a sponge. Slowly but surely I became more interested and more involved.
How did you initially become recognised as a UFO researcher/investigator?
I just wanted to find out what the hell was going on. I wasn’t interested in letting other people tell me what they thought. The only way to get the answers I was looking for was to try and investigate the subject myself. I was fortunate as the Yorkshire Dales in the late 70’s and through the 1980’s had a lot of UFO sightings so it was easy to get involved.
When did you become affiliated with UFO Magazine, and how did this come about?
Before it was UFO magazine it was Quest Magazine and before it was Quest Magazine it was the YUFOS JOURNAL. In the early days the YUFOS Journal and Quest Magazine were hand printed at Mark Birdsall’s flat on the 7th floor of a tower block. Graham Birdsall was the editor. So I was involved right from its initial inception as the YUFOS JOURNAL which eventually evolved into UFO MAGAZINE.
How many years have you been researching UFOs for?
Too many (laughs). No really, it’s now been 30 years. Boy that makes me sound really old.
Do you know roughly how many incidents you have looked into?
Not got a clue. There have been a lot I can assure you. I simply could not hazard a guess. Sorry.
What is the most impressive case/sighting you have personally looked into?
In the early 1980’s me and Mark Birdsall investigated the landing of a UFO at Normanton in West Yorkshire. It was in broad daylight and involved one adult and several children. They saw a UFO land in nearby field and went to look at it. Out side of it were 3 tall humanoid beings. They walked to the back of this object, which was silver and shaped like a ‘Mexican hat’ and it took off without making a noise. There is a lot more to this case but it really made an impression on me.
How often do you get recognised by the general public while out and about?
I can think of only 3 occasions when this has happened over the 30 years. It is a very uncomfortable experience for me. I’d have no problem being rich but would never want to be famous and recognized in public.
How does it feel to be one of the most recognised faces of ufology in the UK?
I’d never thought of that at all. I take it as a compliment and count my blessings that I’ve been lucky to be involved in so many different things.
Have you ever had any warnings or threats from any individuals about the information you are releasing?
What is your favourite aspect of your research work?
When I’ve received a thank you from a witness for taking the time to listen to them without passing judgment.
What has been your best experience working as a UFO researcher?