Summer 1978/79 - Stratford-Upon-Avon - White UFO Sighting

Updated: Oct 26

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report Author: Dave Hodrien

Release Date: 26/10/2022

In October 2022 I received details of a historic case from the witness involved, Susan Millard, via the BUFOG website sighting form. She was prompted to get in touch because of the similarities in manoeuvring capabilities of the object she saw with those from another recent case report I’d uploaded. I gave her a ring to go over the incident in depth.

Sighting Details

Susan believes the sighting occurred in early summer of either 1978 or 1979 when she was 35/36 years old. She had gone out to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the day with her family. It was very warm, clear and sunny, with only light cloud in the sky. Near to the main town there is a path which runs alongside the River Avon. They were sitting in deckchairs near to this path nearly opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the far side of the river. As it was a nice day there were many other people around.

Aerial map of the River Avon indicating the estimated position the family were sitting

Lying back in her deck chair Susan had a good view of the sky overhead. Suddenly a small white shape came into her vision from the left. She was wearing sunglasses and initially assumed it was a light reflection in them. However when she took them off she saw that there was a round object at high altitude at about 80 degrees elevation. It was either white in colour or reflecting the sunlight. What made it particularly interesting was the speed it was moving at. It appeared to be very high up, yet was moving much too rapidly for an aeroplane.

Photograph of the path alongside the River Avon

Within several seconds it had travelled quite a distance across the sky and was directly in front of her, almost overhead. It now suddenly came to an abrupt halt. It remained there for about 4 seconds. Then it seemed to briefly reverse, heading back to the North for a short distance.

Again it halted, then started heading in the direction it had initially been travelling. As it continued across the sky it reached a small cloud. It went behind this cloud and was lost from sight for several seconds, but then emerged from the other side.

At this point it suddenly began performing looping manoeuvres, moving around, into and out of the cloud. These movements were quite rapid and certainly seemed to be intelligent in nature. It was like it was almost dancing around it.

Witness drawing of the UFO and its movement patterns

Susan could barely believe what she was looking at. She turned to her family, pointed the object out and asked “Do you see that up there?” But none of them seemed to be able to see it. When she looked back at the sky herself the object seemed to have vanished without trace. It is possible that it had disappeared the exact moment she drew their attention to it. She continued to watch the sky for a short while afterwards but the object did not reappear.

Sighting Analysis

Obviously in this case the most interesting thing about the object was the way it was moving rather than its appearance. According to the witness it was quite distant, so therefore there is no real way of saying what shape or size it was, or even whether it was actually white in colour or reflective.

However it could not have been a distant aeroplane due to the fact that it stopped moving at various times and even reversed its direction without turning in an arc. Nor could it have been a helicopter as it moved much too rapidly for this. There would also have been no real reason for a helicopter to have performed the manoeuvres observed. This sighting took place in the 1970’s, decades before drones were commercially available.

It was clearly moving too rapidly for a drifting inflatable. While balloons can get caught in air currents and buffeted around by the wind, from the witness’s description I feel this explanation can be discounted.

I asked Susan if she felt it could have been a bird swooping around in the sky. She informed me that this was very unlikely indeed. She said that it seemed to be at too high altitude for a bird, and also the movements it performed were clearly controlled, and not at all like the random swooping turns of a bird.

It is unlikely we will ever discover exactly what was observed here, but as it took place on a sunny day in a busy location there is the possibility that there may be other witnesses out there who have yet to come forward.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2022