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The British UFO Research Association
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Strange Places: Strange Tales From Cumbria

by Gloria Heather Dixon
 
 
 

There are some unusual reports that reached BUFORA (British UFO Research
Association) in the early to mid-nineties from areas in Cumbria particularly around
the Alston region.
The first case involves a ball of light and vehicle interference, which took place on
New Year’s Eve in a remote area called Hethersgill, near Carlisle in Cumbria
Liz, a taxi driver was driving her father’s taxi. It was 1.30am on New Years Eve 1993
and she had dropped off some passengers at their home near Hethersgill village. Liz
turned the taxi around and was heading back towards the main road to Brampton,
when the CB in her car became difficult to hear and she was unable to understand
what her sister ‘Helena’ was saying.
The lights went out and the taxi just came to a
standstill. Liz was extremely annoyed that on the busiest night of the year her car had
broken down. She got out to start and walk back to the house where she had
dropped off her customers in order to ask to use their telephone, when she became
aware of a brilliant ball of white light that appeared to pop up from the rear of the taxi
and just hovered about six feet in the air. It then moved to just above the roof of the
taxi and hovered there. Liz told me she was not frightened by this, but fascinated and
drawn to look at this ball of light. Suddenly it shot away so fast she describes it as
looking like a shooting star (meteor). It moved towards Longtown near the Scottish
Border. Amazed by all this, Liz got back in the car and tried the ignition, but the car
suddenly jumped forward and the lights came back on. She then received a shock as
the CB radio boomed out to her very loudly. She had turned the volume up fully prior
to the car losing power, the car was still in gear causing it to jump forward and this is
when she became scared. Her sister was shouting her name on the CB and asked
where Liz had been for the last half an hour. This came as a shock to Liz as she felt
she had only been out of the car for about 5-10 minutes. She informed her sister that
she had just seen a shooting star, which had hovered over her car. This was the only
frame of reference that Liz could think of for what she had observed. The following
day Helena told Liz that there had been a report of a UFO sighing on the radio that
morning. It was observed near Dumfries.

A colleague and myself investigated this case as far as possible in February 1997, four
years after the incident. We talked with Liz and her sister Helena, who confirmed
that she had lost all contact with Liz on that New Year’s Eve. She also confirmed that
it was half an hour before she was able to contact Liz on the CB.
The trigger that led to Liz initially contacting BUFORA was due to an unusual
incident which occurred in November 1996. We visited the area where this incident
occurred. It is quite an isolated location on a long hill with several bends and
surrounded by fields and farmland.. Liz’s father David, who is also a taxi driver had
been ferrying passengers from the ‘Talkin Village pub to the Hallbankgate area which
lies to the south east of Hethersgill when he and two passengers had noticed a ball of
light that appeared to be hovering in some trees at nearby farmhouse.

After dropping these passengers off he picked up two other passengers from the pub.
By this time it was 1.40am and driving up the hill and past the farmhouse again and
on their right hand side they observed a strange figure appearing to come through the
gate from the field to their right onto the road. They describe the figure as appearing
to have some kind of hat or helmet and also in front of the figure there appeared to be
a ‘white sheet’ or something that appeared to be stuck to his outstretched hands.
David swerved to avoid this figure and cannot understand what he would be doing out
here on a bitterly cold night at 1.40am in this remote area. He also cannot understand
why he did not stop the car and ask if he needed help. We spoke with David at length
at the location where they had observed this figure. It appears that there has been
anomalous activity around this area particularly around the farmhouse with unusual
light activity being reported. Unfortunately, the people who own the farmhouse and
also run a bed and breakfast did not wish to be interviewed as they were concerned it
would affect their business, so we were not able to receive any corroboration for the
claims of other unusual activity that apparently had been occurring in this area.
However, a significant footnote here that may be relevant is the location of
Spadeadam close to this area. This site is an Electronic Warfare Training Range and
used to teach NATO pilots how to avoid/engage/classify potential enemy electronic
threats they might come up against in time of war. It is also a test site for British Gas,
to test their pipes to see how much pressure they will take before exploding. These
tests were sometimes conducted at night and could reach 200 feet into the area
causing explosions that could be seen for miles
This whole area is interesting and in 1994 BUFORA received some curious reports
from near Alston, Cumbria detailing unusual balls of light that seemed to appear from
nowhere observed by a family camping in a remote area a couple of miles from
Alston.
Meanwhile in Cross Fell, Cumbria a shepherd experienced some kind of very
unusual events whilst looking for lost sheep on the summit of Cross Fell in 1988.
She tells the following story in a letter to BUFORA and talks about ramblers in the
area, who have reported unusual anomalies, which causes them to feel apprehensive
and uncomfortable and glad to return home after dark..
The shepherd concerned had been out with her partner searching for some sheep that
had gone astray. It was winter and there was a great deal of snow. They agreed to
separate and go in different directions to search for the sheep. She tells the following
story.
The dogs and I sat on the summit rocks to eat sandwiches and have a well earned rest
when suddenly there was violent swishing rumbling sound. Looking back over the
summit ridge itself towards the Dunfell Radar Beacon was a peculiar cloud or disc,
which hovered for a second then disappeared down Eden Valley. I decided to retrace
my steps down off the summit and continue looking for the sheep at a lower
level,when the second weird event occurred. Not only were there my tracks and those
of my two collies, but two more alongside them of a much larger size and deeper
tread. No one could possibly have made them in the short time that I turned to
observed the strange cloud. My way up was at all other times …in my view ..from
where I had been sitting. Also one of my collies started to sniff at the strange tracks,
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