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UFO and Vehicle Interference Investigation:

The Flying Cross Episode

 

Geoff Falla, 2012

                                                                                                                       

In 1967, two years before the first NASA manned landings on the Moon, there was a series of UFO sightings in the U.K. which were described as very different to what had been before. Similar cross-shaped appearances had only been reported previously on comparatively rare occasions in the past, and in other countries.

It is known that there are waves of UFO sightings reports, with each of these large increases in reports sometimes coming many years apart, and from different countries, having a concentration of reports during these periods of increased sightings.

Apart from the U.S.A., where the first reports in 1947 were followed by other significant ones in the next few years, including the summer of 1952; there was a large wave of cases from France in September and October 1954, which generated further official interest in the subject.

The British Ministry of Defence also began taking more note of the reports, with sightings reported to the Ministry, and showing that between 1959 and 1966 the number of these reports increased from around twenty to just under a hundred in 1966. This was followed by a major increase in 1967, with more than three hundred reports in that year.

The British UFO wave of 1967, which was not be significantly exceeded for another ten years, reached a peak during late October and the beginning of November, with most of the sightings lasting for several minutes or in some cases a much longer period of observation. A usual shape described in UFO reports from previous studies seems to have been an oval or disc shape, but the British reports in the autumn of 1967 featured a number of reports of objects having a much more unusual shape, likened in many of the sightings to a brightly glowing or fiery cross in appearance.

There are known to have been at least thirty of these reports, over a period of about six weeks, with locations from Northumberland to the South Coast of the U.K, and with additional reports from Ireland and the Channel islands. The sightings were at various times, mostly during the evening or early morning hours, describing an object which was apparently both manoeuvrable and silent, and which at times seemed to be at a low altitude.

Some attempts were made to attribute the sightings to the planet Venus, based on the fact that the planet was bright in the sky during this period, but there were several reasons why this seemed to be an unlikely explanation. Any planet seen for a few minutes would appear to be stationary in the sky, and would show a very gradual change in position during a lengthier period of observation. Times were given in most of the reports, and these were dived equally between early morning and evening observations. The planet Venus, in its orbit is seen alternately as a morning planet before sunrise or in the evenings for a while after sunset, but not both as in the case of these sightings. An amateur astronomer who witnessed one of the strange appearances stated that it was not the planet Venus.

The first sighting of one of these strange shapes in the sky seems to have been from Wembley, Middlesex at 10 pm on October the 2nd, describing a globe-shaped object with four projections from the main part, and a bright light like a spot light. After about half a minute the object began to move, slowly at first before it circled, gathered speed and suddenly disappeared, with no sound hear during the sighting (Wembley News, November 3rd).

In mid-October another of the reports came from Northampton, at 9.10 pm on October 14th. In this case an object appeared to be coming down towards the ground and was described as gold ion colour, looking like a church cross. The object then seemed to float around until it faded away, with the eyewitness adding that there seemed to be a shadow-like appearance around the cross shape (Northampton Chronicle, October 13th).

On October 24th, one of several sighting described how two police officers were in their patrol car at 4.10 a.m. between Holsworthy and Hatherleigh on the A307 road in Devon, when they noticed a very bright diffused light in the sky, describing the light as “star-spangled”, like looking at a bright light through wet glass. The light appeared to be keeping pace with the car. The policemen radioed their base and started to chase the object, but were unable to catch up with it. The object moved to the north of the road, and seemed to accelerate away. The sighting continued until 5 a.m., with the policemen stating that the angle of acceleration in the sky had varied between about five degrees and sixty degrees, and that a zooming motion of the light has also been noted. It was further reported that towards the end of their sighting, the light was joined by a second similar object before both had disappeared (Daily Mail, October 23rd).

On the same day at Caister on Sea, Norfolk, an object giving off bright light from points projecting in the form of a cross was seen going out to sea over the Norfolk coast during the afternoon (Daily Telegraph, October 25th).

Two days later, on October 26th, there was a peak in the number of reports, with eight on the same day. The first sighting of the day was at Oakhampton, Devon at 2.05 a.m., when two policemen described seeing a fiery cross-like symbol, and lasted for only a matter of seconds. The object moved from East to West, dipped towards the ground and disappeared, then reappeared as it ascended rapidly until lost to view (Exeter Express, October 26th).

At this stage in the reports, a favoured explanation was still the planet Venus, according to an astronomer of the Royal Observatory at Hurstmonceaux in Sussex. However, on the following day, and after further reports, a statement from the Royal Observatory admitted that there was “something up there which is not a star or a planet”. (Daily Mail October 26th and 27th).

The most remarkable report on October 26th was a daylight sighting at Moigne Downs, Dorset, by Angus Brooks, a former B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways) administration officer. In a written statement, he reported that at 11.15 am an object was seen to descend and hover in the sky. When descending, the object appeared to be in the form of a circular centre section, with arms projecting in the front and rear, but as it hovered two arms moved outwards at the sides to form a cross shaped object, with four arms. After just over twenty minutes in the hovering position, the arms of the object returned to their original positions. The object then climbed away at increasing speed and disappeared. No sound was heard during the incident, and the description given to Dorset police was accompanied by drawings of the object (Dorset Evening Echo, October 28 and November 22, and the Daily Express October 28).

At Colchester, Essex, also on October 26th, an illuminated saucer-shaped object was seen to follow an aircraft. The object had star-shaped beams of light coming from it, the beams receding and streaming out at intervals. When it reached the aircraft the object stopped, then moved off at speed and disappeared (Bournemouth Evening Echo, October 27th).

It was then claimed in a national newspaper reports that a firm explanation for the sightings had been found, with a suggestion that the reports were caused by United States Air Force planes which had been carrying out high altitude refuelling exercises at night. These were over the southern counties, with the aircraft linked to a central tanker aircraft. It was thought that similar operations probably explained other sightings in the area. The Ministry of Defence accepted this explanation after the Royal Air Force had checked it out thoroughly and was convinced that this explained what had been observed (Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, October 28th).

On the following day there was a surprising announcement, when it was revealed that the Ministry of Defence official explanation for the sightings did not stand up to the facts, because there were no refuelling operations at the times of the sightings. It had been confirmed by a U.S. Air Force spokesman that all of the exercises were between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., whereas the sightings of “fiery crosses” in the sky (mostly by patrolling policemen) were between midnight and dawn (Daily Telegraph, October 28th, Sunday Express, October 29th).

With supposed explanations which still did not solve the reports of unexplained objects in the sky, it was reported that the Member of Parliament for Torrington, Devon, was to ask the Minister of Defence for a statement on the matter (Daily Mail, October 27th).

There were other aspects of the sightings at this time which also added to the mystery, with UFO sightings coinciding with reported vehicle effects. At Hook, in Hampshire on October 26th- the peak day of the flying cross reports, a vehicles engine, lights and radio all failed simultaneously at 4.30 a.m. and a dark object was noticed stationary over the road ahead. After a few minutes the engine could be started again, but after continuing for a short distance along the road, the failure happened again, with the same dark object seen ahead. The shape of the object was described as like a squat ice cream cone, with a rim in the middle. The witness also noticed a change in pressure in his ears, and an oppressive smell. After a further few minutes the object moved away silently at moderate speed, and the vehicle worked normally again. At the time of these events there had been four other vehicle interference effect cases reported in the U.K. during 1967. All of these cases were in the same few weeks of October and early November, with one of the most interesting reports on November 6th between Avon and Sopley in Hampshire when at 1 a.m. the lights of a diesel engine lorry and both the engine and lights of a car coming from the opposite direction failed as a large luminous object passed between the two vehicles. The object became stationary for a short while before moving away, also producing other apparent effects in the surrounding area (Daily Express, November 7th, and the BUFORA Vehicle Interference Report).

Reports of flying cross-type objects continued in the days towards the end of October, with sightings on October 27th at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, describing a burning cross shape with a fiery tail and at Dublin, Ireland with mention of an object in the sky “Glowing green and red with branches” (Daily Mail, October 28th).

At Lancing, Sussex on October 28th, a bright object in the sky was described as being in the shape of the Cross of Lorraine, seen at 5.30 a.m. for ten minutes, and at Boscastle in Cornwall two farmers reported seeing a flying object like “a big mass on fire” with a cross behind it (Sunday Express, October 29th).

The most southerly of the reports came from the Channel Islands. On October 29th a reddish object was seen in the sky to the south of Jersey during the early hours of the morning from around 1.30 a.m. The object was seen as having arms in the form of a cross, but with the lower arm missing, and there were tentacle-like extensions coming out of the central part. The object was seen by several eyewitnesses, and descended at an angle before becoming stationary. At times the object appeared to move around, in particular at the approach of an aircraft. The sighting was also reported to Jersey Airport, but it was reported that nothing had been picked up on radar (Jersey Evening Post, October 30th).

At Reading, Berkshire, at 8.55 p.m. on November 6th, a bright object in the shape of a cross was seen at Great Billing, Northamptonshire. The object changed colour from white to tangerine orange, and was seen at first travelling fast then slowly before finally stopping, with the sighting lasting about ten minutes (Northants Evening Telegraph, November 10th).

The Daily Telegraph reported on November 9th that in response to a question in Parliament’s House of Commons, regarding the responsible statements from police officers and engineers with reports of objects moving around over North Devon for over an hour in one area, the Under Secretary for Defence had given a reply. This was that some of the objects proved to be aircraft, and that others were lights. Most of the lights were the planet Venus, but the source of a few lights had not been positively identified.

The last reported sighting in the series, and one of the most interesting in the details, seems to have been on November 16th from Alderney in the Channel Islands. At 5.10 p.m., a resident on the south coast of the island noticed what was at first thought to be a parachute flare. It was in a south easterly direction and seemed to be about 500 feet above the sea. Intending to inform the harbour-master, he then used binoculars to examine the area where the “flare” was hovering, for six or seven minutes. It was then seen that the object was in the form of a cross, similar to those seen in the U.K. The two horizontal points and the longer vertical part of the cross seem to be wobbling as though it was producing a motive force. The object then moved swiftly away in a south westerly direction, and disappeared in two or three minutes to the west of Jersey.

In a further letter, the resident-a former army Brigadier, reported that the UFO was also seen by his wife. It was thought at first that the sighting involved a vessel in distress, using a flare to attract attention. The colours of the object were alternating red and yellow, and it was just dark at the time with too much cloud for any stars to be seen. The object was seen very clearly in the binoculars and when moving away after being stationary for at least seven or eight minutes the object kept on a straight and steady course until it disappeared from sight (Guernsey Evening Press, November 24th and letter, November 27th).

Geoff Falla

BUFORA NIC

September 2012

References:

Flying Saucer Review (FSR) Vol.13, No.6, p 3-7.

Oakhampton, Devon. (October 24th & 25th, 1967, FSR Vol.13, No.6, p 5.) And Vol.14, No.2, p 35-6 and iii.

Moigne Downs, Dorset. (October 26th, FSR Vol.14, No.1, p3-5).

FSR Vol.14, No.3, p 30-32 and iii.

 

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