The case for UFOs in North Yorkshire

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When I first decided to take an active role in UFO research and investigation I consider myself very fortunate to join the Yorkshire UFO Society (YUFOS) which was formed in the early 1980’s by brothers Graham and Mark Birdsall. Many of you may well know that Graham went on to publish and edit the hugely successful newsstand publication UFO MAGAZINE.

Graham and Mark Birdsall (Credit: Philip Mantle)

Power Quadrant

Graham and Mark Birdsall (Credit: Philip Mantle)

Graham and Mark were extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic and I leaned a lot from the both of them. I also consider it very fortunate that at the same time as joining YUFOS that we were literally swamped with UFO reports. In the early 1980’s we had more reports than we knew what to do with. A lot of these sightings came from areas in North Yorkshire and especially around the moors above the village of Carleton near Skipton.

Much of our work and UFO case files from that era have been lost along the way but some information does still exist. In the early days of YUFOS we printed the small publication the YUFOS JOURNAL.  What I would like to do is to re-publish an article written by mark Birdsall which featured in the May 1983 YUFOS JOURNAL – VOLUME 2 Number 2.

YUFOS Volume 1

YUFOS Volume 1

The Following article by Mark Birdsall shows exactly what I have been talking about and will hopefully give you some idea of what we were dealing with at the time.

The Case For North Yorkshire:

During the last 24 months we have received no fewer than 30 reports of unusual objects observed in North Yorkshire. We have on record, reports of objects coming within 50ft of experienced police officers. In fact we have been able to collect a number-of UFO reports, and build a careful picture of what is really happening in North Yorkshire. But first let us look at the information these cases contain. It is only fair to point out that a very large percentage .of sightings are made from experienced police officers. We have signed statements from many o£ the officers and all lead us to believe, that without a shadow of doubt, something unusual is taking place in and around the moors of North Yorkshire. However, through careful” research there are as many as 90% of the cases we cannot explain. We could state that it might have been a helicopter, or an aircraft. We cannot overlook who are making the observations.

From left: Mark Birdsall, Graham Birdsall and Philip Mantle at the Yorkshire UFO Society conference in 1985. (Credit: Philip Mantle)

From left: Mark Birdsall, Graham Birdsall and Philip Mantle at the Yorkshire UFO Society conference in 1985. (Credit: Philip Mantle)

Every possible cause for the sighting of an UFO has to be examined. The area, the description, weather conditions etc.  But after researching all of these possibilities we cannot give a viable explanation. Many people then came forward to offer a possible answer. We again examined these, but even as objective researchers we must rule out these. For the reports we have, “contain diagrams and information, which if authentic (and we have no doubts that they are) leads .us to believe that, there is something highly unusual being observed in North Yorkshire. In fact there have been times when we have not been able to grasp the enormity of the situation we have found ourselves in. Is it coincidence that our only photographic evidence came from North Yorkshire, and as yet, has eluded all possible attempts by experts to conclude the photograph explainable hoax etc? Can we reach the position when we can confidently state, that all the information, statements, and photographic evidence is explainable; the answer must be NO.

If we now turn to the collection of reports we have assembled for this publication. On the map, vie have eight positions o It would be impossible to print all our ·cases, so we have selected these complete with diagrams and drawings. The area is proximately 3 miles by 2. The prominent lines across the map are other sightings, relating to the direction in which these objects were seen.

Sighting 1:

The information behind this sighting has yet to be released, however. This particular object was observed by a policeman and a member of the public. At approximately 12.30am both people noticed a large ball of light moving very slowly in their direction. The object was slightly yellowish in colour and was approximately 500ft above the ground. At this moment both persons noticed an aircraft possibly 20,000ft heading in, and over the UFO. At this precise moment the object moved off its original course and after seemingly heading towards the witnesses, altered its course. The object was now parallel to the observers, and it was at this moment one of the witnesses trained his binoculars on the yellow mass. He could clearly see that the yellow ‘oval was in fact the front of a large cigar shape. A red light which had been hidden by the yellow glow was now defined through, use of the binoculars. It was on the side of the object, yet the witness mentioned the red light slowly moved closer to the main yellow light. One can note the comparison in size to the yellow light. Also note the dark area on the underside of the main body of the object. As the object moved slowly away from the witnesses, a ‘small band of yellow lights’ flashed across the centre of the object, giving the impression that the UFO was revolving.  The sighting lasted approximately 2 minutes.

Sighting 2:

This very detailed description was given, again by police officers from North Yorkshire. At approximately 5.20 am on Oct 24th, 1982, three police officers who had just 5 minutes earlier observed at close range an array of circular lights noticed a bright strip of light moving very close to the policemen’s original position. (The officers had tried to follow the circular of lights and had driven down the hill a few hundred yards). The object was crescent shaped, and although very bright it did not give off a beam. The UFO moved directly over the officers and one officer commented “it was so low you could have thrown a rock at it”.  The object was in fact, just 75-100ft above their heads. At this point the full, length of light intensified, but again did not give off a beam. There are two points to make note of at no time during the sighting was any sound a heard, and notably, an array of red and white lights was clearly around the perimeter (underside) of the object.

Sighting 3:

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

As mentioned in the last report (sighting 2), this particular sighting was made 5 minutes earlier than the object witnessed is sighting 2. However the officers did not see the UFO approach, nor did they hear any sound. One policeman just looked up into the dark sky and observed the lights slowly moving over their patrol car. The officers state the object was very low. Is it conceivable that the officers had made an error in their observation? Three men, so close to an object they could clearly define, the answer must again be no, even to more objective or sceptical researchers. We now turn our attention to a member of the public, who along with his family experienced a terrifying encounter.

Sighting 4:

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Mr. X and his family were traveling along the road that leaves the village of Carlton near Skipton. The road rises up and over the moors near Elslack. The family were heading for the supermarket in Colne, a journey they made once a week. They had reached an are known as Standrise Plantation, Mr X then looked through his mirror and noticed 2 coloured balls of light (red & green) moving closer to the car. The balls then buzzed’ the family before moving level with the car. The balls then started to pace the car. The objects themselves were no larger than footballs and both were situated on either side of the car. They continued to fly alongside the car at window height. The occupants in the car became extremely frightened; Mr X was now finding it very hard to keep the car under control. Mrs X was shouting at her husband to turn the car round and return home. The two children were now screaming with fright, and their pet dog was cowering in the back seat. The dog then tried to get beneath the footwell in the car. Mr X had, had enough, he turned the car around and headed back home, the balls of light, also decided to turn around and follow the car. The lights again tracked the family for a short while, before disappearing. Mr X and his family returned home in a very poor state, and since the incident took place, they have not travelled along the moors again.

Skywatching on Carleton moor. (Credit: Dave Atkins)

Skywatching on Carleton moor. (Credit: Dave Atkins)

They use a road which takes them around the area. This particular incident took place in March 1980, and again we cannot find a plausible explanation. The investigator of this case was Alwyn Rogers and he made an interesting comment when typing the report up. He pointed out that Mr X was finding it difficult to control his car was the caused by fright or outside interference? Most members will remember the encounter involving Mrs X, at Coniston Cutting, although the case has almost ended due to circumstances which we are not in the position to control. It is hoped that one day we will be able to start the case moving again. Due to the fact that every member has detailed knowledge of this case, I will just present the outlying factors. Mrs X was followed by a small cluster of lights, shortly after she had left her mothers home. Although she could not define the object which was following her, she was adamant it was not a vehicle. Although at first she mentioned in the report, ‘that she felt· the lorry was taking a long time to overtake her.’ The lights were pacing the car and then she noticed a beam of light strike the side of the car from above her. The incident occurred in March 1982, and as most members are aware our investigation led us to use hypnotic regression for the first ·time. Mrs X had lost approximately 40 minutes on her journey home from her mother’s house in Morecambe. During the investigation, many efforts were made to explain the missing minutes; as yet the loss of such a large amount of time remains a mystery, not only to us, but also to the witness.

Scenic view from Carleton moor.

Scenic view from Carleton moor.

We are totally convinced that the initial report and information received is true, however we cannot possibly state that the information which we received .through the regression is fact. Again we have a case which involves a high degree of strangeness, and again in North Yorkshire.

Sightings 5 & 6:

Moving to sightings which most researchers would class as nocturnal lights. We have had no fewer than 60 reports of these objects. And I stress the word object. For I myself have observed them on no fewer than three occasions. These objects are quite clearly oval and circular depending on the angle they are viewed at. A number of investigators have seen these particular objects at close range. Sceptics pour .scorn on these sightings and declare them nothing more than· helicopters or aircraft. I agree that probably a number of sightings are explainable. But through careful research we find that on no occasion has any sound ever been heard, and also the majority of these objects are traveling just 400 feet above the ground. Many of the witnesses state that the object seemed to be following the contours of the moors.

Carleton moors.

Carleton moors.

Would it be conceivable to find aircraft flying at such a dangerous height? One must also note the speed of these objects, most observers’ state that they were traveling at speeds of no more than 40 – 50 mph. One interesting case involving one of these objects occurred in November last year. Two witnesses were on moors near Carlton, when they noticed a bright yellow light moving slowly over the hills. The approximate height of the object was 400ft. Both witnesses then observed an aeroplane heading towards the object (20,000ft). The object then changed course and moved behind a nearby hill. The witnesses watched the aeroplane move quickly out of sight. They were then amazed to see the yellow ball of light move from behind the hillside and continue its silent journey across the moors. These particular sightings are difficult to assess, and the in formation which they contain is limited. A comment by the witnesses who see these objects repeats it’ self throughout the statements made by the witnesses, this is, that on· no occasion did the observer see any other lights. Or in fact a solid body beneath the· glow however if we return to object one on the diagrams, the witnesses state that until they observed the object with binoculars they could see only the brilliant yellow glow. It would seem that the intense light .of the object distorted the actual shape; however this all remains conjecture at the moment.

Sighting 7:

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

One of the most spectacular sightings we have on record is this observation made by two North Yorkshire police officers. This sighting occurred on the moors just East of Cononley. The time was 3.20 am when both officers noticed an extremely bright light moving directly towards their position. No definition could be seen and the UFO moved directly over their position. The height of the object was approximately 200ft it was then that the object turned slightly to one side· (tilted). The officers were startled with regard to the actual shape and size of the object. Both· men estimated the length of the object to be approximately 100ft. The entire object was glowing and the lower ‘skirt’ was revolving. Three large balls on the underside could clearly be seen. ‘Portholes’ which were darker than the rest of the object were also seen. From an objective point of view, this case is almost too good to believe. But we have no doubts whatsoever regarding the information in this report, that the officers did in fact observe an unusual craft. It would be difficult not to relate such a ·detailed account if the object passed over your head at just 200feet. Many similarities have been made with the ‘Adamski’ photographs; however the witnesses state the object they observed appeared more streamlined than the alleged photographs taken by George Adamski. In any event, serious investigators do· not lay much foundation with regard to Adamski ‘s claims. However; critics would find it very difficult to try and explain to the officers involved with this sighting, that what they had observed was an IFO.

Sighting 8:

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

One of the most famous UFO cases in Britain was the Livingston close encounter, in Scotland. The witness (Robert Taylor) was apparently ‘attacked’ by two circular spiked objects. These small objects have led researchers to drawn up similarities with this sighting and the Livingstone incident. Three witnesses observed a small object zig – zagging across Elslack Moor. A series of rods and white lights could. Be seen revolving around the small body of the 0bject. It was approximately 4ft above the ground. They then noticed a beam of light being emitted from the underside directly onto the ground. At one point the object came within 50ft of the witnesses. Due to the circumstances which were about to follow we feel this object was in some way connected to the objects which were observed a few minutes later. We did send a ground team to the area, and one or two marks were noticed, but it would be difficult to relate them to this sighting. All we can say is that they were quite similar to marks found in the ground with regard to the Livingston case.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

Illustration of sighting by MODO.

In this study we have just scraped the surface on the information which our case files contain. But our attention has been drawn to the area, not just because of the amount of sightings, but also the high strangeness of the cases.

END

I have to say that I personally remember many of these sightings being reported to us at YUFOS and I also participated in the research and investigation of some of them. There is no doubt in my mind that many of them still remain unexplained. Carlton moor and surrounding areas near Skipton in North Yorkshire was a hot bed for UFO sightings. In those days it was termed a ‘window area’ while today you might call it a ‘portal’. I prefer window area personally. Our research also uncovered UFO sighting in the area going back decades so one this was for sure and that was that the wave of sightings in the area in the 1980’s was nothing new.

wb BATLEY NEWS with Phil April 4 1985

To be actively involved in UFO investigations during this time period was the ideal apprenticeship for any would-b UFO enthusiast and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been there at the time. There was a period that we had more sightings reported that we could handle.

Of course all things must come to an end and YUFOS did but Graham went on with his brother Mark to publish UFO MAGAZINE and stage many highly successful UFO conference the like of which have not been seen again since Graham’s untimely death. I just hope I’m still around when the next ‘flap’ occurs around the moors above Skipton as I am in no doubt it will happen one day.

Artwork by MODO.

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