A Wednesbury woman who had a close encounter outside her front door and a mysterious orange object which trailed a plane to Birmingham Airport are among the incidents recorded in Ministry of Defence UFO files which have been opened to the public.
The reports were recorded by MoD officials and stored as part of a massive collection of unexplained incidents which is now being published under the Freedom of Information Act. Around 4,500 separate pages of material have been released, most of then reports by civilians which were impossible to verify or disprove.
An MoD report from 1988 records an account by a woman from Wednesbury, who had a close encounter with a UFO outside her house. The object headed straight for her house “as though going to crash” before suddenly stopping and hanging 40 feet in the air. It was square, with a dome on top which had three windows – through which mysterious figures could be seen.
The report said: “There were three people in front, two sitting and one standing, all appeared to be wearing white suits.”
The eyewitness ran inside her house and the vehicle flew off.
Another report in the files records the sighting of a “very bright orange light” which hung above a civilian aircraft for approximately three minutes as it flew to Birmingham Airport. As the plane approached the runway, the light “veered off rapidly” and disappeared.
The archive includes a number of letters from amateur UFO enthusiasts who heard reports of mysterious objects in the sky – and hoped to discover what the authorities really knew about them.
For example, the British UFO Research Association wrote to the Ministry asking about an incident in Rowley Regis, the Black Country, in 1979, when a woman reported “an egg-shaped object about eight feet long” which had flown down and landed in her garden. According to the association, “this object left prominent ground traces which were subsequently photographed and measured.”
But most of those seeking details of the nation’s official UFO studies were disappointed, as the official policy was not to investigate reports unless there appeared to be a threat to Britain’s national security.
Even UFO believers were sometimes convinced the objects had down-to-earth explanations.
In 1998, the Midlands branch of the British UFO Association wrote to the MoD about large, slow-moving triangular objects which had been reported over central and northern England, including Staffordshire.
They complained: “We are all concerned about the use of aircraft (possibly Stealth or its variants) operating under the disguise of UFOs over populated areas, particularly in darkness.”
Either the RAF or the US Air Force was testing “some new form of aircraft”, the correspondent claimed.
Incidents recorded in the files include:
* The British UFO Research Association wrote to the Ministry asking about an incident in Rowley Regis in 1979, when a woman reported “an egg-shaped object about eight feet long” which had flown down and landed in her garden.
According to the association, “this object left prominent ground traces which were subsequently photographed and measured. [She] then found that her eyesight was adversely affected and her general well-being so disturbed that her GP advised her to stay off work for a fortnight.”
Two police stations, Oldbury and West Bromwich, had records of the incident.
* One eye-witness wrote to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street claiming to have seen a UFO in the skies over Shropshire.
The correspondent said: “During early November last year, myself and next door neighbour were standing outside by the stables when I looked up into the sky and did see a round, red circular object travelling at great speed.
“Then again one appeared from west to east.”
The same correspondent reported that their mother had seen “a brilliant shining silver ring” which disappeared into the clouds.
Attempts to report the incident to the police, a university academic and the media had been rebuffed, leading the eye-witness to write directly to the Prime Minister in 1987.
* Another correspondent claimed to have information that radar operators at Birmingham Airport had tracked a UFO moving south west in April 1980.