ALIEN craft over Wallasey Town Hall and sightings of “a red, pipe-like object” in the skies above Liverpool are among the revelations contained in files about unexplained objects which have just been opened to the public.
In storylines more reminiscent of science-fiction films or The X-Files, hundreds of sightings of supposed Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) in the skies above Britain were recorded by Ministry of Defence staff.
The information was considered sufficiently important for a form to be produced which is kept by police stations and airbases ready to record such reports.
But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was not investigating the possibility of visitors from outer space making a stop at Earth.
Defence intelligence staff were more interested in checking that UFOs were not in fact signs of earthly covert spying missions by other countries.
Eight files have been released after a Freedom of Information request by UFO researchers. Over the next four years, more than 150 files will be thrown open.
Among the more bizarre stories to be recorded was one from a man in Wirral claiming to have met aliens on a regular basis.
One, he reports, visited frequently and was called Elgar. Sadly, he says, Elgar was killed by another race of beings in the 1980s.
It seems the visitors were again hit by tragedy when one of their craft crash-landed over Wallasey Town Hall, he claimed. A brief note by the recipient of the report at the MoD stated: “No Reply”.
One sighting in Liverpool, reported at 6.30am on April 14 last year, was of “a red, pipe-like object. It was seen for about 10-15 seconds, very close to the plane. It then disappeared into the clouds.”
Another, also from Liverpool, reports “six to eight gleaming lights, moving in a straight line across the sky, changing patterns from diamonds to pyramids.”
Briefing documents for government ministers facing questions about policy on UFOs also form part of the release at National Archives in Kew.
Nick Pope, who worked for the MoD for 21 years and was responsible for investigating the sightings said: “While there’s no evidence of little green men in these files, they should be of immense interest to sceptics and believers.
“Most of the UFO sightings here are probably misidentifications of aircraft lights and meteors, but some are more difficult to explain, and include UFOs seen by police officers and pilots, and cases where UFOs have been tracked on radar.”
Those hoping for proof of little green men will be disappointed, as an MoD memo, written in 1983, sets out their position very clearly.
“The sole interest of the Ministry of Defence in UFO reports is to establish whether they reveal anything of defence interest (eg, intruding aircraft). Reports are passed to operations staff who examine them as part of their normal duties.
“The Ministry of Defence does not deny that there are strange things to see in the sky.”
But the note goes on to say that there are adequate explanations for the phenomenon, including space junk burning up in the atmosphere, unusual cloud formations and meteorological balloons.
“It certainly has no evidence that alien spacecraft have landed on this planet.”
The power of suggestion also seems to have a strong influence on what people see in the sky. The number of reports doubled after the release of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in 1977.
Dr David Clarke, journalism lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, has been campaigning for the release of the files.
He said: “It has taken 10 years of campaigning to get these papers out and now that they are it lays to rest some of the claims of a cover-up by the MoD
“But I don’t think for a minute that the conspiracy theorists will drop their theories.
“Personally, I think that some of the sightings have got to be of scientific interest. There are some that just cannot be explained.” – lpd