It was said to be one of the best photos of a UFO, and a poster-size image of it hung on a wall of Britain’s Ministry of Defence. But then, at some point between 1991 to 1994, it vanished, gone, never to be seen again.
On the day in 1991 that Nick Pope interviewed for the position of chief of the Ministry of Defence’s UFO office, he could not help but notice the UFO image on the wall. “I went in for an informal interview, and anyone sitting in that office found their eyes drawn to that image,” Pope told The Huffington Post.
Other original pictures, negatives and the wall poster somehow vanished in the 1990s. Only a Ministry of Defence line drawing remains.
The photo was one of six taken by a pair of hikers who spotted a strange diamond-shaped object in the sky over Pitlochry, Scotland, on Aug. 4, 1990. It appeared to hover in the air near an Royal Air Force Harrier jet. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the unusual object above the ground for nearly 10 minutes before it zoomed away at high speed.
The 1990 incident was described in a batch of previously classified UFO files released by the Ministry of Defence in 2009.
Pope told The Huffington Post that it was the ministry’s official policy to obtain as much information as possible in the case of a UFO sighting, such as photo negatives. The pair with the photos contacted the staff of a newspaper that planned an article; the newspaper, in turn, reached out to the Ministry of Defence for additional information, Pope said. That’s when the ministry requested and obtained the original photographs and negatives from the newspaper, he said. “From everything I know about the defense intelligence staff, they would have done that.”
The incident took place just before Pope took over the ministry’s UFO division in 1991 to 1994. When he started his job, Pope couldn’t help staring at the enlarged image of the UFO on his office wall.
“It looked like a diamond on its side; it was three-dimensional, meaning it had some depth to it,” Pope recalled. “It was a dull, metallic gray color. But the most disconcerting thing about this was [that] despite its large size — over 80 feet in diameter — there was an apparent lack of any real aircraft-like structure to it.
Watch this National Geographic report about the disappearance of the UFO photos in Scotland: