Leeds Rugby Supporters’ Club, Headingley, Leeds, UK

Saturday 1st October 2005

After the inevitable wrong turn, we arrived at the venue (I can get lost going to the bathroom, believe me!) and found that proceedings had begun without us (how dare they!) and Philip Mantle was on stage as a video played on one of two large screens that had been set up on either side of the stage.

Philip’s lecture was a fascinating journey through British ufological history. He touched on several famous cases, including PC Alan Godfrey’s encounter in Todmorden in 1980 and the famous ‘Ilkley Moor Alien’ photograph from 1987 by Philip Spencer (sometimes wrongly attributed to Alan Godfrey for some reason).

The 'Ilkley Moor Alien' - crop of photograph taken by PC Philip Spencer in 1987

Philip then rounded off his talk discussing the very nature of UFOs and the abduction phenomenon in particular. Are we dealing with real, live alien beings? Are they some sort of spiritual entity? Are abduction experiences nothing more than hallucinations or sleep paralysis-induced fantasies? Are we dealing with folk lore? Perhaps more sinister is the MILAB (Military Abduction) theory, in which unsuspecting victims are spirited away not by aliens, but by our own military and forced to undergo gruelling experiments at some unknown location. Can the phenomenon of earthlights explain the UFO experience? Are what we take to be extra-terrestrial ships actually very terrestrial and originate from within the Earth itself, created by geological processes? Or are they simply all made up stories, one person’s attempt at their fifteen minutes of fame.

Philip’s lecture got the show off to a solid start and the packed crowd (literally, it was standing room only!) showed their appreciation.

John HansonAfter a short break, retired police officer, John Hanson, took the stage. Like Philip Mantle, John covered several historical cases and made the point that as time passed, it became more difficult for researchers to glean information about these incidents, as witnesses passed on and evidence became obscured by the ravages of time.

The cases he described included

  • a wave of sightings all over the country on 19th January 1995 that baffled the authorities.


  • an incident during World War II, in which airmen aboard a Lancaster bomber were followed by a huge disc at 20,000 feet. Upon landing, they were debriefed and ordered not to discuss the incident at all, even amongst themselves! The description of the UFO matched identically a sighting from 1986.


  • a case from 1947 in which a farming family saw and reported a UFO. Later, high levels of radiation were detected in the area and the family were ‘warned off’ by the authorities.


  • then there was a sighting in Holmfirth, close to a television mast, in which a UFO was described as looking like an upturned saucer, about a hundred feet long.

John’s next topic was one he covered at length and concerned radar intercepts of a UFO in the 1950s at the Neatishead Tracking Station. This story had a slight twist, however, as the woman on duty at the time had had a UFO encounter several years earlier in 1941. She had seen an object that she at first thought was a barrage balloon that had floated away from its moorings, but on using her father’s telescope, she realised that this was no balloon. She described it as gun-metal grey in colour. It ascended very suddenly and very rapidly.

Fast forward to 20th May 1957. A squadron of US fighters were diverted to RAF Bentwaters in Suffolk. They were ordered to re-arm and scramble to 31,000 feet over the North Sea. It was night time and the use of radar was necessary. The squadron was to intercept a ‘blip’ on the radar that was displaying an unusual flight pattern. They ascended to 32,000 feet at a speed of Mach 0.92. Then the order came for them to fire their rockets at the UFO! Twenty-four ‘Mighty Mouse’ rockets were to be deployed.

The UFO was described from the radar traces as being as big as an aircraft carrier and moving at 800 knots. Twenty seconds before the missiles were to be fired, the radar blip began to shrink and the UFO began darting about all over the place before speeding away. On returning to base, the fighter pilots were informed that the incident was classified under ‘national security’.

John’s next subject was the ‘Mince Pie Martian’ case from January 1979. That day, triangular craft had been seen in the skies all over the country. That night, Jean Higley was visited by three aliens clad in silver tunics and made a zzz-zzz-zzz sound as they floated around. Jean offered them mince pies (it was the Christmas season, after all!), which they took, but they rejected her offer of cigarettes.

John played an audio tape of Jean describing her experiences.

Arthur Shuttlewood is a giant of ufology. His work during the Warminster flap of the 1960s is pretty much seminal. John Hanson touched upon Arthur’s investigations into an ‘ape-like’ humanoid seen in the Warminster area and played an audio tape of Arthur describing a sighting at Cradle Hill, amongst others.

Next up was a case involving a family who were followed in their car from Suffolk to Hertfordshire by a UFO. Another audio tape was played of ‘Marion’ describing the event.

As they drove, she saw what can only be described as red lightning. She put it down to volcanic dust (I missed when John said this had occurred, but I’d hazard a guess that it was in 1980, when Mt St Helens erupted) and they continued on their way. Then they saw a bright, white light, larger than a star, hopping over a cloudbank that had formed. Eventually, they arrived at their destination, but felt that the journey had taken longer than it should have. Shrugging this off, they prepared for bed. Then a saucer-shaped UFO was seen outside. As they watched, it tilted then shot upwards at great speed.

The remainder of John’s talk was about Rendlesham Forest and the photographs that he and his colleagues had taken there. We were shown orbs, streaks of light and mists that they could not explain. To be honest, these kinds of photographs don’t particularly impress me, as I’m of the camp that thinks orbs can be explained as moisture or dust particles in the atmosphere that are illuminated by the camera flash. I have also seen streaks recreated by hair blowing in front of the lens as the photograph was taken. Of course, I am more than willing to be set straight on this matter!

The conference venueDuring the lunch break, I checked out the concessions and bought some back copies of UFO Magazine from Rob Whitehead of LAPIS (Lancashire Aerial Phenomena Investigation Society), whom had a table filled with magazines, books, videos and all sorts of paraphernalia.

After lunch, Anne and Jason Andrews took to the stage. Anne gave a fascinating account of the events that surrounded her family when her son, Jason, was born. The events are covered in the book, Abducted by Anne Andrews and Jean Ritchie, but basically, Jason had abduction experiences from a very young age and strange incidents occurred, including animals dying in circumstances that suggested the mutilation phenomenon was at play.

Anne and Jason AndrewsAnne gave an emotional talk as she recalled the tribulations that she and her family had to endure, as the medical authorities tried to explain away Jason’s experiences as psychological or as some form of epilepsy. They were forced to move house several times, but the phenomena followed them. I could almost feel a wave of empathy from the audience as Anne told her story.

Eventually, Jason came to the conclusion that he was of alien origin. He described himself as a ‘walk-in’. When he was born, his body had been on the very edge of death and he, or his alien, spiritual equivalent, was able to inhabit the body and enable it to live. As he grew older, Jason found that he had the ability to heal people and he does this today, but with rules he has put in place. He claims that everybody can learn his technique and each time somebody comes to him for help, he will show them how to perform the healing process for themselves. If they come a second time, he will show them again, but a third session is a no-no. 

The Andrews’ story is fascinating, and whether or not you believe the spiritual aspects to the tale, it deserves one’s attention.

Malcolm RobinsonMalcolm Robinson, of SPI (Strange Phenomena Investigations) gave an animated and highly entertaining lecture that focussed mainly on what has become known as ‘The Fife Incident’. Before this, however, he explained how that 95% of all UFO reports can be identified as something mundane, while about 3% are probably top secret aircraft flown by our military. This leaves 2% that defy explanation of any kind. His investigations run the gamut of paranormal phenomena, from UFOs to haunted houses and he has seen some pretty wild and scary things in his time.

‘The Fife Incident’ took place on September 23rd 1996 in Newton of Falkland, Fife, Scotland. ‘Mary Morrison’, her ten-year old son, ‘Peter’ and her friend, ‘Jane’ set out from their isolated home to buy coffee from the nearby town. En route, they saw a bright, white light in the sky, but dismissed it as a normal aircraft. On the way back home, they saw the light again, but this time it appeared to follow their car and Peter became very frightened.

At home, they described the incident to Jane’s daughter, ‘Susan’ and they all decided to get back in the car and check it out. As they drove along the narrow, country lanes, they saw lights emanating from a group of trees and they stopped the car. As they watched, hundreds of small figures emerged from a mist. They appeared to be carrying containers of some sort. Some of the beings later appeared inside what were described as ‘soap bubbles’, floating around the car, terrifying Peter once more. Mary gunned the engine and they headed back home.

Later, strange, painful bruises would be found on Mary, Jane and Susan, but not Peter. After this event, Peter began seeing the ‘aliens’ in the house and described them as looking like the classic descriptions of Greys, but with sharp, pointed teeth. Malcolm pointed out that the only similar description he had seen had come from South America.

In all, Malcolm’s presentation was excellent and he utilised his slides to great effect, giving us drawings and photographs of the events and the area in which they took place.

Russel Callaghan speaks...Before the final speaker, Christopher Martin, began, Russel Callaghan told the conference that next year Martin Stubbs, of The Secret NASA Transmissions fame, would be in attendance. This sent a buzz of excitement through the audience.

Christopher Martin presented a video show of UFO footage from around the world in several segments. In between, he recalled the events that led him to become involved with the UFO field. It began when he found that his girlfriend, Vicky, became ‘inhabited’ by alien entities. They had the ability to peer through the veils of time and predicted to Chris that he would one day appear on television and also become involved with UFO conferences.

Christopher MartinOther paranormal events happened in their home, with objects disappearing and reappearing, including his watch that somehow appeared on his wrist! Chris eventually asked the entities if he could be shown one of their ships. Soon after, he saw his first UFO.

Then Chris showed a video that he had never released publicly before. One day, his girlfriend began to feel ill and she told Chris that it was due to an implant that the Greys had placed in her body. They were going to remove it that night, she said. Chris decided to set up a camera in the bedroom and see what it picked up. Apart from a light that suddenly shines into the room, nothing much appears out of the ordinary, although Chris claims that at the time of the clip, he and Vicky were talking in bed, but somehow the video did not record that.

The next clip was from 17th September 2005. Chris saw some orbs in the sky and began recording. He commented how he thought they were pretty rubbish and asked for something better. A balloon appeared in the frame and an orb began drifting towards it, performing a sharp turn towards the balloon.

On 28th August 2005, Chris recorded a fleet of objects, but they were hard to make out on the projected video.

Chris’ final clip was from a UFO conference in Turkey. The clip was dated 10th July 2003. The clip was not of the best quality as it had been recorded from a screen upon which the film was playing. There appeared to be a silvery object of some sort nestling in a pine tree forest near the Black Sea coast. The object appeared to exhibit flashing lights and seemed to change shape. Slowly, the object began to rise out of the trees and float away. It seemed to be constructed of a pliable or silvery, cloth-like material. My immediate impression was of a partially inflated hot-air balloon. The Turks’ reactions on the video brought amused laughter from the Leeds audience.

Before the conference came to a close, a video montage in honour of Graham Birdsall was played and it was extremely moving. This man is still greatly missed among the UFO community and his passing in 2003 was a great tragedy. My thoughts and good wishes go out to his family.

The Great British UFO Show was a tremendous success and Russell said that there would definitely be another next year, probably in the larger conference facility at the Headingley rugby ground. If it is half as good as this year’s extravaganza, I can hardly wait!

Well done to all involved for their hard work in bringing the UFO experience back to the masses.

© Steve Johnson - 2005



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Updated 16th August, 2012