Monday, May 2, 2011

Unidentified Flying Object

To say you have seen a UFO seems to consign you immediately to the lunatic fringe. For this reason I rarely mention having seen a UFO but now that I am old and grey I don’t suppose anyone cares.
My sighting happened in the 1950s at a time when there were many reports of unidentified flying objects or, as many scientists preferred to call them, ‘unexplained’ flying objects. There was always an inference that they, the scientists with their superior knowledge, could have immediately explained the phenomenon.
But with my UFO I think not.
Anyway, it happened at about 10 o’clock at night when I was at boarding school at Canterbury in England and well after ‘lights out’ in our dormitory. Suddenly I noticed a strange glow coming through the windows and got up to have a look. Our dormitory overlooked an orchard in the rear garden of the Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Reverend Hewlett Johnson, also known as ‘The Red Dean’ for his Marxist sympathies. Indeed he was the recipient of the Stalin Peace Prize which didn’t endear him to the general public during this period of the Cold War.
So there in his garden was a strange, very bright white glowing object which also emitted a soft but quite audible humming sound as it hovered about three feet above the ground. It was the size of a walk-in beach tent and shaped like an elongated football. There was no firm edge to its surface; it was wispy like cotton candy.
After looking at it for a few minutes I decided to wake some other boys to look at the ‘object’ and I still remember their names, David Collier and Brian Kemp. I pointed excitedly at it and said, ‘There is a UFO’, as it slowly rose then gathered speed and disappeared into the night sky.
The following morning I spoke to them again but they merely shrugged and declined to discuss it further. Later I mentioned it to our housemaster who just smiled at me.
In the newspapers the following day there was a report of my UFO being sighted to the north of Canterbury. It had been chased by two air force jets from the nearby Faversham air base but they lost contact with it over the North Sea.
Finally many months later at a talk given by Fred Hoyle, a famous English astronomer and mathematician, I asked him if he had an opinion on UFOs. ‘Absolute rubbish’ he roared. ‘Nonsense’. ‘Purely natural but unrecognized phenomena’.
‘Thank you sir’.


  1. An excellent retelling of your experience. I enjoyed reading it.

  2. Oh, I love your blog so much. The stories are entertaining, and the artwork captures it beautifully.
    Well done on such an original blog!

  3. What a wonderful, beautiful idea. I'm a huge fan of your MC blog, and now this is a truly gorgeous addition, thank you!

  4. My husband, who paints UFOs and spends a lot of time in Rendelsham forest in Suffolk, which has the UK's highest incidence of UFO spotting, says the more important question is whether UFOs believe in us.

    He is quite certain that they do.

    1. I think he is right, my UFO certainly seemed to be aware of our presence. Of course it bore no resemblance to the illustration above.

      Best, Simon

  5. Interesting that Hoyle said it was all about 'purely natural but unrecognized phenomena' - I love how you recognize that phenomena !

  6. Great narration... There is a lot about the universe that we don't know about and yet we behave like we know it all...

  7. this is the beginning of a very wonderful book / film... don't you think? thanks for sharing!

  8. Well...intelligently guided spacecraft from places other than earth can be defined as "purely natural but unrecognized phenomena," can they not?

    That said, there is a natural phenomenon I've heard of called "ball lightning."

    It's very likely that many of the sightings of UFOs can be explained as ball lightning. I don't dispute the possibility that some UFOs may be spacecraft, but must recognize that most UFOs are surely not.

    (I even may have seen a UFO myself some years ago here in NYC. I was on my way to work one morning, about 8:00 or so, and as I approached my subway stop I glanced up and saw a very bright, silvery metallic spherical object sitting absolutely motionless in the sky. It was odd-looking enough that I stood gazing up at it for a few minutes before heading down to the train, but I finally had to go. I have told myself since I may simply have been looking at Venus, which is often visible in the night and morning sky, but whereas Venus always appears as simply a very bright star in the sky, this object was bigger, obviously a sphere rather than a bright point of light, and did, as I say, appear metallic. It has vexed me that I did not stand there longer until the object moved or disappeared suddenly, which would have confirmed I was not looking at Venus.)

  9. Such an awesome story! and I love Sophie's illustration too. I saw a UFO once also. I'm also a professional illustrator. I've been trying to find a way to bring these two things about myself together in a way that doesn't make people want to, consign me immediately to the lunatic fringe! I just thought there is no way around it, so decided just to be my honest self. My UFO sighting story is here on my UFO blog And this is my illustration website
    Thanks for sharing your story. UFO sightings are so exciting!