By now everyone - at least those who are into UFO sightings - are aware of Roswell and the controversy it has created over the years. Was it real...weather balloons...piece of alien spacecraft. Anywaaaaay...
It appears that staid Britain could have had its own UFO occurrence known locally as the "Rendlesham Incident" that happened in 1980 when U.S. air force pilots saw strange lights in Suffolk, England.
The one-time head of the armed forces told the defence secretary a UFO claim known as Britain's Roswell could be a "banana skin", newly released files show.
Banana skin? As in peel from the fruit? Perhaps UFO'logists have been looking in the wrong place but I digress. (Note: the term "banana skin" is British slang for potential political embarrassment).
The "Rendlesham incident" involved American flyers from RAF Woodbridge who reported seeing mysterious lights. Witnesses reported seeing the UFO transmit blue pulsating lights that sent local farm animals to go wacko. In the way of an explanation that did not include a weather balloon this time, an ex-US security policeman Kevin Conde admitted that he and another airman had shone patrol car lights through the trees and made noises on the loudspeaker as a prank. There is no truth to the rumor, either, than Mariah Carey's crew was testing their equipment at the time or that KISS was preparing for another world tour.
Other more recent incidents in the latest batch of documents, which cover the years 1981 to 1996, include:
• Two men from Staffordshire who told police that, as they returned home from an evening out in 1995, an alien appeared under a hovering UFO hoping to take them away (this begs the question as to why they didn't)
• More than 30 sightings of bright lights over central England during a six-hour period in 1993, which led to the assistant chief of defence staff being briefed - and turned out to be caused by a Russian rocket re-entering the atmosphere
• Several sightings in Bonnybridge, central Scotland, which became the UK's UFO hotspot during the 1990s
• A UFO which was seen over the jazz stage at the Glastonbury Festival in June 1994. The two female witnesses reported that they turned to the people next to them to verify what they had seen but "they didn't look hard enough or take it seriously"
So what does this all mean in the scheme of things?
- UFO sightings leapt from 117 in 1995 to 609 in 1996 - the year that Will Smith's alien invader blockbuster Independence Day was released and alien conspiracy series The X Files was at the height of its popularity with UK audiences
- Dr David Clarke, a UFO expert and journalism lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, said it was significant that one of the biggest years for reports previously had been 1978, which saw 750 - at the same time that Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released.
So now it's not a weather balloon but mass hysteria as a result of the release of alien-related films. At least it's original and a good explanation as any. The controversy will continue until actual, real aliens make a landing and are interviewed on CNN by Anderson Cooper.
Meanwhile, watch the short video with some videos purportedly capturing UFO'S, a discussion whether or not UFO's are real plus some possible explanations here: