Today is a UFOlogy red-letter day, as the Ministry of Defence (MOD) once again allows access to their spooky UFO files which you can download, for freefor one month. Here you can read about everything from a flying Toblerone that hovered over an electrician in Penicuik, to “first-hand” accounts of alien visitations.
The files also detail a number of letters written by Billy Buchanan, a Falkirk Councillor, to several Prime Ministers.
Mr Buchanan was the self-appointed voice representing the thousands of people who had reported sighting UFOs in and around Bonnybridge, central Scotland. This small area, or “Falkirk Triangle” as it is still known, averaged about 300 sightings a year, making it the world’s number one UFO hot-spot.
Buchanan’s response to this almost daily visit from alien nations was to hold public meetings and petition for something to be done. The newly released MOD files show that he took the situation very seriously. Back in 1994 he asks John Major for a “top level” inquiry, writing that “the village itself has suffered cruelly from ridicule and yet the sightings are continuing.”
Although this enquiry was never authorised, Buchanan didn’t give up, writing to Tony Blair in 1997 that “for five years the people both you and I represent have witnessed a phenomenon in the area that has been left unexplained.”
Reading these letters reminded me of the time I interviewed Buchanan in 2005 when he gave me what remains one of my favourite quotes of all time. When I asked him why he thought Bonnybridge has turned into a UFO hot-spot he replied: “When people say to me why Bonnybridge? I say, why Bethlehem?”
I loved it then and I still love it now.
Yet, easy as it is to mock, the sightings at Bonnybridge have fascinated not just because of their volume, but for the credibility of many of the witnesses. The same is clear from the recently released reports.
Although not all.
A report from June 1997 gives details of a close encounter experienced by a man who was sleeping in his living room when a man walked in and lay on his quilt. The report says that “the windows then went all white and the man…whooshed through the window.” The report goes on to note that although the man did call the police they declined to visit because they “thought he was a nutter” – this despite his assurances that he “was not a crank and was not on drugs.”