On a chilly day last month, UFOlogist Ron Halliday and spiritualist medium Gary Gray left their car by the M8 in Livingston, West Lothian, and trudged up Dechmont Law. They were following in the footsteps of forestry worker Robert, or Bob, Taylor, who, in November 1979 maintained he saw an alien spacecraft in a clearing within the forest nearby. Halliday and Gray were there to try and pick up psychic remnants from the encounter and work out just what happened that lonely November morning.
The Dechmont Woods Encounter, as it became known, remains of interest because of the reliability of the witness testimony, and also because it was the first suspected UFO case ever to be investigated by police.
Taylor was checking up on some saplings in the forest that day, when he arrived at a small clearing. There he says he saw a circular object, six meters in diameter, hovering above the forest floor. It was metallic and semi-transparent, and as he watched two smaller spheres detached themselves from the main object and floated towards him. He felt something grabbing his legs as the two spheres took hold of him and began to drag him closer to the “mother ship”. An acrid stench hissed out from the spheres and Taylor began to choke. As he was dragged closer he lost consciousness.
He awoke 20 minutes later. The clearing was now empty. Unable to talk, and covered in scratches, he dragged himself to his car and managed to drive home where his wife, disturbed by his condition, called the police. They visited the scene, convinced that Taylor had been assaulted by someone unknown, and found heavy indentations on the floor of the clearing. Having carefully checked the rest of the crime scene, they declared themselves “completely baffled”. They took away his trousers for forensic analysis, but could not determine what had made the holes in them, or what had attacked Taylor.
Both Halliday and Gray re-traced the forestry worker’s journey in the hope of picking up something from the site that might give them clues about what had happened. As they drew closer to the clearing, overgrown and less open than it had been in 1979, Gray began to suffer chest pains and heavy breathing. This, he says, was him beginning to pick up Taylor’s vibrations, experiencing through him the emphysema that eventually killed Taylor many years after the event.
Then Gray was drawn to a mound, where he says he felt the full impact of what Taylor had experienced that day. It began with static and vibrations. “My feet were stuck to the ground and the pain in my legs was tremendous,” says Gray. The pain, Halliday later told him, was right where Taylor had been pinned and grabbed by the two spheres.
Frozen in place, Gray let Taylor’s vibrations take him over.
“I have never experienced the fear of God like that before,” he says. “Never in any of my haunting or poltergeist experiences. It was an energy that I have never experienced before.”
Halliday found the visit to the site fascinating. Although not psychic himself, he grew up around a grandmother who was “forever seeing ghosts round the house”. He had previously met Taylor and was struck by the man’s demeanour. “He never changed his story. He thought it was an amazing experience, but he didn’t dwell on it.
“Bob seemed to see something out of this world. Where it came from, a craft from miles and miles away or from another dimension, who knows?”
Halliday believes that whatever happened at Dechmont Law, it was centered around the mound. It is here, he says, that the energy emanated and which attracted whatever it was to the clearing.
Gray can’t add much more, having felt Taylor’s fear, but not seeing what he saw. However, he is in no doubt that it is a place of interest. “There is something different to the energy here,” he explains. “It is from a different dimension, not from this world or the next.”
Neither Halliday nor Gray can say what happened in 1979. But they are both convinced of one thing. “Whatever happened here,” says Gray, “it has happened before and after. It is very much a live place of interest to something.”