Close encounter in the woods as 1979 UFO mystery is investigated again

Ron Halliday in the clearing at Dechmont Woods
Ron Halliday in the clearing at Dechmont Woods

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.”

  • kate

    Spooky – good story!

  • The UFO probe that you mention here is very similar to the one seen in this Youtube video. It is flying towards some clouds, with two other tiny orbs orbiting it, then as the two tiny orbs each make it 180 degrees around the big one, then another tiny orb appears from within the big one. Its looks so cool and I believe it is a real UFO sighting so please confirm if it is the same UFO that is in the 1979 above story.

    The Youtube video title=STUNNING – HIKONE UFO SIGHTING (Shiga Prefecture, Japan)
    sight is at

    Scott C. Waring
    Author of novels Dragons of Asgard (Based on a real UFO crash)
    and UFO Sightings of 2006-2009 (released in May, 2010)

    • The objects that approached Robert Taylor were spiked metallic spheres that rolled across the ground leaving marks in the turf. They did not float. It was these spikes that grabbed at his trousers and ripped them in the process. Bob described the objects as resembling WWII sea mines. The trousers were forensically analysed by the police and the tears were consistent with something pulling upwards on the material, and could not have been caused by barbed wire or tree branches. He also had a deep gash on his chin, and was so disoriented that he could neither walk, talk nor drive for some time. His dog had run away whimpering at the start of the incident, but returned later.

      Various explanations have been put forward, such as a mirage of Venus, an epileptic fit and even the military experimenting with remotely-controlled probes, but to date nobody has satisfactorily resolved this case beyond doubt.

  • Tom Reilly

    I’ll defere to Brian Cox

  • Alan

    I saw a UFO over Edinburgh a few years ago. A friend called me to say he (and others) had seen something in the sky from the grounds of the Royal Ed. When I looked out I could see thre orange lights in the sky. Does make you wonder… Then I was driving by Loch Ness when…


  • Iain

    And Bob’s dog never went back to the site again. Or near the woods,

  • Pingback: Varied fallout from 'Ash Thursday' | Caledonian Mercury - Outdoors()

  • Paul

    “Halliday and Gray were there to try and pick up psychic remnants from the encounter ”

    I don’t mean to be discourtous but….

    Is this serious, what are ‘psychic remnants’ and is there any scientific basis for believeing in these remnants.

  • Newstarbooks
  • weirdisland

    It’s a fascinating case to be sure: very enigmatic and unusual in that it remains pretty much unresolved – despite some rather weak efforts to suggest that Mr Taylor saw a mirage of Venus or suffered a seizure. Unsure about the psychics though 🙂