Have you ever seen anything around here that didn’t seem quite right? And I’m not talking about a southerner trying to order a mojito in a proper northern pub. I’m talking lights flashing in the sky, saucers zooming across the horizon, little green men wandering around on top of Pendle Hill. That type of thing? If you have, then you are not alone. There have been a whole host of alien and UFO sightings across Yorkshire and Lancashire, and they are incredibly fascinating. Cynics will make up their mind about what the rational explanations might be in each case, but those who have come forward and gone public with their sightings are utterly convinced about what they saw. The truth, as they say, is out there. Let’s delve into the files (the X Files?) and explore alien and UFO sightings in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
The Ilkley Moor Alien
Out on the misty moor above Ilkley, there have been a whole heap of UFO spottings. People report lights twinkling and sparkling, moving across the sky at high pace. Of course, the proximity of the moor to both RAF Menwith Hill and Leeds Bradford Airport has nothing to do with this at all. Ahem. However, former police officer Philip Spencer went one step further than gawping at flashes across the heavens, he took a picture of what he believes is an alien on a day trip to this delightful Wharfe Valley spa town. On his way across the moor to visit his father-in-law one December morning in 1987, armed with his camera and film designed to provide optimum quality in low light, he came across a terrifying sight. A small, strange creature appeared in the distance, appearing to shoo him away from the scene. Spencer snapped away and the creature turned and fled, with the one-time bobby hot on his trail. Although the alleged alien outran him, Spencer did witness the being make his escape in a flying machine complete with domed top. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to capture a photograph of the alien’s transport. This incident has been ranked amongst the UK’s ten most important alien sightings, with the fact that there is a photograph being of particular interest to UFO enthusiasts. Unfortunately, because the picture is incredibly blurry, there’s no satisfying conclusion to the tale, but Spencer insists it happened and that, as a result, his compass went crazy and his watch was running an hour behind when he returned home. No one knows why the alien visited Ilkley, but perhaps extra terrestrials are partial to a Betty’s Fat Rascal. We may never know for sure.
The Preston Prison UFO
Lancashire was named as one of the top places in the UK for UFO spotting earlier this year. Following a Freedom of Information request to the RAF, it was revealed that only London and Kent have generated more sightings of unexplained aircraft in the skies. An average of two UFO reports a month flood into the air force from residents of the Red Rose County. One of the most recent sightings came in February 2020, when Preston resident Gail Jacques noticed a bright white flash of light over the city’s prison, hovering for a few seconds before moving, in her words, in a manner “too fast and too precise for a helicopter.” Local newspaper readers had their say over the issue, suggesting it could have been the International Space Station, the planet Venus, a plane in a holding pattern for Manchester Airport and a number of other possibilities. But maybe – just maybe – it was an alien checking out Preston from above.
The Blackburn MoD Police Spotting
The most intriguing of all UFO sightings are the ones that come from people seen as upstanding members of society. Those in roles where telling the truth is of utmost importance. This is one of the reasons that the Ilkley Moor alien story has captured so much attention. It is a similar story with a spotting over Blackburn in 1979. Interestingly, the story of the three Blackburn MoD police officers and their UFO experience didn’t even come to light until 2011, when the government released the papers to the National Archives. The incident took place on 24th February 1979, over the Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF). It was the director of the ROF who reported the sighting, noting that the witnesses were “three sober, steady, reliable policemen, one of whom is a sergeant”. One of the group managed to sketch a representation of what they saw – essentially the sort of aircraft you would draw if someone asked you to depict a UFO off the top of your head. It is said to have measured approximately 30 feet across and headed off over Darwen, lighting up the streets as it flew away.
Britain’s First Alien Abduction
The man who claims he was the first Brit to be abducted by aliens says his run-in took place on the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire. Alan Godfrey is yet another former copper who believes he was probed by extraterrestrials in 1980 while on duty in Todmorden. Godfrey says that he was transported from his patrol car to an alien spacecraft on the 28th November that year. He had been tracking down some missing cows when he came across the UFO hovering five feet from the ground. When he attempted to radio for back-up, he found that it didn’t work, but he managed to sketch an image of the 20-foot wide diamond-shaped construction. Strangely, he lost between 15 and 25 minutes that hecannot account for during the incident, and he noticed he had split his boot and developed an itchy red mark on his foot. Godfrey underwent hypnotic regression and told a tale of small beings and a tall man with a long beard performing medical procedures on him. Since the incident, Godfrey has travelled the world giving lectures about his alien experience. He returned to Todmorden in 2014 to give a talk in aid of the Mayor’s charities and raised around £2,500.
Of course, we will never find definitive proof of any of these Yorkshire and Lancashire alien sightings, but they make for great stories, right? Just remember to take your camera everywhere you go, because it seems you never know when you might bump into a visitor from space in our fair counties!