This page - www.ufos.me.uk - describes a sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) near the village of Whixley, near York in North Yorkshire, England, on the 24th May 1977. There were several people in the area who watched this object as it hovered and then flew away at high speed.
I was travelling northwards by car through the village of Cattal in the direction of the village of Whixley at around 8:50pm on 24th May 1977. In the car with me was my girlfriend, Margaret Hornby. We had been out for a drive and were returning to her home in a nearby village - we had not been drinking. It was an extremely clear day with no clouds and a very clear blue sky. It was still daylight, although dusk was approaching.
As we drove over the steeply inclined bridge into Cattal, we both simultaneously caught sight of something in eh distance that we felt was unusual. We both saw a strange pink hazy glow in the sky, at a slight angle from vertical. We lost sight of it after crossing the bridge as the houses in Cattal obscured our view.
Once we travelled north out of Cattal we got a clear view of the object over the fields in front and slightly to the left of us. We drove along the road slowly, watching the object as it hovered, and then stopped and got out of the car for a better view, (other people had also stopped to watch it). The object was to the NNW of us. It is difficult to be precise about distance, but I believe it was about a mile away and at least 2500ft from the ground (see map for estimated positions).
The most visible thing was the jet of pink vapour coming down at about 5 degrees from vertical from the object. I tried to rationalise what the object could logically be. The nearest comparison with any known man-made aircraft would be a Harrier, but this object was not a Harrier - it was not shaped like a jet aircraft with a sharp nose and prominent triangular tail. It appeared to be shaped like a low dome - very much like the “flying saucer” clip art at the top corner of this page.
We stood by the car for a few minutes and watched as the object hovered, keeping a fairly constant height, but moving slightly. It then started flying in our direction, maintaining the same height and moving at a moderate speed, (slightly faster than a light plane, est 200mph). As it passed directly above us, heading towards Tockwith, it was clearly circular - reinforcing the “flying saucer” shape. It made no sound. It was a still quiet evening and we would have heard an aircraft’s engines.
After it had passed overhead, it made a manoeuvre that confirmed in my mind that this was not any known man-made aircraft. It accelerated from an estimated 200mph to an extraordinarily high speed in less than a second and quickly disappeared into the distance. The speed would have been well in excess of 1,000mph, yet there was no sonic boom, still no sound at all.
The following day I decided that I should report the UFO sighting to the local police. At the time I was working as an accountant at Appleyard’s car dealership in Harrogate and I phoned from work - within 15 minutes there were two policemen in my office! The officers gave me a fairly thorough interrogation until they were convinced that I had not fabricated the story and that I had a clear image of what I had seen. They wanted to be certain I had not mistaken the sighting for a Harrier. They then proceeded to tell me that there had been a number of recent sightings in the area (including by police officers) although, amazingly, nobody else had reported the one near Whixley the day before.
After the police had left, word of my UFO sighting quickly spread around the 100 or so employees at Appleyards. A girl from the parts department came to see me and told me that her brother had seen something similar to myself, to the north west of the Plompton area (a few miles south of Harrogate), between 8:30 and 9:00pm the evening before. This was probably the same one I saw.
The day after (26th May) further sightings were reported in the Yorkshire Post newspaper - see attached clipping - indicating that there was an unusually high amount of activity in the area.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Roger Crowther. I was 22 at the time of the sighting - 25 years ago as I write this. I have always had a keen interest in all forms of transport, including aircraft, but have never been interested in science fiction. I have been aware of UFO sightings being reported previously and have always had an open mind about this - I was prepared to accept to possibility that in this vast universe there may be another intelligent species that could be more advanced than ourselves. My view on this is now confirmed. I consider myself to be mature rational person. I had a clear view of what I saw, accompanied by a witness who saw exactly the saw thing, and we both considered all rational alternatives. We clearly saw an Unidentified Flying Object, one that had characteristics which were beyond the known technology of this planet.
© Roger Crowther 2002