UFOs Over Scotland

by Charles Lear

In listings of top UFO hot spots around the world, the small town of Bonnybridge, Scotland is frequently included.  Bonnybridge lies within an area known as “The Falkirk Triangle” which is described variously from being a large area defined by lines drawn between Edinbugh in the east, Glasgow in the west and Stirling in the north to a smaller triangle formed by three roads: the M8, the M9 and the M80.  The area has a history of many sightings and episodes that were exceedingly strange and the citizenry of the town of Bonnybridge has petitioned a succession of British Prime Ministers for an explanation.

Notoriety first came to the area in 1979 with the November 9, encounter in Dechmont Woods in Livingston, West Lothian by Robert Taylor.  Taylor was a forester and was on his rounds at 10:30 AM in the company truck with Lara, his Irish Setter.  According to him, he went into a section just south of the M8, got out of his truck and walked down a path with the dog for about 700 yards.  In a clearing, he came upon an object hovering around 50 feet in the air that was dome-shaped with a flange around its base that had cross-shaped objects projecting from it.  As he watched it, with his dog barking excitedly, different sections would fade out, revealing the trees behind them, and then fade back in.  Then, two objects that looked like WWII sea mines with about six spikes sticking out of them fell from the bottom of the craft and hit the ground with a thud.  They then rolled towards Taylor and each object used a projectile to grab him at the hips and pulled him.  Taylor described an acrid smell and then losing consciousness.  When he came to, the objects were gone but there were indentations in the ground and marks similar to caterpillar tracks.  He had a grazed forehead and chin and his heavy-duty work pants were ripped at each hip.  He went to his truck to radio back to the office but found he couldn’t speak.  Taylor then started the truck and ended up backing into a ditch, which forced him to walk the quarter mile to his house in the town of Deans. His wife was alarmed by his muddy and disheveled appearance and he told her he was “attacked by a spaceship” which she, naturally, didn’t believe.  Mrs. Taylor phoned a doctor who examined Mr. Taylor and found nothing wrong with him as far as any kind of brain or sensory issues.  The doctor suggested he go to a hospital for further tests and Taylor did so but left after becoming impatient while waiting to be seen.  Mrs. Taylor had also called Robert’s boss, Malcolm Drummond, who came to the house and listened to Taylor’s story.  Drummond knew Taylor to be an honest man and making up such a strange tale would have been quite out of character for him.  The case was reported to the police who investigated it as an assault case.  The “crime-scene” was cordoned off and evidence was recorded.  Significantly, the tracks that looked like caterpillar tracks showed no signs of an entrance or an exit.  There were also drag marks that supported the story of Taylor being grabbed and pulled. Taylor’s pants were subjected to forensic analysis in Edinburgh and the examiner determined that they were torn by something mechanical.  The dog, meanwhile, would never leave the house, even to relieve itself, for months afterwards.  In 2018, the West Lothian Council created a UFO trail in the woods to commemorate the event.

   One of the first to investigate the case was fellow Scot, Malcolm Robinson.   Robinson had formed the research group Strange Phenomenon Investigations that year and this was the then, 22 year-old researcher’s first big case.  He thought all cases would be like this one but has since appreciated it for its uniqueness.

Robinson investigated another of Scotland’s most famous encounters, which is known as the A-70 incident.  According to the initial report, on the night of August 17, 1992, two men, Garry Wood and Colin Wright were traveling from Edinburgh to the small village of Tarbrax 15 miles away.  Wood was driving and as they came around a curve near Haperrig Reservoir, Wright looked up and saw a large two-tiered object, approximately 30 feet in diameter, 20 feet above the ground, in front of the car.  Wright brought it to Woods attention and rather than stop, Woods accelerated in an attempt to go under the object.  As they passed under, a curtain of silvery, shimmering light came down from the craft and the men blacked out for what seemed like seconds.  When they regained consciousness, the car was shuddering and veering wildly and Woods managed to regain control.  They reached their destination and realized they had lost more than an hour and a half.  Wood contacted Robinson who, after hearing their story, suggested hypnotic regression and it was during subsequent sessions that the men recounted what is now, a typical abduction story.

The story has since become confused.  The above account was taken from a 1998 book, “ UFO Scotland” by Ron Halliday and was repeated by Robinson in his 2017 book, ”UFO Case Files of Scotland  (Volume 1)” but since then, the date has been changed in many internet accounts to August 27 and the car has been reported as facing the opposite direction when the men came to.  The car discrepancy turned up in a recently released 1996 Ministry of Defense report and the date change is likely due to cut-and-paste passing of bad information via the internet.

An exceedingly strange and controversial sighting was reported near the town of Newton in the county of Fife.  This case was first investigated by researcher, Tony Dodd, who became newsworthy himself for his 1978 North Yorkshire, England encounter as a police officer on-duty.  Dodd published an abbreviated account of the Fife incident in UFO Magazine and after its publication the four witnesses (who didn’t want their names used) declined further interviews.  Fortunately, Malcolm Robinson was able to get two witnesses to agree to a taped interview and he published the results of his inquiry in Flying Saucer Review with additional details.

According to Robinson, on the night of September 23, 1996, at just after 8:00 PM, Mary Morrison, along with her son Peter and her friend Jane (pseudonyms) left her farmhouse in her car and drove towards town to buy some coffee and cigarettes.  On the way, they saw a huge white light, stationary in the air above them.  Mary stopped the car and all got out to better observe.  Then, two beams of light shot down and spiraled around each other and then switched off.  The group now saw that the source of the lights was a large triangle, which made a slow, silent turn and moved away from them.  Mary felt compelled to wave and in response, the triangle flashed three times.

The trio continued on their journey and made it to the store.  There, besides buying the coffee and cigarettes, Mary thought to pick up a copy of UFO Magazine, which was published by the organization, Quest International, in order to find a phone number to report their sighting.  On the way back home, either the same or another object came towards them at high speed.  Peter began to cry and the object reversed direction and left.  When they got home Mary found a number in the magazine for researcher Larry Dean of SKYSEARCH and left a message to send some researchers as soon as possible.  The trio told Jane’s daughter about the sighting and convinced her to come with them to the site.  On the way they saw “hundreds” of star-like, lights sparkling low in the sky.  They then noticed a bright white light on the ground beside a group of trees on the other side of a plowed field and a blue glow within the trees that went up from the ground into the sky.  They drove down a dirt road to get closer.  Now the blue light was spinning and was joined by red and green lights like a laser show and Mary described that “were all moved to tears” by the beauty of the spectacle.

Mary then goes on to relate that once they stopped being distracted by the lights they could make out hundreds of small humanoid beings carrying cubes and cylinders coming and going from a triangular structure and that a larger being seemed to be directing them.  They went to Jane’s house and got binoculars and returned to watch the scene in better detail and were then chased out by something like a cocoon containing hundreds of creatures.

They had been told by Tony Dodd to be on the lookout for unusual marks on their bodies and the three women found bruises while the boy found none.  The boy, however would encounter a small, floating, white being with lots of teeth looking at him and a friend through his bedroom window a month after the incident and later, saw it again in the bathroom standing next to him and then it vanished as he watched.

This case caused a lot of controversy and infighting among researchers and Robinson addressed the controversy in a lengthy article.  Of interest is that Robinson was alerted to the case by Garry Woods who was listed by Robinson as one of the investigators.

  Bonnybridge came to international attention as a “hotspot” during a high number of reports between the years, 1992 and 1996.  In January of 1992, James Walker reported he noticed a hovering cross-shaped pattern of lights that became triangular as he watched.  A better-known incident was reported in March by a family, that included Steven Slogett, his wife, Isabella and daughter, Carole.  At around 7:00 PM they watched a circle of light that appeared to land in a field.  They walked on and came upon a football-sized blue light.  A door opened as the light emitted a howl and the family left in a hurry.  The reports increased and many citizens turned to Councilman, William “Billy” Buchanan who listened to them seriously.  Buchanan relayed reports to the media and Halliday argues in his book that the media fueled the reports and the reports refueled the media in an upward spiral.  The attention became international and the situation became farcical when it was reported that there was to be a meeting at Falkirk Town Hall where a message from an alien named, “Zal-us” would be revealed.  The hall had, reportedly, been booked by Buchanan, who denied doing so and any knowledge of Zal-us.  Buchanan remained un-swayed by any ridicule sent his way and continued to petition Britain’s Prime Ministers for an answer to the sightings beginning with John Major in 1992.   Buchanan continues to this day and has been helped from the beginning by that most ubiquitous of men when it comes to Scottish UFOs, Malcolm Robinson.

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