Forget Mulder and Scully — welcome to the Isle of Wight X Files

By Jon Moreno and Emily Gibson

Monday, February 8, 2016

 

Forget Mulder and Scully — welcome to the Isle of Wight X Files

Forget the X Files – the Isle of Wight is home to plenty of unexplained phenomena.

HIT sci-fi TV series The X Files returns to British screens tonight (Monday) and to mark its return, we’ve taken a look back into the County Press archive to re-examine some of the Isle of Wight’s weird tales.

Seven years after their big screen outing left fans thinking that was the end, FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) will be back to investigate mysteries on Channel 5, at 8pm, in their tenth series.

Sadly the pair have never made it to the Isle of Wight, but it they ever did, there would be plenty to keep them busy.

Here are just a few of the more unusual sightings reported by Islanders to the County Press over the years.

Cowes Airport. July 27, 1950

The first detailed event to be reported on the Island was at the former Cowes Airport on July 27, 1950.

Ex-RAF pilot Capt Jessop spotted a Gloster Meteor jet sweeping south at 8,000ft, followed by a brilliant white oval-shaped light above it at 20,000ft, scorching across the sky, as he taxied his own aircraft on the runway.

"It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s speed was fantastic — doing at least 2,000mph," he said.

Believe

Ryde. July, 1961

Clare Taylor, of Ryde, with her mother, reported a UFO sighting in July 1961. Miss Taylor, who was interviewed on local television, described the UFO as a 'disc craft’, which they saw hovering low over trees as they looked out towards The Solent just after midnight.

It began with a row of lights above the horizon, rapidly getting nearer, which Miss Taylor and her mother initially believed was the Saunders-Roe N1 hovercraft on trials.

The UFO was uncommonly silent and it eventually hung almost at eye level over trees.

Miss Taylor said she could see its dome-like structure, lit up by a row of five porthole lights, which, from its underside, emanated a red, furnace-like glow, which lit up the tops of the trees, before it flew off at 'vertiginous’ speed.

"One moment it was there and the next instant it was going away in the direction from which it came, like a shooting star," she said.

She said all that remained in its wake was an expanding, luminous ring of smoke, leaves and debris that rose and hung above the trees for several minutes.

Intelligence

Niton. Autumn, 1964

On one autumn morning in 1964, a Niton farmer reported a large, mysterious 5ft hole in his field — its sides clean and sharp, which bent sharply and dropped a further 10ft, without evidence of any vehicle being around it, said investigators.

It was as though the mass of dirt and stones had been sucked cleanly from the ground by a device suspended above the hole.

Investigators came to the conclusion a UFO may have been dropped low enough to collect a sample of earth.

Light sabre

Whippingham. July 1967

Experts in the paranormal descended on Whippingham in July 1967, after two boys saw a 37ft-wide UFO flying low, which had then hovered near their school.

During a six-week investigation, civil aviation officials said they were 'at a loss’ as to what caused a 12ft swathe of flattened barley, where the boys said the object had been, together with other puzzling crop formations from the scene down to the River Medina, almost a mile away.

Handshake

Adgestone. 1975

Farmer Tom Reynolds was stunned to see a brightly lit and silent object, 100ft long and 30ft wide, appear very low over his buildings at Adgestone Farm one evening in 1975. He claimed it travelled towards Brading, at a height no more than 150ft, before it dipped down and disappeared from view.

Photos

Ryde. Spring 1976

In Ryde, at another former airfield, there was another unusual but detailed night sighting in the spring of 1976.

It was just after 10.30pm when former Royal Navy serviceman David Spicer and his wife noticed a strange, bright light, silent and triangular in shape, hanging 2,000ft above the airport tower.

As they puzzled over what it could have been, it made a sudden movement and rocketed into a vertical climb.

At the top of the climb, the UFO — a black mass with red lights around its perimeter — hovered momentarily before it banked and flashed back towards the startled couple, who claimed it bore no similarity to conventional aircraft but flew in a controlled manner.

flying cat

Godshill. September 1976

In September 1976, Pan estate residents saw and heard the hum of a formation of grey, oval discs in broad daylight.

Nurse Shirley Rimmer, an eyewitness who saw the objects suddenly accelerate away over houses, said: "The sound was incredible — like deep thunder. It was terrifying. The whole area trembled as though an earthquake had hit us. The sound was like the chiming of church bells."

Fellow witness, Tim Woodward, said: "The roar as they passed overhead shook my house so violently I dashed outside to see what was happening.

"From the garden, I saw five discs streaking towards Godshill at lightning speed. They stopped and held station over Godshill for a few moments before shooting off out to sea."

Mulder pen throw

Shanklin. December 23, 1993
There was an independent probe into UFO sightings after reports of UFO's in the Shanklin area. Mainland investigators of the paranormal called for Island witnesses. Among them was Christopher Harrington of the Havant-based Southern Paranormal investigations, who said there had been a number of reports of sightings over the Island from people living on Hayling Island. 

Bad internet

Across the Island. October 13, 1996

On October 13, 1996, three Island residents came forward to record their sightings of what was seemingly the same UFO.

At 5.30am, a woman reported seeing a large, glowing orange light from her Shanklin home, heading towards The Solent.

An hour later, Richard Cattle, who was in Hunnyhill, Newport, saw a large, silent, pulsating ball of white light.

Interviewed at the time, he said: "It appeared on the horizon north of me. At first, I thought it was a planet still visible in the morning light, but soon dismissed the idea when it drew nearer. It passed over the Island from north west to south east at high altitude.

"I discovered two other people I had never met before, one from Ryde and the other, Shanklin, saw the same object that morning."

Mr Cattle, of Niton, has been documenting UFO phenomena over the Island ever since, weeding out the genuine witnesses.

"Over the years, I’ve looked at the UFO enigma on the Island. For some reason, certain areas are more prone to strange objects in the sky than others, particularly the kite-shaped UFO and white triangle that makes a ghostly appearance in our skies now and again," he said.

Cat gone

Across the Island. January 28, 2008 

The last 'big’ sighting over the Isle of Wight came in January 2008, in which a number of Islanders spotted strange lights in the night sky from a silent, low-flying, brightly lit craft.The County Press first ran a story after former RAF technician, Frank Webb, reported his sighting over Newport, when walking along Terrace Road with his wife. 

"I saw these very bright lights coming towards us, from east to west. They were unusually bright. It had no engine or landing lights and it wasn’t losing height, so it had got its power from somewhere." 

Others came forward and the County Press was inundated with calls.

Among them was Barry Holland, who was cleaning at Calbourne Classics, near Shalfleet.

He said: "I’m not saying it was little green men from Mars but it was an object in the sky I couldn’t identify."

Cats

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