UPDATED 21ST JANUARY 2015
Bonnybridge is a small Scottish town, about twenty miles north of Glasgow, just west of Falkirk. This unassuming little part of Scotland has become known as the world’s top UFO hotspot. This place has had so many occurrences of UFOs, and even reports of alien abduction, it has earned the name “The Falkirk Triangle” or “The Bonnybridge Triangle”. Every year there are approximately 300 sightings, with 1 in 3 residents claiming to have witnessed a UFO. In more recent years, things have calmed down a little.
Some of the stories do indeed sound like tall tales, possibly brought on by mass hysteria, but there are some that defy explanation and are much more disturbing in nature. Literally thousands of residents in this area of Scotland have come forward as witnesses to report what they regard as being unlike any conventional aircraft or astronomical phenomenon. If an object in the sky cannot be identified it must be classed as unidentified. Obviously. What that means takes much more research, and investigators never jump to any conclusions. However, the term “UFO” does not automatically mean alien. 95% of sightings turn out to be explainable, but there are a small amount that continue to baffle ufologists.
One of the earliest reported incidents in Scotland was in 1976, when a 10 year old girl, Karen, claimed she was abducted in woods near her home in Meigle, Fife. She said she saw strange blue creatures, before being lifted into a spacecraft and examined. The little girl grew up to be a social worker, and sticks to her story to this day.
On 9th November 1979. Forestry worker, Bob Taylor, discovered a large circular craft in woodland known as Dechmont Law, near Livingstone. As he approached it, he said that two circular objects which resembled WWII naval mines, dropped from the craft and rolled towards him. He said these objects then attached themselves to his trousers and tried to drag him towards the craft. There was an acrid smell which made him choke and then he was waking up on the ground, trousers ripped and legs cut and bruised.
Police investigated this incident, and found ladder-shaped imprints on the ground, as well as marks that backed up Bob’s story that he had been dragged along the ground. The police were unable to solve the mystery and the file remains open.
In 1989, a fire crew were attending a fire at Gradrum Moss, when a red object appeared hovering in the distance. It came towards the fire engine and then flew off west. A second object appeared. It was white and hovered above Loch Ellrig, at a distance of about twenty feet from the witnesses. It then rushed towards them before veering away at the last minute. A third object passed overhead. Strange Phenomena Investigations founder, Malcolm Robinson took on the case.
SPI founder, ufologist and author
The first sighting in the Bonnybridge area was in 1992. A well-known local businessman, James Walker, was driving along the back road from Falkirk to Bonnybridge. He was stopped by a bright object hovering over the road, blocking his path. He sat and watched it for 10 minutes before it flew off at tremendous speed.
The same year, the Sloggett family were walking towards Bonnybridge when they saw a circle of light ahead of them. The light appeared to land in a nearby field. They kept walking, but were then stopped by a football-sized blue light hovering in the road in front of them. When the craft in the field appeared to open, the family began to run. One of the objects followed them. It eventually gave up, but they didn’t stop running until they reached home!
Councillor Billy Buchanan put an advert in the local paper, asking for anyone else who had seen anything to come forward. The response was astonishing. 300 people came to him with reported sightings, his phone was ringing constantly at all hours and he had sackfuls of letters from concerned residents.
Amongst the calls Buchanan received was one from Malcolm Robinson. Together the two of them organised a public meeting in the Norwood Hotel, Bonnybridge in February 1993. Councillor Buchanan recalled that he had expected about 50 people, but couldn’t have been more astonished when 400 people turned up, crammed into the room, with many more outside who couldn’t get in. Many were saying they had seen things but didn’t want to speak up for fear of ridicule. Bear in mind, this is a town of only about 6000 residents! With 300 sightings reported each year, there has now been literally thousands of reports from approximately a third of all residents.
One of Buchanan’s own sightings, I have to say, sounds to me suspiciously like a meteor shower. However, I find it interesting that the location is near a petrochemical plant and power station. This seems to be a recurring theme in many of the stories, and as a trained investigator, one has to look at every possible, likely and rational angle. At the edge of the field where Councillor Buchanan and his friends witnessed “an hour long display of rushing lights” there are three transmitter masts. A sign on the fence surrounding them reads “Warning: Strong Radio Frequency Fields Exist in Certain Areas of this Transmitting Site. If you have a cardiac pacemaker or bones repaired by metal/plastic bone implant you must report this fact to reception on your arrival”. Now, that’s a pretty strong warning….
Many other sightings have been reported from this location and it is not a new theory to suggest that electricity from the masts or balls of gas from the petrochemical plant are responsible for these experiences, perhaps enhancing objects that the observer would usually find perfectly explainable.
In an earlier article I mentioned the case of Garry Wood and Colin Wright. The former, I had the pleasure of meeting one night, at an SPI meeting in Stirling. Then again, last October (2014) at the Stirling Paranormal Festival. Their experience is quite disturbing. It was 1992. Garry and Colin were driving back along the A70 towards Tarbrax late one night. Close to the Harperrig Reservoir, the car turned a corner and in front of them, about 20 feet in the air, was a black disc. They decided the best thing would be to drive underneath it, at which point the car was showered with “silvery snowflakes”. All went dark. A few seconds later the car shuddered violently and the object had vanished. The men drove on, but when they arrived at their destination they were 90 minutes late. 90 minutes that they could not account for. A few nights later they both began having nightmares, and discovered marks on their body that they could not explain. They enlisted the help of Malcolm Robinson. Under hypnosis, an abduction story surfaced, but as a hypnotherapist – as I said before with regards to hypnotic regression – this evidence must be dismissed as there is always the possibility of false memory syndrome. This is not an evidence-based technique and is by no means a secure means of establishing truth. This, of course, was explained to the men by Robinson beforehand, but they decided to give it a try. They were regressed separately, and did recall the same information about being taken aboard the craft and examined. Having met Garry Wood, all I can say is that he believes he saw something that night. His fear and anger, when I met him approximately twenty years ago, were genuine. Nowadays, he seems much happier. I believe they did have some kind of experience that night. I don’t know what, though. I don’t blame him for his initial fear and anger. He was ridiculed to the point of silence. Both he and Colin keep out the lime-light and do not encourage publicity.
Malcolm Robinson, who investigated the A70 incident, gives a full account in this interview, which includes a reconstruction of the event. Malcolm describes the two men as “honest and sincere”. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Colin Wright, but, having met Garry Wood, I would have no hesitation in agreeing with this description of him.
Again, in 1992, Neil Malcolm ran into his house. He was traumatised, his face white. He told his brother, Craig, that whilst driving down the road an object in the sky approach him and lit up the car. The two brothers ran outside and there was a light floating above their house. Craig and other members of his family have since seen many strange lights, particularly in the area of Wester Glen.
In 1994, three cleaners on their way to work, saw five UFOs. When they got to work other colleagues reported also seeing flashing lights and orange orbs in the sky that morning.
The same year, William Bestall gave another eye-witness account of strange goings-on in the area. He kept hand-written notes of all that he witnessed. He and his wife Mabel saw what they described as a circular illuminated wheel rotating, going forward and reversing on a straight trajectory path over the high-rise flats in Camelon. Bestall was a sceptic. He attempted to think of some rational explanation, but could only come up with the possibility that the TV transmitter masts in the area might have something to do with it. In any case, the object disappeared over the horizon at a speed “far beyond the limits of any aircraft”.
Five months later, whilst visiting friends, they all saw the object again. Bestall had his friends sign that they had seen it too. Then on January 12th 1995 William got up at 5.30am to go to the bathroom. He looked out of the lounge window and immediately got Mabel to come and see what was outside. They saw a circular light spinning on the horizon, and then smaller discs going round the bigger one. They then seemed to fly off south, out of sight. The Bestalls had been reluctant to mention their sightings until a local nurse came forward with a similar report, and William decided to back her story up with his own sightings.
In 1995, Vera Prosser (then 49), her husband Myles and daughter Heather were travelling along a road just outside Falkirk, on their way to a local garage to buy a lottery ticket. They described being on the road which passed the old Rechem Plant: “We were driving along and we saw what looked like a headlamp in the field, like it was on full beam. We slowed down, and as we were looking at it, it started to come nearer”. They slowed the car right down to 10 mph as the object got closer and closer. Suddenly it was right above their car. The lights from it were blazing through the sunroof, and 13 year old Heather began screaming “Get out of here! Get out of here!”.
Vera carries on:
“I looked up through the sunroof and I could see this thick silvery wire round the bottom of this thing, all twisted together like the cables on the Forth Bridge – that’s what it made me think of, this heavy wire just above the top of the car, and all this light. It was wider than the car, and it just sat there about six feet above us, and it was pure silent, no sound at all – that’s how we knew it wasn’t an aeroplane or anything. Then suddenly it just shot off; it skiffed over the grass really, really fast and went over towards the pylons,’ continues Vera. I just put my foot down – I felt like we were going at 90 – and I was never so pleased to see streetlights as when we got to the bridges by Camelon.”
The family were extremely upset. Myles was shaking, Heather and Vera both in tears. By the time Vera got to Councillor Buchanan’s house she was very upset, but nevertheless she felt she had to report it.
In 1997, Councillor Billy Buchanan was reported to have described the story of a man he had known all his life. This anonymous man came to him with an almost unbelievable tale of an alien abduction. In tears, the man described being forced to ejaculate into some kind of substance.
In 2004, a number of locals reported a cigar-shaped craft landing on a local golf course.
In 2009, a man from Banknock was having a cigarette out his skylight when he saw what he at first thought was a star. It was bright orange. Then he saw another. Neither of them appeared to have navigation lights. Then a third appeared, and he shouted for his wife to bring the camera. He managed to capture one of the objects on film.
Nick Pope, who ran the government’s UFO project at the MOD between 1991 and 1994 believed there were something to a few of the claims, some of which were reported by police officers or pilots, and some of which were captured on radar.
With the MOD issuing a statement that “There is nothing happening in Bonnybridge that is a threat to national security.” Well, that tells me one thing. The MOD has to know what it is, to know for sure that it is no threat to national security. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work that one out.
There have been many theories over the years. Ron Halliday of Stirling University, believes that the sightings are glimpses into another dimension.
It is interesting to me that there are many chemical companies in this area. I mentioned Rechem earlier, which the Prosser family passed just before their close encounter. Rechem was a company that dealt with toxic waste.
Grangemouth. Don’t try to tell me that crap being pumped into our atmosphere isn’t having some kind of effect.
Furthermore, close by and within the triangle is Grangemouth, which has a huge petrochemical industry. Very intriguingly, one of the things manufactured at Grangemouth is something called Ethylene. In fact, there is actually an Ethylene pipeline which runs from Grangemouth to Wilton, 250 km away in the Scottish borders.
Grangemouth to Wilton Ethylene Pipeline.
Why is this of interest? Well, because during my time studying ancient Greek classics, one of my research subjects was magic, religion, ritual and esoteric practices of ancient civilisations. I was fascinated by the story of the Delphic Oracle, the Pythia, a succession of priestesses who figured prominently in Greek culture for over a thousand years. Plutarch (1st c CE) described how she would enter a small chamber and inhale a sweet-smelling vapour from fissures in the mountain before entering a trance. From here she would give answers to those who sought her wisdom. Other texts also mention mysterious vapours at the temple of Delphi. Findings from geological and chemical analyses support the view that she may have been inhaling ethylene gas as part of the ceremony.
Priestess of Delphi by John Collier
In the early 2000s, Jelle Z. de Boer of Wesleyan University found, amongst other gases, ethylene trapped in a limestone stalactite deposited by an ancient spring. They found this gas in other ancient springs too, and as anyone interested in the subject will probably already know, there were many holy wells and springs in ancient times. What made them places of spirituality? It would seem intoxicating gases played a major part.
Ethylene is a potent, potentially fatal, gas. It is effective as an anaesthetic and produces euphoria as well as exciting the nervous system. It also has a sweet smell, like the gas Plutarch mentioned in his account. Clearly, as in the case of the Delphic Oracle, it can also produce visions.
I went to Delphi in 2004, and even if the vapours have long gone, there is something – just something – about that place. It feels spiritual. It feels magical. There is an atmosphere there I have never experienced anywhere else. I felt a sense of being in a very light altered state, and that was before I had researched all this. I suppose this is what others might be feeling in certain other areas of important past events e.g. in Rendlesham Forest people report feeling a weirdness to this day. It was because of how it made me feel that I decided to read more on the subject, and my findings are the inspiration for my unfinished book “Finding Delphi”.
I can’t say that ethylene is a cause of the experiences of Bonnybridge residents, but I do think it ought to be considered as one possible explanation of some of the experiences. Maybe, somewhere underground there is a leak. Maybe Ron Halliday is right. If ethylene intoxication is a possibility, perhaps it shows us a window into another dimension, as the ancient Greeks thought at Delphi. Things have calmed down from the 1990s, where they reached a peak. Perhaps a leak has been fixed. Perhaps the experiment, if there was one, is over. Who knows?
Grangemouth, incidentally, also has an Air Training Corps Squadron, 1333 (Grangemouth) Squadron (located at the TA Centre in Central Avenue), an Army Cadet Detachment (also in Central Avenue) and a Sea and Marine cadet corps at Grangemouth Docks. There is, therefore, a lot of military activity in the area – something else to consider when researching this subject. The military do seem to show up wherever there are UFOs…..
*Updated news stories on Grangemouth (1/10/14)
Ineos buys fracking rights around Grangemouth and Firth of Forth – click here for full story.
Gas leak at Grangemouth oil refinery sparks major emergency alert – click here for full story.
*Updated news stories on Falkirk objections to unconventional and risky gases being extracted in the local area (2/10/14)
- Falkirk Against Unconventional Gas – No Risky Gas in Falkirk – click here to read more and sign the online objection letter.
Until next time. Your friend, A.D.
Dedicated to a man called Andy Y., who introduced me to this subject back in the early 1990s.
I am cutting down on the amount of blogs I write. At the moment, I can usually manage fortnightly. However, to allow me to carry on with my studies, as well as writing my books, “Hex in the City” will soon become a monthly blog. I heartily thank everyone for their continued support, which has been overwhelmingly positive. I absolutely love writing these articles and have no intention of stopping completely! Please feel free to forward any of my articles to other forums and do follow me on whichever site you like best, be that WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Tumblr. Or all of them! Take a browse round the site and read extracts from some of my books. If you like what I write about, you can find me on Amazon too!
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Broad W. “Fumes and visions were not a myth for Oracle at Delphi”. NYTimes.com. Mar 19, 2002.
Ball P. “Oracle’s secret fault found”. Nature.com. Jul 17, 2001.
Author Unknown. “Oracle of Delphi – high on ethylene?”. National Post. Jul 25, 2000.
Foster J, Lehoux D. “The delphic oracle and the ethylene-intoxication hypothesis”. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2007;45(1):85-9.
Lehoux D. “Drugs and the Delphic Oracle”. Classical World. 2007 Fall;101(1):41-56.