A modern history of UFO sightings in northeast England

By Mark W Page, Grimsby Telegraph, Grimsby, UK on November 23rd, 2012
A modern history of UFO sightings in northeast England
A still from a video taken of a UFO seen hovering over Grimsby, UK, in October, 2003.
A still from a video taken of a UFO seen hovering over Grimsby, UK, in October, 2003.

The northern Lincolnshire region of England has a rich history of UFO sightings. The Grimsby Telegraph has published sighting reports from their readers (and the paper's reporters) who claim to have witnessed UFOs and even mysterious beings. Typically, many of the cases have been explained.  But, others remain unidentified.  The article features an interactive map highlighting some the area's more famous reports.- Editor

Have you ever seen something unusual in the skies over northern Lincolnshire? Over the years, dozens of people have contacted the Grimsby Telegraph to report strange sightings and close encounters.

Could they be military aircraft, rare meteorological phenomena or are they craft from other worlds?

Reports are listed in chronological order.

September 1956

On 22 September, the RAF station in Manby logged and observed, through telescope and radar, an 80ft in diameter UFO hovering at 54,000ft over Cleethorpes.

The spherical, glass-like object was visible for over an hour and only disappeared when it was approached by RAF aircraft.

September 1970

American exchange pilot Captain William Schaffner disappeared after allegedly making visual contact with a UFO whilst flying a Lightning F6 jet over the North Sea.

Adding to the mystery, the aircraft was found on the seabed with its canopy closed and pilot seat empty, thereby eliminating the possibility Captain Schaffner ejected before impact.

Two different versions of events emerged in the years which followed. One claims Captain Schaffner had joined an airborne investigation into an unidentified aircraft which was supposedly travelling at speeds of around 17,000mph between the Shetland Islands and Norway.

When Captain Schaffner, using the callsign Foxtrot 94, reached the object, it was alleged he saw a conical shape surrounded by light with a separate spherical, glass-like object nearby. The radar signals of the two objects then merged into one, hovering motionless over the sea, before one sped away at over 20,000mph.

A later account published by the Ministry of Defence offers a less sensational explanation. It states that Captain Schaffner was taking part in a Tactical Evaluation exercise on the night he disappeared. The 'UFO' was, in fact, a slow-moving RAF Shackleton which he was sent to shadow. Though experienced at interception exercises, Captain Schaffner had little training to prepare him for what was a hazardous task in the darkness. Flying dangerously low below the Shackleton, the aircraft hit the sea.

The mystery of the closed canopy is explained as being the result of a malfunctioning ejector seat. After hitting the sea, it is reported that Captain Schaffner opened the canopy manually to escape the sinking aircraft. However, he became separated from his emergency life support equipment and was lost at sea. The canopy closed as the hydraulic pressure decayed whilst the aircraft was sinking.

August 1997

A “cigar-shaped object” with “sharp, pointed wings” was spotted flying over the Humber Bridge. Reports stated that the UFO hovered low before moving away quickly. In February 2010, the government revealed that it was likely a light aircraft.

December 1997

A large bright light, which appeared to have a black triangular-shaped wing protruding from the side of it, was seen above the road between the Humber Bridge and the Barnetby Top roundabout.

The "light'' was seen flying low and at considerable speed across the road by two people travelling in a car.

Neither Humberside Police nor air traffic controllers at Humberside Airport could offer an explanation.

A spokesman for the Humber Coastguard said a call had been received that evening from someone who reported seeing something black going out to sea about five miles off the coast of Hornsea in East Yorkshire.

August 1999

A UFO was spotted over Scartho Fork. A vast glowing disc hovered over the roundabout and then sped upwards, according a Springfield Road resident.

He added that he had seen the object a total of five times.

He said: "The first time I saw the UFO, I was frightened. The disc gave off a warm red glow and then turned green.

"The disc spun off in to the night sky, moving this way and that in an apparently random way. Who knows where it was going.''

March 2000

A fruiterer on Grimsby’s Freeman Street thought he spotted an alien presence hovering in the sky above Willingham Street.

Tony Kelsey said he was almost embarrassed to admit seeing the UFO – but said he could not find any rational explanation for what he saw.

He and his niece were washing his car when a “really pure, white object” was clearly visible against the blue sky.

He said: “At first I thought it was an aircraft, but what drew my eye was the fact it was motionless. It stayed totally still.

“It was just so intriguing. It was unlike anything I have ever seen before. It stayed there for about three minutes then it faded away.”

March 2000

Reshi Kumar, a pupil at St James’ School in Grimsby spotted a UFO hovering over Freshney Place.

He was sitting in the back of a car stuck in traffic with his family when he spotted the object. The sighting came the evening after Grimsby fruiterer Tony Kelsey had spotted a similar phenomenon above Willingham Street.

Reshi said: “I noticed this really bright round light in the sky, it was hovering in the same position then it dropped really steeply and left a white line behind it.

“One minute it was there, the next it was gone, it was really weird.”

March 2000

A woman claimed to have been abducted by aliens at her home in Tetney on the same day UFOs were sighted over Grimsby.

Forty-year-old Elaine King, of Tetney Lock, said that at around 9.30am that morning she was transported from her bed to an alien spaceship that was constructed entirely of a steel-like material.

She explained: “I was in bed and felt myself getting weaker and weaker, like I was collapsing. The next thing I knew, I was in this corridor.”

While on board the alien ship she opened a door and was shocked to find a human male “spread-eagled” on a table, while aliens “peeled back his skin to look at his insides”.

“There was a female being, who was milky white and wearing some sort of wig, I think it was to try and make her look less frightening, and more human.

“She communicated to me, telling me not to worry about my cats and dog, that they would be looked after.

“She didn’t speak to me in words, just put these thoughts in my head. She didn’t scare me, I think she was trying to help,” said Miss King.

She said she thought she was going to die, but the next thing she knew she was back in her bed and only 11-and-a-half minutes had passed.

“I was so shocked to be back, I thought I was gone for good,” she said.

Miss King said she knew people would perceive her as “mad” but honestly believed it was a real abduction attempt.

April 2000

Grimsby Telegraph readers flooded the telephone lines with sightings of strange phenomena.

Cliff and Margaret Blyth, of Corn Mews, Cleethorpes, got the shock of their lives when an unidentified red ball hurtled towards their house and passed through Mr Blyth’s body.

Mrs Blyth was on the telephone when her husband shouted to at her to look through the window.

She said: ''I left the phone dangling as I saw a two-inch red ball of fire come through the window and pass through my husband's chest.

“We immediately lifted his shirt to see if it had left a mark, but there was nothing there.”

Mr Blyth said: “I’m too old to be scared, it didn’t hurt but we both saw it and my wife never drinks.”

October 2003

Steve Musson and his wife Caron spotted what they believe was a UFO "turning over and over in the sky" near Freeman Street in Grimsby.

The UFO was in the air above their Bodiam Way home for several minutes before Steve went inside and grabbed his video camera.

The footage showed an intriguing black object coming in and out of view and catching the light at regular intervals.

July 2004

Lit objects were seen swapping places and then darting off into the night sky above Grimsby.

One Highfield Avenue resident saw them over People’s Park.

He said: “I had just gone outside for a cigarette with a friend.

“He saw three lights and pointed them out to me. They were a few hundred feet up in the air.

“The lights were in a row and one of them was changing places.

“There was a slight humming noise and then they dashed off.

“They didn’t gradually disappear like a plane.”

“I’m not the sort of person to believe in UFOs but there can be no other explanation.”

September 2005

Ashby-cum-Fenby was visited by both a UFO and a large black cat, according to resident Keith Butters.

During one weekend, his CCTV camera caught images of a mysterious animal walking in a field near his house as well as an unidentified flash.

December 2006

A number of people reported seeing lights in the sky over the A16 between Grimsby and Louth.

The object was described as a streaking light with a trail like a shooting star and an orange-coloured afterglow.

One eyewitness said the object levelled off towards the North Sea and had a flashing strobe light which continued to move across the horizon at incredible speed.

Another resident also saw the mysterious lights but dismissed them as a meteor shower.

October 2008

Witnesses - including a Grimsby Telegraph reporter - spotted two "silver cigar-shaped objects" in the skies over Cleethorpes.

One of the UFOs - which the RAF could not explain - looked as though it was towing the other before they separated.

One witness said the objects "made absolutely no noise, nor did they leave any sort of trail like a plane".

January 2009

Conisholme received international media attention after a wind turbine was left severely damaged when it was allegedly hit by a mysterious craft.

Dozens of witnesses reported seeing flashing orange-coloured lights following the incident, with one resident describing the possible culprit as "a massive ball of light with tentacles going right down to the ground".

Manufacturer Enercon later released a report suggesting the £1m turbine had suffered mechanical failure causing one of its 65ft blades to break off.

March 2009

Two people saw “protractor-shaped” flashes in the sky. Three others spotted a multi- coloured flashing object hovering in the sky above Grimsby’s Grafton Street.

October 2009

Telegraph readers debated whether strange lights seen in the skies over Scartho were the result of Chinese Lanterns, the harvest moon, or an alien visitation.

September 2010

A second appeal for sightings was printed in the Telegraph, following initial reports of “strange red aircraft lights” near Tetney earlier in the week.

The story followed an e-mail from another reader who said they had “possibly just seen two UFOs travelling in an easterly direction over Fulstow village, heading towards the North Cotes area”.

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