What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book? It’s a question put to me recently at the Goodreads website and it brought to mind an incident from the past.
Years ago, a seemingly bizarre incident occurred in West Lothian, the next county along from my home. It caught my attention and I followed the news reports with fascination. A local man had reported an alien encounter that involved his being overcome and rendered unconscious. The cynical might immediately have filed it under the too much to drink and late home without a good reason category. However, the events occurred during the working day, there was no drink involved, and there appeared to be evidence to corroborate the man’s claim.
At the time, the event made news all around the globe and caused quite a buzz, but as with all news, it quickly faded from the headlines. Nonetheless, it remained an intriguing incident. Many years later, I revisited it as a documentary producer. Sceptic I may be, but having done the research there did appear to be something of a mystery underlying the incident.
It was the only such event in the UK ever to have been investigated by the police as a crime, which immediately set it apart from other reports. I spent a lot of time trawling through the archives to get a proper handle on the event. Then more time tracking down those involved – which was not easy so long after the event.
Eventually, persistence paid off. I managed to secure access to all the key people involved: the police investigator, the police forensic scientist, the doctor and a number of others including the victim’s work colleagues and most importantly the victim himself. As the contributors’ evidence was assessed, it gradually became apparent that unlike many other such claims this story had some real substance to it.
The incident is explored in a standard 30-minute documentary programme and I posted a version on YouTube a while back – having first split it into three episodes to work round YouTube’s 10-minute play length restriction.
Here are the YouTube links to the three parts of the documentary:
Do watch the programme and draw your own conclusions. All I know is each person involved on the day of the incident was entirely convincing during our extended interviews, and they were certain that something inexplicable had happened that day. None of the contributors had anything to gain from what they said during the interviews and all were respected members of their communities and professions.
So, that incident is certainly a big mystery and while you’ll need to make up your own mind about the balance of probabilities, it undoubtedly represents the core around which a good and perhaps quite frightening plot could be built.
There’s another related mystery that offers an entirely different plot theme, which some might consider equally as sinister. At the time of making the programme, I wrote to the Ministry of Defence with a freedom of information request about the incident. Yes, the MOD actually had a UFO recording and investigation section.
The MOD wrote back to say they had neither records nor knowledge of the incident. Really? This incident featured in all the newspapers, headlined on the radio and television news and uniquely was the subject of a full-scale police investigation. Really? The MOD had simply missed it? Particularly odd when you consider the incident took place just a few miles from key defence assets such as the British Army’s then Scottish Division HQ, and the Royal Navy’s Rosyth Naval Base. It happened at the height of the Cold War, at that time anything odd occurring around such facilities was necessarily logged and monitored. That the MOD had no record of the incident was a mystery within a mystery.
I don’t understand what triggered the initial event, though having met the people involved and thereafter devoted many weeks to study the interview tapes and supporting evidence, I am quite sure all the contributors told the truth, as they understood it – it really is a mystery.
As for the MOD having no knowledge of the incident? It’s just as inexplicable, and almost as impossible to understand, unless some files are too sensitive even to acknowledge they exist. Perhaps there are secret files kept outside the filing system in a place where they can never be unearthed by inquisitive researchers. In any event, one thing is certain, the MOD must have learnt of the incident at that time. Why they chose not to log it or where they actually logged it, and why it appears to remain too secret to acknowledge, only the Ministry of Defence knows.