The events described in this article pertain to me and to members of my family who were present at the time. However, the beginning of the story had its genesis several months prior to the accounts outlined below, and indeed, as I write, are still going on. The reason I do not describe those events here is because, although undoubtedly linked to the article I am now writing, they were none the less witnessed by others who I feel should have the chance of recounting those events in their own words and in their own way, or not, as the case may be.
The first account given below is as it was written on the night following the encounter and printed here, without modification, as it appeared on the pages of a local UFO newsletter.
Tuesday, 30 April 1996 - 7.50pm.
Manor Park, East London.
It was 7.50pm in the evening. I was answering the front door to my brother, Wayne Fletcher, and his son, Aaron, who had just returned from the fish and chip shop. As I was about to close the door behind them, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a small, dark object in the sky that was travelling quite slowly in my direction, and displaying a pronounced swaying motion. I did not register the object immediately and had almost closed the door, before I realized the curious nature of what I had fleetingly glimpsed.
Looking back up at the object, I tried to explain it in conventional term, such as an aircraft viewed from an unusual angle, or perhaps a child's lost balloon, or even a floating, black, plastic bin liner that had been caught in an updraft to quite some height. However, it gradually dawned on me that this was none of those; this was something very unusual. I quickly closed the door and dashed through the living room shouting "Everyone in the garden now!" I could hear the sound of rushing feet behind me as I fumbled to unlock the back door.
By the time we had all piled out into the garden, the object was just emerging from over our rooftop (figure 1) and still moving in that slow rocking fashion, and in total silence. Where as aircraft going into London airport and smaller planes going in and out of the city airport could be heard without difficulty, including those that were obviously much further away than the object. As it passed directly overhead, it was easily discernible as a flattened disc shape. At this point, I called to Jason, my brother, and asked if he would get the telescope, at which point, he immediately disappeared back into the house.
Whilst waiting, I began to take stock of certain conditions; such as the direction of the object, which was travelling from the south towards the north; and the direction of the wind, which blew from west to east. The sky was blue with some high, thin, wispy cloud, as well as several aircraft vapour trails.
Jason, by now, had returned with the telescope and we hastily set it up. By this time, the object sat at about 45° degrees and seemed to be slowing to a stop. I quickly lined up and focused the telescope and noticed that what appeared almost black when seen with the naked eye, became a deep violet when viewed through our small telescope. As I continued to observe the object through the telescope, it tilted to one side and the sun glinted along its leading edge. There were no protuberances such as an upper dome that I could make out or any markings or lights of any kind.
The object then tilted face on, revealing a perfectly circular disc with just a faint golden edge along the half of its circumference that was facing the setting sun.
Reluctantly, I relinquished the telescope to the excited youngsters of our group, and contented myself with simply watching in awe as the object began to slowly resume its course through the evening sky. By now the object was pretty small, although you could still make out its pitching and yawing movement. Once again, the object slowly came to a stop. I politely requested another go on the telescope, but as I stared up at the object in order to realign it with the telescope, it suddenly shot off in a white streak with incredible speed in an easterly direction, and was gone in an instant.
The whole event lasted about three and a half to four minutes, and left us all in a state of excited wonderment. The witnesses to this event included; myself, Donald Fletcher, 42; my brothers Jason, 27; Wayne, 32 and his wife, Angie, 34, with their son and two daughters, Aaron, 7; Stacy, 13, and Kirsty, 10.
As amazing as the above occurrence was for me and my family at the time, and despite the numerous speculations that ensued for some time after, the thought that this object would return again in the near future would have to be too ridiculous to contemplate. As a result, I made no preparations in anticipation of this object's return, and did not bother to purchase any film for my camera, a decision I would later regret.
Friday 10 May 1996
The time was 6.30pm; mother and I had just said our goodbyes to my brother-in-law and his two daughters. We waved them off until their car disappeared round the corner, then went in and made our way through to the kitchen, collecting up the dirty cups and saucers as we went. Mother began washing up the crockery and I stared out through the window in front of the sink unit. We were discussing the events of 30 April, and mother was lamenting on the fact that she was not present at the time to witness it. Just then, as I peered up toward the location in which the object of that day had disappeared, I could see, once again, that object.
Alerting mother with the shriek, "There it is again its back!" I then bounded out of the kitchen flew to the bottom of the stairs, and called up to Jason, who was in his bedroom. Returning to the kitchen, mother was stretching over the sink top trying to obtain a view of the object through the window. I opened the door leading from the kitchen into the garden and in no time at all, the three of us were standing on the lawn looking up at this object as it made it's encore flypast. Although a little further away and lower in the sky than before, it was still easily discernible as the same object. Travelling from roughly North east to Southwest, the object was again moving with that swaying motion. It's speed was a little faster than the first time as it travelled below and parallel to the edge of a belt of dark, thick cloud.
This time, however, it did not suddenly streak off in an instant as before, but was simply lost to sight as it went over the rooftops. In my excitement I failed to note the wind direction accurately except to say that there was a very light breeze coming from a roughly northerly direction.
If there was ever any doubt, following the first event, that this was anything other than ongoing phenomena, then this second occasion put a whole new perspective on things. I immediately rushed out and bought a roll of Kodak 200 asa camera film, came home, searched about in the cellar for my old Russian Zenite E, and waited. I didn't have to wait too long.
Tuesday, 14 May 1996 3.20pm.
My brother, Wayne, had called round earlier and both he and my other brother, Jason, went out together to buy a magazine from W. H. Smith. This left only my mother and myself in the house. I decided I would like to listen to some music, so I went to my bedroom. Sitting on top of the bed, with my back up against the headrest, I put on my headphones As the music was playing, I casually glanced up at the window situated in front and to the right of me. Mother was in the bathroom and I could feel the gentle thumps on the wall behind me. Just then, I noticed through the window, the now familiar black discoid object positioned at the same location as when we witnessed our second visit.
I was up in a flash and out of the door in an instant. As I shot past the bathroom door on my way down the stairs, I yelled out to mother that the craft had returned. I grabbed the camera from the living room table as I vaulted passed into the kitchen and out into the garden. Several moments later, my mother joined me, and together we watched as the object traversed in the sky. I managed to run off about nine photographs of the craft as it skirted the tops of the trees, following the same heading that it travelled on the second occasion. The wind direction was from Northeast to Southwest; the cloud cover was low and thick, but with plenty of breaks in the clear, blue sky. The direction the object was travelling was also Northeast to Southwest and it moved at roughly the same speed as on the second occasion. Once again, the object disappeared beyond the rooftops.
The squeaking of the front gate and the muffled voices indicated to me that Wayne and Jason had returned home, and before they had time to knock, I was at the front door announcing, with poorly distinguished relish, that mother and I had seen the object yet again. They both stopped dead in their tracks and glared at me with looks of disbelief. As they resumed their pace and filed in passed me in the passageway, they each in turn scrutinized my expression for signs that I may be pulling their legs. "Really?" asked Wayne, as he entered in to the living room, "really," I replied as I closed the front door.
Mother was in the kitchen and when she saw that they had returned, she came bounding through to the living room with a beaming grin on her face. She was just about to explain what we both had witnessed only a short while before, when there was another squeak of the gate and a knock at the door. Wayne’s wife had returned after picking up two of her three children from school. Jason had decided, at this juncture, that it would be a good idea to put the kettle on. As he trundled off into the kitchen, I sat on the living room sofa and glanced toward him as he went to the sink to fill the kettle. For some strange reason I could not take my eyes off him, and as he lent over the sink to look through the window, the hairs on the back of my neck began to prickle. Just then he bellowed, "its back! Its back!" I grabbed my camera and looked up at the kitchen clock as we all scrambled for the back door.
Second sighting 4.05pm
Once again, the object was seen in the same position as where the last three objects had first appeared and where the first object had streaked off. However, that is where the similarity ends. For instance, this craft was of a highly reflective white or silver colour, and if I thought that the pitching and yawing of the previous objects seemed odd, then the movements of this one were positively bizarre. The object would travel along for a bit, rise up in a gradual arc, slow down as it reached it's zenith, then shoot forward and down, much in the way of a helter-skelter ride. Although, unlike a helter-skelter, this object could be seen tumbling on it's own axis and would suddenly stop, rise up almost vertically, hang there for a moment, resume its original heading, then reverse back a little, fall downward, pull out and shoot upward again, and so on and so forth.
It was plain to see that this was, by no means, a conventional aircraft of any kind, apart from, perhaps, a hot air balloon in a hurricane. As a result of all these manoeuvres, we managed to see the craft from every angle, and its shape was that of a triangle that was very rounded at its points and slightly shorter at its base than along its edges. We later nicknamed the object the guitar plectrum. There was also some sort of dome at its centre.
Despite the object's erratic behaviour, it managed to cross the sky in roughly the same direction as the previous object. I managed to run off four photos before it went behind a tree. We all waited for the object to re-emerge, but it never did. The wind direction and the cloud were as the 3.20pm sighting. The excitement among us all was, as you can imagine, very considerable. We would speak of nothing else and even when we were silent we would give each other knowing little glances or simply sit there with Cheshire cat grins on our faces. I decided to go to my room and write down the events as best I could, while they were still fresh in my mind.
As I was writing, I could hear the back door constantly being opened and shut as various members of my family wandered in and out of the garden in the hope of a further sighting of the object. When I thought I had noted as many of the relevant points I could think of, I got up, had a stretch, and then went to the window to take a rest.
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