The Delamere Forest Incident
"I have made several drafts of this article (which was originally written with UFO MAG ( UK Graham Birdsall ) in mind, but alas they have folded) in an attempt to keep it as concise as possible for space saving purposes, but always feel it somewhat negates the impact of my experience, and indeed the long term consequences of it on my life and those around me. Hence, I shall write it as I remember it, be as concise as I feel I can, and allow the editors to do their work with their usual exceptional skill in the hope they manage to do so without detracting from the essence of it too severely " - Keith Daniel
ONE: THE HIKE
Time: 1:30am (approx).
Date: Mid JUNE 1972.
Location: Road no B5152 Cutting though the south east corner of Delamere Forest, UK.
Weather: Clear, starry night. Sliver of moon, very warm.
Steve and I (Danny as known then) had spent the last few hours of the previous evening hitching out of Bristol dressed like a tribute duo to a Hells Angels chapter, heading ever North toward Birkenhead at a rather good rate of knots considering our rather fearsome, allegedly socially unacceptable attire. We found ourselves being dropped off at a roundabout a few miles away from Delamere Forest and decided, as there was little traffic about at that hour, to plod on, walking the starlit road toward the forest, ever vigilant for traffic going in our direction in the hope of a lift.
Steve walked a few paces in front of me as we went, and we chatted about all the things pertinent to us and our time, mainly motorbikes, girls and the Rolling Stones, but sometimes touching upon on deeper subjects, inspired by the balmy June night and the heaven’s inimitable light show. Sometimes we would even feel a brief touching of souls as we agreed upon some salient youthful view of the nature of Life, the Universe and Everything. But sadly, these moments would usually fall into a stilted silence as one or the other of us reached a point of no return, whereby, either the limitations of perspective imposed by environment, culture, education (or lack of it) and a myriad of other probabilities silenced us, or we would simply run out of vocabulary to apply to such lofty concepts.
After an hour or so of walking we fell into a trudging silence, but neither of us were particularly tired as we had slept well into the afternoon the previous day. Still, needless to say, we hoped someone with room in their car or truck, or with enough curiosity or lonely enough to take the chance, would stop soon.
Streetlamps appeared to light our way through the previously unlit B road as we approached the forest proper, descending over the brow of hill to a gentle decline. They helped form an eerie tunnel of orange light and muddy shade through the trees, standing sentinel over the road we hoped would eventually bear us home.
One hundred yards or so down the incline I noticed a reflection of blue light from behind in the shiny black frame of my thick National Health glasses. I assumed it beckoned the approach of a vehicle going in our direction. My instinctive reaction was to stick my thumb out as I turned, continuing to walk after Steve in a sort of sidestep shuffle as I went.
“Hey, Steve! There’s a car coming, man.” Steve muttered an acknowledgement, stuck his thumb out too, and carried on walking without slowing or turning. I, on the other hand, watched as a small, round, blue light came slowly over the brow of the hill toward us, not, at that time noting the lack of sound which accompanied it, and believing it to be a fog lamp attached to a car or lorry of some kind. I slowed and stopped as I watched, sensing there was something out of place about it. There was no fog for a start, and the night couldn’t have been clearer. There was no nimbus with the light either, nor indeed any directional beam. Almost like it was restricted to the perimeters of it’s physical source, and if you didn't see it directly, you would not be aware of it's presence.
Then the light, about the size of a child’s football, suddenly stopped dead at the brow of the hill with no visible deceleration and just hung there, stock still, about eight feet above the ground.
I could feel my hackles rise as I eliminated the possibilities. A car? No, too high. Motorbike? No chance. Van? Still too high. Truck? Maybe, a lamp on the roof, but I can see the sky all around the damn thing. Stars were visible all about this blue-shining orb and that meant if it was attached to any kind of mass as we understand it, it was most certainly invisible to my eyes.
I quickly sidestepped the ten yards or so to catch up with Steve, not wanting to take my eyes off this enigma, and spun him round.
“Get a load of this man!”
To say I was excited would be a gross understatement, because whatever my everyday consciousness thought of this event, it was being over ridden by a curiosity of a type I had never experienced before, nor indeed have I in the thirty odd years since.
I turned back to the orb, it still hung there like some all seeing eye, protecting the road we had just traversed, then it suddenly shot off to our left with no visible acceleration and into the field opposite which adjoined the edge of the forest. I tried to anticipate it’s flight path as it swooped low over the vegetation, and found myself tensing ever more as it flew straight at what looked for all the world like a tall, wooden privvy... (outdoor loo for those who don’t know), but it was probably a tool store of some kind. Curiously enough, in later years after much reading and research into this kind of scenario I was to find out that structures like this are a relatively frequent factor in incidents such as this, and it might not have been at all what it appeared to be.
The impact, however, wasn’t what I was expecting, for it flew straight into the shed without even damaging it’s surface, let alone shattering it. But by far the most disconcerting aspect was, it did not come out of the other side. Considering the object’s velocity, well, what can I say? With my obviously limited understanding of physics, I leave it to those better qualified to try to unravel this tiny portion of the overall mystery.
“Let’s go and have a look, man?” I said, to Steve, unable at first to take my eyes off this shack, but when I realized there had been no answer, I turned to see him moving swiftly away toward the muddy/orange tunnel within the trees as fast as his legs would carry him.
More interested in what was going on behind me than in front I turned back to the shack, Steve already forgotten, just in time to see the orb fly back out of the front of the structure, no damage still, and back over the brow of the hill and into the young treetops which edged the forest on my side of the road. Therein it danced about manically, no curves in its manoeuvres, all straight lines and angles and making a complete mockery of inertia as we understand it - if indeed there was anything sentient, or sensitive equipment, therein.
As much as I hate to use a cliché, I will say, I felt compelled by an invisible force to break through the shrubbery and stand below it’s manic ballet in amongst the branches, and in retrospect, I feel the invisible force came as much from me than from the object. Quite simply, the need to know!
I stood there mesmerized by this thing’s antics, completely unaware of time, space or anything around me.
Then, suddenly, a voice entered my awareness and told me to... “turn around and go home,”... but where the voice came from, whether it was an audible voice, telepathy, or indeed my own imagination, to this day I do not know. Indeed, I probably never will!
Trouble was, I didn’t want to go anywhere, I hadn’t finished whatever it was I thought I was doing, (observing something so outside my whole belief system, maybe) and I fought the urge to turn and do as I was bidden, not realizing that what seemed to be a polite request was a gentle command which “would” be obeyed. I walked stiffly away from my vantage point, completely against my will and ever fighting to remain, disappointed at being thwarted and seeming to have little control over my own body and mind.
Next thing I know I am back at the side of the road, completely oblivious to what has taken place and wondering where on Earth Steve has gone, I had no memory of anything at that time, including the appearance of the orb or being in amongst the trees watching it‘s manic ballet. As far as I was concerned he was still walking in front of me as we approached the forest, but now, he had just simply ‘vanished’. Yet strangely, I wasn’t too bothered by this either, like some aspect of me was still too busy with far more important matters and my best friend of the time would have to take a back seat until it had finished.
So, I walked slowly through the forest road, a strange calm had beset me and I was oblivious to the daylight creeping slowly across the sky until I emerged on the other side. By then, a huge, rusty, orange sun was half above the horizon, soon to be teetering on it’s edge by the time I had walked another mile. But, though not aware of it at that time, the sun should not have been rising yet. I had not even witnessed the pre-dawn.
It would be fair to say that even the most unobservant of us are a little awestruck by sunrises and sunsets, but this one, for me, seemed the most glorious of all. Eventually I stopped and leaned on a gate to watch while it was still optically bearable to do so, and I became completely enrapt as I watched dark, purple patches form on it’s surface, ever growing and blending together, contrasting with the remaining orange in sharp, delineating lines to form the image of an embryo in the womb.
How long I stood there, I don’t know, most likely until the sun’s light became intolerant to my eyes. But, even now thirty years on, I can remember a sense of complete unity and understanding with and of absolutely everything. Like a rush of adrenaline it hit me. In words, thoughts, imagery and sound, and whatever other transmissions for other receptors we human beings possess of which we are conciously unaware.
I “knew” EVERYTHING!
I “WAS” everything!
And believe me, I knew everything was alive, even the most inanimate of objects. In the parlance of my generation, the only word I can use to describe the experience, is transcendental.
Soon I was to find myself trudging away up the road again toward home, suddenly extremely weary to the point of staggering, yet still strangely detached from the reality around me.
How I got to the Vauxhall roundabout ... near Ellesmere Port ... I will never know. I have no memory of a lift, but I do have a vague memory of thinking I was seeing people walking on the grass verge toward me on the opposite side of the road, as I went, and some even seemed to have pet dogs with them. They usually turned out to be bushes or shrubs when I got close enough to focus properly. Next thing I am fully aware of, I am sitting wearily at the Vauxhall Roundabout, it is 6:30am and my feet and legs are stuck over the kerb and into the road. Large lorries are hurtling past, beeping their horns at me to get me to move my legs before they are crushed. I slowly become aware and drag them reluctantly away.
I felt extremely ill by this time, I had no energy at all. Not even enough to stand and hold my arm out to hitch for a few minutes, let alone walk the ten or so miles home. I needed a telephone. My father would have just finished a night shift and, though it would have been a tremendous blow to my kudos at that time to ask help of a parent, I felt justifiably ill enough to do so. As luck would have it, there was a red telephone box directly behind where I was sitting, across the broad roundabout pavement and against a wall. I phoned, and my father, not too happy at being called out after a sixteen hour shift came out (bless him) and picked me up. I saw his look of anger change to one of concern as he pulled up in his brown Humber Sceptre, leaned over, and opened the passenger door for me, his first words were, “God, son, have you been run over or something?”
I can only suspect that I must have looked as bad as I felt, but there were no broken bones or anything conducive to his suggestion.
It should be said here, that at this time, I lived in what would have been considered a ‘commune’ in those days, and though never anti-parent, it just was not cool to go back to your folks’ home if you had left. But my Dad took me back to the family home and put me in his bed, and there I stayed for almost a week, in a strange sort of delirium for which I can still find no source.
It would be true to say that I remember very little of that time, but the bits I do remember seemed so poignant to me, even now, that I think they might be more than pertinent to any person who might have had a similar experience. What I remember is as follows...
For most of those days I was unconscious or semi-conscious. My thoughts, when lucid and wondering how I came to be in the family home, always taking me back to Delamere Forest and this damned blue light. For some reason, as I slowly recovered, I could now remember seeing it, telling Steve about it, seeing it go into the shed and not coming out the other side. I could remember it coming back out again and following it to the young trees at the edge of the forest, standing underneath it, watching and waiting for ... something!
Then, absolutely nothing until I was commanded to go home!
On the few occasions of lucidity in those strange days, I would raise the blankets and look at the lower half of my body. From the groin down it was like there was intense sunburn. My legs seemed red raw from it. Then I would try to rationalize it. My mind would ask, how the hell did this happen? I was, and still am, built like the proverbial pencil, (or pipe-cleaner to those who remember such things) and certainly wasn’t given to sunbathing or anything remotely like that. I, even though now I don’t give a damn, would have been too embarrassed to show my legs in public. So I would search my memory for a reason for this. And always, in those few days at mum and dads house, for how these strange symptoms had come to be.
Always, it led me back to Delamere Forest and the blue light, and, for those first few days, when I remembered it, I would fall unconscious again for hours!
As I recovered however, from the bodily symptoms at least, I ceased to black out at the memory of that strange, physical law-defying orb, and grow in strength. Determined to get to the bottom of the experience.
After all, my best friend of the time was with me, and if anyone had the answer, or at least a partial (or impartial) explanation, he should.
But before I go any further, I should explain here, that at no time, between whatever that experience was and Steve vanishing into the forest, did I see him. Not on that day, nor on the days I was ill in my parent’s house. I should also add that I could never understand why no one in my family called a doctor in to find out what the problem with me was. I would also like readers to know, though some of my family will never admit it publicly, that several of them have had UFO type experiences too, over the years, though I think they are too frightened to speak for reasons that are obvious to us all.
I know and understand that! It has taken me thirty years to write this and no one would believe how many times I have tried, finished it, and binned it!
Maybe it is the right time now!
THREE: IN SEARCH OF STEVE
Upon my recovery after a week or so, I intended to return to my room in the commune, only to find the landlord had packed my bags and they were waiting in the vestibule for me. He would not let me over the threshold, nor indeed would he tell me of Steve’s whereabouts, which, in my young excited mind, was far more important than being homeless. All he would say was that my friend had returned on the day he had disappeared from the forest in a terrible state of mind and left immediately, Instructing all never to tell me anything about him, his whereabouts, etc., For a long time after that event, most of the people in that commune who had been friends shunned me and would rather not have been seen talking to me.
And so the plot thickened.
You can imagine what was rolling over in my head. WHY?
As it happened, Steve’s parents lived literally at the bottom of the road and, needless to say, that was my first port of call. I should add here, that these were good and decent people who always had time for Steve’s friends, me included, but the reception I got shocked me.
Mum came to the door when I knocked, with Dad close behind her and they sidled up next to each other as if to block entry. The look on their faces said it all. They were panic stricken.
“He doesn’t live here any more!” Mum blurted. “And he never wants to see you again!”
“But why ever...?” and the door was closed gently in my face.
So off I trundled - doubly confused, a bin liner full of junk, back to my parent’s house to try and piece together what the hell was happening to me. I had not anticipated any of this, how on Earth could I? As far as I was concerned, Steve had vanished down the road into the forest while I let curiosity get the better of me. We were good friends, neither of us violent for all our biker trappings. Not given to argument for the hell of it, and most certainly not on the edge of a forest in the dead of night.
What the hell was going on?
Whoever I discussed the incident with, particularly family, would say, keep quiet about it, don’t tell anyone. Others would sneer derisively at me like I was some kind of lunatic, but I was not deterred. If only I could find Steve, then all would be revealed.
And my search over the Wirral continued. A week, two... three... by four I had all but given up. Then, one day, by pure chance, in Upton, I walked around a corner and there, about a hundred or so yards away, was Steve, sitting on a wall chatting to two girls.
“Steve!” “STEVE!” I shout as I walk ever swiftly toward him, “Tell me about the Blue li....!”
Then the girls turned and started screaming at me, “leave him alone, leave him alone!” People at the nearby shops were turning to see what was going on but I watched as an ever pallid Steve seemed to visibly ‘physically’ shrink, as if he wanted to be swallowed up by the very wall itself. I had never seen fear like this, I think I could even smell it. It was a horrible experience to see a friend like this and know in some inadvertent way, ‘you’ are the cause of it. Even if you don’t know how. I stopped dead in my tracks and said something like, “I just want to know what happened in the forest, man...” and with that, he leapt off the wall and ran as fast as his legs would go, up the road and round the nearest corner. The girls stood guard behind him, shouting more abuse at me and making sure all in earshot were witnessing the event before sauntering off after him.
Gob-smacked would be an understatement, and I certainly wasn’t going to go after him if he was so afraid. But what was it he was afraid of...
It was a few weeks later I was to bump into Steve, in the street, for the last time in my life, and needless to say, the first words out of my mouth were about the forest. His response was, “Danny! If I ever see you again, I will kill you!”
And with that, this, my once best friend turned away and walked out of my life.
One can imagine the questions I have asked of myself about this over the years. Did I create a screen memory to cover some terrible incident that happened between us as we hitched back from Bristol all those years ago? An incident that caused Steve to run away from me, after of course, setting my legs and groin alight for just long enough to give the illusion of sunburn. Or did he pull out a ray gun he threw together in the outside toilet of the commune one boring Sunday afternoon when we were all skint, and blast me with it just long enough to do a limited amount of damage so that I would recover? And, hopefully, on his part, never seek vengeance.
Unlikely, isn’t it?
But there is fear and fear and the fear I saw in his eyes and demeanor on the first occasion was palpable, almost material in it’s manifestation, if that makes sense.
On the second occasion it was equally palpable, but resigned. It was like the threat to kill me was a last ditch attempt to rid himself of me forever and he didn’t really give a toss what the consequences of that statement might have been.
I respected that need, and still do, if indeed he still lives.
What did ‘he’ witness?
What happened to ‘him.?
As to the incident in the forest, well, I still haven’t got to the bottom of it. But the consequences of it on my life haven’t necessarily been positive. I think for anyone who has experienced anything outside reality as the majority understand it, our world, and particularly our society, becomes a dark and desolate place, it’s beauty tainted by our collective actions. Speaking this view, when in truth it is obvious to all, earns no kudos in our society and my inability to lie about what I perceive has killed off just about every relationship I have ever had because I cannot allow myself to join in with the selfish ethos of our crumbling society. All I seem to perceive are the negatives in us, myself included, and I believe this incident, real or imagined, has been the source of an isolated existence without the power to engender positive change for myself or any one else.
The overall feeling for me, is that I am here to witness something of immense magnitude, as indeed I suspect we all are in these times. Whether that observation is to be a positive or negative thing, I don’t know. The only comforting fact I can find, is that the nature of all things appears to be cyclic. These times are not good and they are becoming steadily worse worldwide. I think it probable that the collective human psyche is aware of this and the knock on effect is that the majority of individuals are grabbing what they can, while they can.
Why I directly attribute the aforementioned to this little blue light, I really do not know. I have purposely avoided mention of the ET hypothesis because I do not remember what took place in the missing time. I do however, suspect...
But you must judge for yourself!
K. J. Daniel
© K.J.DANIEL - 13 OCTOBER 2004