R e s e a r c h
Martin SHOUGH & Wim VAN UTRECHT
We are greatful to UK UAP researcher Jenny RANDLES for calling our attention to this case. Our quotation is from UFOs: A British Viewpoint (Robert Hale, London, 1979), a book Jenny co-authored with astronomer Peter WARRINGTON of the Manchester Astronomical Society.
One morning just before Christmas in 1974 the witness was taking the early morning air at about 7.30 a.m. She actually lives in Denton, Greater Manchester, but was looking out northwards towards Werneth Low, a small hill several miles away between Oldham and Stockport. Suddenly she noticed two oval shapes rise slowly above the hill. One descended out of sight behind it whilst the other remained. This then elongated into a cigar shape and then flattened at one end (...). From out of this flattened end came several smaller spherical objects. These were discharged as soap bubbles are blown out of a child's hoop, clinging to the end and then accelerating away to the south. Eventually the other object returned, the cigar reverted back to its oval shape and both disappeared from view behind the hill. They had been observed for a total of some twenty minutes.
In a paragraph that precedes the one above, RANDLES & WARRINGTON further note that:
(...) the witness claims to be psychic. There were no other witnesses to what proved to be a spectacular event, and this is important in our consideration as to whether or not the event occurred as it is alleged. It seems improbable that a huge spacecraft did discharge several smaller craft over Werneth Low, as the witness describes, and yet she insists that she saw it. We cannot simply ignore this, and nor can we dismiss the inconsistency between what she says occurred and what we feel cannot have occurred in a physical sense.
Comment - The sighting was investigated by the now defunct Manchester UFO Research Association (MUFORA) but it is not known where the original case report is now.
Sunrise on December 23 was at 8:25 a.m. Given the time of day ("7.30 a.m.", "just before Christmas", i.e. nearly one hour before sunrise), and considering the reported viewing direction ("northwards"), this would mean that the phenomenon was seen against a dark sky. Yet, in a personal mail to VAN UTRECHT, Jenny RANDLES wrote about the sighting at Denton: "As in the Goose Bay case [Case #?] it involved a shape changing dark mass". We replied that, if the time mentioned in the book was right, this "dark mass" would have appeared against a dark background. In a mail of January 31, 2012, Jenny responded as follows:
Some points to note. The date is the best estimate by the witness. It might have been up to two weeks earlier in December - though we settled on that as their best option. An earlier date would make sunrise slightly earlier.
Time was approximate in that they thought they had left home around 7.30 am. It could indeed have been a few minutes later.
Also, the sighting lasted for about 20 minutes - meaning that whatever the case it would have ended much closer to sunrise.
Either way they were insistent there was sufficient illumination to see these blobs as dark shapes rather than illuminations.
Furthermore, from experience of the location there is a lot of open sky towards the east towards the hills and so the sky around the UFO event would be lighter than you might expect. From the witness location towards Werneth Low you would have to be looking roughly eastwards, so towards the rising sun.
The witness said they went out for a dawn walk to see morning over the hills - and even, say, half an hour before actual sunrise here the sky would be easily light enough to describe what they did.
There are elements of uncertainty to the date/time [the report was received some time after the sighting - WVU] but the witness reported this as something not seen against a fully dark sky".
Contrary to what was written in the book, Jenny RANDLES notes in her reply that the sighting direction would have been eastwards, not northwards, but towards the sunrise. From the map below it appears that Werneth Low is about 2 miles SE of Denton and very close to the ~120° azimuth of the Sun in the second half of December. So it would seem that the viewing direction was indeed eastward, rather than North. This would also mean that the witness was facing Peak District National Park. According to Wikipedia this area "forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 1,000 feet [300 m], with a high point on Kinder Scout of 2,087 feet [(636 m); Kinder Scout being some 12 miles (19 km) ESE of Denton - WVU]. Despite its name, the landscape generally lacks sharp peaks, being characterised by rounded hills and gritstone escarpments". So candidate targets abound in the east that may have created mirage images close to the horizon.
Map of the sighting area with yellow lines indicating the presumed viewing angle.
Panoramic photos of Werneth Low taken from Denton, can be viewed at www.flickr.com.