Just to prove it’s not conspiring to conceal an extraterrestrial plot by minds immeasurably superior to ours, the British Government has just released the latest batch of unidentified flying object sightings reported to the Ministry of Defence.
It comprises about 130 statements, most of which – to the chagrin of those who thought this stuff would prove they weren’t paranoid – are overwhelmingly dull recollections of winking, blinking multi-coloured lights, interspersed with the occasional gem which reveals that, as far as intelligent life goes, there’d better be some up there because there’s precious little of it down here.You have to wonder, for example, at the eyewitness in central London who informed the ministry of the UFO travelling “from Clapham to Heathrow” one night, not dissuaded at all by the fact that the occupants of this particular interplanetary craft were following a westerly approach used by hundreds of passenger jets.
“There were two large pairs of lights rushing towards each other consistently, over a large area in the sky over Camden,” says another, clearly concerned that something might be scouting Regent’s Park as a potential landing site (the same Regent’s Park which, funnily enough, was hosting a rock concert just before this report was filed).
A further witness thoughtfully saved the taxpayer an in-depth investigation by saying his UFO “looked like three small aircraft”, but at least he’d grasped the principle of a flying object, unlike the person who reported a “convoy of white lights moving along the river bank”. Less War of the Worlds, more Wind in the Willows, I’d say, although if Mole, Ratty and Badger had turned up there’d at least have been a close encounter of the furred kind.
Eliminate all the sightings which sound like Chinese lanterns, weather and rampant pig-ignorance, and you’re not left with much justification for keeping that shotgun under your pillow. You have to hunt through almost the entire tedious collection before you come across something worth reading: the description of a sighting left on the ministry answer-phone from a chap who was camping with friends in Cardiff. “The witness saw spaceships,” it states, confidently. “And then said that one of them abducted his dog, car and tent.”