The last time I was late putting up this regular 25 Years Ago feature I was able to claim, with some justification, that this was because the magazine was actually mailed out the month after the date on the cover. No such excuse this time, as I simply forgot to post this summary in June!
Magonia 26, June 1978, featured as its main article an account by David Clarke of the remarkable events surrounding the investigation of the once-notorious Cracoe Fell landing case. In summary, a number of people, including two police officers saw and photographed an alleged 'landed UFO', perceived as a bright light settled on a cliff face at Cracoe, about three miles from Skipton in North Yorkshire. In what proved to be a fine example of on-the-spot investigation, Andy Roberts, Nigel Mortimer and other members of the West Yorshire UFO Research Group (WYUFORG) were able to show definitively that the Cracoe 'UFO' was the misperception of sunlight reflecting off a particular section of the rock face. So far, so good, but what followed was a fine example of obsessive ufology.
The Cracoe case was first investigated by YUFOS - the Yorkshire UFO Society - a vehicle for that famous ufological double-act, the Birdsall Brothers, and they were not at all happy at having their prize case explained by interlopers from the rival Yorkshire group. There thus began a battle of words (and on one occasion fists) between the two groups. The whole affair served to demonstrate how when one particular group takes 'ownership' of a case, as YUFOS did here, it can seriously hinder any objective analysis coming from outside the closed circle which might lead to a solution. You can read David Clarke's piece in full HERE.
Peter Rogerson was again stretching the limits of ufology in his article One Measures a Circle... He tied together Native American foklore relating to ghost lights, poltergeist phenomena linked to anomalous lights, landed UFOs followed by mysterious prowlers, on to bizarre sieges in Shelbyville (not the one in The Simpsons, I presume), the film Assault on Precinct Thirteen, and Evans-Pritchard's experiences with witchcraft amongst the Azande. In another article Paul Tinman developed the theme a little in a piece that discussed the possible effects of magnetism on humans.
I notice that at the time we were still billing Brentford's own Robert Rankin as one of our 'Corresponding Editors'. He eventually drifted away from Magonia and was never seen again ... or something.