8 July 2020


Mike Covell, The East Yorkshire UFO Files, Independently Published, 2020.

When living in East Hull, Mike was a mere eight years old when he saw an illuminated egg-shaped object hovering the sky. From then on he became fascinated by UFOs and anything remotely Fortean. This led him to join the Hull UFO Society and to collect a large collection of books, magazines, UFO reports and news clippings.
After 32 years of research Mike has found that East Yorkshire has been visited in particular by bright orange glowing spheres, glowing blue craft, phantom rockets and hosted the occasional landing. He notes there UFO flaps in this region in 1950, 1967, 1971, 1985-1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2018-2019.

He has divided his research into five major areas. First, he gathered all the reports from regional, national and international archives, and those in the MOD’s UFO files released through the National Archives. In the second phase he obtained information from secondary sources like books, magazines, newspapers and the internet. Thirdly, and probably the hardest task was tracking down the people mentioned in the reports and fourthly going to the locations where the UFOs were spotted. Finally, in 2019 he typed up all this material to create this book.

There is a chapter on his extensive experience of skywatching and some tales of pretty strange sightings, one of a low flying Swastika that was dismissed as part of a military exercise!

Individual chapters are given to the ‘Scare-Ships’ of 1909 and the return of another scare-ship wave in 1913. In 1909 suspected German spies in a motorcar asked about airship sightings at Killingholme on the bank of the Humber, and a strange patch of white light was seen over Hull and the Humber on the 13 May. In the early hours of 22 May an airship with a ‘car’ suspended below it containing a pilot was seen by a police constable over the Humber. In February 1913, sightings were made in Scarborough, Selby, Bridlington, Hornsea, Withernsea and Hull. These were explained as being caused by misidentifications of stars and one or more fire balloons sent up by hoaxers.

Mike devotes a chapter on crop circles, and his detective skills are put to the test to find background information and newspaper reports about circles seen on farmland near Market Weighton, in August 1990. This was sparked off by a man who told Mike, after a lecture in 2018, that at that time he had seen a bright white object , which from below looked like a flattened egg. Not only was he able to find the local news reports of the crop circles but he was also able to track down an independent witness to the UFO sighting. The corroborating witness said it was huge - bigger than his truck and trailer - and looked like a flattened egg.

A chapter on the East Yorkshire ‘hum’ tells of it starting in the early hours of 28 October 2010, when a loud roaring sound like a World War II bomber aircraft was heard in the outlying areas of Hull and beyond. A Russian aircraft, police helicopter, civilian and RAF aircraft, diesel train or operations at BP in Saltend were all offered but failed as explanations. Leaving the question was it a very noisy UFO? In July 2012, a strange humming sound was heard in Hull and as far away as Goole.

The bulk of the book is devoted to an alphabetical guide to UFO reports in East Yorkshire, which goes from Anlaby to Withernsea via a host of towns and villages, like Goole, Pocklington and Lund. Sightings in each locality are put into chronological order, and details are given of archive and newspaper reports along with Mike’s own findings.

Anlaby a village west of Hull, and now virtually part of it, is not only the first entry but it also features one of the most intriguing cases in my own files. The story of a boy seeing a UFO land on the roof of Anlaby Primary School was told by his mother ‘Barbara’ on a BBC Radio Humberside phone-in programme. Three armless occupants wearing gold spacesuits emerged and walked around the roof before returning to their craft and flying away. They sound like glam rockers from outer space - well it was January 1978!

Mike spoke to a pupil who attended the school at that time and remembered a boy saying he had seen a UFO. So this does confirm that this was not just an anonymous caller making up a story, and at the moment Mike is hoping to get into contact with the witness.

There is the very unusual sighting by John Scarab of what he thought was an alien as he was walking along St. Nicholas Avenue, Hull. He looked like a fairly tall, short haired man wearing a tight fitting boiler suit. As John got near to the alien he looked startled, turned and vanished. A case of seeing someone in fancy dress, it did occur after midnight, misperception or an alien? Take your pick.

Another visitation was at Withernsea in 1994 when a witness to giant orange balls in the sky took a picture. This revealed an alien face that was either proof of an alien or mundanely a sock puppet!

Forget Roswell, there is even an alleged UFO crash in March 1997 near Leconfield. At least 40 witnesses saw what they thought was a low flying aircraft in trouble, followed by flashes of light and explosions presumably caused by it crashing to the ground. An extensive search found nothing of this aircraft. Another phantom aircraft haunted the RAF airfield at Lissett during WWII. When seen it was regarded as an omen of disaster and became known as ‘The Reaper Bomber.’

One of the last entries is about a UFO sighting by children at Wawne Primary School, on 18 November 1977. As a member UFOIN I investigated this case with Roger Hebb a fellow member of the Scunthorpe UFO Research Society. Mike points out that the school is near a nuclear bunker that was part of our Cold War defence network, and that it occurred in the same year as the more famous Broad Haven Incident that involved schoolchildren seeing a UFO.

The great thing about Mike’s work is that by following up these reports and having local knowledge he has unearthed lots of new information. He provides references, a listing of National Archive UFO files, a bibliography of local history books and paranormal books, trade directories, and listing of news sources. A very useful reference work for anyone wanting to explore the impact of the UFO phenomenon in this region. -- Nigel Watson.

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1 comment:

Phil said...

was it a very noisy UFO?

Perhaps - but it was definitely a UHO.

It would be interesting to see how (or rather if) these and other sightings have fallen off over the last ten years or so, as XKCD suggested back in 2013.