This week we have a look at London UFOs in history, starting with something strange seen flying over the Thames one morning in May. It was a UFO in the sense that no one knew what the object was but once it landed at Stratford everyone knew what it was and what to do with it. The mysterious flying thing was a man. He was captured by the good people of east London and put in the stocks.
The sighting took place around 1547 and was recorded by William Fulke long before people were concerned with little grey men. He was told that the devil had been seen flying over the Thames. Up to 16 years afterwards Londoners claimed to have seen him flying and some still wished they had had guns or arrows to shoot Old Nick out of the sky. Perhaps someone did hit the blighter or may be the devil really does like Stratford. Either way, on landing, despite Satan having taken the trouble to disguise himself as a man he was spotted due to his alien cloven, feet.
It is not known what happened afterwards. Perhaps deep beneath the Olympic site, or perhaps the Stratford Centre, there is buried a growling, howling demon held in place by the earth and the rotten remains of the stocks. Fulke however wasn't convinced by the sighting over the Thames, dismissing it as a cloud moving rapidly across the river.
Two weeks ago we wrote about the time a UFO stopped over Hackney Marshes during the First World War. The inhabitant then was a German agent with an eye-patch being lowered from a Zeppelin politely asking for directions.
In 2 January 1988 an unnamed teenager tracked a mysterious object through her telescope that “span, banked and hovered” over Kensington. Eight police officers were called and Scotland Yard said “Police Officers saw an unidentified object after a call from a member of the public”. Putting the U in UFO, went on to say “We are unable to say what it was.”
A BUFORA researcher could however. Mike Wootten, whose research is quoted in the UFO book Phantoms of the Sky: UFOs - A Modern Myth? Found that the police-perplexing object was the planet Jupiter.
But why call the police when there’s a light in the sky? It’s not like it’s from Hell or Germany, not in 1988. By then strange things seen in the sky are from space.
Perhaps the unnamed Kensington teenager knew Marc Bell, who was abducted by aliens as a Wandsworth schoolboy. As he grew up he was unable to escape his pursuers despite moving to Plumstead.
He told the Sun in 2008:
"I've got a scar on my right arm where something might have been implanted by the aliens. Sometimes you are aware of flying over the top of buildings through the air towards the craft. “
"On one occasion, I spotted a ball in a gutter of the house. The next day, I went up to check and it was really there."
Marc’s encounters usually take place in his bedroom.
“Sometimes there is a ball of light, sometimes a small being who walks towards me with its hand outstretched. Its fingers come up to my forehead, which leave me paralysed then I pass out.”
“Then I go into a black tunnel with a light at the end. Unfortunately it's not angels waiting for me at the other side.”
Strip Marc’s experiences of any idea of UFOs and there’s certainly something demonic and supernatural about them. It is true that people see strange things in the sky, and their bedrooms, though what stories we attach to these sightings is dependent on what time and culture we live in. Unless, perhaps, the devil is in the details.
Dare you delve into the Fortean London archives?
Image: Pazuzu by Ronald Hackston