In the 1960s, Wiltshire became the centre of a UFO sensation known as The Warminster Thing , says RICK HALE
Researchers and investigators of UFOs and alien contact believe there are areas around the world that appear to be more open to alien visitation.
Assuming such a thing exists, these “window areas” as they’re called, report more sightings of close encounters that clearly are not of this world.
England is believed to have a small number of these locations and Warminster, a small town in Wiltshire, was ground zero for a case of high strangeness in the 1960s.
A case of alien contact that the locals ominously called, the Warminster Thing.
Pre-World War II Weirdness
Warminster has long been associated with strange activity and hauntings going back to at the very least the 12th century.
However, a string of events that would bring the village of Warminster to the attention of UFOlogy began just prior to the outbreak of the second world war.
Inexplicable crackling noises that sounded like static electricity could be heard coming from a cloudless, sun filled sky.
Typically, the citizenry of Warminster would take the odd noises in stride. With many dismissing the noises as an oddity and nothing more.
It was the sightings of strange balls of light dancing around the night sky that grabbed the attention of the residents.
These balls of light appeared to be guided by an intelligence and were known to stall automobiles if they came to close.
A short respite from the unusual activity followed the end of the war and Warminster got back to business as usual.
And although the people of Warminster never feared the activity, they thought that maybe, just maybe the weirdness was over.
That was until the middle of the 1960s when the activity returned and seemed to be amplified to a frightening level.
The Activity Returns
The high strangeness that gripped Warminster many years previous returned with a vengeance on the night of 17 August 1965.
Residents of the Boreham Field housing estate were rocked from their slumber when a loud explosion ripped through the night sky and shook their homes to their foundation.
When everyone ran outside to see what happened, their eyes were greeted by a monstrous orange flame that illuminated the dark sky.
As the mysterious flame dissipated it was replaced by a loud crackling sound that made people’s hair stand on end.
For those who lived through the events of the 1930s, they were all to aware what this sight meant. The activity had returned.
As the days passed, more and more residents came forward to report the unexplained phenomena that plagued their sleepy little town.
The most commonly reported activity was the crackling sound in the sky.
Other residents reported glowing metallic balls that zipped around the skies sometimes stopping cars in their tracks when they approached.
More disturbingly, residents reported fleeting glimpses of creatures that were clearly not of this world.
The residents of Warminster were both terrified and mystified by the activity that once again threatened to bring their town to the brink of insanity.
Not knowing what to call the phenomena in their town, the residents simply called the activity, ‘The Thing’.
As the activity nightmarishly progressed, Arthur Shuttlewood,a journalist with the Warminster Journal became involved and brought the otherworldly activity to the rest of the English public.
Shuttlewood, took it upon himself to compile a dossier of the sightings and encounters with the Thing.
Letters from locals flooded Shuttlewood’s post detailing everything from witnessing flashing lights in the sky to poltergeist activity occurring in their homes.
The veteran journalist did his best to keep up with the reports of the bizarre activity. But was overwhelmed by whatever this Thing was.
Cley and Cradle Hills
A large majority of the sightings were witnessed in the vicinity of Cley and Cradle hills near the Salisbury Plane.
An area long associated with the folklore of England.
An early Anglo-Saxon folktale claims that in ancient times the devil himself roamed the Salisbury Plain and formed Cley hill to blaspheme god.
Regardless of the historicity of the story, strange activity such as lights in the sky and encounters with frightening spirit beings have been reported there for centuries.
So much so, that UFO and paranormal enthusiasts regularly flock to the hill in the hopes they too will be granted the rare chance to experience the strangeness that happens there.
Theories about the Warminster Thing
Sceptics of the activity called the Thing have offered a few theories to explain the high strangeness that happens in Warminster.
The most commonly accepted theory is the sightings are not of alien origin. But rather misidentification of terrestrial aircraft from a local military base.
Of course, those who have experienced the bizarre phenomena flatly dismiss such a theory. They know what they saw and will not be convinced otherwise.
By 1977, the high strangeness that held the town in its grasp all but disappeared.
The lights and UFOs became virtually non-existent and the noises from the sky no longer occurred.
For those who don’t remember the bizarre activity are reminded by a mural painted on the wall of a local car park depicting the high strangeness.
For those who do remember, they fear that one day the Thing could return and start the nightmare all over again.