UFO Landings UK
Flying Disk Press 2022
Pb, 266pp, £15.50, ISBN 9798654537966
Philip Mantle provides a survey of the high-strangeness close encounter cases that have impressed him since his involvement with the subject in the 1980s. So it is not an attempt at chronicling every UK UFO landing report, but a personal survey of what he regards as the most compelling cases sourced from Flying Saucer Review, BUFORA, UFOIN, YUFOS, John Hanson’s Haunted Skies books and his own investigations.
The Rendlesham Forest landing case is not included as it has been extensively covered elsewhere, and there is a peppering of other cases he could have mentioned, including the Alan Godfrey encounter or the Rowley Regis encounter with its angelic, mince piemunching aliens. Mantle does include a report of a fiery, pyramid-shaped object that wrecked a house and a bridge as it plummeted down to Earth in 1767, and an 1896 tale of a man who witnessed a meteor followed by a group of small sized “fairies” who danced in a circle before being transported away by the returning meteor.
A 1908 report tells of two uniformed humanoids who came out of a metallic vehicle in the back garden of a boy who lived in the West Midlands and there are a sprinkling of other pre-1947 stories that were mainly reported many decades later.
There are numerous reports by children that sound like the product of their imagination, and when there is more than one witness the group consists of relatives or friends at the same locality. The best physical evidence consists of marks in the ground that usually disappear by the time they are investigated. The high strangeness of the cases could be down to fantasy, misidentification or fabrication. Sadly, the last case is dated February 2010 – have UFOs given up landing here now?
The last chapter provides a wider perspective of these cases by featuring the opinions of Mantle’s respected UFO colleagues. Andy Roberts and Gloria Heather Dixon point out the unreliability of witness testimony and David Clarke notes that these reports are a sociological phenomenon that reflects trends in popular culture. Steve Mera, Nick Pope, Chris Evers, Bob Tibbits, Mike Covell, Carl Nally, Brian Allan and Ron Halliday suggest that physical and even ET craft are responsible for these instances. Mantle is happy to label such cases “Unidentified”.
Plenty of helpful diagrams, photographs and sketches are provided, but the text is full of (autocorrect?) errors. It is also let down by a lack of consistent references or even a short bibliography; otherwise this is an excellent guide to UK landing cases. Nigel Watson