Warminster UFO Mystery

Among the numerous ‘UFO phenomena’ or ‘poltergeist-type phenomena’ reported from Warminster on Christmas Day after 6 a.m., when a young married couple claim that they were awakened by the frantic barking and whimpering of their dog in the garden outside. Josie, their daughter, went to investigate, and found the dog lying in a corner of the woodshed, trembling and whimpering. Just as Josie was about to re-enter the house she experienced, as it were from the air right overhead, the terrifying ‘whining, crackling, rasping, droning, shattering phenomenon’ which later became known throughout the world as ‘the Warminster Thing’ or 'The Thing'.

Map of Warminster

At around the same period there also occurred a case in which a flock of pigeons allegedly fell dead near Warminster, struck down by this mysterious force, “rigor mortis” supervening in the bodies almost at once. The same informant claimed that on yet another occasion large numbers of dead field mice had been found on the ground just after the passage overhead of ‘The Thing’, their bodies riddled with tiny holes.

Other such "sonic attacks" which occurred at around the same time in different locations around the town were later reported. Perhaps the strangest was that witnessed at 6.12am that morning by Mrs Marjorie Bye, who was walking to the Holy Communion service at Christ Church in Warminster. As she approached the church the air about her filled with strange sounds that she found disturbing, and made her feel weak and unable to move. These unidentified noises continued on an ad-hoc basis until at least June 1966. Roughly nine cases are described in The Warminster Mystery in which the only unusual phenomena are noises. Over the course of time this "noise" phenomenon receded and the visual phenomenon took its place to become the most important element of the Warminster phenomenon; the Warminster Thing became a UFO.

Arthur Shuttlewood at the time was the features editor on the local weekly newspaper, The Warminster Journal. He reported in his book The Warminster Mystery: "The air was brazenly filled with a menacing sound. Sudden vibrations came overhead, chilling in intensity. They tore the quiet atmosphere to raucous rags and descended upon her savagely. Shockwaves pounded at her head, neck and shoulders." By June 1965, strange objects were being seen in the skies around the town. Shuttlewood soon became the voice and champion of The Warminster mystery. Sightings of "The thing" continued, but, by the early 1970s, they were beginning to decline. Cradle Hill became the centre of skywatching activities, but Starr Hill and Cley Hill were also popular with skywatchers.

Warminster's reputation as a UFO hotspot diminished towards the end of the 1970s, although UFOs do continue to be reported in the area. However in the 1980s the growth of the crop circle phenomena in Wiltshire rekindled interest in Warminster's UFO connection.

Mysterious Visitors: “The UFO Story” by Brinsley Le Poer Trench;

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