Sutton Coldfield UFO
By John Newton Sutton Observer March 28th 2008
In the following narrative, which first appeared in the Sutton
Observer on the above date, notable is the use of the word Sutton. This is not Sutton but Sutton Coldfield,
Birmingham is weird - and that's a fact; a fact as only the conclusion of a promotional press release can be. It is also something I already knew, having been its child all my life. It is the place where I see pensioners banging toffee on lampposts. The year there is 2008; yet still it remains tartan trolleyed; a city of furrowed brow trying to understand, where the figurative man on the street has a literal counterpart who is conspiratorial, aging poorly and likely to say: "They've got sit down seats". But according to Disney, which is promoting a spooky new ride in Paris, it is an air of the supernatural that make Brum so odd. And one incident in a particular suburb north of the city is the mystery which sets it apart from the rest.
Sutton Park once did the hokey croaky, when it rained not cats and dogs but frogs. On June 12th 1954, Sylvia Mowday was taking her young son and daughter to a naval exhibition at the nature reserve when the sky suddenly darkened. "My four year old daughter put up her little umbrella and we heard things thudding against it", said Sylvia. "To our amazement, it was a shower of frogs coming down from the sky, hundreds of them. We looked up and saw frogs coming down like snowflakes. There were literally thousands of them. They descended on our umbrellas, on us, and we were afraid to walk for fear of treading on them".
The shower of baby amphibians covered an area of 50 square yards, but its notoriety spreads further and is still, apparently, recognised across the world (or at least the world wide web).
Less well known are a handful of local tales that ensure that Sutton has not, with frogs, drawn the line at mysteries. In fact, it is merely where the line starts, the hypotenuse on the town's take on the Bermuda Triangle (not that any clear shapes can be fashioned from sticking pins in the map; not so much as a Boldmere rhombus). Where, then, to begin the roundup? How about the Big Bang!
In 2005, the Observer carried a report into unexplained, "deafening" explosions that were heard in Reddicap Heath, Sutton town centre and New Hall. "My house shook", said one baffled resident, while another explained, "I immediately expected to hear the sound of sirens". The bomb-like phenomenon was then repeated twice the following year, again during the height of summer. The episodes, distinct from thunder, seemingly emanated from New Hall Valley Country Park and left residents rattled and demanding answers. "I thought the building had exploded; it was massive and a really significant noise", said one man who was working at New Hall Hotel, "People ran outside to see what happened". But they saw nothing, just as those before tem had perceived no cause. The Council, emergency services and gas engineers were also drawing a blank.
However, the internet, perhaps the biggest X File of all, contains reports of similar phenomena, dubbing "skyquakes" from across the globe, with some dating back to the century before last. The Last of the Mohicans scribe James Fenimore Cooper is amongst those to have recorded the unexplained booms, in a short story penned more than 100 years ago. Speculation over the causes ranges from a by-product of seismic activity to terrorists controlling the ecosystem via electromagnetic waves; the internet being the height of paranoia meeting time on your hands.
Predictably then, UFO's have never been too far away from such speculation and Sutton has had its fair share of unusual aircraft. The earliest recording involves a red spinning disc like object seen over Rectory Road in 1962, but it was not until the 90s that reports began to become relatively commonplace. In 1994, several people claimed to have seen a metal, sheet-like, craft "rolling" silently through the sky above Boldmere Road before suddenly changing direction and shooting away while following an erratic flight path. (This is significant and relates to a sighting of my own, in the 70s, on Merseyside - more on that later - mk).
Three years later, lights and bangs were experienced over St Georges Barracks, near Falcon Lodge in the same week that crop circles appeared in fields off nearby Withy Hill Road. (I was the last person out of St Georges Barracks in August 1994, and had the keys on my person for 3 months following. The Barracks were empty (and vandalised) from that point onwards; it has been a housing estate for some time now - 2008 - mk). It was also near the Barracks in 1995 that a strange craft was said to have appeared; one that would go on to become the most consistently described in Sutton. Neighbouring South Staffordshire had been the regional centre of reports of flying triangles during the 80s, but, by '97, accounts were at peak in North Birmingham, with Great Barr, Sandwell Valley, Cannock Chase and Tamworth also experiencing similar tri-cornered sightings. One report from a Four Oaks witness that year claimed the craft sported a light at each point with a solid triangular mass filling out the space between them. Interestingly, video footage of a similar aircraft, recorded in Arizona, was shown on TV days later. (Sounds awfully like a stealth bomber to me, flying out of Mildenhall or Lakenheath maybe? Remember, at this time they officially did not exist - mk). Across the world, the "Sutton" triangle has replaced the flying saucer as the most commonly seen UFO. In Sept 2008 the local paper reported that a recently sighted UFO had in fact been a Vulcan bomber heading back to RAF Waddington from an air show.
Sutton Coldfield News dated June 5th 2009, appeared the
What defines a UFO?
The stories of UFO sightings locally here in Sutton Coldfield, apart from one, do not match classic UFO sightings and I am inclined to believe in the military aircraft definition - it was stealth bombers/fighters that people saw. A genuine UFO sighting is that which cannot be explained - for example, moves far too fast and defies gravity to be anything we poor humans can manufacture, to date. The Stealth "sightings" do actually conform to gravity and aerodynamics. Another thought worth mentioning is the Sutton Coldfield is beneath an aerial crossroads of civil (and presumably) military aircraft. A UFO is NOT an visible alien spacecraft, that would be an IFO (Identifable Flying Object). A UFO is an UNEXPLAINED Flying Object, or UNIDENTIFIED.
The UFO that I, and many hundreds, saw on Merseyside can be classed as a genuine UFO sighting simply because it defied logic and gravity to do what it accomplished. My tale:
It was approximately Springtime1971 - I was working at Spillers Mills, on the Wallasey side of Birkenhead Docks. I was employed on the 1st floor of a 7 floor Mill, each floor quite tall, so the Mill towered above the surrounding town and docks. I was on night shift, 2200 hrs - 0600 hrs and was working with the shift supervisor. One of the lads from the higher floors came down and reported a strange light hovering out to sea. We all went up to the roof, actually out on the flat roof, and peered northwards, out across Wallasey, towards the Irish Sea and the Mersey bar. Distance was not calculable and we had no points of reference except geographical features. The night was starlit and clear with no moon. It was not cold and the air was clear. We could not estimate height nor distance. A large orange "fuzzy" globe was sitting quite stationary out to sea, as if looking into the Mersey towards Liverpool on the left, and Wallasey on its right. We were informed that it had been there now for about 5 minutes. We watched for another 10 minutes wondering if anything was going to happen. Suddenly, in a matter of a couple of seconds, it shot off, to our left and stopped quite still over the entrance to the River Dee on the opposite side of the Wirral. But we were high enough to still be able to see it quite clearly. It stayed here for exactly 15 minutes (I timed it) and, to the second, suddenly shot straight UP at enormous velocity and vanished from our sight. Now THAT was a UFO sighting and certainly NOT of present day Earth origin. At least not in our time!
My boss rang the night desk at the Liverpool Echo who reported back that they had received "hundreds of calls" all "identifying" a UFO. It was reported in the following days press. A similar story emerged a few years previous, where a much smaller "orangey red" ball was observed near Bidston Windmill, on Bidston Hill, in the centre of North Wirral, supposedly hovering over a metal pedestrian bridge right next to the Bidston windmill.
Its a theory of mine that, unless these craft arrive in a faster than light mothership, and through 'worm holes' then they are from closer quarters - or that could they actually be from our own future? Atomically and minerally, we are all born in space, the result of supernova's, and we shall return.