- PICTURE the scene in a remote Highland glen. Sheep are munching grass,
a hawk flies overhead, a fish in the stream comes up for a fly, and men
in white masks are dismantling a space ship.
- Is it a film, is it a scene from a sci-fi
novel? No, it's a very real possibility, according to the author of a recently
published book on UFO sightings in Scotland.
- Ron Halliday, the chairman of Scottish
Earth Mysteries Research, claimed yesterday that remote areas of rural
Scotland could be the equivalent of the notorious Area 51 in the United
States, where secret aircraft are supposedly tested and where the alleged
alien victims of the Roswell Incident were taken for dissection.
- According to Mr Halliday, one prime candidate
for Scotland's Area 51 could be the former NATO base at Machrihanish in
Argyll, which has long been the subject of rumour and often bizarre speculation.
The idea was shot out of the skies by the Ministry of Defence yesterday,
but believers, or the self-deluding, are unlikely to be deterred.
- Expounding on his book, Mr Halliday,
who works as an assistant registrar at Stirling University, said the MoD
owned huge areas of land in Scotland where no-one knew what they were up
- He said: "I often wonder why the
MoD needs to hold on to such enormous acreage, as most of it rarely seems
to be used, though it may be that I've been too short-sighted and some
of these sites have been put to mysterious use.
- "These are parts of Scotland where
people just never visit because access is so difficult. Extra-terrestrial
flying discs could be stored here as, geographically, we're in a good situation
for communication with London, the US and western Europe."
- Mr Halliday, who has been investigating
paranormal activity for 20 years, said the runway at Machrihanish was huge,
and the base so well protected it would have been ideal for testing secret
- In his book, he writes: "For several
years rumours have circulated regarding the nature of the secret activities
that were carried out at this site and the experimental craft that may
have landed here.
- "Machrihanish would be an ideal
spot from which to operate aircraft technology that the Government wanted
to keep secret - including devices allegedly developed from captured alien
- He said yesterday anecdotal evidence
was plentiful about alien technology having fallen on Britain, but there
was a frustrating lack of documentary evidence caused by the establishment's
habitual clandestine approach.
- "There is just a general climate
of secrecy in this country. The Government and the military in particular
don't believe anyone should know what is going on apart from themselves,"
- However, local people living in the village
of Machrihanish were sceptical about there being anything worth knowing.
Visitors from the Outer Hebrides were one thing, but callers from Outer
Space quite another.
- One woman at the golf club, who perhaps
unsurprisingly did not wish to be named, said: "I doubt this is happening.
The airport may explain flying objects in the night. There are no aliens
here and we're all pretty human."
- MoD officials were even more dismissive,
denying the UK had any involvement in storing or testing UFOs.
- A spokesman said: "We do not have
any such bases. And if we are talking about UFOs, the only interest we
have is in how their presence would allegedly impact our defence of the
UK if they were to exist."
- Area 51 is located in the middle of the
Nevada desert and has long attracted wide attention, from cults to the
plain curious. Officially, it is an air force base and nuclear testing
site, but it was said to be the base where bodies and technology from an
alleged UFO crash near Roswell, a remote New Mexico town, were taken in
- UFO Scotland by Ron Halliday is published
by B&W at £7.99 http://www.scotsman.com/news/ne22spoo990206.1.html
- Or...Is This The Truth?
- Posted by Paul Ross <firstname.lastname@example.org 2-8-99
- In response to Stig's post, I dug this out of a copy
of "The Unopened Files" (Autumn 1998) -- a monthly magazine available
in the UK. Hope you find it interesting. There is extra information in
that article, which I will post later. (Took a while to type it up!) :-)
- RAF Machrihanish -- The Truth at Last?
- With his cropped dark hair and large build he's a formidable
figure. He bends forward in his chair in the restaurant, picks up a cup
and drinks his coffee. As he meets my gaze, he leans back and starts: "I
am a retired RAF police corporal," he says in a sedate Tynside accent.
"During my military career I lived a life of order. I often carried
out security patrols, manned security and entry points and checked personnel
and vehicles at sites like RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Kinloss."
- He explains that, after working within RAF Wittering's
Armament Support Unit, under the terms of a restricted UK Eyes document,
'SD814' (this relates to the stock-piling and transportation of special
weapons and sensitive material within the UK and its territories) he was
posted to RAF Machrihanish, on the Isle of Kintyre in Scotland.
- "While I know my speaking with you will not stop
the speculation, I must set the record straight," explains the former
military policeman, who asked to be called simply 'Alan'. "My interest
in the rumors began in 1988, when my attention was drawn to an article
in the New York Times, claiming that the American air force was working
on a new hypersonic spy plane code named Aurora," he said.
- Before long, it was suggested that RAF Machrihanish,
an air base which had no RAF squadron of its own, was assisting in transatlantic
testing of Aurora, thought by some to have been built with the aid of alien
technology. But while stationed at the base, Alan said he learned that
the rumor had been made up, as a means to draw in more tourists: "Back
in 1991, another newspaper article declared 'Project Aurora seen over Machrihanish
- Campbeltown locals report'. Three or four farmers and two or three security
guards and the occasional drunken builder all had their names in this article
and we were in hysterics because it was simply make-believe - Paul McCartney
hadn't brought in enough tourism so they needed something new."
- Alan turned the somewhat controversial spotlight on Campbeltown
because it had struggled to come to terms with the impact of the military
defense cuts. At the turn of the decade, the RAF had decided to scale down
personnel at the base from 250 to 70. The move cost the hard pressed local
economy £2 Million year.
- "The point is, we are using the process that the
military still uses today, which is basically a non-confirm or deny policy.
So, although we had nearly every major news organisation and Fleet Street
calling us, all we could do when answering the phone was refer them back
to the press office at Whitehall with the 'I am sorry, I can neither confirm
or deny that'.
- "If something special like a secret spy-plane was
at RAF Machrihanish, it would be simply impossible to keep it hidden from
the civilians who run the on-base Air Ambulance Service," Alan says.
"Secondly, if you take any flight path or training area where aircraft
fly low, Machrihanish is no exception. Every single farmer in the area
shouts, screams and cries, simply for their livestock being frightened
or abused by the aircraft. Far too many locals live within blatant eye-sight
of the base as well."
- But despite rejecting rumors about Aurora using the base,
Alan assured me that the American Navy SEALS, the amphibious special forces
team which played a key role in removing Iraqi troops from oil platforms
they were occupying off Kuwait during the Gulf War, did maintain a small
presence at the base though virtually unseen from the public: "During
the 1980s, NATO started to invest a lot of money into the base and decided
to post an American Navy Special Warfare unit there, which was part of
the SEAl (SEa Air Land) detachment.
- "Machrihanish was actually the European staging
point for this unit, known as Spec. War 2. In these days of Middle Eastern
political turbulence, I'm sure there will be no run down of this unit and
I'm sure they're still there," he continued. I can confirm this; while
speaking on the telephone with Keith Abendroth of Burns Security, the latest
contractors who looked after the base, I distinctly heard American voices
in the background.
- Alan emphasised that throughout his time there, British
civilian guards manned the security gates around the airfield boundary
and not Navy SEAL personnel as has been suggested in the past. He said
this group force never carried weapons for the means of patrolling or defending
the base. My source said that he did carry a Browning 9 mm pistol and during
a lot of his security patrols he was the only person, apart from the dog
handlers, authorised to carry live ammunition. (That permission was given
to him under terms of the Joint Service Publication (JSP 385) 'Rules of
engagement or servicemen authorised to carry arms and ammunition on duty
in the United Kingdom' document).
- The length of the runway at RAF Machrihanish has also
led to considerable deliberation. It was recently reported in the book
'UFOs: The Scottish Dimension', by the chairman of the Scottish Earth Mysteries
Research group and Assistant Registrar at the University of Stirling, Ron
Halliday, as being over a mile in length. This suggests it had been extended
to provide enough distance "to operate aircraft technology the government
wanted to keep secret and that would include devices allegedly developed
from captured alien discs."
- Indeed, the base does boast a longer than average runway,
so in effort to test claims such as these, one of Alan's colleagues set
him a challenge. "During one night shift, we sat down and debated
these claims, because the person I was working with was a very keen plane
spotter and according to Jane's Defence Weekly, our runway was reportedly
1.8 miles long.
- "We knew that not to be true, but this person needed
some convincing. So we measured it twice, from one end to another, and
it turned out to be 3.2 miles long, which classifies it as one of the largest
in NATO and certainly the largest in this sprat of Europe," he said.
- Not withstanding advances in vertical take-off technology,
the military still needs to rely on immense runway systems.
- Apparently, the runway was designed this way so that
it could be used as an 'Emergency Airfield Over-flow' (EAOF) site. It is
one of the few runways in Britain that can usher in any aircraft landing
with technical problems, including the Russian Bear aircraft and the P3
Orions, of the Royal Norwegian Air force, who regularly used the air base
as part of the NATO 'staging point' exercises.
- "An idea of the security you'd need to conceal something
like highly classified aircraft from the general public; the highest security
level in the UK at the moment is for our nuclear deterrent. Quite simply,
in the RAF you have a minimum of 120 armed officers available - at least
30 on duty at least 30 on stand-by and then another in what's called Augmentation
Force. This is made up of station personnel - live armed and ready to go.
- "On top of that, you need a triple airlock system
of MIDAS sensors, which stands for Microwave Infrared Detection Alert System.
Basically, if two sections of that system are triggered, you have an immediate
armed response. On top of that, you would have internal, trembler and fence
detection systems. You may also have three or four high guard towers with
armed personnel in them. You'd also have mobile patrols as well.
- To do all this takes a lot of resources and staff and
it can't be kept secret. You then need a locked air space - an area which
doesn't allow anyone to overfly because if somebody can overfly, they can
- "I believe there might be secure installations somewhere
but I've got to stress the only way to get the best security is to have
complete privacy. This means having nobody there, or having nobody wanting
to be there and it's something we didn't really have at RAF Machrihanish,"
- Be that as it may, I could sense he considered the interview
to be over. I risked one more question: "Do you think the American
military has used alien technology, gained either from crashed spaceships
or in some sort of trade, in the manufacture of their stealth aircraft?"
- "I'm certainly open to the possibility. Recent quantum
leaps in stealth technology have been staggering. The classic example has
to be the classic SR-71 Blackbird. Years before anything was announced,
the Americans were flying at Mach 3+, but I've met the flight crew of an
SR-71 and they laughed at it! So yes, I do believe somewhere that there
are recovered alien craft being back tracked, or else such technological
advances just wouldn't be so quick," he said.
- As we left the restaurant, I closed the door and turned
around slowly only to see an RAF Police Land Rover in the car park. Were
we being watched, I thought? Alan saw it too, although wasn't overly suspicious.
Raising his voice he pondered, "If such an aircraft exists, would
it still be called Aurora?" I shook my head, cautiously. The Pentagon
had released the name by mistake, so it probably would have been changed
after it came to the public's attention.
- My attention was still held by the mysterious RAF van,
parked a matter of feet away. With that, Alan disappeared back to his civilian
way of life. As I made my way home, I reflected that even whistle blowers
believe we should make up our own minds on what went on at RAF Machrihanish.