Flying wildly down the narrow winding roads in the Peak
in Britain three Men in Black
in a vehicle were on a strange mission.
They were intent on confronting mysteries
that were being reported in the area.
Were these MIBs
minions of mysterious alien interlopers intent on suppressing
knowledge of UFO events, messengers of deception, government spooks,
clandestine researchers or something far more sinister.
One had journeyed across the planet for this
The other two were
based locally and were well steeped in the mysteries of the area.
The two were briefing the outsider on the weird cavalcade of strange
events that haunted the region – a roll call of the supernatural and the
unexplained – ghosts, mystery animals, strange events and their particular
focus – UFOs. Flying saucers were at the
heart of the matter and it was aliens that demanded their attention here.
They were drawn to the Barley Mow pub in the village of Bonsall, near
Matlock, Derbyshire. The landlord was
the alien contact in “the UFO capital of Britain.”
Careering to a stop the trio
strode across the car park. They stopped
in their tracks. Advancing across in
front of them flocking directly toward the establishment were aberrations
descendant from the dinosaur age, clearly intent on taking over – winged
weirdos, they were. The weird was getting a whole lot weirder – the daily
fodder of this weird trio.
This was all there “in the Eye of the Beholder.”
The strange creatures before them were described years later. “These birds, you see, are directly descended
from pterodactyls, they’re virtually a genetic replica, and they’ve got the
same killer instinct. They are clever,
too. Clever and cunning.”
"These birds ..."
No, this was no Jurassic Park stampede.
This was Alan Webster, the Barley Mow landlord at Bonsall, talking to
William Langley of the Telegraph, 2 August 2008. He was talking about Bonsall’s annual
“Chicken run: Hen racing is the sport of wings.”
Bonsall's chicken run
It was a “chicken run” that stopped the three Men in Black in their
tracks. Well, actually it was a chicken/chook
walk, across the car park, up the steps and into the pub. The MIBs followed the
procession and were soon being debriefed by the resident “flying saucerer” of
Bonsall - Alan Webster – on the local performance of “the UFO theatre.”
Bonsall's resident "flying saucerer" - Alan Webster
communing with weird birds
By “the UFO theatre” I mean all the strange cavalcade of beliefs and
claims that contribute to the development of the great UFO myth, but ultimately
contribute little understanding of the reality of UFOs.
The Bonsall “UFO theatre” included the command performance of becoming
“the UFO capital of Britain” cemented by “a UFO film” taken locally in October
2001, touted as “the best UFO video ever taken” and promptly the evidence got
elusive. The encounter was intriguing
but to me the imagery resembling “a giant disc with a bite taken out of the
bottom” reminded me more of the typical images one gets when people use cameras
on auto-focus, the result being due the internal geometry of the camera’s lens
system in auto-focus going into zoom/infinity – a kind of defacto out-of-focus “fingerprint”
of the camera type – not an accurate depiction of the possible UFO itself.
The Bonsall UFO film disk
Maybe there was something to all the Bonsall “UFO theatre”, but it sure
didn’t seem that way to the three men in black.
I should know because I was one of them – the outsider who had come from
the other side of the Earth, Australia (“OZ”) – I was wearing a black overcoat
and dark sunglasses. The other two were
local researchers David Baker of the Yorkshire UFO Society and editor of their
magazine “Project Red Book” and Dr. David Clarke, folklorist, journalist and
author. Honestly I can’t remember what
the two Daves were wearing, probably black, or maybe something else entirely –
my gonzo tilt at “the UFO theatre.”
Me - a MIB?? - No....
I enjoyed the hospitality of David Clarke and David Baker as they showed
me through the Peak/Pennine districts in October 2002, but I saw little that
engaged me about a possible UFO reality.
David Clarke captured a lot of the local weirdness in his book “Supernatural
Peak District” (2000), and more particularly the Bonsall perspective in an
article for “Peak District Magazine” (“Close Encounters of the Peak District
Kind”, January 2003, republished in the YUFOS publication “Project Red Book”
Vol.6, #5, January 2003)
Project Red Book's take:
"I've abducted Chalker.
I couldn't find a picture of him but he's still chatting on about something.
I've also got his kid.
There really different these Australians!!!!"