Wiltshire’s Premier UFO and Paranormal Event
Athenaeum Theatre, Warminster 29th and 30th August 2009
A Personal View
- Cradle Hill (Come touch the Sky)
- Lunch with Phil and Christine
- Cradle Hill
- Arthur at the Barn?
- Cradle Hill UFO?
- Summing up
Also check out our Photos from Weird 09!
At the beginning of the year, Chris Williams asked us if we would be interested in writing a theme song for Weird 09. We were honoured to do this and saw it as a challenge. The event was to be held in Arthur Shuttlewood’s home town and this made it even more appealing. We were well aware of Warminster and its connection with UFOs over the years. The band had visited the town in September ’84, the year after we had written ‘Warminster Night’.
Brian jnr and I agreed the theme song should have the ‘feel’ of the late 60s early 70s when UFO reports in the town were at their height. We thought a ‘hippie’ style would suit. We kept the music mainly guitar whilst using the lyrics to portray, in a personal way to the listener, his or her experiences in and around the town including various events, past and present!
A more hippie feel was added at the end with shouts and chants. These were performed by family members who enjoyed being ‘hippies’ for the day. We hope the song did its job by taking the listener back to an era when Arthur and the ‘Thing’ were making big headlines in Warminster and in the world of Ufology.
The song was used to promote Weird 09 Conference on various websites, such as Mystical County, SUFOR and You Tube, and was played along with other C.E.IV tracks during intervals at the conference. People we’ve never met approached us at the conference saying they loved the song! We gratefully thank them for that!
We packed on the Thursday ready for the long trip south the next day. We left Glasgow at 8.30am Friday morning. It would take at least 8 hours so we were grateful when our good friend Philip Mantle suggested we call in for lunch, giving us the opportunity to meet up again. We should’ve arrived around 1pm but due to various motorway hold ups we didn’t arrive until nearer 3pm. Christine had a lovely meal ready for us and we gladly tucked in!
We all had a good talk about the unforgettable times we had staying at Philip’s home during the conferences he organised in Leeds, Sheffield, etc. During some of our stays we also got to meet some of the worlds top speakers also staying there and had some great times and good laughs with them all. Good to hear Philip has plans for future events.
We would love to have stayed longer but we still had a long journey ahead of us, so had to plod on. About 5pm we said our goodbyes and promised not to let it go so long until we all meet up again.
After a couple of hours travel, we were once again held up on the motorway just north of Bristol, stuck in the car for around an hour. We stopped for a break about 10pm and I phoned our hotel to say we would be there soon.
Arrived at the Farmers Hotel 11.30pm and were shown upstairs to twin room number 7. Although tired we thought about joining Malcolm Robinson and other speakers for a drink in the Old Bell Inn. The mobiles were buzzing and I phoned Malcky telling him we wouldn’t make it, particularly as we had to offload our gear at the Athenaeum Theatre around 8am next morning. Obviously big Malcky understood and he too retired for a rest. After unpacking we burst out a couple of beers and went out the back of hotel and did a bit of skywatching (clear skies). We called it a night around 1am. Brian jnr did all the driving and deserved a good rest. He set his phone alarm for 7am.
I awoke at 6.45am on a perfect sunny morning and nipped out for a walk! I ended up walking around Warminster remembering streets and buildings from our visit in ’84. It brought back some fantastic memories of this famous market town. I also checked out the theatre which was only a few minutes walk from our hotel. Got back to the hotel where we both ordered up breakfast.
As we had CDs, ‘Tor the alien and other things, we took the car up to the theatre. The Athenaeum, a Victorian Theatre, oozed atmosphere inside and out. After meeting Chris and Kevin we finished setting up our stall about 9am. I then nipped upstairs to get view of stage and that’s when I ran into Malcolm and Carole. It was great to see him after so many years and to meet Carole for first time. Brian jnr and I would meet up later with both of them for a few drinks.
None of us really sat through a full talk due to being at the stall and going into town centre to take photographs (while the weather was good). Being interested in ARTHUR SHUTTLEWOOD I did go along to see the first speaker of the day, Kevin Goodman.
Kevin’s talk was about Arthur Shuttlewood and sightings, etc in and around Warminster. He knew his stuff ok and went back to the very beginning with a bit about Arthur’s life and his initial involvement with Warminster and UFOs. Kevin backed up his talk with some very interesting slides of people, letters, photos of the area, including great shots of Cradle Hill. The audio recordings of Arthur’s voice were a treat to my ears and listening to the recordings of Peter Paget, of the Fountain Centre (Star House) made it all so real. Kevin is also the author of an excellent book ‘UFO Warminster: Cradle of Contact’. Those interested in the Warminster mystery should also visit his website at UFO-Warminster; it is packed with info, photographs, news clippings, time line etc. For me personally, Kevin’s talk was a major highlight of the conference.
I didn’t see ALL the speakers as I was here there and everywhere during the day. As we were only there for two full days I wanted to find out as much as I could about the town, Arthur’s home, Star House and the old Town Hall where the meeting was held in 1965. Brian jnr caught some of what I’d missed and vice versa.
I can however say that parts of the talks I did see were excellent and interestingly diverse. We both enjoyed talking to the speakers during the breaks, they were more relaxed and all were very friendly.
We had a stall selling CDs and ‘TOR’ our alien stood ‘guard’ over the table. He certainly created an interest getting lots of photo taken. Television documentary crew from Austria also filmed him during their visit to the event.
Steve Gerrard, a well known speaker/ufologist had a table next to us. His table was full of interesting magazines, books and CDs packed with info on UFO cases gathered over the years. We also met, for the first time, Mike Oram, Nick Redfern, Joe McGonagle, Hayley Stevens and of course Kevin and Chris. We know Brian and Ann Allan, friends from past meetings, and of course Malcolm Robinson has been a good mate since ‘85. The conference also gave us the opportunity to meet some fans of the band; among them was Dave Hodrien of Birmingham UFO Group, a great big guy with loads of enthusiasm for the subject and a brilliant website.
With having so much in common, meeting old friends and new is always a highlight at these events.
Saturday around 6pm we went back to the hotel and changed into warmer clothing for the skywatch at Cradle Hill. We packed video, still cameras, binoculars, torch and of course some beer to keep the chill out!
We walked the short distance to the ‘Old Bell Inn’ where Malcolm and Carole were staying. After a meal together we all headed out on the short journey to Cradle Hill. We must say thanks again to Carole for running us there and back! Weather was good and the sky quite clear so should be a good skywatch! We arrived about 8.30pm and saw a crowd of around 40 had already gathered at the car parking area. It was still quite light and we were able to pick out some of the people we had met at the conference. The Austrian television team were also there setting up their camera equipment.
About 9pm we headed up the single track road to the copse on Cradle Hill. Again we met some new friends and discussed various UFO cases etc, whilst relieving the bag of the weight of beer cans! (We did take our empties home!).
Standing with Brian jnr, friends and fellow skywatchers at the copse on Cradle Hill was totally magical. That night there was no where else we would rather be.
The barn stood out like a huge monument to honour all those who walked up that hill over the last 40 odd years! The graffiti was amazing, messages written with some nice artwork! I saw people much older than myself, some with walking sticks and others being helped along, unbelievable! Teenagers were there and even a small child in his/her mothers arms. I can only imagine what it would have looked like in the 60s/70s.
Some of the skywatchers I spoke to said they have been doing this for years. They took it much more seriously than I ever imagined, yet all were good humoured and willing to discuss their experiences. After an hour or so we moved back down to where the cars were parked.
Having a few beers prompted me to visit some bushes near the barn. I left the crowd who were now just silhouettes in the far side of the copse. On returning I slapped the metal door twice, the idea being my friends might get a fright! I was about three steps from the barn when someone jumped out from nearby bushes. ‘What was that noise!?’ he shouted.
Although he was very close, I couldn’t make out his features in the dark! I explained it was a joke to get attention from friends over at the copse. He began talking and said he ”never goes near the barn on his own”. I asked him why and he replied, “Oh various reasons. I just don’t, and you shouldn’t either.”
I asked if he was at the conference and he said no! He then told me he regularly comes up Cradle Hill sometimes as often as twice a week! He had been doing this summer and winter for over 40 years, mostly on his own! I thought that was fantastic and said so. He began telling me stories about his visits over the years. He explained that I should look on the ground as well as skywards, telling me that on numerous occasions he has witnessed loud ‘crackling’ in the bushes around the copse which he referred to as ‘static’ I was fascinated by his knowledge and thought about shouting for Malcolm and Brian jnr to come and meet him. I put my hand out saying ’I’m Brian interesting to meet you’ he offered his hand and said ‘Nice to meet you too, I’m Arthur!’
I think anyone can guess what was going through my mind...! I slowly backed away towards the copse saying “Maybe see you again sometime, all the best Arthur!” He replied saying he might see me at the car park as he was now going to walk back down.
Malcolm and Brian had a good laugh when I told them, obviously not believing a word! As we ourselves began to walk back down I told them we might even meet Arthur on route! Both chuckled and replied “Aye right!”
About half way down I saw ‘Arthur’ standing seemingly talking over the hedge to someone. Taking the opportunity with my two smiling witnesses nearby. I stopped and said “Are you going down to the car park?” at which he replied, “No I’m just going back up again!” I had to make sure and said, “It is Arthur isn’t it?” “Yeah, Yeah” was the reply and I ended by saying “See you again” My reluctant witnesses had to agree, I had met someone called Arthur on Cradle Hill.
I can live with the fact that ‘Arthur’ is a fairly common name in England!
We returned to the car park area about 9.45pm where we continued our skywatch. Two aircraft were very obvious as they moved across the sky, and although some did get a bit excited, they were clearly aircraft.
Flashes were seen by most skywatchers to the ENE direction, similar to ‘sheet lightning’. This was lighting up the thin clouds from beneath (I thought) and some thought possibly artillery but there was no sound whatsoever. I suggested that the tractor we viewed earlier on the field to the NE of Cradle Hill, with full lights on had been busy moving up and down, and on the uphill drive could easily be lighting up the thin cloud now and again.. I think it was just another possibility but the ‘flashes’ do remain a mystery!
Around 10.30pm a small bluish light appeared to our right moving right to left, South to North. It caused quite a bit of excitement and it was definitely NOT an aircraft. Had it been higher in the sky I would have thought a possible satellite. Its movements appeared similar, only it WAS below the thin cloud! I had the video camera on it the whole time.
After lighting up on four separate occasions along its trajectory it appeared to dim and do a ‘sharp’ turn moving directly East, away from us, straight ahead from our viewing point. I did not use camera zoom as I could easily have missed it.
Luckily it DOES appear on film, so through the computer we will attempt to ‘enlarge’ a section of the frame for further scrutiny. Obviously the original will be retained as a comparison to any work we do.
All the skywatchers at the car park clearly viewed this object and until further examination it remains a UFO.
The journey was certainly horrendous at times but we both agree it was well worth it. Chris Williams, Kevin Goodman and the crew, who were all mates’ together years ago, did a great job planning and running the event. I believe it was their first conference and good to hear it won’t be their last (Weird 10 is already being planned!).
As I already mentioned, meeting everyone was one of the highlights for us. Old friends and new made it all worthwhile. Being in the town of Warminster certainly made it more interesting and the quaint Athenaeum Theatre oozing with atmosphere, was the perfect venue. We saw Arthur’s old home, the Town Hall, The Star House and of course being on Cradle Hill after so many years felt like coming home again!
The conference produced some great talks on all aspects of the paranormal, all very interesting and serious, but we won’t forget the laughs and the good times.
Thanks to all involved for making this an unforgettable weekend for us.