WEIRD SUFFOLK: The county-hopping UFO that sped from Suffolk to Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 October 2019
Hidden East Anglia/Lantern
The truth is out there: were the strange lights seen hovering over Kessingland on a dark October night in 1953 linked to the UFO spotted in Norwich on the same night?
Suffolk has long been linked with UFO activity thanks to the infamous incident at Rendlesham, but long before alien action in the forest, there was a curious case in Kessingland during October 1953.
In the Spring 1978 edition of Lantern, the publication from the Lowestoft-based Borderline Science Investigation Group, there is the curious tale of John Smith, who was interviewed by BSIG's UFO research officer, Keith Williamson.
The Royal Observer Corps member who held held aircraft recognition certificates at the time of the sighting had been on his motorcycle at Latimer Dam in Kessingland. "At about 6.45pm on a dark Monday night, I was travelling from Wrentham to Kessingland along the old A12 road across Latimers Dam," said Mr Smith. "Although I was wearing a crash helmet and could only hear the sound of my motorcycle engine, I was suddenly aware of some sort of atmospheric vibration. I can only describe this as a low frequency hum or magnetic effect that could be felt. Looking upward towards the sea, I saw four rays of light approaching. The two front rays appeared shorter than the two at the rear, due no doubt to the movement of the object. The headlights of cars coming towards me down the hill ahead, appeared as thin silvery beams compared to the large orangey rays travelling in the sky. I immediately stopped my motorcycle to get a better look at the object - being a member of the Royal Observer Corps I was naturally interested in anything flying."
"By the time I stopped, the object passed overhead and disappeared behind Foxburrow Wood. The object was travelling quite fast as the whole sighting was only a period of seconds. Although the night was dark, the beams of light from the top of the object, were sufficient to cause a glow around its outline to show it up as the shape described on the accompanying sketch. The object, at a guess, was at a height of about 200ft with a diameter of about 50ft, but it could have been much higher and larger."
The Royal Observer Corps was formed in 1925 and gained a valuable role in being the 'eyes and ears' of the Royal Air Force. During the Cold War under the control of the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation (UKWMO) the ROC provided key monitoring, recording and appraisal of nuclear fallout if a nuclear attack occurred in the United Kingdom. Mr Smith, in other words, was a credible witness.
It seems somewhat of a coincidence that on the same evening, just a few minutes later, Frank Potter of South Park Avenue in Norwich reported seeing a UFO in the sky (we have covered Mr Potter's sighting here). The amateur astronomer told reporters that he'd seen a noiseless object two days earlier at 7.15pm, travelling from south-west to north-east. Training his telescope on the craft, he followed the saucer-shaped object as it sped across the sky, noting: "rays or beams of light could be seen distinctly from the dome and attached directly beneath it was a much larger and flattened dome with a protruding band running in a circumference around its edge. "The underneath of the large flattened bottom dome was hollow and appeared to be glowing red, but there were no vapour trails or gases to be seen."
The article prompted several other star-gazers to come forward to say they too had spotted something to suggest that we are not alone. Mr Potter also revealed that a further seven members of the Norwich Astronomical Society, to which he belonged, had also seen the saucer. And there may be another potential link, although Mr Smith's gender does count against him - Weird Suffolk has previous recounted the strange story of the Waveney Hum, a strange fog-horn type drone heard in the area, almost exclusively by women. Close by to Kessingland, could the hum heard in the early 1980s be linked to Mr Smith's unidentified flying object sighting in 1953? Kessingland has been the location for several other UFO sightings - one in 1995 where a man saw something strange from his garden and another in October 2009, when a witness saw eight orange lights in a staggered formation weaving in the sky for 10 minutes before speeding away - the truth is out there.