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UFOs in the daily Press:

Phenomena in Scotland, 2003:

This article was published in the daily newspaper Aberdeen Evening Express, Scotland, on September 3, 2003.

MYSTERY AFTER UFO SIGHTINGS PUZZLE EXPERTS

Strange lights in the North-east night sky have baffled the experts.

Sixteen lights travelling rapidly across clear skies were spotted over two nights by a Fyvie resident.

Air traffic control bosses and aviation experts have ruled out aircraft or satellites, because the lights were travelling too fast to be planes or orbiting objects.

Astronomy experts say the lights could not have been "shooting stars" because they were travelling too slowly and from different directions.

One North-east UFO expert was at a loss to offer a straightforward explanation and said the mysterious sightings should be logged as genuine close encounters with unidentified flying objects.

The high-level Fyvie flyovers first appeared on Thursday about 10.30pm and were still crossing silently overhead more than two hours later.

They took only seconds to cross the sky, then gave a repeat performance on Friday night and into Saturday morning.

Resident and Evening Express reporter Graham Lawther said he spotted the first lights at 10.35pm on Thursday.

He said: "I had stepped outside for a good view of Mars, which is closer to the earth now than it has been for thousands of years, on what was a crystal-clear, moonless night.

"But I also saw a small white light, high in the atmosphere, appear in the southern sky and fly extremely fast to the north.

"It was far too rapid for an aircraft. It was across the whole sky in under 10 seconds and a plane would have taken several minutes."

Mr Lawther saw seven identical, fast-moving pinpricks of light between 10.35pm and 11.20pm, and six more from 12.15am-12.45am.

Three more were witnessed on the Friday night, between 10.20pm and 10.35pm, the first heading south and two more quickly heading north.

The lights, which appeared to be at the altitude of a high-flying aircraft gave off a white glow.

A RAF Kinloss spokeswoman said: "We had no activity in that area on either day."

A National Air Traffic Services spokesman said: "I have checked with our colleagues in Aberdeen and Prestwick, which covers the upper air space.

"There are no reports of any sightings from either night."

A spokesman for the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh said the lights could have been satellites in high orbit.

He said large satellites were occasionally seen with the naked eye, though never 13 in less than two hours.

He said they were almost always observed shortly before dawn or after dusk, when sunlight reflected off their highly polished surfaces.

Our skies are hotspot for saucers.

The North-east is a global hotspot for UFO sightings.

Aberdonian Ian Taylor, who has been studying the subject for more than 50 years, said folk travel to this region from all over the country in the hope of a close encounter.

Lights and objects were regularly seen near Muchalls, Portlethen, Deeside and the area north of Aberdeen, he explained.

The ex-RAF man said it would be difficult to explain away the sheer number of the latest phenomena in the skies above Fyvie as aircraft, satellites or shooting stars.

"These were obviously aerial objects, either generating their own light or reflecting light," said Mr Taylor.

"What was seen was straightforward UFO activity."

Mr Taylor said no one should jump to the conclusion that the sightings were necessarily "craft from another planet" but said they were certainly unexplained observations of unidentified objects.

"The frequency of sightings up here is immense," said Mr Taylor, who lives in Aberdeen's West End.

"If you are willing to go out and look in the evening, particularly in the winter time, you would be able to see things you would not believe."

Recent North-east sightings have included:

A hovering ball of light seen from Kincorth for two hours last January.

A silent red light following a couple in their car on the A90 just south of Aberdeen in December 2002, which shot off vertically.

Two "bright globes" spinning above Cruden Bay in October 2001, which faded after 10 minutes.

A black wing-like object, which glowed and buzzed a couple's home in Aboyne - and which was also seen by a man driving between Daviot and Oldmeldrum.

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