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Is it all pie in the sky?

Byline: By Beth Neil

According to reports, more than half of us believe in extra-terrestrial life. Beth Neil meets four people who have all had an unexplained intergalactic experience

Colin Green lives for the day he can prove the doubters wrong. All day he is either glued to the box, staring up to the sky or buried in a book, searching for evidence supporting his theories that there's something out there.

"They're here and living among us," he says solemnly. "Aliens, other beings. They're definitely here."

"They don't necessarily look how we typically imagine an alien. They can make themselves look like us so they can blend into society. Aliens are very intelligent beings, far more advanced than we are."

What are they here for then if they are already too clever to learn anything from us? Colin answers in a shot.

"They're working for the American government. Without a doubt. Look at microwave ovens for instance ( where did they come from? That invention just happened overnight, suddenly we had it.

"I'd love to know what they get in return. But there must be things we can give them. Maybe it's allowing them to live among us, maybe it's access to water. There are a lot of things going on that we know nothing about."

Colin, 41, who lives in Newbiggin Hall had to give up his job as a train driver six years ago due to ill health. He now devotes his life to all things extra-terrestrial and is desperate to have an experience to confirm his beliefs.

"I think if it happened I would be absolutely terrified. But it would be fascinating. If I actually got abducted by aliens I'd ask them all sorts of questions. I don't mind admitting that it's an obsession with me"

Colin's obsession began when he was a child growing up in the 60s. He adored sci-fi series like Star Trek and The Invaders. Then he read The Hollow Earth by R Bernard and it changed his life.

"It's all there in that book and I would recommend anyone to read it. There's a subterranean world and a lot of aliens come from there.

"I was very small when I first got into it and it's stayed with me all my life. I've read more books and magazines and watched more television programmes than I care to remember.

"But all my research has convinced me that I'm right."

Colin firmly believes we Earthlings are being shielded from the truth for our own protection.

"There would be widespread panic if everyone knew what was really happening. But think about it. UFOs could be anywhere ( any shape, any size and we'd be none the wiser. Things we take for granted like flies or bluebottles could well be UFOs."

Going from a UFO obsessive to a self-confessed sceptic, Brian Cassidy of Gateshead may have witnessed one of the North East's most famous UFO sightings, but he still takes most stories from outer space with a heavy pinch of salt.

"It was the early 60s and I was in my 20s," says Brian, now 65. "My brother-in-law and I were sitting in my front room on Newman Terrace in Gateshead. It was a fine summer night so we had the windows open.

"From behind Whickham bank a large orange ball zoomed across right in front of us. We saw it for five or six seconds and it was very clear because it was only about 800 metres high.

"We just sat there in complete awe and disbelief. Then the next day we saw the headlines in the Sunday Sun and we knew we weren't the only ones."

Thousands of people on the Town Moor for the last night of the Hoppings had also seen the object, which shot straight across the city and then over the North Sea. Sightings were also recorded in Scandinavia.

"I'm not saying it was definitely something from outer space because I just don't know," says Brian. "But it wasn't a shooting star, as some have suggested."

The North East has long been a hotbed for UFO sightings. Trawling through the Chronicle archives from the 60s reveals reports of strange objects floating about in the sky on a weekly basis.

In June 1973 we reported how a Tyneside school's nature study class in Rothbury was rudely interrupted by a glowing disk up above. The group, from Whickham Comprehensive, took a photo, which had sky-watchers stumped.

Mr Astronomy himself, Patrick Moore, waded into the controversy, dismissing the ball of light as being "almost certainly a gas cloud from a rocket". But the Ministry of Defence said no rocket was launched from the Royal Artillery firing range that day.

Last summer, Leslie Williams also had an extra terrestrial-experience he'll not forget in a hurry.

He said: "My wife and I left our house on Edward Road in Rosehill shortly after 3pm to pick the grandchildren up from school. It was a very clear day .

"Just as we were about to turn into Churchill Street, I looked up at the sky and saw what looked like three grey balloons all joined together

"The shapes disappeared into a cloud and then came out the other side. One was separated from the other two and then they all just stopped dead. I was staring in complete amazement when suddenly the one in front just shot off to the left towards West Allotment. I looked back again and the other two went back in the cloud, came out the right hand side, separated and were getting higher and higher, really fast.

"They weren't balloons or birds. And the thing went 10 times faster than a jet."

Leslie has tended to keep his sighting to himself, worried that sceptics might think he's a crackpot. But he knows what he saw.

"I didn't report it because I didn't really know who to tell. I just wish I'd had a camera on me."

In 1998 Peter Bestford of Newcastle was so concerned about a mysterious object he'd seen in the sky, he wrote into the Chronicle. "I was looking out of my window and saw something most unusual over Newcastle," he wrote.

"It is hard to describe, but I will try. It was sausage-shaped, fluorescent green in colour and its outline was fuzzy. It had two very bright lights in its body and it travelled at great speed. Then, without slowing, it did a 90-degree turn. This is an impossible manoeuvre for an aircraft."

Looking back now, Peter, 59, stands by his story.

"I remember it exactly. The speed of it was amazing. Before that night I had always kept an open mind but I'm a firm believer in UFOs now. I think more UFOs would be spotted if people bothered to look up to the air a bit more often.

"There must be life on other planets as well. Not necessarily little green men, but we just don't know."

NDO you believe in aliens? Have you photographic evidence? Write to Your Shout, Evening Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 14, 2004
Words:1176
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