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Spooky ... one of our UFO sightings goes missing.

Byline: By Robin Turner and Tryst Williams Western Mail

A celebrated ufo incident in which aliens are said to have crash-landed into a remote Welsh mountain range in 1974 may finally have been debunked. According to contributions on the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, the Berwyn Mountains Incident - often referred to as the 'Welsh Roswell' - was actually a combination of an earthquake, a meteor shower and poachers carrying lanterns. Supporters of the UFO theory last night hit back at the claims.

It all happened on the frosty night of January 23, 1974, near Llandrillo, high in Clwyd's Berwyn Mountains.

Just after 8.30pm, even the most solid farmhouses and country pubs began to shake as the earth rumbled with what appeared to be a fantastic impact.

As people looked out of their homes, the night sky was streaked with light. Peculiar 'fairy lights' were also seen floating over the Berwyns. A nurse and her two daughters claimed to have seen an orange ball on the mountainside above Llandrillo while others claimed to have seen 'non-human beings' being handled by military personnel.

But it was, says Wikipedia, a complex coincidence of a meteor shower widely observed over Wales and northern England, a small earthquake, plus the activity of poachers - which explained the fairy lights.

And the website says so-called 'men in black', thought to have been Government agents in the area soon afterwards, were in fact civil servants from the British Geological Survey who happened to be wearing dark clothing.

Contributors to the online encyclopedia say it is now known that at 8.38pm on January 23, 1974, an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale was felt over a wide area of North Wales and as far afield as Liverpool.

First reactions were that a plane had crashed, or a meteorite had impacted.

Wikipedia claims, 'Further confusion was caused by lights seen on the Berwyn Mountains, which subsequently turned out to have belonged to poachers.

'Police were alerted and set up a search team. Within an hour about 10 officers were searching the Berwyn Mountains and they were joined later by an RAF mountain rescue team from Valley (Anglesey). Nothing was found, and all searches were called off at just after 2pm the following day.'

But Cefn Henry Williams, a Plaid Cymru councillor representing Llandrillo, believes something unusual happened that night.

He said, 'In the early hours a close friend of mine said he went up the mountain to see if there had been some kind of crash. He was buzzed by army helicopters all screaming at him through loud speakers 'keep away - evacuate the area'. Now while I am not a follower of the crashed UFO theory there could have been some experimental jet which crashed and the military wanted no one near there.'

Cardiff-based Lionel Fanthorpe, the broadcaster and cleric who is president of the British UFO Research Association (Bufora), yesterday invoked the example of the celebrated Roswell incident - when the US Government is rumoured to have recovered an alien body from a downed UFO near the remote New Mexico town of Roswell - in support of the claims.

He said, 'Purely from a statistical point of view a visit from some other civilisation is long overdue.': Wales' history of UFO sightings:Wales has had its fair share of UFO sightings over the years. In the '70s an entire class of primary school children in Broadhaven, West Wales, claimed to have seen a UFO landing and aliens get out.The pictures they drew of what they had seen - a cigar-shaped object - appeared uncannily similar.

In 2006 however, James Carlson of New Mexico, a serviceman based at Brawdy, West Wales, in the '70s and '80s, told paranormal magazine the Fortean Times in a letter that

the Harrier vertical take-off jet used in the UK from 1969 might explain the cigar-shaped object sightings because it did not move like a conventional aircraft.

In October 2005, the Ministry of Defence admitted they had investigated 28 UFO reports in Wales in the previous three years. They included a giant black object seen over Rhyl, a flying disc with legs seen over the Rhondda and a flying disc seen over Newport.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 20, 2007
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