UFO seen on the Cat and Fiddle Road

Unidentified flying objects or UFOs don’t make the headlines like they used to. It’s almost like they’ve gone out of fashion. This may be due to the fact that recent scientific research has established that although we may not be alone in the universe, visitors from another world probably aren’t traversing the vast distance to Earth just to frighten some poor individual on a lonely road. However, that doesn’t mean that people have stopped seeing strange lights in the sky as one woman found out in late July.

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The Cheshire resident who regularly visits Buxton witnessed an aerial phenomenon around midnight whilst driving on the A537 or as it more commonly known, the Cat and Fiddle road (named after the pub about halfway between buxton and Macclesfield). Like many who see such things, she wishes to remain anonymous. However, she wants to share the encounter in case anyone has experienced anything similar:

I kept seeing something in the corner of my eye and I just thought it must be a bat but it kept zipping, no lights, just movement, so so fast. I followed the road, then I started seeing green lights and again, zipping movement. I saw three red flashing red lights in a triangle, then it zipped off. I took the long way round and kept my eye on the sky, then I saw a very faint light ahead. I kept looking and it was just hovering. At one point, I stopped and tried to take a video but it was dark and cloudy. When I got closer, it was like someone turned the switch off and it just disappeared. Once I realised I was alone in the hills, I got scared. Well, I clearly wasn’t alone! I googled it when I got home and there was a similar story in the Derbyshire Times in January.

On the twisting Cat and Fiddle road, the lofty summits of Derbyshire offer a commanding view of the Cheshire plains, home to Jodrell Bank and its radio telescopes. A quick internet search will tell you that this part of the world is no stranger to UFO reports. In fact, the town of Chapel-en-le-Frith, about 13 miles away, has one of the first ever recorded UFO sightings in its parish register dated 1716. So what is going on? It’s easy to dismiss the object as a remote-controlled drone, rare cloud formation, weather balloon, figment of a tired imagination, etc. but as someone who has had a UFO experience, I know that it may never be fully explained and that it will continue to haunt you. One of the UK’s leading UFO investigators, Jenny Randles, used to live nearby and the advice she gave me was “keep watching the skies.”

Wolfson Investigates: A Brocken Spectre

Until recently, I knew nothing about the phenomenon commonly known as a Brocken Spectre. My good friend Bryn Layton had the good fortune (and skill) to photograph one and I was immediately fascinated.  The “spectre” is created under particular atmospheric conditions. The ghostly outline of a person is reflected onto low cloud or fog when they are stood infront of the sun on a high ridge or mountain. In this case, at 8am on Mam Tor in the Peak District in the UK.

Copyright Bryn Layton
Copyright Bryn Layton

Once explained, the circumstances seem a little mundane but the effect is nonetheless spectacular. The halo around Bryn’s reflection is reminiscent of a religious icon and makes you ponder the origin of such imagery. Would our ancient ancestors have perceived their own reflection or would they have seen something uncanny; a being from another world or even a god?

Back for Halloween!

D.W.

Resurrection of the Beast

One of the appeals of being a horror writer is creating new monsters. Evil goblins from another dimension, bird-masked serial killers, mind-control Cyclopes, flying blood-sucking snails; creating nightmares is all in a day’s work. All very well but who will oppose this pantheon of terrors? Who will save us from getting chopped up into little pieces and blended in to some freak’s smoothie? In my case, the answer is usually Ray Weaver.

Ray Weaver

A hero created for my first attempt at film-making The Horror of the Legend of the Night of the Beast, Ray Weaver is a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, womanising, alcoholic journalist and proud of it. He bumbles from one scene to the next, bemused rookie photographer in tow, on the trail of a mysterious and murderous creature. The story concentrates on the end of Ray’s career and although it was just a bit of fun, I became fascinated with this likeable rogue and set out to explore his origins in my book Hidden Places on Earth. I wanted to know how, when and why he became the world’s leading paranormal investigator, reaching for the booze, drugs and ciggies to cushion the blows.

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As an original concept on paper, Ray wasn’t much. It was my good friend Anthony Rothwell who breathed some life into the character with his eccentric performance in The Beast (to use it’s much appreciated abbreviated title). Filming Tony doing anything is strangely interesting and comical, even if he’s just doing something mundane like walking down a street. He is equally affectionate towards the character and has kindly provided us with his own insight:

Characteristics of Ray are pretty straight forward. He’s a drunk first and foremost everything else is subsidiary, consequential, coincidental or a curse of luck. Something made him want to be a journalist though and dabbling in the occult has given him the awareness that dark forces are real and are a mainstay effect on the ailments of the world. Something happened to Ray that bent him over a bottle and brought his esteem to where it was at the time of the Beast. But now I’m thinking maybe its a choice thing and maybe it’s a defence too. Who would bother worrying about the compartments of an idiot?

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Even though the beginnings and end of Ray have been established, the character still remains interesting to me. After all, there are about twenty years of story in between Hidden Places on Earth and The Beast to tell. I’m working on some new Ray Weaver stories and I hope to team up with Tony again soon to put one or two on film. Talking of which, I’m looking for a creepy old house in the Peak District area to use as a location. If you have a suggestion, please get in touch. I would be most grateful.

D.W. (yes, I had to look up the plural for Cyclops, wouldn’t you?)