Did a UFO spy on me?

A few days ago I was asked by a newspaper reporter whether I had ever seen a UFO, and to go with my

answer I supplied a couple of pictures of myself. One of the pictures was taken of me on Plymouth Hoe

earlier this year - not far from where Francis Drake was told about the coming of the Spanish Armada -

which I had not really looked at before.

Zooming-in on the picture to crop it into a head-and-shoulders shot, I saw what looked like a little black

smudge on my computer screen to the left of my head. Wiping the screen and moving the picture about

revealed it was something actually in the picture and not a dirty mark!

So there it was a UFO lurking just behind me in the sky. If you zoom in on the object there is not much

detail, so it could have been a drone or a bird rather than a galactic spaceship spying on me.

That is the trouble with UFO photographs, you always end up with blurry blobs that could be virtually

anything that can take to the skies or that can be faked by photoshopping or by cell phone apps.

Security cameras do capture meteors streaking across the sky but none

seem to capture images of flying saucers lurking in the sky. Perhaps,

they are just too clever for our technology!

Due to the interest in UAPs there are more concerted efforts to build camera and sensing systems. One

is Skyhub that produces weather-protected tracking units with the ambition to create a global, civilian

network. They have cameras with fish-eye lenses, magnetometers and RF spectrum sensors. A

computer system spots if an anomaly is detected and such things as aircraft, weather balloons, meteors,

birds or drones can be eliminated.

Another promising enterprise is Avi Loeb’s ‘Project Galileo’ that states one of its major aims is:

‘To examine the possibility of extraterrestrial origin for unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), by making

observations of objects in and near Earth’s atmosphere, filtering out identifiable objects using AI deep

learning algorithms trained on rigorous classification of known objects, and then examining the nature of

the remaining data for anomalous characteristics.’

UFO sceptic Robert Sheaffer, is not very impressed about such schemes and is quoted by space.com:

‘There have been several such projects over the years to attempt to record UFOs.The people setting up

UFO cameras apparently do not realize that there are already extensive automated camera networks all

across the globe. But somehow astronomers' cameras do not record UFOs, just meteors. Those setting

up “UFO cameras” are fooling themselves if they think they will record objects that astronomers' cameras

do not.’

I wonder what he would make of my UFO picture!

Ironically, as for the question of whether I have ever seen a UFO I had to say no to the reporter. The

aliens were probably laughing at my arrogance and lack of vision (literally) as they hovered in the sky as

my picture was being taken.

I should add I have seen the odd light in the sky but nothing that would suggest anything remotely

extraterrestrial or unworldly.

The nearest I got to a UFO encounter was in the late 1970s, when I visited the famous Cradle Hill near

Warminster, which was a UFO hotspot in the 1960s. A group of us went up Cradle Hill to look for UFOs

but we saw nothing spooky except the staring eyes of sheep in a nearby field. It was only when we were

driving to Frome that we saw a UFO in the distance. Along with two other cars, we stopped at the side of

the road to watch a group of lights slowly flying towards us, it just looked like a scene from Close

Encounters of the Third Kind! A few minutes later, much to our disappointment mixed with relief that we

were not going to be abducted, we heard the sound of engines and saw that the object was an airship

with lights attached to it. If it had not got closer we would have been convinced that we had seen a flying


One thing is for certain UFOs are elusive blighters.