Warminster Mystery


Pinned by Invisible Fingers of Sound (The Beginning)

"Employed by Warminster Urban Council and a typical stolid Wiltshireman, Charles Hudd reported for duty at the central car park at 4.45 a.m on 1st April, 1966. Four other men were at that vantage point when the huge silvery cigar sailed over the green downs in front of them, from west to east. It was high up and made no sound. Just before it reached Cop Heap, where a Saxon chieftain is reputed buried, the aeroform started to stretch into a long poker of white-hot fire. As a crimson glow flooded its entire length, it burst and split in the centre amidships, with a glaring flash of light at breaking point"
From Chapter One of the Warminster Mystery By Arthur Shuttlewood , Nevile Spearman 1967

Arthur Shuttlewood
Arthur Shuttlewood (left) & the Marquis of Bath

Journalist Arthur Shuttlewood charts the activity of the thing. Shuttlewood gives an account of the object(s) seen by the residents of Warminster along with descriptions of the phenomena he encountered during nocturnal vigils in freezing cold woods and from hilltops around Warminster. Initially the thing as it became to be known manifested itself purely as sound, in the middle of the night local people were startled by loud scrapping and banging noises on the roofs of their houses. Eventually the thing became a full blown UFO. Other strange phenomena were recorded in the Warminster area, a gigantic cucumber measuring 30 inches in length and 12 inches in circumference was reported in the Warminster Journal of October 1965.

Bizarre Changes in Form and Dimension (Something Nasty In The Woods)

"On this memorable date, Bob and Sybil stumbled on a rather horrifying example of ostensible hidden menaces in UFology, on the road at the base of the hill proper. Motoring to the hill from Starr, where they had watched since dusk, they reached our favourite observation point near the midnight hour. A distraught, nail biting husband was pacing up and down near the white gates, beside a parked car. Worried and wringing his hands in anguish, he made a swift appeal to the welcome newcomers. The stranger told my team mates that his wife had wandered off to neighbouring bushes to 'spend a penny,' but that was twenty-five minutes ago; and now the poor man was demented, staring with dread up the rough track to the dark silhouette of the silent copse. Grabbing torches from their car, Bob and Sybil rushed along the rutted trackway, sensing something amiss. The husband, braver now he was with company, groped in the rear of them. Short of the trees, and to the left side of the copse, their flashing beams brought into bold relief a tall figure standing at the edge of the wood. He was clad in what my team termed 'some sort of dark and close fitting garment, shining as if made of leatherette. It seemed to be a one-piece outfit and he wore a hood or black helmet on his head, which was turned towards us and showed a pale face in the glow of out torches.'..." from Chapter 7 of Warnings from Our Flying Friends, by Arthur Shuttlewood, Portway Press, 1968

Hanging on the Telephone

During the period September-October 1965 Arthur Shuttlewood was contacted by three 'space people'. The beings hailed from a world called Aenstria. Traellison was the queen of the Aenstrians, Caellsan the commander of Spacecraft No. 6, and Selorik the English interpreter for Aenstria. Shuttlewood initially believed the calls to be the work of 'slow witted imbeciles'. The space people always contacted Arthur Shuttlewood from a telephone box situated in Boreham Fields, east of Warminster town centre. What may have convinced Shuttlewood not to reject the calls outright as a hoax, was the fact that he never heard the four pennies drop! The space people told Shuttlewood that it would not be a good thing if he were to try and apprehend them, if he did make such an attempt he may come to harm! Nowadays the Aenstrians would be on the O2 or Orange network.

The Warminster mystery reflects perhaps a more inocent age; one elderly gentleman living at a remote cottage near Warminster witnessed a flying saucer land in woods close to his home. The pensioner put the kettle on, intending to offer the space people a cup of tea. Shuttlewood relates the story of this gentleman's encounter as follows:

'Through it, a light flew up from the grass and into he air. I did not see any shape or outlines at all at this point. I wondered if I was dreaming - I am creeping on towards 80, you know - but my pipe was still alight and hot. I took an extra-big puff at it and pressed it against my cheek to make sure I was awake.' In a friendly overture, the old man had approached the two unexpected airmen in the wood. He intended to invite them in for a cup of tea, the kettle on the boil astride an old-fashioned gas-ring at the time. and he failed to understand why they snubbed him, shocked his sense, so that he trembled at the memory of the weird encounter while I was interviewing him some weeks afterwards. from Chapter 7 of UFO Magic in Motion, by Arthur Shuttlewood, Sphere Books, 1979

Arthur Shuttlewood strikes me as a hugely likeable character, of course he was ever the journalist, he knew how to write a good story. Shuttlewood was central to the Warminster mystery, the question as to whether he engaged in deception over the whole Warminster affair is quite interesting. From reading his books and the various accounts of the Warminster story, I certainly wouldn't describe him as being a cynical individual. I don't believe for one minute that Arthur Shuttlewood thought that he might gain financially. Shuttlewood certainly didn't appear to be motivated purely by the prospect of acquiring 'celebrity status' and or money. He and his associates spent their own money on equipment that would enable them to better observe the supposed UFOs. They spent long nights out on the hills around Warminster in all kinds of inclement wheather. Shuutlewood ended up suffering from heavy colds and bronchial complaints as a result of these observing sessions.

The Aenstrians told Shuttlewood that they were concerned with a number of issues that could jeopardise the future of mankind. Atomic warfare, environmental pollution, declining moral standards, drug taking, food full of pesticides and chemicals were seen by the Aenstrians as posing a major threat to the human race. Possibly with the exception of Atomic warfare these issues are still of major concern, probably more so these days. In 2007 issues such as environmental pollution, food full of additives and other unspeakable muck, drug addiction etc, are the focus of a great deal of media attention. Politicians regularly drone on about such matters, I wonder if they actually care about any of this stuff? The 'environment' has become a powerful marketing tool, everyone from banks, supermarkets to car manufacturers are promoting their products or services as being environmentally friendly. This I think really is cynical, it's nothing more than jumping on the bandwagon. Those responsible for commercial advertising campaigns or those in the Government Department of Spin and Propaganda are a fairly unappealing bunch, whatever else is said about Arthur Shuttlewood, he was an attractive character, he had personality. I would have love to have met Arthur Shuttlewood, people might have laughed at him, but irrespective of one's own scepticism, incredulity, he was an extremely engaging man. I think that Arthur Shuttlewood like many others was genuinely looking for something that could change things, something that could prevent the collapse of civilisation and stop the world sliding into chaos and destruction. It is interesting to consider that environmental issues were discussed by a number of UFOlogists way back before it become fashionable, indeed quite a number of topics that figured in UFOlogy have been absorbed into mainstream thinking. In a strange way I think Shuttlewood provided those who gathered on Cley Hill throughout the 1960s and 1970s with something valuable, whether you call it hope, or just a way of escaping and experiencing something strange and a bit mysterious I don't know. You can take a hard view and say he merely deluded himself and others, with all that new-age mumbo jumbo. But people need mystery, people need to escape!

BBC Wiltshire The mystery of Warminster's 'UFO'

The mystery of Warminster's 'UFO'

Arthur Shuttlewood interview from the Out Of This World documentary

Warminster UFO 1977 Report on The Thing

British UFOlogy Interviews and Lectures

The following lectures and interviews originally appeared on UFOlogy Across the Ponds, a CD produced by Wendy Connors. Sadly Wendy Connors no longer maintains her website fadded discs. I've uploaded a few interviews and lectures featuring some notable figures from British UFOlogy.

The mp3 files can be downloaded here