The Secret Files»
UFOs in History»
The Berwyn Incident lay largely dormant throughout most of the 1970s and 80s, being little more than a footnote in the literature. But intriguing pieces of information did surface, later becoming part of the lore surrounding the case. Jenny Randles was a frequent visitor to the region in the late 1970s. staying in the Llandrillo area for weeks at a time. She recalls the locals speaking to her about military activity on the mountains in the wake of some form of crash-like event. Jenny was very interested in the case and initially put it down to a possible ‘earthlight’.
In Paul Devereux’ book Places of Power, he briefly relates the Berwyn Incident, attributing the cause of the odd lights seen on and above the mountain to geophysical stresses. Known as ‘Earthlights’ to ufologists these are literally lights formed by Earth. Devereux notes that a colleague, Keith Critchlow, was in the area several days after the incident and ‘fell in with scientists who were investigating the mountain’. They had a geiger counter with them which allegedly gave extraordinary readings in the vicinity of a Bronze Age archaeological site known as Moel ty Uchaf, on the slopes of Cader Berwyn.
The 1990s brought growing interest in the UFO subject and the Berwyn Incident was recalled. Jenny Randles lectured on the case at the 1994 Fortean Times UnConvention and mentioned the anomalous radiation count at the Moel ty Uchaf circle. Following her lecture she was approached by a science correspondent from the Sunday Express. He mentioned rumours of a leukaemia cluster among children in the Bala area which had arisen in the years following the Berwyn Incident. At the time he connected it with possible leaks from the Trawsfynedd nuclear power station but could not prove this. In the light of later claims of UFO crashes or secret military hardware it could be implied that whatever had crashed had possibly been radioactive in nature and of sufficient strength to affect the human organism.
By 1996 the Berwyn Incident had featured in UFO books, several UFO magazines and national newspapers. Television programmes on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel covered the case, and by 1997 it was the focus of an entire chapter in Nick Redfern’s best-selling book about the government cover-up of UFO information, A Covert Agenda.
The Berwyn incident was big news once again. From its humble beginnings it was now a ‘British Roswell’ just waiting to burst, firmly enshrined in ufo-lore as one of the United Kingdom’s few UFO crash retrieval cases. This surge of publicity brought forward new witnesses whose testimony added new and dramatic dimensions to the case.
In an article for UFO Magazine, veteran ufologist Tony Dodd recounted how his anonymous informant was part of a military unit put on stand-by several days before the date of the Berwyn Incident. His unit was moved northwards through North Wales until he and four others were sent to the village of Llanderfel to collect ‘two large, oblong boxes’. They were ordered to take these to Porton Down in Wiltshire. Once at Porton Down, a UK government research establishment, the boxes were opened and Dodd’s informant told him: ‘We were shocked to see two creatures which had been placed inside contamination suits. When the suits were fully opened it was obvious the creatures were clearly not of this world and when examined were found to be dead. What I saw in the boxes that day changed my whole concept of life.’ Dodd’s informant goes on to relate details of the creatures; ‘The bodies were about five to six feet tall, humanoid in shape but so thin they looked almost skeletal with covered skin.’
The military man did not actually see a crashed UFO himself but claimed that: ‘Sometime later we joined up with the other elements of our unit, who informed us that they had also transported bodies of ‘alien beings’ to Porton Down, but said their cargo was still alive.’
This interest by the media, together with the claims made by researchers Jenny Randles, Nick Redfern, Tony Dodd and Margaret Fry led to me re-investigating the Berwyn Incident in 1998. There was a wealth of information available and I reasoned that somewhere, amid the accounts of the witnesses and the claims of the ufologists, lay the key to what really happened on that January night in 1974.
Ufologists, particularly those who believe that there is a global conspiracy to conceal evidence of extraterrestrial visitation are keen to stress the importance of the ‘paper trail’. By this they mean that any event, however secret, must have generated some official documentation, and that by finding this documentation clues as to what happened can be gleaned. It seemed reasonable that an event of the magnitude of the Berwyn Incident would have left at least some trace in official records, no matter how small or obscure. But those ufologists who had pursued the case up to 1997 had not followed this line of enquiry, claiming that either the documentation no longer existed or was part of the cover-up. They clearly hadn’t looked hard enough, because I found a wealth of official documentation from a variety of sources. I used it, together with witness statements, to piece together the true events of January 23rd 1974.»