Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The garden party, the ex-policeman and UFOs

Now that Summer is finally here (yeah right!), I have been grabbing what time I can in my own back garden.

Maybe because of this, my thoughts turned to a party my wife and I went to one Summery Saturday afternoon a few years ago - when I would still be slaving away in some Whitehall office or other during the week. It was hosted by a friend and colleague of my wife's who was also reasonably well known to me. As parties go, it was a bit of a lacklustre affair with poor attendance. But the weather was nice and we could languish in our host's hundred foot long garden, the bottom of which was lost in dense trees.

There was the usual party conversation but the real highlight of the event for me however, was when we were introduced to the father of the host's boyfriend. He was a retired former policeman whom I'm guessing was in his seventies at the time we met.  He lived in South Africa and was visiting his son for the Summer.

I found out that he had worked on - if I remember correctly - the training manual for SO19 (as he called it - now SCO19), the firearms unit of the Metropolitan Police, which was interesting enough in itself. BUT when the conversation somehow turned to UFOs (probably my fault but only in jest) he quite earnestly said "I saw a UFO once".

Well the other party guests might as well not have been there, as I recall spending the remaining hours of the party talking with this genial, gently spoken and articulate man about his on-duty encounter with something that, to this day,  he - and another colleague on patrol with him - cannot explain. We also chewed the fat about various theories concerning UFO phenomena in general. The more we talked, it seemed to me that he was quite well informed on the subject and could relate anecdotes about other colleagues having had similar experiences some of which may very well have ended up on the PRUFOS database.

I wish I could remember more details of the encounter he described (sorry folks) and had had the presence of mind to write some of it down on returning home - but alas I didn't think to do so at the time and didn't think I would be writing about this online some time later either.

I came away hoping I hadn't taken up too much of his time but having genuinely enjoyed our discussion - and feeling quite privileged. I suspect that he'd enjoyed talking about it just as much as I had and was glad to share his experience with (what I hope) is an open-minded cove like myself. Part of me did wonder at first whether this was a gentle wind-up, as coppers generally have a wicked sense of humour but I think this chap was being earnest. My wife thought so too and she's a good judge of character.

I think it's fair to say that meeting and talking to this man - and one or two others - sowed the seeds of my move to start this blog, which has been a long time coming. It made me realise that there are potentially hundreds - if not thousands - of credible witness sightings by professionals not only in the police but also in other emergency services, the armed forces and in aviation. Most of these individuals will have had close encounters which have never been recorded,  because of their fear of ridicule by their peers and how this would affect their careers. It's such a shame that many - like this man I met - feel they can only really open up when they have ceased working in those professions.

I wonder sometimes that if the true number of sightings and encounters by such professionals were ever actually known, whether the mainstream scientific community and our Government would treat the subject more seriously (at least openly). But even then I suspect not.

I do think however, that only the inexplicable appearance of something manifestly not faked and 'not-of-this-earth' at a globally broadcast event like the 2012 Olympics for example would be enough...

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