London, England - The UK's Ministry of Defence has opened its secret UFO files containing details of 800 reports of flying saucers and attempted alien abductions.
Some 4,000 pages of sightings recorded between 1981 and 1996 include a police probe into a 'lemon-headed' alien's attempts to lure two boys aboard its spaceship in 1995 and a large number of sightings that led to Bonnybridge, Scotland, becoming known as a UFO hotspot in the mid-1990s.
One of the boys approached by the alien with the lemon head boy said his face had been turned 'beetroot' by the heat given off by the spaceship, which stood eight storeys high and hovered 40ft above the ground.
But many writers - including this one - posed the question of whether a secret US hypersonic spy plane, codenamed Aurora, was actually behind over 70 sightings in Devon, Cornwall, South Wales and Shropshire in 1993.
At the time, the MoD's UFO desk wrote to the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff to ask whether Aurora had been doing test flights as there was 'evidence of an unidentified craft evading UK defences'. The US has never admitted the plane exists and the MoD officer was 'urged to drop the subject'.
The MoD man was reported as saying: "You may wish to be aware of a recent particularly unusual incidence of UFO sightings over Britain, involving descriptions that match some of the reported characterisations of the so-called 'Aurora'." His letter was returned with a handwritten note at the top which read: "Thank you. I suggest you now drop this subject."
The so-called Aurora was so secret that when the codename of the 'black' program was revealed in the 1980s, it was replaced with a new codename, 'Senior Citizen'. The plane, reportedly capable of flying at up to twenty times the speed of sound, was the subject of much speculation at the time and the British Government was forced to deny it had allowed experimental flights over the UK.
The Scotsman newspaper reported in 1992 that a jet travelling at more than three times the speed of sound was being tested near Machrihanish air base in Argyll. Despite questions from the UK at the highest level, the Americans denied any involvement.
Machrihanish is an interesting airbase. It boasts the longest runway in Europe (over three miles) and the entire surface of the runway is painted four times a year, to match the surrounding undergrowth.
The massive runway length is necessary so it can be used as an Emergency Airfield Over-flow (EAOF) site. It is one of the few runways in Britain that can cope with any aircraft landing with technical problems, including the Russian Bear and the P3 Orions of the Royal Norwegian Air force, who regularly used the air base as part of the NATO 'staging point' exercises.
Secret Underground facility
The runway faces east/west in a remote part of Scotland, enabling aircraft to approach the base from the sea, unobserved - ideal for covert or secret activity. It is also claimed that Machrihanish is host to a large, secret underground facility guarded by elite troops from the US Navy SEALs.
A number of military-watching web sites claim that the US military used Machrihanish as a base for testing Aurora operating at speeds higher than Mach 8. Machrihanish is now officially deactivated, with only a skeleton staff, but still appears to be guarded like Fort Knox. During the 1980s, NATO invested a lot of money in the base and decided to post an American Navy Special Warfare unit there, known as Spec. War 2.
UFO watchers claimed that remote areas of rural Scotland were being used in similar ways to the mysterious Area 51 in the United States, where secret aircraft are tested and where the alien victims of the Roswell UFO crash were supposedly taken for dissection. The prime candidate for Scotland's Area 51 was Machrihanish, which had long been the subject of rumour and bizarre speculation.
"These are parts of Scotland where people just never visit because access is so difficult. Extra-terrestrial flying discs could be stored here as, geographically, we're in a good situation for communication with London, the US and western Europe," one UFO expert said.
"Machrihanish would be an ideal spot from which to operate aircraft technology that the Government wanted to keep secret - including devices allegedly developed from captured alien discs."