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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 6

Re: Sheffield Incident

From: David Clarke <dclarke14@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 14:34:31 -0400
Fwd Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 18:01:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Sheffield Incident

Although I fear UFO Updates readings must be rapidly growing
tired of hearing about this case, I feel now is the time for me
to put on record what I believe to be the truth.

Max Burns reads much into one paragraph of journalese in my
recent article for UFO Magazine, and claims I have reached no
positive conclusions about the cause of the incident.

Not so, and even if I had not reached a conclusion, it doesn't
follow that we have to immediately accept a fantastic and
far-fetched explanation for something which can easily be
explained in down-to-earth terms.

Max writes: "And as he has no conclusive proof of what actually
occurred, it is an elementary rule of logic that you cannot
prove a negative. Coupled with the lack of conclusive evidence
he should not have precluded the possibility of extra
terrestrial origin of the ufo sightings on the 24th March 1997."

I don't know what strange rule of logic Max's befuddled mind
adheres to, but if we follow his reasoning that you cannot prove
a negative, then I also cannot prove, for example, that the
leprecauns, Bigfoot or even the Jolly Green Giant was not
responsible for the sightings either. This line of argument
takes us nowhere. Just because we cannot say for sure exactly
happened, we should not have to immediately jump to the
conclusion that an Alien Craft was responsible.

That is is not science - it's just plain crazy.

Read my lips Max: UFO means Unidentified Flying Object, NOT
alien craft. I would have thought that was the first thing
someone claiming to be a UFOlogist in this day and age would
learn, but apparently not for the X-Files Generation.

This attitude just demonstrates how little time Max has been
involved in active UFO investigation, and how little he knows
about the history of this subject. He constantly confuses belief
with evidence, and evidence with belief.

The first rule of UFOlogy should be you cannot trust what
eyewitnesses tell you. How many "eyewitnesses" are qualified
observers of the night sky? Not many, judging by the number of
people who ring me up saying they have been watching a UFO for
the last four hours as the clouds have moved across it, and are
amazed when I look out of my window, see it too, and go back to
tell them it is a star or the planet Venus (this happens on
average once every other month).

Then there are those who see aircraft coming into land at
Sheffield's new airport and are convinced they have seen giant
triangular-shaped UFOs following their car. If they aren't
aircraft then why are they always seen at 8pm at precisely the
same time the KLM flight from Amsterdam comes in to land?

Just look at CUFOS' Allan Hendry's excellent UFO Handbook for
many other examples of witnesses who have radically misperceived
mundane objects and re-described them as UFOs, spaceships and

A few examples - drawn from actual eyewitness accounts -  will
suffice: "Never seen anything like it in all our lives" (Police
officer's statement - object later confirmed by police to be a

"It made a whirring noise like on TV shows (bright star, seen
for one hour) "It followed our car and hovered over our house.
Didn't follow any other car, only ours..." (Planet Venus,
watched every night for a week) "Made my hair stand on end..."
(the Moon)

Given this evidence, how can we take at face-value and
uncritically accept what Max says two or three witnesses say
about a "triangular shaped object" in the sky?  What's more we
don't even know what these witnesses are really saying or
claiming, because we only have Max's word for it, and he won't
let anyone question them unless they believe in his version of
The Truth. But back to what I believe caused the Sheffield

First of all, forget all preconceived ideas about aliens, UFOs
and crashed Tornados. What facts do we know about March 24,

FACT ONE. We know the RAF were involved in a secret military
exercise over the Peak District, involving extremely low-flying
jet aircraft,  Tornado GR1s and maybe other aircraft too. The
MOD received 13 complaints from the public about low-flying
aircraft that one evening alone. These jets were certainly
operating between 9 and 10pm, judging by the statements of those
who saw them, shortly before the sonic booms were recorded.

I believe the presence of the military jets explains the
sightings of "triangles". They were simply aircraft taking part
in this exercise, misperceived by a small number of observers.

The MOD have not lied to Helen Jackson MP simply because they
did not receive any UFO reports that night. The police did not
pass any UFO reports to the MOD because they never regarded the
incident as a "UFO incident", they regarded it as an incident of
low-flying aircraft.

FACT TWO: Two sonic booms were recorded above the Peak/Pennine
area at 9.52pm and 10,06pm that night, coincident with the later
stages of the above exercise.

Senior seismologist Glenn Ford at Edinburgh University has gone
on record and started (and I quote) "on the balance of
probabilities [these booms] were definitely caused by an
aircraft, in all probability a military aircraft."

Mr Ford and his colleagues record dozens of sonic booms and air
blasts every year, and they know what they are talking about.
Whatever the MOD or RAF may say, there is little doubt one of
their jets caused these booms. Not an "ET triangle" or a UFO
shooting down a jet, but a jet going
supersonic over land during a low-flying exercise.

I have yet to see ANY conclusive contradictory evidence to
change my opinion about the cause of these booms.

FACT THREE. We know for a fact there was an unidentified light
aircraft flying on an east to west course across the northern
suburbs of Sheffield coincident with the second boom at 10.06
pm. The Sheffield Police log records sightings of this aicraft,
and very good eyewitnesses accounts of it are provided by
special constable Marie-France Tattersfield and the farmer Mrs
Morton, who saw it from the Bolsterstone area. It was their 999
distress calls which triggered the subsequent search and rescue
operation, NOT the sightings of the triangles which Max
emphasises - these were seen half an hour before, or hours
later, miles away from the Bolsterstone area. Further proof that
an unidentified light aircraft was involved is provided by the
video footage taken by two teenagers, Leon Rockley and Alex
Hardy, from their home in Parson Cross, Sheffield, that night, a
copy of which I obtained after it was examined by detectives at
Hammerton Road Police Station. The video clearly shows a light
in the sky, which resolves into a "triangle" of lights as it
nears the camera, with the clear drone of a light aicraft engine
in the background.

Police were never able to identify the owner of this aircraft,
or the identity of the pilot whose craft was seen at
Bolsterstone, which led to speculation about the craft being
part of a covert drugs drop.

So there we have it folks - a covert military operation, coupled
with an as yet unidentified light aircraft, all coincidentally
taking place on a clear, still night when lots of people were
out on the moors watching the Hale-Bopp comet.

The Sheffield case is a microcosm of many other "UFO" cases, a
mish-mash of human misperception and wishful thinking, which can
rapidly turn into a great mystery when they are not investigated
properly or fall into the hands of belief-driven or money-driven
individuals out to make a fast buck. Why should we regard Max's
claims with suspicion? Here's a few good reasons:

*Max has already admitted on UFO UpDates that he stood to make
=A31,500 UK pounds out of selling his far-fetched version of
events to a sleazy down-market tabloid newspaper. Hardly the
actions of a principled, objective researcher whose only goal is
the truth.

*Max has stated on numerous occasions in public that he is
determined to make this case"Britain's answer to Roswell". The
only way he can do that is by selling it to the USA, where no
one is familiar with the true facts and have - until now - only
Max's version of events to draw conclusions upon. The reason he
has become so upset is because I have presented a different
version of events, and a more sensible one, and "rattled his
cage". *None of Max's claims about alleged " eyewitnesses"  can
be trusted to be reliable.

For example, his Website contains a statement by one witness he
calls "Leicester Arkwright" who he says  claims to have seen
body-bags being retrieved from a reservoir and placed inside an
RAF Sea King helicopter the morning after the Sheffield

All he can about this witness is that his statement has been
"uncorroborated". What that means is Max has not spoken to him,
dosen't know what he claims at all, and is relying upon hearsay
evidence, which is good enough for him.

I have spoken to this man, whose name happens to be a Water
Board worker, Lester Wainwright (but then Max even has trouble
spelling my name, "Mr Clark").. Wainwright makes no claim about
body bags, was not even present at the scene on March and tells
me in a statement: "The RAF said it was Tornado low flying and
fast which caused the flash and the bang, and I understand they
admitted it to the police later. It makes me laugh to think
someone is claiming I saw body bags when I wasn't even there. It
annoys me that people exaggerate stories like this."

The important point about this statement is the FACT that I told
Max I had spoken to Mr Wainwright, that he had denied seeing any
body bags, and yet Max has gone ahead and placed this man's
"testimony" on his Website without any regards to truth or

This statement alone should make any objective researcher
question ANY "evidence" or "eyewitness" statements about this
case which Max claims supports his Extraterrestrial theory. He
is a proven manipulator and distorter of information to suit his
own ends. He just ignores anything which supports a
down-to-earth explanation and goes for the fantastic and
unprovable every time.

This is not an injustified attack - it is a fact which is borne
out by checkable evidence which I have provided above. All my
claims about this case are supported by independent and
checkable statements of fact.

Here I quote from Max's original conclusions about this case,
which he kindly supplied me with a copy of earlier this year:

"These Larger Triangled Craft are without doubt Extra
Terrestrial in Oridgin.

"As well as that I will go so far as to say that these triangles
are being flown and controled by the beings Known as the
Greys...It is without doubt that given the evidence and chain of
events which occurred on the that I must conclude as the
Triangle data seems to point to them often travelling in pairs
and that the authorities seem to be lying about the events over
the pennines..that if it was just a tornado gone down on a
training exercise like so many have over the last 20yrs when
they just normally announce thoughout the news media that a
plane has crashed like they have done on numerous ocassions in
the last 20yrs I must conclude the followingpoints:

"1. one of the tornado jets has shot down one of the triangles
    while being completely destroyed its self.

"2. if that is the case was the later sighting of the triangle
    at 23.30-23.45pm a rescue triangle for the occupants of the
    first triangle.

"3. there was only one triangle and it has completely destroyed
    the tornado jet and the pilot.

"4. The Triangle has captured on of the tornado,s and the pilot."

Quite reasonable conclusions to arrive at based upon just three
vague sightings of a triangular object, spaced out between
7.40pm and 11.45 pm one evening? 

Or just plain crazy?

At the end of the day, it's up to the readers of UFO Updates and the great
mass of public out there to decide which version of the Truth they buy.
The paranoid, belief-driven believers in the ETH will no doubt feel Max is
a hero and I'm an heretical skeptic out to spoil their fun.

But as Max has said himself, time will tell, and I predict that in ten
years time he will be no nearer finding the answers to these three
questions than he is today:

1. Who saw a UFO shoot down a Tornado jet on the night of March
   24, 1997?

2. From which base did this Tornado jet fly?

3. What were the names of the pilot and co-pilot?