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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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  Inside Out - North West: Monday September 1, 2003


Web interview
Screen grabs of lights spotted in Halewood. (Footage of lights over Halewood © MARA 2002.)
Read the answers to the questions you posed to our UFO expert.
Anomalies Researcher Bill Bimson answers the sceptics
Eye witness describes 'sighting'
Watch Halewood 'sighting'

A group in Liverpool are on a mission to find answers to a spate of unsolved UFO sightings along the River Mersey corridor.

The group is called MARA - The Merseyside Anomalies Research Association. Their role is to objectively analyse any reports of UFOs.

Some sightings have been successfully solved. They turn out to be caused by atmospheric conditions, planes or stars in the sky.

But there’s no logical explanation for unusual lights spotted over Halewood in October 2002, pictured above.


A security camera recording shows the stream of lights moving erratically from West to East over Halewood and out to the Mersey.


Some people believe UFO sightings date back to biblical times.

The first documented reports date back into the mid-1800s.

In the 1940s sightings started to hit the headlines.

One of the most famous reported 'sightings' was in Roswell, New Mexico on the night of 2 July 1947.

MARA’s dossier on the incident contains several eye witness accounts yet poses more questions than it answers.

Bill Bimson, a MARA investigator says of the incident, "We haven’t come to a conclusion yet. We’ve sent the video to two separate professional sources."

"It’s been analysed by one of them and they came up with the conclusions that it was actually birds flying."

"The lights were far to bright for birds in my opinion."


Tony Eccles
Tony sets up a camera to watch the night sky

Tony Eccles, co-founder of MARA, has investigated over 150 sightings.

He says, "Merseyside is just like anywhere else. You will have a high number of sightings, particularly in the darker lights."

"But then you have high focus areas such as the Wirral, West Kirby, Bidston…"

"We’ve had one particular sighting of an object seen hovering over the river sucking up water."

"We’ve had another case in 1997 of an object coming out of the river Mersey and ascending into the sky."


Ron Jones witnessed the unexplained 1997 incident from his home in Egremont, overlooking the Mersey.

Ron Jones
Ron recalls the sighting he will never forget

As a former Royal Marine, his life sometimes depended on making accurate observations. Ron says, "It was the most weird thing I’ve ever seen in my life."

"By the time I got the binoculars the things had gone too far down the river and then it started to go upwards into the sky."

Tony says, "Ron’s a classic example of a very unusual sighting."

"It’s very specific because we have three separate witnesses, at three different locations looking at the same object at the same time."

"There’s no deviation from any of the witnesses."

See also ...

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Readers' Comments

We are not adding any new comments to this page but you can still read some of the comments previously submitted by readers.

steve woods, crosby
I recently read Tony's book on UFOs on Merseyside - excellent, full marks ! I remember that the Crosby Herald reported that some schoolboys saw a UFO over Sniggery Woods in 1978 - can this be trusted, as it was the year of "Close Encounters" mania ! Also, an old friend's brother allegedly saw a craft hovering over the car park at the Crosby coastguard station in the 70's. I have read that the hills around Todmorden have a very large number of UFO sightings - not far to travel from Liverpool !

Heather Cheetham, Oldham, Lancs
I am puzzled by what I saw this morning at 9.30-9.45 am. Have there been any sightings of a single black maggot shape with a flashing light on the bottom that flicks from side to side whilst moving and whilst hovering that has a circular corona around it as though it is moving the air? It was not a helicopter and I am sure it was not a weather balloon as it just waned away. I am aware it could be anything but found it rather fascinating and unusual as it was something I had never seen before.

Liz Powell. Ontario Canada, and Irby, Wirral
Years ago, back in 1969 I was living with my gran in Irby. Having spent the evening with a friend we were walking back to my grans house with my friends dog when we both saw a light crossing the sky. There were some clouds and the light was at times moving within the clouds. Knowing the area well we were able to calculate that the light had first come to our attention when it would have been out over the sea by Blackpool or even further north. The light was too fast for any airplane, plus it's colours were too vivid for anything we had ever seen before. Then, out over Anglesey the light literally exploded in a fire-work display, and vanished. We went in to grans house and rang Heswall Police station to report the event. They questioned us about what we had been drinking, but did agree they had received other calls about this event. Now the truly wierd thing was that my Sister-in-law was living with my parents in West Cumberland. My brother had died the previous autumn and she remained living with my parents and was working locaally. That same evening, a Tuesday, we were both sure of that as I always went to visit my friend on tuesday evenings, and she had a regular date to play Bridge on tuesday evenings, she was driving home across an area of lonely road which swooped up and down hill. In her rear mirror she saw a bright light, and thought it strange for a car to be following her and showing coloured headlights, so on the top of the next hill she stopped to look back.

She watched a bright light move across the sky, too fast for a plane, but too slow for a meteorite. Being only a few miles inland she could see the sea from the hilltop, and, to her amazement the light exploded in a burst of multicoloured flares out over the sea to the south; where North Wales would be in relation to her.

I am still puzzled as to what we saw that night, especially as a couple of days later there were reports in the Liverpool Echo of unexplained grass fires having started during that night on the Isle of Anglesey.

Bill Eatock
You may have heard of me, Bill Eatock , used to be an investigator with Quest International. I'm in Wigan and we too have seen a massive upsurge in UFO activity over the past few months. I was thinking "they" had abandoned us, but it it now appears that seems "they" are back!

Dami Lewis, Wolverhampton
Why is it so difficult for some to bsleive that there is advanced life on other planets? No matter how you look at it the possibility is more than strong. If you go by theory of evolution, it would be arogant of us to think that life developed only on this planet. Or if you chose to look at it from a religious point of view, why would God want to create life on just one planet given how vast the universe is...

Adam Hall
I myself have seen that same sighting aswell as many of my friends and family on the night of nov 9th 2000. im a 17 year old from speke,liverpool and i left school a year ago and i wanted to know how to join up with u.f.o. projects like MARA??

Stuart Naylor Wigan
I have been doing research into UFO sightings for many years now, the lights over Halewood were obviously birds, and the light moving fom left to right in the background was what is known has a lens flare.The whole item about UFO`s was awful, The item about Wigan Casino was brilliant.....

Paul Philbin Lpool
Could it be possible that the Halewood sightings are birds polluted by something spilled into the Mersey that glows in the dark?

Steve Nr Peterborough
I would like to tell you about something that i saw in the sky in broard day light on a spring day in 1979 or 1980. i was about 6. we were comming back from a afternoon out to a local vilage Kimbolton.

i was lying on the back seat of the car looking up at the clouds going past. i sat up pointed out of the window and said whats that. in front of us and to the right hovering guessing at 900ft maybe less was the biggest craft you could of imagined, it was Huge!

It was very long, no lights, oval shape light cream in colour around the middle were black squares periodicly spaced apart.

The occupants must have known they had been spotted by us because as my dad and i were on the right of the car we could see it clearly with my mum straining to look.

remembering this is all hapening so quickly, it shot off very quickly with no noise in less than a blink of an eye it was at a higher altitude up and to the right of its original position.

U.F.O's are they real....i know their real i know i was very lucky or very unlucky to see it.

Norma Allan Wilpshire
My son daughter-in-law and myself were sat in their garden just on dark a few weeks ago when when this bright orange dome shaped light passed over west to east not long after another one went past both went off quite quickly into the night sky there was no noise and both went off in exactly the same direction.

Are these similar to the lights that have been seen over Mersyside? They weren't high enough up to be a plane.

Joanne, Wigan
We watched in disbelief at the footage of the 'Aliens' flying up the Mersey. You are not telling me that you could not tell what they were? BIRDS!!! Tweety birds flying in the night.

The explanation given to discount this was rubbish, since when did seagulls fly in a 'V'? (Only during a flying display). There is so much light around that area at night that the birds become confused and believe that it is daytime.

i am open minded about 'sightings' and believe that most people reporting them are sane human beings, in this case of the lights over halewood i think they might be canada geese that have recently arrived in the area or even gulls that follow the plough, they do reflect light and don't fly in formation all the time.

i live under the flight path near the airport, i have not seen any strange lights myself but i now someone who has!!

Mark, Mossley Hill
Around about 12 years ago, I think it was autumn / winter 1991 / 2 . I was on my way to a football club meeting with my Dad and my girlfriend, when I saw a very unusual object in the sky.

We were in the carpark of Sainsburys in Crosby, when, as I waited for my dad to lock the car, I gazed up at the sky to pass a minute or two.

In the sky, what felt like only 100-200ft up, I spotted a metallic looking object, roughly but not perfectly spherical, that could have been anything from nearly 1m to 2m across. It may have been higher, it may have been bigger, but this was the impression it gave.

It was traveling straight, at about 10mph (if I had the height right), it was certainly propelled in some way – there was no wind to my recollection.

It traveled in a westerly direction for about 30 seconds - 2 minutes (I am aware that memory provides poor measurement) and then became bright as though lit, and took a sharp turn upwards and disappeared.

I was so intrigued, I even called Liverpool Airport that night but they had no record or details of anything unusual.

What was most unusual was that all three of us who had got out of the car, looked up to the sky prompted by my call, only two of us saw anything (my Dad and I – saw exactly the same thing), my girlfriend saw absolutely nothing. To this day I can’t work that one out – it was clear as a bell.

I was prompted by the programme ‘InsideOut’ on BBC tonight to write to see if anyone else had ever reported anything like that at that time.

I find the recent sightings very interesting as my son told me the other evening he had seen lots of lights going across the sky. We live in Greater Manchester. My son is 16 years of age. I put it down to aircraft going into Manchester Airport, but he said it definitely was not a plane as the lights went across the sky one way and then back on themselves. He says he experienced these sightings on two different nights.

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