Alien and UFO ‘Bermuda Triangle’ explored in new Netflix documentary

Media caption,

BBC archive footage of the children explaining what they saw back in 1977

By Aled Scourfield and Peter Shuttleworth

BBC News

A flying saucer seen by a guest house, a 7ft alien-like figure coming out of a hedge and a «cigar-shaped» UFO near a school yard.

These are just some of the 450 reported extra terrestrial encounters from one of the UK’s largest mass sightings in a remote Welsh village.

The village of Broad Haven has since been described as the «Bermuda Triangle» of mysterious craft sightings and sightings of strange beings.

Residents who reported these encounters across a single year in the late seventies have told their story to the new Netflix documentary series ‘Encounters’, made by Steven Spielberg’s production company.

It all happened back in 1977, when the Cold War was at its height and Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Spielberg’s first science fiction blockbuster – dominated the box office.

Image source, Broad Haven School

Image caption,

Broad Haven’s headteacher said he was surprised that the drawings from his pupils were so similiar

There was a heightened awareness of things from out of this world – and the west Wales village made international headlines when 16 schoolchildren claimed to witness a UFO in the Pembrokeshire sky.

What is the ‘Broad Haven Triangle’?

«The spaceship looked like a cigar shape with a dome on it with yellowy, orange to red light on the top of it,» one child told BBC cameras at the time.

Another child said he didn’t just see a UFO, adding: «I saw a man, but I couldn’t see its face because it was too far away.»

Now more than 45 years later, those 10-year-olds who reported the strange sights during lunchtime at Broad Haven primary school still insist this was no childish hoax.

Dave Davies, 57, said he was initially sceptical when his school friends rushed back into class from the playground claiming to have seen a spaceship.

«I totally regarded the story as being nonsense as to me flying saucers didn’t exist,» he said. «They were in bad 1950s sci-fi movies or in tabloid newspapers.»

Expecting to dismiss the fuss as just kids telling tales, he went out to see for himself – and still remains stunned as to what he said he saw.

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David Davies has said UFOs has been a subject which has gone on to «dominate» his life

«From behind some trees, this thing popped up in front of me,» he said.

«It was silver, cigar-shaped and about 45ft long and there was just this thought that came into my mind that I had to run away.

«Mothers can tell when you’re lying and [mine] was absolutely convinced what I was saying was the truth.»

The pupils were asked to draw and write an account of what they saw on their return to school by school headmaster Ralph Llewellyn, who separated the children to ensure there was no copying.

Image caption,

Pupil drawings taken from Broad Haven school’s 1977 UFO scrapbook

«It’s not like today, there was no social media or mobile phones so there was no opportunity to have collaborated,» recalled Dave.

Mr Llewellyn later told the BBC’s children’s current affairs show John Craven’s Newsround that all the descriptions were «similar».

Where were the other UFO sightings?

The school field spaceship sighting was just the first of what another former pupil called «some pretty strange» goings-on.

As the media descended on the small village, other locals also reported close encounters with strange crafts and creatures.

Image caption,

The Broad Haven pupil’s sightings sparked a media frenzy

A few months after the school yard sighting, hotel owner Rose Granville – who lived a few hundred yards down the coast – reported seeing a spacecraft just as she was going to bed.

«She looked through the window and saw this thing sort of hovering,» her daughter Francine recalled to Encounters.

«These two figures came out of it. They looked a little unsteady.»

Rose reported them having «very long arms and legs» with no facial features. The Granvilles said the spaceship had left a scorch mark and a ridge on the ground where it had landed.

X-Files from the government later showed Rose had written to her local MP on Haven Fort Hotel-headed notepaper, explaining that the event «left me greatly agitated and disturbed and not the least bit desirous of another encounter».

A month or two later, and a few miles around the Marloes peninsula, Mark Morston claimed he saw not only a spaceship while walking alone – but also said he came face-to-face with a figure.

Image source, Netflix

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Mark Morston said he came face-to-face with a 7ft figure that stepped out into the road in front of him

After saying he saw an «upside down saucer in a glow» on a ridge near his house, he described hearing a rustle in the hedge further down the road.

«This thing stepped out of the hedge,» said Mark. «It was a good 7ft tall, it had a silver suit with a motorbike visor as a face.

«I thought ‘that’s not a man, no way is that a man’. It started walking towards me and I thought ‘this is not happening’.

«I was quite scared. It kept walking so I legged it.»

The next day Mark returned to the scene with his dad where he said they found a huge footprint in the mud «too big to be an ordinary man».

Image source, Google

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Broad Haven is a small seaside resort with a population of less than 1,000 people

Mark’s uncle and aunt later told a TV reporter they saw an 8ft featureless silver figure outside their isolated farmhouse.

The police were called to that incident, and the officer who took the call from the family said «in all of my 26 years service, that’s the most frightened family I’ve come across».

Why are Spielberg producers doing a Welsh UFO doc?

It wasn’t so much the Welsh Roswell, but the multiple sightings of flying saucers did give the area the nickname ‘The Broad Haven Triangle’.

Producers scoured Europe for a story that was out of the this world but chose the «incredible» Welsh story because it wasn’t just one encounter.

«There was hundreds and hundreds of people that said they witnessed something,» said Encounters director Yon Motskin, who was approached by Spielberg’s production house Amblin Television.

«That critical mass with 450 people is huge and also entertaining.»

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

The nearby RAF Brawdy airfield was a training base for the Royal Air Force before closing in 1992

Critics have suggested the unexplained aircrafts were planes heading to the former nearby Royal Air Force base at Brawdy. But those who say they have seen UFOs insist what they saw were not jets.

How does a UFO encounter affect you?

Yon points out that many of the those who spoke publicly in 1977 about having a close encounter didn’t benefit from telling their story.

In fact it impacted some negatively – including Dave Davies.

«What I didn’t enjoy was the attention it brought onto me,» Dave said.

«My first four years of secondary school were horrendous, I was getting physically assaulted on an almost daily basis.

«Most of the time they wanted me to say I hadn’t seen a UFO and that I was lying. But I couldn’t go back on my principles and say I was lying when I wasn’t.»

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Legendary film director Steven Spielberg gave his «blessing» to the Broad Haven UFO and alien encounter in his studio’s latest Netflix release

The out-of-this world story eventually attracted interest from Amblin – the film house renowned for making science fiction smash hits like E.T, Back to the Future, War of the Worlds, Men in Black and Jurassic Park – and is part of the new four-part series.

  • Encounters is available to stream on Netflix from Wednesday

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