Further to Geoff Stray’s recent article shedding new light on the infamous 1990 surveillance experiment, another eye-witness to some of the events of that night has contacted Swirled News. DAVE HUNTER tells his story…
[The story so far: Operation Blackbird, set up by researchers Pat Delgado and Colin Andrews, was a week-long night-watch of fields at Bratton Castle, Wiltshire in 1990. One night, the official story has it, the watchers were supposedly duped by hoaxers who made a formation beneath their very noses. However, rumours and recent information, as outlined in Geoff Stray’s Swirled News piece (see elsewhere in our Headlines), suggest that maybe a genuine formation WAS clearly filmed in the making after all, given the very strange phenomena witnessed that night by others. If so, why was word of it covered up? Now further testimony (below) has come along to suggest that at the very least the whole story of Operation Blackbird has not been told. We would very much like to hear Colin Andrews’s views on all of this. How about it, Colin? - Ed]
The article by Geoff Stray on Operation Blackbird 1990, rather captured my interest as I was there on that night. As to the exact time and circumstances, I'm afraid they are lost in the mists of my mind, though I remember certain details quite well. It's been a very long decade since then; lets see what I can revive in the old grey matter.
Residing in Greenwich, the field trips to Wiltshire - and there were quite a few in the early days, well, late 80's - were somewhat in the order of an epic ordeal. I even joined the Beckhampton Group [early croppie club] just before they disbanded, which was a silly thing to do!
On the night in question, I was en-route back home from a camping trip to Cornwall and was driving a white Toyota Hi-ace van (company logo; ‘London Car Telephones’). On board, the family - wife, two sons, daughter and black dog. I had no knowledge of the ‘operation’ emplaced atop Bratton Camp.
It was a fairly dark night, clear, but I think moonless, and our attention was attracted to some indications of human activity on the Bratton Camp hillside, to wit, I found myself driving along the road along the base of the hill in the general direction of Westbury. I think our initial notion had been to visit a ‘watering hole’ in a nearby village that had been in the papers as hosting Little Green men to pints of scrumpy, but alas we arrived after closing time; the only evidence had been the billboards outside the pub! Now this may partly explain the anomaly as to why I had an urgent call to nature, and this lay-by provided an opportunity to reply.
Whilst making my ‘call’, as only men can in these circumstances, we were ‘joined’ by another vehicle, a small but well-tuned saloon car, and I became suspicious of the male occupants. All this time some unusual increased nocturnal activity was occurring atop the Bratton Camp hill. Having been a police officer myself at the tender age of 18, I had become fine-tuned to the ‘aura’ of such testosteroned males and one in particular was either ‘one of them’ or a young army officer; in fact I sussed him as probably a captain. After paying us some discreet attention these bods discerned that we posed no special threat, and disappeared from whence they came in a puff of exhaust smoke.
Finding the way up onto Bratton Camp (I think there were two ways from this side) at night took a little time, but we eventually did so and moved over to the back of the hill where it was obvious something odd was going on. At the edge of the military zone (signs indicated this) and on the Warminster side we parked up between a barn or storehouse and a small copse of trees where a large black or dark vehicle was also in place. There were no outward signs of activity in this vehicle as I can recall, and as it resembled an outside broadcast or military K9 communications wagon, it appeared somewhat sinister. Remember, I had no idea what was expected to take place that night.
I made a few transmissions on my quite high-powered VHF amateur radio transceiver and as it was quite late cannot recall anyone responding. It occurred to me that whatever this vehicle was, and in view of the proximity of the army range, that the radio might not be a good idea. Radio frequency energy can trigger certain explosive devices!
After a little while, enjoying the cool night air and recovering for the next leg of the journey back home, we all became aware and interested in an intense white light which seemed to be located a mile or so in the general direction of Warminster. It was quite a narrow beam and so it was obvious due to the fluctuations of it that it had settled focused in our direction. I've been temporarily fooled by optical illusions, so I know how unwise it is to make assumptions, but if pushed I would guess it was about a mile distant, near ground-mounted, and a quartz halogen source of around 100 watts. It did not display an obviously vehicle-mounted type of source, though it could have been a motorbike headlight. It was steady and not pulsed, and it was directional and pointed at us. At one point in time, over perhaps a 20 minute period, it appeared to be joined by two other lights in a tight triangular formation, which then co-joined.
Unbeknown to us at the other side or ‘front’ of the hill, Colin Andrews and crew were training cameras on the crop fields below. Those very same cameras with night vision were trained over that very lay-by that I had urinated in (it's not a habit of mine incidentally; I disapprove of despoiling the countryside, but I bet the weeds were glad of it!).
On ‘our’ side of the hill, things started to happen. The white light went out, came on briefly, and extinguished. I was fascinated by this light and was attempting to keep a fix on where it had been when my two sons let out a shout of alarm. Expletives – “Daaaaad! Dad?” I missed it!
They described that an orange glowing globe had arisen from the field to my left, rear of Bratton Camp, direction of Imber range, and "apparently relatively slowly" moved away in the direction over the Imber range. My eldest son, who I would vouch for as a good observer (he has since become a PhD in Theoretical Physics) made the following deductions: It had moved away VERY rapidly, but this was only apparent as it tucked down over the horizon. This ‘deception’ of lack of velocity was due in some way to the object having increased its volume or size to compensate, and created the illusion of relatively slow acceleration. Now, if I recall my rather pathetic knowledge of physics, didn't Einstein put forward the notion that as matter approaches the Speed of Light it also increases in Mass to compensate, relatively speaking?
Well, that's it. As far as we were concerned it was our first encounter with an ‘amber gambler’. We packed up, moved on, and drove back home to London. It was not to be the last time we encountered amber orbs and lights in the night sky, but that's another story, or stories.
From what you intimate about that night, and Colin Andrews being "tight-lipped" over the affair, I can’t help wondering if that field at the back of the hill, on the Imber Range from whence the amber orb arose, was possibly the point where a ‘genuine’ crop marking was later discovered? You can imagine our amazement the following day, when we viewed the story on BBC News, and my worries about my call to nature being captured on night vision. Caught in the act!