Flying Saucers have always been a slightly disreputable interest of mine1. Never quite believing, never quite disbelieving. A high – or low depending on outlook – point was in the 90s. The X-Files. The Alien Autopsy video. The hitherto secret F117 stealth aircraft revealed to the public. It’s when I finally got access to the internet, and to USENET and spend hours having my brain melted by
alt.paranet.ufo amongst others.
In Scotland, the main connection to UFOs was a supposed Aurora base at RAF Machrihanish. And that took a couple of logical hops, starting with Area 51 and going through reverse-engineered alien technology via Bob Lazar. From there, the black-budget Aurora spyplane which may or may not exist, and may or may not be partially based on alien technology.
And if it does all that, it’s operated out of a remote area of Scotland.
The 90s were wild!
At the turn of the century, I even did the website for an investigation group. That was the era where I thought a UFO tourist guide for Scotland might be a fun idea, but that never went anywhere. But I started to accumulate a small database of sightings. Mostly culled from local newspapers, some from the website. But I never did anything with it.
Then a few years back, when the pandemic hit, I mostly put my existing projects on hold. I needed something entirely divorced from the usual worries and from the world. So I dug out an old project, the Scottish UFO Casebook. I’d planned, without the touristy part, to simply collect all the cases. The newspaper items were simply pasted as an info-dump. Not really a good idea, and lazy with it. I’d need to rewrite it from scratch.
I had the time.
But because of the pandemic, the National Archives waived the their usual fee. What would have been £3.50 per pdf was now free. The Ministry of Defence’s UFO files were now available to me. Around the same time the AFU – the Archives for the Unexplained came to my attention. They had scanned publications going back to the 1950s.
For my lockdown project, why didn’t I do all the Scottish cases?
And so that’s what my project became. I’ve written it all up, amassing >800 cases. Each one fully-referenced, with links. It might actually be useful to researchers!
It’s typeset, copyedited, and I’m now working on sundry details such as the cover. It should be on sale shortly as a print edition. But worry not! I’ll have a free version available here too, and then work on an epub version.
They said that UFOlogy was dead, around 2000.
They were wrong.
Likewise, for William Gibson, so I’m in good company. ↩
I use British English spelling and idioms, if you tend to worry about that sort of thing.
Additionally I'm Scottish, so 'outwith' is unquestionably a real word. As is 'drookit', 'puggled' and 'numpty'. I am occasionally all three of those.
I created this site using a combination of W3 CSS, Jekyll, Emacs and my inability to enjoy web development IDEs.
My name is in the very first paragraph of the first page of the first GTA design document*. (Excluding cover and table of contents. I mean, right?)
I directed Britain's first ever Star Trek fan film, which we started production of in 2003 and released in 2007. We're still making episodes: Starship Intrepid