IN THE early hours of October 5, 1996, police in Boston and Skegness received reports from concerned residents who had spotted mysterious lights shining over The Wash.
Around the same time, the RAF noticed a blip on their radar, leading to suspicion that something unusual was afoot in the greater Boston area.
Could the anomaly have come from an extraterrestrial source? Possibly a craft hovering over the borough and waiting to make contact?
That was certainly what some people thought at the time – but these ideas were not corroborated by the authorities, who put the strange occurrences down to perfectly rational explanations.
This information was revealed through a series of declassified Government documents from the Ministry of Defence, which were published by The National Archives last week.
According to the documents, residents, police and staff at RAF Waddington saw red and green rotating lights above the eash. Others spotted a pair of objects flashing red, green, blue and white. All said they were very bright and made no noise. They were about one mile into the air.
However, the MoD put paid to any fantastic explanation for the phenomena, saying the lights had been caused by ‘a distant celestial source’ and the radar blip was simply The Stump.
A document focusing on ‘unsual air phenomenon’ said: “It cannot be positively stated that the Boston Stump was the cause...however, as the highest local physical feature in the area DAO staff believe that this theory is highly probable.”
But a briefing from the press office which is included in the information shows that the department did not even want to reveal those facts to the media of the day.
One memo states: “Attached defensive press lines. Proposed we don’t go beyond the first statement unless we are pressed.”
The first statement suggested the lights ‘were not of air defence significane’ and did not present a threat to UK air space.
If pushed they would add that the radar returns were caused by a ‘permanent geographical feature’ and that there had been no corroborating radar returns for the visual sightings.
So, were these occurrences simply coincidence, or could they be attributed to something more mysterious? In the words of X-Files investigators Mulder and Scully, is the truth out there?