Scouse Skies

Tony Eccles. A Different Sky: Unusual Sightings and Strange Phenomena over Merseyside. Bluecoat Press, Liverpool, 2003.

With Magonia's origins in the Merseyside UFO Bulletin, it was inevitable that this book brought back memories of my own early steps in ufology. But this is not some nostalgic ramble down memory lane, but a collection of concise and readable accounts of a range of UFO-related phenomena in a fairly small geographical area from the 1960s to the present day.

Tony Eccles is founder of the Merseyside Anomalies Research Association, and the cases presented here include both direct investigations by MARA and archival material from previous decades. The case summaries present straightforward descriptions, and the author is always careful to point out mundane explanations where these are a possibility, but without forcing details to fit a preconceived ETH or sceptical viewpoint. In most cases the witnesses are allowed to speak for themselves. The categorised chapters ('flying triangles', earthlights, MIB, etc.) usually conclude with sensible summaries of the issues involved.

It might be argued that some of these cases are not particularly spectacular per se, but it is their concentration in a limited geographical area which emphasises the broad nature of the phenomena and how they are perceived by a cross-section of the public at large - an LIT is always more interesting when it happened over your old neighbourhood.

This is the sort of book which helps to promote a positive public attitude to UFO research by its local focus, and could be a model for researchers elsewhere. However, it is likely that the strong local-interest publishing tradition in Liverpool has made it rather easier to get this book published in this part of the country than in some other places. -- John Rimmer.

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