North of the Border

Ron Halliday. UFO Scotland, B&W Publishing, Edinburgh, 1998.
The Livingston incident of 9 November 1979 is indeed a strange tale, but this book contains many Scottish reports which are even weirder. One is irresistibly reminded of the writings of John Keel. Although there are some multiple-witness reports, these are of the type that could easily be explained as sightings of meteors or aircraft. The more mysterious reports, as usual, are made by individuals or small family groups, with no corroboration by independent witnesses.

Nevertheless, there are some fascinating stories here, comparable with the best which have appeared in Flying Saucer Review and they don't necessarily involve sightings of UFOs. Take the pizza mystery, for instance. This tale is told by a man who was working in a pizza shop in Edinburgh in 1990. One night, two small adults of rather odd appearance came in, stood behind the counter, raised their hands and announced: "Hi, we're Americans". They apparently didn't know what pizzas were and didn't know anything about their ingredients. Eventually they ordered a pizza each and paid for them, then as they walked out of the shop they each took one bite and threw them into the bin outside.

A rather more complicated story concerns a UFO sighting by a family in Blairgowrie, which was followed some time later by the appearance of a military helicopter hovering low over their house. The odd events continued. On one occasion two members of the family watched incredulously as a procession of "strangely dressed males" walked up the street. They were "all dressed in black Yiddish attire, wearing hats of the same colour and several with pigtails stretching down their backs". They walked up the path of a neighbour's house and disappeared inside. A little later they walked out again and back down the street. When the witnesses visited the neighbour to ask about them, she said she hadn't seen them; no one had entered her house. There were a number of other strange incidents.
A few years ago there was a lot of fuss about UFO activity in and around Bonnybridge. Halliday attributes much of this to media hype, encouraged by the activities of Billy Buchanan, assisted by Malcolm Robinson.

The author's speculations about the nature of the UFO phenomenon should perhaps not be taken too seriously, but this book gives a useful account of UFO reports and ufology in Scotland. -- Peter Rogerson, from Magonia Supplement 22, December 1999.

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