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UFOs: A 30th “Anniversary” Is Almost Upon Us

It was thirty years ago this month that a wave of UFO activity broke out in the skies of the United Kingdom. As October 1988 drew to a close, a puzzling encounter was reported by Tony Silvestri, a mechanic from Ciliau Aeron, Wales. In an interview with a journalist from the Western Mail newspaper, Mr. Silvestri recalled the encounter, which occurred while driving with his wife and daughter. He said: “Gwendoline, my wife, and Allana, who is eight, were both scared stiff by it. The whole interior of the car was lit up by a greenish light. It was so bright that I could not see through the windscreen or out of the windows.”

Tony Silvestri continued: “Fortunately, it only lasted for a few seconds. It couldn’t have been caused by the headlights of other cars because it was too bright and the wrong color. I pulled up and stopped at the side of the road but could see nothing that might have caused the strange light inside the car. Next day I gave the car a complete electrical check and there was nothing wrong with it. I didn’t think there would be because the light was too brilliant to be caused by an electrical fault.”

Sea Hawks at RNAS Brawdy

On October 27, Mr. Silvestri was interviewed by Flight Sergeant Dave Pengilly, of Royal Air Force Brawdy, Pembrokeshire. “Each report  of this kind is always investigated,” explained Sergeant Pengilly. “I make checks and then pass it on to the powers that be in the Ministry of Defense, who are now looking into this case. We don’t like unidentified things in our airspace.”

“Until now,” said Mrs. Silverstri, “we’ve had no time for UFO stories. We didn’t really believe in them. But, nothing like this has ever happened to us before and we hope it won’t again. We were terrified.”

The latter part of October 1988 also saw a significant amount of UFO activity in the counties of both Kent and Sussex, England. One incident in particular stands out. It was reported by Police Constables Norman Sells and Robin Buxton. They were driving through High Halden at around 3:45 a.m. on an autumn morning when “the whole of the night sky became as bright as daylight.” The curious light display lasted for three or four seconds before normality was restored. The officers quickly filed a report with police headquarters at Maidstone. Notably, other unusual events were reported by people in the same area for several days.

Teenagers Joanna Dickinson and Julie Jessop were walking near to Julie’s home at Woodlands Caravan Park, Biddenden, when they saw an oval-shaped object displaying four bright white lights, with a red light in the center. Both girls estimated that the object was at a height of around 500 feet; it emitted a deep humming sound. As they watched, the object suddenly climbed vertically into the evening sky.

Shortly after the sighting at Biddenden, Stephen Button, the brother of a Tenterden policeman, reported seeing a strange object while driving his car in the area. When Mr. Button first caught sight of the object, which was likened to “a blue ball,” it was at a height of between fifty and 100 feet, but began to descend as Mr. Button looked on. He finally lost sight of the object as it disappeared behind a line of trees. Staff at Royal Air Force Manston were duly informed and details were passed on to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense for analysis.

Never a dull moment at Cannock Chase

Then, on October 29, a huge, “Flying Triangle”-type UFO was seen flying – and very briefly hovering – over the Cannock Chase woods, Staffordshire, England. In this case, the witness was a police-officer heading home after finishing up his late-night/early hours shift. He described the craft as being “massively big,” black in color, and giving off a loud hum. The officer watched, stunned, for a few moments as the object flew across the tree-shrouded road at a speed of barely 20 miles per hour. Then, suddenly, the triangular craft shot into the star-filled skies above. The stunned officer chose not to share the story with his colleagues at work, but did give the details to a local UFO group.

The strange UFO wave of October 1988 was over.


Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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