Aug 27, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Dead Aliens on a Mountain in Wales? Or Just a UFO Legend Gone Out of Control?

On the night of January 23, 1974, something strange happened on the Berwyn Mountains, North Wales. Some researchers even suggest that a Roswell-type event occurred. Without doubt, the expert on this complicated story is Andy Roberts; he’s a long-time researcher of UFOs and numerous other anomalies. As for what happened in January 1974, Andy says: “Prehistoric man lived and worshipped on the mountains leaving behind him a dramatic, ritual landscape dotted with stone circles…Folklore tells us that these mountains are haunted by many types of aerial phenomena, including the spectral Hounds of Hell: those who saw them recalled how they flew through the night sky baying as though pursued by Satan himself. To the south of the Berwyn’s at, Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant, the locals were plagued by a ‘flying dragon’ – intriguingly, a common name for UFOs in times gone by.” Andy continues: “It is against this backdrop of history and myth that on the evening of January 23, 1974 an event took place on the Berwyn Mountains that was to perplex locals and spawned a veritable cascade of rumours, culminating in a claim that, if true, would irrevocably change our view of history and make us revise our plans for the future of both our planet and our species. The claim was that a UFO piloted by extraterrestrials crashed, or was shot down, on the mountain known as Cadair Berwyn and that the alien crew, some still alive, were whisked off to a secret military installation in the south of England for study.”

Certainly, something weird took place on the Berwyn Mountains at approximately 8:30 p.m. on that famous night. No-one disputes that: it’s the nature of the events that provoke most of the debate. Anne Williams, of Bro Diham, Landrillo, recalled: “I saw this bright light hanging in the sky. It had a long fiery tale which seemed to be motionless for several minutes, going dim and then very brilliant, like a dormant fire which keeps coming to life. It would have been like an electric bulb in shape, except that it seemed to have rough edges. Then fell somewhere behind the hills at the back of my bungalow and the earth shook.” Police Constable Gwilym – off-duty at the time and knocking back a beer or a few in the local Dudley Arms pub - had something to say, too: “There was a great roar and a bang and the glasses shook. The sky was lit up over the mountains. The color was yellowish but other people in the valley described seeing blue lights.” Police Sergeant Gwyn Williams stated: “The walls shook and the mirror swung away from the wall,” he recalled. “My first thought was that a big lorry had hit the cinema – it was that kind of a roar and bang. Everyone ran into the street.” Around an hour-and-a-half later, what was described as a huge “luminous sphere” was seen by Ken Haughton, at a height of around 15,000 feet in the sky. He said that it seemed to fall vertically into the sea near to the town of Rhyl.

(Nick Redfern) Dead aliens on the Berwyn Mountains?

 A UFO wave? That’s what many thought. But, many can easily be deceived – as we have seen over and over again. That strange lights had been seen maneuvering in the skies, and the fact that the ground shook to a major degree, inevitably provoked fears that an aircraft – or, possibly, something exotic and unearthly - had crashed somewhere on the vast mountains on that winter’s night. It’s no surprise, then, that on the early morning of the 24th a Royal Air Force emergency rescue team – operating out of the RAF Valley base – carefully scoured the Berwyns from overhead. They came away completely blank: there was no evidence of any kind of crash having occurred. There was no debris, no fires on the mountains, and no mangled bodies, human or otherwise. The entire thing was a mystery. A very non-mysterious theory was put forward by the authorities: what some believed to have been a crash of something from the skies was actually an earth tremor. That does make some sense: it would have been very easy to mistake the effects of a small earthquake for a large object slamming into the ground. But, what of those lights that were seen in the skies – and at just about the same time? One theory was that they were actually the lamps of men out on the hills hunting for hares. Or, that there had been a meteorite shower – which there actually was. 

Not everyone was buying into this wholly-down-to-earth picture, however. A letter was fired off to the staff of the Wrexham Leader newspaper by a fairly irate soul, who wrote: “Regarding your front page article ‘Mystery Tremor’ in the issue of January 25, I find the explanation given absolutely ludicrous. The tremors shook houses over a 60-mile radius, and the lights were seen clearly miles away – this was reported by the national press and radio. I know nothing about ‘Hare hunting’ but unless the hunters use aircraft searchlights and kill their prey by lobbing a small atom bomb at them, then I fail to see how anyone can accept such an explanation.” For many, it was all a huge – and almost unique – coincidence provoked by those lamps, the meteorite shower, and an earth tremor that was powerful enough to shake homes and cause windows to shatter. All in relatively close proximity to each other. And all at around the same time. You can easily see why more than a few people might have chosen to use one word to describe the chaos on the mountains: “Hmmmmm.”

The coincidence angle is broadly the theory that Andy Roberts goes with. Indeed, Andy wrote an entire book on the subject - and from the perspective of everything being very much UFO-absent. Its title: UFO Down? The Berwyn Mountain UFO Crash. It should be read by one and all. While the U.K.’s ufologists of the 1970s were briefly excited by what happened – the possibility of a UFO presence in the area, and maybe even the crash of an extraterrestrial craft – it wasn’t too long before life returned to normality in the area and the incident was eventually relegated to the status of a local legend and not much more. Except, that is, for those ufologists who just couldn’t let it go: a number of articles were written on the subject in the 1970s and 1980s. It wasn’t until 1996, however, that the story was resurrected in a big-time fashion. We now come to what I suspect is the most significant part of this whole story – that of a connection between the Berwyns Mountains events and the experiments that occurred in Rendlesham Forest. While I think that Andy Roberts gave the UFO research community a highly plausible scenario for what happened on January 23, 1974, there is data out there that makes me conclude there were things far stranger than just meteorites in the sky on that dark night. We’re talking about phenomena that closely parallels what was perfected at the Edgewood Arsenal in the 1960s: controlled ball lightning.

(Nick Redfern) A Welsh Roswell or just a legend gone wild?

In 1996, a military whistleblower came forward, claiming that aliens had crashed on the Berwyn Mountains back in January 1974. The pummeled bodies of the dead crew were said to have been secretly rushed to Porton Down, for hasty examination and even hastier preservation. As is so typically often the case in such situations, the source chose not to provide his name to the UFO research community of the day. He preferred to lurk in the darkness, shrouded in mystery and intrigue. He shared his story only with Tony Dodd, who was a North Yorkshire police sergeant and UFO investigator. Dodd chose to give his talkative soldier the alias of “James Prescott,” who was said by Dodd to have been long-retired from the British Army. “I cannot named my unit or barracks, as they are still operational,” Prescott told Dodd. Prescott did, though, admit that his base at the time was situated in the south-west of England, which – as the crow flies – may have placed his installation not too far from Porton Down. In a very baffling way - and although the incident on the Berwyn Mountains occurred on January 23, 1974 - Prescott and his colleagues were ordered to be on “stand-by at short notice” on January 18. That was five days before the Berwyns were briefly highlighted in the nation’s newspapers. Prescott got right into the heart of the story: “We then received orders to proceed with speed towards North Wales. We were halted in Chester in readiness for a military exercise we believed was about to take place. On 20 January, the communication to us was ‘hot.’ At approximately 20:13 hours we received orders to proceed to Llangollen in North Wales and to wait at that point.” 

 According to Prescott there was a huge amount of “ground and aircraft activity” over and around those huge mountains. Remember, this was still January 20, according to Prescott – three days before the ground shook those little old villages at the foot of the mountains. Prescott said that on that same night he and his colleagues were given further orders: “We, that is myself and four others, were ordered to go to Llandderfel and were under strict orders not to stop for any civilians,” claimed Prescott. On arriving at Llandderfel - a small, Welsh village - they could see soldiers racing around. Senior officers were barking orders here, there and everywhere. Aircraft were zooming across the star-filled sky. And all of this was against a background of overwhelming darkness. Prescott and his colleagues were ordered to haul a pair of large, wooden boxes onto the back of their truck, which they did in rapid-fire time. According to Prescott: “We set off with our cargo and during the journey we stopped to get a drink. We were immediately approached by a man in civilian clothes, who produced an I.D. card and ordered us to keep moving, and not to stop until we reached our destination.” 

 Matters got really weird, as Prescott explained to Dodd: “We were at this time warned not to open the boxes, but to proceed to Porton Down and deliver the boxes. Once inside, the boxes were opened by staff at the facility in our presence. We were shocked to see two creatures which had been placed inside decontamination suits. When the suits were fully opened it was obvious the creatures were clearly not of this world and, when examined, were found to be dead. What I saw in the boxes that day made me change my whole concept of life. The bodies were about five to six feet tall, humanoid in shape, but so thin they looked almost skeletal with a covering skin. Although I did not see a craft at the scene of the recovery, I was informed that a large craft had crashed and was recovered by other military units. Sometime later we joined up with the other elements of our unit, who informed us that they had also transported bodies of ‘alien beings’ to Porton Down, but said that their cargo was still alive.” 

Whatever the truth of the strange incident, just like Roswell it refuses to go away.

Nick Redfern

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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