Sep 16, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Alien Abduction in the 1960s: A Lesser-Known Fascinating Encounter

It's a very little known fact that the British military was secretly opening files on those citizens of the U.K. who were suspected of being alien abductees. In this article we'll focus on the intriguingly weird story of a young woman named Diane Foulkes. The year was 1966, the month was November. It was a month in which NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 2 was launched, John Lennon met Yoko Ono for the first time, and Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California. Those historic events all paled against what Diane Foulkes had to endure: a close encounter with a strange craft in the sky and a period of missing time. As the U.K.’s Freedom of Information Act has shown, the U.K. Royal Air Force’s Provost and Security Services, secretly oversaw the investigation into Diane’s trauma-dominated experiences. We would almost certainly be completely oblivious to the facts of the affair, today, were it not for one significant thing: Diane Foulkes’s family decided to contact the military – in an effort to try and understand the nature of her experiences. At the time, twenty-two-year-old Diane – a typist working at a local company - was living with her parents in the old English town of Shrewsbury, in the county of Shropshire. It’s a town which was founded way back in the 9th century and its ancient architecture would not at all look out of place on the likes of Downton Abbey – nor would its surrounding green fields and hills, little old villages, and expansive woods.

As for Diane’s encounter with something definitively unknown, it occurred on the night of November 8, 1966. Although, she kept silent on what had happened for two days, she finally confided in her mother and father on the 10th and revealed all. So shocked were Diane’s parents by what she had to say, her mother promptly contacted the local military base, Royal Air Force Shawbury, which was constructed in the latter stages of the First World War and that, today, is a training facility for military helicopter pilots. She spoke to a Flight Lieutenant Williams, who took a few notes and promised to pass the data onto the right people. We will soon learn who they were. We’ll likely never know what was going through the mind of Diane’s mother when she made that call to RAF Shawbury, but one can imagine it would not have been the easiest of things to do. After all, she was about to share the details of her daughter’s encounter with what may well have been a spacecraft constructed on another world. If Diane had worries about what the authorities might say, she had no need to. It’s most intriguing to note that the military took her story very seriously. To the extent that, four days later, a three-man team arrived at the Foulkes’ home. Questions were about to be asked and a secret file was about to be created.

(Nick Redfern) Just a small portion of the U.K. National Archives

It was around 7:00 p.m. when the knock on the door - which Diane Foulkes may have been dreading or looking forward to – finally came. Diane herself opened it and was confronted by three men dressed in plainclothes. The man who knocked on the door identified himself as Corporal Robert A. Rickwood, of the Royal Air Force. Notably, Corporal Rickwood carefully avoided adding that he also happened to be attached to the P&SS’ Special Investigation Section, the SIS, which undertook investigations of events with national security implications attached to them. Diane invited the three men into the living-room. They sat down, while her parents hovered awkwardly in the background. In typical English fashion, cups of tea were made for everyone and the interview began.

Corporal Rickwood, perhaps aware that Diane was somewhat nervous, simply asked her to relate the facts, and added that he was here to help and try and figure out what it was that she had seen just a few nights earlier. Diane took a deep breath and began. She had been out for an evening with friends and, with midnight barely five minutes away, she was approaching the little village of Great Ness, which even today has a population of less than one thousand. Then, something weird happened, something totally unforeseen: Diane had an encounter of the UFO type. Then, before she continued with her story, things became even more notable. As a quick aside, Diane said that this was not her first encounter of this particular type. She had had another close encounter – late at night, and in the same area – two years earlier. This was, of course, a surprise to Corporal Rickwood’s team. As a result, he suggested that Diane go back to the beginning, to ensure that they had all of the data in-hand and in chronological order. An incredible tale was about to be unfold. Corporal Rickwood’s now-declassified report states, in part: 

The first occurred two years ago in November 1964, when she had been driving from Shrewsbury to her home along the A5 road. This was at about 0200 hours as she neared the Montford Bridge over the River Severn. Approximately midway between Shrewsbury and Great Ness a brightly lit circular object appeared in the sky above her car. She had been frightened and had accelerated along the road. The object had kept pace with her remaining at the same height until she arrived home. She had told her mother and father who also watched the object. She described the object as an especially bright light in the sky which remained stationary due west from their home for about half an hour. It had then rapidly diminished in size and they assumed it had accelerated away from them. No sound was heard from the object. The light was yellow in color and became red as it diminished.

As fascinating as all of this certainly is, it was yet another aside from Diane which had the P&SS guys sitting up and really taking notice. According to Diane, there was a lapse in time: although it was around 2:00 a.m. when she reached the Montford Bridge, it should actually have been much closer to 1:00 a.m. If Corporal Rickwood and his colleagues knew that this was highly suggestive of an abduction experience, they did not make a comment to this effect, which is hardly surprising. The last thing they would have wanted to do would be to plant thoughts in Diane’s mind suggesting she had been kidnapped by aliens, and that certain memories of the event had been obliterated. They wanted her calm and focused. It was now time for Diane to reveal what she encountered just four nights before Corporal Rickwood paid a visit. Let’s see what the corporal recorded next, in his secret report:

The second incident occurred on the 8th November 1966 at 2355 hours and again whilst she was returning from Shrewsbury on the same road. The object had again appeared at Montford Bridge, but this time it was much lower in the sky and on the north side of the road. On this occasion she could see rays of light shooting from the object which had again appeared to keep station with her car until she arrived home. At one time during the journey the object travelled near her and the rays seemed to come towards the right hand side of her car. She felt a bump against that side as if they had struck it. At this moment she felt as if she had received an electric shock and had felt a severe pain in her neck. The left-hand side headlight of the car also went out. This made her extremely frightened. When she got home she felt very ill and had complained to her parents. This object had emitted brilliant lights and radiation beams. On arriving home her daughter had been in a distressed condition and she had discovered marks on the car, which she considered were burn marks. The object again remained stationary in the sky north of her home and had not been seen by her parents. They had noticed it for a short time before going inside her home. There had been no sign of the object on the following morning. Miss Foulkes’ parents confirmed seeing an object in the sky on both occasions as described by their daughter and agreed with her descriptions of these.

(Nick Redfern) Missing Time in the 1960s

When Diane asked Corporal Rickwood for his opinion on the strange affair, he was decidedly non-committal, stating only that, and I quote again from the file, “…the incident was in no way connected with the Royal Air Force or the Armed Forces.” Diane replied that she had reached that conclusion herself, too, but it still didn’t help her to understand what it was that she encountered – not just once, but twice over the course of a couple of years. It was at this point in the discussion that Diane revealed yet another eye-opening aspect of the story. In the P&SS documentation, it reads as follows: “Miss Foulkes further stated that she believed that the objects could be associated with a Mr. Griffin who lived in the area and who is reputed to have made contact with these objects and actually entered one and met one of the occupants. He is also alleged to make his contacts with them at Montford Bridge.” After a few more minutes of going over the story, it was time for the P&SS team to leave. They thanked Diane and her parents for taking the time to speak with them – and for the tea too – and headed off into the night. Several days later, Diane received a letter addressed to her and which came from RAF Shawbury. The letter revealed that Diane’s case had been carefully examined, but remained unexplainable. She never heard from them again. But, someone heard from them. It was Mr. Griffin.

That Griffin isn’t an overly common name – and particularly so among the small and picturesque villages of Shropshire – meant it didn’t take the Provost and Security Services very long at all to find Mr. Griffin. In fact, they were knocking on his door only two days after speaking to Diane Foulkes. Curiously, in the now-declassified papers on Mr. Griffin, his first name is deleted, as his address at the time. But, the story is there for all to see. According to Mr. Griffin, and just like Diane, he had had several encounters at Montford Bridge, which is also the name of the village in which the centuries-old bridge still stands. All of Mr. Griffin’s encounters occurred in the early hours of the morning, and always after he was overcome by an uncanny compulsion to drive out to the bridge, park his car as close enough to the bridge as he could – without causing a potential accident – and then wait. And wait. He told the P&SS unit – once again under Corporal Rickwood – that finally he would see a large, blue light in the sky. In moments, his mind would become hazy and he would find himself laid out on a large and long “table,” which was surrounded by what he described as a group of “pixies.” In other words, small, humanoid figures. The Greys? In all likelihood, yes. 

 When questioned about what happened next, Mr. Griffin said that on every occasion he felt he was helping the creatures with “their experiments,” but what those experiments were, exactly, he could not remember. Just like Betty and Barney Hill, Mr. Griffin’s memory was not as it should have been. The aliens had clearly hit the “delete button” on the most important aspects of Mr. Griffin‘s abductions.Mr. Griffin apologized for the fact that certain portions of the story were missing from his mind, but this did not seem to disappoint Corporal Rickwood’s team. In fact, before leaving they asked if he would be willing to be interviewed by a psychologist from the Ministry of Defense, which is the U.K.’s equivalent of the United States’ Department of Defense (DoD). The files do not reflect if Mr. Griffin was interviewed by MoD specialists. But, just the fact that such a suggestion was made implies that the P&SS may have had earlier successes in this area of medicine, when it came to trying to uncover the missing memories of someone taken on-board an extraterrestrial spaceship. For the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense, this was further evidence that the alien abduction phenomenon was very much a growing one – something which left them decidedly uneasy. 

NOTE: The file on Diane Foulkes can be found at the U.K. National Archives.

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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