Bob Taylor

forestry worker robert taylor hit the headlines in 1979 after claiming he was attacked by aliens, and showed off the bruises.

robert, now 78 (in 1997), stumbled across a craft in a clearing in dean's forest near his home in livingston.

he says: "two spheres dropped from the craft. they took a bit of skin from my chin, but i don't know anything else because i passed out."



dechmont woods encounter

bob taylor's encounter with the mysterious spheres in dechmont wood near livingston in scotland, is probably one of the most written about cases of a close encounter in britain. the case stands as one of the most intriging in british ufology.

on the 9th of november 1979, at around 10.30 am, robert taylor, a forestry worker employed by the livingstone development corporation parked his pick up off a track at the bottom of dechmont law, just off the busy m8 motorway. he walked up the lower slope of the forested hill with his dog, and as he emerged into a clearing an amazing sight greeted him.

before him in the clearing was a large, circular, sphere like object about twenty feet across. it appeared to be made from a dark metallic material with a rough texture like sandpaper, parts of which were transparent. a narrow flange ran around the outside of the object.

as he approached, two spheres with protruding metal spikes in the manner of old navel mines dropped from the object. they were about three feet wide and made of the same dark metallic substance as the larger object.

the two spheres rolled towards him and flanked him, each rolling at the same time to his left and right foot. with his dog now barking furiously, the spikes attached to the bob's trousers and pulled him towards the larger sphere. bob heard a distinct hissing sound and smelled an acrid smell that caused him to choke.

the next thing he knew he was coming round lying face down on the grass with his dog nearby. the strange objects had disappeared from the clearing, his legs were aching, his trousers were torn and he found he could not speak.

he crawled the rest of the way to his pick up and could not get it started, so had to walk the mile to his home in livingston. his wife was at home when he arrived in his dishevelled state and she quickly phoned the doctor and eventually the police. the police treated the matter seriously and returned to the site with bob. they found ladder shaped marks in the soil where the craft was said to have stood, and marks following the path of the mine like objects.

although there may be several possible explanations, what has been agreed is that bob taylor was a man of character, not given to fanciful stories. he never changed his account, never actively sought publicity, and never gained from any of the publicity generated at the time of the event.

the main explanation given by steuart campbell, is that bob witnessed a mirage of venus, which brought on an epileptic fit and caused him to hallucinate the whole encounter. although possible, bob had never experienced epilepsy before or after the event, although some of his symptoms after the encounter are similar to those experienced by those with epilepsy.

the police case still remains open, and the ripped trousers are now in the possession of bufora.

mysterious britain, web


livingston, scotland

on the ninth of november 1979 a forester named robert taylor had an encounter with the ufo in livingston, scotland. he had left his house at 10 am and driven to a plantation near the m8 motorway for an inspection. he parked as close as he could to the clearing that was to be inspected and followed a track the rest of the way. as he rounded a corner he came face-to-face with the ufo.

the object was grey in colour and approximately 20 feet wide and 12 feet high. there was a protruding rim just below halfway down the object which reminded taylor of the brim of a hat. some dark patches were seen on the body of the object which looked like portholes. at times the object became semi transparent as if trying to disguise itself.

two small spheres with protruding spikes (not unlike sea mines) rushed towards taylor from the direction of the object. these smaller objects were approximately two feet across. they seized taylor by the legs, tearing his trousers in the process, and dragged him towards the large object. at this point taylor recalls a choking smell and then lost consciousness.

upon regaining consciousness he heard a swishing sound and realised that the ufos had gone. his dog was barking wildly at him and he realised that he couldn't walk or even talk properly. he managed to get back to his truck that got it stuck in the mud and consequently had to walk over a mile back to his home. he suffered a headache for hours and a raging thirst which lasted for two days.

marks were found on the ground in the clearing to correspond with the mine like objects that taylor described.

ufofocus, web


meanwhile, back at the space ship...

it was a large domed object out of which two circular, antennae-laden robots emerged and attempted to kidnap a man, tearing his trousers -- and in doing so, propelling the scottish town of livingston into a hallowed place in ufology's hall of fame.

oh no it was not, says science writer steuart campbell. what robert taylor actually saw on the morning of november 9, 1979, was an astronomical mirage which triggered an hallucinatory epileptic fit.

campbell, an edinburgh-based former architect, has launched a book he says will explain 90 per cent of sightings of ufos (unidentified flying objects).

what people presume to be spyships from alpha centauri are in reality an optical illusion, produced by the distorting effect of the earth's atmosphere on lightwaves skipping across the universe. campbell is something of a professional skeptic. he has published a book debunking the loch ness monster and has another in the works scrutinizing jesus christ.

he evolved the astronomical mirage theory while investigating the incident in a wood north of livingston, 16 kilometres outside edinburgh.

despite the best efforts of the local police, no one has come up with an explanation for what happened to taylor, agreed by everybody to be a perfectly level-headed foreman forester not given to hoaxing.

livingston development corporation was sufficiently convinced that something queer had gone on to authorize a commemorative boulder and plaque -- since stolen...

taylor, now 75 and recovering from a stroke, is skeptical of the skeptic. "i never had an epileptic attack before or after," protests the man who carried a camera with him for long after his experience in case the robots came looking for him. "i can assure you that venus had nothing to do with it. i am pretty certain that what i saw was the real thing, a vehicle from outer space."



name: the livingston encounter

date: 9 november 1979

place: livingston, lothian, scotland

event: close encounter of the second kind

at approximately 10.15 in the morning on friday, 9 november 1979 forester robert taylor, a 61-year-old local inhabitant of livingston, scotland, encountered a ufo and entities of the most extraordinary nature.

with his dog, taylor drove in his pick-up truck to inspect young forest trees in an area just off the m8 motorway which connects edinburgh to glasgow. he stopped the pick-up and walked to the site he wanted to inspect; as he rounded a corner he was astonished to see what was hovering in the clearing ahead of him.

the object was approximately 20 feet (6 metres) wide and 12 feet (3.65 metres) high, globular for the most part but surrounded by a flange similar to the brim of a hat. protruding upward from the 'hat' were what appeared to be motionless propellers placed around the rim. behind them and on the main body of the object appeared to be the outline of portholes or at least somewhat different coloured patches. beneath the rim the object was slightly darker and the witness got the impression that the object may have been trying to camouflage itself by hazing in and out of solidity. the witness was uncertain whether the object itself was transparent or reflective but got the impression that its normal colour was of a dull grey and had a texture of a rough sandpaper. the real shocks were yet to come!

just seconds after first seeing the object, two small, spiked spheres either dropped down from it or rushed from behind it, rolling across the ground on extended spikes towards taylor. they were approximately 3 feet (91 cm) wide and also a dull grey, similar to the main craft. as they reached him, the spheres, one on each side, attached themselves to his legs and he felt himself being dragged towards the object. he was overwhelmed by an acrid smell and lost consciousness.

when he came to, the objects were gone and his dog was racing around him in an agitated state. taylor himself had apparently lost his voice and was unable to stand comfortably. he was forced to crawl some 90 yards (82 metres) back to his pick-up truck but shortly ran it into soft mud in his desperation to leave the area and consequently had to walk home. for hours afterwards he had a headache and a thirst which lasted for two days.

subsequent investigation of the site showed ground markings which correlated to the spikes on the small spherical objects where they had apparently churned up the grass. of particular importance was the damage to his trousers; they were of a heavy blue serge but were torn on each leg where, apparently, the spherical objects had attached themselves. the tears were upwards, suggesting that they had been formed by dragging him forwards and were investigated by the british ufo research association who currently hold the trousers for any further forensic examination that can be undertaken.

of the witness himself, taylor is described as honest and responsible and not the sort of person to play jokes. with perhaps some difficulty he now believes he saw an extraterrestrial craft and robots. for a while he carried a camera in case he should encounter them again. investigation into his personal circumstances revealed a man who drank very little alcohol, was of generally good health and with no significant history of head injury or suffering from headaches or blackouts. according to the investigator his hearing is good and he wears glasses only for reading.

... the very thorough investigation by steuart campbell suggests that the ground traces and physical evidence which was found gave little support to the contention that there were no physical objects present at all.

on the other hand, the investigation also suggested that it was unlikely that the object was man-made since there appeared to be no likely manufacturer in the proximity. in any case, flying such an object to the clearing would almost certainly have come to the attention of somebody on the m8 motorway which is a most frequently used one in scotland. although very close to the motorway the encounter itself could not have been seen since the trees would have obscured the view of the site. however, any flight path into the clearing would have been seen, yet there are no corroborative reports. did the object emerge in the clearing in some other way...?

caption: forester robert taylor witnessed a close encounter at livingston in scotland in november1979. he was attacked by two mine-like objects.



an alien assault

undoubtedly the most well-known case in the bonnybridge area dates back to well before the current mystery began. it occurred in november 1979 on a damp morning near dechmont law, a forested area close to the m8 motorway at livingston.

forestry worker bob taylor was on patrol with his dog, checking for stray sheep, when he says he came upon a strange object sitting on the ground or hovering just above it. a line of rotating arms were set into a rim surrounding the circular object and it was fading in and out of view, allowing background trees to be visible - almost as if it were attempting to camouflage itself.

bob taylor describes how he stared in amazement as two metal spheres with spikes on, not unlike sea mines, emerged from the rear of the object and bounced towards him. they made horrible, sucking noises as they impacted into the wet soil. as they reached his side he became aware of a curious acrid smell, then felt a tugging on his legs and collapsed unconscious on to the ground.

the forester recovered an unknown time later - estimates suggest it was fifteen or twenty minutes. nothing was now visible in the clearing, but his dog was running about barking and yapping, prompting speculation that it had frightened off the intruders. taylor was weak and dizzy and could not stand, but he dragged himself to his vehicle at the edge of the clearing. however, his co-ordination was seriously awry and he drove into a ditch.

taylor eventually reached his home at the edge of the woods having partly dragged himself and then stumbled through the undergrowth. his wife saw at once that he had been attacked, which he confirmed. but - he added sombrely - his assailants were not exactly human.

mrs taylor rang malcolm drummond, taylor's boss, who arrived at the house to hear his story, even though the man was dazed, had a headache and kept saying that he had been 'gassed'. a doctor was called and taylor was sent to hospital, although he checked himself out later without being examined.

meanwhile, taylor's employers at the livingston new town development corporation had been called in to investigate, as had the police. they were not laughing but were treating the matter as a physical assault by person or persons unknown - a prospect then unprecedented in ufo history.

drummond arranged to meet the police at the clearing. here they found taylor's vehicle and also, as drummond notes, 'marks on the ground which seemed to indicate that something had come vertically down and made impressions in the turf'. these resembled a bulldozer or heavy machinery, but surrounding them were 40 shallow holes that matched the witness's story about the bouncing spiky balls.

the police fenced off the area and were utterly baffled, since the tracks covered only this one area of grass. there was no indication of how the vehicle that caused them had arrived.

secret weaponry?

malcolm drummond is adamant about the physical evidence that he saw:

'there is no doubt in my mind that these marks were made by a perfectly solid, heavier-than-air object. they had been made by some machine which had come vertically downward...'

detective sergeant ian wark was a member of the police team assigned to the case. he admits that he was highly sceptical when first sent to the scene, but on examining the 40 holes and the weird caterpillar tracks he was puzzled. he checked all the forestry equipment used in the area; none of it had tracks that matched. after the investigation wark was in no doubt. 'in my opinion,' he said, 'mr taylor genuinely reported what he saw, or be-lieved that he had seen.'

the police sent bob taylor's trousers to edinburgh for forensic analysis. lester knibb, a forensic scientist in the laboratory, found clear tear marks on either side, consistent with the witness's story about being grabbed at waist height by the two spiky sea mines. the police lab could not prove anything, but knibb says: 'the damage could have been caused in the way the witness says. but it would require something mechanical. it was not something caused by an electric shock or bolt of lightning.' these were theories that sceptics were proposing at the time.

detective sergeant wark confirms: 'we are still baffled ... the case is still open...'

taylor himself, citing the fact that no similar episodes occurred either before the assault or in the fifteen years post this encounter, does not accept this interpretation of events (ie that it was an epileptic fit).

the livingston development corporation... erected a plaque at the forest site commemorating the encounter. it quickly disappeared.., but has been replaced.

an artist's impression of the craft taylor described, based on sketches he drew after the assault

sketch taylor spencer encyc

STRANGE BUT TRUE?, randles and hough, 1994


moving north and east up country the lothian region surrounds edinburgh and, whilst less active than luce bay (possibly due to being more heavily built up), has brought some exciting encounters.

undoubtedly the best known is the famous ufo landing at livingston, then a new town development west of the city. this occurred on the morning of 9 november 1979, amidst a whole wave of ufo sightings in the area. a forestry worker in dechmont woods, north of the town, came upon a strange object on the ground inside a clearing. it was semi-transparent - as if fading out of reality. he was 'attacked' by two round spheres with spikes on the edges, which emerged from the object and floated towards him. he smelt an odd odour and recovered some time later on the ground, weak and suffering effects akin to anaesthesia. the ufo was gone and some feel that his dog had scared it away. however, strange marks were left on the ground at the site, which were quickly roped off for a police investigation, and the witness himself had tear marks on his trousers.

an extensive investigation was conducted by bufora (british ufo research association), which found nothing odd in soil or trouser samples but failed to uncover any evidence against the witness's sincerity... the case remains a classic in scottish ufo history...

the site of the 1979 landing near declimont has now been commemorated by a plaque installed there by the local council. oddly, this credits noted ufo debunker arthur c clarke, merely because the case featured (as did many others) on the tv series made in his name. this ignores all the hard work put into establishing the story's credibility by those who investigated it. that decision aside, this makes the landing site part of a very exclusive club. it is certainly the only such spot in europe, possibly in the world.

UFOS AND HOW TO SEE THEM, randles, 1992


on the evening of 9 november 1979, i was telephoned at home by a journalist from a major scottish daily newspaper. he informed me that a forestry worker at livingston (a new town some twenty km west of edinburgh) had been attacked by small furry creatures which had emerged from a transparent spacecraft. the craft was alleged to have left tracks in the ground! to say that i was sceptical would be an understatement; i could hardly believe it, and was sure that someone had made a mistake. it was then dark and the witness had gone to england. however i resolved to give it my full attention as soon as i could.

the following morning, two scottish daily newspapers brought fuller details, confirming most of what i had been told. the reports revealed that the local police were investigating. consequently i made myself known to them and was invited to visit their local headquarters in bathgate. this i did that morning, discussing the incident with the superintendent in charge and glimpsing the routine police report (i obtained a copy later). clearly they were baffled.

i was then taken to the scene of the incident, a forest clearing. there i was shown some anomalous marks or tracks (by that time fenced off) which, i was told, had been found where the 'spacecraft' had landed. the police were photographing and measuring the marks while i was there... i took some photographs...

only on 27 november 1979 was i able to speak to the person involved in the incident, foreman forester robert david taylor.

photo taylor spencer encyc

the forester's tale

taylor, 61 at the time of the incident, had worked as a forester all his life on the land in scotland. for sixteen years he had worked in the forestry department of livingston development corporation, the new town authority. on the morning of friday 9 november 1979, he was inspecting a forest plantation in the north of the town near, but not within sight of, the m8 motorway. he was alone except for his dog, a red setter. at about 10.15 he rounded a corner in the forest track and was confronted by the most amazing sight. a large domed object appeared to be hovering stationary just above the ground! it did not seem to be rotating and no sound was audible. the colour was uniformly dark grey, with an appearance similar to that of emery paper (many small bright highlights set against a darker background). the surface of the object periodically changed, in different places, to become smooth and shiny. he thought it was attempting to camouflage itself. it seemed to be about six metres in diameter and stood about four metres high. it appeared to be mounted on an equatorial flange or rim, like the brim of a hat. protruding from the upper edge of the flange were what appeared to be regularly spaced stems surmounted by propellers. these appendages did not move and the propellers did not rotate. just above the flange on the surface of the dome were darker, regularly-spaced, circular patches. no other features were visible.

after only a few seconds, two smaller spiked spheres rushed towards him. they were of the same appearance as the dome, but only 0.5 to 1.0 metre in diameter. they seemed to roll forwards on a horizontal axis with only the ends of the spikes touching the ground. the number of spikes is uncertain, but taylor recalls that they made a sucking or plopping sound when they touched the ground. he did not see where they came from, but they stopped one either side of him and each attached a spike to his trousers! immediately he felt himself being pulled forward, towards the dome. he claimed that his feet (in rubber boots) were dragging on the ground. as the spheres reached him, he was overwhelmed by a very strong, acrid choking smell. struggling for breath, and trying to resist the pull of the spheres, he lost consciousness.

when he recovered, none of the objects could be seen. only his dog was with him; it was racing about and barking. when he tried to speak to the dog, he found that he had lost his voice. he also found that he could not stand. so he crawled on his hands and knees for about 90 metres back along the way he had come. after that, he managed to stand and walk unsteadily to where he had left his pick-up truck. there he tried to contact his headquarters via the two-way radio, but he still could not speak. he attempted to turn the truck around, but got it stuck in soft ground and had to abandon it. he then walked home, a distance of about 1870 metres via a short cut across fields and woods, arriving home about 11.15. his voice returned on the way. he was very thirsty and suffering from a frontal headache which lasted for several hours. his thirst lasted for two days. he could still taste the smell and he had a pain in his chin and felt sick.


when she saw that he was covered in mud and heard that he had been attacked, his wife wanted to call the police. he restrained her and explained the nature of the incident. however he allowed her to call his supervisor and head of the forestry department, malcolm drummond. while she did this he took a bath.

drummond called a doctor and made straight for taylor's house, interviewing him in his bath! taylor explained that there must be marks on the ground where the spacecraft (he was sure that's what it was) had sat. drummond set off to look but could not find the clearing. meanwhile the doctor had arrived.

dr gordon adams found a graze on taylor's left leg, and a slight graze under his chin. he could find no sign of head injury or brain compression. taylor's temperature, blood pressure, heart and lungs were normal. however he ordered an ambulance to take him to a nearby hospital for a head x-ray and an interview with a psychiatrist.

taylor then set off with drummond to show him where the incident had occurred and to look for evidence. it was then that the ground markings were discovered and the police were called.

while taylor and his wife later went by ambulance to hospital, they were kept waiting so long that they left without him being examined. he felt well, and they wanted to go away for the weekend to visit relatives.

meanwhile the press learned of the incident, and it became uk news the following sunday. i have never seen so much press coverage of a ufo report. it received wide publicity and interest throughout britain and the world, and it has featured on television and in many books. in the autumn of 1991, livingston development corporation commemorated the event by placing a plaque set in a huge boulder on the site. unfortunately the plaque was stolen three months later and at the time of writing (1994) it has not been replaced.

the police investigation

the local police had never before experienced such a case and were mystified. it is to their credit that they never questioned the honesty of the report, at least not once they heard character references and saw the ground marks. apart from measuring and recording the marks, they took statements from taylor, his wife and the doctor.

in any case of alleged assault, scottish police are required to have the clothing involved sent for forensic examination. this examination showed that both taylor's trousers and his long johns had been torn on each hip (one tear corresponding to where he had a graze on his leg). these tears had been noticed by taylor's wife on his return. the tears were consistent with the material having been pulled up while the trousers were being worn.

the forensic scientists also found traces of a powder similar to maize starch on the trousers. they did not know that this was caused by the fact that the trousers had been transported to the laboratory in an old shopping bag.

no evidence was found of helicopter movements in the area that day, or the previous day. one policeman made a search of the area around the clearing to see if there were signs of a mobile crane that might have been used to lower something into the clearing. he found nothing.

the ground markings

these were of two types. there were two parallel ladder-like 'tracks', each about 2.5 m long and the same distance apart. each 'rung' of the ladder was about two or three cm wide and deep, and about 30 cm long, and the area of grass between each 'rung' was evenly flattened, but not as deeply as the 'rungs'. although the 'tracks' appeared to be impressions made by a heavy object, the indentations were only in the grass; the ground beneath the grass did not appear to have been indented or crushed at all. i was able to confirm this later when the grass had been flattened by snow and had withered. however, individual blades of grass were bent around the square 'rung' and they did not lose this form even after 24 hours.

there were also 40 holes surrounding the 'tracks'. these holes, about ten cm across, and even less deep, exposed fresh soil. all seemed to be at an angle of about 30' to the horizontal. the direction of the angle of inclination was consistent, that is to say the holes all faced in the same direction, towards the next hole in the circuit (there were two circuits). one circuit of holes ran clockwise and one ran anticlockwise, but they seemed to match up between the 'tracks'. in some of the holes it could be seen that blades of grass had been cut. there was no obvious impression of an implement in the holes. none of the grass was burned or scorched; fresh grass growing on the site in 1980 seemed quite normal and showed no sign of the incident. the grass and the ground beneath it were damp; in fact when i first saw the site it was covered in hoar frost.

bob taylor 3

the witness

taylor was known for his honesty and responsibility. he was not the sort of person to invent a tale or play a practical joke. in fact he was of phlegmatic disposition and has reacted to the experience as if it were a minor traffic accident. he does not appear to have been changed by the event. he had heard of flying saucers, but had no interest in the subject and his house contained hardly any books, let alone any on ufos. many told me that they would not have believed the report from anyone else. the subsequent conviction that aliens attempted to abduct him does not seem to have changed or disturbed him, although afterwards he always carried a camera in case they came back.

he drank very little alcohol, and none during working hours. he did smoke cigarettes. he described his health as good, although he was troubled by poor appetite, which he attributed to the condition of his liver (possible cirrhosis caused by heavy drinking in the past). in 1965 he suffered viral meningitis, from which he made a good recovery. in 1977 he was hospitalized with mild hepatitis. he had undergone two operations, a herniorrhaphy and an operation on his neck for cervical spondylosis. he had no history of head injury, and he did not normally suffer from headaches, dizziness or blackouts. he did suffer from angina and high blood pressure; he was taking medication for the latter. he weighed 73 kg and was 1.8 metres tall. his hearing was good and he needed spectacles only for reading.

my own investigation

... one line of enquiry was the strange smell taylor reported. an odd feature was the fact that, although he claimed that it persisted when he got home, his wife could not detect it. he likened it to that of burning brake linings. tests with samples of ozone (03), nitrogen dioxide (n02) and hydrogen sulphide (h25) showed that the last came closest to matching the strange smell (although none was identical).

a soil sample was tested, but was found to contain only the normal elements, the distribution of which differed only slightly from that of a control sample from the same site. the radioactivity of the samples was normal.

in order to check taylor's route home and to find how long he could have been unconscious, i traced and timed this route. there seemed to be nowhere on the route where taylor had to climb, so tearing his trousers. the time taken on this route indicated that taylor must have been unconscious for about twenty minutes.

taylor himself was unable to produce a sketch of what he saw. the first attempt was made by david hammond, then a student architect and the fiance of his youngest daughter. this sketch showed the 'ufo' standing on four slender legs, but taylor strenuously denied that he saw any legs. he agreed that the general form shown in the amended sketch (where the legs have not been completely removed) did represent what he saw...

a team from the ufo investigation network (ufoin) also visited taylor and inspected the site of the incident. they saw it as the landing of a spacecraft and concluded that the smaller objects were 'devices'. they were sure that the 'craft' had rested upon the ground and caused impressions in it. they reported that the taylor was 'mesmerized by the object's totally alien appearance', and that he had been 'assaulted' by the devices. they made numerous enquiries in an attempt to establish whether or not 'folklore, mystical, or ufo type events' had been associated with the area in the past (keatman and collins 1979 - 1980).

caption: this is the site referred to in ARTHUR C CLARKE'S MYSTERIOUS WORLD which describes an encounter between a forestry worker out walking and what appeared to him as an unidentified flying object.

caption: the police plan of the ground marks at livingston. the 'horseshoes' and arrows indicate the direction in which the holes were angled. the north pointer is incorrectly oriented.

THE UFO MYSTERY SOLVED, campbell, 1994 (dreadful book)


but the most puzzling ufo case in the area must be the one which happened in these woods near livingstone. itís a case that police came to treat officially as assault by person or persons unknown. it happened to a forestry worker, bob taylor, who was out on patrol checking for stray sheep in the forest. it was a routine task, one heíd done countless times over the years heíd worked there. as usual there were no sheep, but as he rounded a corner he discovered something else.

bob taylor (actor): what the!

bob taylor: a huge thing with a big round dome, a very dark grey colour, and it had a big flange going all the way around. i could see arms sticking out of this flange with what i took to be blades on the top. two balls came out, two balls, i think theyíd be about three feet in diameter, with about six spikes; they came right up beside me and i remember feeling a tug at that time and that was it.

bob taylor canít remember exactly what followed. the next thing he does remember is lying on the ground dazed and bleeding. unable to walk and in no condition to drive, he set off for help on his hands and knees. by the time he arrived home he was in a state of near-total collapse.

mary taylor (actor): bob! what happened to you?

bta: iím needing a drink.

mta: iíll get you one right away.

mary taylor: he looked quite shocked, and he was drained, he was right white, and his face was dirty.

mta: was it the lorry? did you have a crash?

bta: i was attacked.

mta: you were attacked?

bta: aye.

mta: whereabouts? oh, look at the state of you, your trousers are all torn.

mt: and he said, "iíve been attacked," and i said, "what with?" and he said, "a spaceship," and i said, "oh goodness me, there (sic) no such a thing as a spaceship. iím going to phone the doctor - you must have fell and hurt your head."

bobís wife called his boss, malcolm drummond. he went to the forest and he found bobís abandoned truck; and that wasnít all. in the clearing, he found impressions had been made in the ground.

malcom drummond, retired forest manager: there is no doubt in my mind that these marks were made by a perfectly solid, heavier-than-air object. they had been made by some machine which had come vertically downwards, i think thereís no doubt about that.

the area was fenced off and the police began an intensive search but found nothing. it was one of the most puzzling cases detective inspector ian wark (lothian and borders police) has ever come across.

ian wark: i couldnít believe it at first. the ground it was soft, and there were no signs of the tracks having come from somewhere or having went anywhere. they just seemed to have arrived.

near the caterpillar-type tracks were holes in the ground three inches deep - forty holes in all.

iw: at first i thought theyíd possibly been made by equipment that would be used by the forestry commission, but we went to their premises later that day, examined all the vehicles and nothing at all matched.

so what else could have caused the marks? one theory begins with the laying of water pipes in the forest and goes on to explain what bob taylor saw, a theory developed by science writer steuart 'clot' campbell.

steuart campbell: he thought he saw a spacecraft, because that was the only logical explanation to him, sitting in a clearing, but it was a magnified image, in my opinion, of a planet millions of miles away.

but what about bobís injuries? the theory continues that the sight of the mirage triggered an epileptic fit.

sc: it caused him to be paralysed, he couldnít speak, and of course he was unable to walk. these are symptoms of that.

mta: was it in the forest?

but bob hadnít suffered from epilepsy before, and those who knew him have no reason to doubt him.

md: bob taylor was a straightforward forester who had worked here for many years. he had no illusions of any kind and heís not the sort of chap who would have invented a story like this.

then there were the rips in the trousers bob taylor was wearing, rips he claims were made by probes from the ufo. the trousers were sent to the police laboratories to be put under the scrutiny of forensic expert lester knibb.

lester knibb, forensic scientist: there was (sic) two sets of damage predominantly, close enough to be considered symmetrical. itís obviously been caused by a lifting action. itís not the sort of action (sic) thatís caused by a fall - the tear would usually be down the trousers. certainly the story would fit the bill - that some object or objects had moved across a clearing towards him, attempted to lift him up and carry him off.

iw: even to this day, we are completely baffled of (sic), one, who assaulted mr taylor, and, two, what made these marks on the ground.

this is only one of the many local ufo cases which remain unsolved.

STRANGE BUT TRUE, tv, c 1993

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Last edited by Paul on 25 Aug 2011