X-Files' return sparks interest in Cumbria UFO sightings

9 February 2016 8:05AM

ENTHUSIASM for the extraterrestrial is predicted to rise with the return of agents Mulder and Scully to our screens this month. In honour of the cult classic, MOLLY LYNCH delves into the Evening Mail's very own X-Files.

ARE we alone in the universe?

It’s a question which has troubled the minds of mankind as far back as civilisation itself - from pop culture to scientific study. Even David Bowie asked if there was life on Mars.

And, judging from the Evening Mail archives, south Cumbria is no exception. Reports of extraterrestrial activity have been appearing on the pages since it first hit the newsstands.

This preoccupation with the paranormal looks set to be re-ignited with the return of cult classic The X-Files after an absence of nearly 15 years.

As the series bounces back onto television screens this month, the Evening Mail has delved into its library to find a wealth of weird and wonderful tales from an army of budding Mulder and Scullys.

 David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X Files. Picture Credit: PA Photo/Channel 5/Fox

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in The X Files. Picture Credit: PA Photo/Channel 5/Fox

In the 1950s, a young Coniston boy called Stephen Darbishire spotted a "flying saucer" hovering above the moors near his home.

What he saw made a lasting impression on the young lad, who would later become a member of the Royal Society of British Artists and inspired many pieces of artwork - from sketches to oil paintings - displayed to the public in 1963.

A news item advertising the exhibition at his parents’ home stated: “Stephen and his cousin spotted the unidentified flying objects on the moors.”

In 1996, Lancashire UFO Society spokesman Tim Matthews declared the area a hotspot for activity, citing a flurry of sightings and close encounters documented as far back as 1946.

Around that time, almost as regularly as Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny appeared on-screen to investigate unsolved cases, Cumbria’s own X-Files grew rapidly in size.

At the time, Mr Matthews told the Evening Mail a black, triangular craft was frequently spotted flying in Furness skies. The society also connected heightened activity to the presence of the nuclear power station Sellafield.

Word quickly spread among alien enthusiasts and led Jade Ashcroft, a field investigator for the US-based Mutual UFO Network, to set up a special investigation team for the Lake District and surrounding areas.

Her interest was sparked by an incident in Ennerdale, which she described to the Evening Mail in 2003: “It was a cloudy night. We were walking down the hill. There was an intermittent flashing - not like lightning - a kind of electricity.”

As well as reporting on sightings, the Evening Mail has tried its best to take the "U" out of UFOs.

Alarm spread throughout Barrow over the festive period of 2008, when a multitude of amber-coloured orbs were snapped in the night sky. Thanks to the birth of the smartphone, readers were able to grab photos of the strange sightings from their back gardens.

Barrow resident Colin Chatfield told the Evening Mail: “It was like an elongated light and remained in the sky for about an hour.”

Our reporting team tried to get answers from the Ministry of Defence. But days later, the mystery was solved when newlywed Andrea Hodgson called to say the glowing orbs were actually around 20 Chinese lanterns set off by guests at her wedding at Abbey House Hotel on December 27.

In that case, the truth really was out there. Just a little closer to home than we thought.

X Files quiz

The truth is out there... and also in here, you just need to know the right answers.
Trust No One, who isn't into the X Files because they probably won't be able to help you with the quiz.

What is Mulder's nickname?

Creepy

Spooky

Foxy

These men are:

The Loners

The Lone Rangers

The Lone Gunmen

Which of the following is NOT part of the "shadow government" group the Syndicate?

Jeffrey Spender

Cigarette smoking man

William Mulder

What is the Cigarette Smoking Man's real name?

Lesley Spender

C.G.B. Spender

Jeffrey Spender

What is "The Project"?

The joint plan between the Syndicate and Reticulians to colonize earth.

The government’s plan to monitor and control every human on earth using alien technology.

The government’s plan to distract the population with false alien abductions and conspiracy theories.

How do you kill the alien bounty hunter?

A lethal dose of the black oil virus.

Stabbing the back of the neck with an “alien stiletto.”

A special incinerator weapon.

What happens to Scully when she removes the metal implant in her neck?

She is temporarily paralyzed.

She develops cancer.

It triggers a silent alarm.

Samantha Mulder was given to the alien colonists in exchange for what?

An alien foetus.

The cure to all human diseases.

The date of alien colonization.

What is Cassandra Spender?

An alien.

An alien-human hybrid.

Cigarette Smoking Man’s sister.

Which U.S. President was first made aware of the alien's plans for colonization?

Harry Truman

John F. Kennedy

Richard Nixon

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pat   regan , Southport Monday, 08 February, 2016 at 1:56PM
Yes - Cumbria featured in many UFO sighting and lots are reported in detail within my last 2 UFO books. The western coast was particularly significant..
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