| The woo is out there|
|Aliens did it...|
|... and ran away|
Bonnybridge is a small town known as the "UFO capital of Scotland" for its high number of alleged sightings of mysterious lights in the sky. The area around it, stretching from Stirling to west Edinburgh to Fife, is sometimes called the "Falkirk Triangle" by analogy with other woo-associated three-sided geographical areas such as the Bermuda Triangle. (NB: Barry Manilow has not written a song about Bonnybridge.)
"Quiet and a little dour", Bonnybridge lies four miles west of Falkirk, north of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The area flourished during the Industrial Revolution with industries such as iron, paper, wood, bricks, and chemicals, but post-industrialisation hit it hard. According to Wikipedia, local celebrities include "Laura Ann Smith, 'Star in a Bra' competitor." It now has typical problems of post-industrial society such as drug abuse. (Although not all people observing UFOs were drug addicts.)
An early sighting was in 1989 when a fire crew reported seeing a red object hovering, fly towards their engine, and then fly away, with a second white object then appearing, and a third. The next significant one was by businessman James Walker in 1992 who saw strange lights in the sky moving in a triangular shape. Soon after, the Sloggett family reported seeing a circle of lights landing in a field. Isabella Sloggett said "My daughter Carole and I saw a UFO land right in front of us. A door opened and there was a howl-like sound."
When interviewed by the local press, resident Craig Malcolm claimed to have seen 180 incidents and have taken 18 hours of video which had been authenticated by the SETI Institute.
At one point according to newspaper reports there were plans to open a theme park and twin the town with Roswell. In 2004 a Dutch company, Global Restaround Enterprises, reportedly planned a £850m scheme in a former brickworks and explosives factory which "would include bionic Olympic games, animatronic figures and even a golf course, with more plans to be unveiled later." An American company has also reportedly been interested. Even allowing for the development of the nearby Falkirk Wheel as a popular tourist attraction, this is less believable than the UFOs themselves.
Paranormal investigator Ron Halliday has speculated that "Scientists have suggested that there could potentially be other dimensions which exist alongside our own. Could it be that above Bonnybridge, we are seeing into another world and that these sightings are dimensional interactions?"
Following numerous letters demanding an investigation, the British government issued the sort of denial that only encourages idiots, saying "there is no evidence that the United Kingdom's airspace might have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised foreign military activity."
UFO experts have said many of the sightings were the usual suspects: planes, satellites, weather balloons or planets. Bonnybridge is located near to Grangemouth which is home to large oil and chemical plants notable for sending flaming gas into the sky. It is also about 25 miles from Edinburgh airport and slightly further from Glasgow airport, both busy commercial airports. There is a private airport nearby at Cumbernauld, used for training, charter flights, and helicopters. Airplanes are well known for moving through the sky and displaying bright lights.
It has also been suggested that local councillor Billy Buchanan is exaggerating reports to gain publicity for the town. If true, this wouldn't be the first time a woo claim brings revenue to an otherwise unnotable location (e.g. Roswell, New Mexico or Loch Ness in Scotland).
- See the Wikipedia article on Bonnybridge.
- They're out there…, The Scotsman, 26 Jul 2007
- Bonnybridge revision 681443241, Wikipedia page as of 5 April 2016.
- Drugs found during raids in Bonnybridge and Larbert, Falkirk Herald
- Bonnybridge and Larbert, Police Scotland
- The small Scots town with more than 300 UFO sightings, Daily Record, 4 Feb 2015
- Bonnybridge UFOs, Mysterious Britain
- The Falkirk Triangle, The Sun, 26 August 2015
- Theme park at UFO hotspot could be out of this world, The Scotsman, 16 Aug 2004
- Watching for Aliens in the UFO Capital of Scotland, Vice, 4 Nov 2014