At 8:20pm on Wednesday, 25 October 1967, Stanley Mills spotted a golden light in the sky over Belfast. He was walking along the Knock Road with his friends, Noelene Harry and Joy Lindsay, at the time. And as he pointed out the light, it split into two: a pale green light and a pale orange light.
According to Mills, the lights appeared to be part of a triangular-shaped object. A fast-moving triangular-shaped object. “As we watched, the object was about 500 feet above us, and flying at something like three times that of a normal civilian aircraft – at least 1,000 miles an hour!” he said.
“The lights seemed to merge into a bright golden light again as the object disappeared, giving the impression of spinning or revolving through the sky.
“Before it disappeared we saw a second set of lights at about 300 feet coming on a flight path from north to south directly crossing underneath the first object.”
Within five minutes of their sighting, Mills and his friends were at Knock police station, making a report.
At 8:45pm on the following night, Joe Maguire saw an object “like two saucers on top of each other.” Joe was on the Falls Road, on the other side of the city.
“It was surrounded by square lights with a bright light at the front and a red light underneath,” he said. “It was travelling at a height of about 300 feet and made a fair humming sound.”
The object appeared to land in Falls Park, so Joe went to investigate. He found nothing. Neither did the police when they searched the park later.
Apparently this was Maguire’s second UFO sighting – he’d seen a similar object two months before. But his most recent sighting - and that of Mills, Harry and Lindsay - followed a very heavily publicised incident in England.
At 4:00 am on Tuesday, 24 October, two Devon police officers chased a flying cross in their patrol car. Travelling at 80 miles per hour, they got within 40 yards of the object before it disappeared.
The incident caused quite a stir and prompted the MP for the area, Peter Mills, to table two questions for the Minister of Defence.
(1) In view of the fact that an unidentified flying object has been seen in the Okehampton area, will he make a full statement on the circumstances of the report and what are his plans to deal with a possible recurrence of this flying object?
(2) In view of the fact that a flying object in the Okehampton area was described as a star-shaped cross, larger that a conventional aircraft, will the Minister confirm that this is either one of our own aircraft or an unidentified flying object?
“I think the Minister ought to help clear up this business as to whether or not we are looking at our equipment or machines from another country or, indeed, another planet,” said Mr Mills.
The incident and the publicity it generated triggered a series of similar sightings across the UK. Might it have primed the good people of Belfast to see UFOs? The editorial in the Belfast Newsletter of 25 October 1967 – the day of the Knock Road sighting – provides a clue.
“The report that an unidentified flying object was chased by a police patrol in the south of England last night at speeds of up to 80 miles an hour will make doubting Thomases think again. Although, as ever, the quarry got away, the testimony of two officers, fully familiar with the laws of evidence and skilled in reporting accurately what they see, is a powerful reinforcement of the argument that flying saucers really do exist. In coming forward they are brave men. How many, one wonders, have seen just as much and said nothing – for fear of ridicule?”
Belfast Newsletter, 25 & 26 October 1967
Belfast Telegraph, 26 October 1967