The Secret Files: Introduction > [prev ¦1 ¦ 2]


In Britain a steady flow of UFO material had already been released at Britain’s national Archives (formerly the Public Record Office). By far the most extensive and richest collection are the Ministry of Defence files on UFOs, of which more than 120 are currently open to the public. They document military intelligence investigations from the early 20th century phantom airship scares to the Foo-Fighters and ghost rockets of the Second World War and finally official interest in UFOs and flying saucers. There are also files describing mysterious phenomena tracked on radar which baffled scientists and were never adequately explained.

In 2002 came the release of the formerly “Top Secret” report produced by the MoD’s Flying Saucer Working Party in 1951. January 2005 saw the opening of 50 more recent files dating from the mid-1970s that include some of classic UK incidents, such as the Berwyn Mountains UFO “crash” of 1974. The actual size and extent of the collection dubbed by the media as “Britain’s X-files” can only be appreciated when one realises that 90 percent of official papers were destroyed at first review before they even reached the National Archives. It’s a sobering thought that what we are left with is just ten percent of that material that once existed.

Fortean research is never straightforward and actually finding and ordering files at TNA can be fraught with problems. A starting point is the online catalogue
Here you can search on keywords or browse from a file reference. But beware. While typing “UFO” will provide a list of 60 records, many others are hidden within files whose titles are not immediately relevant.

However, the ever-helpful staff at Kew have produced a long-awaited research guide to the UFO collection which can be downloaded at:

Outside the confines of UFOlogy, the TNA contains a treasure trove of primary material for archive researchers interested in official interest in a wide range of Fortean subjects as diverse as crypto-zoology, spiritualism and unusual meteorology. But I begin this wander through the archives with a case which has baffled aviation historians and UFOlogists for more than three decades.

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