The Dark Forces At Work Over The United Kingdom In 1963?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
June 27, 2020
Last Updated
October 4, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
14 min read
Posted in
Supernatural, Time & Reality

While researching an apparent case of a mothman sighting in the United Kingdom in 1963, several years before the outbreak of sightings in Point Pleasant in the United States, I came across a whole host of other bizarre incidents, and indeed the notion, at least according to researcher, Sarah Hapgood, that the entire year of 1963 was one of dark and almost satanic events.

A dark brown-grey background with the numbers 1963 over the top

Why did so many strange things happen in the UK in 1963?

The idea intrigued me, to say the least, and it would certainly appear that, at times, there were some strange and dark forces discreetly at work during this time. And what’s more, there appears to be little explanation as to why this is.

Were these strange incidents – from right across the paranormal spectrum – all just some bizarre coincidence? Or might there really have been dark forces at work that were, and are, beyond our collective comprehension? Might an unknown event have opened a portal from our world to one unknown, unleashing all manner of manifestations and causing an equal abundance of strange encounters?

Before we examine some of the incidents from the small mountain of encounters on record, we will turn our attention to the incident at Sandling Park towards the end of the year. The following is based on veteran researcher and author, Nick Redfern’s account, who himself relays it from the work of fellow researcher, Neil Arnold.

The Sandling Park Incident, Kent, UK November 1963

On the evening of 16th November 1963, four teenagers were walking home [1] past Sandling Park in the town of Hythe near Kent in the United Kingdom. It was a Friday, and they were returning from a dance. Two of the friends, 17-year-old John Flaxton and 18-year-old Mervyn Hutchinson (the remaining two are not named) suddenly noticed a bright light that appeared to be moving above them.

To begin with the teenagers thought the object was simply a star. However, as it moved and approached them they began to realize it was something altogether stranger. They continued to watch as the strange glowing object descended toward the ground. It hovered for several moments and then disappeared behind the trees of the park.

Picture of a forest with a light beam coming down from the sky

Did an alien abduction take place in Sandling Park>

As soon as the object vanished the four teenagers decided to up their pace somewhat. However, only moments later, the object appeared again. It was around 200 feet away from them and hovered around 10 feet from the ground.

It didn’t take the group long to realize the object was seemingly moving in sympathy with them. And likewise, it would stop as they did. They would later describe it as “a bright and gold oval”. They continued to watch the strange object for several more moments. Then, they heard something moving in the woodland around them. By the time they heard twigs snapping on the ground, the creature was right in front of them.

A Creature “The Size Of A Human” That “Didn’t Seem To Have A Head!”

Hutchinson would later describe the creature as being the “size of a human” with “wings on its back” and that “it didn’t seem to have any head”. What’s more, it was had a general horrific and grotesque appearance. So much so that the four teenagers turned and ran from the scene as fast as they could. Flaxton would later recall how during the encounter a “strange cold feeling” overtook him.

On the same evening, in the nearby town of Saltwood, [2] four other teenagers were making their way to the railway station, one of whom was Tony Harrison. As they did so, they all witnessed a strange light – that they described as like a shooting star – only it was heading toward the ground. Even stranger, they would soon notice a glowing oval object hovering several feet above the ground a short distance away.

A dark forest with a strange floating hooded creature superimposed

There were several reports of strange creatures in the UK in 1963

Even more bizarre is the strange figure “wearing a scarlet cloak and holding a lantern which gave out a whiteish irregular flickering light” they saw moving away from the object. By the time the four teenagers had made their way nearer to the scene, the strange figure had simply disappeared.

Another incident occurred less than a week later at a nearby football field. On that evening on 21st November, Keith Croucher witnessed an extremely similar object moving overhead.

However, it was when a local resident, John McGoldrick, and an anonymous friend went to investigate the area where the sightings had occurred when possible evidence of the incident was discovered. They would find “three giant footprints” said to be at least two feet long.

Perhaps even stranger, when several local journalists went with McGoldrick to where he had discovered the impressions, they would witness a strange glow coming from the woodlands around the park.

A Whole Range Of Bizarre Events

Then, with no further investigation into the bizarre occurrences, the incidents just suddenly stopped as quickly as they had begun. As we shall now see, though, the incidents were just one of many strange goings-on throughout the United Kingdom during 1963. And they ranged from sightings of UFOs, where we will turn our attention next, to strange and bizarre creatures.


There were many UFO sightings throughout the UK in 1963. [3] Perhaps one of the first was around 9 pm on the evening of 23rd January when the Air Ministry received a report from a woman in the Kent region claiming that a “flying saucer” was hovering near Bluebell Hill. What’s more, whatever the object was, it was causing interference with the lights of her car.

Five nights later in the town of Shilton, two women would report a strange yellow-glowing object on the ground that appeared to have four windows from which the light was emanating. It would eventually rise upward and head in the direction of the town of Rugby.

Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing incidents with a possible connection to UFO activity took place on the evening of 28th March in Norwich. At around 8 pm, Mrs. Duffield claimed to see a van suddenly pull up near the Brittania Barracks. Two men immediately exited the vehicle and quickly set up what appeared to be a tripod on the ground next to them.

A picture of a person on a dark street looking up at a UFO with a light shining on them

UFO activity was also rampant throughout 1963

A second later a “yellow and red light” emerged from the tripod and “shot up into the sky” disappearing over the barracks. This was followed by a second light. It was at this point, fearing she might be in the wrong place at the wrong time, the witness discreetly left the area. She would, though, read reports of sightings of strange lights on the night in question in the local newspaper several days later.

Whatever was going on and if these men had military connections or not is not known. However, several months later, a similar incident involving tripods and connections to experimental gadgetry occurred.

The Perplexing Account Of “Joelle”

On the afternoon of 16th September in Castleton, a door-to-door market researcher known only as “Joelle” was conducting research on a housing estate in the area. However, while doing so at one particular house she was struck by all of the “unfamiliar objects and gadgets” that were seemingly strewn about the house. Noticing her interest, the woman who she was interviewing offered that her husband was a scientist and that many of the gadgets were part of his tests and experiments.

However, later in the afternoon while parked at the roadside in the Blue John Caves area of the town she noticed a sudden strange light descending from the sky. What’s more, a strange object with tripod legs landed nearby. Even stranger, a man then exited the mysterious object. He was wearing a strange “cloth suit and cloth helmet”.

A sunset picture with a superimposed UFO over the top

Were aliens visiting the UK more frequently in 1963?

It was then that she noticed another man sat in a parked car – the same car she had noticed parked outside the house which contained the strange devices. The man inside got out of the vehicle and walked toward the mysterious person who had arrived in the futuristic object. The two men spoke for several moments before the mysterious visitor followed the scientist back to his car. They then drove away leaving Joelle extremely confused as to what she had just seen.

The account would take an even stranger twist later that evening when, out of curiosity, the market researcher would return to the house in question to speak with the man. Perhaps surprisingly she would find the other man there also. They were, however, seemingly honest that they were, in fact, extraterrestrials. What’s more, they were from a planet very similar to Earth and their civilization had bases on two of Jupiter’s many moons.

More Claims Of Extraterrestrials Here On Earth!

Of course, we should perhaps treat the above account with a pinch of salt. However, it does suggest the possibility of a discreet presence of extraterrestrials here on Earth. And of more interest to us here, is there a connection to the account of Mrs. Duffield? If the two men were not military operatives, might they have been extraterrestrials of the same race? And were the lights some kind of message?

A picture of a spaceship in space

Just what did the UK government know of these apparent otherworldly visits?

On the evening of 7th May in Kirkby, Margaret McCutcheon was sat watching television with her 13-year-old son when all the house lights suddenly went out. At the same time, they noticed a strange object outside their home. She would describe it in her report to the police as being around six meters wide with flashing red lights on top. There was also a low-buzzing sound which she believed came from the object. It remained hovering several feet above the ground before moving away and disappearing into the distance.

Several months later over the town of Garston in Hertfordshire, a witness with a background in aviation (he was a former RAF pilot) witnessed a triangle-shaped UFO. It appeared to remain stationary, simply hovering discreetly for a considerable amount of time before calmly climbing higher and out of sight. What’s more, corroboration of the object’s presence would come from a nearby air traffic control station.

Humanoid Creatures And Strange Craters

Another incident involving apparent extraterrestrial visitors occurred in Cheshire in the summer of 1963. A schoolgirl – whose name is unknown – was walking home from school when she decided to take a short cut through some fields. However, several minutes after doing so, she spotted a strange man who was stood and seemingly staring at her.

The mysterious person wore a silver-suit that stretched from the neck to the feet. It appeared to be made from something similar to aluminum. The two held each other’s stare for a moment before the strange figure disappeared into the woodland around the field. By the time the young girl had reached the spot where the figure was stood, he had vanished completely.

Several weeks after the incident, was the discovery of the crater in Charlton in Wiltshire, an incident we have examined previously. We should recall that strange lights were seen by multiple people in the days leading up to the discovery. And at least one account claims there was a discovery of a cow that appeared to have suffered some type of burn as its skin was found to be peeling.

Further sightings and discoveries of similar craters in Edinburgh and Cumbria surfaced on 26th July, with witnesses in Edinburgh claiming to see a “flying saucer” over the region that evening, and a farmer in Cumbria claiming that 40 of his sheep had suddenly disappeared.

Incidentally, another bizarre outbreak of craters occurred in early December. This time in East Lothian, Dufton Fell, Flamborough Head, and Southampton.

Moving Objects In The Skies Of The UK

On the evening of 27th July over Flamborough, several coastguards witnessed a strange object hovering over the area for most of the evening. What’s more, military aircraft in the middle of training exercises also witnessed the strange object.

Exactly a month later in the early hours of 27th August in Beckenham in Kent, a veteran of World War Two with a background in anti-aircraft technology, Mr. Hooper, claimed that he and his wife were awoken just before 2 am to see a strange light descending rapidly toward the ground. It then stopped dead and hovered motionless for several seconds before it vanished at lightning speed.

He would report the incident to the Air Ministry who were largely dismissive of the account. We should note, it is remarkably similar to the descending and hovering lights that were witnessed in the Sandling Park incident that would occur several months later in November.

Picture of a UFO moving over the countryside during the day

Many of the accounts had multiple witnesses

Just before 10:30 pm on the evening of 15th September in Country Durham, a young boy noticed a strange object moving in the sky from his bedroom window. He would quickly call out to his parents, one of whom was an experienced radar operator during the Second World War. They would then themselves witness the craft for almost 15 minutes. Each would later describe how it appeared to “zig-zag” in the skies overhead. What’s more, it would change color several different times. The family would make a report of the sighting to the Air Ministry.

Another sighting of strange glowing lights – this time what appeared to be two separate objects – were witnessed by multiple people in Peterborough on the evening of 26th September. A further UFO incident occurred in Epping at the end of December when a white, glowing object landed briefly before taking off again.

The RAF Cosford UFO Landing Incident

Perhaps one of the strangest incidents took place at RAF Cosford on the evening of 10th December. At around 11:30 pm, at least according to most recollections of the account, two RAF apprentices witnessed a dome-shaped object come of out of the night sky and descend toward the base.

It proceeded to land within the facility, turning everywhere in sight green from the beam of light being emitted from it. The apprentices would immediately go to report the incident to their superiors. However, upon returning, it had seemingly vanished into thin air. According to some reports, a “very large transport plane” arrived at the base several days later. This, according to locals, is “unusual in itself”. Some claims suggest that the craft or parts of it were loaded onto the plane before it departed.

A picture claiming to show a UFO

Does this picture show an authentic UFO?

In the aftermath of the incident, the military would offer several explanations for the increasing rumors circulating. All of which were contradictory to the others. It is an incident, that despite these apparent explanations, continues to cause debate within the UFO community.

Incidentally, it certainly isn’t the only UFO incident to have taken place at the base. Almost 30 years later, in March 1993, multiple sightings of strange lights and objects were reported over and in the vicinity of the base. There were even reports from some corners of witnessing “laser beam” type searchlights in the region.

Whether those incidents share a connection to the apparent landing at the base in December 1963 remain open to question. Of course, there is always the consideration that the base itself might prove to be the common denominator.

Many Strange Creatures Sighted

There were also, it would seem, several other strange creatures lurking through the UK during 1963. Many of these would be “big cat” sightings, which appear to hit the United Kingdom in waves. However, one of the strangest is without a doubt an account from researcher, Tom Slemen. Slemen has researched strange events in and around the Liverpool area exhaustively. At some time in May or June of 1963, came reports of a “strange centaur creature” in Sefton Park. Furthermore, several different people claimed to have seen the half-man, half-horse creature, one of whom was a police officer.

The following month in Loch Ness, two fishermen noticed a strange rocking of their boat. It appeared to come from something under the water. The next thing they knew, a huge monster-like head rose from beneath the surface. It stared at them for a moment or two, before disappearing back beneath the water. The two men would later describe the creature as having black-brown skin that appeared to be hairy. Even stranger, it had the head of a bulldog. Perhaps interesting, several apparent sea monsters from around the world describe a dog-like creature with a dark, hairy body.

A picture of a forest with a monster-like creature superimposed over the top

Was some kind of portal allowing strange creatures access to our realm?

Later in the summer near Cardigan Bay, a man on holiday, Mr. Sherman, claimed to witness a dinosaur-like creature on the rocky coastline. Furthermore, many of the seals were quite obviously fleeing the scene in fright. Even more bizarre, several days later, the man discovered the half-eaten remains of a seal in the same area as he spotted the mysterious creature.

Big Cat Sightings And Incidents

Several “big cat” sightings are on record throughout 1963. One of the first occurred in the summer on the afternoon of 18th July. On that day several witnesses, each on separate occasions, saw a large cat-like creature. All of the sightings occurred in the Shooter’s Hill region of London. Many people refer to the creature as the Surrey Puma.

Five days later around dawn on the morning of 23rd July – also in London – Jim Green would wake to hear an intense, beastly snarling noise. He would report the incident to police, describing it as sounding like a cat fighting but “much larger”. The police, perhaps already spooked and alert to the sightings in Shooter’s Hill, would send five police cars in response.

There were several more sightings of these big cat-like creatures throughout the year, many in and around the London areas.

A Surge In Satanic Incidents

There was, it would appear, a rise in satanic or occult activity in the United Kingdom during 1963. Many of which would take place in the southern regions of England. For example, there were regular burglaries of churches around the UK. As well as, quite often, the remains of mutilated animals and other grim finds. All of which we might, generally speaking, associate with satanism.

In fact, it is with the targeting of these churches that we will take our focus to next.

Targeting Of Churches

Almost certainly connected to the alleged satanic activity were bizarre and unsettling incidents taking place at churches throughout the country. For example, on 16th March an unnamed local couple would witness two young children seemingly playing with a real human skull in the small village of Clophill in Bedfordshire.

When they asked them where they had got this macabre item from, they revealed they discovered it in St. Mary’s Church, which was abandoned and nothing more than ruins. The couple would examine the church for themselves. They would discover the “tracings of two Maltese crosses” as well as cockerel feathers. After reporting the incident, it was soon discovered that 6 of the graves – all women – had been “tampered with”. Needless to say, rumors of satanic rituals and other occult activity at the ruined church became rampant in the area.

A person sat around an occult circle

There appeared to be an increase in occult activity in the UK during 1963

Interestingly or not, only weeks later in the nearby village of Garston (a little over 10 miles from Clophill) a vicar, Father Albert Davey, would inform police of several satanic style threats he had received. As well as the regular finds of “twigs and red-stained rags” on the church grounds. He further claimed a group had approached him to help them with their black magic rituals. After he refused, the threats began.

However, in early April, came another grim and brutal discovery.

A Truly Grim Find At Bluebell Wood!

According to the book The Bluebell Wood Horror by Kevin Gates, a bloody and horrific discovery surfaced on 9th April. The find was in Bluebell Woods in Caddington, once more, nearby from Clophill. An employee of the RSPCA would find the decapitated heads of six horses and a cow. It appeared the bodies of the dead animals had been removed from the scene. In each of the cases, the jaws had been “wrenched apart” with four of them having the jawbones completely removed.

There is perhaps a debate as to whether this was the work of Satanists and their rituals. Some suggest there might be a connection to the cattle mutilation cases. Although these would not spread through much of North and South America until the seventies and eighties.

A picture of a dark forest

Many occult activity involved animal sacrifice

The explanation would appear to remain unknown. It is perhaps highly suspicious, though, that such finds would happen amid an apparent outbreak of satanic goings-on in and around the Bedfordshire area.

Another example of “Devil worship” surfaced on 21st September at Castle Rising in Norfolk. They would find clay effigies of a man and a woman nailed to a door. Each with a thorn pushed where the heart would be. Even more disturbing was the discovery of a sheep’s head. Complete with 13 thorns pushed into its head.

Perhaps the most bizarre and alarming incident took place on the afternoon of 7th December in Westham in Sussex. On that day, at a church that was not abandoned but still very much active with its own congregation in the community, several “Devil worshippers” attempting to perform a satanic ritual on the grounds until they were stopped by several onlookers.

Simply Bizarre And Unexplained Events

1963 also hosts some simply bizarre happenings which, in themselves in isolation, are not particularly remarkable. However, when examined against the backdrop of the other dark and mysterious goings-on of 1963 perhaps take on more significance.

Whether it was a sign of things to come, for example, 1963 began with one of the worst winters on record. Something which certainly made life a little more miserable for most.

Less than a month into 1963, the leader of the Labour Party, Hugh Gaitskill, would die suddenly on 18th January. Less than a month later, well-known author, Sylvia Path took her own life in her flat in London.

A picture of a book with a skull on the top

Why was 1963 so strange?

The Moors murders began in the summer of 1963. They remain arguably the most shocking and appalling killing spree in British history. And, in part due to the drawn-out discoveries of the bodies due to Ian Brady’s and Myra Hindley’s refusals to reveal their locations, it has remained in the psyche of the British public well into the 2000s.

And while not taking place in the UK, the aftermath most certainly had consequences worldwide when President Kennedy was assassinated in November. An entire book could be written on how different the world might have been had Kennedy not been killed. Obviously such things can be nothing more than speculation. An interesting argument could be made, however, that a more peaceful and less sinister world might exist now had Kennedy not been murdered.

1963 – Was It Really Unique For Dark Paranormal Incidents?

So, what should we make of the plethora of strange accounts and bizarre reports from the year that was 1963? Was it unique for such happenings? Or might we find, in fact, that each year has an equal number of strange incidents? That our collective reality is simply full of the unexplained and the mysterious? Indeed, such a research project might one day be the subject of future case studies here. It was the excellent work of Sarah Hapgood that sparked our interest in the idea of increased dark energies.

If, then, for the sake of argument here we assume that 1963 in the United Kingdom was particularly heavy with strange encounters and events, why might that be? What could possibly explain such an occurrence?

Might there be powers, unseen and bigger than we might be able to imagine that were at work? Perhaps responsible for this releasing of energies that manifested themselves as UFOs or beastly creatures. Or even the need to partake in Satanic rituals? We should note that we generally call satanism collectively envelops a whole host of practices. Ones that we collectively view as dark and sinister. Many would argue the use of the word satanic is ill-fitting, generally speaking. Indeed, the events we have highlighted here might be beyond “mere” satanism and something altogether darker.

For now, though, the explanations to these events remain a mystery.

Check out the video below. It simply looks at the year, 1963.


1 Did Mothman visit the UK in 1963?, Nick Redfern, Mysterious Universe, July 11th, 2013
2 1963 – Britain’s Satanic Year?, SJH Strange Tales, April 15th, 2015
3 The 1963 UFO Chronology, NICAP

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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