Joan Vincent, along with her husband, Roy, would witness a UFO over the skies of Cornwall one evening in 1965. It was a sighting they would keep secret to all but close family until 1998 when they would finally speak of the encounter. Perhaps it was Joan Vincent’s long-standing position as a county councilor that encouraged her to maintain her silence. At a time when most were labeled “crazy” if they were to speak of such encounters, it is easy to understand why the sighting remained the Vincent family secret for so long.
In November 1998, however, with the subject considered much less taboo, if still a little “wacky”, Joan Vincent would finally reveal the encounter to the Cornish Guardian newspaper. As we will look at shortly, 1965 was a year of increased UFO activity throughout the world, not least the United Kingdom. Cornwall also has a long history of strange and paranormal activity, including UFO sightings. And those sightings, it would seem, continue in abundance today.
The short video below, for example, is just one of many contemporary sightings. This one is from 2015.
Late One Night In 1965
At the time of the sighting in 1965, the Vincents’ family home was in Stenalees, a rural area of Cornwall. It was late one evening and the couple were driving home on the largely empty country roads. According to Joan, they had been driving for around fifteen minutes when “suddenly it was as if a light had been switched on outside”. She would further tell how they could “see for miles” over the fields and open countryside such was the brightness of the light.
The area they were driving through had a well-known reputation in recent years for being a place where “flying saucers” could be seen. Many students would hold all-night vigils in the hopes of seeing one of these cosmic visitors. With that in mind, the Vincents were already sure of what was unfolding around them.
As they scanned their surroundings from inside their vehicle, Joan would notice a dome-shaped, glass-like object that seemed to be hovering behind a large edge in a nearby field. Joan would explain three decades later that the hedge was so thick that “neither of us know if it was hovering or resting on the grass”. The light appeared to be emanating from inside the dome itself on top of the object.
They would later estimate the craft to have been between fifty to seventy feet in length and around forty feet high. Joan would even state that inside the dome she could see “big cabinets with dials on them”. The material around the dome was more solid and metallic. It was of a grey-green color and contained several portholes.
The couple remained motionless, staring at the magnificent sight for what seemed like minutes. In reality, it was merely thirty seconds. Then Joan urged her husband to “get (us) out of here”.
Not A Bizarre Hallucination!
Roy did as his wife requested and pressed down on the accelerator and they sped away from the scene. Once home, each would approach the sighting with very business-like mindsets. They would each go into separate rooms to draw the object they had just seen. Once done, they would compare the sketches. Not surprisingly, they were practically identical. While they couldn’t explain what they had seen, they could at least rule out, if only in their own minds, that it was some kind of bizarre hallucination.
They would, however, make the decision to keep the matter to themselves. They would tell only their son and Joan’s mother, who unfortunately both passed away before the couple went public with the account. Consequently, no investigation would take place. And perhaps most unfortunate, is that no further corroborating witnesses were found who very well might have seen the events from a different vantage point.
The Vincents would return to the field the following day but could find no evidence of what they had seen. This only further strengthened their conviction that they should keep the matter to themselves. Incidentally, the field where the sighting took place is now a spoil tip for the (then) newly built industrial estate. Furthermore, the road where the Vincents would view events from their stopped car also no longer exists as it was re-routed during the developments of the following decades.
While we might learn any more about this particular sighting, both the location and the year are of interest to UFO researchers.
The Sighting Of Max Beran And Further Incidents From Southern England
While we will look at more recent UFO sightings in Cornwall shortly, several other sightings in 1965 are also perhaps worth mentioning here. Much of the United Kingdom, and indeed the world in general, experienced higher than normal rates of UFO sightings in 1965. And several of them, although not over Cornwall itself, still took place towards the south of England, which in relative terms, is in the same region.
On the afternoon of 5th January of 1965, for example, came the sighting of Max Beran. He would write of his encounter in March, Cambridgeshire, to the Meteorological Office Unit (MOU). He would claim that the object resembled a curved parachute, although it was moving much too quickly. It “remained visible while in the sunlight”, suggesting that the object was metallic and reflecting the sun’s rays. Although Beran didn’t at any point insinuate that the object was extraterrestrial, he would end his initial letter by simply asking, “What could the object have been?” No satisfactory was ever offered to Beran’s request. At least none that undoubtedly explained the object.
Another sighting, this time in Essex, took place in the early hours of 14th September, at just after 1 am. 29-year-old engineer, Paul Green, would see a “thing” in the skies overhead. He was returning home on his motorbike following a visit to his fiancée’s home. He was traveling at around forty miles per hour, and aside from a scooter (which he overtook), there was no other traffic on the roads. As he approached Langenhoe Hall, he noticed a “high-pitched humming” heading towards from his left-hand side.
Landing And Paralysis
Green glanced upwards expecting to see a small aircraft overhead. However, he could see nothing but the black of the night sky. He did, though, pick out a “small pinpoint of blue light” in the same direction the humming appeared to be emanating from. The light was blinking on and off and was now getting increasingly larger. And increasingly quickly. Realizing it was heading in his direction at considerable speed he noticed that the humming was also increasing in volume. In fact, the closer it got, the more it took on the sound of a “high-pitched buzz”.
Just as he began to contemplate increasing his speed his bike “began to cough and splutter”. Several seconds later it “stopped dead and the lights went out”. He turned to face the sound, noticing that the object was now only a mile or so away. It was spinning as it moved and “resembled the upper half of a large spinning top”. On the top of the object was a dome that appeared to be sending out the blue flashing light.
As the object descended, Green noticed how the underside of the craft contained “numerous round objects”, some of which appeared to glow. He stepped from his bike and began in the object’s direction. However, within a few steps, he was suddenly unable to move. Nor could he speak to call out for help. He was paralyzed – something we have seen in many close-contact UFO encounters.
He continued to watch the object as he remained unable to move. The flashing light increased in brightness until it hurt his eyes to look at it. He could almost feel the light “hit against” his chest. As he stood motionless, he noticed the scooter he had passed earlier approach. Its engine cut out dead.
A Quick And Sudden Getaway
The rider of the now crippled scooter stepped off the vehicle, all the while staring in disbelief at the awesome sight in front of him. In fact, so engrossed was he with the glowing craft, that he didn’t notice Green stood just a few yards up from him.
Green then realized he was beginning to regain some movement in his limbs. He began to concentrate on moving from where he stood. It was taking all the effort he could muster, but slowly he was able to move. As soon as he regained the strength to take steps from where he stood, he picked up his bike and began to push it away from the bizarre scene. After several steps, he decided to give the engine a try. As it roared into life he quickly sat on it, revved it once or twice, and sped away from the glowing craft.
The further away he got, the light became dimmer, but it was still visible for some time. What became of the rider of the scooter, or who he was, remains unknown. By the time Green arrived home, it was after 2 am. His head throbbed from the experience, and a mixture of fright and adrenaline rushed through him.
Aftereffects And A Further Witness
The following day he noticed how his clothes from the previous evening were riddled with static. They would even “crackle” as he moved them. As would his hair if he ran his hand through or over it. Perhaps most interesting, though, was an unintentional corroborative witness in a friend who he discussed the incident with a few days later.
According to his friend, at a little after 1 am, his dog suddenly became very agitated at the front door of the house. He would open the door to let it into the garden. As he did so, “a large blue light passed by rapidly” directly over his property. The two friends would figure out that it was heading in the direction that Green was traveling in. It was almost certainly the same object.
Whether these sightings share a connection with the sighting of Joan and Roy Vincent is unknown. It is, however, not that much a stretch of the imagination to suggest so. And while such sightings would become more sporadic in the years following the 1965 wave, certain areas would maintain a higher than usual rate. One such area is Cornwall. And those sightings have continued well into the twenty-first century.
Over Twenty People Witness UFO, December 2000
According to long-time Cornish UFO investigator and founder of the Cornwall UFO Research Group, David Gillham, one evening in December 2000, a mass sighting of a UFO took place over the skies of the southern-most English county. At a little past 6 pm, four lights were spotted in the dark skies overhead. As one light went off, another would come on. As witnesses watched the strange lights from the ground, it appeared they were part of a solid, circular structure.
Gillham would tell Cornwall Live in 2017 that the strange craft would make its way over the towns of Marazion, Helston, Falmouth, and Truro before heading “up the A30 towards St. Austell”. Perhaps even more note-worthy is a helicopter would fly directly over the path of the UFO almost as soon as it had disappeared. In total, over twenty people would come forward to give statements regarding what they had seen. One witness even managed to capture footage of it.
Five years previously in 1995, Gillham had his own sighting of a strange aerial craft over Cornwall. As he looked out on the Nansavallon Woods from the window of his hilltop home one evening, his attention was drawn to “two red lights hovering just above the trees”. He would call his wife to join him. She too witnessed the glowing red orbs, which would begin in the direction of Truro. Not wanting to lose sight of them, Gillham ran from the house aiming to locate the lights once more.
Persistent Sightings Continue
Gillham would venture down a small lane which ran behind the Richard Lander School. He was looking down towards the woodland but couldn’t locate the red lights. Then, out of nowhere, three military helicopters criss-crossed over the top of him. They were followed by the sound of a plane, which judging by the rumble he could feel as it passed, must have been relatively low to the ground.
He remained where he was, hoping to witness further activity. After thirty minutes, however, he made the decision to return home. Once there, he found his wife still at the window where they had seen the lights nearly an hour earlier. He would tell her of the helicopters that had flown over him.
Gillham would open his own research file into the incident. The following day he would literally knock on residents’ doors one after another asking if they had seen anything unusual the previous evening. He was unable, though, to find another corroborating witness. He continues to investigate UFO sightings. In particular those in the Cornwall region. And given the persistent UFO and paranormal activity in the region, there will be plenty to investigate for many years.
The short video below looks at some of the strange activities and sightings over southern England, in particular, Cornwall.