The “Electric UFO Photo” Incident – More Signs Of Scotland’s Increased UFO Activity?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
February 17, 2020
Last Updated
October 5, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
16 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

A sighting and photograph of the underside of a UFO over the skies of Grangemouth in Scotland in the winter of 1991 is perhaps one of the better pictures of a UFO in recent history. What’s more, it is an encounter that fits in nicely with the wealth of other sightings within this particular area.

A picture claiming to show a real UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?

The incident would unfold close to the Polmont Reservoir, which once again pushes in front of us the connection of water and UFO sightings. What’s more, there are oil refineries within the region, as well as several military bases. Any of these could prove to be a point of interest or importance.

Furthermore, as we will explore later, there is perhaps a connection to be made with the alleged Falkirk Triangle, an area of Scotland that Grangemouth sits within. And an area that is seemingly home to increased UFO activity, as well as a mountain of other paranormal encounters. Indeed, it is not a reach to say the region is one of the most intriguing sections of land in the world.

The account and investigation come to us from Malcolm Robinson and the files of Strange Phenomena Investigations (SPI). In previous accounts, the main witness used the pseudonym of Peter Muir. However, in the years that would follow he would use his real name, Phil Trevis. It is this name that we will use throughout. We will, however, will use the accompanying witness’s pseudonym. Incidentally, it is Trevis who would take the above picture in question.

Shooting Photographs Near The Polmont Reservoir

Phil Trevis and Paul Penman were taking photographs [1] near the British Petroleum (BP) chemicals plant in Grangemouth for a project (named Light and Dark) on the evening of 12th November 1991 when they would notice something out of the ordinary above them. It was around 9:30 pm when the pair noticed “two small dim flashing lights” near the “flashing pylons” located close to a nearby bridge.

The two men watched the lights as they moved across the sky and toward the Grangemouth Stadium, itself lit up brightly. As they watched the object hovering over the stadium, they suddenly realized that there was no sound whatsoever coming from it. This eliminated any idea that the lights belonged to the underside of a helicopter.

Then, the object changed direction once again, only this time, it was heading toward them.

A picture showing an alleged UFO

Is this a real UFO?

The object appeared to be approximately 2000 feet from the ground when it started out in their direction. However, it would suddenly drop its altitude as it sped up dramatically. As the object was almost directly above them, Travis would capture the photograph famous in UFO circles. He would estimate that it was only around 200 to 300 feet above them when he did so.

As it passed over them they could hear a “light pulsing hum” which appeared to emanate from the craft. Although both men were “quite shaken” in the immediate moments following the incident, they both would experience an “overwhelming sense of excitement” shortly after.

Following the encounter, the two men would make their report of the incident to SPI.

No Other Aircraft In The Protected Airspace

SPI would conduct the investigation into the incident. No other aircraft was in the vicinity on the night in question. It is also perhaps worth noting that the airspace over the BP plant is protected. This means that authorization is required to pass over the area.

In light of this, they would contact the BP plant. They enquired if the object might have been one of their small aircraft. One that might have been patrolling the immediate area around the plant. However, the plant would state that the strange object, whatever it was, was not anything they had sent into the skies overhead.

A diagram of the dimensions of the strange craft

A diagram of the dimensions of the strange craft

Trevis would later explain how he had to “bend over backward” in order to capture the photograph. Indeed, this gives the picture a unique perspective, and almost shows it concave. What’s more, because the incident took place at night, the bright light on the object creates a “halo effect”.

Perhaps of most importance, though, was the summing up of the incident by Robinson himself. He would claim that not only the description but the picture itself was “consistent with what was being sighted” in the region at the time. In short, it would appear the incident over Grangemouth is most certainly credible.

Is The Falkirk Triangle Real?

We have examined on several occasions how active Scotland is in terms of UFO activity. For example, the areas in and around Bonnybridge would experience a particularly active period between 1992 and 1994, only a year after the Grangemouth sighting.

What’s more, another very similar sightings would occur over the Grangemouth oil refinery in 1994. On that occasion, an entire unit of cleaners from the facility would witness the strange lights overhead. The glowing orb-like objects would dance around the sky for several moments.

a superimposed black triangular UFO on a picture of the countryside at sunset

Many UFO sightings are reported in the alleged Falkirk Triangle

We have also looked at the 1996 UFO wave which took place in the Falkirk region of the country. Indeed, many UFO researchers believe Falkirk – which is only several miles from Grangemouth – to be part of a triangular region of increased activity. It is perhaps interesting to note that one of the other points of this triangle is Bonnybridge.

Might it be that something resides within these triangular boundaries that attracts these strange aerial anomalies? Might some kind of naturally occurring portal or gateway open there, allowing these strange crafts to pass into our world? Or might there even be an extraterrestrial base within the region? These are most certainly outlandish notions, no doubt. Only further study and focus on the strange activities in the region, both from the past and in our contemporary age will bring forth further clues.

Sightings Persist Into The Contemporary Era

UFO sightings continued in Scotland in the years that followed the Polmont Reservoir incident. And while we have examined some of those sightings previously, such as those that occurred in the alleged Falkirk Triangle, or the A70 alien abduction incident, or even the Fife UFO encounter from 1996, there are many, many more on record. And while many of these certainly occurred during the surge of aerial activity over Scotland during the 1990s, there are several from decades ago that are worth a quick examination here.

Perhaps one of the earliest of these [2] – at least of the Modern UFO era – occurred in July 1947 – not long after the infamous (and alleged) UFO crash at Roswell in the United States and the widely reported sighting by Kenneth Arnold, two events that are widely agreed to signal the start of the era of modern UFO sightings.

On this particular summer’s morning, at around 5 am, 22-year-old Andrew Cherry was stood at the bus stop as he did most mornings, waiting for his ride to work at the Woods Bottle Works in Edinburgh. As he stood there, he happened to glance upwards to the sky and immediately noticed a disc-shaped object which appeared to have a large dome made from a glass-like material on the top. As the craft was only around 300 feet from the ground, Cherry was able to get a good look at the occupant.

He would later describe this apparent pilot as humanoid and wearing dark clothes. He couldn’t tell if it was sitting or standing, but it was next to a “control panel of some kind”. The craft itself appeared to be mainly metallic, with a texture similar to “rough diamonds” which appeared to have an orange glow to it. He further recalled how there was a haze to the area immediately around the object, and that he could hear a “low, smooth hum”. He would estimate the object was around 15 feet wide and appeared to show “tremendous power”. After watching it for several moments, it tilted slightly before vanishing into the distance almost in an instant.

Another intriguing incident documented by Halliday occurred a little over a decade later in 1958. On the day in question, Mrs. Livingston witnessed “five or six disc-shaped objects, very high up and traveling at speed” in the Sighthill region of Glasgow. The objects were only in sight for several seconds before they vanished out of sight.

Several weeks later, in Edinburgh, James Black witnessed a “long, silver-colored object” that was “streaking” across the evening sky. What’s more, according to Halliday’s research, the region where Black made the sighting has similar incidents going back to the start of the twentieth century.

The Recently Revealed Diamond-Shaped Object Over the A9

Although many in UFO circles were aware of the apparent sighting of a diamond-shaped UFO hovering over the A9 in Calvin, to the north of Pitlochry on the 4th August 1990, it wasn’t until military files on the incident were declassified 20 years later that further details were learned of the incident.

On the night in question, several people reported seeing the strange object hovering overhead, a short distance away from RAF Harrier craft over the road. It remained in full sight for around 10 minutes before it suddenly headed skyward and disappeared with alarming speed. Some of those witnesses managed to capture photographs of the bizarre object, albeit very blurred ones.

The Ministry of Defense was quickly made aware of the existence of those photographs, and ultimately, obtained negative before making the government aware of them. The declassified files show that the government’s response was to inform the media that “no definite conclusion has been reached regarding the large diamond-shaped object”.

Some people have claimed to have seen at least one of those pictures, with one such person stating they showed a “vast, diamond-shaped UFO, metallic silver in color, apparently hovering low over the Scottish countryside”.

Some researchers have suggested that rather than being an extraterrestrial craft, the object was actually a top-secret US aircraft named Aurora, something that the United States government denies. Whatever the object was, that the military had an interest in it, as shown by the declassified files.

Coincidentally or not, all of those photographs have since gone missing.

You can watch a short video on this incident below.

Large, Dark Object Viewed From Local Residents Garden In Ayr

In the book UFO Scotland: The Secret History of Scotland’s UFO Phenomenon, Ron Halliday documents an encounter that took place on 6th September 1996 in Ayr on the Scottish west coast.

On the morning in question, Margaret Barrie was in her garden hanging washing on the clothesline. As she did so, she noticed one of the planes that regularly fly in and out of the nearby Prestwick Transatlantic Airport and watched it for several seconds. She turned her attention back to the clothes for a moment before looking skyward once again. This time, however, rather than a plane in the blue morning sky, she saw a “large, dark object” that was moving across the sky slowly.

Even more alarming for Barrie, the object appeared to be descending. It would eventually stop and begin hovering somewhere between 300 and 400 feet above the ground. She would write in her report that the object was “silent” and made “no sound whatsoever”. Furthermore, it was a “soft black in color” and there was “no glint from the sun”. There also appeared to be “no obvious contours” and “no glass”.

The object remained in sight for around 10 minutes, unable to take her gaze from it such was her fascination. After this time, she ran inside her home to grab a pair of binoculars in order to get a closer view of the craft. By the time she returned, although the object was still visible in the sky, it was not at a much higher altitude than before.

She did manage to zoom in on it with the binoculars and watched it for several more minutes until it was only a very small dot in the sky.

The 1997 Black Triangle Incident

A sighting that occurred the following year is worthy of our consideration here. Not least as it featured multiple witnesses of a strange object within the parameters of the alleged triangle mentioned above.

On the 6th of July 1997, at around 6:30 pm, four anonymous friends were traveling in a car just outside of Stirling when they noticed a “strange object” moving overhead around 100 feet from the ground (much like the Grangemouth sighting). The main witness was the passenger in the front seat of the vehicle. They would estimate the object was around the size of a small two-seater airplane.

As they passed underneath the object, they could see it was “very flat” and a definite triangular shape. What’s more, the entire craft was a jet-black color with no symbols or other identifying markings on its exterior. Even stranger, the object didn’t appear to make any noise whatsoever. Nor was there any obvious means of propulsion.

A superimposed triangular UFO over a picture of a church at night

There were several UFO sightings around Scotland between 1996 and 1997

It was as they were moving underneath the object that they realized how slow it was actually moving. In fact, within a minute they had passed so far ahead of it that they could no longer see it. The witness, however, would recall their car was not the only vehicle on the M9 (M80) motorway at the time. And with that in mind, “many others must have seen” the strange craft also.

The incident remains unexplained. However, it surely is not a coincidence that such a strange craft was spotted in the same region as the other sightings we have explored here. And if there is a connection between them, might it be that the lights witnessed over the oil refineries were actually the underside lights of these mysterious triangular crafts.

Strange Green Lights In The West Lothian Region, Summer-Autumn 1997

Another encounter relayed by Halliday in the same book occurred at a little after 10 pm on the 16th of August 1992 in Bathgate. On the night in question, Mr. and Mrs. Tait saw an “intense green light” moving across the sky from the home. The light appeared to be on a downward trajectory and appeared to crash into the ground somewhere beyond the horizon.

They immediately reached for the telephone, thinking they were witnessing a plane crash. After speaking at length with Edinburgh Airport of what they had seen, they were eventually assured that no aircraft were missing and there was no aircraft in the area at that time. Halliday would learn of the report and would interview the couple several days later. He would find them both credible witnesses.

Halliday had also uncovered another sighting on the same evening, this time from 22-year-old Nicholas Reid from nearby Broxburn. He also spoke to the investigator of a “stream of green light” that was traveling downward toward the ground. Like the Taits, Reid also believed he was witnessing a plane crash, and also prepared himself for the impact – an impact which seemingly never came.

As Halliday writes, the more he learned and investigated, he became “convinced that something strange had occurred that night”. And the more he dug, the more he discovered, including a very similar incident that occurred in the nearby town of Boghall in the early 1980s where multiple people reported a “green light hit the ground and burst into flames”. There was also a report made by Marion Findlay in a letter to the Daily Record. In it, she stated she had seen a “bright green light” that moving across the Edinburgh sky that was much “too fast to be a plane”. Findlay and her husband also believed it was an aircraft about to crash.

Whatever the bright green object was that was witnessed in the summer of 1992, there were many more people who had witnessed it. One family, who didn’t wish to be named in Halliday’s book, claimed they witnessed the craft from as far away as Blackburn, claiming it “hit the earth behind a line of trees in open farmland”. No sign of the impact was discovered, however.

There were several other reports of a similar object several weeks later in the late autumn of 1992. On the 15th of October, for example, Adriane Goldie claimed she had seen bizarre green lights zig-zagging through the air “as if they were playing”. Just short of two weeks later, at around 7 pm on the 27th of October, William MacKay reported seeing “a very luminous green light” move through the Edinburgh sky before it disappeared into a cloud.

Some researchers have suggested the green lights “hitting” the ground might actually be alien vehicles entering unknown extraterrestrial bases hidden right under the collective nose of the local population. How true such assertions might be, though, are very much open to debate, and extremely speculative.

The Hovering Triangle Over The M9, Stirling, July 1997

According to a report submitted online, at around 6 pm on the 6th July 1997, four volleyball players were returning from a tournament in Perth on a particularly clear summer evening. The main witness was sitting in the front passenger seat and recalled having just passed Stirling when they noticed something bizarre directly over the road ahead of them.

The witness immediately asked the driver of the vehicle if they too could see the strange object, and indeed he could, commentating that he hadn’t seen anything like it before. They recalled in their report how it was “hard to tell exactly how big the craft was, or how far away” it might have been. They would hazard a guess at it being approximately the size of a “small two-seater airplane” and that it was flying at an altitude of only several hundred feet.

Perhaps because of this low altitude, as their car approached the craft, they were able to “get a very good look” at it. It was “very flat” and of a distinct triangular shape with a “T-Bar” at the front. It was completely black in color with no apparent markings. What’s more, the object appeared to be completely silent and there didn’t appear to be any obvious signs of propulsion.

Because their car was also moving, they couldn’t tell if the object was hovering or moving extremely slowly. After several moments, they had traveled completely under the vehicle, with it disappearing from their view several moments after that. In total it was visible for no longer than a minute.

Strange Sightings Still Continue In The Twenty-First Century

Although there have been UFO sightings in Scotland for decades, if not longer, following the apparent surge in sightings in the 1990s, these strange objects continued to appear well into the twenty-first century. Some of which are extremely intriguing.

Humanoid Encounter On The Braid Hills Golf Course

Although the exact date is not certain, one evening around midnight in early June 2008, according to the June 2008 UFO Casebook Newsletter, a husband and wife who were walking their dogs near the Braid Hills golf course in Edinburgh when they encountered a strange humanoid entity. [3]

It was as they were walking toward one of the hills in the area that they noticed strange “cellophane UFOs” which appeared as nothing more than a “sheet of cellophane rippling in the wind”. Not sure what they were, they continued on with their walk. A short time later, they noticed something strange on one of the greens of the golf course.

The woman turned to her husband and said that it appeared someone was on the green watching them. The husband turned his attention to the green but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Then, however, what he thought was a man – probably another dog walker – caught his attention. Even so, given the time of night, they kept the man in their sights as they continued on with their walk.

Eventually, their path took them toward the green. The man was still there and was moving around, roughly on the same spot. As they got closer, they realized this man appeared very strange indeed. He appeared to be approximately seven feet tall and extremely thin.

At this point, the man had turned and was looking at them. The pair continued on their way and walked past the strange man and returned to their car. Once inside with their dogs in the back, they began to discuss the bizarre situation on the golf course.

What is perhaps interesting is that the woman claimed she had seen two figures and not just one and that each of them had been dressed in identical black clothing. Try as he might, though, her husband could only recall seeing the one, single figure.

They each insisted that they could not recall a face of any kind, even though they were looking directly at the mysterious person. They also noted how strange it was, in retrospect, that neither of their dogs reacted or even seemed to notice the person on the golf course, something highly unusual for them.

It appeared that something very strange occurred during the 15 minutes or so that they watched the strange person on the green. Something that neither of the witnesses has ever understood.

Bizarre Amber Objects Over Central Scotland In The Falkirk Triangle

We have written of the apparent Falkirk triangle before, and while many of the sightings that contributed to the interest of UFO researchers in this section of Scotland occurred in the 1990s, like elsewhere in Scotland, sightings of strange objects still occur.

Somewhere between 7 pm and 8 pm on the evening of 25th January 2009, for example, a husband and wife were returning home from Stirling when they suddenly noticed “two very large amber lights” were moving across the sky at an altitude of approximately 3000 feet. He estimated they were around the size of a jumbo jet. Even stranger, one of these objects appeared to have a light beam emerging from it.

The couple brought the car to a stop and exited the vehicle in order to get a clearer look. They contemplated whether the two lights were nothing more than search helicopters looking for something on the ground. However, when each of them vanished into the distance with a relative amount of speed they questioned how accurate a helicopter was.

They returned back to their car and went on with their journey. However, a short time later, they saw the two amber lights once more. This time, they were at a much lower altitude. The couple drove their car to the highest point they could. On the way, the witness telephones his brother and asked that he make the short drive to meet them there.

When they and the witness’s brother arrived at a point that overlooked the region, the three of them viewed the object for several minutes. The witness’s brother had brought his binoculars with him. It was clear to him that what they were looking at, it was an airplane.

A few moments later, the strange lights began growing in size. They were heading in their direction. Then, all of a sudden it stopped dead and hovered silently. After several more moments, the object began to move side-to-side, “like a pinball”. It then disappeared with lightning speed behind the trees.

The sighting remains unexplained.

Pear-Shaped Object Over East Kilbride

At around 8 pm on the evening of 2nd January 2011, George King witnessed a strange pear-shaped object while driving on the East Kilbride Expressway. King would describe to local media that he “noticed two orange lights – one smaller than the other” flying at a relatively low altitude.

At first, the witness thought the lights were a police helicopter. However, when he heard no noise at all, even when it was quite close, he quickly dismissed that it was a helicopter. By the time he made out the distinct pear shape of the craft he realized it was something completely out of the ordinary.

He exited his vehicle and quickly called his son to inform him of the object overhead (it is unclear whether his son also witnessed the strange craft).

UFO investigator and researcher, Ron Halliday would state that the East Kilbride region had seen a surge of sightings since the beginning of the 2000s, adding that it is “somewhat of a hotspot for UFO activity”. Of the sighting of the pear-shaped craft, he would state that it is “an intriguing sighting” and that there have been “a number of odd objects” in this particular region. Almost always these objects disappear “at high speed”.

UFO Filmed Over Aberdeenshire

Perhaps one of the most intriguing UFO sightings occurred on the evening of 18th October 2012 who also managed to capture remarkable footage of the bizarre craft. On the night in question, 50-year-old Morag Ritchie awoke in the middle of the night by strange, flashing lights outside her home in Fraserburgh in rural Aberdeenshire.

When she went to the window, she could see strange lights that appeared to be circulating in the skies overhead. She would estimate that they were only several hundred yards from her home. After several moments of watching the strange aerial display, she decided to wake her family.

She would recall that the lights were moving in a “spinning motion” before they “occasionally shot off to the side”. Even her usually skeptical husband admitted they were bizarre and that “something strange (was) going on”.

After several more moments of viewing the unusual display from the window, the family ventured outside. Morag would take her phone with her in order to capture footage of the mysterious object.

Morag would state how the object was “like nothing I have ever seen before”, adding that she even “wondered if they could see” her. So much so, that she soon felt uneasy about being outside, feeling suddenly exposed somewhat. Morag’s daughter, Cara, would add that it “was really scary” and like an “alien invasion”.

Early the next morning, at around 7 am after she awoke, she immediately went outside. To her relief, the object was no longer there.

Veteran UFO investigator and author, Malcolm Robinson would view the footage. He would state that he had ruled out the object being nothing more than Chinese lanterns, that the “characteristics and the length of time that it remained in the air is quite unusual”. He would ultimately state that while the footage was “very interesting” it would take a “full investigation before drawing any conclusions”.

You can see that video below.

Why Does Scotland Have So Many UFO Sightings?

Whatever the reasons might be, Scotland does appear to experience – for its size – a higher number of UFO accounts than some other European countries. And while sightings in the region are not at the level they reached during the early to mid-nineties, they continue to occur today. Might clues and unnoticed details from these previous accounts help unlock the secrets of the UFO and alien question?

What should we make also of the rich history of Scottish folklore and legend? If we were to study such writings more closely might we find a connection to UFO sightings throughout history? After all, we have examined the strange accounts that surround Rosslyn Chapel (which also sits near the region). There are not only UFO sightings over the old medieval building but claims of otherworldly incidents involving other dimensions.

It is most certainly a part of the world that would appear to be of importance in unlocking some of the mysteries of our reality. Whether sightings in Scotland ever reach the levels they did at the time of the Grangemouth incident and the waves of sightings that followed it remains to be seen. However, it is without a doubt an area that UFO researchers and enthusiasts need to keep at least half an eye on.

Check out the video below. It looks at UFO sightings in Scotland.


1 Black triangular object seen above motorway near Stirling, Scotland, UFO Evidence
2 UFO Scotland: The Secret History of Scotland’s UFO Phenomenon, Ron Halliday, ISBN 9781945 029289
3 UFO Casebook Newsletter, June 2008

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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