The Livingston Dechmont Woods Incident – A “Criminal Investigation” Of A UFO!

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
March 28, 2017
Last Updated
October 12, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
11 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Police would treat Robert Taylor’s report regarding his apparent out-of-this-world encounter as a case of criminal assault. This would make the incident the only UFO or alien abduction case to be part of a criminal investigation.

It is highly probable that one of Scotland’s most famous UFO encounters sometimes referred to as the “Dechmont Woods Encounter”, involved the alien abduction of Taylor, or at least some kind of interaction.

Sketch of the craft witnessed by Robert Taylor

Sketch of the craft witnessed by Robert Taylor

Whether aliens whisked Robert Taylor off from the Dechmont Woods that cold morning or not, it remains one of the most interesting and genuinely strange cases on record.

The Robert Taylor Encounter

On the morning in question, Robert Taylor decided to pull his vehicle to the side of the road so he could stretch his legs and allow his dog to do the same. [1] He did so, on a quiet road near the M8 motorway.

It was around 10:30 am as he was walking through the woodland with the 7-year-old red setter, Lara. It was as he was coming up on a clearing among the fir trees that Taylor’s morning, and indeed his life, was about to take a drastic turn.

There, in front of him no further than 12 yards away was a “flying dome” or circular object that was suddenly in his line of sight. It appeared to be floating, slightly above the tops of the trees. The craft was close enough that he could make out the rough sandpaper-like texture of the black metallic material. An aroma of “burning brakes” suddenly seemed to fill the air.

The clearing where Taylor witnessed the strange craft

The clearing where Taylor witnessed the strange craft

He noticed two objects that had fallen to the ground from the main craft. Taylor would later describe these as looking like Second World War naval mines. Each of the strange objects had spikes all around them. They headed toward him – one to each side – making a strange noise against the ground as they moved. When they were level with him, an attachment with a spike on the end shot out of each one and attached themselves to each leg of his trousers.

Of more concern to Taylor, he could feel a pulling sensation on his body – as if the craft was dragging him towards it. He began to panic and pull back from it, but his body didn’t respond.

As this was happening, a rotten, choking smell filled his nostrils, immediately weakening his resistance to the pull as he gagged on whatever the aroma was. As he seemingly began to lose consciousness, the last sounds he heard was the unsettling hissing of the object and the agitated barks of Lara.

“Attacked By A Spaceship!”

The next thing he knew, he was alone on the clearing floor. The object had vanished. As he picked up his face from the dirt and leaves of the forest floor, he noticed how severely his legs ached. He also realized he couldn’t bring himself to speak in an attempt to calm Lara, who was still barking somewhere in the immediate vicinity.

After gathering his thoughts, Taylor made his way to his vehicle. Although some time had passed, it stood in the spot he had left it. It was a short joy, however. Try as he might, the car would no longer start as if drained of power by an unknown source.

He would continue his journey on foot. When he arrived home, his family was aghast at his torn clothing, as well as the cuts and bruising to his face and arms.

He would inform his wife, Mary, bluntly that he had been “attacked by a spaceship” when she asked what had happened to him, herself in deep shock at the state of her husband.

Robert Taylor holding a picture of what he saw

Robert Taylor

Unsure what to do, Mary informed her husband’s employer and boss of the incident, Malcolm Drummond. He would always state that Robert was not a person to “make up stories!” He had no doubts whatsoever of his genuineness or lack thereof.

Drummond would order a search of the area where the incident took place using other forestry workers. However, there was nothing untoward discovered. That something had happened to Taylor, though, was surely beyond doubt. With this in mind, the Livingston Police were notified of the attack and would shortly arrive at the Taylor home to investigate.

The Aftermath

Given that Taylor had been physically attacked – and he had the shredded clothes and marks to prove it – the police would treat the incident as a crime.

They had Taylor take them back to the site of the encounter so they could see it for themselves. Headed by Detective Inspector Ian Wark, they would discover strange “ladder-shaped impressions” on the ground where Taylor claimed the incident had unfolded. Furthermore, they also noted two “indentation” rows right where Taylor claimed the two spiked objects had moved toward him on either side seemingly corroborating his version of events of him being dragged toward the object.

His torn trousers went off for scientific analysis. The conclusion being that the damage appeared to be in line with a machine-like object gripping and pulling him. In short, every indication so far was that he was telling the truth.

Although they might not have believed Taylor was attacked by a vehicle from outer space, the police very much believed he was attacked by something, and a criminal investigation was opened. [2]

The track marks of the machines and vehicles used by forestry workers in the area were all examined in an attempt to locate a match to the markings in the clearing where Taylor was attacked. None of them matched. Flight records of the air space over Livingston were also examined. No helicopters or small airplanes were overhead that day.

The grounds around where the incident had taken place were even examined in the event that evidence of a crane that might have lifted some kind of machine into the clearing might be found. No such evidence was uncovered, and with the ground being soft from the rain, these markings would have been clear.

Ultimately, although they could not explain the encounter, the police were certain of Taylor’s credibility. Inspector Lark stated that they had “no reason to doubt anything about what he was telling us”, adding that everyone they had spoken to who knew Taylor claimed he “just would not make up a story like that!”

The short video below looks at the incident itself in a little more detail.

Intense Public Interest And Many Theories

Perhaps because of the police involvement, public interest in the encounter soared, with local and national media coverage. And as we might imagine, with the intense interest, many theories and suggestions as to what actually happened that November morning in 1979 also surfaced. If we take out the possibility that Taylor witnessed a genuine, extraterrestrial vehicle of some kind, what else might explain this most bizarre event?

Some would suggest that Taylor merely suffered an intense illusion, possibly due to an epileptic fit. However, there is no evidence of any such seizures in Taylor’s medical history. And even if something had triggered this one-off fit, it is highly unlikely that he would have recovered sufficiently as quickly as he did in order to walk home from where the incident occurred.

There have also been suggestions that ball lightning might be responsible for the incident, with Taylor perhaps coming too close and ultimately confused by what he was seeing. Once more, however, this explanation is hardly watertight. Not least as Taylor specifically recalled seeing a metallic, machine-like craft as opposed to ball lightning which, even then, would have been easy to identify.

A sign where the incident occurred

A sign where the incident occurred

There are others who wonder whether the “machine” witnessed that day was some kind of top-secret military vehicle. If this was the case, though, where was it produced, by who, and whose was it? Was the purpose of the attack on Taylor merely to allow this futuristic vehicle to escape? If this was the case, however, we might expect that something very similar would have entered the public domain in the decades since.

Might this not be a UFO but some kind of vehicle from another dimension, or even the ancient past, that appeared for a very short time due to some kind of rip in time and reality? Might there be some energy forces in this region of Scotland that somehow produce these portals that allow such vehicles to enter ours from another time or from other realms of existence?

Of course, there are some who believe the incident to be a very clever hoax – one designed to attract “UFO tourists” to the area for the financial betterment of the region. However, as Ron Halliday points out, this notion is “fanciful” simply because it was not beneficial for the region simply because the area was largely “industrial, urban Scotland” and, essentially, “not Loch Ness”. Besides, business opportunities were already well on their way to becoming “Scotland’s silicon glen – home to computer and associated industries”.

One skeptic of the case, Stueart Campbell claimed in his book The UFO Mystery Solved, that the markings discovered on the ground were likely from equipment being used in the area by water authority workers. [3] However, when he spoke to these workers (who had indeed operated in the nearby area) they claimed that none of the equipment had been stored in the region Taylor had his encounter. Despite this, Campbell persisted that he “suspected” they were not being truthful, further suggesting they might have used the area to store equipment without permission. As Halliday points out, Taylor was a regular visit to this area with his dog and claimed he had not once seen any such equipment in the area.

In short, the encounter remains both unexplained and difficult to dismiss convincingly.

A Credible, Genuine Case With “No Middle Ground!”

There is no doubt that the Livingston Incident is one of the most intriguing and credible on record, whatever the truth of the sighting might one day prove to be. That something strange happened to the 61-year-old Taylor that cold morning in the Dechmont Woods is surely beyond doubt.

Ron Halliday writes that Taylor “made next to nothing (financially) out of the incident, and never tried to capitalize on his fame”. He would elaborate that Taylor even became “thoroughly fed up” with the persistent interest people had in the incident.

We might also note similarities to the Falcon Lake Incident 12 years earlier in May 1967 in the Manitoba region of Canada, in which 51-year-old mechanic, Stefan Michalak happened upon a similar craft in a clearing in the woods while searching for quartz crystal. He would report hearing a strange “hissing” sound, perhaps similar to that described by Taylor, and also complained of a noxious smell similar to sulphur, that he further described as “like burnt electric wiring”.

UFO researcher and former Ministry of Defense UFO Project director, Nick Pope, claims that the case offers “no middle ground!” It is his belief that Robert Taylor is a very genuine witness who had “little to gain and much to lose” by telling of the incident.

Robert Taylor passed away in 2007, but there remains an interest in his story. Not least, because of its apparent authenticity. Incidentally, Taylor would not alter his version of events at any point after the incident.

The video below looks at the Livingstone Incident a little further

Other Sightings In The Dechmont Region Around The Same Time

In the book UFO Scotland: The Secret History of Scotland’s UFO Phenomenon, Ron Halliday relays several other UFO incidents that took place around the same time as Robert Taylor’s encounter. [4]

According to one such account told to Halliday, at around 8 pm the night before Taylor’s incident on the 8th November, a Mr. Ferguson was bringing his lorry to a stop in a layby when he saw a “strip of brilliants light” which was “shaped like a ruler” heading in the direction of the Dechmont Law region.

At around the same time, two brothers, Steven and Alan Little, witnessed a spherical, dome-shaped object in the Bellsquarry region of Livingston. The two brothers – where viewed the object from their home – estimated the craft was around 1200 feet from them, seemingly hovering around 150 feet above a nearby road. They would further recall that white, red, and blue lights ran around the outside of the vehicle. The strange craft remained in view for several minutes before it slowly faded from sight. All the while it remained completely silent.

Several hours earlier, at a little before 6 pm, Josephine Quigley, along with four of her friends, witnessed a “circle of lights” that were slowly rotating over the Livingston area. Although she couldn’t make out any intricate details, she did note that it moved too slowly to be a helicopter or an airplane.

The following day – the same day as Taylor ran into the strange apparatus in the woods – strange lights and objects continued to be witnessed by members of the public in and around the Livingston area.

Sightings On The Morning Of The Robert Taylor Incident

During the morning rush hour, Graham Kennedy was heading west on the A89 road when his attention was captured by an extremely bright light passing overhead as he drove by Bangour Hospital. Even more alarming, the object appeared to head toward his vehicle at great speed, only changing direction at the last moment.

As Kennedy was bringing his car to a stop to avoid a collision following the fast approach of the strange object from above, a nurse, Anne MacGregor, was walking along the A89 on her way to work at Bangour Hospital. As she walked, a strange hissing sound reached her ears that appeared to be coming from above. As she turned her attention upward, she noticed a bizarre, bright light seemingly heading toward the Dechmont Law region. It appeared that the same, bright, yellow light was witnessed by a cyclist several minutes later.

At somewhere between 8 am and 4 pm, Mrs. Scott was stood waiting at a bus stop which faced the Pentland Hills. As she stared lazily ahead, she suddenly noticed a “round silvery object with flashing lights” hovering overhead. She turned to another lady also at the bus stop and asked her what she thought the strange object was. She wasn’t sure other than it was “something out of the ordinary”. As the two women watched the disc-like craft, it suddenly sped off in the direction of Dechmont Law.

Other “Road” UFO Abduction Encounters

We spoke about the Mann family in a previous article, who experienced a strange experience while driving home. Much like them, and Taylor, many others have found themselves suddenly involved in otherworldly incidents while driving on the sometimes lonely roads of the United Kingdom. One of the more interesting, and chilling, is the claims of Garry Wood, from August 1992.

Wood was driving along the A70 with his friend, Colin Wright. They were heading towards Lanarkshire at a little after 10 pm. Suddenly, a dark black object made its way into their line of sight high above them.

As they continued along the road, a bright “wall of light” descended in front of them. The two men appeared to be “caught in the headlights” of this strange light. They believe it was then that they blacked out. The next thing each of the men remembers is that their vehicle had come to a stop and the clock now read 11 pm. It also appeared that the car had changed direction, and now faced the opposite way they had been driving.

Understandably disturbed by the events, each of the men agreed to hypnotic regression. Their comments were both fascinating and alarming.

As their car came to a stop, their bodies stiffened in pain – as though they had received electric shocks. Three beings took the men from the car, and on to the black object, now on the ground. Both men would state the object was “very clearly a spaceship!”

Each was stripped of their clothes and subjected to intricate examinations. At the same time “red-hot poker-like objects” would explode into their eyes. Woods, in particular, said that screams of other people were audible around him.

They appeared to be in the same room.

The Deverow Family Experience

One of the more recent of these types of accounts took place in January 2005. While driving along the A65-road in North Yorkshire, the Deverow family would share an experience that would change their lives.

Rachel Deverow, her sons, Benjy and Alex, and her mother, Anne, could all see a bright light hovering over their car. The clock read just after 5 pm. They continued on their way towards High Bentham when the light suddenly screeched towards them. In a flash, it then vanished! Shaken, but otherwise unhurt, the family went on with their journey, arriving home shortly after 6 pm.

It wasn’t until the following day that Rachel began to wonder just what had happened on their drive home. She would drive the route again. This time it would take only ten minutes to complete, while it took an hour the previous day. Either that or they couldn’t account for around forty-five to fifty minutes of time.

Reports on the local radio suggested that others had also seen the strange light that evening. Many callers went on air with their information. When Alex Deverow began to experience intense dreams, however, Rachel agreed to go under hypnosis to recover the memories she now suspected was residing in her mind.

Perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, her testimony under hypnosis revealed all four of the Deverows were victims of alien abduction. Since the incident, they regularly witness strange lights over their farmhouse home. Whether those lights are simply sightings or further abductions, is a question still requiring an answer.

The video below looks at the Deverow’s experience in a little more depth.


1 The Dechmont Woods UFO Incident (An Ordinary Day, An Extraordinary Event), Malcolm Robinson, ISBN 9780244 159115
2 The UFO sighting investigated by the police, Steven Brocklehurst, BBC, November 9th, 2019
3 The UFO Mystery Solved, Steuart Campbell, ISBN 9780952 151203
4 UFO Scotland : The Secret History of Scotland’s UFO Phenomenon, Ron Halliday, ISBN 9781873 631836

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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  • Bill Downie says:

    Hi there.

    I lived only two miles from Dechmont when the encounter happened. A friend of mine worked with Robert Taylor and said he was a man of integrity and wold never have lied about it. That doesn’t preclude misidentification, of course, but he was not doing it for attention.

    The incident happened 22 (11 x 2) years before 9/11, on 11/9 in US date order, which of course was a ‘9/11’ here. The two spheres pulling on Mr.Taylor’s trouser legs symbolised the fall of the towers. The markings left on the ground by the UFO resemble a tet, the 9th Hebrew character, which has an evil aspect, resembling a serpent, and a benign aspect as a man in submission to the Messiah. That contains the meaning of 9/11, an event so momentous its shockwaves reached around the world and permeated time itself.

  • Manny Moonraker says:

    Great UFO Story. I want to cover this on my podcast today. Cheers!

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