The Berwyn Mountain Incident – The Earthquake That Wasn’t!

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 24, 2017
Last Updated
October 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
14 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

The events of 23rd January 1974 over the Berwyn Mountains in Wales were nothing more than an earthquake, that just happened to coincide with a meteorite landing at the same spot as the epicenter – at least according to the military. To anyone who is local to Llandrillo, there was no doubt a UFO crash occurred and the military covered it up.

UFO researchers and investigators, however, would treat local people’s claims seriously. When declassified documents finally found their way into the public domain in the early 2000s, it would seem that they were correct.

Berwyn mountains.

Berwyn mountains.

The incident is even more remarkable in terms of how it fits with other sightings in the area. Perhaps even more so when you include the sightings happening today. If UFO investigators were correct about just what happened that night in the Berwyn Mountains, then perhaps, they are also correct with their theories as to just what is happening over the mountains of Wales today.

Before we look at the incident in detail, check out the video below. It gives a good outline to the basis of that cold January evening in 1974.

One Cold Night In January 1974

At a little past half-past eight in the evening, the ground around the Berwyn Mountains shook. It sounded very much like an explosion. The orange glow on the mountainside would suggest that was exactly what it was. [1]

The “official” explanation would state that an earthquake, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, had hit the area. The epicenter – as stated by the British Geological Survey – was likely to be Bala Lake. This was incidentally, the same spot where local residents would report seeing the aftermath of an explosion. The “explosion” – according to military reports – was the result of a bizarre meteor shower. One meteor went crashing into the mountainside.

Police switchboards would go into meltdown with reports from concerned residents. Strangely, however, the initial public report would leave out these sightings. Only years later, in 2008, did leaked documents reveal this to be true. What’s more, many of the reports to police that evening would state clearly that residents believed they had seen a UFO in the sky before the “earthquake” struck.

One resident statement read they had seen “a bright red light, like coal fire red” on the mountainside. They could also see “light above and to the right” as well as “white lights moving to the bottom!”

One particularly interesting note in the leaked documents is one recorded by a police officer on duty that evening. It reads, “There’s been a large explosion in the area and there is a large fire in the mountainside. I can see the fire (from) where I am!”

Despite what the military was offering as the official version of events, it was obvious to anyone with an interest in the incident, that their version was far from the truth.

Unpicking The Earthquake Theory

Despite the official explanation, various other reports would come from members of the public. In fact, some people got a lot closer than the military would have liked.

Nurse, Pat Evans, [2] upon request of local police after hearing of her profession, would attempt to attend the site in case her skills could be of use. As she was heading towards the site in her car, she noticed strange lights going up and down the mountainside. At first, she thought these were rescue teams. However, she soon began to realize how difficult the terrain would be to negotiate, in the darkness no less. Besides, these lights appeared to move in a very strange manner. She would also state to seeing a “pulsating orange glow” from a stationary position on the mountain.

She would state in 2010, that the object “couldn’t have gotten there any other way apart from being flown there!” To Evans, there is no doubt “it had to be a UFO of some sort!”

Evans quickly realized that whatever sat on the mountainside, it certainly wasn’t the scene of an aircraft crash. Her two teenage daughters, who were in the car with her, were beginning to become uneasy and scared. Taking a last look at the bizarre scene, Evans turned around her car and headed for home.

Evans would further elaborate forty years later:

…(the object) was moon-like, but without windows or doors. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. I have no idea what it was…I just wish we’d stayed to see what the end result was!

One of the first experienced UFO researchers on the scene was Margaret Fry, whose house sat close to the area. It was her investigations and collecting of witness statements that would form the core of events that evening.

“Unofficial” Witness Statements and Leaked Information

Newspaper reports at the time made little mention of earthquakes, despite the official explanation offered to them. One of the first articles concerning the incident stated, “There was a huge explosion” and a “shaking of the ground!”

Fry would speak to several local residents, who would paint a far different picture than the military.

One of the more interesting were the statements from a local hotel manager. She would state to Fry that in the hotel bar each evening following the incident, the conversation was increasingly about the military “sealing off the area”, and ushering anyone who got close to their perimeters away without explanation. There were also reports of an American military presence.

In the hours leading up to the event, two long-haul lorry drivers were driving back from Lincolnshire to the area. Their hopes were to arrive back in time to at least catch “last orders” in their local pub. On their way, each would notice a strange cigar-shaped object apparently hovering over Bala Lake. They continued to watch the object as they drove. Upon arriving, they would find the pub shut. They banged on the door, wondering why the pub had shut their doors early. Only when they looked at their watches did they realize it was after 1 am.

In the days after the event, a family were driving along a quiet road around twenty miles from the Berwyn Mountains. A strange humming sound suddenly filled the air. Out of nowhere a saucer-shaped object passed in front of them, just above the tree tops. It then vanished out of sight.

Declassified Documents

Looking at other UFO reports from the time, a large bright object was likely visible all around the United Kingdom. At least five classified reports came to light in the eventual declassified documents, showing the Home Counties had three separate reports, with reports also coming from Sussex and Lincolnshire.

UFO investigators would liken the site to that of the famous Kecksburg crash site in Pennsylvania in 1965. There, like now, the military would seal the area off, and deny what residents had seen with their own eyes. And further leaked documents would prove investigators were right to draw comparisons.

The declassified files would essentially prove many of the dismissed and crazy theories completely correct. And what’s more, the government seemed to be complicit in actively covering up the events.

The military were carrying out activities at the location that evening. It would seem a UFO had crashed in the Berwyn Mountains, and the UK and American militaries had retrieved it. What’s more, it would seem, given how quickly they were at the scene (remember the lights seen by Nurse Evans?) that they were expecting the arrival of the craft.

There are even reports of another UFO seen hovering over the area shortly after the initial crash. Some have theorized this to be a top-secret military vehicle, while others believe it to be another alien craft. Whoever the craft belongs, it would seem the only reason it was there, would be to retrieve bodies!

Check out the video below. It features some of the original witnesses to the events as they marked the fortieth anniversary of the incident. There are some interesting perspectives.

Transportation Of “Live” Cargo?

A whistle-blower who claimed to have been a part of the operation would speak to UFO researcher, Tony Dodd. The conversation would take place over two decades after the events in 1996. Although Dodd ensured the man’s identity remained a secret, he has spoken and written about the information passed to him many times, as well as stating his own background checks on the whistle-blower all check out.

According to the soldier, his unit were stationed at an unnamed barracks in the south of England. Several days before the incident in the Berwyn Mountains, they received orders to move out and head for Birmingham. From there they proceeded to Chester, and they finally reached Llangollen, and were under instruction to set up base there. To wait. They knew orders were coming, and the entire unit believed they were taking part in a live drill.

They went into action almost as soon as the “earthquake” occurred on the evening of the 23rd January. Within hours, orders came to proceed to Llandderfel and they were not to stop under any circumstances until reaching their destination.

Once there, still expecting a training exercise to begin – especially given all the “activity on the ground” – his small five-person unit placed two oblong crate-like boxes on to their military truck. They received strictest orders to leave the boxes shut at all times. And to not stop until they reached their destination, Porton Down Facility, which we will look at in a moment.

Setting off, a little bemused, all five soldiers agreed to stop at a convenient location so they could obtain refreshments. Almost as soon as they vacated the vehicle, a plain-clothed man approached them, producing high-level military ID, and ordered them to carry on with their journey without stopping.

Porton Down – Chemical and Biological Research Facility

Porton Down is a top-secret facility in Wiltshire. Chemical and biological experiments take place there. They include work on decontamination, biological warfare, radiation treatment, and management. Of course, that is all we know, such is the absolute secrecy of the facility. Perhaps not surprising then that the military units were to transport their cargo to such a base.

Upon reaching Porton Down, the whistle-blower revealed to Dodd the most remarkable part of his account.

Although he and his men would view events from behind “screens”, they were transparent, and no effort came to stop them peeking through the gaps. Scientists opened the boxes, and inside each was a “gray alien” type creature. Each lay in decontamination chambers, presumably done at the site of the crash.

Upon the removal of the creatures from the chambers, it became obvious how frail they were. It also became apparent how “not of this world” they also were.

In the days that followed their journey and transportation of the two crates, rumors began to swirl among the units that some of the cargo contained “live” aliens. All units received strict instructions not to talk about the incident – even among themselves.

The Leaked Documents And “Alien Map” Of Russ Kellett

In late-2018, stories began to appear of a UFO researcher, Russ Kellett, who claimed to not only have in his possession several leaked documents concerning the Berwyn Mountains incident, but also a map that detailed the presence of an alien base in the region. While many, including those in the UFO community, were wary of his claims, they are intriguing, nonetheless.

Furthermore, he claimed the person behind the map were on the mountainside on the night in question, along with four other witnesses to boot. Upon hearing the commotion and indeed the explosion that January night in 1974, they immediately drove to the area. Kellett would state:

The five (witnesses) saw a strange object and got out to have a look. But the military were there and told them to leave! [3]

Kellett claims the map came into his possession following a lecture he had given in the early 2000s on the case. A mystery person offered it to him, although there is nothing known regarding their identity.

They did pass on their research to Kellett, though, and combined with Kellett’s own investigations the information is revealing and, if true, quite explosive. It would suggest the Berwyn Mountain incident was not one of a by-chance UFO crash landing. But one of provocation by the military themselves.

You can view a picture of the map below.

Map of the UFO site

Map of the UFO site

Military “Photoflash Exercise” To Blame?

While the claims need to be taken with a cautionary pinch of salt, there is no doubt that there is a wealth of UFO activity in this particular area of Wales. And what’s more, considerable activity also takes place off the Welsh Coast. Indeed, Kellett is far from the only person to suggest that some kind of extraterrestrial base or gateway might exist in the region.

According to Kellett’s claims, he would receive a leaked official document composed by the Martine and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The document confirmed that an official RAF exercise took place just hours before the apparent crash of the UFO. Furthermore, they would witness “at least 80 flashes” off the North Wales coastline.

Kellett would further state:

There is no doubt there is an alien base under the sea on the North Wales coastline where they build all their crafts. Why would the military want or need to light up the sea with 80 photoflash bombs if they weren’t looking for submersible objects? I think they knew there was a base under the sea, and they did it to light up the area, so they knew where to attack…It just seems like too much of a coincidence that this took place on exactly the same day as the Berwyn Mountains incident!

Kellett would go even further, claiming it was his belief that the result of the RAF mission was “they kicked off one hell of an incident”.

According to the UFO investigator, a battle of sorts ensued, with three alien crafts emerging from the water. One was shot down straight away, while one escaped to a destination unknown. The last of them, however, was the one that was “shot down” over the Berwyn Mountain.

Further Witnesses And Grim Far-Reaching Consequences

More and more witnesses would step forward as the case, like many would-be forgotten encounters, enjoyed renewed interest thanks to the Internet.

The aforementioned Kellett, for example, would provide ample witness statements and “affidavits” to boot.

One such further group of witnesses was a group of fishermen who claimed to see a several “flying saucers” surface from the icy waters of the Irish Sea on the night of the alleged crash in the Welsh mountains. Furthermore, Kellett claims one of these extraterrestrial crafts even “attacked” one of the Royal Navy ships in the water.

During a documentary on the incident in 2011, local resident, Geraint Edwards would claim to have witnessed a bizarre saucer-like craft hovering over the mountains on the night of 23rd January. He would claim:

It was definitely a flying saucer. It was a pity I didn’t have a camera because it was there for at least ten minutes. Just hovering…It looked like a rugby ball, but the ends were more-pointy. When it took off, it just went like lightning! [4]

There was also the apparently leaked documents from a group by the name of Aerial Phenomena Enquiry Network (APEN). They would seemingly provide various UFO groups with these documents, which were widely accepted to be genuine, or very good fakes. Some UFO researchers would ponder whether the information was actually disinformation to cover-up the actual events. Events involving the crash of an alien craft.

Even more intriguing, if grim, were the claims made to the aforementioned Jenny Randles by a Sunday Express science correspondent. They would claim that a cluster of leukemia cases had occurred dating back to the mid-to-late-1970s. They had initially suspected the Trawsfynedd nuclear power station. However, as more information on the alleged UFO crash came to light, they suspected a connection.

Newspaper article on the UFO incident

Newspaper article on the UFO incident

The Presence Of Phantom Helicopters

We have examined the seemingly bizarre connection of “phantom helicopters” – ominous, black, unmarked vehicles that seem to appear in and around UFO sightings. What is interesting, is that according to UFO researcher and author, Nick Redfern in his book A Covert Agenda many witnesses would claim to have seen such dark, grim helicopters in the run-up to and immediately after the incident in question.

What’s more, it would appear that there was some kind of ultra-secret clandestine operations taking place in the shadows of the British authorities. For example, according to Redfern’s research, multiple sightings of these black helicopters came in from around September 1973. Often at the same time as UFO sightings, with many incidents coming from the Derbyshire area. And what’s more, they would continue well into January 1974.

Furthermore, a little over a week before the Berwyn Mountains incident, police forces in the north of England would receive a private alert to “keep an eye out for any unusual helicopter activity”. Just for the record, these sightings by police of strange helicopter activity are “on the record” and very much, fact.

Also, the fact is that such sightings began to drastically drop following the Berwyn incident. What is also of interest is that many of the Human Mutilation Cases occur in the woodlands and countryside under the skies of Derbyshire, the same stretch of northern England many of the mysterious helicopter sightings.

What’s more, the notion of prior-knowledge – which Redfern also eludes to, including joint CIA and British intelligence projects – is one that other conspiracy theorists and researchers have also claimed.

Further still, another UFO crash incident occurred just over two decades later in 1997 over the Howden Moors. And what’s more, that conspiracy-fueled case also featured reports of mysterious, black, unmarked helicopters around the crash site.

A Truly Disturbing Connection?

Staying with the research of Redfern a moment, in the aforementioned A Covert Agenda he relates the account of an anonymous but a “confirmed and bona fide” source. [5] And it is one that, when we consider the credibility of Redfern himself, surely makes us look at the claims of Kellett of alien bases off the Welsh coast in a more serious light.

According to Redfern, the account took place several weeks following the Berwyn Mountains incident. The witness was an employee with the ‘Central Services’ branch at the Marconi facility near Frimley.

One morning, after arriving at work as normal, she immediately sensed anxiety in the air. And several mysterious and unknown visitors to the facility. Many of them, it would turn out, were high-ranking officials with the Ministry of Defense.

Going about her business, as usual, she would later speak to a colleague with whom she shared a close friendship. He wouldn’t, however, reveal anything to her. Other than to say “we’ve had a break in”.

However, over the coming days, the anonymous witness would discreetly dig further. What she discovered is mind-blowing, to say the least.

The evening prior to the morning which brought with it the high-ranking defense officials to the facility, a security guard performing his usual patrols of the grounds would have an encounter that would change his life forever.

He made his rounds passing through long, lonely corridors, which boasted various doors which housed some of the most secretive documents of the British government’s intelligence services. As he made his way past one such room, however, an urgent bright blue light clearly leaked from inside and into the corridor.

Taking a breath, he prepared to enter the room. Its contents were off-limits during the day to most. They were certainly off-limits now.

A depicting of a crashing UFO

A depicting of a crashing UFO

“We Have No Way Of Keeping These Beings Out!”

When he burst through the door, however, his mind would struggle to comprehend what he was seeing. Redfern writes:

There, literally sifting through pages of top-secret files was a humanoid (but decidedly non-human) creature which quickly de-materialized before the shocked guard’s eyes!

He would go on to state that the blue light emanated from a helmet resting on the creature’s head.

Perhaps even more concerning was the mental health and ultimate fate of the security guard. According to Redfern’s source, within hours he mentally regressed so much he suffered a complete nervous breakdown. He would enter into a military hospital – all the while under armed guard. According to the account, no one ever saw or heard from the security guard again.

Perhaps most ominous of all, however, was a conversation she would hear taking place in the office of her superior officer. Redfern writes:

“…the following is an almost word-for-word transcript of the relevant section of the conversation. ‘We have no way of keeping these beings out. We just don’t know what to do next. If they can get in here, they can get in anywhere!

If we accept that Redfern is a very credible researcher (which indeed he is), then does this account tie in with that of Kellett? That there is an unknown, and unseen cosmic war taking place right under our collective noses? Was this apparent futuristic reconnaissance mission a direct response to the apparent seeking out and attacking of an underwater alien base?

We should note that Redfern in more recent times has changed his overall views on the Berwyn Mountain incident. Although we should also note, in his own words, he remains, as should we all, “open-minded”.

Other Sightings

If we are to believe the whistle-blower in this particular instance – and other statements and eventually declassified documents appear to corroborate his version of events – then we might ask what is going on at some of these secret military bases?

And what of the claims of alien bases, and even alien-human “agreements”, put in place decades ago by people in the highest of political positions? Further to that, what of the claims of human cattle mutilation? Many of the alleged incidents have involved top-secret military units from various countries. Apparently operating on a moment’s notice and with prior knowledge of UFO and extra-terrestrial activity.

We have written before on how “active” the area over the Welsh mountains, and along the Welsh coastline is. And the strange activity continues today, further fueling theories of alien bases being present in this part of the world. Just one of these incidents occurred in 2015, where a strange object was hovering over the Berwyn Mountains. It remained in the gray Welsh skies for around forty seconds, [6] before descending and vanishing from view.

Sightings continue on a regular basis, and many insist, so does the interaction between alien races and “top-level” human beings. A bizarre notion to get your head around perhaps. But also one that is acquiring more and more credibility as reports and incidents such as this one, continue to prove to be all but complete fact.

The video below looks at the Berwyn incident in a little more detail, as well as considering the information that has come to light since.


1 Files released on 1974 ‘Welsh Roswell’, BBC
2 Berwyn Mountains UFO Crash: 40 years on, it’s still a mystery, Steve Bagnell, North Wales Live, January 23rd 2014
3 North Wales X File special – Berwyn Mountains ‘UFO crash’ map revealed, Steve Bagnell, North Wales Live, April 28th 2018 
4 Released files cast light on famous Welsh ‘UFO’ sighting, Darren Devine, August 5th, 2010
5 A Covert Agenda: The British Government’s UFO Top Secrets Exposed, ISBN 9781931 044707
6 Is this a UFO hovering over iconic Welsh landmark? Mysterious object seen floating above castle, Gareth Wyn Williams, The Mirror, September 9th 2015

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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  • Gary Davis says:

    Try reading “The UFOs That Never Were”. Jenny Randles et al. do a masterful of dismantling “The UFO Crash in the Berwyn Mountains.”
    I know, from personal experience, how easy it is to spread an unsubstantiated rumour that, because of its spectacular nature, spreads “Halfway around the world before the Truth can put its trousers on.”
    One need only look at cases from WWII. RAF pilots insisted that they had encountered the Heinkel 100 type. Such reports began during the Battle of Britain (1940), and continued until at least the Desert Campaign in 1942.
    In fact, the Heinkel 100 — with a top speed of 400+MPH (the Hurricanes, 109s and Spitfires of 1940 could achieve (320, 350 and 345 MPH, respectively), was ridiculousy difficult to control. It never entered Service, its place taken by the slower but more reliable Bf109.
    The “Heinkel 100” was the result of a well-worked propaganda scheme by the Luftwaffe. And Trained, EXPERIENCED airmen reported not just sighting them or in dogfights with them, but actually shooting some down.
    In fact, such planes that crashed on land were 109Es, Fs or the new Focke Wulf 190 A series.

  • Tom Davis says:

    On Berwyn, Scott Felton has demolished most of Kellett’s claims.
    The local health authority have said they have no records of a cluster of childhood leukaemia cases in the area.
    Trucks carrying armed soldiers were seen moving through Corwen several hours BEFORE the “earthquake”.
    The BGS doubted there had been a earthquake, described by them as “enigmatic”, so they distributed thousands of questionnaires, knocked on doors, interviewed witnesses, in a search for further information.

  • Phil Cotton says:

    VERY interesting article to myself….
    I’m a believer, had an experience in the early 80’s between Buxton& Leek opposite “The Roaches” formation of rocks.
    Seen 3x UFO’s darting around together in the area of sky over East Midlands Airport area in 2012.
    And…. took some clear night time starry sky pics actually “on” the Welsh “Mach Loop” circuit last September and got 1 pic of a shillouetted Triangled craft with 3 dim.whiteish lights along the 2 main Sides of it…. and this was NOT in my naked eye’s view of that part of the sky when i was taking pics with my phone camera but it HAD blocked out the bright star Saturn at the time of taking it.
    I haven’t put this pic on ANY social media as I don’t want to put it out there at least until I have seen other pics that resemble how it looks…

    If you should wish to see it you are more than welcome to get in touch to discuss it further.

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