The Recently Persistent UFO Sightings Over Manchester, England

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 13, 2018
Last Updated
January 16, 2022
Estimated Reading Time
10 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

Admittedly Manchester, England isn’t the first place that comes to mind when discussing UFO hotspots or waves of strange sightings. However, in recent years, many strange encounters have taken place in the skies over the city. And it would appear these incidents are actually increasing. While no doubt many of them, upon investigation, will prove to have explanations of a reasonable, if mundane nature, some will prove to be much more elusive in isolating just what these strange objects are.

A depiction of a UFO over Manchester

A depiction of a UFO over Manchester

One particular sighting in the summer of 2011 over the Denton area of the city was captured on film. The sighting appeared to take place around late-afternoon in early-July. A cigar-shaped object is clearly visible as it rises higher into the skies above. There appears to either be lights, or a reflection of the early-evening sun along the side of the craft. The witness would state it was visible for around forty minutes before finally disappearing out of range of their sight.

The footage is a little shaky due to the fact the witness had to use full-zoom to focus on the craft. This perhaps tells how high it actually was. And the possible magnitude of the size of it. You can view the video of that sighting below.

Twenty-Three Sightings In A Year!

In February 2016, a story appeared in the Manchester Evening News stating that, according to MUFON, they had received twenty-three reports of UFO sightings over the skies of the Greater Manchester area [1] in the year from January 2015 to January 2016.

The sightings range in detail, and in outlandishness. For example, according to one report, on 10th January 2015, the unnamed witness noticed a humming sound before seeing a strange object land in a field. Entities emerged from this object and appeared to inspect their surroundings before getting back in their vehicle and leaving with great speed. The most startling detail offered, however, was that sheep who were grazing nearby suddenly “exploded”. Whether this was an intentional act on the alleged visitor’s part, or just a consequence of the small flock simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time is perhaps open to debate.

Only weeks later, on 21st February, a ball of “bright white light” was witnessed. It was moving in and out of the clouds through the night sky. It would move at “high speed”, eventually entering a thick bank of cloud and disappearing. Almost exactly a month later, on 20th March, at just after 9 am on the morning of the much-anticipated eclipse, a witness in nearby Stockport witnessed a “strange light” in the suddenly grey sky as they snapped a photo of the event. The light vanished in an instant but was visible in the picture.

On the 21st September, in the middle of the afternoon at 1:30 pm, two “disc shapes flying at different heights” were witnessed for several minutes. They too suddenly vanished from sight.

Manchester UFO 2011

UFO over Manchester, 2011

Multiple Crafts, Formation Flying, And Possible Abduction?

Several sightings speak of multiple crafts, at times even flying “in formation”. On 24th August, for example, no less than five crafts were witnessed in the skies over Bury, Lancashire. The witness would describe them “like they were playing tag”. They would state that three of the strange crafts “shot into cloud” before vanishing from sight. The remaining two aerial vehicles would swirl around the clouds before also disappearing into them at lightning pace.

On 27th September, just before noon in Wigan, “five shiny metallic objects” were seen clearly flying through the sky in a “triangle formation”. Only days later, at around 7 am on 30th September, a resident of Ashton Under Lyne witnessed a strange craft “flying side by side” with an airliner. It would continue on this route for several seconds before suddenly performing a sharp right turn and vanishing directly upwards.

Perhaps one of the strangest of these recently highlighted UFO encounters, though, was one that took place in the early hours of 9th February 2016. At around 1 am, just as the witness was dropping to sleep, a strange sensation in their room compelled them to look out of the window. An airborne object that “made very rapid movements and went in every direction” at unbelievable speeds would fill their vision. The witness would further state that they “knew instantly what it was”. Later in the night, the witness claimed to wake to see an alien’s face above their bed. Thinking it was a dream, they would go back to sleep. The following day, they would discover a small scar on their back that wasn’t there previously.

The 2014 “Glitch In The Cloud” Sighting!

On the morning of 7th November 2014, a little after 10 am, a saucer-shaped craft with several bright lights was clearly visible over the Middleton area of Manchester. [2] So much so that John Hindley managed to capture a photograph of the visitor. The sighting created a quiet storm of debate in UFO circles.

35-year-old Hindley would later state that the object looked like a “glitch in the cloud”. After he zoomed in on the picture, however, he believed it was clear it was a solid object. He would also state that he had sensed a strange “pulling sensation” when looking out of the third-floor window of his friend’s house which forced him to look up. Even stranger, he would also state that when he looked at the pictures a little later, he would sense this same “pulling feeling”, likening it to a “lunar pull”. After half-an-hour or so, the object disappeared.

A year previously, on 8th December 2013, Duncan Kennedy would spot a strange object hovering over Strangeways prison [3] from the balcony of his Salford flat. He would manage to capture several moments of footage using his mobile phone. While the footage is not conclusive, it certainly doesn’t appear to be a helicopter or airplane.

Another sighting occurred over Salford Precinct at around 10 pm on 21st April 2009. [4] The witness, known only as Rachel, would report the event. She would claim the object to be a “bright orange light, like a fire-ball moving at a steady pace”. The sighting came amid several similar sightings in the area in the previous weeks.

Manchester UFO November 2014

UFO over Manchester, Nov. 2014

Encounter On The M5

On the evening of 29th June 2008 at 9:50 pm, 25-year-old Navy Engineer, Michael Madden, along with his colleague 22-year-old, Michael Casson, were driving along the M5 following a visit to Manchester when they witnessed a strange craft overhead. The disc-shaped object would hover for several moments, [5] glowing brightly, before it “zoomed off at incredible speed”.

The witness would dismiss in advance any claims that what he saw was a standard aircraft. He would claim, aside from working with Royal Air Force aircraft on a regular basis, he grew up near to Manchester Airport, “so I know exactly what a plane looks and sounds like. This was definitely not a plane”.

Only weeks before the sighting over the M5, on 7th June, three soldiers at Tern Hill Barracks would claim to have witnessed thirteen “rotating cubes” during their night patrol. Only hours later, a police helicopter would report a huge craft in the skies over Cardiff, only eighty miles away. They would report the craft as a huge “flying saucer-shaped” object. Furthermore, after the object almost collided with them they pursued it for some time before it disappeared.

Another sighting, three years earlier in July 2005, would see Peter Sotomski, along with four work colleagues, witness an “unusual object” speeding across the sky at 10 am, in the Eccles area of Manchester. Around five minutes after that object had vanished, a second object appeared, traveling the exact same direction.

Strange Activity Goes Back Decades!

Although these sightings have undoubtedly increased as the 2000s have gone on, recently declassified files show that several significant UFO encounters also took place in the Manchester region in the 1990s. [6]

For example, throughout August and September 1996, came a mini-wave of reports of fast-moving bright lights. Sightings would come from Middleton, Oldham, Stockport, Prestwich, Ramsbottom, Wilmslow, and Longsight areas of Greater Manchester. All witnesses would report how fast these lights moved. They would also speak of the stop-start, zig-zag type nature of their movements. This detail, found in many other UFO witness statements, would indicate something far different than a standard aircraft.

Perhaps one of the higher-profile of these sightings occurred on the evening of 6th January 1995 [7] when the pilots of a British Airways flight (Flight 5061) approached Manchester Airport arriving from Milan, Italy. Captain Roger Willis, along with co-pilot, Mark Stuart, would report an incident as they flew over the Pennines. A brightly lit oval-shaped craft screamed past the right-hand side of the plane. The object was only in sight for two, maybe three seconds.

The pilots enquired with Manchester Air Traffic Control as to any other aircraft in the area. The response came back that nothing was in their airspace. And more unnerving for the pilots, radar had not picked up any unknown objects. The MoD would “investigate” the sighting. According to their report in April 1996 due to no evidence other than the pilot’s testimonies, they no longer had an interest in the case. The sighting remains unexplained.

The Little-Known Lyme Park Incident

It would appear sightings of strange objects in the Manchester region go back even further than the 1990s, with one particular incident that unfolded during Christmas 1975 being particularly intriguing. The account was passed to us by the witness himself and, aside from apparent newspaper coverage that is now missing from the archives (more on that later), this is the first time it has entered the public arena.

The witness in question, 54-year-old Dave Bradbury, was only a young child at the time, but on this particular night, he would witness something that he has never forgotten. On Christmas Night 1975, Bradbury, along with his brother and his uncle, were at Lyme Park in Disley, just outside of Manchester in order sled in the snow on the hilly area near the park’s entrance. In fact, due to the snow that covered everywhere, they could see, there were plenty of other local youngsters who were doing likewise.

Bradbury would recall how there were two slopes at the park’s entrance. One of these was younger children (which he, his brother, and his uncle were) and a second hill that was for teenagers and older youngsters. Each was awash with sleds and their occupants at between 5 and 6 pm on the night in question. However, all of their attention was about to be drawn to the dark, snow skies above.

Artist's impression of the incident

Artist’s impression of the incident

Suddenly, as if out of nowhere and “without any sound, a huge beam of light beamed down from about 200 feet” above them. Bradbury recalled how “everyone just stood and stared” up at this suddenly appearing and extremely strange light beam. The beam itself was perfectly straight with “very little” if any flare at all.

The light remained shining down on the scene below for several moments, causing the snow on the ground to shine in even more brilliant white. Then, as quickly as it came, the light suddenly went out. Several moments later, it appeared once more, only this time a little further down the valley before going out again once more.

At this point, Bradbury looked upwards to examine the sky. When he did so he could see a “black mass” that was most definitely something solid and that was moving extremely slowly, “almost a walking pace”. A short time after noticing the bizarrely moving object, Bradbury, as well as his brother, and uncle, decided to quickly leave the park and make their way home.

Another Eyebrow Raising Detail!

Bradbury would add another intriguing detail in his report, however. Years later, for example, he looked to discover if there had been any newspaper reports of the encounter in the Manchester Evening News. Much to his surprise, the section for December 17th to December 31st was missing.

While this does not for one minute mean that there was even a report in one of the newspapers during this period, it is certainly a little eyebrow-raising that this particular section of dates is missing, and is certainly worth taking note of.

As Bradbury states in his report “there were plenty of other people who witnessed the event”, adding that some of the (older kids) will be in their 60s now. With that in mind if you were a witness to the incident that night then please contact us with any information or details you might have.

There are certainly many similar accounts from across the decades that feature large, slow-moving crafts that shine strange beams of light to the ground, many of which we have examined before. Perhaps one of the most well-known is the Trancas incident in Argentina in 1963, during which multiple witnesses claimed a “solid beam of light” emerged from the underside of a large craft and reached directly to the ground. Another similar incident happened even earlier, this time in Merom, Indiana in 1957 when a similar “brilliant beam of blue light” hit the ground from the underside of a large, circular craft. There are many other cases we could highlight.

Other Similar Cases At The Same Time?

It might also be worth our time examining some very similar lesser-known UFO reports around the same time as the above account from around the world. [8] And while at least some of these cases suggest alien abduction encounters (something that Lyme Park incident clearly doesn’t), they are still worthy of our time.

For example, several weeks earlier, on the 17th December 1975 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 16-year-old Salles de Andrade was making his way home when an “intense beam of light” appeared from out of the sky directly overhead. The next thing he realized he awoke the following morning in a nearby thicket.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing – due to the similar details to the Lyme Park incident – occurred at around 10:30 pm on 31st December 1975 in Lisle, Illinois. [9] On the night in question, a husband and wife were driving to a relative’s house for a New Year’s Eve celebration in nearby Wheaton. As they did so, however, they would spot “a light suspended in the sky” over a field near the road.

They, along with several other road users would pull their car to the side of the road in order to get a better look. As they did so, they noticed the light appeared to “scan” the ground below them. Although the object appeared to make no noise, the witness did notice a “pulsated humming” sensation in the air. As they were driving away from the scene, the light suddenly went out, as if it had been turned off.

It might also be worth mentioning the more famous case of David Stephens, who claimed to have been the victim of alien abduction only two months before the Lyme Park case on 27th October 1975 in Oxford, Maine. He would claim that while driving on the night in question a “beam of light” shot to the ground from the underside of a strange craft that was “as big as a football” field (on that occasion the beam of light disabled their vehicle and possibly caused the witnesses to blackout).

Whether or not there is a connection between these accounts and the incident at Lyme Park in Manchester in 1975 is perhaps up for debate. Once more, though, if anyone reading this does happen to know more about that incident, and especially if they were one of the sledgers there that evening, please get in touch with us (see the contact details below).

Check out the short video below. It looks briefly at UFO sightings over Manchester.


1 Manchester’s UFO sightings: Exploding sheep, almighty bangs and bright orbs all spotted last year, David Ottewell and Todd Fitzgerald, Manchester Evening News, February 20th, 2016
2 Flying saucer uses sinister ‘mind control’ ray on Manchester man, Rob Waugh, Metro, November 17th, 2014
3 Is it a bird, is it a plane? Or is that a UFO hovering over Strangeways?, Mark Rochardson, Manchester Evening News, December 10th, 2013
4 UFO Spotted Over Salford Precinct, Salford Star
5 UFO Spotted By Navy Engineer Over M5 Motorway, Lucy Cockcroft, The Telegraph, July 1st 2008
6 Pilots experience close encounter with UFO in skies over Manchester, Richard Wheatstone, Manchester Evening News, July 12th, 2012
7 UFO Had Near Miss With Boeing 737, The Telegraph, February 18th, 2010
8 The 1975 UFO Chronology, NICAP,NICAP.htm
9 UFO Over Lisle, National UFO Reporting Center

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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1 Comment

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  • Colin Taylor says:

    want to know more, would you like to see them and communicate with them ?

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