An Encounter Out Of The Blue: The 1971 Himbleton Girl Guides UFO Sighting

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
March 22, 2024
Estimated Reading Time
5 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

While camping in the small town of Himbleton in the south of England, several girl guides and their camp leaders witnessed a strange object approach their camp from a nearby field, and hover over them for several moments before disappearing out of sight once more. While it is certainly not the most dramatic of sightings, it is one that we should take not for being a credible account offered by witnesses who were seeking neither fortune nor fame. In fact, especially given the times in which the incident unfolded, the witnesses had much more to lose than gain for reporting the encounter.

Perhaps of further interest, although the notion of “flying saucers” and “visitors from outer space” was very much in the public consciousness – particularly in the Western world – at this time, it still wasn’t at the levels it would be in the later part of the 1970s and the closing decades of the twentieth century, something which perhaps lends even more credibility to the incident. Indeed, the sighting, as little known as it is, remains of interest to UFO researchers and enthusiasts today over half a century after it occurred.

The incident that evening appears to be one of pure chance and coincidence – a case where the witnesses were simply in the wrong (or right, depending on your point of view) place at the wrong (or right) time. It is, though, an intriguing encounter that perhaps makes us think how many other similar, unreported incidents there might be lurking out there.

A “Terrific Roar” Followed By “Flashing Lights”

The strange and intriguing events unfolded during one evening in early August 1971 in the town of Himbleton in Worcestershire in the United Kingdom. Girl Guide leader, Olive Grainger, would speak of the encounter to ATV a short time later, and it is from this interview (with ATV’s Sue Jay) that most of what we know is available to the public. [1] She would offer that the leaders of the group were enjoying a “last cup of cocoa around the campfire” while the rest of the guides were in bed.

She stated that there was a sudden “terrific roar” which caused them to look up. When they did so they saw a “straight line with flashing lights” that was heading towards them, causing them to “duck” as they anticipated this mysterious object was going to crash into them. At the last minute, though, it “swerved and went into the meadow” next to the field where they had set up their camp. They estimated that the object was around 50 yards away.

At this point, another of the camp leaders – Miss Hair – had joined them, as had two of the girl guides who had been alerted due to the commotion. The small group simply stood there in shock, fascinated by what they were seeing as the object now simply hovered in front and above them.

Grainger would respond when she first saw the object that she thought it was an “aircraft out of control” and that she thought it was “going to land on the campsite”, elaborating that they were all “very frightened”. She stated further, that aside from the roaring noise, there were no other sounds whatsoever. In short, they all suddenly found themselves in a very unusual situation.

It “Wasn’t An Airplane” I Am “Sure About That!

Jay proceeded to ask Grainger, once they had a chance to “get a good look at it”, what shape the object was. Grainger responded that it “seemed to be a circular shape”, adding that they “didn’t see all around it, we just saw one side of it – we just saw lights”. She then added that the object “hadn’t got any wings at all” confirming that, whatever it was, it “wasn’t an airplane”, she was “sure of that”.

After several moments, Miss Hair suggested that they approach the object so that they could get a closer look. However, Grainger, as well as the other camp leader, Mrs. McCann, decided otherwise, both “terrified and frightened” by what they were seeing. Instead of approaching the object, the witness decided to try and phone the manor (the main building of the land they were camping on) but soon realized it was much too late and didn’t wish to disturb the landowner, Lady Sans, nor did they wish to frighten her by informing her of the bizarre and strange object on her property.

Although they realized they were seeing something truly unusual, none of the women were sure of exactly who they should contact. Instead, they watched the object for a short time longer.

Grainger reiterated that whatever the object was, they were all sure it wasn’t an airplane or any other conventional aircraft, adding that it was “either something from outer space, or it was something that they’re developing” that was “hush-hush” that “they don’t want us to know about”.

An Undramatic But Credible Account

Jay then asked Grainger how high the object was. She stated that when it was in the field, it “wasn’t very high at all”, in fact, it was “quite close to the ground”, approximately around 30 feet in the air. When it was moving directly over them, however, it was much higher up, at least as high as a standard two-story house.

Grainger further offered that the subject of “flying saucers” was not something that she had devoted any significant thought to. Although she was aware of some of the reports from around the world, she never believed she would find herself in the middle of such an event, adding that she had always said that “if I saw one I would believe in then, and until I did see one, I wouldn’t!”. Furthermore, she was “convinced that we saw something – there was definitely something there”.

Olive Grainger

Just what the girl guide leaders and the two girl guides witnessed that evening remains a complete mystery. However, their descriptions of the object, while perhaps basic, is certainly compelling. In fact, it is perhaps the lack of intricate detail that makes this sighting so credible. We might imagine that if there was any fabrication involved there would be “entertaining” details, and more intricate and captivating events.

As it is, all that these multiple witnesses tell us is that a strange object with multiple lights approached them from a nearby field and hovered above them for several minutes before disappearing once more. In short, we should most likely take the sighting as an incident with an aerial object that was most definitely out of the ordinary.

Something Strange That Remains A Mystery

Just what was witnessed that day in the summer of 1971 in Hmbleton, England remains a complete mystery. However, given the many other reports that are on record all over the planet – at the time and before and since – it is a safe bet that the witnesses did indeed see an unidentified flying object. Of course, whether that object was extraterrestrial in nature is one of the key questions of the whole affair.

As we mentioned in our opening, there is little reason to think that the incident is any kind of fabrication. Nor is there any reason to believe the report is any kind of hoax. In fact, we might consider just how many other, similar sightings go unreported for fear of ridicule, or worse.

The fact is, we, in the UFO community know that reports such as these have been made multiple, multiple times across the decades, and from multiple different locations around the world. With this in mind, surely, all those people can not have been mistaken or have a sudden urge to make up a lie about what they had seen.

The sighting in Himbleton is simply another example of every day witnesses seeing something unusual and reporting on those events. It is down to those of us who are open-minded enough to contemplate their account to ensure that it isn’t forgotten. And that one day, as other sightings and encounters are studied and perhaps solved, answers surface for encounters such as this one. For now, though, it is another report on the ever-growing pile of similar reports of strange, otherworldly craft seemingly visiting our planet.

Incidentally, if you know anyone who might have been present at this sighting – or indeed, if you yourself were there, then please get in touch and tell us your story.

For now, you can see the ATV news report below.


1 ATV Today: 23.08.1971: UFO Sighting By Girl Guides

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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