SKYWATCHERS returned to the hills around Warminster at the weekend, 30 years after a 100-strong vigil was held by those hoping to catch a glimpse of an infamous UFO.

Reporter Victoria Ashford joined enthusiasts on Cradle Hill on Saturday night, hoping to catch a glimpse of The Thing - a reported UFO first reported as being seen in the skies above Warminster in 1964.

The occasion also marked the 60th anniversary since the first sighting of a flying saucer, a phrase coined by pilot Kenneth Arnold following an incident in Washington, USA in 1947.

Author Kevin Goodman has returned to Cradle Hill regularly since his first visit in 1976 and recalled one of his most memorable experiences while studying UFOs at the Fountain Centre for UFO Studies in Warminster in late July/early August that year.

He said: "I looked out of the window and saw a silvery cigar-shaped object moving across the sky to where the golf club is.

"There were people on the hillside looking at it and I took three shots of the object on my camera. I got the pictures back three weeks later and found that I had got a picture of the sky and some trees, but no object. I had the object dead in the centre each time but nothing came out."

Mr Goodman has written about his sky watching experiences in a book called UFO Warminster: Cradle of Contact that chronicles a series of UFO related events throughout the 1970s.

Despite having been brought up in a strict Catholic family Mr Goodman admits it is still difficult to explain what he has seen, except to say that he has seen something.

He said: "If you were to ask if I believe in UFOs, well, I don't know, that's the answer. I'm not trying to convince anyone but I was not the only person there on those occasions." Another sky watcher at Cradle Hill on Saturday was great-grandmother, Molly Carey, 88, from Corton, who said she used to bring her son and daughter up to the hills every week when they were in their early teens.

She said: "I was up here one night and I saw a strange light come down from the sky.

"I can't see how this can be the only inhabited planet. It is quite possible messages could be being sent down to us."

This year also mark the 60th anniversary since the Roswell UFO incident in New Mexico, USA, in which a press release was issued by the Roswell Army Air Force announcing that a flying disc had been recovered.

The statement was retracted later that day by the Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force who said it was, in fact, a top-secret research balloon.

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