UFO and paranormal enthusiasts will this summer descend on a Wiltshire town credited with being the nation’s hotspot for mystery sightings.

Warminster will play host to the Weird 2009 conference in August, which will be attended by UFO expert and former Ministry of Defence employee Nick Pope, who during his time at the MoD was tasked with documenting the UFO phenomenon.

Mr Pope, nicknamed the British Fox Mulder, referring to the character in The X Files, will be one of the guest speakers at the conference, being held in the Athenaeum Centre on the weekend of August 29-30.

Warminster is known as the former UFO capital of the UK, possibly the world, with 5,000 sightings over a 10-year period.

During the conference a skywatch and paranormal investigation will be held on the famed Cradle Hill.

Warminster became a hive of activity in the 1960s and 70s when a mystery sound was first heard on December 25, 1964.

Witnesses described a strange cracking and crashing sound which later became known as The Thing.

Over time the noise phenomenon reduced and people started seeing UFOs, describing them as silent, stationary and cigar-shaped. The first sighting was on May 19, 1965.

The phenomenon lead to a public meeting in the town hall in August 1965, which was televised and reported worldwide.

Chris Williams, one of the organisers of Weird 09, said: “This is more than a normal UFO or paranormal conference.

“Weird 09 will be an experience for everyone who attends.

“We have an atmospheric venue, a great line-up and will soon be announcing a very well known personality who will act as our host for the weekend.”

Other guest speakers will include US crop circle researcher Nancy Talbot and UFO researchers and authors Paul Devereux and Joe McGonagle.

Fundraising will take place over the two days for the Great Western Hospital Special Care Baby Unit.

Tickets for the event are on sale and can be bought at www.mystical-county.org.uk/booking.htm.

A one day pass costs £15, while a weekend pass costs £25. The skywatch is free while a ghost hunt ticket costs £25.