Several members of Merseyside UFO Research Group attended the BUFORA Northern Conference at Bradford on 10 September 1966. Arthur Shuttlewood was the main speaker and John Harney wrote the following review of his lecture, which was published in the October 1966 issue of MUFORG Bulletin.
As the audience settled down to listen to Arthur Shuttlewood’s lecture at the Bradford Conference, no doubt many were expecting merely a sort of roundup of the sightings and incidents which have occurred there. If so, they were due for a shock.
His talk began reasonably enough, with details of some of the better-known incidents which focused public attention on Warminster. He said he had not seriously considered UFOs until 28 September 1965, when he saw one himself. He attacked the cynics who alleged that the whole business was deliberately cooked up to act as a tourist attraction. He also vented his spleen on the editors of the national newspapers. He claimed that a representative of one of them (not named) had offered him £500 for a UFO photograph, saying that it didn’t matter whether it was genuine or faked.
Then he went on to assert that he had seen 288 UFOs since February and had obtained over 70 photographs of them in the same period. “Witnesses have come to Warminster, knowing we can guarantee a sighting,” he said.
Mr Shuttlewood does his saucer spotting on a hill near Warminster. He claims to have spent every clear night there since February of this year, equipped with camera and telescope, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by other sky-watchers. Indeed, a friend of his is said to have sighted no fewer than 322 UFOs. Out of Warminster’s population of 11,000, over 800 are said to have seen UFOs. Sceptics see and are “converted”.
There is much more to it, though, than just looking out for UFOs and listening for the “Warminster sound”. There are the space people themselves. “By next May,” says Shuttlewood, “the whole world will have to believe in the people above.” From what he has heard and “sensed” he is certain they (the space people) can monitor our thoughts. Not content with merely monitoring his thoughts, however, the spacemen have taken to ringing him up on the telephone. They are human and more evolved than us and they are concerned about us. They wear balaclava helmets and they are getting into the habit of hurling themselves in front of motor cars on lonely roads near Warminster. When the shaken drivers get out, they vanish. This alarming procedure is apparently intended to convey a message; it means “Don’t you commit mass slaughter”.
To convert people they sometimes use unconventional electrical methods. However, they are not “extrovert” unless they want to convert you. They are “the greatest levellers of society.” They are also sincere. Shuttlewood, too, is sincere. “I am as sincere as you are”, he told us.
There was much more – he spoke for two hours. The foregoing is just a brief summary. Some will say we are being unfair to Shuttlewood with our sceptical, tongue-in-cheek approach. But never mind, some other UFO magazine will quite likely print an account describing the lecture as “thrilling and inspiring”. If we may say one thing in favour of the lecture – a number of members of the audience found it very amusing, but were too polite to laugh out loud.
As a result of the activities of Arthur Shuttlewood, confusion about what really goes on at Warminster has increased. For example, there is the Cradle Hill incident of 17 August. Present were Arthur Shuttlewood, Eileen Buckle, Chairman of BUFORA’s Contact Section, and Philip Rodgers. Mr Shuttlewood alleged that a UFO was seen and landed in a field for a few moments. There are at least two published accounts to date. They give rather different impressions of the incident. One account gives the impression that the UFO was brought down by Shuttlewood flashing signals from a torch and the other suggests that the witnesses were probably mistaken. Other, verbal accounts that we have heard allege that it was cooked up by Shuttlewood who, with Miss Buckle, was watching a satellite, then suddenly pointed in the opposite direction and chased after the alleged UFO. It seems that only Shuttlewood actually claimed to have seen it land and then only for a few seconds.
From other accounts it seems that Shuttlewood’s usual technique is to point out a satellite, calling it a UFO. Then, when the satellite disappears in the earth’s shadow he directs the observer’s attention to a nearby star and says that the UFO is now hovering. It also seems that he manages to generate a great deal of excitement on these skywatches and impresses people with his charm and apparent sincerity to such an extent that stars and satellites become magically transformed into flying saucers.
There are, of course, a number of unexplained sightings and other incidents in the Warminster area, but to suggest that genuine UFOs are to be seen night after night there is a gross exaggeration. If this were so, the mystery would be practically solved by now. More sophisticated instruments than simple cameras and telescopes would have been brought to bear on the objects. The light from them would have been analysed and full details of their flight characteristics, etc., would be known. There would be a mass of useful data for the scientists to work on. So far there is nothing of the sort.
Whether Mr Shuttlewood has made up the more fantastic details of his story, either to make money, or to enjoy the resulting notoriety, or whether he has got himself into the state in which he honestly believes all the fantastic things he describes are really happening, readers must judge for themselves. However, anyone who believed every word of his Bradford lecture must indeed be a credulous person.