From Merseyside UFO Bulletin, Volume 2, Number 6, November-December 1969
On the evening of January 3, 1970, Alan Sharp and I attended the regular Saturday night skywatch on Cradle Hill, Warminster. The night was frosty, but cloudy at first, with only a few stars visible now and again.
As we reached the gate, we could hear the party of watchers walking towards us down the road from the guardhouse. Mr Shuttlewood car came over and spoke to us and we asked him about the significance of the spot known as Heaven’s Gate, on the Longleat estate. He told us that one of the usual “breaking points” for Cradle Hill UFOs (i.e., the part of the sky in which they first appear) was on a line with Heaven’s Gate. He repeated his opinion that it night be a place where different dimensions meet. (1) It was also reputed to be the meeting place of an all-male coven of witches. Three was some talk of strange smells and atmospheres noticed by observers on Cradle Hill and at Heaven’s Gate.
Eventually most of us, including Mr Shuttlewood, set off up the road to the guardhouse As we passed the copse on our left we were told that horses refused to go near it. We continued to walk for a few hundred yards on to the ranges. On our way back we decided to investigate the copse. An undentified odour was noticed immediately we entered it and after much sniffing, Alan Sharp traced it to a barrn full of hay, just outside the copse. With that little mystery solved we resumed our walk back to the gate where the cars were parked.
By now, the sky was clearing and Arthur Shuttlewood told us to watch the Plough, which was behind us as we walked down the road. We walked on, glancing back now and again, but Arthur hung back and was soon lost to view. Suddenly, when we were about half-way to the gate, there was an outbreak of exclamations from members of the party. A bright, flickering, orange light was seen from somewhere up near the Cradle Hill copse. Most of us saw it. One or two people leapt over the barbed wire fence and raced off in its general direction.
“It’s like somebody lighting a cigarette,” I said. Someone else said it looked like “rapid Morse”.
People shouted to Arthur, asking if he had seen it. An affirmative answer floated faintly back on the frosty air. However, when he rejoined us he said he thought at first that we had seen what he had seen, which was an object moving horizontally across the lower part of the Plough. The object was something like a shooting star, except that it flashed on and off.
Meanwhile, people were scrambling over the barbed wire fence and running up to the Cradle Fill copse. Less energetic watchers strolled down to the gate. I eventually joined the party up by the copse. The sky was quite clear now and many meteors were seen. The strange light was generally agreed to have been someone lighting a cigarette.
We were told that, before we arrived that evening, a strong smell of sulphur was noticed on Cradle Hi11, near the gate. It seemed to be wafting from the direction of the copse and it persisted for about a quarter of an hour. We were unable to explain this odour, as we had also been baffled by the experience of John Rimmer, when he and I visited Warminster last September. On that occasion he became aware of a smell, “like scented soap,’ which he detected on Cradle Kill in an area extending from the gate to about 80 yards down the road. The strange thing about it was that not one of the other people present was able to detect it.
Finally, back at the gate, the skywatch seemed to be coming quietly to a close, as the frost grew more penetrating. Mr Shuttlewood shook hands and said goodnight. Suddenly he turned and pointed: “Look, over therel”
“Where, where?” everyone shouted.
Our gaze was directed to Battlesbury Hill where we made out a faint light twinkling just above it. Mr Shuttlewood and some others thought it was noving up rather rapidly. Perhaps it was the same thing as a rather puzzling object which had been seen in the same direction during a BUFORA skywatch last June? However, the light soon shone out clearly and steadily and Alan Sharp quickly identified it as the star Arcturus.
Mr Shuttlewood conceded this, but it certainly seemed to some of us that it rose rather rapidly at first over the crest of Battlesbury. As the star rose higher, the group of watchers broke up and drifted away down the hill.
1. Arthur Shuttlewood. ‘The Latest Warminster Landing’, Merseyside UFO Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 4, July-August 1969/