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Thursday, 20 January, 2000, 18:12 GMT
UFO theory 'does not wash' with experts

Laboratory Researchers studied the material and believe it is leather

Researchers have shattered claims that a fragment of cloth found at hot-spot for UFO sightings came from space.

Tests have shown the piece of material - which excited UFO observers around the world - is nothing more than a window cleaner's chamois leather.

This cloth did not come from space
Joyce Cook
The rag was unearthed in East Lothian by an American lawyer five months ago after he said he saw strange lights in the area.

But experts at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University said the mustard coloured cloth would be more at home in a bucket of water than in outer space.

Joyce Cook, from the university's textile department in Galashiels, said there was nothing mysterious about the material's origins.

'Natural fibre'

"My feelings are that it is a natural fibre, probably leather based," she said.

"It is in a high state of degradation and if you put pressure on it, it gives way and tears very easily.

UFO picture Scotland is a popular destination for UFO hunters
"If something is nylon or polyester it melts and goes hard when burnt, but this just burned down to pure ash, which is what happens with natural fibres."

"This cloth did not come from space."

When news of the "mystery" cloth reached the Far East a Japanese TV crew hatched a plan to focus cameras on two landmark hills at the centre of many UFO reports - Traprain Law and Berwick Law.

Rooftop cameras

Cameras are to be mounted on the roof of Gullane's Templar Lodge Hotel and any unusual activity caught on film will be shown on TV.

Microscope "More at home in bucket of water"
Hotel spokesman Stephen Prior said the crew would still be arriving in the spring and would be filming round the clock following the cloth discovery.

The hotel's Richard Taylor said he still believed it was possible the cloth was from outer space.

"The report from the textile unit is good in many ways. They are speculating that it might be leather but they don't really seem to know what it is," he said.

"If it is leather, there will be a DNA content and that will be our next step. As it stands, it is still to be properly identified and its exact origins remain a mystery.
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See also:
04 Jan 00 |  Scotland
UFOs lure Japanese TV firm
12 Jun 98 |  UK
They came from space ...
01 Jul 98 |  Sci/Tech
UFOs mystify scientists
25 Jun 98 |  Entertainment
Roswell space alien breaks its silence

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