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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
New details on UFO case released
Tom Bourton
Tom Bourton
BBC Wales news website

Roswell incident
The possibility of alien life has provoked excitement for centuries

It's 60 years since the term flying saucer was first coined, and I have to admit I hold a rather cynical view when it comes to UFOs and alien life.

But no matter how much of an unbeliever you are, the idea of extraterrestrial life cannot fail to quicken the pulse and the notion has captivated the imagination of people all across the globe for decades.

And it's not likely to go away - the lure of the unexplained has long proved irresistible and, with space tourism becoming a reality, our fascination with close encounters can only grow.

Thirty years ago, a corner of south west Wales was caught up in a "flap" - a wave of sightings in an area - that became known as The Broad Haven Triangle.

So when details about these cases were released at the National Archive in Kew recently, I couldn't resist some Mulder and Scully action.

It was a bit like an upside-down saucer - it looked like a jelly to start with
Rosa Granville

Leafing through the documents at Kew, the story began to unfold. It was April 1977 and Rosa Granville, who runs the Haven Fort Hotel in Little Haven, was in bed at around 2.30am when she was awoken by strange noise and lights.

Looking out of her window, she described seeing an object which looked like an "upside-down saucer" in the field next to the hotel and two 'faceless humanoid' creatures with pointed heads.

The incident, she said in a subsequent letter she wrote to her MP Nicholas Edwards, left her "agitated and disturbed and not the least bit desirous of another encounter".

"I would be pleased to hear of an explanation, it would greatly help to relieve the sense of shock I feel since my encounter," she added.

I shouted 'Hello, what are you doing there?'. They looked faceless. I couldn't see their features
Rosa Granville

Speaking to BBC Wales' news website, Mrs Granville recalled the object: "It was a bit like an upside-down saucer - it looked like a jelly to start with."

"There was so much heat - I was by the window - my face felt burned.

"There was light coming from it and flames of all colours. Then [the creatures] came out of these flames, that's what I don't understand.

"I shouted 'Hello, what are you doing there' - they looked faceless. I couldn't see their features."

She said she went to find other people in the hotel to show them, but that when she returned to the window a few minutes later, the objects and the men had gone.

Little Haven
There were a flurry of UFO sightings near Little Haven in 1977

When she visited the site of the alleged landing in the morning, she added there were "two inches of burned ground there".

On receiving Mrs Granville's letter back in 1977, Mr Edwards contacted the Ministry of Defence and Flight Lieutenant Cowan, an officer from RAF Brawdy, then visited the hotel.

In his report to MoD chiefs, Flt Lt Cowan wrote: "[Mrs Granville] told me that one night in April of this year she saw a round object 'like the moon falling down' land in a field at the back of her property. Two very tall, faceless 'humanoids' got out of this object (about the size of a mini bus) and appeared to 'take measurements or gather things'."

'Landing fees'

Flt Lt Cowan said he examined the landing site but "could find no evidence of a landing" and could offer no further explanation.

He added finally that, "should a UFO arrive at RAF Brawdy we will charge normal landing fees and inform you immediately".

Other incidents reported in the Broad Haven area at the time included a class of schoolchildren who claimed to have seen a spacecraft near their playground. Then a family said they saw several UFOs in the space of a week, as well as several sightings of silver suited creatures.

In his report, Flt Lt Cowan did mention the possibility that "a local prankster" was at work, and when contacted recently, he said the description of aliens from many witnesses "fitted exactly the type of protective suit that would be used in the event of a fire at one of the local oil refineries at Milford Haven".

This indeed seems to have been the case as in 1996, the Western Mail carried a report in which a 44-year-old businessman Glyn Edwards admitted he had wandered around the area in a silver suit in 1977 as a prank.

The fact the RAF did an investigation of a UFO encounter is unique, as far as I'm aware
Dr David Clarke

"Alien sightings were all the rage, so I took a stroll around for a bit of fun," he is reported as saying.

However, Mrs Granville remains insistent that she had not been the subject of a hoax.

"You will always get silly people pretending, but what I saw was definitely humanoid," she said.

Looking back now, Mrs Granville said she wished there had been an explanation from nearby RAF Brawdy, but that they had always denied their plane or their men were involved.

Researcher and lecturer Dr David Clarke, who has written a book called Flying Saucerers: A Social History of UFOlogy, said Mrs Granville's account was a big part of "a UFO flap" at the time.

"Despite the fact we know there was hoaxing in the area, the fact that Mrs Granville's account has remained consistent over 30 years shows she did see something unusual," he said.

"The fact the RAF did an investigation of a UFO encounter is unique, as far as I'm aware."

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