It is worth noting the time of year and day during which this sighting took place. Autumn in Britain inspired Wordsworth to name it "Season of mists
and mellow fruitfulness", a poetic way of describing moisture hanging low in the atmosphere.
It was the nearing the end of the what would likely have been an uneventful shift during the early hours, as is evidenced by the two officers
reporting they were returning to the station when they saw the "object". "The UFO Flap" was in full swing during Nineteen Sixty Seven in Britain.
Consider two tired and possibly bored officers, on a clear moorland night, with a low hanging mist and a particularly bright planet Venus low on the
horizon, on a winding undulating road, during a period of time when UFOs and Cold War paranoia had a firm hold on the national psyche. Put all of
these factors together and you have an almost perfect set of circumstances to produce what was reported.
The incident was reported on the national BBC TV news bulletins, but Clifford says the powers that be wanted the sighting 'hushed up.'
"We were visited by a boffin from the MoD who told us that we were still officers under the Official Secrets Acts and they would rather we kept it to
The fact that the two officers were interviewed by DI55 was later proved accurate by a Two Thousand and Five Freedom Of Information Act request, in
which it was concluded that what had been seen that night was the planet Venus. Back then, a number of debates were raging about the UFO sightings in
Britain. Could it be the Soviet Union spying on us? Were the UFOs further evidence of life in outer space? Or were people just seeing things?
Roger and Clifford, meanwhile, say they didn't imagine their sighting and they're still waiting for a logical explanation. "No explanation has been
given to us by anybody and we haven't asked," said Clifford. (Once again this is either a blatant misquote or a case of faulty memory.)
"We've just gently been asked to sweep it under the carpet. It didn't happen - that's what they said. But we know what we saw." “Nobody can
explain exactly what it was,” said Willey. “No explanation has been given to us by anybody,” agreed Waycott.
Evidently the policemen, and BBC Devon, had forgotten that Howard Miles of the B.A.A. had provided the answer in the BBC’s own Plymouth studios
back in Nineteen Sixty Seven. The Devon police case was the most high-profile sighting in a countrywide UFO flap that occurred during the mid
Sixties. Among other cases in that month was the sighting of another bright, cross-shaped object by PCs in Cheshire three days after the Devon report,
which would almost certainly have been case of similar factors coming together and is not difficult to believe that the highly publicised Devon report
coloured the already fraught perception.
DEFE24/1925 page 145 (Part of the 2005 FOIA requested release) reveals the primary role of DI55 which was to assess Warsaw Pact space systems.
Project Condign was the name given to a secret UFO study undertaken by the British Government's Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) between 1997 and
The results of Project Condign were compiled into a 400-page document titled Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region that drew on
approximately 10,000 sightings and reports that had been gathered by the DI55, a section of the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence
(DSTI) within the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS). It was released into the public domain on 15 May 2006 after a September 2005 Freedom of
Information Act request by UFO researchers Dr David Clarke, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, and Gary Anthony, a former BUFORA astronomical
consultant. The identity of the report's author/s was not made public.
If you search Project Condign you will see that it comes to the interesting conclusion that much of the UFO phenomena can be attributed to the effects
of plasma and that plasma should be investigated for its use in defence purposes. It also notes that it believes the Russian military will likely
have begun researching the possible military applications of plasma.
It is very likely that representatives of DI55 new that this was indeed a Venus sighting, www.ianridpath.com...
requested the two police officers kept the incident to themselves so that they did not further alarm members of the public who were afraid of the
soviet threat, or exacerbate what was then being called “The UFO Flap”.
It was never my intention to debunk Dartmoor's two most famous UFO incidents in my first two UFO threads, and what I have discovered does not do so.
I am a lover of the mysteries of the moor, but my inherent investigative nature and love of paying attention to detail means I have a natural tendency
to look for a normal explanation. This has lead some to call me a cynic, but that could not be more wrong. I want paranormal and supernatural
stories and legends to remain as such, but if you wish to be taken seriously in an investigation it is essential to apply A.B.C. Accept nothing at
face value. Believe nothing until proved. Challenge everything. Only when these principles have been fully employed and there is still no rational
answer do you have a real mystery, and where Dartmoor is concerned, I can promise you there are many.
I have only just begun to scratch the surface of the many moorland mysteries and legends, so if any of you reading this have enjoyed the experience I
will be happy to provide more, Dart more😄.