Was the Berwyn Mountains Incident the Roswell of Wales?
If you start talking about crashed UFOs, the first name that comes to mind is Roswell. Here in the UK, this is closely followed by Rendlesham Forest, though whether that is truly a crash case or not is still uncertain. The most famous possible crash incident that only a few have heard about took place in the Berwyn Mountains area of Wales and has often been grouped with these incidents. But did a UFO really crash there in 1974? Or was the Berwyn Mountains Incident simply a natural event?
The Berwyn Mountains or Range is less of a mountain range and more of a very sparsely populated area of high moorland running as a boundary between the counties of Powys and Denbighshire. To the northeast is Llangollen, to the northwest is Corwen, southwest is Balan and southeast is Oswestry.
The highest peaks in the range are Cadair Berwyn at 2723 feet, Mowel Sych at 2713 feet and Cadair Bronwen at 2572 feet above sea level. The first of these is the highest summit outside the National Parks of Wales. The area isn’t a popular tourist location nor is it popular with hikers and walkers as the landscape is made from acidic grassland and bracken – not the best under foot.
Berwyn Mountains Incident
So the events we are interested in took place on the night of January 23rd 1974. It was about 8:30pm and a number of people reported hearing a huge bang, followed by earth tremors and saw a brilliant light in the sky above the area. People in the villages of Llandderfel and Llandrillo were the ones to feel the tremor the most and it was estimated to be 3.5 on the Richter scale.
But what caused the tremor in an area of the world where earthquakes are extremely rare? The police were called out to the area and an RAF search and rescue team were also dispatched to investigate the bright light. Locals claimed that military personnel arrived on the site but there are no official reports to document this.
What transformed this from a rare tectonic event to something unexplained was that a number of the locals who reported the light and the noises believed they saw a UFO. One example was a witness who saw a bright red light ‘like a coal fire red’ that was in a perfect circle. There were lights above and on the right as well as a white light at the bottom – the white light changed to a yellowish shade and back again.
Another message sent to the police stated that a witness had seen bright green lights, an object with a tail and that it was travelling west in Bangor direction before falling from the sky. Another reported something similar – an object at a height of 1500 feet that exploded and pieces fell to the ground.
A police sergeant at the time, Elfed Roberts was among those who went to investigate the incident and drove rapidly from Bala immediately after the tremor. He initially believed that the local dam had been breached. He met up with Inspector Glyn Evans at Llandrillo and both reported seeing a bright light to the south near Cadair Berwyn.
Another witness came forward in 2010 to tell her story. Retired nurse Pat Evans said that she was with her family at the time of the incident and were living in Llandderfel. She said they saw a huge ball of light that was glowing and pulsing on the mountain with a number of smaller lights around it. They heard the bang and their first thought that it was a plane crash so as a nurse, she headed to the mountain to offer help. There they saw an object that was ‘moon-like but without windows or doors’ and that glowed orange, red and yellow. She also added that they saw no official presence on the mountain that night.
A report appeared in an UFO report some years later that also spoke of a UFO crash. The report came from a man working for the military at the time who said he was part of a military operation to move a crashed UFO from the Berwyn Mountain to the military science park at Porton Down on that evening.
One possible explanation for the sightings was that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency were conducting an exercise at the time, codenamed Photoflash. It involved some 10 military aircraft and a series of flashes from North Wales to Liverpool Bay. It took place on late afternoon and early evening of that day. There were, however, no records of any of the craft involved crashing to explain the explosion and the lights that witnesses reported.
Another possible explanation given was that the events were tied up with a meteor shower that exploded and sent hot fragments of rock to the ground. While this could possibly explain the earthquake-like explosion and the lights, why were no fragment discovered? And why was this not simply confirmed by officials, who would have tracked the object on radar as it entered the area?
The mystery continues
Perhaps the story would have simply become another possible UFO crash and known to only locals if not for the strange events that took place afterwards. A few months after the incident, a number of UFO investigators around the UK began receiving detailed files on the incident from a group called the Aerial Phenomena Enquiry Network (APEN). These reported that a UFO had crashed on that night and their own crash retrieval team had been on site.
Further, the documents claimed that a key witness at the site should undergo hypnotic regression to access memories of the event. There is no information on the website that I found this report about who the witness was (www.uk-ufo.org) but it does point out that this technique was hardly known at the time.
Experts are still talking about the incident today and this shows that there was definitely something more than a meteor or an unreported plane crash. There are mentions of Men in Black visiting witnesses after the incident and intimidating them in typical fashion. But until more witnesses come forward, perhaps the elusive ‘key’ witness mentioned by APEN, then the truth may remain a mystery.
Do you live in the area and know anyone who remembers the incident? A family story or a personal account? I would love to hear from you if you do and of course, it can be completely confidential if you want.