It was 9 years ago, almost to the day, that on April 23rd, 2007, Ray Bowyer and his passengers aboard flight A-Line 544 departed Southampton, England. It was a routine 45-minute flight in good weather and visibility- and as they neared their destination, they witnessed two large unidentified objects hovering over the English Channel for several minutes. This simple flight, flown hundreds and hundreds of times previously, threw Boywer and his passengers into the world of ufology, and their experience has been dubbed the 2007 Alderney UFO Sighting.
The 2007 Alderney UFO Sighting is one of those ufological events that is under represented in UFO circles and pop-media, compared to more inflammatory Roswell-like cases, yet holds undoubtedly some of the most legitimate evidence ever, which is very rare for the field. While the debunkers have done their due diligence on this one, they have simply posited the Occam’s razor argument, and nothing more. Granted, the sun reflecting off a passenger ferry in the English Channel does seem more “realistic” than two massive flying cigar shaped craft, the debunkers have no actual evidence to support their claims. This case has radar evidence, corroboration from another pilot in another aircraft, as well as multiple witnesses. I won’t get into the actual event, as you can simply read about it here.
To put it simply, I’m very much a skeptic, however, I’m a romantic skeptic. While I personally need hard evidence to believe, I am more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt in times where no evidence exists. I enjoy listening to the tales of wonder that are spun in the study of this phenomenon. All history, normal and paranormal alike, is ideological storytelling with a dash of “reality” and “fact.” Does it make it, as philosophers say, “capital T True?” No, but truth is pretty dodgy anyway- what is truth? I can go on, but I won’t.
The point here is that this case is probably one of the best, if not the best, examples of a legitimate UFO sighting. I do not want to speculate here as to the source of these objects, as none of that is provable. Rather, what we can prove is that Bowyer and his passengers saw one and then two large bright objects in the sky. A radar operator did receive mysterious hits on his screen when Bowyer asked if there were other aircraft in the air with him. Another pilot, from another flight, was asked to get a visual on the objects, which he did, and was able to see one of the objects from his vantage point.
Do I know what actually happened or what these objects were? No, none of us really do. We have a story, but more importantly, a story with good corroborating evidence that should give skeptics, like me, pause. So why is this case not at the forefront for the ufological community? Sure, it is discussed, but it does not receive as much “air time” as other cases. Is it because it lacks ridiculous claims of alien beings or crashed flying saucers? Is it because it doesn’t tell the story of multidimensional beings causing havoc over the English Channel? Does it lack sex appeal?
My concern is that the future of ufology (done by wise, intelligent, rational and non-fanciful individuals) has already begun walking down the path of the absurd. Is the study of this phenomenon doomed to a relativistic wasteland of ideological madness, filled with Ultraterrestrials, Disclosure and alien-human hybrids? Every field of study has its fringe- my concern here is that we, the skeptical, academic, and rational ufologists, have become that fringe. Have the radicals become the mainstream in ufology? Does the Alderney sighting threaten the worldview of the radical paranormal/UFO believers because it isn’t crazy enough? If the radical has become the mainstream in ufology, and absurdity is the Promised Land, why walk when you can run? If you’ve committed to a path, is the Alderney case a slow walk compared to those wild cases of abduction and open communication, which serves more as a sprint?
As I mentioned before, History is merely ideological storytelling with a dash of reality- let’s hope this radical believer era is a short blip on a radar screen instead of the norm. I hope that the Alderney case, and others like it, are remembered, as they are the cases that this field should be resting upon.
- M.J. Banias