9th November 1979

The Livingston UFO incident

Forestry worker Robert Taylor – known as Bob – claims to have escaped an attempted alien abduction around mid-morning on 9 November 1979.

He had parked beside the M8 at Dechmont Law so he could check on livestock. There, he encountered a hovering dome, around six and a half metres wide, which he said had a rough metallic surface. Unlike many other claimed UFOs, this one was held aloft by a series of small propellers.

Dragged towards a UFO

A couple of smaller balls, which Taylor described as being like sea mines, dropped out of the dome and rolled towards him. They had spikes, like the prongs on a sea mine, which attached themselves to his trousers and started dragging him towards the larger craft. He remembered nothing after that before waking up, alone, with no sign of the dome or the flying balls. He had lost around 20 minutes. His trousers were torn around the ankles.

Taylor’s wife called the police, who investigated what had happened. As the Daily Telegraph of 24 March 2007 reported, following Taylor’s death at the age of 88, “the case remains unique in British history as the only example of an alien sighting becoming the subject of a criminal investigation.”

The police investigate

Police visited the scene and, reported the Economist in its obituary of 29 March 2007, they found “a large circle and inner ‘ladder’ marks, which had flattened the grass but not dented the ground, as if a heavy craft had hovered but not landed. Forty little round holes, leaving the circle clockwise and anticlockwise, as if spiky ‘mines’ had indeed rolled out of it. But no track entering or leaving the clearing, making the machine’s arrival impossible unless it was a helicopter or something dropped by a mobile crane; and nothing of that sort had been seen in the area that day or the day before.”

Taylor’s boss, Livingston Development Corporation’s Malcolm Drummond, also visited the site and, according to the West Lothian Courier of 16 February 1979, said “I had been very sceptical but I was astonished to find very pronounced indentations at the place… [and] triangular hoof marks”.

Sceptics came up with several explanations for Taylor’s experience, including a stroke, an epileptic fit, and hallucinations of a nearby water tower, or of Venus.

A similar experience

However, the Aberdeen Evening Express of 14 November reported that “an Aberdeen man who spotted a UFO earlier this year today claimed the craft he saw is the same one seen in West Lothian recently. Mr Stanley Shearer… said the circular ‘space ship’ looked identical to the one a man came face to face with in a wood near Livingston.”

The West Lothian Courier picked up the story on 23 November. “Mr Barney Gallacher… claims to have seen a spacecraft while walking his dog last Monday night – three days after Bob’s strange encounter,” it reported. “He said that the craft had hovered about 200 feet above him for four or five minutes… Mrs Violet Connor… says that she saw a craft on the same day as [Taylor’s] encounter… Mr Ian Yarwood was returning from a round of golf with his boss when he also saw a strange craft.”



Other events that occured in November

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