WHETHER you are a sceptic or a believer the truth is out there - and that truth is that people have reported seeing UFOs in the skies across Essex for decades.

Some are logged officially with the authorities while others are filed on UFO tracker sites.

Although some sightings are questionable - such as the report made to the Ministry of Defence in 2005 of “a spacecraft with grey aliens sitting on top of a bungalow in Basildon,” or “Lucifer-type things floating around and being annoying,” in Carlisle, there are many made by police officers, seasoned star-gazers and pilots (such as in 2003 when a pilot captain described seeing “a ball of fire, very bright, with no colour,” over Stansted Airport).

Most of the times experts put UFO sightings down to the same old things being mistaken for something more dramatic - satellites in formation above the Earth, experimental planes, normal planes, drones, ball-lighting, paper lanterns, party balloons and atmospheric phenomena.

Alas, exciting sightings often turn out to be something far more mundane. Such as in 2008 when “mysterious lights” were reported over the night sky in Billericay.

Several people told the Echo they thought they’d spied a UFO after witnessing eerie lights moving above the clouds in the direction of Norsey Woods.

It turned out the phenomena was far more down to earth - just high-tech lights beaming over from Bas Vegas.

The Sky Bar, a nightspot at the Festival Leisure Park at the time, was experimenting with its new “skytracker” light equipment on the nightclub roof.

Even as far back as 70 years ago, Essex people were getting spooked by possible alien encounters.

In April of 1950 residents of Good Easter near Chelmsford spied a phenomena walking home from their village church one Sunday afternoon.

An eye-witness told a newspaper: “At first was regarded as a normal aircraft, but soon it was evident that it was something very different. It appeared to fall over and ever, twisting and turning in slow descent.

When it had fallen some way and folk were beginning to calculate where it would crash, it rose again and then disappeared from view. Many villagers say It was shaped like huge silver saucer.”

The MOD ran a “UFO desk” for 50 years up until 2009. Many of the records of reports over that time have been released to the public and can be accessed via the National Archives or on the MOD website.

Reports to UFOstalker.com:

  • Benfleet - April 5, 2020: “Witnessed a fireball orb for nearly 30 minutes. hovering for a while. it was directly to our west, began slowly moving north and getting lower in height. Changing direction once or twice before then going extremely low in comparison to the houses and moving off the west at speed until it was out of sight and over the tops of the houses.”
  • Southend - July 20, 2016: “Very large triangle of star-like lights but a little brighter seen to the south, approx 40 degrees above horizon 11.10pm.The area between the lights appeared opaque/filled/black and no stars/atmosphere seen in that area. The object was very large, I would estimate the size of a 747 at about 500ft away perhaps.”
  • Southend - February 7, 2017: “My mother and I were stood outside the Odeon Cinema looking up at the moon. From my right I saw three bright, but small, lights suddenly appear to travel over the roof tops. I pointed them out to my mother and she saw them straight away.

“They were in a triangular shape and it was obvious that it was a solid object even though we couldn’t see it. It blotted the stars and moon out as it passed over from west to east.

“We viewed the lights for around seven to ten seconds as they passed by completely silently. The object was too massive to be in the air without any obvious propulsion system.”

  • Tiptree, north Essex - October 4- 2009, 7.45pm: “Fire in the sky, orange, moving slowly, hovered, the flames went out and it was 45 degrees from the ground.”
  • Billericay - August 15, 2009, 8pm: “No flashing lights, orange looking object. Looked like it was hovering, flew towards observer’s car and faded slowly into the distance.”
  • Rayleigh - August 11, 2009: “UFO visible for six to seven seconds. Changed direction by approx 60 degrees downward towards the horizon before disappearing. Object was a dull brown colour, with a magnitude of 3.5 to five and resembled a slightly luminous brown paper bag. “No sound was heard.”
  • Canvey - January 20, 2001, 1.15am: “Seven foot, silver dome, with a blue glow. Was climbing vertically in the sky, in stages.”
  • Orsett - December 9, 1999 - 5pm: “Large crystal ball object. It was the size of a light bulb. Travelling in a diagonal direction.”
  • Southend Beach - March 9, 1997: “A metallic blue object. “It hovered above the sea and then crashed into it.”