'Aliens are real and they are here' - meet the man behind the East Anglian UFO Group
For centuries humans have debated whether alien lifeforms exist. One man has been sure that they do for more than 40 years, even creating a community of UFO enthusiasts in East Anglia.
Reporter MARC BETTS went to meet Tony Buckingham.
UFOs and the existence of aliens is a topic that has been debated by some of the highest minds in the world.
And while many remain sceptical over the prospect of Earth being visited by extraterrestrial life, Tony Buckingham, from Littleport, near the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border, has spent the last 40 years researching UFO activity in the East. He has even created a community of believers who claim to have had out of this world experiences.
The first experience of extraterrestrial life
Mr Buckingham, a retired business owner, said: "My first conscious experience was in 1974. It was the winter and I lived about three miles away on the other side of the village.
"I had been instructed to look after the house as my mother, father and brother and sister had gone out. I was watching TV and forgot to top up the boiler, suddenly I remembered and ran out to the garden. I was bending down to get some coal when everything went quiet, like when you are landing in an aircraft, my hearing became muffled.
"I felt static electricity all over me. I stood up to clear my ears but as I stood up there was this object level with my eyes. It was massive.
"It wasn't a typical flying saucer but a cone shape. It seemed to be there for ages but it was probably a few seconds.
"I had this over-riding sense of well-being, a calming, almost loving sensation. I thought about getting my camera but before I had made the decision this thing shot straight up in the air at a speed that aircraft could not do then."
Researching the subject
The 65-year-old added: "When I first had my sighting I wasn't into UFOs or anything sci-fi. I was into motorcycles, rock and roll and girls.
"I couldn't find anything other than a few books in the local library. But by coincidence, or possibly not, two weeks later there was a spread in The News of the World promoting a book called Chariots of the Gods.
"I bought it and still have my copy, but it fascinated me. The author Erich von Daniken changed my thought patterns for the rest of my life.
"In the back it had some follow books to read including a magazine, Flying Saucer Review which I subscripted to. I found the local UFO groups and back then they were in almost every town but now there is about six in the whole of the UK. I used to go to other meetings with people and collect information, I now have more than 400 books."
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A growing community of believers
With Mr Buckingham's knowledge of all things extraterrestrial three years ago his son suggested he create a Facebook group and website were he could put his information.
"We decided to start the Facebook page as a discussion group," Mr Buckingham said, "where we could put up posters about events and clips to discus if they are real or fact. We started doing monthly meetings across East Anglia every since."
At the monthly meetings the group will have a quest speaker or they will watch a documentary and debate what the film shows.
The group has also started going on field trips to places of interest. They hope to visit Kelvedon Hatch, a disused nuclear bunker in Essex and will be visiting RAF Neatishead, a radar station north east of Norwich.
Recent UFO encounters
Mr Buckingham admits that there are UFO sightings that can be easily explained and that with modern flight tracking software lights in the sky can be ruled out as aircraft.
But earlier this year two women from Downham Market, Norfolk, shared an encounter which he could not explain.
He said: "One of the girls got up in the night to get a glass of water and looking out of the window there were three lights.
"They came on and went around the room making her feel strange. She called for her friend when a white light came on searching the room.
"They thought it was passing cars but there are fields out of the back of the property and they are on the first floor.
"The lights went back out of the window and flew off. They turned the lights on an noticed an hour of time had gone, one of them had blood on her feet but there were no markings and most of the electrical items in the house stopped working."
Will humans ever meet aliens?
"I am fanatical about this," Mr Buckingham added, "I spend all day everyday researching. When you dig really deep and get to the real stuff you see declassified documents and what thousands of high ranking people have spoken about all telling you the same thing.
"Aliens are real and they are here. I strongly believe that there are many groups of aliens here already."