Weird Norfolk: A UFO ‘lit up like Great Yarmouth’s Pleasure Beach’ in Hopton

Aerial view of Hopton

What was seen in the sky over Hopton in August 1980? - Credit: Mike Page

There, above a freshly-harvested field two strange objects hovered silently in the air, shimmering with red and white lights like a floating funfair. The Frost family were, understandably, shocked. No one expects a genuine Close Encounter of the Third Kind as they bring in the washing from the line.

It was a clear, moonlit night in August 1980 when Leslie, his wife Margaret and son Anthony, 10, went to the bottom of their long garden at their house on Sidegate Lane in Hopton. What they saw left Mr Frost so shaken he called the police.

“It was like walking into the garden and seeing Yarmouth Pleasure Beach,” he told the The Great Yarmouth Mercury.

There, in front of the astonished family was a mass of brilliant lights hanging in mid-air above a stubble field in the middle of the country.

At around 9.45pm, the 46-year-old engineer said that he had seen two huge “absolutely square” structures showing a pattern of red and white lights themselves as big as cars. There was hardly any noise, which he found unnerving. 

According to Mrs Frost: “I saw them come across, like formation flying but too slow for planes and they couldn’t have been helicopters.”

Young Anthony added: “There was one big square one and a smaller one, with all these red and white lights.”

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Mr Frost continued: “They were solid shape and you could almost feel the solid-ness. I don’t believe in UFOs – I'm an engineer, and you can’t put structures as big as that in the air. It was absolutely fantastic and there’s no possible explanation.”

The other-wordly structures never landed, but as one flew over him “it was just like a big manta ray casting its shadow.”

Then the craft stopped and “a terrific flash” was followed by a small triangular craft emerging from it and that circled for about 10 minutes and finally hovered above his head, flew off in the path of the other two and “they suddenly vanished as though they went into a curtain.” 

The whole experience lasted for around half-an-hour and was also witnessed by Mrs Frost and Anthony, although Margaret did hurry indoors before the light show ended to tend to their little girl indoors.

Although UFO enthusiasts rushed to speak to Mr Frost about his experience, none could shed any light on what he might have seen.

Fast forward 28 years – at warp speed, if you like – and The Mercury ran another feature in 2008 about other UFO sightings in the Hopton area.

The report notes that in July 2000, a man was on Hopton beach when something very strange happened.

“…he became very quickly disorientated and dizzy, with headache and nausea, to the point where his eyesight became blurred,” the report says.

“As he moved from the cliff base to the water's edge, he glanced up the cliffs and saw a dark figure on the cliff-top, inside the perimeter fencing of ‘a local MoD base’ (presumably the old RAF Hopton radar site, the entry building to which has been converted into a private home).

“Since he had the blurred vision, he could not be sure, but this figure seemed to have no structure and was more of a dark silhouette.

“He glanced briefly away, and, as he glanced back, the figure was gone.”

There are, as Weird Norfolk has reported several times in the past, a host of sightings of a strange figure in Hopton although this figure normally appeared in the form of a man.

The Mercury piece ended with an observation that the St Michael’s ley line, which runs in a straight line between Land’s End and Hopton-on-Sea could be linked to the strange happenings on the coast.

The line crosses St Michael’s Mount off the Cornish coast, a set of three stone circles, Glastonbury Tor, an Iron Age hill fort, Avebury henge, Bury St Edmunds and then Hopton. St Michael’s ley line is known as “a corridor of incidence” – could this explain why this small seaside village has been the centre of such strange activity?