Weird Norfolk: A Christmas Close Encounter with a UFO in Shotesham

A woman walks across the road from a pretty thatched roofed cottage Date: Jun 1956. Photo: EDP Library

The village of Shotesham where Olaf Davy and his friend sore a UFO. Picture date: Jun 1956. - Credit: Archant

Years before Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released in cinemas, a Norfolk man had a clutch of Close Encounters of the First and Second Kind with alien craft in the county.

Gardener Olaf Davy scored a hat-trick of UFO sightings in the late 1950s to early 1970s, including a Christmas sighting after a party towards the end of December.

The curious tale of Olaf Davy and the Norfolk UFOs is told in the April 1971 edition of the companion journal to Flying Saucer Review, Case Histories.

Recounted by British UFO Research Association member Peter Johnson, the Christmas incident was the first of Mr Davy’s extra-terrestrial experiences.

It was 1957 and the Norfolk gardener and his friend were cycling home after a party – a nine-mile ride that took them through the village of Shotesham, five miles south-east of Norwich.

“We hadn’t been drinking,” Mr Davy quickly told Mr Johnson, “no more than a glass of wine. Nothing particular to affect us. We’d got to ride bicycles nine miles and we both got home all right.

“One the way home we’d gone through Shotesham when, all of a sudden, my mate called out: ‘hey! What’s that up there? It’s not an aeroplane?’

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“It was coming towards us. A long thing like an airship but not so big. Now there were various lights on it and however they were fixed, they were either going round, or there was something going round the lights.

“It was a dark night and it came so close to us that we dived off our bicycles into a ditch. My mate would have told you that. As near as I can remember, the back light was red, the next was green and then there was a hideous-coloured blue light. Then there was a white light.

“It went past us, not over us, about three times the height of the pylons.”

Mr Davy, who was 62, also told Mr Johnson about his latest experience with UFOs which had happened on November 24 1970.

Having risen early to leave his house in Tunstead to cycle two miles to Wroxham station to catch a train into Norwich and his workplace.

Halfway to the station, he noticed something unusual in the sky as he cycled along the North Walsham to Wroxham main road.

“I was attracted by a bright light from the heavens,” he told Mr Johnson, “I hopped off my bicycle. ‘Something coming to Earth…’ I thought. It seemed to be getting bigger…then all of a sudden it came through the clouds.

“Then the light went dim. It was still coming down and I stood hugging a tree…I was all tensed up and was waiting for the bang.

“This thing came down, then it stopped and for a minute I was eased, for I assure you I was scared. It was round, like a plate, it looked as wide as the road and it was about twice as high as the pylons.”

Mr Davy watched the saucer hover for a few minutes.

“All of a sudden there was a noise, like a dynamo singing, then it would stop and there’d be a sort of throb,” he explained.

“Now this is the uncanny thing about it…listen…there was a very uncanny, horrible feeling descending on me, like as though I was in a magnetic field.

“I believe if it had stopped there I wouldn’t have survived. It seemed to be sapping the strength from me. I was hoping my letter to the paper would bring someone in authority to speak to me about it.”

He added that the craft had seemed ‘flurorescent-like’ when he first saw it and then ‘a dull cementy colour’, that he couldn’t see any legs and that when it left, it tipped to the side and ‘went straight up’.

A friend said that he had seen the light as something sped from the spot where Mr Davy had watched the UFO hover before it raced in the direction of the coast.

And the stories didn’t end: sandwiched between Shotesham and Wroxham was a third sighting at Kirby Bedon.

Foraging for wild food in a field, Mr Davy said that he was suddenly aware that the cows in the pasture around him were acting bizarrely: “they went delirious”, he explained.

“I thought: ‘what the hell’s the matter?’ then I saw a shape – no light – exactly like the one I saw this previous Tuesday near Wroxham,” he said.

“I had a pin stuck in my tunic and I’m sure this pin was being drawn out of my clothes. I felt as though I was being pressed to the ground. Horrible sensation.

“I hadn’t thought about flying saucers then, you see, then suddenly I heard this noise and I knew it was no aeroplane. There was a slight mist, and I could hear this noise and I thought the thing was after the animals.

“I looked up and I could see this round form well above me, just like the one last Tuesday. The sensation I got was much stronger, and I’m not kidding you, I felt weak after the thing left. Went straight up, just the same. I never mentioned it, I’d have been laughed at!”

On May 19 1909, a man was riding a motorbike over Wroxham Bridge at 11.30pm at night when his headlight cut out as a glove-shaped light passed overhead.

As the rider dismounted his machine to examine his headlamp, he was suddenly hit by a “dazzling” flashlight beam that was directed on him from the sky above.

As soon as the object in the sky moved away and out of sight, the headlamp began to work again. The truth is up there…somewhere hovering above Wroxham.


The classification of UFO encounters:

Close Encounters of the First Kind: Visual sightings of an unidentified flying object, seemingly less than 500 feet (150 m) away

Close Encounters of the Second Kind: A UFO event in which a physical effect is alleged; this can be interference in the functioning of a vehicle or electronic device, animals reacting, a physiological effect such as paralysis or heat and discomfort in the witness, or some physical trace like impressions in the ground, scorched or otherwise affected vegetation, or a chemical trace

Close Encounters of the Third Kind: UFO encounters in which an animated entity is present—these include humanoids, robots, and humans who seem to be occupants or pilots of a UFO

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