Close Encounter: Dechmont Woods Encounter

          This month’s alien post will cover the strange Scottish case known as the Dechmont Woods Encounter. While it may follow the usual path of reported alien encounters, it does diverge when it comes to how seriously it was taken. Let’s explore.

The Encounter

          On November 9, 1979 a 60 year old forestry worker named Robert Taylor was walking his dog through Dechmont Woods in Scotland. The walk was uneventful at first, the night sounds their only company on the trail until he came across a clearing that contained a metal craft. The craft was hovering above the ground when he came upon it, and two smaller metal objects sprang from the larger craft and clung to his legs. Shocked and unable to move, the smaller objects began dragging Robert towards the large craft, which still hovered nearby. He could feel his awareness beginning to slip – before he succumbed to unconsciousness, the last thing he recalled was a stinging heady smell and the loud humming or hissing sound.
          By Robert’s count, he was out for about 20 minutes. Thoroughly freaked out (and who wouldn’t be, after that?), Robert slowly shambled his way back to his truck. But his truck refused to start. So, in a string of bad luck that seemed to be never ending, Robert was forced to walk the mile back to his house, aching, confused, and probably more than a bit terrified. Upon seeing Robert, his wife immediately called the police. Based on his state – disheveled, torn pants, shallow cuts on his legs and face – they began investigating the situation as an assault. Their minds would soon shift away from that based on Robert’s story and what they found in the clearing. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

The Craft

          Let’s take a moment to describe the craft that Robert claims to have encountered that day. Robert described the craft as spherical, with porthole windows and a ledge around its middle. Small sections of railing rose from the ledge intermittently, all around its circumference. The smaller objects were also spheres, and had poles or spikes protruding from their surfaces. When these smaller objects were deployed, the bottom half of the larger sphere opened to let them out. All of the objects appeared to be made of some sort of dark metal – it was not brightly shining, like some other UFO craft we hear about.

(A photo of Robert Taylor holding up the artist’s rendition of the craft he encountered.
via the Daily Record)

The Aftermath

          As stated in the introduction to this post, the police took this incident seriously. They took Robert Taylor’s statement and searched the woods, taking note of any evidence that aligned with Robert’s story. There were two pieces of note. First, the clearing that Robert stated he encountered the ships in bore deep marks. The marks did not appear to have a point of entry or exit in the clearing, meaning they were not the result of something being dragged or driven in and out of the clearing. The marks themselves were described to be 32 holes that were 3.5 inches deep, along with some markings that bore similarities to those of a continuous track, such as those found on a construction vehicle. The second piece of evidence was the pants Robert was wearing at the time of the encounter. They were ripped and examination of the material showed that the gesture to rip them would have had to be sharp and upwards in direction.
          The police discarded their assault theory, many believing that Robert had truly faced off with an extraterrestrial craft and lived to tell the tale. Others, however, were skeptical. Various attempts to debunk the sighting have occurred over the years – and no doubt continue to this day. Skeptics cite celestial phenomena such as the planet Venus being visible in the sky that night as likely being what Robert actually saw. But how could the small dot of light leave those makes and drag Robert by the legs? Others suggest a physical or mental ailment could have caused Robert to hallucinate the encounter totally. Again, I counter with the fact that the police also saw the strange markings in the clearing. I will concede, however, that something else in the woods could have conceivable ripped Robert’s pants.
          Robert Taylor passed away in 2007, but his story lives on. We’re here talking about it, after all. His tale has been immortalized by the government of West Lothian as well. If you visit the Dechmont Woods, you will find what is often referred to as a UFO trail – this is made up of post markers that lead you to the scene of an incident, and a small monument with a description of the event. To this day, the Dechmont Woods Encounter is the only UFO incident that has been recognized on an official level.

(The board outlining the UFO Walk at the Dechmont Woods.
via the BBC)



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