The most enduring fact about the village of Bonnybridge is that it became known in the 90s as the UFO capitol of, variously, Britain, Europe or the world depending on how much it was being built up. I was young enough when it began that it didn’t seem stranger than anything else that went on and took it for granted though when I got older the place was a butt of a lot of jokes because of it.
The first reported sighting occurred in 1992 when businessman James Walker said he noticed some strange lights in the sky while driving home. He initially assumed they were stars but claimed he then saw them move and assume a triangle shape.
Soon after, the Sloggett family reported one of the most extraordinary encounters on the public record. They claimed to have been walking towards Bonnybridge at around 7pm on a clear March evening when they saw a circle of light ahead of them.
They said the light ‘about the size of a house’ appeared to land in a nearby field. The family continued on their journey, but say a football-sized blue light hovering above the road ahead of them stopped them.
Later, Isabella Sloggett said: “My daughter Carole and I saw a UFO land right in front of us. A door opened and there was a howl-like sound. “I screamed and ran off terrified.” They ran away but claim to have been pursued by two smaller objects.
Putting aside the veracity of the account, though I’m informed the family were very sincere and seemed genuinely terrified at the time, an interesting aspect is where this encounter happened.
The back road from High Bonnybridge to Falkirk is a dark and narrow one. It has no markings, or pavement or lighting, it runs through claustrophobic woods and the only roadside features are a scrapyard and an enormous slag pile from a quarry that rises up from the plain like a black mountain. There is a body of water called St Helen's Loch which seems largely unknown locally though it shares the saint's name with the village Church of Scotland.
It is a very appropriate place for a frightening event and I’ve heard first hand accounts of others, more mundane but no less alarming or strange. The whole area is like a nature ground for odd things to happen, as if they are concentrated there having been chased out elsewhere.
The back road