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The Devil's Punchbowl Horror - Amazing UFO and Alien Encounter
Date Submitted: 03/21/2013
It was Christmas, 1959: As a Royal Marine recruit it was a pleasant surprise to hear that we would be sent home for Christmas leave. I was stationed at Deal in East Sussex and along with the rest of the 'four hundred personnel I was sent home for a glorious fortnight of leave. My brother, also a Royal Marine and stationed at Eastney Barracks, Portsmouth, was also on leave but our 'two weeks' leave did not coincide exactly because my leave had commenced a week earlier so in effect we actually shared one week together.
Rob's leave expired on Sunday 4th January at 'three minutes to midnight' and our brother Dennis offered to take Rob the 'seventy or so miles' back to his barracks on the pillion of his motor-bike, an offer Rob was only too happy to accept. Rather that remain at home 'kicking my heels' I took possession of Rob's 'travel pass' to meet them both in Portsmouth. Thus I duly caught the train. Being likewise in the Royal Marines I was of course at liberty to use Rob's railway warrant whence I would meet both brothers in Portsmouth; say my goodbyes to Rob and then return home on the pillion of Den's motor-bike.
I duly arrived at Portsmouth and Southsea railway station. However, 'something' had gone 'wrong' and on arrival I had to wait some considerable time before Dennis showed up at the station. It seems that the front tyre of Den's motor-bike had sustained a puncture. It's repair had taken some time to effect and Rob had, had to hurry away to arrive on time at his barracks, before 'three minutes to midnight' after which his leave would expire and so I did not have chance to say my goodbyes to him. Dennis and I made our way together in the darkness, climbing the hill outside Portsmouth.
That view of Portsmouth remains vividly in my mind to this day, the shimmering lights 'below' us as Den and I made our way to the lay-by. The 250cc motor bike had it's punctured tyre repaired as we reached his machine at last. Dennis mounted it, kicked-over the starting pedal and the engine roared into life. I climbed onto the pillion and opening the throttle Den steered his machine onto the road, opened the throttle fully and we zoomed away noisily into the dark bitter cold night.
I gripped my brother's waist with both arms and sheltered myself against the bitter cold wind of that early January night, shielded by my brother's body. I was lightly dressed and shivered in that icy-cold slipstream. My 'civvies' were light trousers and a light summer jacket, all that I possessed other than my uniform. Alone with my thoughts I clung to Dennis as one we leaned into every bend in that twisting turning road, the A3. I vaguely recall the occasional village as we passed noisily through, each one deserted, no road traffic at all. Such were the country roads in that period 1959, unlike the dense traffic at all hours one seems to encounter at the time of writing this narrative.
Even the villages that we passed through appeared 'sleepy' and I wondered, as we passed through them whether the sound of Dennis's motorcycle maybe momentarily intruded upon the many sleeper's dreams. Thus occupied with such thoughts and with thoughts too of our parting with Rob and my own pending return to my Barracks at Deal, but one week hence, thus was my mind dwelling as we wend our way home. Then, we approached the traffic lights at the cross roads at Hindhead, The lights were 'with us' and we continued across, approaching the circular route of the road as it wound around the 'bowl' shaped valley called 'The Devil's Punchbowl'.
We had motored around this unusual beauty-spot and were about to leave it behind us when suddenly Dennis steered the motorcycle onto the grass-covered bank that fringed the deep 'bowl shaped' valley, rode the motorcycle onto the grass and cut the engine. Dismounting, I enquired "trouble?" Den replied "No, might as well stop for a breather and to 'spend a penny!" It took some minutes for the 'ghost' sound of the motor-bike engine and the noise of the slipstream of rushing air to subside before the contrasting silence took place in our hearing. It was then that another sound came to our ears. This was loud! And it emanated from the depths of the Punchbowl itself. The sound, impossible to describe, rose and fell in an almost 'musical' series of seemingly echoing pulses. To describe it as 'strange' is in fact a gross understatement. It was truly a weird sound, impossible to even begin to explain. The sound 'rose and fell' rhythmically and we were completely puzzled as to it's source. Furthermore, it came from down in the Punchbowl. Unanimously, we agreed to climb down, determined to find the cause of that strange musical sound. The initial 'thirty meters' or so entailed an undignified slithering on our backsides for much of the initial thirty meters and the we were able to go on foot, deeper downwards. There were scrub-like bushes and the ground felt grass and bracken covered and as we cleared the initial thirty metres so the terrain sloped more gently and we picked our way deeper down into that 'bowl'. After maybe some 'ten to twenty minutes' the ground descended less steeply and with just the stars to light our passage we descended in total ignorance of the horrific 'stage' set before us.
I recall that the stars were magnificent that night. The air was cold, very cold and we shivered as we picked our way down, the strange 'musical' sound now becoming distinctly more mysterious as it grew ever closer. I remember coming across a slight 'crossroads' of a track that ran 'left and right' of us, more like an animal-track than a path and it was here that Dennis drew to a halt in front of me. He turned a voiced in a quiet tone that he 'had a bad feeling' and that we should turn back. I glanced back the way we had come, the only light being from the myriad stars in the heavens for there was no moon that night. But the stars were in themselves brilliant and we were able to see enough of where we were going. In fact I had seldom seen such splendour as that of the starry sky and the clearly defined Milky Way. It was truly breathtaking! Now however, I too had a sudden uneasy feeling and agreed with with my brother that indeed, we should make our way back to where his motorbike was parked. Dennis was standing ahead of where I stood. There was tall scrub on either side of this track. By this time that eerie sound was quite 'deafening' and originated just ahead of us. Before we had chance to even turn around, that eerie 'musical' sound abruptly stopped!
What followed next was the sound of -and this is so difficult to understand myself, let alone write about - but the came the sound of 'something' rising into the air. It was more like the 'displacement of air' than of an 'engine' sound yet clearly audible it rose into the air ahead of us. I dropped instinctively to my knees and Den did likewise as we both sought to see what the object could be. Neither of us saw anything! However, we were able to 'follow' the path of what was an 'invisible object' rising audibly into the air, seemingly about 'thirty to fifty' meters ahead of us. There was a strange sound, utterly unlike an engine or even an electric motor, but a strange 'sound' that we were able to follow with our ears if not our eyes as it travelled off some distance, described almost a circle and then it came rushing back towards us, hit the ground ahead with a crash that ought to have been heard in Guildford, some eleven miles away. The sound made me think of a large airliner falling to the ground for there then followed the unmistakeable and very loud sound of a 'metallic body' as it plummeted along, flattening scrub and small saplings alike until it came to a halt, very close now to where we stood.
My own mind was going crazy! The only explanation that then presented itself was that it was, unbelievably a 'UFO'. In the moonlight that was available and the additional brilliance of the stars, even a bird ought to have been seen flying across our vision against that back-drop of stars. We had however, seen nothing. But we didn't need to, the sounds alone painted a clear picture. How vividly I remember the sound of foliage and light branches scraping so ominously against a metallic body as the 'invisible' flying object 'crash-landed' amongst that scrub and skidding to a stop maybe ten or twenty meters in front of us is etched so clearly in my mind. in my mind. The distinct final scraping sound of a light branch finally breaking free of that 'unseen' flying craft! Momentary silence ensued. Then it came again. That ominous, eerie 'musical' sound that was now so loud that it was more ominous than ever. It rose and fell and was impossible to describe. I felt like I had gone mad. Already 'UFO" was going through my still disbelieving mind. So loud was that crash it should have been heard miles away.
I stared, suddenly rooted to the spot as 'something' was moving through the scrub from the direction the UFO (I had by now not the slightest doubt as to the identity of what that 'flying object' was, in spite of us actually 'seeing' nothing! My eyes were transfixed on where 'it' had come to an undeniable standstill and immediately, impossibly, came again that ominous 'musical' sound. Only now. it was but meters in front of us and slightly to one side I thought. My eyes were transfixed in that direction, for something was approaching us from which came that ominous sound. I stared in that direction, my eyes rooted on what was undeniably approaching from the UFO. Then 'it' emerged and glided to where I stood. It appeared to me to be about a meter above the ground and the body was too dark to see any detail but the head was plainly visable. It wore an elongated helmet, stood about 'ten to twelve' feet tall and in the upper centre of that elongated helmet there was a green eyes about the size of a tennis-ball. It glided rather than walked and stopped but a meter in front of me. It was then that a second figure, with the same elongated helmet glided to stand next to the first figure, to it;s 'right. I was transfixed in the utmost terror! I had never known such terror as I then felt. Crazy thoughts raced through my mind in rapid succession. This can't be happening! But it IS! Thoughts of those in 'government circles' would not believe what I was witnessing right now. Where were they? Where were those 'in government' right now but curled up their beds slumbering, certainly not here experiencing what Dennis and I are experiencing! In the interest of veracity I have sought to record as much detail as I could remember and those thoughts were mine!
The next memory that presents itself was the indescribable desire to look at another human being and that human being was of course my brother Dennis. I attempted to turn my head to look to my 'left' at where I knew my brother was standing. An anomaly here presents itself and that I must relate in accordance with my desire to record those events as accurately as possible. Why would I look for my brother to my 'left' when he had been standing ahead of or to my right? Again. it seemed to me somehow to be a slightly different spot to where we had stood. I had to turn my head only and slowly with considerable effort as my whole body was cataleptic. I couldn't move! As I got my head slowly around to look to my 'left' I saw to my horror that I stood alone. Dennis was not with me!
The shock of this realisation was instrumental in returning 'feeling' to my legs. The adrenalin 'overflow' that had briefly immobilised my limbs now lent strength to my body and keeping my eyes in the direction that Dennis had been standing, I ran in blind panic-stricken flight, totally unconscious of where I was running to. All that was in my mind was to distance myself from those two 'horrors' that I knew beyond any kind of doubt were aliens. As I fled in sheer terror I was aware of high-pitched screaming. Did that screaming come from me? That Royal Marine who had formally feared nothing? The Royal Marine who excelled himself in the boxing arena, beating ABA champions? I fear the answer to that question could have been yes! Or was it in fact the screaming voice of my brother? I could not bring myself to visit or to even contact Dennis for some three-years, so angry was I for his 'deserting' me down there in the Punchbowl. Even then, it was hearing that Dennis lay in an isolation hospital in Feltham, close to death, that had softened my heart. Dennis had contracted an illness that had caused some of his fellow workers (at Heathrow Airport) to die. Dennis was later to explain that he had thought, when he ran, that I was behind him. When he gained the foot of that incline, already high up that escarpment, he looked back and to his horror plainly saw me standing before the two 'entities' that towered over me and he 'knew' that he had to escape to explain my imminent 'disappearance' for he was of no doubt certain that I would not be able to escape abduction. He could see those two 'ten to twelve foot' tall, glass helmeted aliens towering over me and was convinced that he would never see me again. His great surprise to discover me alongside him as he reached that incline, he relayed to me many times over the ensuing years. Had Dennis gained the top of that steep incline he would without doubt have mounted his motorbike and fled the scene. My fitness as a Royal Marine accounted for my having caught-up with him at the foot of that hill. That and the good fortune I had of effecting an escape when I had no conscious idea of my direction, I had only one thought, to put as much distance between myself and those two entities.
I did not see their bodies clearly, but their helmets I certainly did. Elongated helmets with a L.E.D. like 'green eye' where perhaps the face might have been. I felt instinctively that I was fortunate in not seeing the faces else maybe the shock may have been greater. Both figures were identical and I 'vaguely' recall a 'sickly odour' but maybe this was somehow due to my own fear, because I was terrified out of my mind. That which I have written is a true account that in spite of occurring some 'fifty four' years ago to my writing this narrative, nevertheless the memory remains firmly entrenched in my mind to this day.
An interesting footnote to the above story may not go amiss here in it's relevance to the above. We must come forward some 'forty years' or so. It will come as no surprise to the reader to read here that subsequent 'vigils' to the Hindhead Punchbowl should prove 'inevitable.' Such visits were undertaken with much caution and would take place usually between the hours of darkness and dawn the following morning. Brother Raymond accompanied me on this particular night. It is worthy of note that Dennis emigrated to Australia some 'thirty years' hence. Raymond shares with us brothers an interest in the 'paranormal' as we refer to such matters. Numerous visits have been undertaken to this place over the ensuing years and the majority of visits have proved nothing more exciting than 'good company' and a several hour vigil supplemented with sandwiches and coffee. One night however, 'several' years ago, Raymond and I made a late night visit to the Punchbowl. However, we elected to 'explore' the heathland directly opposite the Punchbowl, to search for the 'stone cross' marking a spot that overlooks the beautiful Surrey landscape towards Dorking, a spot where three vagrants waylaid an innocent sailor travelling to Portsmouth back in the 'sixteen hundred's. The unfortunate sailor was murdered and his clothes taken to a nearby place to sell. The three murderers were apprehended and subsequently hanged on the hill nearby and a stone-cross marks the spot of the former gibbet.
Raymond and I arrived there in our brother Rob's car that we had borrowed. We left the vehicle in the car-pool close-by and set off for the late night walk to the stone-cross. On this, the opposite side of the A3 to the Punchbowl, runs a narrow gravel pathway along which we made our way. I carried a 'twelve-bore' shotgun that was in three sections within it's case as I had planned on doing some shooting the following morning. We walked along the track in silence, a tall pine-wood stood to our 'left and right' and as we walked. Suddenly, without warning there burst upon us a shocking awareness of an unseen object that passed over our heads from our 'right' to our 'left' heading down into the Punchbowl itself that lay to our 'left'. The loud musical sound emanating from this unseen flying 'vehicle' was extremely loud and pulsating and in a split second I found myself on my knees yanking the shotgun from it's case. I was shaking violently. I had not heard that 'sound' since 'eleven years' earlier when Dennis and I heard this in 1959. I was shaking with an intense feeling of fear mixed with excitement. How many times had I reiterated my story to Raymond over the years. And now, unbelievably, eleven years later and I was hearing it again and this time Raymond was my witness. In a state of excitement we turned to retrace our steps. I had a portable tape-recorder and I was bent on one thing, to record that sound of the UFO. Invisible yet again, so low it felt to be at just above the hight of those fir trees, and the noise was virtually decibels in volume. My excitement was unbelievable, Raymond at last had heard it for himself. Raymond, not an 'excitable' man at all, not prone to exaggeration and if anything quite the opposite, replied "I have never doubted your story Brian but hearing that for myself, well, it is not of this world!
My boundless excitement was targeted on where that UFO had just 'flown' to - the Punchbowl! We retraced our steps to return to the car-park and our borrowed vehicle reposing in the car-park. I could barely contain my excitement. We would collect our thermos-flask, pour ourselves a much needed coffee to 'steady our nerves' and then - we would follow the A3 around it's curved transit of the Punchbowl to a place close to where Dennis and I had entered the 'Punchbowl that unforgettable night, eleven years earlier. On reaching the car we put the shotgun into the boot, grabbed the flask of coffee and entered the car, poured ourselves that welcome beverage and impatient to set off made short work of our drink.
Our welcome reverie was short-lived. We were suddenly rudely interrupted by a dazzling light from behind where we sat in the car. For a moment I thought we were 'besieged' by the UFO. Instead, two police officers appeared and I wound down the window. They asked us what we were doing parked there? Never one to take lightly to intrusion or police interference I answered extremely rudely as the police officer and the 'Special' opened the boot of our vehicle without asking our permission. Free country? Well, up until then I thought so! Before I realised what was happening the police officer (who I felt was 'showing off' to the 'Special) had opened the boot and seen the shotguns. At that time shotguns were available without license (happy days). The next thing we knew was another police vehicle and officers pouring out and Raymond and I were handcuffed and taken to Godalming police Station where we were incarcerated, in separate cells until 6AM the following morning, some six to eight hours later, we were released without charge. Thus we missed a rare opportunity to record that 'weird' musical sound that Dennis and I first heard that unforgettable night when we came 'face to face' with aliens. We had no 'real explanation' for being there at the Punchbowl at that late hour and I had no intention of explaining that we were there to 'look out' for UFO's. That explanation. although authentic would no doubt have meant a longer detainment and a subsequent visit by 'men in white coats'. Thus we missed, Raymond and I, a great opportunity of recording on tape that weird, mysterious 'musical sound' emanating from what undoubtedly was a UFO. The same 'one' by all accounts that Dennis and I encountered that unforgettable night eleven years earlier.
In retrospect maybe that was a blessing in disguise because knowing my enthusiasm and my 'adventurous' spirit I/we would almost have certainly ventured beyond our safety margin in our endeavour to secure the best possible recording and that would entailed a deeper assent into the Punchbowl at a time the UFO was without doubt 'down there'. One that we might well have very much regretted. So, it is possible that 'police intervention' was 'Heaven sent!'
I have been tempted to undergo hypnotherapy to obtain a recorded version of the above events. As a trained Hypnotherapist I have considered this course of action, however, always I have 'backed out' of seriously proceeding with this. I have numerous times undergone hypnosis and have also conducted Hypnotic Sessions professionally and fully understand it's working but for some strange reason I have not considered seriously undertaking this course of action. I may yet do so!