Stansted, Essex, 1940, U.K.
My name is Emily Crewe, I live in Kempston, Bedford and I am recounting here a strange experience that I had one morning in 1940 whilst working in the ATS... the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service in Stansted, Essex.
I was aged 21 and had only been employed at the army camp for seven months, but was already used to the hard grafting of kitchen work, preparing meals for nine hundred men and women.
This particular morning in question, just around 12 o'clock to be exact, I was taking my turn at mopping the large, greasy, concrete floor in the kitchen, when something very odd took place.
"As I worked there all alone, I suddenly heard an almighty racket going on."
I looked through the large kitchen window and saw pandemonium out there, everybody running for their lives and shouting "get under cover!"
Pretty soon the parade ground was emptied, but hovering in the sky was the weirdest sight I had ever seen. It was truly terrifying, and I stood, frozen to the spot with shock as I looked on. There was a huge golden ball hanging there, with sparks coming off it!
I don't know if it was silent, but next the object floated down over the parade ground, descending to foot level, then appeared to make for the kitchen area where I was. All of a sudden, it came right up to the window and pressed itself up tight against the glass.
Snapping out of my shocked state, I quickly locked the kitchen door, just in
case it tried to get in. Although big enough to
accommodate a large hut in its
the glowing 'thing'
seemed less menacing to me as I got a
"It's 'skin' seemed smooth, rather like rubber but transparent, and I could see something bright moving inside the object. Then it began behaving like a jelly, shaking and wobbling. Quite comical really."
My initial fears cooled down somewhat as I saw it perform these peculiar motions. Then it moved sideways against the outside wall and gradually moved away...to my great relief! Unable to see this object anymore, I remember that I made for the door, unlocked it and found outside that some of the girls had come over to see if I was alright.
They told me that the 'thing' had jumped the wire fence surrounding the camp, over the road and shot into the forest.
"Afterwards we were called to assemble to be admonished and instructed that the matter was not to be discussed or speculated about, but simply forgotten."
What was it? A weather balloon perhaps?
But there was nothing attached to it; it was perfectly round and floated sedately over the parade ground to begin with, rather than something being blown about in the breeze.
Ball lightening even?
Yet how could it have behaved so intelligently, first heading to where I was watching then making its escape into the forest and beyond?
"I should add that there was no trouble, no shots were fired or even any guns raised, come to think of it. I will leave it up to you dear reader to figure this one out."
It was a long time ago, the ATS camp has gone and now Stansted Airport has taken its place, but it is an event that is not easily forgotten, certainly not by me.