The Warminster Thing refers to a series of unexplained and mysterious events that occurred in and around the town of Warminster in Wiltshire, England, during the 1960s and 1970s.
Warminster is a historic market town located in Wiltshire, England, known for its picturesque countryside, rich history, and notable landmarks. Situated on the edge of Salisbury Plain, it boasts a charming town center with a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
Eerie events plagued Warminster, a town on the edge of the Salisbury Plain Military Training Area and located just 15 miles from Stonehenge.
The town is surrounded by the scenic Wiltshire Downs, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. Warminster’s history is closely tied to its market traditions, and it has played a significant role in the local agricultural and trade industries. Visitors can explore the stunning Longleat House and Safari Park nearby, which is one of the UK’s most renowned stately homes and wildlife attractions.
These events primarily involved unusual and unidentified noises, including loud, low-frequency sounds and sonic booms, as well as sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Witnesses reported hearing loud, repetitive noises that seemed to come from the sky, often described as sounding like thunder or artillery fire. These events gained significant media attention and drew the interest of ufologists and paranormal enthusiasts, leading to numerous investigations and gatherings of people hoping to witness or document the strange phenomena.
Some skeptics and scientists proposed various natural explanations, including atmospheric conditions, military exercises, or hoaxes, but no conclusive explanation was ever reached. At 1:25 a.m. on Christmas 1964, resident Mildred Head awoke with a start. Her ceiling, she later told local journalist Arthur Shuttlewood, had “[come] alive with strange sounds lashing at [the] roof.”
It sounded like twigs brushing against the tiles, and got louder and louder until it reverberated like giant hailstones. Head got out of bed to look out of the window but found nothing there. She did, however, hear another noise, a humming sound that grew louder before fading to “a faint whisper.” Later that morning, just after 6 am, Mrs Marjorie Bye was walking along dark, quiet streets to the Holy Communion Service at Christ Church, Warminster.
The Miami Herald Miami, Florida · Sunday, August 29, 1965
The first odd thing she noticed was a ‘crackling’ sound from the direction of the nearby Bell Hill area of the town. As she approached the church, she experienced a ‘sonic attack’: “Sudden vibrations came overhead, chilling in intensity…Shockwaves pounded at her head, neck and shoulders.”
Mrs Bye was ‘pinned down’ by ‘invisible fingers of sound.’ Feeling weak and frightened, she found it difficult to reach the sanctuary of the church. Reports of the UFO sighting came from many people who heard mysterious sounds and saw objects in the night sky.0 The Warminster Information Centre organized a 50th-anniversary UFO mural to commemorate the “utterly unique event.” The town gained global attention when a picture of the UFO emerged.1 The phenomenon was so beyond comprehension, and with no vocabulary to satisfactorily describe it, the phenomena became simply known as the Warminster “Thing.”
Dozens claimed to have had odd experiences of their own – many of which emanated from similar sounds, but others began reporting odd sightings, as well. Bright and bizarre figures in the sky were beginning to appear regularly to locals and others that were drawn to the craze. Descriptions of these odd figures varied from metallic orbs – similar to the U.F.O.’s depicted in popular culture – to cigar-shaped crafts. Pairing up with most of these sightings were reports of odd sounds, which varied from booms to other kinds of bizarre droning or whizzing. Through 1965, Warminster became a hub of U.F.O. activity.
Entire flocks of pigeons were reported being killed in mid-air and there were rumors that rodents had been found in the region, having been mutilated prior to their death. According to local gossip, these rodents had been found with large puncture wounds, which were totally unexplained. On August 27th, 1965, a town hall meeting was called in Warminster, so that the residents of this town could meet with authorities to discuss the ongoing phenomenon – which had been nicknamed “The Thing” by local press.
When resident Gordon Faulkner claimed to have captured a photo of a UFO, The Daily Mirror published the picture, garnering even more publicity for Warminster. By that time, the news had even made its way stateside, with newspapers as far as California reporting on the eerie events in the sleepy market town.
This town hall was actually recorded for national coverage, since the story had been making waves across England. The unexplained phenomenon nicknamed the “Warminster Thing” continued to attract many curious onlookers and U.F.O. enthusiasts over the coming months.
This packed town hall meeting of over 500 people, with the national press in attendance, turned into a lively hour-long session of residents expressing their concerns and describing the strange phenomena they had personally witnessed.
Among them were members of B.U.F.O.R.A. – the British U.F.O. Research Association – which had officially launched just a couple of years prior, in 1964. The total number of sightings began to wane towards the end of 1966, but the area of Warminster had seemed to embrace it’s reputation as Britain’s top hot-spot for unidentified flying objects,
with shop-owners beginning to sell specialized alien merchandise, and one resident even opening up a U.F.O.-themed bed-and-breakfast. The Warminster Thing remains a well-known case in the annals of UFO and paranormal lore, and it has become a part of British folklore, contributing to the town’s reputation as a hub for UFO and paranormal enthusiasts.
- Salisbury Plain Military Training Area, commonly known as Salisbury Plain, is an expansive military training ground spanning approximately 94,000 acres in Wiltshire, England. It serves as a vital training site for the British Armed Forces, offering diverse terrains for a wide range of military exercises, from live-fire drills to vehicle testing and troop training. With a history dating back to ancient times and notable landmarks such as Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain is a place of both military significance and cultural heritage. While military activities sometimes generate noise that can be heard in surrounding areas, the Ministry of Defence strives to balance its operational needs with minimizing disruptions to local communities and the environment, making Salisbury Plain a unique and historically rich site for military training. [Back]
- The British UFO Research Association (BUFORA) is a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that is dedicated to the study and investigation of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related phenomena. BUFORA was established in 1962 and has played a significant role in documenting and researching UFO sightings and encounters reported by individuals across the UK. The organization aims to provide a platform for individuals to report and discuss their experiences, promote scientific research into UFO phenomena, and offer resources and support to those interested in the subject. BUFORA has held conferences, published a quarterly journal, and collaborated with researchers and enthusiasts in the field of ufology. It has served as a central hub for individuals interested in the study of UFOs in the UK. [Back]
- “Warminster – A Market Town on the Edge of Salisbury Plain.” VisitWiltshire. [https://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/towns-and-villages/warminster-p1797383]
- “The Warminster “Thing”” https://unresolved.me/the-warminster-thing
- “When the Warminster ‘Thing’ Terrorized a Small English Town” (Dec 8, 2020) https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/638338/warminster-thing-ufo
- “The Warminster ‘Thing’” (Sep 6, 2021) https://medium.com/the-mystery-box/the-warminster-thing-caf0a86ce8bf
- “Warminster” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warminster
- “Salisbury Plain Training Area.” British Army. [https://www.army.mod.uk/training_education/training/5681.aspx]
- “About BUFORA.” British UFO Research Association. [https://bufora.org.uk/about-bufora/]