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The disappearance of the UK’s “most spectacular” UFO photo

Hanging on the wall near the British government’s UFO Desk was what one of the men who occupied that desk called “the most spectacular UFO photo ever sent to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).” The photo has since disappeared, but the story of how the picture was obtained, and what it showed, has not.

Nick Pope ran the MoD’s UFO project from 1991 to 1994. When he was first assigned to the position, he was not excited about it. He felt the issue was ridiculous and he was not looking forward to having to deal with a bunch of UFO nuts. However, over the years, Pope found there were credible cases of incredible things, and began to see there was something truly mysterious about the phenomenon. One of the cases that lead him to this conclusion had to do with a photo that was made into a poster that he found hung in the office near his desk when he began working the UFO desk.

A recreation of the Calvine UFO photo poster. (Credit: Channel 5)
A recreation of the Calvine UFO photo poster. (Credit: Channel 5)

“I first came across this story in 1991, when I joined the UFO project,” writes Pope on his website. “A poster-sized enlargement of the best  photo was prominently displayed on the office wall.”

“The X-Files first aired in the UK in 1994 and I acquired the same nickname (Spooky) as Fox Mulder, for obvious reasons,” Nick continues. “Mulder famously had his ‘I want to believe’ UFO poster on his office wall and though uncaptioned, I suppose this was my equivalent.”

The photo showed a picture of a large diamond shaped craft with a jet in the background. When he asked about the photo, Pope was told that they had officially determined the image was real. They estimated the craft to have been 25 meters (over 80 feet) in diameter.

However, if asked, they were instructed to answer, “no definite conclusion had been reached regarding the large diamond-shaped object.”

Pope learned that the object had been photographed on August 4, 1990. Two people had been walking near the town of Calvine in Scotland when they spotted the large diamond-shaped object. They described the object as looking metallic. It sat in one position, hovering silently for several minutes before taking off vertically at, as Pope writes, “a massive speed.”

During the sighting, the witnesses also saw a military aircraft that they thought might be a harrier jet, but they were unsure whether the jet was escorting the craft, chasing it, or whether the jet pilot was even aware of the diamond-shaped UFO.

The witnesses had taken several photographs and sent them to the Scottish Daily Record newspaper. The paper contacted the MoD, and the MoD was somehow able to convince the paper to hand over the photographs along with the negatives.

” The photos were then sent to the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) who then sent them on to imagery analysts at JARIC (Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre). Yet at the time, MoD hadn’t even publicly acknowledged that there was any intelligence interest in UFOs at all,” Pope explains.

“We implied and sometimes stated that we didn’t ‘investigate’ UFOs, but merely ‘examined sightings to see if anything reported was of any defence interest’ – as if the two were somehow different!”

Pope say the MoD was actually very interested in these cases, but often less interested in where the craft came from than what they could learn from it. They had hoped to identify some sort of technology they would be able to appropriate.

Nick Pope, former MOD UFO investigator, at the International UFO Congress. (Credit: Peter Beste/Open Minds)
Nick Pope, former MOD UFO investigator, at the International UFO Congress. (Credit: Peter Beste/Open Minds)

Either way, the Calvine UFO photos impressed the UFO desk investigators enough that they hung the poster in the office.

“At one particularly surreal briefing on the UFO phenomenon my DIS opposite number indicated the photo and pointed his finger to the right: ‘It’s not the Americans’, he said, before pointing to the left and saying ‘and it’s not the Russians.’ There was a pause, before he concluded ‘and that only leaves …’ – his voice trailed off and he didn’t complete the sentence, but his finger was pointing directly upwards,” recalls Pope.

The office where the UFO desk was located also housed other non-UFO related projects.

Pope says the reaction of some colleagues who came to visit unaware of the UFO program had amusing reactions to the poster.

Pope writes, “You’d have this surreal moment when they’d stop mid-sentence, stare at it, point and say ‘what the hell’s that?’ – this wasn’t the archetypal distant, blurred UFO photo. This was up close and personal, reach out and you can touch it stuff. ‘I don’t know what it is, but it’s not one of ours’ was our stock answer to the inevitable question.”

Eventually, around 1994, Pope says his superior determined the craft was a secret American aircraft or drone. Pope says they had already asked the U.S. if the craft or something similar of theirs was being tested over the UK, and were told they were not. Pope believes his boss had decided to support a potential cover-up by the Americans and the MoD and removed the poster. It was never to be seen again.

Although Pope has discussed these photographs in the media and has posted an article on his website, no one has come forward to claim they took the photos. Nor has anyone at the Scottish Daily Record come forth to discuss any involvement. The case remains a mystery.

You can read more about this sighting and Pope’s work at www.NickPope.net. He can also be heard on several episode of Open Minds UFO Radio.


Alejandro Rojas

Alejandro Rojas is a radio host for Open Minds Radio, editor and contributing writer for Open Minds magazine as well as OpenMinds.tv. For several years Alejandro was the official spokesperson for the Mutual UFO Network as the Director of Public Education. As a UFO/Paranormal researcher and journalist, Alejandro has spent many hours in the field investigating phenomena up close and personal. Alejandro has been interviewed by media organizations around the world, including the largest cable and network news agencies with several appearances on Coast to Coast AM.

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  1. I saw a very similar “object” fairly close up – it was floating above a neighbor’s house, silently, near Monterey, California. The unusual and very distinct diamond shape I don’t see reported very often by others.

    Now the thing in the righthand corner was a round bright light in my sighting and it was paired by a similar light but in a different color on the lefthand corner. Also rather than being “metallic” looking as in this recreation, what I saw more closely matched a space gray, self-illuminated, more “plastic-y” material. Imagine the Enterprise from Star Trek and you have a closed approximation of what I witnessed.

  2. September of 1998 we were out on Woodchuck Hill and had a silent bli ding light and large triangular craft hover over us on our way out the seasonal roads spotting for deer & bear. There was a strange vibration and static in the air and I’ll never forget the feeling it created in me. We honestly thought that we going to disappear and that the vibration we were all feeling was the car being taken by the craft. I sped down that hill so damn fast I left a dusty road behind me. I kinda always just joked about it before that but that night changed my life. I have never been the same.

  3. If this is still going on…doesn’t seem that Full Disclosure is going to happen anytime soon 🙁

  4. This was how they responded to Archive Evidence found after America-Russia Interference: [TOP SECRET] The Russian Military were wanting Archive Evidence held by M.O.D. Dated 11/09/2004. England,RG30 3RR. The Skripals were asked to contact MI6 for information regarding these Archives. The Skripals refused. Putin sent IN his reply. But Missed. Trump said he would protect the Archives from Russian eyes? M.O.D refuses to acknowledge such New Energy Force? May has told Boris to keep his nose out of this, and to tone it all down. England alone wants this energy kept Secret until after Brexit? Trump says these Archives belong to American Companies that run this Atomic Nuclear Research Station? May refuses to comment? [TOP SECRET] At this moment in time 6 Top Government officials have been removed from their employment. Michael Fallon Defence Secretary, Boris Johnson,foreign Secretary, David Cameron, prime minister, MI5 and MI6 heads have been sacked. Trump has told NASA not to report on the Sighting. AND you ask what year? it was 2004.

  5. John Doe..didn’t you read the article ? It clearly states that the US military actually destroyed all evidence of image and this was the days before computers and digital photography .The photo shown says it is a recreation of the missing original photo…why do folks make silly comments without reading content PROPERLY

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