Lights in the sky: ‘We saw them too’

Natalie Offield took these photos of the lights from her house in Ilfracombe. Natalie Offield took these photos of the lights from her house in Ilfracombe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
3:50 PM

Gazette receives plethora of calls from North Devon residents who also saw a strange sequence of lights in the sky, as a possible explanation surfaces.

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The lights spotted over Ilfracombe by Charmain Lovett.The lights spotted over Ilfracombe by Charmain Lovett.

STRANGE lights in the sky have stirred up a number of theories among people in North Devon as a possible explanation surfaces.

Last week the Gazette told how Northam couple John and Amy Taylor saw an unexplained sequence of lights out to sea.

Since the story was published more readers have been coming forward who also saw the lights on the evening of Thursday, June 20.

Natalie Offield got in touch after her and her husband witnessed the display from their home in Ilfracombe.

“We both tried to come up with an explanation but are still talking about it now,” she said.

Holly Heffernan said she and eight friends were watching the sunset from their home at Tapeley Park in Instow when they saw the spectacle.

She said: “We thought it was a flare at first but it went on for about 40 minutes.

“It was in an arc and kept dimming out then reappearing; we saw them returning, dimming down, and then keep coming back.”

Lisa Duffett, who lives in Northam, said she spent 30 minutes watching the lights.

“First of all we thought it was flares by either a boat or the marines out playing, but they didn’t disappear,” she said.

Dawn Frost called in from Westward Ho! and said the lights were in a very specific sequence.

She said: “I thought it might be a large fishing boat as I know sometimes they use lights like that and the highest one could have been the height of its mast.

“They kept disappearing for about 15 to 20 minutes; the groups of two lights were in different positions, then a higher one would come on.”

Charmain Lovett, from Ilfracombe, said: “A friend suggested that it may have something to do with the Atlantic Array but they said they weren’t doing anything that evening.”

Michelle Harding, from Westward Ho!, said it was not the first time she had seen lights in the sky while the sun was setting.

“My friend is convinced it was a space ship; I am more sceptical but have to admit I can’t think of a decent explanation,” she said.

Phil Halliwell, from Ilfracombe, said he too witnessed the display.

“I first thought it was the flames from the tall chimneys on the industrial estates in Wales,” he said.

“Then after looking for a few seconds realised they were too high.”

He described the lights as being at fixed points and fading in and out, but said he did not think there was anything extra-terrestrial about them.

And it seems he could have been right, as a spokesman for the MoD confirmed it was possible the lights were part of an Army parachute flare training exercise at Castlemartin Training Area in Wales.

The Army regularly trains at the site, which is directly across the Bristol Channel.

“They fire parachute flares to illuminate the range which are very bright; they hover for a few moments and then disappear,” said the spokesman.

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