A Winter Hill UFO? - Revised Edition.

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The investigation you about to read could possibly be a hoax, perpetrated by investigators and people knowledgable about investigation and research techniques and the UFO subject. A huge amount of MAPIT resources were ploughed into this investigation. The Case details are as follows...



On Saturday, November 13th 1999. I received a telephone call from a man calling himself Stuart Murphy. His message was recorded on my telephone answering machine. This Message is as follows:


“This is Stuart Murphy here, I live on the corner of Winter Hill and something is in the sky, I’m shi***g my self here. I wondered if you can investigate or something. Oh Jesus”……


Due to the possible urgency I contacted Stuart by the telephone number that was obtained from caller display. The time was now 12.51 am on Sunday, November 14th 1999. A short conversation with Stuart took place:


He mentioned that he worked on Andrew’s farm which is about five or six minutes away from his home. He had been working late at the farm on Saturday, November 13th 1999 when suddenly he heard a strange droning sound. He got up and looked out of the farmhouse window to see a large bright light hovering over the farm & nearby field. He described how he felt terrified and threatened. The light then moved over towards the cattle. It hung in the air for a few minutes. The cattle were darting around trying to get away from this thing.


After a short time it moved off into the distance. Mr. Murphy was worried for the cattle and quickly ran out to check them keeping one eye on the distant object. No sooner had he reached the field he noticed the strange object turn and head back towards him. He ran as fast as he could back to the farmhouse. He remembered finding himself running for his life as the object was directly above. He looked, but all he could see was bright light, it seemed to be only feet from him Stuart claimed. He reached the farmhouse just in time to see the object lift slightly and stop over the field yet again.


Whilst the object hung over the farm, Stuart had contacted the police who apparently did not take the incident seriously and told Stuart to contact us. At that time, Greater Manchester Police had details of our organisation on file in regards to previous investigations that had received a police involvement. Stuart immediately contacted our head office and left a message. He explained that he was talking to us on a mobile telephone which is owned by the farmer and that he had worked at this particular farm for about 15 years. I Told Stuart that it was important to obtain all the details and that it’s best to make an arrangement with him so to discuss the incident in more detail. Stuart agreed to contact us again and arrange a meeting. He said that he had a lot of work to do over the next few days, but that he would contact me. His conversation was cut short, due to the farmer being in the vicinity and Stuart not wanting the farmer to know that he had contacted us.




Most of the conversation with Stuart entailed calming him down and telling him to take his time talking. Stuart had a strong Irish accent and I could not understand him when he talked too fast. There were many cursing words, which is an expected reaction due to the incident. Mr. Paul Rookes and Teresa O'Neil, Qualified Psychologists listened to the telephone message of Stuart’s and both commented on the stress in his voice.


I did not expect to hear from Start until Wednesday, November 17th, however, he telephoned me on Sunday, November 14th at approximately, 10.30 pm. Once again, Stuart was very upset and it took considerable time to calm him down and to get him to take his time talking. He explained that three official looking gentlemen dressed in suits claiming to be from the MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food) had visited the farm during Sunday afternoon and had first talked with the farm owner and apparently threatened him that the farm may be closed if he was not to co-operate. They then took Stuart aside and told him that he was not to say anything to anyoneabout what he had seen on that Saturday night and if he does that his and his wife’s life maybe in danger. They then asked Stuart if he had understood them, to which Stuart agreed. Stuart then remembered that he had contacted me and thought it best to tell them. They did not seem surprised, they just said that if someone else gets involved, then they too would find themselves in trouble. Their attention then drew to Stuarts mark on his face. Stuart had got up Sunday morning with a strange mark on his face. It was red, sore and itchy. Stuart had no idea what it was.


However, the strange men in suits seemed to know what it was. They asked Stuart when he had found the mark, when he told them it was that morning, they insisted that he go with them to have some tests done. Stuart refused, but again, the men reminded Stuart that he and his wife could be hurt if he was not to co-operate. Stuart reluctantly agreed. It was arranged that the strange me would collect him from the farmhouse the following morning at 8.00 am. After they had left the farm owner told Stuart to do as they asked or he would loose his job…


At this point, Stuart did not know when he would talk with me. Stuart ended the call quickly by saying ‘I need to go, the farm owner coming’…


The Investigation:


On Monday, November 15th 1999, I visited the area at 6.30 am in an attempt to locate the farm and Stuart. By 9.00 am I had still not located the farm, so I headed back to Manchester and planned another trip. At 10.15 pm that night, I telephoned the farm and talked to the farm owner. I asked the farmer if I could talk to Stuart Murphy.

The farmer asked who I was, to which I replied, ‘I am a friend of Stuart’s’. The farmer then told me that Stuart has gone away for a few days. I then asked, ‘was Mr. Murphy collected this morning by the MAFF?’ The farmer paused…. Then said, ‘I have been instructed not to comment, please do not ring here again’. The phone went dead…


Once again, the following day, I was unsuccessful in locating the farm. I eventually attended Horwich Police Station with strange story in hand. I talked WPC Trudy Robertson. She said that she had taken on board what I had told her and was most helpful regarding the search for the farm. She looked at her sheet of farm names but was unsuccessful in locating it. She had never heard of Andrew’s Farm, however, she told me that some farms may be listed under Lancashire rather than Greater Manchester, thus it would be best to contact Adlington Police Station to ask them to look at their list of farms. I did inform her that if the case be authentic, then three crimes had been committed :-


1. Physical threatening.

2. Abduction.

3. Impersonation of an MAFF Official.


WPC Trudy Robertson, (Badge No. 6513) told me that no crime had been reported and that she could not do a trace on the mobile telephone number without a crime first being reported, nor could I file a missing persons report because I was not a relative. She said she would continue to look for the farm and ask other officers, and if she finds anything of interest, she would contact me. I thanked her for helping and left for Adlington Police Station. When I arrived at Adlington Police Station it was closed.


This particular police station is not often used and simply looks like a converted house. I left with a plan to contact them at a later date.


By all accounts, I could find no references to the farm. I did however, locate a hill by the same name. It was then that I noticed a dark blue coloured Jeep which was very close behind me. I purposely turned into a private road leading to a small coffee shop and the Jeep continued to follow. I pulled into a small car park area and the Jeep pulled up right behind, blocking me in. I got out expecting some type of confrontation with the driver. The gentleman was approximately 35 years of age and was dressed in blue jeans, jumper and wearing a light coloured cap. He asked me what I was doing up near the farms and why I was looking around. I simply told him I was looking for a farm a friend works at. He asked where I was from, but, I told him no more and he got back in his Jeep and drove off. I turned around and headed off towards Georges Lane, but first stopping at a mobile snack bar known as the ’Sizzling Grill‘.  Whilst having a coffee I could not help think that something suspicious was going on.


I got back in my car and continued my search… At the top of Georges Lane, I turned right onto Matchmoor Lane and followed it for about two miles. If I had carried straight on I would have ended up at the Quarry which is still very much active with workers. If I had turned left I would have come to a small forest with a signpost at the corner.


The sign gives mention to the Bolton Metropolitan Council Trees and Woodlands Section along with a telephone number of : 01204 522311. Eventually, following Georges Lane I came to Old Hearts Farm. Obviously, not the right one as it was not a cattle farm. A few hours had past and I had still not located the farm. This was beginning to frustrate me… I eventually headed back to Manchester to conduct some research and plan yet another visit.


On Tuesday, November 16th 1999, at approximately 10.00 pm the farmer was contacted again and gave his name. With this new information I decided to conduct a search for a farm with the same name as the owner... yes a longshot, but I had nothing else to go on at the time. Tim Matthews a fellow investigator had conducted several telephone calls and had contacted the MAFF in response to the incident. He was told that there are people that visit farms who impersonate MAFF agents. He eventually received a return call from a Director at the MAFF who told him that they knew nothing of the alleged abduction, and that they do not even operate on Sundays.




The mention regarding people impersonating the MAFF and visiting farms is very interesting and could have been information that was accidentally given. I can find no reference to any public mention regarding impersonations of MAFF agents. This I found unusual.


Another investigator, Deborah Newton, managed to obtain a second version of the Electoral Register and had been in touch with several farms, local vets, Bolton Council, and the Cattle Market at Horwich. The cattle market director had informed Deborah that no cattle had been received from the Horwich area.


On Sunday, November 21st 1999, I visited the location once again in a final attempt to locate the farm or the where about’s of Mr. Stuart Murphy. One Farmer told me that Andrew’s Farm was on the corner of Winter Hill and through Belmont, on the other side of Winter Hill. This was later confirmed by Deborah Newton who contacted me via telephone. She had contacted yet another farm, and the farmer there claimed to know of an Irish gentleman by the name of Stuart Murphy, a cattle-hand that works in the area, but he could not tell me where he worked as he was not sure. I was also told that the corner of Winter Hill is near the Tockholes area near Chorley. I headed of in that direction. As I turned a corner I could clearly see a farm. Locals informed me that the farm was indeed called Andrew’s Farm. I parked up and went up and knocked on the farm house door. A gentleman eventually answered and claimed to know nothing of Stuart. In fact he was pointing me in the opposite direction. As I was walking back down the farm lane back to my vehicle, a blue Jeep turned into the farm and shot up to the farmhouse. I recognised this straight away. It was the very same driver and Jeep I had seen following me around. Very Coincidental?


The distance between the first time I saw the Jeep on Coal Pit Road and the second time at the farm is approximately 13 miles. It is also a coincidence that the very same Jeep was to arrive on the farm that I had been looking for, for almost a week, and, out of some very few cattle farms in the area, this was one. Cattle could clearly be seen in the nearby field. I also noticed some dark marking on the grass as if something had been burnt their.


I parked up and watched the farm for about ten minutes. During this time, two other vehicles had arrived at the farm, a light blue Austin Montego Estate with roof racks on and a green Volvo. A few minutes later all three vehicles left the farm and went off in different directions. The Jeep was followed and was seen pulling behind some terrace houses five minutes away down Bolton Road in Abbey Village. The Jeep seemed to be associated to one of five houses and the middle house was for sale.


I remembered that we had been told by the farmer that Stuart Murphy no longer worked at the farm and Murphy and his family were moving back to Ireland. It was decided that I go public with the information hoping to flush out witnesses or even Mr. Murphy himself. As the days followed, several investigators complained about having problems with their telephones. Newspapers in Ireland printed an article in hope of finding Murphy to no prevail.




By all accounts, I do not think this case is a hoax due to the following reasons:-


1. The original call from Mr. Murphy was not call bard.


2. Mr. Murphy seemed to be genuinely upset and worried.


3. At no time have I been asked to visit any location or go out of our way. In fact, Mr. Murphy commented on ‘leaving this alone, in case I get into trouble’.


4. Several coincidences, such as the Jeep, possibly finding the farm, and that it was a cattle farm, and a few problems with telephone lines such as breaks, echo effect, and a timed regular pulse.


If this case be true, I have a gentleman called Stuart Murphy that reported a UFO on Saturday, November 13th 1999, and then reporting an unusual red sore and itchy mark on his face the following morning, along with three official looking gentleman posing as MAFF officials who threatened the farmer of closing his farm, and physically threatened Mr. Murphy regarding the safety of his wife and wanting him not to mention to anyone about what was seen. Finally the abduction of Mr. Murphy by these officials at 8.00 am on Monday, November 15th 1999 who took him away for several tests concerning the mark on his face. Also, farm owner informing me that Mr. Murphy no longer works at the farm and that he was moving back to Ireland.


Finally, not forgetting the farm owner has said that he had been advised not to discuss the matter with anyone.


All very interesting….


I have shelved the investigation for a number of years hoping more evidence would come to light. Apart from many reports of strange things seen in the sky throughout that area, no information has surfaced. Of course, if you do your research, you'll find it’s not the first time ‘Men in Black’ have popped up in the area. Earlier reports of a Close Encounter caused quite a stir when the strange suited men visited a witnesse’s house in hope of obtaining information. I believe the witness had to undergo extensive treatment on her teeth, which had started to mysteriously crumble after seeing a UFO at close proximity.


The most enlightning information regarding this case came to me this year (2010), from a friend who informed me that the incident was fake and hoxed by other investigators in an attempt to waste my time and effort. This came as no surprise. I have heard of such things happening to other investigators. If the case is in fact a hoax, then it would have had to have been carried out by those involved in the subject to fool me time and time again. Why certain people think its funny to waste your time and effort, also considering expense, is beyond me. If this incident never took place, some interesting things still came to light and Winter Hill continues to have numerous UFO activity, and that's a fact!




I'd like to take this opportunity in thanking investigators and researchers for their assistance with this case.


Chris Clark, Stuart Robinson, Deborah Walker, Carl Walker, Stuart Greenslade, Steve Yarwood, John Slater and Tim Matthews.


Compiled by Steve Mera.