Finally, it must be said that the whole subject of UFOs and aliens is rife with hoaxes, trickery and practical jokes. On 31 March 1989 one such stunt caused widespread alarm in Surrey. The first sign of trouble came in the afternoon when police received a call from a woman living near South Godstone to say that a flying saucer was hovering over her house. The telephonist responded calmly, asking the woman for a description. The woman was clearly agitated, but was able to explain that the object was bigger than her house, was round with a dome on top and a row of windows around the rim. It was, she said, now moving very slowly north.
What the woman did not explain, because she was unaware of the fact, was that she was standing in the doorway of her house totally naked. She was so amazed by the object overhead that she had forgotten that she was getting changed to go out. Only when a neighbour shouted across to her did the woman realise her situation and dash back inside.
Next to call in was a motorist on the M25 near Limpsfield. He was using the emergency roadside telephone which was usually reserved for breakdowns to report a huge UFO overhead heading toward London. Then a second motorist called in, this time on a car phone, to report the same thing. Convinced that something odd was happening, the telephonist alerted a police car in the area and sent it to investigate.
The police car arrived to find several vehicles stationary on the hard shoulder of the M25 as the occupants stood about staring into the sky to the north. The police followed their stares and were amazed to see a large, disc-shaped object that looked exactly like the popular image of a flying saucer. It was silver, had portholes or windows around the outer edge and was topped by a dome, also bearing windows. The object was huge, estimated at around 90 feet across, and was quite clearly descending to land.
The policemen sprang back into their car and raced off toward the landing site. They arrived to find that the ‘UFO’ was in fact a hot air balloon specially commissioned to look like a flying saucer by the millionaire businessman Richard Branson. The balloon was being test flown for an April Fool Day’s stunt in London’s Hyde Park the following day.
from "Paranormal Surrey" by Rupert Matthews
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