The Watchers – Author Neil Spring talks Aliens UFOs and Secrets
Inspired by documented UFO sightings and once classified government documents, The Watchers, which was published by Quercus Books on 24 September, is the latest novel from Neil Spring, whose bestselling debut, The Ghost Hunters, is currently being adapted into an ITV television movie
We like aliens as much as we like werewolves, vampires and ghosts at the Hothouse, so we were over the Moon when Neil agreed to chat with us about his new book. Naturally we started with the obvious question:“Neil do you believe in UFOs?”
‘I didn’t. But that was before I heard the story of the thing that came out of the sky and landed in a field behind a primary school in the Welsh village of Broad Haven in 1977.
The tale was relayed to me, many years ago, by the owner of a Welsh bookshop. I was sceptical. But intrigued. So I went to Broad Haven, looked up the history of the place and gradually, over many weeks, my opinions on the matter began to change. I travelled to the village a sceptic and came away a believer.
That was when the idea for this novel occurred to me’.
So what happened in Broad Haven that convinced you otherwise?
‘During the winter of 1977, UFOs and giant silver suited entities appeared to people all over an area of the Pembrokeshire National Park. The events caused alarm at the highest levels of Government, with officials deliberately keeping ministers in the dark as they quietly ordered a military police investigation into the happenings.
Sound fantastic? Don’t take my word for it.
The events are now a matter of public record, with declassified documents making clear that the Welsh “Terror Triangle” – as it was referred to in the national media – was a distinct threat to the security of our nation. Why? Because the immediate locality was scattered with sensitive military installations, including RAF Brawdy and a top-secret US Navy research establishment that was covertly monitoring Russian submarines.
This was the height of the Cold War remember. Which government official would have wanted to admit that we were not in control of our own skies?
No Final Report on the Welsh UFO mystery has survived or, if it has, it has not been released.
Nick Pope, who investigated UFOs for the MOD, said: “This bombshell document shows how the MoD’s UFO project asked the RAF Police to conduct a secret investigation into these mysterious events, while Parliament, the media and the public were being told the subject was of no defence significance. Defence Ministers were cut out of the loop so as to allow for plausible deniability.”
And Lord Black of Brentwood commented: “A number of recently released Ministry of Defence files leave little doubt that a small number of sightings of aerial phenomena – particularly by military personnel, pilots and air traffic controllers – remain unexplained and unidentified. Neil Spring’s fascinating new novel The Watchers, inspired by declassified MoD files, underlines how many unanswered questions there are. There needs to be further examination of these issues in the hope of learning something new.”
By far the most intriguing report from the area was the sighting of a landed UFO in a field behind the local Broad Haven Primary School. The children all swore they saw something and still stand by their accounts. No explanation for the dome shaped object they saw on the ground has ever been found; though their original drawings survive to this day, and were an early inspiration for the novel, The Watchers.
Though the novel is loosely inspired by these events, it is of course a work of fiction, following Parliamentary research Robert Wilding as he returns to his home village to investigate the unusual sightings at the bequest of a high-ranking Government official. From secret tunnels beneath Westminster, to the farthest reaches of the British coastline, Wilding must face the truth about his parents’ deaths and the truth about Broad Haven.
He must face The Watchers.
The Watchers is published by Quercus Books on 24 September.
Already television and film production companies are offering on the rights.