MYSTERIOUS: UFO reports vary from missile shaped to traditional saucers.
CLOSE encounters don't just happen in Spielberg movies. According to MoD files ET could be alive and well.
The Ministry of Defence last week released 19 previously confidential files detailing UFO sightings around the UK between 1986 and 1992, including a number locally.
In fact, one of the sightings in Brentwood in 1991 hit the media spotlight last week as one of the most reliable and impressive encounters.
The report of a dark flying object above the town, which had no engine noise or lights, was made to Essex Police just hours after one of the country's most significant UFO sightings.
The encounter at around 10.25pm on April 21 1991, came just two hours after a near miss between a UFO and an Alitalia jet at 22,000ft above the Kent countryside.
A missile-shaped 10-foot-long object with no exhaust flame veered across flight AZ 284's path piloted by Achille Zaghetti.
The Italian told accident investigators: "I saw for about 3.4 seconds a flying object, very similar to a missile, light brown coloured.
"At once I said, 'look out, look out' to my co-pilot, who saw what I had seen.
"As soon as the object crossed us I asked the area control centre operator if he saw something on his screen and he answered: 'I see an unknown target 10 nautical miles behind you'."
On June 30 1990, at 2.30pm two fishermen saw a strange flying object hovering over Moreton gravel pits for 10 minutes.
Six other phone calls were made on the same morning to Stansted Airport.
According to the report sent to Essex Police the object had a domed, hammer-headed front, which tapered into a thin body with two wings at the rear and lights all along the front.
Movements were described as: "No speed, just sitting there over the top of me, no noise, sat for about 10 minutes, then the lights went out and it disappeared."
There were also sightings in Braintree and Harlow. And the possibility that extra terrestrials may be patrolling our skies was even further compounded in April when Unknown Phenomena Investigations Association South reported three sightings of strange lights in Billericay and Wickford, as reported by the Gazette.
Another report passed to the MoD was of an enormous UFO towed from America to Shoeburyness in 1989, however, it was more Arthur C Clarke than genuine science.
The "best fiction read in a long time" officials later said about the report.
The witness reported: "The flying saucer was neither hot or cold to touch. It had a circumference of 1,538 paces.
"Its height was only 4ft, but it weighed an estimated 3,000 tonnes.
"The shape was flat, thin and round. It shimmered like water when seen from a distance."
The official wrote in a footnote: "Do you not find it strange that nobody saw the object, which the witness states as having a circumference of nearly a mile when it was being towed across the Atlantic behind a battle cruiser."