CUMBRIA was once a hotbed of UFO activity, boasting everything from spacemen and flying saucers to strange flying triangles and visits by mysterious ‘men in black’.

Chris Parr, co-ordinator of the Whitehaven-based British Hunters, describes his top four UFO cases in the county – and some of the theories behind them.

 The Cumberland Spaceman: May 23, 1964: Carlisle fireman Jim Templeton took three pictures with his SLR camera of his daughter on a day trip to Burgh Marsh.

The photographs came back from Kodak with one of them showing what appears to be a space-suited humanoid in the background.

Chris says: “This case is legendary around the world. Analysts at Kodak confirmed that the photograph was genuine, some UFO experts have linked it to the Blue Streak missile tests which were ongoing nearby when the photograph was taken.“

The Coniston UFO February 15, 1954: A 13-year-old Ulverston schoolboy, Steven Darbishire, photographed a flying saucer on a hill near the Old Man footpath in Coniston, but it was a fake.

Chris says: “This was the ultimate schoolboy prank. The image of a classic flying saucer, resulted in a media frenzy and UFO fascination which Darbishire felt he had to support.”

 The Windermere UFO August 28, 1977: Ten police officers and numerous witnesses observed a huge triangular UFO passing over Windermere over a 20-minute period. Witness John Platt said: “I was looking up into what appeared to be a giant catamaran with twin hulls and a large structure at the front.”

Chris’s theory is that it was an airship.

He says: “Throughout the 1970s, a large number of Airship UFOs were reported flying over the Cumbrian skies. Sometimes they were as big as a football field.”

The Mysterious Flying Triangles

Throughout the late 1980s, Cumbria was the host to many visitations of the Flying Triangles. Sometimes these craft were described as being black and sleek in design, with the ability to accelerate at great speed.

Chris’s theory: Secret Stealth Technology. “The Lockheed F117 Stealth fighter and its delta shape design may have been responsible for the many Black Triangle UFO sightings around the county.”