Date: June 1, 2004
Time: 11:45 am
Location: Hornbeam Business Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England (About 200 miles North of London)
Number of Witnesses: Two Primary and Several Additional
Latitude: 53.9772 Degrees North
Longitude: 1.5223 Degrees West
Weather: Cloudy With Light Drizzle. Cloud ceiling 1,000 feet. Light winds.
Description: A group of office workers on lunch hour witnessed a strange airborne ring above their office location. The office workers reported the sighting to me because they said that the ring resembled a ring photographed by Rex Heflin in 1965. The witnesses found the Heflin photos on this web site. (See photograph four of the Heflin photos.) The ring exhibited no sound, produced no magnetic effects, and moved very slowly towards the west. The office workers said that the ring remained in sight for about 20 minutes. The ring had the appearance of a giant smoke ring. The ring was black/dark grey in color and deformed. The ring was not associated with any cloud.
Investigative Notes: This is not the first airborne ring that has been sighted. I am familiar with three sightings of smoke ring type phenomena. All of these sightings had photos taken. In September, 1957 an army serviceman took photos of well defined ring in Fort Belvoir, Virginia Army Base. In 1965 Rex Heflin took three photos of a silver disk shaped UFO. He took a fourth photo which showed that a residual smoke ring was left near the position where the UFO was last sighted. In March of 2001 a Salt Lake City, Utah truck driver snapped seven photos of a strange smoke ring that he sighted immediately after a bright flash.
Summary/Concluding Remarks: This sighting closely parallels other airborne ring shapes that have been sighted. At Fort Belvoir Army Base a well defined circular ring was photographed by a serviceman. In 1965 (the Heflin photos) a UFO was photographed prior to the appearance of the ring. In another case (Salt Lake City - March, 2001) a bright flash was seen prior to the appearance of the smoke ring. The rings have all been of a dark smoky appearance. This certainly suggests a combustion process in the air and not a ground level release. In the case of the North Yorkshire sighting the witnesses clearly stated that no industry was located in the vicinity of the smoke. Where else could it have came from? The witnesses did not see a UFO or any flashes. A few regular aircraft were in the area at the time. Conventional aircraft don't leave rings of smoke. The fact that the ring maintained its shape for 20 minutes is also mysterious. Normally smoke and dust particles will disperse in the atmosphere rather than drift without mixing with the surrounding air. The fact that the ring was not observed to rise suggests that it was not hot and did not have buoyancy.
I cannot identify the source of this ring. I believe that some smoke rings that form in the lower atmosphere could be the result of a combustion process of a disk shaped UFO. UFOs have been seen to sometimes use a combustion process in their initial acceleration process.
Bottom line: Unidentified. Photographs might help to explain sighting.