Wearside Mysteries

Of course, this page is concentrating on a few Wearside Mysteries. Obviously, if you have any stories from our area which have no real explanations, consider writing a post. Obviously, click the link at the top of any page.

Wearside Mysteries – UFO’s

To begin with, UFO’s were airship sightings of which began in 1909. Indeed, sightings continued throughout the years leading up to World War I. But earlier writers record a number of events which would certainly be in the same category as UFO sightings today. In 664AD according to the Venerable Bede, a light that “made the sun at midday seem dark” appeared. Indeed, this was at one side of Barking monastery, before moving to the other side.

Another “sighting” reported by Bede sounds like an alien abduction story. In this case, a nun watched a corpse being “carried upwards”. In the 14th century, at the funeral of the Abbot of Durham Abbey, there was another strange light. Moreover, it was a “light like the rays of the sun” which came down while moving about. Naturally people would take this to be a sign from God at the time, of course.

Wearside UFO Is spotted Within Feet Of A Jet

(Sunderland Echo 27th October 2000)

Firstly, investigators remain baffled after more sightings emerged today of an unidentified flying object over Wearside. Indeed, the object was in the shape of a pear. It was also around five-foot long. In essence, it looked like a piece of silver metal and was spotted hurtling towards the ground.
Wearside Mysteries - UFO Sunderland and Houghton - spooks and ghosts
In fact, trainee teacher, Jenny Cook, saw this occurrence in Hendon on Tuesday morning. Police launched an inquiry following the report by the 18-year-old Sunderland University student. But, despite a ground search of the area, failed to find any trace of the object.


The Echo has since learnt that officials at Newcastle Airport got some more of these alerts. After a similar sighting three hours later above Penshaw, it was clear something was not right. Indeed, it was Ron Atwill who saw a mysterious five-foot long grey object narrowly miss a passenger jet. This was as it made its descent towards Newcastle Airport, while walking his dog near the old Herrington Colliery site.

In effect, Mr Atwill, a retired prison service worker, saw the object at 11.45am. He said, “I was looking up as a passenger jet was flying quite low in the distance. It was on a flight path between the colliery and Penshaw Monument and I saw this thing almost hit it. I rang the airport because this thing appeared that close and I thought they might have spotted it as well.

It was about 20ft away from the plane, in fact, it looked exactly like its description in the Echo. In fact, it was a silvery grey in colour and from where I was standing it looked very flat. Indeed, it was the shape of a pear and about four to five feet long. I watched it for a little while and then turned away and took my eye off it. Then, it disappeared. It almost looked like it was standing still, moving very slowly earthbound towards Sunderland. If you can imagine a piece of corrugated iron, but not corrugated and oblong”.


To clarify, speculation has included suggestions that the metal could be debris from a plane. Indeed, another suggestion was that it could be a metal chunk from a decaying Pegasus satellite. This is because, NASA officials warned it is in the process of breaking up and falling to earth. Other theories also suggest that the object could have been a model aircraft, advertising balloon, or even plastic sheeting.

Mr Atwill, 64, of Elm Place, Newbottle added, “I hadn’t a clue what it was. I didn’t want to say anything, this is because of what people might think. But I definitely saw something. It wasn’t a speck in the sky. It was big enough to make out even though it was a bit in the distance. But now I am beginning to think what was it? I thought it must have been something dropping out of the sky. I wasn’t imagining it, I should know, I was there. It wasn’t a weather balloon or a model”.

A spokeswoman for Newcastle Airport said the pilot on board the jet had reported no sightings to air traffic controllers. Detective Inspector John Watts, of Sunderland City Centre Police said, “We had a report of a strange object in the skies about the size of a small car. We couldn’t find anything but the relevant authorities had a report.

Roger Mallett, an independent paranormal investigator said, “It is more than likely they saw something which they can’t rationally explain and they don’t know who to turn to. Of course, the fact that two independent people did, adds more credibility. And if more come forward, even in two or three weeks’ time, will certainly add even more weight”.

Helicopters Chase UFO In Sunderland

On an evening out, September 18, 1998, at 8:15 pm, a man noticed a large white light in the sky. It shone like a very bright star, but I knew it could not be. Outdoors at his home in Sunderland he said, “I saw that it was a cloudy night, and all the other stars were were not shining because of cloud cover. While I watched the UFO, there was another smaller light directly underneath it. Then, as I got closer, I realized it was a helicopter. The helicopter suddenly turned and flew in a northerly direction. Around two minutes after the first, another helicopter went past in the same direction. Then, five minutes after that, another one did the same”.

“This is unusual as I have only ever seen one helicopter in the Sunderland area at one time. Indeed, they could not have been police helicopters because they did not have searchlights scouring the ground. Thirty minutes later”, he added, “the light continued to move upwards out of the atmosphere. But it was going extremely slowly, around a degree every ten minutes. A plane flew toward it around 9pm, but it was not like any plane I have ever seen. It flew directly underneath the light, which was still moving. It then went past and did not circle the light”. He goes on, “I continued to watch it until 10pm. Then I saw a smaller light detach itself from the large light. It did hover for a few seconds, before moving off into space”.

Indeed, on the next night, Saturday, September 19, 1998 some saw the UFO again!

Tyneside Sightings

In 1971 or thereabout, a police constable based at Tynemouth Police Force also saw a UFO. In essence, he was driving a panda car along the Tynemouth Road. Then he noticed a bright white circular disc hovering in the sky above Knott’s Flats. The constable then pulled into Oxford Street car park. He got out of his car in order to get a better look at the object. The disc like shape appeared to hover for about five minutes before rising incredibly fast. Then, within a few seconds, the “ship” was out of sight.

Two years later, the same PC was travelling along the Tyne Tunnel road in a northerly direction. During the small hours of the morning, when he noticed a bright light travelling parallel to his vehicle. In fact, it was on the left side of the road and the object kept pace with the car. Indeed, all the way along the road. The P.C. pulled into a lay-by a little further on, and got out of his car. The light then stopped, hovering some 150 yards above him making no noise at all. Moreover, the P.C. was certain it was not a plane or helicopter. He got back in the car and travelled further still, heading north toward Seaton Burn.

With the light travelling just ahead, when he reached the Seaton Burn flyover, the P.C. stopped again. Indeed, he watched as the light moved back and forth over the main A1 motorway. After a few minutes, the light turned north and then disappeared out of sight. The Policeman promptly reported what he had been a witness to, but his colleagues made humour of this. However a little while later a second report. A Policeman in Morpeth reported a similar light behaving in the same way.

Wearside Mysteries – Ghosts

Mystery At The Empire

The Empire Theatre, in High Street West, Sunderland, indeed has a ghost called the White Lady. Moreover, the ghost frequents the bar area. As a matter of fact, one barmaid said she heard doors banging. And she also said she’d heard unseen people walking about and she felt an ice cold presence. Moreover, some have speculated that the ghost could have a link to the disappearance of a female member of staff. Indeed, this disappearance is from the 1940s. With this in mind, could this story have a link to ‘missing Miss Molly’.

Wearside Mysteries - ghost of Sid James - Sunderland Empire Theatre
Of course, many people believe that the ghost of Superstar, Sid James haunts the Empire Theatre. This is because while he was performing in Sunderland, he died. Indeed, another famous star, Les Dawson insists that he had a strange experience there.

The Spook Of Houghton

The Copt Hill pub, in Seaham Road, Houghton also has a resident ghost. In this case, people believe it to be the ghost of a former landlord. Indeed, the landlord hanged himself from a beam in the public bar. Moreover, many customers claimed to have seen the vision of his dangling body.

Nuisance Of Newbottle

The Robbie Burns Inn, in Newbottle Street, also has a ghost which haunts it. Indeed, in one incident, a landlady said she came under attack by unseen hands in the cellar. Also upstairs there have been sightings of a lad with fair-hair. Then there are sightings of an old lady that dresses in black and a man drifting round the bar. In essence, some believe the man drifting around the bar is the ghost of a barman. In this case, he died in an accident in 1876.

The Marsden Grotto Ghost

Click here in order to read about the Marsden Grotto mystery.

As previously noted, if you have some unexplained Wearside Mysteries, consider submitting a post or two. Of course, these could be any story from our catchment area. To submit your post to the Wearside Mysteries page, choose any or all these categories, History, Buildings or People.

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