Perhaps Michael Knighton was right after all. You won’t find many Cumbrians who agree with that statement, but we’re not talking about football.

The former Carlisle United owner was responsible for plenty of mysterious behaviour during his decade at Brunton Park but the most famous example concerned flying saucers rather than flying footballs.

He’s not the only one. Hundreds of Cumbrians have reported seeing UFOs in the county’s skies.

And it’s exactly 60 1996 Michael Knighton made headlines with his claim that he saw a spacecraft while driving along the M62 and heard a voice say: “Michael, don’t be afraid.”

While Knighton was predictably ridiculed, plenty of people were listening rather than laughing.

They included Chris Parr from Whitehaven. Chris has been a

Sharon Larkin is a prominent member of North West Cumbria UFO Research and Investigation.

She is familiar with dozens of UFO stories in Cumbria’s skies. The group says most sightings have been above the Solway Firth.

A Bassenthwaite farmer contacted Sharon in 2000. He said that in 1954 he and his son had come across some strange wreckage from a disc-shaped object on Knott Fell, Branthwaite, near Workington.

He claimed the army recovered the wreckage of the silver disc and that he and his son had spent two weeks at Kirkbride airfield while the army cleared the land.

“It was just before he died,” said Sharon. “He said the army had trained him not to speak about the incident, but that he felt he wanted to tell someone and unburden himself of the story.

“Cumbria is definitely a hotspot for sightings. There are also a lot of sightings associated with nuclear installations.”

THE incidents reported to North West Cumbria UFO Research and Investigation in recent years have included:

n A west Cumbrian woman who Air Force conducted an internal investigation. This concluded that the material recovered in 947 was probably debris from a secret government programme called Project Mogul.

RLytollis - Times & Star