• Home Page
  • UFO Topics
  • UFO Photos
  • UFO Cases
  • Sighting Reports
  • Report a Sighting

UFO Case Report:

Forester Encounters Mine-Like Entities in Scotland (the Dechmont Woods Encounter)

Date: November 9, 1979
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

Robert Taylor, a forester from West Lothian, Scotland, encountered a strange object and equally strange smaller objects or "entities". The rounded larger object, 20 feet in diameter, hovered above the ground. Then, two small objects, which were round but had appendages, "rushed" toward him. These objects each attached itself to one (each) of his trouser legs and tugged him towards the larger object, at which time Taylor lost consciousness. Ground marks were discovered at the scene of the encounter.

An artist's impression of the craft and 'mines' Taylor described, based on sketches he drew after the encounter.

Plan of site markings from police measurements. The shading inside the small circles indicate the top side of angled holes. Six meter diameter circle is assumed position of UFO. (credit: APRO)

The witness, Robert Taylor, examines the strange marks on the ground that were left by the objects. (Credit: The Economist)

Classification & Features

Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: CE3
Shape of Object(s): Round
# of Witnesses: Single
Special Features/Characteristics: Landing, Humanoid/Occupant, Smell/Odor, Physical Trace, Witness Photo

More Articles on this Case

Dechmont Woods, Scotland, November 9, 1979

UFOs at Close Sight (Ufologiet.net)

Report on the encounter in West Lothian, Scotland, including press articles and further references.

The Livingston UFO Assault

UFO Area

This is one of the strangest Scottish close encounter cases. Robert Taylor, a well respected forester, employed by the Livingstone Development Corporation had an intriguing encounter with UFO that landed in a small clearing in forest near Livingston, West Lothian in Scotland. R

Edinburgh Evening News press article (2004)

Gareth Edwards, Edinburgh Evening News, Nov. 9, 2004

IT was a terrifying close encounter which led to the only case in British history of an alien sighting being the subject of a criminal investigation. Exactly 25 years later, the case is still open on forestry worker Bob Taylor’s brush with mysterious alien spheres on Dechmont Law. R

Dechmont Woods Encounter

Mysterious Britain

Bob Taylor's encounter with the mysterious spheres in Dechmont wood near Livingston in Scotland, is probably one of the most written about cases of a close encounter in Britain. The case stands as one of the most intriging in British Ufology. R

Bob Taylor Encounter


Summary of the Bob Taylor encounter in Livingston, Scotland. R

Report on the investigation of the Bob Taylor encounter

Steuart Campbell, 1994

Report by Steuart Campbell, one of investigators in this case. R

The Livingston Encounter

John Spencer, 1991

At approximately 10.15 in the morning on friday, 9 november 1979 forester robert taylor, a 61-year-old local inhabitant of livingston, scotland, encountered a ufo and entities of the most extraordinary nature. R

An Alien Assault

Randles and Hough, 1994

Undoubtedly the most well-known case in the Bonnybridge area dates back to well before the current mystery began. It occurred in November 1979 on a damp morning near Dechmont Law, a forested area close to the M8 motorway at Livingston. R

Robert Taylor, a possible victim of alien abduction, died on March 14th, aged 88

The Economist, March 29, 2007

Obituary - article on the passing of Bob Taylor, and the story of his encounter. R

Full Report / Article

Source: APRO, July 1980


The February 1980 (Vol. 28, #8) issue of the Bulletin contained a preliminary report on the alleged encounter of a West Lothian, Scotland forester with a strange object and equally strange smaller objects or "entities". The "happening" took place on November 9, 1979, and the following is the information gleaned from additional clippings and mainly from the Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena, Vol.1, No.2, March, 1980. Strangely enough, the article was written by Stuart Campbell, the architect who initially identified the object(s) as manisfestation(s) of ball lightning. However, it does seem that Mr. Campbell is being fairly objective, and the following are the "gleanings". We refer the readers to the February, 1980 (Vol. 28, #8) issue of the Bulletin to save space and repetition.

Robert Taylor, forester, (sixteen years tenure with the Livingston Development Corporation) and now a foreman, left his home in Lothian at 1000 GMT in a Forestry Department van, to inspect young trees to the North of the town near highway M8. As he could not drive the van all the way due to the density of trees, he left it on the side of the roadway and proceeded on foot.

Mr. Taylor, accompanied by his dog—walked the rest of the way, and at about 10:15 he rounded a corner in the forest path ( 100 meters from the road but out of sight of it) and came upon a strange sight.

Before him was a rounded object with a rim-like appendage (according to Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena) not unlike a circular platform (see drawing, reproduced from JTAP, artist not identified).

At first the smaller objects were not in evidence, according to Taylor. The larger object was hovering above the ground, neither moving nor making any sound. The "thing" was dark grey with a texture similar to that of sand-paper. It appeared to become transparent in one area or another, seemingly, to Taylor, to "camouflage" itself. The "craft" was estimated to be twenty feet (six meters) in diameter.

Taylor said he stood, amazed, and stared at the object, then two small objects (apparently coming from under the large object) "rushed" toward him. They had a color and texture similar to that of the "parent" object, but were outfitted with appendages (see figure 1). They rolled on a horizontal axis and made a "plopping" noise as the "legs" made contact with the ground.

Upon reaching him, these objects each attached itself to one (each) of his trouser legs, just below the pockets on the sides. Taylor felt them tug him toward the large object and at the same time, he said, he was nearly suffocated by a strong acrid smell which he compared with that of burning automobile brake linings and which he felt came from the "things".

Taylor became aware that he was being dragged forward and his boots were scraping on the ground, before he lost consciousness, and fell forward and laid face downwards.

When Taylor regained consciousness, the objects were gone, but his dog was with him. He tried to speak to her but found he had lost his voice. He tried to stand but his legs would not support him, so he crawled approximately 90 meters (300 ft.) back up the trail toward his van, and then unsteadily half crawled and half staggered the rest of the 430 meters to his van. There, he attempted to contact his headquarters via two-way radio but was unsuccessful because of his voice.

Taylor then attempted to back the van up the track but unfortunately he ran off the track onto soft ground and could not get it out. Using short cuts through woods and fields, he walked the remaining 1600 meters back to his home, arriving at 11:30 a.m. During his walk between his van and his home his voice returned.

Upon seeing her husband's state when he arrived home, Mrs. Taylor assumed he had been attacked and started to call the police, but Taylor stopped her and had her call Mr. Malcolm Drummond, the head of the Forestry Department and his superior. Drummond immediately went to the Taylor residence and he and Taylor went back to the scene of the encounter where they found strange holes in the ground which Taylor said had not been there before that morning. Mrs. Taylor had noticed some unaccountable tears in his trousers in the areas where Taylor claimed the small objects had attached themselves.

Mr. Taylor was later examined by his Doctor who found only a "grase" (scrape?) on his chin and on his thigh. The Doctor sent him to the Bangour hospital for a skull X-ray but Taylor checked himself out before this was accomplished. (Editor's note: This may strike some readers as odd, but if Scottish hospitals are anything like American ones, any tests except for those required in dire emergencies, are only undertaken on weekdays and it is possible Taylor didn't relish a hospital stay over the weekend for an X-ray, especially if he had no pain in his head, and so far the reports do not indicate that he did).

The following excerpts were taken from the "Journal of Transient Aerial Phenomena" with their permission:

"The ground marks (see Figure 3) were of two types. First, there were two isolated ladder type "tracks" about 2.5 m long and the same distance apart. Each "rung" of the ladder (see Photograph 1), was 2 or 3 cm wide and deep, and about 30 cm long, and the area of grass between each "rung" was evenly flattened, but not as deeply as the "rungs". Although the "tracks" appear to be impressions made by a heavy object, the indentations were only in the grass; they did not alter the ground profile under the grass as they would have done if subjected to a heavy weight. The grass blades were each folded and formed to follow the outline of a rectangular indentations."

"Secondly there were 40 holes surrounding the "tracks", as shown in Figure 3. These holes all exposed fresh earth and were tapered from a maximum width of about 10cm, but at an angle as shown, The angle was fairly shallow; about 30° to the horizontal. A remarkable feature was the fact that the direction of the angle of the holes was consistent and always in line with the next hole in line. Two distinct and related sets of holes can be detected, and it is clear that one set of holes proceeds clock-wise, while the other proceeds anticlock-wise, and that they are in tandem between the "tracks". In some cases, blades of grass surrounding the edge of a hole were sheared off."

"No grass was scorched. The marks were measured and recorded by the local police the same day, and the area fenced off by the Forestry Department. The marks were photographed by Alastair Sutherland (a friend of a member of the Forestry Department) and by me, the following day."

"Robert Taylor's clothes (including the trousers) were taken by the police for forensic examination. Only the trousers and his long underpants showed anything unusual.Figure 4 and 5 show the tears on each leg of the trousers, which are made of navy blue serge. The right leg tear is about 65cm up from the bottom of the leg, while the left tear is about 76cm up."

Case ID: 682 edit: 682

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for scientific, research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.