Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

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Tuesday 18 September 2012


In an earlier ShukerNature blog post (click here), I documented one of my favourite if very radical theories appertaining to mystery creatures. Namely, that some UFOs may actually be living entities – i.e. highly-specialised, undiscovered species of atmosphere-inhabiting sky beast, adapted for an exclusively airborne existence in a vast rarefied realm in the uppermost reaches of our planet where, very oddly in terms of evolutionary diversity, no species endemic to it have ever been formally disclosed.

After he read that blog post, I was contacted on 24 July 2012 by Facebook friend Chris Bond from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England, who revealed to me that he had personally observed some anomalous aerial phenomena that he could not explain, but whose activity seemed somewhat reminiscent of living organisms. Chris sent me a detailed account of his sightings, together with an illustration of one of them, and has very kindly permitted me to chronicle them here as a follow-up to my previous ShukerNature sky beast article.

Are the vast skies far above us inhabited by extraordinary life forms still awaiting formal scientific discovery?

Chris described his first sighting as follows:

"The first relevant one that I remember took place in Mount Ambrose in Cornwall in maybe 1991. I used to stand outside my grandparents bungalow smoking roll-ups and, as the sky is relatively clear there, I used to watch the satellites pass overhead. One of these "satellites" was very strange. It looked like a regular satellite or medium magnitude star, but I can only describe its movement as how I would imagine a nautilus moves at speed or some other marine animal. The object would instantly brighten and shoot forward some distance, then dim as it slowed down until it was no longer visible. Then it would repeat the process, moving across the sky in bursts of energy. At the time it reminded me of some sort of marine animal propelling itself by shooting water out through its shell, in pulses, from some vague memory of footage of something similar seen many years before."

Sighting #2 was no less intriguing:

"The second was even stranger. One spring morning in 1992, at around 4 am, I was walking home from my brother's in Plymouth and there's a spot by Patna Place where the ground drops and, over a wall, you can see most of Plymouth Sound below. I noticed in the distance what looked like a very bright star, but this one was bright red. After some minutes, and as it grew closer, I began to see the actual shape of the object. I can only describe it as like a massive glowing red seagull. The wings didn't flap; it glided, silently, and the air all around it glowed red. It's difficult to gauge the actual size, but it gave the impression of being very large; passenger jet or larger, but with a very organic shape, just like a seagull. I watched it cross the whole sky over Plymouth Sound, maybe 10-15 minutes in total. I checked for others who might have seen it, but nothing. Any fishermen out on the Sound at the time were no doubt scanning the deep for Morgawr."

Love it!

Chris's third sighting, which is certainly the strangest of them all, inspired him to prepare this drawing. He states that it accurately portrays the movement and arrangement of the objects that he witnessed, but he has transferred the setting from Plymouth to Cornwall (hence Chun Quoit) for artistic regions.

Drawing depicting the aerial objects featured in Chris's third sighting (Chris Bond)

Here is his description of this sighting:

"The third is, to me, the most profoundly curious of the lot. I always got the feeling that it was some kind of message, but have never yet fathomed the meaning; maybe something to do with cell division. This too was in Plymouth, at 12:25am on 4 April 1996, at the back of my flat on Allendale Road. I wrote it down immediately so as not to forget anything. It was a particularly good night for astronomy. Very clear! There was a total lunar eclipse at that very time; the moon was bright orange-red. The comet Hyakutake was also visible, though hidden to me at that point due to my house being in the way. I was studying the eclipse when I caught an incredibly bright star in the corner of my eye, slowly rising up from the horizon; again it was bright red. Initially, I thought that the colour may have due to the eclipse, but soon realised that it was way too bright, and that the moon would in no way affect the colour of a star some distance away in the sky. My attention turned to the star. When it had reached a point roughly 45 degrees up from the horizon it suddenly stopped dead and for a few seconds it just sat there, brightly twinkling. Then, it suddenly "exploded" into two, of equal size and magnitude to the first. These two stopped a short distance away from each other. The two then repeated the division, forming 4; then again, to form 8. They were by this point arranged in a formation which reminded me of Cassiopeia, but a bit larger. The objects stayed there for a few seconds, then suddenly shot off towards the opposite horizon at breakneck speed; keeping the Cassiopeia-like formation the whole way, until they disappeared in the direction of Cornwall. After they disappeared I looked down at a cat which was sat a few feet away from me; it was still looking up at the sky. The whole episode was completely silent and I can only describe the objects and their movement as unearthly, and very beautiful. The Red Arrows performed over Plymouth a few days later, and they looked like slugs in the sky in comparison. There were no clouds and I'm certain that they weren't lasers. There is nothing that I could even vaguely compare to them. I saw a close friend the next day and before I'd had a chance to say anything he informed me that he'd seen UFOs "dancing" around the comet the night before. I read reports in UFO Magazine a month or two later that similar objects had been seen over Dorset that night, about an hour before my sighting; and therefore just prior to the eclipse."

Chris also mentioned a fourth sighting, which he made while in the company of a friend, and which, though seemingly less allied to the sky beast category of UFO sightings than the previous three, is worth including here if only because Chris feels that all four observations may be in some way connected, in spite of their morphological disparity:

"The last is probably less relevant to your blog post, so I will be brief. About 3 years ago now, at Beacon near Camborne in Cornwall, a friend was giving me a lift in his car. As we were pulling up to his drive he pointed out an object moving in the sky, at maybe 100m above the rooftops. It appeared to me like an upturned black dustbin, and of about the same size, and was rotating on an axial tilt of about the same as the earth at roughly one rotation per second, maybe slightly slower. It was moving through the sky at a fairly slow pace, but seemed effortless and mechanical, but very precise. It did not deviate in its trajectory whatsoever and did not seem affected by breezes. Its movement reminded me of a drone or radio controlled vehicle. It disappeared towards Redruth, the view obscured by the houses. My friend...had never seen anything similar in his life, although he did once witness a large black cat cross the road at Newbridge near Penzance.

"I feel that the first two of these sightings may interest you in regard to your blog post. The second two, maybe less so, but to me the four seem related, but that might just be my mind trying to make some sense of experiences for which I have very little explanation."

What an interesting series of reports, of which the second and third were particularly intriguing to me. I've read about UFOs splitting into twos or other multiples, almost like celestial cellular division! And who knows - if these really were sky beasts, that is precisely what may have been occurring. The 'seagull' sighting is also reminiscent of others in this genre - the organic 'feel' to the object has been reported many times. Indeed, the company of nine 'flying saucers' famously sighted on 24 June 1947 by private pilot Kenneth Arnold as they flew at supersonic speeds past Mount Rainier in Washington State, USA, were subsequently likened by him to space jellyfishes. I'm not sure what to make of sighting #1 - I can understand what Chris meant when he referred to its motion, but it's rather different from other putative living UFOs that I've read about.

Photograph of Kenneth Arnold with a drawing of one of the nine objects sighted by him on 24 June 1947 (http://podcastufo.com/blog/kenneth-arnold/)

Having said that, I freely confess that I am certainly no expert in ufology – which is where, gentle readers, you come in. Chris has mentioned to me that Sighting #3 was reported to PUFORG, who printed a report at the time, and a short version of the same was published in UFO Magazine some months later, but otherwise this is the first time that the details presented here have been made public. Consequently, if you can add any suggestions, opinions, or additional information regarding the phenomena sighted and reported by Chris, we'd both be very pleased to receive them here.

For more information concerning sky beasts, check out my book Dr Shuker's Casebook: In Pursuit of Marvels and Mysteries (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2008).


  1. i witnessed a orange bol type ufo close up in North Wales in 1972 ! at first it looked like a small plane or helicopter but it's slow silent movement only a couple of hundred feet above our viewing postion ,i was able to observe the phenomena very closely the object came in low and had two contra rotating circles in the centre and behaved like a living creature more than a nuts and bolts object! It stopped over some woods a little way from our viewing postion ! Then hovered for a short while before shooting back in a wide arc towards the Wirral over the Dee as if on an overstrtched elastic band ! Holywell observation point ! last seen direction towards Parkgate/Neston Wirral !

  2. I hope you all can steer clear of Trevor Constable's sky creatures work in his book Cosmic Pulse of Life...

    There was a great article in Fortean Times called "Flight of Fantasy" [September 2000 Issue#137 pp. 34-9] that in my opinion gives the definitive debunking of Kenneth Arnolds' 1947 sighting of flying "saucers". Arnold first used the term "saucer" to describe their motion (as skipping like a saucer on water) and only later to describe their shape. Arnold mistakenly thought that his momentary loss of sight of the UFOs was due to their passing behind a 10,000 foot peak, but they actually passed in front of it. This resulted in him judging the distance as greater and the size as greater. His description otherwise exactly fits that of the American White Pelican according to professional ornithologists; they have the flight characteristics and shape he described of a crescent with a bat like concavity ("Arnold:’ somewhat bat shaped"). This author also found that the earliest wing shaped military crafts were not built early enough. At most only one such craft existed, while Arnold saw a whole formation.

    1. I to this day don't know why or how the term Fortean is applied to that fish wrapper, when all it is consists of a debunker smugfest of small minds.

      What is Fortean about constantly using cheapjack smartarsery to debunk and discredit... And where are the retractions when their crap is proven wrong, as it so often is?

  3. Laurence,

    WADR, You are a debunker of the worst kind. Again, WADR, An author's inclusion of the opinion of ornithologists, however professional (appeal to authority) is patently meaningless. You do make me LOL at the end with your concession. If it was so thoroughly debunked, why do you feel the need to even entertain such an argument? How the hell would you have any clue WHATSOEVER what type of craft it was, and how many were built? "At most" only one existed? I didn't know there were experts at unidentified aircraft, but apparently you are
    Really, it takes all kinds. I truely Hope you get paid for your debunking because otherwise you are simply wasting energy and space. Good day.

  4. One of the astronauts reported witnessing living "worm" or "snake" like organisms while orbiting Earth, unfortunately I cannot recall which astronaut reported this but if you cannot locate the report I will see if I can track it down. What I can recall was that the "space worms" wriggled and moved through space very much as if alive, not any kind of machine.

  5. Hello,

    Great blog you have here. I really like this concept. Perhaps these hypothesized creatures of the sky could be coming in inter dimensionally. In other words, what if they are "born" onto this side, and then able to vanish at will into another side.

    I really don't mean "born" per Se,that they don't exist prior to entering the atmosphere/sky.Just that they would come through space time.
    The varied encounters could represent, at some level, life from elsewhere, in the most literal sense, not just "craft". Some of these reports just lend themselves to that. Although if you do your research it's fairly clear Arnold saw a prototype German flying wing, in formation, due to technology derived from Operation Paper Clip. Still the thought of upper-atmospheric life is very intriguing. As I stated, I think such cases be among the many possible "real" "UFO" sightings, excluding miss identifications of course(such as pelicans?!@)

  6. One time I was in a neighbors back yard laying down the back of a truck. I saw a red ball of light fly near the moon... It looked like a red dot. Well if it looked like a dot from the ground. It must be really huge up close. and It looked like it stopped near the moon.

  7. During my only UFO sighting, when I had the time to spend nearly half the night gazing at the sky during a flap of UFO sightings, I saw bright objects making such movements that my first impression was that it was a large hovering insect. Four lights, as if attached to some non-visible body, moved in unison, back and forth, a few hundred meters above the ground, just an insect, a fly or mosquito, moves above a surface.

  8. Mr Crossen is wrong. Arnold first was attracted to the objects because of a bright flash, most likely a sun reflection off the objects silvery surfaces. White pelicans may be bright but they do not reflect sunlight like a mirror. Second: by the time of Arnold's sighting the US had been in possesion of German flying wing jet aircraft for over two years. The YB35 flying wing had flown a year earlier. Arnold most likely saw a flight of experimental all-wing jet fighters based on the Horten 229. The flight characteristic of skipping being caused by the short body length relative to wingspan and flying near mountains without the benefit of todays computer stabilization.

  9. With all due respect, I did share the Fortean Times refutation of the Arnold sighting because I was and continue to be very satisfied with it. For a long time I had heard of such an explanation and naturally supposed that this was some sort of off the cuff dismissal of UFOs. Once I read the article I understood that it was probably correct. Arnold first used the term saucer to describe their motion and only later their shape. When did he come up with the flash of light? Obviously, an ornithologist's opinion is highly pertinent to sightings of birds.

  10. I too read that Fortean Times article, and have to admit it accounted rather nicely with the facts of the Arnold sighting, so far as they are known. I do seem to recall mention of the flash of light, but this, it seems to me, could just as easily be a brief glimpse of the white from their wings seen in his peripheral vision. I am always skeptical of the skeptics, particularly when attempting to dismiss what would appear to be pretty persuasive cases, but even I found myself swayed by the article. We will likely never know what really happened that day, but I think the article showed that the Pelican hypothesis is at least in as much accordance with the known facts as any of the more popular theories available.
    Even if they were Pelicans, that doesn't mean that other people weren't seeing odd things in the sky around the same time (and unless I'm very much mistaken, I seem to recall Arnold had a subsequent sighting of UFO's as well), nor even that they weren't bona fide flying saucers. It just means maybe this one guy may have seen something a little less fantastic than was claimed.
    As for Sky Beasts, I vividly recall first hearing about them from watching some 1970's era documentary while visiting my father in California as a child in 1982. I was alone in his 3rd-story apartment, and the sun was setting. I remember growing increasingly scared as it grew dark, imagining some huge, betoothed jellyfish floating down to the balcony or windows to investigate little old me. Of course the documentary linked them to animal mutilations, blood rains, and falls of flesh from the sky (hence my imagining all those sharp teeth), which made them seem much more intimidating.
    I would think though that if they did really exist, they would probably live in a similar fashion to jellyfish- going wherever the currents take them, feeding off of whatever small particles or organisms that they happen to bump into. There's not much to eat up there, to be sure, certainly not anything very large. Studies have shown insects, spiders, pollen, bacteria, and other biological material can be blown exceptionally high, which might allow such theoretical filter-feeders enough nourishment to survive. More surface area would mean the ability to collect more food in this way, which could account for the large size of such would-be animals. Food for thought...

  11. Я наблюдал в Украине много НЛО и огненных шаров , сфер и стртжней , также ночную огненную птицу , а также бабушка рассказывала что видела рано утром черных лошадей идущих по небу .