AFTER a close encounter of the third kind, an Alvechurch resident has spent the last 10 years researching UFOs.

John Hanson and his partner Dawn Holloway are working on a series of volumes dating from 1940 to 2008 which catalogue a day-by-day account of UFO activity in the UK.

The series, called Haunted Skies, contains an in-depth examination of UFO events as well as illustrations and interviews.

John, who is retired from West Midlands Police, said: "In 1995 I was at home in the depth of my armchair watching, of all things, the X Files, when a colleague of mine told me about a UFO that had been seen over Birmingham.

"My colleague and his partner drove around looking for the object when they came across a massive saucer shaped object with a thin rippling red line running through it, surrounded by a blue haze.

"This was the trigger that raised my curiosity. Surely there was no such thing as UFOs or flying saucers, they didn't exist - or did they?"

Over the next few years John continued to receive information about other sightings which had taken place on that same evening and began to look into the subject of UFOs.

At the same time he began giving talks and lectures on UFOs at local colleges and met his partner Dawn.

After one talk he had his first close encounter.

"A strange thing happened, I was at home getting ready for bed when I looked out of the window and saw a silvery blob of light about the size of a football hanging on the tree opposite the house," he said.

"I picked up a video camera and started filming and then the next thing I know I'm waking up the next day. When I realised what had happened I checked the video and was astonished to see the object again.

"Within a couple of minutes it rushed up into the sky and was gone.

"Like so many others before me and after I went straight to the library and read as much as I could about UFOs."

Feeling uneasy about the way authors had carried out their research, John decided the only way to form his own conclusions as to what this phenomena is was to carry out his own research.

He added: "The majority of the information in the volumes was obtained from literally hundreds of interviews with UFO researchers and the witnesses themselves, defunct 1970s magazines and newspaper appeals.

"It's something people will find very interesting but I think we have to be wary of alienating ourselves against a general public who still remain sceptical of the existence of UFOs and have no comprehension as to how prolific UFO activity was during the middle of the last century.

"There is an abundance of all manner of strange and weird phenomena out there, but one has to see and experience for themselves before they believe it."

For more information about Haunted Skies or if any business would like to help John and Dawn publish the series, call 0121 445 0340.