The Philip Spencer case concerns a Close Encounter of the third kind on December 1, 1987, in Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, England, where Philip Spencer takes a photo of the alleged Ilkley Moor alien, and witnesses a UFO.[1] Due to experiencing missing time, Spencer sought regressive hypnosis which qualified the encounter as also being an abduction (See Spencer’s 1988 transcript).[2]

Close encounterEdit

After four years of being a policeman in another city, Philip Spencer had moved his wife and child to the Yorkshire area to be closer to his wife’s family. Spencer was walking across the moor in the early morning of December 1, 1987, while heading for his father-in-law's house. On the way, he was hoping to get some photographs of the strange light tricks of the moor. To be able to get the images he desired, he was using a high ASA rated film to compensate for the poor light in the area.


Zoom-in on original color photo of the Ilkley Moor alien

Along with his camera, Spencer also took a compass to navigate through the fog before sufficient daylight can shine through the moor. He was searching for some photo angles when he suddenly caught sight of a strange looking being, in the slopes ahead of him. He aimed and snapped a picture of the creature which seemed to be gesturing for him to stay away.

The being then withdrew, but was still in sight. In an impulse reaction, Spencer went in pursuit of the being. He arrived to get a glimpse of a flying craft with a dome-top rising up from the moor. Atop the dome was a whitish square. The craft then quickly disappeared. When he saw nothing else, neither the being or its craft, Spenser began to walk to the nearest village. This walk took about 30 minutes, and during this time, a couple of things became apparent to him: his compass now pointed south instead of north, and secondly, the village clock showed the time an hour ahead of his watch.[1]

Film developmentEdit


Black and white contrast edit of the Ilkley Moor alien

Philip Spencer took the bus to the nearest town with instant film development. His photo shot captured an image of the creature who looked to be about 4 foot tall, and had a blue-green tint to its skin. This prompted Spencer to seek a UFO investigator, who went by the name Peter Hough.

Hough submitted the photo to a wildlife photography expert, who determined that the image did not depict any known animal, nor if the figure was animate or static. A reconstruction of the original site established the alien's height to be at or near 4 and one half feet.

The photograph was next sent to Kodak laboratories in Hemel, Hempstead. An analysis showed that the object was indeed part of the original photo, and not superimposed. This conclusion did not, of course, determine what the creature was.


Color contrast enhancements of the Ilkley Moor alien

The picture was later sent to the United States for computer enhancement and analysis by Bruce Maccabee, who was an optical physicist with the US Navy. He stated that the slow film speed used for the low light conditions made the film too grainy for proper testing. "I had great hopes that this case would prove definitive. Sadly circumstances prevent it from being so," Maccabee stated.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 UFO Casebook, The Ilkley Moor Alien, by B. J. Booth
  2. UFO Casebook, The Ilkley Moor Alien, Part 2, by B. J. Booth
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.