This is a small piece I was asked to do by my old friend David Gillham of Truro. He’s a great guy and I was very happy, and very proud to do it…..
My name is Mark and I’m a long-time friend of David Gillham, and also an attendee of his C.U.F.O.R.G. annual conferences in Truro. I first met David about ten years ago, ‘on-line’, via our mutual interest in the paranormal, and soon after that we began to meet-up for wild and often wet walks on high, bleak Cornish moor tops. We would also often chat about U.F.O.s, ghosts, and all things ‘strange’, whilst sipping coffee and eating his wife Elaine’s lovely cakes in his ‘man-shed’ in the back garden, (Truro’s very own Alien Central!)
I was very proud to be asked by David to do a quick write-up for this year’s 20th Conference. But I’m also going to sneakily slip in a quick tribute to him too! David is a very cool, friendly, knowledgeable guy, and he is very much an unsung ‘hero’ of the U.K. paranormal community. You won’t hear his name mentioned much on paranormal podcasts, but he has done so much to increase our knowledge in this field of study, and to also bring us all together. I hope that he, and you, approve of my write-up……
‘The Truth is out there’ (and it’s coming to Truro soon!)
Saturday the 7th October, 2017, is a date to note for your diary. It will mark the Cornwall U.F.O. Research Group’s 20th Conference! It is one of the longest running, and most respected conferences in the west country.
It all began back in 1995 when David Gillham, (C.U.F.O.R.G.’s founder member), and a long-time resident of Truro, had a sighting of an unidentified flying object from his back garden. David knew that it was highly unlikely that what he had seen that day was of terrestrial origin, and so he began his quest to find the truth. David read numerous books on the subject, he watched U.F.O. documentaries, made local and national contacts in the field, and went out on local sky-watches with like-minded new friends.
David soon realised that there was no local meeting place for those like himself who were seeking answers, for those that did not accept the inadequate, and sometimes ridiculous ‘answers’, (swamp gas anyone?!) that sceptics and certain scientists were only too keen to offer. And so an idea was born, he would set-up a ‘meet-up group’, and a website, for those needing to discuss their own strange sightings, and to have them officially acknowledged, and collated, to find any measureable patterns or trends.
It went very well, and, within a few months, he had set-up his own conference at Truro College. Among the first guests were David Icke, another truth-seeker and researcher that we all know, and Nick Pope, who was then working for the Ministry of Defence in London, collating U.F.O. sightings on behalf of the government. The first turnout for his conference was very encouraging as 330 people attended! This proved that there was a need for David’s fledgling research group and the annual conference in the wider Cornish community.
Cornwall has always been, and remains, a place that attracts mysteries and legends. I am currently interviewing witnesses to anomalous activities in Cornwall for my own book. The experiences that people have had, even in recent times in Cornwall, may surprise you. One particular story really got my attention. A tourist to Cornwall told of how he had got up in the early hours of the morning to get a glass of water from the kitchen. He was absent-mindedly gazing out through the window, across the bay. He claims he saw a huge black triangle emerging from the sea and shooting off at tremendous speed skywards! I have been given many similarly strange witness testimonies, and David himself has hundreds more in his own records. Cornwall is certainly a hotbed of ‘high strangeness’.
If you haven’t already attended one of David’s conferences, you may be wondering what kind of people would attend. Well, you can forget the out-dated, myopic, and stereotypical mainstream media view of such events. (You’d be hard pressed to find any ‘fruit-cakes’ at David’s annual conferences, well, unless it was in my bag alongside a packet of Jaffa cakes and a ‘Starbuck’s energy drink!) The reality, as I soon found out at my first conference 10 years ago, is that a huge cross section of the Cornish community attends, along with people from other parts of the south-west, and even from ‘up-country’ too. You will meet people from every ‘class’ and income bracket. You will meet students, retired people, farmers, policemen, teachers, lorry drivers, and from many other walks of life too. They all have a few things in common, and these include a hunger for ‘answers’ to the U.F.O. mystery, and an open, enquiring, and intelligent mind.
Between speakers you will be able to have a coffee with these lovely people and ‘swap’ experiences and ideas. (To be honest I enjoy the social side of the conference as much as I enjoy the actual guest speakers.)
What I like about David’s annual conference is that he always manages to find fascinating speakers. My personal favourites, so far, have been Robbie Graham, (doing a talk on the role Hollywood has in creating ‘hyper-reality’), Paul Weston, (who gave us an excellent talk which somehow drew together so many mystical and culturally diverse topics), and David himself, (as there is nobody else in the west country with his depth of knowledge and understanding of the U.F.O. subject). David has a gift for choosing interesting speakers who have a perspective that may challenge us and our pre-conceived ‘truths’, and surely that’s what we all need, somebody who will stretch our minds to new possibilities and new ideas?
The subject matter varies considerably, in the ten years I’ve been attending I’ve heard interesting talks on all kinds of ‘paranormal’ phenomena, not just on U.F.O.s., and sometimes the speakers will, quite unexpectedly, take us all off on wonderful, eclectic journeys, as they link subjects such as magic, history, culture, spirituality, mysticism and consciousness.
I’m hoping that this year’s speakers will do likewise, the line-up looks fascinating; we have Clas Svahn, (all the way from Sweden), talking about their ‘Ghost Rocket’ phenomenon, Tim Walter doing a talk on ‘The earth, it’s ghosts, and our part in its creation’, Nigel Watson asking the question “Are U.F.O.s extra-terrestrial craft?” (many of us think not, some, like me, think they may be inter-dimensional), and finally, after an afternoon tea break, Alan Foster will talk about ‘The spiritual consequences of U.F.O. disclosure, and contact with extra-terrestrials’.
If, like me, you would enjoy spending a lovely day with friendly, intelligent, open-minded people, hearing fascinating speakers, and other peoples’ other-worldly experiences in Cornwall, then why not get yourself down to Truro on Saturday October the 7th? You won’t regret it!
It is, once again, being held at the modern, and very stylish, ‘Fal’ building at Truro College. The doors will open at 9 a.m., and the first talk starts at 9.50 a.m. (Please arrive in plenty of time so as not to disturb the first speaker, thank you). There will be a mid-morning break, and an afternoon break with refreshments available, and, at lunch-time, you are free to mix with other conference attendees wherever you so wish. There are local fast-food restaurants very nearby, and a few pubs too.
The conference will be introduced, and very ably compered, by David Gilham, and his long time C.U.F.O.R.G. fellow researcher, David Lee. Tickets are available via David’s website (http://www.cornwall-ufo.co.uk/ufo-conference-2017.html) or by ringing him, or his lovely wife Elaine, on Tel 01872-276381. If you buy in advance the tickets are priced at £24 each, or they are £28 on the day. They are well worth the money, and it’s got to be better than doing the garden, going shopping, or watching the T.V. again hasn’t it?!
All the best to you David, and I hope that you are still around for the 30th annual conference, and way beyond!
Mark Anthony Wyatt
On Trencrom with David, 2011.