A terrifying close encounter at Birling Gap

A very dear friend of mine, who we'll call 'J', lives on the Sussex coast, to the east of Brighton. He has been interested in the UFO phenomenon for many years and has had a single previous personal experience: a cylindrical craft that passed in front of his van at close range near the well-known beauty spot of Ditchling Beacon.

His second experience took place in 2015, but I have only recently (2019) had the opportunity to visit the site of his encounter with him and record the details. On the October evening in question my friend had driven from his home at around nine o' clock to the beautiful clifftop at Beachy Head. He stopped in the empty car park to reflect on some family problems he had been having at the time: after a while he decided to return home, passing the Belle Tout lighthouse, driving down the hill towards Birling Gap. As he approached the National Trust centre, he became aware of a bright orange light nestling among the sheep-cropped grass some two hundred metres away to the north of the road. At this stage my friend assumed the light was originating from some everyday source: to his astonishment, however, the light resolved itself into a large sphere which rose up to a height of perhaps five or ten metres. The object was glowing with such intensity that it was almost impossible to look directly at it.

My friend was alarmed to see that the sphere was moving towards his car: he continued westwards past the Birling Gap car park. To his horror, the object followed, growing ever nearer, until the glow almost filled his car's side window. In near-terror, 'J' accelerated towards the small village of East Dean, passing through a belt of trees before stopping at a lay-by near the Tiger Inn. Climbing from his vehicle, my friend scanned the skies: the object had disappeared. After a minute, he drove back to Birling Gap, pulling into the National Trust car park: despite a good scan of the surrounding area, he had no further sightings of the strange object. The image above is a reconstruction of the initial sighting.

I should say: my friend is a quiet, steady businessman, who is not prone to flights of fancy: when he 'phoned me the following day he was still in a state of anxiety: three years later the memories of that night still cause him some trepidation...