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(June 29, 2002)

Copied this from AOL - the 1st in a series of features entitled "things that make me say ooh"

LONDON (Reuters) -- Want to see a flying saucer? Then go to Scotland.


The country, better known as the home of legendary Loch Ness monster, has the highest concentration of UFO sightings on the planet, according to figures released Monday.

Around 300 "Unidentified Flying Objects" are spotted in Scotland each year, the most per square kilometer and per head of population of anywhere in the world, figures compiled by Scotland's official tourist body found.

VisitScotland said 0.004 UFOs were spotted for every square kilometer of Scotland -- a rate four times as high as in France or Italy, this planet's other UFO hotspots. The 2,000 UFOs are spotted every year in the United States represent just 0.0002 sightings per square kilometer.

"This confirms that Scotland is the nearest thing there is to the Costa del Sol for aliens," a VisitScotland spokesman said, referring to the tourist mecca of southern Spain, which attracts tens of thousands of holidaymakers every year.

There was one UFO sighting per 17,000 inhabitants in Scotland compared to one per 61,200 in Canada, and one per 136,450 in the United States.

The Scots' favorite spot for extraterrestrial visitors is Bonnybridge, 50 km (30 miles) west of Edinburgh. One local government official has even called for the town to be twinned with Roswell in New Mexico, the U.S. UFO capital.

"Traditionally Scotland has had a lot of odd incidents, right through history, from ghosts and poltergeists to supernatural beings and the Loch Ness monster. So, Scotland is well-known as a place where strange things happen, Ron Halliday, author of "UFO Scotland," said.

Others had a less dramatic explanation.

"UFOs tend to be attracted to regions that are fairly remote. Plus if you have a remote area, look out for airbases; Scotland is littered with them," Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO magazine, said.

"In 90 percent of UFO reports a bit of diligent research will produce a simple explanation."

The figures' release coincided with what aficionados celebrate as International UFO day, the anniversary of June 24, 1947.

On that date, a U.S. air force pilot claimed to have spotted nine mysterious disc-shaped objects over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, leading to the term "flying saucer."

posted by Ron 17:50
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