On Monday, March 13, 1978, Steven Spielberg’s seminal cinematic tour de force, “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind” was unleashed on unsuspecting theatergoers across Great Britain, sparking a nationwide interest in the UFO phenomenon and making discussions of aliens and their hidden agendas a topic of conversation in nearly every kitchen, coffee shop, pub and schoolyard for the next six months.
While the massive influx of interest inspired by the aforementioned motion picture was surely a boon for both movie producers and publishers of pulp paperbacks, there was a man by the name of Ken Edwards, who — following a terrifying, and ultimately tragic, encounter with the unknown — would live to curse the extraordinary popularity of “Close Encounters” and the real-life extraterrestrials upon which it was based.
Bordered by the M62 motorway and nestled in the northeastern corner of Warrington, England, is the unassuming district of Risley. Following WWII, the region became the site of the headquarters for the Great Britain’s fledgling nuclear weapons and power program, known as of the Department of Atomic Energy (DATEN.)
This would later evolve into the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA,) which was tasked with the production of nuclear reactors and process plants, as well as bolstering England’s nuclear defense program. The area was also the home of the University Research Reactor.
The concrete shielded Argonaut class reactor, which went online in 1962, was co-owned by Liverpool and Manchester universities. The educational institutions primarily utilized the highly enriched uranium metal fueled reactor for experiments involving neutron activation.
Okay, history lesson over. Suffice it to say this seemingly insignificant locality has served as the site for a range of noteworthy nuclear facilities… not to mention one of the outright weirdest, and potentially deadly, humanoid encounters on the books.
At approximately t 11:30 pm. on the evening of March 17th, 1978, a 39 year-old service engineer by the name of Ken Edwards was making the 15-mile journey home to Warrington New Town development following a union meeting in Greater Manchester. By all accounts, Edwards was a straight-laced, hard working man who was not prone to wild flights of fancy or belief in the paranormal.
Nevertheless, as the exhausted Edwards drove down an isolated stretch of road through the mostly derelict industrial district where the Risley atomic energy complex was located, something utterly unbelievable snared his attention… something that would challenge his understanding of reality.
Edwards claimed that he first spied what he thought was a “man climbing,” but he quickly realized that he was looking at a gargantuan, humanoid figure lumbering down the steep embankment adjacent to the nuclear facility. The startled engineer immediately hit the brakes and his van slowed to a halt near the curb of the road some 50-feet away from the hulking humanoid, which was now illuminated by his headlights.
Edwards stared in astonishment at this bipedal beast — which he would later dub the “Silver Man” — as it lurched down the hill with its arms outstretched, utilizing strange, stiff-legged movements, like someone who was born without knee joints.
In fact, Edwards’ description and the sketch he made of this being makes it hard not to conjure images of some kind of enormous, intergalactic Frankenstein’s Monster.
Edwards also noticed that this creature assumed an odd “stooped” posture as it scrambled down the hill, which seemed impossible for a human to emulate without toppling over. This would be confirmed by investigators who inspected the scene and were unable to imitate the thing’s gait, forcing some to wonder if perhaps this Silver Man — like Apollo astronauts leaping about on the moon — was not susceptible to the same laws of gravity as the rest of us.
At this point the eccentric entity paused at the edge of the road and Edwards got his first good look at it under the glare of his high beams. The anxious engineer estimated that the figure was at least 7-feet in height and was either clad in some sort of reflective silver fabric akin to a radiation suit or had a dull metallic epidermis not unlike Alabama’s Metal Man of Falkville
He also claimed that the figure’s roundish face was black — or that it was covered with some sort of mask — with no discernible features except for a pair of glowing eyes. Furthermore, it had two, thin arms that were not attached at its shoulders, but stuck straight out of its chest like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Edwards tensed as the bizarre being trudged into the road directly in front of his car and turned to face him; staring into his eyes with its own self illuminated orbs. The moment must have felt excruciatingly long as these two foreign species fixed their eyes on one another, separated only by about 30-feet of asphalt and a windshield… and that was when things went from weird to horrifying.
Without warning, two pencil-thin “energy beams” of white light shot from the humanoid’s eyes directly into Edwards’ van. The engineer claimed that as soon as he was struck by these intense ocular beams he was overcome by a “dizzy” sensation and lost all sense of time. Edwards also claimed that there was some kind of invisible force that had apparently paralyzed him, which he compared to: