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10 August 2010, JellyBean @ 7:18 pm

A novelist claimed to have spotted a flying saucer decades before the term was coined by US newspapers, according to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) archive released yesterday.

Eleanor Kaye, author of The Storm Makers and Spooked For Life under the pen name Savanah Thorne, reported seeing an “upside-down saucer” surrounded by lights off the North Cornish coast as a child in 1926.

The alleged UFO sighting came almost 20 years before the first highly-publicised sighting by American Kenneth Arnold in 1947, which led to the widespread description of the craft as saucers.

The release of UFO-related documents by the National Archives began in 2008 in the wake of a flood of requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

The MoD closed down its UFO hotline last year after a round of spending cuts.

The project, which is currently only halfway through, will eventually release tens of thousands of pages to the public.

The latest swathe, which features several dozen sightings from Devon and Cornwall, contains about 5,000 pages and is available online.

Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO Files and senior lecturer in journalism from Sheffield Hallam University, said most sightings were “genuinely reported”.

“Lots and lots of accounts have come to light but there is no solid evidence that aliens have landed on Earth,” he said.

“The vast majority of people are genuinely concerned that they have seen something they cannot explain – otherwise they would not report it to the police or an air base.

Read more: This is Plymouth

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