Russel Callaghan: Meet Kippax's own UFO expert VIDEO

Kippax's Russel Callaghan doesn't want you to get the wrong idea.

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It's not that he thinks aliens are about to swoop down and take over our planet, he just believes there's something out there... and it keeps paying us a visit.

Over the years he's met people from all over the world who have told him of their close encounters with little green, or sometimes grey, men who have emerged from strange-looking craft.

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Then there is the impressive collection of amateur video footage of apparent UFO sightings he's collected from across the globe. Some of it from close to home.

One of the clips, filmed from a back garden in Leeds, shows a strangely-shaped object hovering high above the houses.

Another, shot in Bridlington, traces a bright white object streaks slowly and silently across the night sky.

And footage captured in Castleford picks out a metallic ring glinting in the summer sun as it lifts and tilts in haphazard fashion.

As someone comments on YouTube, where the video was posted, if there were any aliens inside they were likely to have been feeling rather nauseous during this particular visit to planet Earth.

Russel shot the Castleford video himself, but it's far from the most spectacular close encounter he has had with a UFO.

That would have to be the day in 1980 when he was still a 22-year-old bus conductor.

"It was one Sunday afternoon in October," he says. "Me and the driver were on Odsal top in Bradford, sitting on a wall killing time.

"Suddenly there was something in the sky in front of the pair of us. It's so hard to explain how it came in... it was just there.

"It was this silver spinning object probably about 2,000 ft in the air. There were no fancy flashing lights or anything like that.

"Then just a few seconds later... shoooommm. It was gone."

Russel doesn't come across as a nutter. He's as sceptical as anyone when it comes to people claiming they beamed down from the planet Zarg.

But what he saw that day in 1980 left him with questions that have never been answered, questions that refuse to go away until he gets conclusive proof – one way or the other.

Ever since, Russel has been captivated by the idea that we are being visited by alien beings.

So when his then father-in-law Graham Birdsall, the founding editor of UFO Magazine, passed away in 2003 he was ready to take up the mantle to keep the magazine going from his home in Kippax, Leeds.

Now called UFO Data Magazine, it has around 2,000 subscribers who live every-where from Australia to Iceland and he's busy putting the finishing touches to the annual conference in Pontefract.

"There will be around 300 people there, people of a like mind," he says.

"It's not full of people wandering around with antennae on their heads and alien masks.

"We've got a retired RAF air traffic controller coming to see us and a UFO researcher from Turkey. It's a sharing of information."

Yorkshire has more than its fair share of UFO 'activity' down the years.

The front-page headline of the Yorkshire Evening Post from September 20, 1952 screams: 'Flying Saucer Report from Yorks RAF Station' and details a white object being sighted from the RAF base at Topcliffe which accelerated at a 'speed in excess of a shooting star'.

"We do get a lot of sightings in and around Yorkshire," says Russel, now 50 and who works as a Royal Mail manager by day.

"One reason for that is that we've got these vast open spaces of countryside with very little light pollution.

"People do make mistakes – we see satellites and the space station going over – but there have been some strange sightings."

He recounts the case of police constable Alan Godfrey, who stumbled across what he's convinced was a UFO in Todmorden in 1980, the same year as Russel's encounter.

His claims made headlines all over the world but he has since said he wishes he had never seen it, particularly given the effects on his children.

"It's not easy having a policeman as a father but when he's a policeman who saw a UFO it's even worse," he said.

Then there is the strange case of Zigmund Adamski, a 56-year-old miner, who went missing from his home in Tingley, near Wakefield in June 1980.

He had gone out to do some shopping but his body was found, by Alan Godfrey, five days later 20 miles from his home at a coal yard in Todmorden.

Zigmund's body was lying on top of a pile of coal. He was wearing a suit but his shirt, watch and wallet were missing.

On the back of his head, neck and shoulders were mysterious burns which attracted lots of attention.

UFOlogists claimed aliens from outer space had abducted the Yorkshire miner by mistake. Six months later, Godfrey himself saw a UFO.

"To this day, Alan will tell you he can't explain what he saw," says Russel. "And it did cause him a lot of grief in his career as a police officer."

Russel, like many within the UFO community, believes there is a cover-up at work which seeks to discredit those, especially airline pilots, military personnel and police officers, who report seeing something unusual.

The feeling is that most of us can laugh off sightings when they come from ordinary members of the public but it's different when they come from someone in a uniform.

Russel is concerned by a recent UFO series on TV which, he believes, held such people up to ridicule. It fits into the treatment he and his readers receive at the hands of what he refers to as the 'debunking community'.

"In the case of airline pilots, these are people we trust to take us on holiday. If he says he's seen something out of the window he can't explain then I believe him."

Files released in recent years under the Freedom of Information Act have only served to heighten interest in the possibility of extraterrestial life.

For starters, they show the Ministry of Defence does take an active interest in UFO sightings, despite denials in the past.

Russel is realistic enough to know that the MoD doesn't have the resources to devote to answering one way or the other if there is alien life out there.

But he's still determined to find proof that someone is taking an interest in our planet.

"I don't know if I'm convinced yet that aliens have actually been here

but I'd like to think that, just as we sent probes out into space, somebody is sending something towards us.

"Ten or 15 years ago we didn't know there was an extra solar system we could identify. With NASA's money and research there are Earth-like planets popping up all over the place.

"There's got to be something out there."