By Tim MatthewsIt is with great sadness that I must tell you about the death last week of Eric Morris, who many of you will know as a prominent Ufologist on the scene over the last 25 years.
Eric died in Gibraltar last week and was discovered by his wife, Linda. Initial reports suggest a ruptured spleen as the cause of death.
Eric Morris was a colourful figure on Britain's UFO scene and first began his involvement with the quest back in the 1970s whilst serving in the Royal Navy (he joined in 1970). Eric served as a combat medic in the Falkland Islands conflict of 1982 tending the injured on board ship as well as in the field. After 15 years service he left to follow a long career in nursing, a profession he enjoyed and which he continued to follow after leaving England for Gibraltar in early 2008. Not content to work the long hours his chosen profession required, he studied hard, and was awarded a specialist Nursing Degree in 2000. He worked as a Supervisor and Team Leader in a number of Cheshire hospitals and nursing homes as a result.
One of his passions was Ufology and he attended numerous events, appeared on TV programmes and wrote articles for a number of "X-Files" spin-off publications in the 1990s. I first met him in 1996 at the Staffordshire UFO Conference in Rugeley. At the time, his British UFO Studies Centre, run from Winsford then Northwich, was well-known on the scene and Eric knew all the major players. He would drive hundreds of miles to investigate a case. Initially, he focussed on claims of Close Encounters and "alien abductions" but became very skeptical about these in later years. We hit it off from the start and we regularly travelled to Conferences, meetings and events. Eric acted as a sort of "security man" for me on occasions, his boxing abilities being of use on more than one occasion in 1998-1999!
From the mid 1990s onwards Eric, myself and up to a dozen others regularly visited Wiltshire during the Summer to investigate crop circles and associated phenomena. In 1998, we staked out the UK Headquarters of the CDCN near RAF Rudloe Manor and subsequently located the government's new emergency bolt hole at a nearby quarry, much to the interest of Channel 4 news and the chagrin of their full-time reporters. Who said Ufological investigations can't be fun?! In 2004 Eric appeared in a TV documentary made by Jon Lundberg titled "The Mythologist" that investigated his early dealings with Henry Azadehdel, aka Armen Victorian, whom he met on a number of occasions in the late 1980s.
From 2000, I was lucky to work with Eric organising a number of small but successful Paranormal Conferences in Runcorn that raised hundreds of pounds for the Cat's Protection League. This was Eric's other main passion, evidenced by a houseful of rescue cats that ruled the roost! This part of his life was little-known to UFO enthusiasts but he donated thousands to Cat's Protection over the years. Eric was a caring man, despite his somewhat brusque deportment and non-nonsense "in public" attitude. He was a very kind man and was always extremely generous with presents for my daughters Alexandra and Freya. With this in mind, Eric also nursed our good friend David Kelly, another BUFOSC member, at the time of his death from Cancer in 2000.
Similarly little known was Eric's passion for the music of Jimi Hendrix and The Who. He was a huge fan of Britain's 1960s trend-setting rock band and went to see them in concert every time they played within driving or flying distance! He was known to members of the band and the band's fan club and collected a great deal of rare merchandise and memorabilia over the years.
More recently, whilst organising his long-planned emigration to Gibraltar, a place he came to know and love during his Navy days and which he visited on many occasions subsequently, Eric started to re-investigate some older UFO cases he'd been involved in including the Rendlesham Forest ferrago. He came to some interesting conclusions about possible hoaxing in relation to this and it is to be hoped that we can recover this material for subsequent publication.
Eric maintained his passion for Ufology until the end. He will be greatly missed by those of us who were privileged to know him. I understand that Eric's body will be flown from Gibraltar to Winsford where a funeral will be held as soon as arrangements have been made. If you're interested in attending, please feel free to contact me as shown above or on (07515) 151597.