For many people, quite possibly the most famous conspiracy in the world… ever, is the now infamous Stoat-Beguiling Incident that took place during the night of March 18th 1976 at Bridgnorth in the West Midlands, UK. Many conspiracy theorists are convinced that there was far more going on during that evening than has ever been revealed, either by the authorities, or by those (both amateur and professional) who investigated the matter.
Although there are several conspiracy theories that have many, many, more websites devoted to them, Stoat-Night (as it is known to the conspiracy cognoscenti) has only two (with one seemingly now defunct). However, both these sites more than make up for their relative paucity of numbers with a wealth of material and eyewitness accounts. On the Stoat Night - The Facts! Website there are even some - admittedly rather blurry - photographs purported to be of the incident itself. Although, the webmaster of the site refuses to be drawn on whether he himself believes in the authenticity of the photographs.
For those who now have only a hazy recall of the Stoat-Night event, this is - roughly and briefly - the established story of what - supposedly - happened that spring night in 1976.
It all began about twenty past eight on the night of March 18th, just a little way outside Bridgnorth on the A458 Shrewsbury road. A courting couple, Norbert Spudnuts and his fiancé Spindle Nobgobbler, were - they say - searching for a mislaid cruet set behind a hedge in a potato field. Though why this hunt for a cruet set should need the removal of so many of their clothes is one of the many questions from that night that still remain unanswered even to this day.
Norbert had just - he said - bent down to examine what he claimed seemed like the outlined impression of a salt cellar on Spindle's left inner thigh, when - as he said 'A bloody great wossname leapt out of the field and cleared the hedge in a single bound" he later added, somewhat superfluously: "I fair near shit myself!"
"A bit more than fair near," Spindle added rather mysteriously in a quiet voice while shuddering and hugging herself.
Moments later the couple were surprised to be surrounded by armed soldiers, who - after a rather thorough examination of Spindle, which involved taking several photographs - forced the couple to get dressed before escorting them from the field.
Suddenly, the whole area was lit-up "As bright as mid-day," Miss Nobgobbler later claimed. Although their army escort tried to prevent them, the courting couple did manage to get a few glimpses of what was being illuminated.
"I asked the captain in command of our escort what was going on," Norbert said. "At first he didn't want to admit anything, saying ' there's nothing going on at all'."
"He tried to claim it was just a UFO," Spindle added. "But Norbert and me, we've seen loads of aliens before, and this wasn't anything like their flying saucers at all."
"It was then we saw… the… stoats," Norbert said, struggling to keep the tremor from his voice.
"They… they… just looked… well, beguiled," Spindle added. "The soldiers didn't like us seeing them. They made us promise never to talk about it. They made us sign the Official Secret Act and everything," She smiled nervously. "But I had my fingers crossed when I signed it, so it doesn't count."
What happened next is shrouded in mystery, and still covered by the “Thirty-Year Rule (Add A Bit Extra, Just In Case, You Never Know) Amendment” of 2001, but that law doesn't prevent wild speculation and ill-informed guesswork, so here is what most self-proclaimed conspiracy experts now believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
At the time, the Cold War was at its height, and there were widely-believed rumours in the Western intelligence agencies that the Soviets were working on creating a squad of hypnotised crack suicide sabotage-weasels. The idea was to drop these weasels into NATO countries a few hours ahead of the main body of troops to cause disruption and chaos behind the Allied lines. So, in response to this the NATO armed forces began a crash programme to counter the threat, using beguiled stoats to respond to the threat from the hypnotised Soviet weasels.
However, with the defection of the infamous Soviet spy Cliché Suckemoff to the West there was a sudden cancellation of the project, despite the millions of dollars it had already cost, and the number of highly-trained counter-insurgency beguiled stoats at the various secret NATO camps throughout the West Midlands.
Many of the world's leading conspiracy theorists now feel that what Spudnuts and Nobgobbler stumbled upon that evening was a special American-led operation to remove all the beguiled stoats from the West Midlands and transport them to the now-infamous 'Area 12 and a bit' secret Air Force base in the New Jersey desert. This is the place where NATO - and the Americans in particular - hide all their most expensive mistakes and cock-ups until everyone forgets all about them.
But, alas, the truth about that night will probably never be known.