IT WAS said they came from outer space, landed on the local school playing field and caused TVs and clocks in the village to go haywire.
Scorch marks – possibly caused by space rocket engines – and strange debris littered the site, adding weight to the theory that the eyes of the world could soon be on a small village near Bristol.
Music fans of a certain age may have been reminded of the Stackridge album Purple Spaceships Over Yatton but in reality it was more like the famous War of the Worlds hoax of 1938 when a radio broadcast of the HG Wells story caused panic as people thought it was real.
This time reports that little green men had touched down at the Yatton Junior School had been started by a seemingly innocent class literacy project.
Teachers made up the story of an alien craft landing on the playing fields as part of a project to teach students newspaper report writing skills.
Ninety Year 6 students were told about the alien visit, which took place on Tuesday night, in class on Wednesday morning.
But some of the teachers forgot to reveal to students the story was untrue once classes finished, prompting them to go home and tell family and friends that aliens had made a fleeting night-time visit to the school. The rumour has spread through the village like wildfire, with everyone talking about the visit from outer space.
The youngsters, aged 10 and 11, were told how school caretaker Steve Chard had been called to the school after the alarms went off at 11.15pm.
When he arrived, he saw three large, still smouldering, circles in a triangle shape on the school field.
Blobs of silver-coloured "alien matter" were also discovered at different locations around the field.
Students heard reports of how television sets in local homes had blown up due to a power surge and some people had electricity supplies interrupted by the UFO.
They were also told how Mr Chard, 44, cordoned off the area and informed the police.
Village police community support officer Kate Turner was then called to the school to investigate the incident and talk to the children.
The students were also shown a picture – allegedly captured by an eagle-eyed villager – of the saucer-shaped craft hovering over the school and beaming a bright shaft of light onto the playing fields.
The Chinese whispers that followed even led to claims all the clocks in the village had leapt forward an hour and all the televisions had changed channel simultaneously.
The Evening Post received reports of the incident and contacted the school, only for it to be revealed the "visit" was an elaborate story, made up as part of a school project.
Year 6 teacher Phil Okeden, who co-ordinated the event, said: "The students are learning newspaper report writing skills and the idea was to create a story for them to investigate and write about.
"Steve and I set the scene and went out after school in the dark to create the circles on the field using a blow torch and lighter fluid.
"We also made some alien matter out of solder and iron oxide, and dotted it around the area.
"Steve created a picture of the spaceship on the computer and we asked our local PCSO to come in to school so she could talk to the students about the investigation and answer questions."
The students will now put together a newspaper report about the incident as part of their coursework.
Mr Okeden, 45, said: "Although not all of the students were convinced, most were.
"I must admit I did forget to mention to students that the story was fabricated at the end of the lesson.
"The whole project was aimed at stimulating young people to write.
"All I can think is they went home and told family and friends, and that is how the story circulated.
"We have never had any extraterrestrial visits to the school, so the story must have been pretty convincing."
PCSO Turner said: "I can confirm that there was no alien landing at the school, but the children obviously believed the story.
"Obviously we all told the tale far too well."
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