WHAT really happened to the family who encountered a UFO in Stanford in the Vale?

What tragedy made a young Wallingford girl daub a wall with her own tears?

And what does the Uffington White Horse get up to once every hundred years?

An amateur paranormal investigator from Grove has answered these and dozens more questions in a new book of unexplained mysteries from southern Oxfordshire.

Father-of-two Mike White has spent two decades compiling his collection of spooky stories while working in the civil service and in IT.

Now he has published the collection in a tome called The Veiled Vale.

The 55-year-old said: "The Vale of the White Horse and the beautiful countryside of South Oxfordshire is a landscape steeped in thousands of years of legends, history and mystery: there are witches, monsters and ghosts; old legends and modern-day tales of strange encounters with the unknown."

Among the unexplained anecdotes is the story of a family who thought they were abducted by aliens while driving through Stanford in the Vale near Wantage.

In 1978, John Mann, wife Gloria, and his sister Frances were driving home to Gloucestershire through the village with their children, Natasha, five, and Tanya, three, at 10pm.

They saw a bright white light in the sky up ahead, pulled over and got out the car, staring at it.

The light became a "vast circular shape, more than 100 feet up" moving very slowly over the car then swinging away.

Mr Mann jumped back in the car terrified and the family drove home.

But when they arrived, they realised they had lost an hour which none of them could remember.

In the following weeks, the family started having nightmares about strange men examining them, and they noticed unexplained rashes on their bodies.

They eventually decided to have hypnotherapy where they recalled that on the night they had been taken aboard the alien craft and met humanoid creatures from another solar system who called themselves the Janos people.

Another story from Stanford which features in the book is that of the Grey Lady seen to wander the churchyard of St Deny's on dark nights.

From Wallingford comes the story of the "teardrop room" in the George Hotel.

Legend has it that during the Civil War, a girl was staying at the hotel with her fiancée – an officer called John Hobson.

When he was killed in a bar fight at the hotel, the distraught girl shut herself in her room and, taking ashes from the fireplace, daubed her tears across the walls.

Staff at the hotel still show visitors the supposedly 400-year-old marks in the teardrop room.

As for his own belief in spooks and aliens, Mr White said: "I don't know whether I believe in ghosts per se, but I believe people who say they have seen them."

Mr White will be talking about his book and signing copies at the Mad Hatter bookshop in Wantage on Saturday, June 18.

He will also be leading guided ghost walks around Wantage as part of this year's Wantage Summer Festival on June 15 and 22.

The Veiled Vale, published by Two Rivers Press, is available at Oxfordshire bookshops and online priced £12.