THERE have been thousands of speculated UFO sightings over the years, as well as a belief that "something is out there".
But Hartlepool woman Dianne Sudron says aliens really do exist.
And in the last 30 years they have visited her to help her overcome life's ups and downs.
Here talks about her extra-terrestrial experiences.
DIANNE Sudron's initiation into friendship with extra-terrestrials began when she was just 13.
In 1974, she had been babysitting her brother and younger sisters at her home in Elphin Walk, Hartlepool, when she saw a UFO above the houses between her street and Brierton Community School.
"It was like a big headlamp but not as big as a football and hovering above the rooftops," she said.
"I wasn't scared."
Dianne said she was with her friend and a boy, and the three of them followed it as it headed towards Owton Manor Primary School.
She added: "The UFO was there for about 10 minutes. I was fascinated. I always sort of believed in them and knew something was out there. When I saw one, it confirmed it."
The next time she saw the 'visitors' she was babysitting again.
The 45-year-old said: "They came in through the French windows. There was about six of them and they had creamy-coloured bald heads with pointy chins and eyes like almonds, like you see in films.
"I remember it vividly. We had ornaments on a shelf next to the window and part of the wall became a control panel and an alien, that seemed to me to be female, would press buttons on the wall. There were flashing lights and it just seemed to be part of the UFO.
"I used to say to them, 'how long are you going to be, I don't want you here when my mam and dad come in'. We used to speak in telepathy and they would immobilise me. I used to just sit there.
She added: "My mind is blank. I don't know whether they took me somewhere or whether they did something to my body.
"They used to come in through the French window at the back of the room and float out through the front window. I wondered if our house was in the way, in the middle of the alien highway or something."
Dianne said the 1970s were "rife" for UFO sightings, especially in the area near Brierton Community School.
"Someone looked out of their bedroom window and saw hundreds of aliens," she said.
"I used to babysit and keep all that stuff to myself. I didn't want to say to my parents when they returned 'everything's fine apart from a big bunch of aliens came in'."
A couple of years later, Dianne joined a spiritual and psychic development group in the town.
She said: "We would get psychic messages from extra-terrestrials and they would channel themselves through someone's body. They would say they were sending 'love, healing and light to all mankind'.
"These aliens were humanoid and very beautiful with blonde hair and a space between their eyes. They had crystals for eyebrows. They were from the Pleiades constellation."
"For about six months we used to speak to them. It was debatable whether we believed they existed, we just went with the flow.
"I thought 'I'd really like to meet them extra-terrestrials, it's not good enough to just have it channelled'. I wanted to take it one step further.
"But when I told the group I wanted to meet them, they didn't want to know. They were frightened and I left."
When Dianne was 26, she lived in Stockton Road, where her first actual contact with the beings took place.
She said: "I'd had a bad relationship and thought why not ask them for help and love. I was sitting on the sofa and I heard a voice say 'Are you feeling OK?' I didn't know what to do. It was a lovely softly-spoken voice. It was a nice English accent.
"The voice asked me 'do you want us to play you some music?' I said yes. I started hearing 1940s music. It made me laugh. I thought it was so funny; either they've got a sense of humour or they don't know what music I like."
Dianne moved to Wolverhampton to be with her fianc but her fascination with the paranormal proved too difficult for their relationship.
She said: "We got engaged, but the aliens came between me and my fianc. First of all he didn't believe in it, because I was saying all these things."
She said: "I was lodging with him when I heard a loud bang. The aliens had bumped themselves down and fallen on top of each other. They were laughing and giggling about it. It was so strange to see aliens on the floor thinking it was funny.''
She said her fianc acknowledged the next day – for the first time – that she was being visited by aliens.
''He said he heard the bang and 'I think I believe you'. He called them the three amigos.''
Call centre worker Dianne remembers an experience in Wolverhampton which particularly stands out.
"An alien pulled up in a silver car. It was quite early in the morning. I seemed to see in my mind, this alien pulling up in an expensive Honda car. I could see it in my mind, parked up outside the house," she said.
"I thought I better compose myself. I am going to be frightened. I tried to trace them in my mind coming in the door and coming up the stairs.
"But in a matter of two seconds it came to the bottom of my bed. They looked like doctors. One had a clipboard. I had been suffering from cystitis at the time, but I know they gave me an operation on my forehead. They cut through a piece. I was aware of it and sort of conscious.
"It seemed to hurt but as soon as they had gone, it went. I don't know whether they were trying to make me more psychic. If you have an operation on your third eye you become more psychic.
''Sometimes they put implants in people and put them up their noses to track people, not for any bad reasons, just to know what people are doing.
"I think they were investigating me anyway. I think they are investigating a lot of humans on the planet to see how their minds work and to change the way the world works.
"I think they do it to lots of people, they're just not lucky enough to remember."
When Dianne was 33, she came back to Hartlepool, and her inter-galactic friends made another appearance.
She said: "I was laid on the settee and fell asleep then I heard a sound at the door. It just sounded like when you stand on a cat's tail. It was quite a scary experience.
"I felt either a rope or a fishing line come around me. It didn't hurt. It was like a lasso. It was wet and it touched me on the face as if I'd been hit with a wet fish. I was going up towards the light.
"I didn't want to go any further and gently came back down.
"They have visited me about 30 times. It's fairly regular. At one point it seemed to be happening all the time. Each experience is totally different.
"They used to put a ray over my body to immobilise me. I think it was to try to calm you down. They didn't do anything sinister to me.
"I don't tell people. They are quite frightened of it. I don't need to tell people. I don't think they believe me.
''That's why I'm telling my story to the Mail, to give credibility. I want to get it into concrete evidence if you don't come out and say people think, maybe . . . "
"People may say I'm barmy but at the moment we've got a hole in the ozone layer. We are living in times that are delicately balanced. I don't know what we are going to do."
Dianne, who is a follower of guru Sai Baba, added: "Aliens have given me so much of themselves, so much love and understanding.
"I hope I'll see them soon. I enjoy the experience. They are not going to harm you."
Dianne is writing a book about her experiences, which she will call Alien Dreamland.
She said: "I've got bits of information but I've been holding back to see if I can find a hypnotherapist to help me regress. I'd like to find one that's interested in UFOs."