Watson became interested in ufology, UFOs and alien contact in the early 1970s. He helped found the Scunthorpe UFO Research Society and has since contributed articles to Magonia, Fortean Times and Flying Saucer Review, as well as many other magazines and books.
In the 1970s, he investigated several UFO encounters that took place in Northern England. These investigations were published in Magonia magazine and included in his book, Portraits of Alien Encounters (VALIS Books, 1990).
In the 1980s he attended a TV production course in Leeds and after that wrote articles about video techniques and ideas for several film and Camcorder magazines. He also trained unemployed people how to make videos and produced a video for the Scunthorpe Probation Service, and for the University of Warwick Careers Service. He was employed as a video producer for the Hull Health Authority, where he made programmes for private and public use. The influences of popular culture on UFO reports has always interested him and this partly made him decide to take a degree in Film and Literature at the University of Warwick. At University he shot and edited a weekly magazine programme for the student TV service in the second and third years. And, he also assisted other students to shoot and edit their own productions.
In 1988 he moved to London where he worked as copywriter for the Micromark Studio On moving to Plymouth in 1997 he gained short-term employment with SAA Consultants before becoming a freelance writer for the local newspaper the (Plymouth) Evening Herald and a range of publications.
Since the 1970s he has been interested in the historical aspects of ufology and has written extensively on the subject of the phantom airships seen in the late 19th Century and early decades of the 20th Century. He gained a degree in psychology from the Open University and applied this knowledge to the study of alien abduction stories.
Watson has concluded that many men in black reports may be due to witnesses being in stress-induced altered states of consciousness. Citing Watson's work, Mike Dash writes that many Men In Black witnesses "are often undergoing some sort of mental upheaval at the time of their encounter." (Dash, 162)
In 1992 he started producing a film magazine, Talking Pictures, which ran for 21 editions. In 2000 this became the Talking Pictures website, which now contains over 600 pages of reviews, articles and interviews. In January 2003 Watson attended the Bangkok International Film Festival at the invitation of the Thailand Tourism Authority.
Portraits of Alien Encounters. A groundbreaking look at contact with alien beings in Northern England. VALIS Books, 1990.
The Flying Saucer Cinema. This looks at how the images and stories of spaceships and aliens have evolved on our cinema screens over the past 100 years. From the earliest days of movie making they were the ideal material for 'trick photography' and exotic adventures. After these innocent beginnings aliens were shown to be more sinister and threatening in the space operas of the 1930s and 1940s. It was not until the landmark year of 1947, when the term 'flying saucer' was coined, that the floodgates opened for issues about alien contact and intervention to be fully explored. Since then saucer films allow for exciting, frightening and thought-provoking stories that reflect worries in the real world. This guide opens up the world of cinematic UFOs and aliens so that you can enjoy and appreciate them to the full.
The Origin of UFOs: Phantom Airships 1807 to 1917. Phantom airships mark the transition between fears and superstitions about Gods and spirits in the sky to the UFOs of today. From the 19th century began seeing what they thought were manned aerial vehicles flying in the sky. Sometimes only lights in the sky were seen, many witnesses said they saw the craft and in some instances actually met the crew of these craft. The most exceptional Phantom Airship 'panic' took place in the USA from 1896 to 1897. There were thousands of witnesses and newspaper stories including many accounts of meetings with the secret inventor of this fabulous craft. Later, throughout Europe sightings of similar Phantom Airships sparked off rumours of foreign spies and potential invaders. This booklet surveys this material and provides internet and bibliographic references.
In collaboration with Granville Oldroyd and David Clarke, he researched newspaper reports of mystery airships seen over Britain in 1909 and 1912–1913. This culminated in a catalog of the latter airship scare for the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) and a book about the worldwide airship scares of the early 1900s, The Scareship Mystery: A Survey of Worldwide Phantom Airship Scares 1909-1918 (DOMRA, 2000).
Phantom Helicopters over Britain was co-authored with David Clarke and published by the Fund for UFO Research.
'The Day Flying Saucers Invaded the Cinema', chapter by Watson appears in UFOs: 1947-1987 edited by Hilary Evans with John Spencer, Fortean Tomes, 1987.
'Before The Flying Saucers Came', chapter by Watson appears in UFOs: 1947-1987 edited by Hilary Evans with John Spencer, Fortean Tomes, 1987.
'Flying Saucers in the Cinema', chapter by Watson appears in UFOs and Ufology - The First 50 Years, by Paul Devereux and Peter Brookesmith, Blandford, 1997.