Saturday, July 28, 2012

New book alert - Whitehead and Wingfield

Dear readers,

Adelaide has now settled into its winter weather pattern. We have cool days of clear blue skies and sunshine, followed by south-westerly changes, which bring rain and cooler temperatures. It rained here overnight and I took the opportunity to pull out another unread UFO book from "the pile by the bed." This one has just reached the bookshops in Adelaide. So here are my impressions of it.

Library:

My local library has just joined up with the new "One card" network which allows you to see the catalogue of other libraries in South Australia, and borrow from throughout the combined network. A great initiative, which has just produced today's new book.

'UFO Strange Space on Earth" was published this year, 2012, and is written by Paul Whitehead and George Wingfield form the UK. The front inside cover tells me that "Paul Whitehead was editor of the Flying Saucer Review for many years. He lives in England. George Wingfield is an expert in astronomy and ancient sites, and has studied UFO cases for more than 20 years. He lives in England and Iowa."

The book (ISBN 978-0-8027-7788-1) is one in a series of titles being published by Walker & Company of New York, under the theme "Small books, Big ideas," and is 58 pages in length.

Subject matter:

"Every year thousands of people see unfamiliar aircraft, stars, planets, artificial satellites and even luminous clouds, which they fail to recognise. Yet, while these certainly account for many UFOs, there remain hundreds of others that defy explanation and it is these encounters that are the subject of this book." (p.1.)

The book starts off by taking a look at ancient writings and drawings of things which are suggestive of UFOs. There are then snippets of information on Roswell; the 1959 Father Gill CE3 case; contactees; the 1964 Socorro CE2 and the 1965 CE3Valensole event.

The 1975 Walton and 1957 Villa Boas cases are used to illustrate the abduction phenomenon. "But are these real events or fantasises, and is there any historical precedent for such bizarre claims?" (p.16.) The author's views on abductions may be deduced from the next item which is headed "Away with the Faeries: getting closer to the truth." Each section of text is richly illustrated with between three and eight illustrations.

The work continues with all too brief sections on the 1976 Tehran, Iran, aircraft encounter; Rendelsham Forest; the Hudson Valley wave; the Belgium flap, and the 1993 Kelly Cahill encounter from Australia.

It moves on to discuss researching the phenomenon. "Researching the UFO phenomenon can be extremely difficult. Not only do we not know where and when to find them, but many of the more interesting events, affecting national security as they do, tend to be covered up, or "shown" to be hoaxes." (p.40.)

Origins:

A review of the origins of the phenomenon includes a look at "Could UFOs be archetypal visions...djinns - naughty spirits parading as physical craft...a Mercurial communication, timely confusions brought to us by the trickster messenger of the gods..." (p.42.)

In conclusion the authors write "The UFO phenomenon therefore spans all points of view from sinister paranoid outlook ("We are being farmed") to evolutionary spiritual models of the universe ("They are waiting for us to awake.")."

The book closes with a list of "100 notable UFO sightings" between 1878 and 2010. However, some of their summaries, eg the January 1988 Knowles family event lacks knowledge of the detailed documentation on a case and seems drawn from mass media source. No doubt, due to space limitations, there are no references cited for these case summaries, which reduces their value.

In conclusion:

A very light weight contribution to the UFO literature.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Australian government UFO files I would like to find

Hi all,

Introduction:

Over the years I have accessed over a hundred Australian government UFO files, via either the Archives Act or the Freedom of Information Act. However, there are a number of files which I have not been able to locate. I'll describe what I know of these; perhaps a blog reader has come across them?

Darwin RAAF files:

National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series E1327 contains three files which I have  seen, namely control symbols 5/4/Air Parts 1, 6, and 6/7. The file titles are "Unusual sightings and incidents." I asked a reference officer at the NAA Darwin office if they could locate parts 2,3, 4 & 5 of this series. Their response was that they had "...no record of thse files coming into our possession." The originating agency for the series at the moment is  RAAF No 321 Combat Support Wing, Darwin, based at RAAF Base Winnellie.

HQ Support Command:

NAA file series A9755 control symbol 4 is a file formerly numbered B 5758 control symbol 5/6/1 Air part 8 with a date range of 1978-1989. I had a copy of the file digitised. It contains UFO reports from 1978. File series A9755 control symbol 5 has the same title with a  date range of 1986-1992, hence not available under the Archives Act. I asked a reference officer at the NAA Melbourne office if they could locate parts 1-7? Their response was that an examination of file series B5758 and B5759 had failed to locate any other parts held by them. This could imply that the files had been destroyed in accordance with standard Archive procedures, or that the originating agency still holds onto them.

SEC.CD2/2:

There are references on a number of files e.g. file series PP4741/1 control symbol 5/5/Air (16 Jan 1951); A11339 control symbol 5/7/Air Part 1 (21 Nov 1953) andA703 control symbol 554/1/30 part 1 (16 Nov 1953), to a file numbered SEC.CD2/2.

In March 2005 a Disclosure Australia representative, David Hearder, found a file series A1196 control symbol 29/506/13 Part 1 which contained a top numbered document from a DAFI file numbered CC1/3. It had some top numbered documents in exactly the same format as the Jan 1951 document mentioned above. David therefore deduced that file SEC/CD2/2 was an early DAFI file.

Folio 37 of file series A703 control symbol 554/1/30 Part 2 has a memo on it, which in part, says, "...the loss of Part 1 of the file 114/1/197 (ex CD2/2) in the move of the Department from Melbourne to Canberra. Two searches through records and the archives has failed to trace this file."

A request by me in 2005 to the RAAF Historical Section also failed ot locate this file.

The 1954 Nowra incident:

Australian researcher Bill Chalker interviewed the main witness to this case, Shamus O'Farrell, involved in the 31 Aug 1954 aircraft encounter near Nowra, NSW. In an article, by Bill, he wrote that O'Farrrell met J Allen Hynek in 1973. Farrell said "I had a telephone call one day from Sir Arthur Tange saying that Hynek was coming and he would like me to meet him. I said, well, I haven't got all the facts, they're all a bit hazy. So he sent me the two Defence Department files over to read, to refresh it all..." It was all investigated by the Joint Intelligence Bureau."

I'd like to locate these two Defence files.

Department of Supply files:

The Disclosure Australia Project located a number of Department of Supply files dealing with UFOs. However, on some RAAF files there appear reference numbers to Department of Supply files apparently dealing with UFOs. Yet, these have never been located.

The Westall incident:

RAAF officers were reportedly involved in the 6 Apr 1966, Westall High School, Clayton, Melbourne event where students and at least one teacher, reported observing an unusual object both in the sky, and at close range. However, despite searches by a number of people, no-one has yet located any RAAF or other agency documentation on this spectacular case. If any blog reader knows of such material, I'd like to hear from them.

Hope:

There is always hope that files such as the ones above, and others currently unknown, will in fact, turn up. I have had a couple of instances myself of just this.

One time, I submitted a request for any files on various Australian UFO groups held by the intelligence agency, ASIO. The initial ASIO response was that they held no such files. A year later, an ASIO file on the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau quietly turned up, unannounced in the NAA. I came across it by accident while looking for other material.

A more recent example is the discovery of the Department of Transport Aircraft Accident Investigation file on the 1978 disappearance of Frederick Valentich, which again, quietly turned up in the NAA. Its presence went unseen, until I literally stumbled over it looking for other files.

So, there just may be hope for us to come across the files I have mentioned in this post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book alert - "UFO Conspiracy" - McLaren - which mentions Westall

Dear readers,

A beautiful, cloudless, blue sky winter's day here in Adelaide, South Australia. A chilly 3 degrees C at the start of the day, rising to a cold 14 degrees this afternoon. I was up at 6.30am this morning to take a look at the planets Venus and Jupiter, which were close together in the pre-dawn sky in the north-east. I have the luxury of a non-working day so earlier dug down to the bottom of the "book pile by the bed." There I found "UFO Conspiracy" published last year by Schiffer Publishing of Atglen, PA in the USA. ISBN 978-0-7643-3893 for those who might want to buy a copy for their personal UFO library.

The author:

Carmen McLaren in the "About the author" section is described as follows. "Since the age of 9, he has  read every book, article and periodical; watched every movie, documentary and special on television; and attended as many conferences/symposiums concerning UFOs and related phenomenon as possible."  He has been a member of APRO, CUFOS and is currently a MUFON member.

What are his views?

"...for over six decades the government and their lackeys, namely the vocal debunker/pseudo-experts and the media, have created a fiction surrounding the UFO phenomenon...They have intentionally mislead the general public...They have withheld the truth..." (pp6-7.)

"Having studied the UFO phenomenon for over thirty years, I can say wholeheartedly that UFOs are real...I concentrate on sightings by credible people only, with little or no mention of crashed UFOs and abductions to muddy the waters...My main aim is to disprove the notions of the UFO phenomenon that the government and the debunkers would like you to believe..." (pp.7-8.)

The book's introduction concludes with "I feel safe in saying that when you are finished reading this book, you will be among those of us who want answers to what these things are, where they come from, who the overlords are that operate these UFOs - and most importantly: why they are here!" (p.14.)

The contents:

The main body of the book contains chapters in chronological order starting with "
From Primitive Man to the Victorian Era" progressing through eras labelled " The Early 1950's - The Korean War Years" and " "1966-1969 - The Golden Age of UFOs" to "2000 to the Present - New Millennium, Same Old Story."

Each of these chapters has a similar format. They contain dozens of case summaries on individual UFO reports from  around the world, drawn from a range of books, UFO magazines and more recently the Internet.

Living as I do, in Australia, I thought that one way of sampling the case summaries, was to focus on those UFO reports in the book, which come from Australia. The "Location Index" pages 346-352 told me there were summaries on Clayton (p.178); Cressy (p.143); Grafton (pp 183-184); King Island (pp230-231) and Mackay (p.161.)

Clayton (Westall):

I first took a look at the summary of the Westall High School case. The summary reads:

"On April 6th, a science class witnesses this object or one very similar to it as it performed in Australia. Andrew Greenwood was busy about the business  of teaching his students scientific principles at the Westall School, just outside of Clayton, Australia."

There is a reference number at this point which indicates that the source of the material on this case was "Lorenzen, 273." However, looking at the bibliography in the back of the book one finds that the only book by the Lorenzens (p.338) is "The Great Flying Saucer Hoax," 1962. This book, published in 1962 , of course. cannot be the reference for a case which happened in 1966. So the cited reference is incorrect.

The book's account of Westall continues:

" His attention was averted to the classroom windows, when he saw a strange object rise up from its resting place, behind a row of pine trees some distance across the schoolyard. He moved towards the window, and saw upon closer examination that it was a large, gray, cigar-shaped object, now clearly visible through the classroom windows as it began moving toward downtown Clayton. Soon the class had joined their teacher at the window and all watched intently as the object hovered and flew around the sky in a somewhat erratic fashion. The class had watched the object for over twenty minutes, when it disappeared from sight at the conclusion of one of its strange maneuvers. Australian authorities did nothing in the way of investigating the object."

Anyone who has read the original Australian sources material on Westall will recognise that the above account, wherever it came from, contains many inaccuracies of detail.

Other Australian cases:

Next, I checked the entries for Cressy (Sourced to vallee 1965); Grafton (sourced to Edwards 1967); King Island (sourced to Good 1988) and Mackay (sourced to Edwards 1966.)

Most of the details given on these cases appears more accurate than the Clayton account. It is a pity though that the author used no Australian books, magazines, or researcher's first hand notes when compiling these case summaries. This reliance on non-Australian sources leads to errors of fact which distort the picture. For example, in the King Island (Valentich) incident summary in the book we find "...flying instructor Frederick Valentich..." (p.230). Valentich was not an instructor. "At 6.19pm while flying over the Bass Straight..." (p.230) when the aircraft did not take off until 6.19pm. "At 7.12pm...the plane disappeared off radar." (p.230.) The aircraft was flying below radar sight from Melbourne long before 7.12pm. Finally, "...the last anyone has ever heard from Richard Valentich..." (p.231.) The pilot's first name was Frederick, not Richard.

Looking at the bibliography list, the same, non-use of the material form other countries, for their UFO case summaries, could also be made. It leaves me with a sense that many of the non-US case summaries may carry errors of fact.

US examples:

Moving away from Australian cases, I did enjoy reading the many US examples given in this book and felt that the author lived up to his promise to "...show you that, contrary to what the afore mentioned parties have claimed, many honest, competent, scientific community and leaders in the government, have all witnessed these things we call UFOs." (p.10.)

Appendices:

Appendix A lists "UFO organisations from around the world" but contains only seven entries (one for Australia.) Likewise, with Appendix B, "UFOs on the World Wide Web," which is also a short list centred on the US.

As mentioned before, the bibliography is heavily loaded with books published in the USA and the "Periodicals/Journals" listing is almost entirely US based. David Clarke's "The UFO Files" is listed as a "Periodical/Journal" when it is in fact a book.

Conclusion:

All in all, in my opinion, this book is just an average read, with several of the Australian case summaries containing errors of fact, which could have been so easily corrected by using Australian source material.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Squadron Leader Gordon Waller and his "flying saucer"

Hi all,

Introduction:

RAAF Squadron Leader Gordon Waller's name first came to my attention some years ago, when I was researching the 1960 Cressy, Tasmania case (click here.) I noted that he was the investigating officer for the RAAF.

Interview:

In 2010, courtesy of an introduction by Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker, I interviewed Gordon. I opened up the conversation by asking him how he had come to investigate the Browning's (Cressy witnesses) report? Gordon told me that he was, at that time, the senior RAAF officer in Tasmania. As such he was in charge of the RAAF's University Training Squadron (Air Training Corp.) He said that he received a request from the Minister of Air to investigate a UFO sighting at Cressy. He was stationed in Hobart, so he went to the local Aero club and hired an aircraft, flew it to Launcston , where he landed the aircraft in a paddock near to the Browning's residence.

Gordon said that he "Was struck by the ordinariness of these  two people" referring to the Brownings. He was impressed by the fact that the observation "Was not a fleeting observation." I asked Gordon whether or not at that time in 1960, he had any interest in the topic of "flying saucers?" He said he did not. Gordon completed his official report on the case and sent it off to higher authority.

Other cases he investigated:

Later, while examining the RAAF's UFO files series A703, control symbol 580/1/1, I came across another case (580/1/1 part 3 p43.) which Gordon had investigated. Electricity Commission workers at Yass, sighted a silver coloured object in the sky on 22 Aug 1962. The object was said to have been in the same position all day. Fairbairn RAAF base was asked to send up an aircraft to take a look. On 23 Aug 1962 Fairbairn advised "...no solid object seen." On the 23 Aug 1962 a witness contacted the RAAF to say that the object was again visible, at 1345hrs at bearing 060 degrees and 15 degrees to the vertical, in cloudless skies.

Squadron Leaders Waller and McAltec were sent to investigate. Gordon said the object was "...silver on side facing Sun, dark on other."  A theodolite showed it was "...moving from NE to SW at 20 deg in 2 or 3 hrs." The Mt Stromlo observatory, when consulted, suggested Venus. "Case closed" notes the RAAF file.

At another time, I found a third case which Gordon had looked into. On NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 party 2, pages12-13 are a memo from Gordon to the Department of Air dated 3 Dec 1960. The case is dated 18 Oct 1960 from a Mrs D A Webster and her daughter Miss S Webster of Delmont, Tasmania. They reported seeing a moving object which then hovered, at 1630hrs. It was cigar shaped with a round nose and a sloping tail. Gordon's report draws attention to a number of similarities between this sighting and the Cressy event. A hand written note on the file states that a TAA VIscount VH-TVG was in approximately the position of the sighting at the time.

New aircraft design:

During the course of my interview with him, Gordon fetched an ancient manila folder from another room. From it he produced newspaper clippings concerning the USAF?Canadian  circular aircraft from the 1950"s - the AVRO car (click here.)

(As an aside at this point I'd like to mention that I once came across a file in the National Archives of Australia, file series A6059 control symbol 3/441/7 titled "Flying saucer- Avrocar, with a date range of 1959-1959. The originating agency was the Department of Defence -Central Office.)

Also, from the same folder, he produced some of his own old papers relating to an aircraft propulsion system which he had designed. I noted this at the time, but thought little of it at that point.

Gordon's NAA file:

Last year while browsing the NAA RecordSearch, I came across a file which mentioned Gordon's name, which intrigued me. File series MP1469/1 control symbol R13/2/29 was titled "Request by Department of Air for Aeronautical Research Laboratories to undertake a feasibility study on a new aircraft design invented by Squadron Leader G L Waller." I decided to ask for the file to be examined and released to me. Several months later, I was able to read a digitised copy. It turned out to contain papers relating to the material which Gordon showed me in 2010.

The file is 29 pages in length and highlights include:

Page 27 is a memo from the Department of Air , Canberra dated 22 Mar 1966 to the Department of Supply. It refers an aircraft design by Gordon and seeks the advice of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL)  (click here) on Gordon's design. "In very broad terms the aircraft as described as consisting essentially of a body, which could be circular in shape..."

Pge 24 of the file shows that the Acting Deputy Chief Scientist referred the matter to the ARL, Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne, Victoria, on 1 Apr 1966. To set this date in a UFO context, the Westall High School, Melbourne event (click here) happened five days later.

Page 21 is a letter from Gordon, dated 5 Apr 1966 to a Dr W A S Butement, Chief Scientist, Department of Supply, and included the line "Your and Mr Wills interest in my VTOL aircraft concept..." Included at page 19 is a cross sectional drawing of the proposed design, clearly showing it was indeed a circular air body.

Gordon submitted a patent application on the design and pages 7 to 19 of the file are a copy of this application, for an "Aircraft with Annular Aerofoil" dated 4 Feb 1966.

At page 3 is the ARL report which included the comment "The data provided by S L Waller is too inadequate to attempt a precise feasibility study...At this stage it is only possible to say, in view of the foregoing remarks, that there does not seem to be any obvious aerodynamic advantage in the proposal over systems obtaining lift by directional axial acceleration of a vertical jet..."  Finally, page 1 is a memo from the ARL dated 23 May 1966 to the Department of Air - effectively no further action to be taken.

Back to my interview:

At the conclusion of my interview with Gordon, and while still talking about his aircraft deign proposal, Gordon mentioned that he had sent off a copy of his material to a Professor "Muller" (my spelling) in the USA.

Enter Jacques Vallee:

At around this time I was reading Jacques Vallee's book "Forbidden Science - Volume 2:, published by Documentica Research, LLC. 2008. ISBN 978-0-615-24974-2. Surprisingly, I came across the name of one Paul Moller. Vallee's entry on page 294 of his book was dated 26 Apr 1975. The entry reads:

"I spent the afternoon with Paul Moller, a professor of aeronautical engineering at U.C. Davis who's built a saucer-shaped vehicle that flies a few feet off the ground, using a series of propellers powered by snowmobile engines. He is a  young fellow in blue jeans interested in UFOs. Moller's research contradicts Claude Poher's statements about the aerodynamic properties of a disk. Poher concluded that discs were aerodynamically poor. "That's only true as a gross generalization" Moller told me. "The situation changes if you take  into account the properties of the interface between the object and the air.""

It certainly appeared to me that this Moller was Gordon's "Muller." A recent check on the Internet revealed that Paul Moller is an engineer who has spent the last forty years developing the personal VTOL vehicle (click here.)

In conclusion:

After reading the NAA file on Gordon's new aircraft design, the first thought that came to my mind was, that Gordon's proposal was suggesting a circular or disc shaped aircraft. I then wondered if he got the idea from his examination of UFO reports?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Second Valentich disappearance file digitised

Hi all,

Introduction:

In the last post I advised details of the Australian Government Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation file on the 1978 disappearance of Australian pilot Frederick Valentich. Now, thanks to the work of Andrew Arnold and his Melbourne based team at Victorian UFO Action, we have access to the digitised version of a second file on the Valentich disappearance.

There is information on this file which does not appear on the Air Accident file, and both the files need to be read to completely understand the incident.

National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series A4703, control symbol 1978/1205 is titled "VH-DSJ Light aircraft overdue King Island," barcode 11485989, and held at the Canberra office of the NAA. The file, of 292 pages was owned by the Department of Transport's Marine Operations Centre, and is a MARSAR (Marine Search and Rescue) file.

Contents:

The file contains:

Details of aircraft which completed:

* a coastal search between Torquay and Cape Otway to Warrnambool and return
* a search of 15NM radius based on latitude 3925S and longitude 14352E
* a land search of King island.

By 25 Oct 1978 there had been air searches:

* of the complete coastline of King Island (twice)
* of the northern part of King Island ( four times)
* of the Victorian coastline between Torquay to Warrnambool (6 times)
* of the coastline between Cape Otway and Torquay (3 times).

There were sightings of:

* Boxes in the water at 3917S 14406E
* An oil slick at 3919S 14401E
* An underwater object at 3919S 14354E
* Two objects in the water at 3847S 14400E
* 4 pieces of material 400m off 90 Mile Beach.

The file contains ten references to "UFO" which includes:

* Aircraft VH-DRB a C421 enroute Tennant Creek to Darwin at FL180 which reported "...a brilliant white light at level 30 miles north of him, in the Tindal area, on descent then disappearing." VH-CKU a C402 from Mataranka on the same track and lower saw some things at 0946Z on the 22 Oct 1978. "Brilliant white light falling fast and irridesent, nothing in area, nothing on radar, cannot explain it..."

* "Report from Empress of Australia may be relevant to plane search in strait. 3rd mate and lookout both reported what they describe as a brilliant white light moving very fast, no indication of height, moving from E to W of them. Posn 3952S 14534E 1245pm last night (221445z) course of ship 334/17.0."

Read the second file for yourself:

1. Go to http://www.naa.gov.au/
2. Click on search the collection
3. Click on Begin your search
4. Upcomes RecordSearch
5. In the keywords box type VH-DSJ
6. Up comes this file
7. Click on the View digital copy icon.

Comments:

As with my previous post, I'd appreciate blog readers comments about this second file, in the comments section of this post.

The full version of the Western Australian Police Department UAP file

Background Between 1951 and 1975, the Police Department of the West Australian government kept a file titled 'Unidentified Flying Obj...