Friday, June 23, 2017

Four months before Kenneth Arnold

Kenneth Arnold

24 June 2017, is the 70th anniversary of the birth of the modern UFO phenomenon; the Kenneth Arnold sighting of 24 June 1947. However, there were many sightings which occurred, and were published, prior to Arnold's observation. One such sighting occurred in  my home state of South Australia, and remains unexplained.

The Port Augusta and Lock sightings

Between 7 and 8 am on the morning of 5 February 1947, a Mr F W Flavel of the country town of Lock, South Australia, stated that he had observed something unusual. He said he saw five, strange objects traversing the sky. In shape, they were oblong, with narrow points. They seemed to be floating from north-west to south-east and cast a shadow. (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 17 February 1947, p.2.)

At about 9am that same morning, Mr Ron Ellis and two workmates were at work at the Commonwealth Railways workshop, in Port Augusta. Ellis reported seeing five, strange, egg shaped objects crossing the sky, from north to south. They cast shadows, and appeared to be quivering. They were lost to view within a few seconds. Their colour was said to have been white to light pink. (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 7 February 1947, p.1.)

I wrote two blog posts about these two observations (click here and here.)

Potential explanations

At the time, a  number of possible mundane explanations were put forward as to the nature of the strange objects. These were:

1. Meteors.

An amateur astronomer (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 25 February 1947, p.1) suggested that the objects were daytime meteors. However, the South Australian government astronomer, Mr G F Dodwell, was quoted (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 8 February 1947, front page) as saying '...that the phenomenon did not fit in with anything astronomical and was a complete mystery to him. Mr Dodwell discounted the probability of the objects being meteorites.'

2. A mirage.

J C Fowler (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 22 February 1947, p.2) suggested that the explanation was a mirage. The South Australian government astronomer, Mr G F Dodwell (same paper) discussed the hypothesis but concluded 'This seems to correspond with real objects and not with a mirage reflection.'

3. Birds.

In a letter (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 1 March 1947) G L Forth wrote 'In all probability the strange objects in the sky at Port Augusta and Lock were flocks of galahs migrating from the arid districts in the far north.

It is not an uncommon sight to people living in the north. Galahs usually fly in packed formations and at a high altitude. They do not screech while travelling long distances. No doubt this would also account for the pink and grey colors mentioned by your correspondents.'

4. Other thoughts.

Researchers Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough (2015. 'Return to Magonia.' Anomalist Books. San Antonio, Texas, chapter 21) discuss a number of other potential explanations. These included balloons; wind borne objects; '...perhaps even small clouds.' (p.343);' lighter than air airships (p.345); aircraft and rockets.

Ultimately though, Aubeck and Shough   concluded '...this is a striking case, and is certainly of great historical and cultural interest. Simply put, this is a modern UFO...' (p.350.)

Naturally, I welcome hearing from any blog readers who either, have additional material on these sightings, or can suggest an explanation.

Can the 'Sea Fury' case Joint Intelligence Bureau files be found?

Recently, an Adelaide researcher conducted a 'Cold case' review of the 31 August 1954, Australian 'Sea Fury' incident.

When I was examining some of the background information about this fascinating sighting, I was reminded that, although we have copies of two Navy files on the incident (NAA file series MP926/1, control symbol 3079/101/1 and SP338/3, control symbol 13/4/10;) that the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) files, have never been seen by UAP researchers. Although, I have made previous attempts to locate these missing files, I was unsuccessful. However, I have decided that it is worth one final effort.

Letter to the Minister of Defence

So, I have despatched the following letter by registered snail mail.

'Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Defence
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

In 1991, Ken Llewellyn, then Public Relations Officer for the RAAF, authored a book titled 'Flight Into the Ages' (Felspin, NSW.) In it, inter alia, he discussed a number of sightings of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. One of these sightings was an alleged observation of two 'unknowns' by an Australian Navy pilot, Lt James Aloysius O'Farrell, near Goulburn, NSW, on 31 August 1954. In his book, Llewellyn states that, the then Secretary of the Department of Defence, Sir Arthur Tange, made available to O'Farrell, two DOD Joint Intelligence Bureau files, on the sighting.

In addition, the RAN 'Navy News', dated 9 March 1984 page 4, in an article about O'Farrell, included the words 'The Joint Intelligence Organisation holds a file on this sighting.'

These two JIB/JIO/DIO files are not in the National Archives of Australia.

The purpose of this letter is to ask:

(a) If the DOD currently retains JIB/JIO/DIO files about this 1954 sighting?

(b) If so, may I, either obtain a digital copies of them, or failing that, can the files be forwarded to the National Archives of Australia for retention and reviewed for release through them.

There is a precedent for release of JIB UAP files to me. In 2008, the then Minister for Defence arranged the release of a JIO files, JIO63, 3092/2/000, titled 'Scientific Intelligence-General-Unidentified Flying Objects' with a date range of 1957-1971. There was nothing on this file concerning the 1954 sighting.

Thank you for your response.'

The process of obtaining the previous JIO file took two years. Naturally, it may turn out that the current DIO no longer holds the relevant files. After all, they would now be 63 years old.

Comments on the 2017 paper
A number of people have responded to the anonymously authored Adelaide researcher's 2017 'Cold case' review paper, by way of private emails to me. I have passed all of these comments on to the paper's author. The consensus so far, is that while the hypothesis about Sabre jet fighters being involved, is possible; that it is not very likely. However, one of the purposes of conducting 'Cold case' reviews, is to generate peer discussion, based on an intelligent review of the data presented. The paper has certainly achieved this aim.
For a complete listing of Australian government files concerning UAP, click here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cold case review - 31 August 1954 - 'Sea Fury' radar/visual

A classic Australian case reanalysed

One of Australia's classic cases, is an incident where a Navy pilot, on a night flight, near Goulburn, New South Wales, encountered two 'unknowns,' which were also picked up on radar.

On the Internet, the sighting is frequently, but incorrectly, referred to as the 'Nowra incident.' It would be better titled, either the 'Sea Fury' radar/visual event of 31 August 1954, or the Goulburn radar/visual event of 31 August 1954.

The sighting made headlines in many Australian newspapers, two examples of which, are shown below.

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1
The case has been extensively investigated, and reported upon, by Sydney researcher Bill Chalker. I reviewed the case in two previous blog posts (click here and here.)

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1
Despite all previous research, the nature of the 'unknowns' has never been resolved.

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1

A fresh approach

Now, an Adelaide UFO researcher, who wishes to remain anonymous, has taken a fresh look, 'cold case,' approach to the sighting. The researcher reviewed all the published material on the event, and has come up with a very plausible, non-UFO, suggestion as to the identity of the two 'unknowns.'

Courtesy of John Stepkowski in Melbourne, we can now all read this new 'cold case' research paper.

The anonymous author (known to me) and myself, would be very interested to hear what blog readers think of the hypothesis.

Monday, June 12, 2017

James E McDonald - where did his UAP interest come from?

Paul Hellyer

My former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, at one time, was intrigued about where the UAP interest of certain researchers came from?

In a blog dated 6 May 2011, she started her enquiries with Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian Defence Minister, who was then in the news, making statements about UAP. Pauline found that his '..UFO opinions derived from reading Colonel Corso's book rather than official knowledge.' (According to Bullard, T E, 2010. 'The Myth and Mystery of UFOs'.University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas. p.9.)

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

Peter A Sturrock

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

In a further blog post dated 26 July 2011, Pauline, after reading a book by Peter A Sturrock titled 'A Tale of Two Sciences: Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist'. (2009. Exoscience. Palo Alto, California) wrote ' that Sturrock, in 1947, while in the English countryside, had seen, in the sky 'A round, bright white object...travelling in a straight line, seen for less than a minute' (p.1.) This impressed him.

J Allen Hynek 

Image courtesy Amazon Books

She went on (blog post 11 August 2011) to write about J Allen Hynek's interest. She found the answer in Jacques Vallee's book 'Forbidden Science Volume 1,' (2002. Documentica Research, LLC.) page 277. In a diary entry, dated November 1966, Vallee wrote:

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

[Hynek to Vallee] 'Did I ever tell you how I became interested in science?'

'Wasn't your mother a schoolteacher? You told me she once gave you a book about astronomy that fascinated you.'

'That's not what made me decide to take up science as a profession. So many people get into science looking for power, or a chance to make some discovery that will put their name into history books...For me the challenge was to find the very limits of science, the place where it breaks down, the phenomenon it didn't explain.'

James E. McDonald

Re-reading these blog posts made me wonder where the UAP interest of James E. McDonald came from?

I went to Ann Druffel's book about McDonald ('Firestorm.' 2003. Wild Flower Press. Columbus, NC.) to try and find the answer. The first relevant reference I located was on page 2.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

'McDonald's friend and colleague, Dr Paul E Damon of the University of Arizona, feels that McDonald's intense interest in UFOs may have started in the early fifties at an international meteorological conference in Italy. There had been a new report of an Italian UFO sighting which intrigued McDonald.

He discussed the sighting with some senior colleagues at this conference. They reminded him that the United States Air Force had a group, Project Blue Book that was specifically in charge of investigating UFOs. These colleagues reasoned that, if there was anything to the report, the Air Force would have found this out and would have alerted the scientific community.  This satisfied McDonald for a while but in 1958 when public UFO reports in his home town of Tucson began to come to his attention, McDonald''s curiosity was piqued. And when his friends and colleagues also began to confide their own sightings to him, he felt it was vitally necessary to study the question.' (Interview between Ann Druffel and Dr Paul E Damon, 27 February 1994.)

Page 15 of 'Firestorm' provides the additional information that 'McDonald had himself seen a bright, anomalous object in the daytime sky when he first came to Tucson in 1954.' Druffel summarised this sighting and notes that McDonald wrote a letter to the USAF detailing his observations.

The letter

Through US researcher and historian, Barry Greenwood, I obtained a copy of this letter. As very few blog readers would have had the opportunity to read this letter, I present part of the contents below.

'On Sunday, January 10 of this year [1954-KB], at 1725MST, while driving north along Arizona State Highway 83, about five miles north of Sonoita (latitude 31deg 45min, longitude 110deg 40min) I observed an unusually brilliant object low in the south western sky. As viewed from our level, the sun had just set behind the Santa Rita Mountains even though nominal sunset for a level plain in this vicinity would be about 1740MST. I estimated that this object was only one or two degrees above the crest of the range of mountains and that the latter rose to an altitude angle of perhaps five or six degrees, from our position.

Its exact azimuth was uncertain to me at the time of observation since this was unfamiliar territory with no landmarks, but since my return to Chicago, I have determined from astronomical tables that the sun's azimuth at 1725MST near Tucson was approximately 243 deg and this bright object lay no more than five degrees southward of the sun in azimuth according to my estimate,

Hence, when seen from the approximate position cited above, this object was at altitude six to eight degrees and azimuth 235deg to 240deg. The altitude may have been even below 6 deg...the luminosity did not vary as we continued our sinuous way northward. I pointed the object out to my three became evident that the object was either not moving with any perceptible velocity across out line of sight or that it was doing so intermittently...we held it under observation for a total period of was about fifteen minutes...the mountain blocked out view...Its light was white...the sky was cloudless.'

In looking for an explanation, McDonald considered whether or not it was the planet Venus; a weather balloon; and also looked at the weather at the time.'Above a shallow layer of easterly winds, the circulation over the southwest US on the afternoon of January 10 was westerly. Tucson's 500mb winds were southwest 30 kts at both 0800MST and 2000MST.. I would estimate magnitude -5 to -7...' (Source:  letter from McDonald to USAF, 1954.)

The object seen by McDonald and his companions, remained unknown.

'There had been a new report of an Italian UFO sighting which intrigued McDonald.'

I checked Fold3 Project Blue Book records looking for some Italian cases from the early 1950's. I found two possible cases, which were:

1. 14 September 1954. Italy.

'The inhabitants of Pitigliano reported sighting a round, white object making a strange, loud noise. The object came to a standstill and then disappeared at high speed. ATIC Eval: Unknown-insufficient detail.'

2. 17 September 1954. Rome, Italy.

One, soundless object, the shape of a jellyfish when stationary, but cigar shaped when in motion. It was silver in colour, with red/violet streaks along one side with a circle of dark grey/black beneath. Seen in the sky. Seen from control tower of Ciampino Air Base. Object approached from 270/280 degrees azimuth.Approached to about 30 km distance, descended to altitude of 6000 to 10000 ft. Remained stationary. Then moved north to 290 degrees azimuth. Gained altitude then moved to west to 270 degrees azimuth. Lost at azimuth 270 degrees, at a low elevation. In sight for 30 minutes clearly then for occasionally for a further 15 minutes. Seen with naked eyes and through binoculars. Also reportedly tracked by radar, but radar report not available to PBB. Seen between 1645Z and 1715Z clearly and occasionally until 1730Z 17 September 1954. Just before sunset and seen towards the sun. The report also made the newspapers.

It is not possible to be certain if either of these reports was the one referred to by Druffel, though the second one would certainly have intrigued McDonald. I also failed to locate details of any Italian meteorological conference in the early fifties, which might have provided a more accurate date for the Italian sighting which intrigued McDonald. However, it would seem reasonable to suggest that McDonald's interest came from an Italian sighting of the early 1950's, and his own 10 January 1954 observation.

A small aside

The USAF apparently took no action about McDonald's 1954 letter, apart from an acknowledgement of the letter. So, how do we know about the letter today? In Vallee's 'Forbidden Science Volume One' pages 254-255, Vallee relates that on 15 April 1967, he was at Hynek's house sorting through files.

'...I stumbled on something I felt was important. I found it among the relics of Project Henry. It was a simple letter dated 1954. It came from a cloud physicist at the University of Chicago who was studying for a doctorate at the time. Together with three other physicists he had seen a bright unidentified object in the sky over Arizona. The letter gave precise details and calculations. It was signed James McDonald.' 

Can any blog readers add any additional information?

Friday, June 9, 2017

An Australian witness to a 1926 sighting in the UK

I was re-reading a set of hand written notes by US researcher James E McDonald, which he wrote while in Australia in 1967. This material was obtained many years ago when a group of US researchers, including Dr Michael Swords, reviewed the McDonald collection at the University of Arizona.

Some of the notes were made at the same time that McDonald was interviewing witnesses to selected Australian sightings.

One of the sightings documented was from the UK in 1926! I thought it would be of interest to provide the details which McDonald recorded. McDonald's handwriting is very difficult to read at times, so in the following text, the use of (-) indicates that a word is illegible to me.

The individual whom McDonald interviewed was Mrs Mary Kibel of Melbourne.

'Was age 15 in Scotland. One (-) but permission to a charity concert at Scremerston, Northumberland. Home was in Berwick on Tweed.

Winter 1926. East Coast Scotland. Lived at sea level. Had to take a road from home and little traffic. Came down from (-). 4 - 2 boys and 2 girls. Talking and laughing. Suddenly a terrific swoosh. All (-) cowered. Road had a  high hedge (-). 12-15 ft high. Object swooped over hedge and over to field. All was cowering. Noise was (-) (-). Brilliant red and blue white. (-) glow. (-). Banding of colors. Swept over it +50ft. Went too fast to see shape but feels it was possibly round.

(-) (-) near to village, into homes. She (-) into houses, told by parents it was a falling star. Next AM, all decided if it was a falling star, must be in field. But when checked found nothing, so decided to forget it.

Three zones of color. White in middle, red on top, blue at bottom. She recalls saying to aunt it was colored just like the red-white-blue lifeboats at (-) station.

Hedges were ca. 25 ft apart. Object must have been 20 to 25 ft diam. It did not get down onto the roadway. Came d. a bit. Subtended ca. 20 degree angle. She (-) over.

Girl was Edith Ward (now Mrs Bruce.) Boy was Athol Whitfield (killed in war), John Brown also killed in war.'

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New fees for digitising files from the National Archives of Australia

I have been waiting several months now, for the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to open a particular file of interest to me. I finally received an email to advise me that the file now has a status of 'open.' This meant, that I could finally apply for a copy of the file.

I followed the indicated process to order a digitised copy of the file (it appears you can no longer obtain a hard copy of a file) and got to the section where the fee for the digitisation service was shown. To put it mildly, I was shocked.

I then viewed a copy of the NAA Fact Sheet number 51, titled 'copying charges.' Increased charges for file digitisation, applied since 24 October 2016.

A small file (typically up to 10 pages) costs $27.90.

A standard file (typically 11-100 pages) costs $75.90.

A large file (typically 101-400 pages) costs $235.40.

Now, any reader of this blog who has used RecordSearch on the NAA website, and looked for files on UFOs, will know that they are typically over 100 pages long. This means that if you were to request any UFO file today, it would cost you $235.40 per file.  I doubt that many blog readers would ever pay $235.40 for one digitised file.

Fortunately, due to the diligence of a number of South Australian UFO researchers, almost all the known NAA UFO files have already been digitised, at vastly lower fees.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

One foot in the grave!

Over the last few years, I have spoken to a number of Australian UAP researchers, about the need to preserve Australian material for future generations of researchers.

At least, long runs of the AFSRS magazine are held by the State Library of South Australia

Sitting around
After such discussions, I found that there are several large collections of UAP material; i.e. Newsletters; report forms; investigation reports; photographs and negatives, sitting in garages, spare rooms and even self-storage units, across the country. There is little hope of the broader research community gaining access to these slowly deteriorating resources. These collections are currently destined too pass away with their owners.

Likewise, long runs of Panorama are held by the State Library of South Australia
Lack of planning

The usual process is simply, that people fail to plan for the future. I note that much of the excellent work undertaken in Victoria by such researchers as Paul Norman, Peter Norris, and John Auchettl, has already been lost to us. I have heard stories of relatives of deceased researchers, emptying years of hard work, into skips, destined for the rubbish tip.

A page of a large scrapbook of un-digitised Australian newspaper clippings
In South Australia, the broader UAP community has lost access to the vast collections of material, formerly held by Colin Norris and Fred Stone.

An article about Colin Norris in an unscanned collection

In the same unscanned collection, an article about Fred Stone


In Western Australia, the collections of groups such as UFORUM; UFO Research (WA) and West Australia UFO Investigation Centre, are no longer accessible to anyone. In Tasmania, TUFOIC's investigation files are harder to access, since Keith Roberts retired from the scene.

Astute readers of this blog will now be asking, what has this author done in regards to his own collection of UAP material? Several years ago, I began the process (which has been completed) of scanning into digital form, my Journals; Newsletters; sighting reports etc. Quietly, over the last couple of years I have been distributing copies of my digitised material, on USB sticks, to 25-30 Australian researchers. Thus most, currently active, Australian researchers have a copy of my files, which include case photographs such as the one below.

Garry Little (deceased) inspects an oat field at Bordertown, South Australia
In addition, the contents of my blog (all current 800 + blog posts, and all future posts) are being archived by the PANDORA Project of the National Library of Australia. Thus, my blog will be publicly available into the future, even if Blogger falls over. This is one of the reasons that I mainly publish all my research work on the blog.

What are you doing?

What are you, or your group, doing to ensure your UAP materials will continue to be available to others, after your passing, or your group dissolves?

I would urge individuals, or committees running groups, to take a serious look at your archives, and decide now, what should happen to them? Can you scan and digitise them now, and make copies available to others? If not, for individuals, look to insert a clause into your will, stating what your wishes are in respect of your UAP material. For groups, make certain that your constitution has a clause specifying what happens to material if the group dissolves.

Failure to do so, will probably result in your UAP collection heading for the rubbish tip; which would be a waste (in all senses of the word.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A new Australian UFO ebook - 'UFOs Down Under'


'UFOs Down Under' is the title of a new ebook, by Australian Barry Watts. Barry Watts, B. Ed. was born in 1936 and attended LaTrobe University. He is now a retired teacher of adults, and lives on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. In 1999, Barry and his partner started 'Pegasus Book Orphanage,' an online secondhand book business, which continues today. Between 1975 and the present, Barry has published seven books. 'UFOs Down Under' is his first self-published effort (ebook and paperback [coming next month.]) While 'Pegasus Book Orphanage' books cover a wide range of topics from Aviation to UFOs, Barry has had a specific interest in the subject of UFOs for decades.

The book

The full title of the book is 'Australasian Encounter: UFOs Down Under - The files revisited,' published by Pegasus Education Group, PO Box 223, McCrae, Victoria, 3938; 241pp.

Image courtesy of Barry Watts
The introduction includes 'In this book I have re-examined over thirty UFO encounters in Australia, New Zealand and Papua-New Guinea in detail...some of these are well known...Others are old or obscure, but are nevertheless provocative mysteries.'

Included in the well-known category are:

* 5 February 1947, Port Augusta, South Australia. Five, egg shaped objects in formation pass over the town

* May 1954, East Malvern, Victoria. Six people report a giant football.

* 31 August 1954, Goulburn, New South Wales. Radar/visual sighting.

* 22 August 1968, Zanthus, Western Australia. Aircraft encounter with a formation of one large and several smaller objects

* 21 October 1978, Bass Strait. The Valentich disappearance.

Among the lesser known cases we find:

* 14 January 1969, Childers, Queensland. A family see entities

* 23 March 1975, Nebo, Queensland. A group of people report an encounter to both the police and RAAF

* 20 October 1979, Wonthaggi, Victoria. A motorcyclist encountered an object on the ground.

Barry draws on a variety of sources, including Australian government files; books; magazines; blogs; and newspapers.

Each sighting is well researched, and references used are cited. The work is easy to read; and provides the reader with an excellent overview of each case.

In appropriate places, Barry draws attention to pieces of data which appear incorrect, or in conflict, e.g. some of the recollections of O'Farrell in the 31 August 1954 radar/visual event, and errors in newspaper reports of the 4 October 1960 Cressy, Tasmania observation.

The ebook is an excellent summary of over 30 Australian cases of interest. Barry has obviously done his homework in compiling information about each incident.

The work of Australian researchers including Bill Chalker; George Simpson; Paul Norman; Ben Hurle; Peter Norris; Ray Brooke, and myself, are cited and referenced.

This ebook (and paperback when available) is recommended as an excellent source of detailed information on some of the best Australian UFO cases. Barry is to be commended for all his hard work in drawing this material together.

Copies of the ebook are currently available through Amazon.

Well done Barry!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Could bolides cause some vehicular UAP cases?

I was talking to a friend recently about the observation of bolides (very bright meteors). He told me that on two occasions, while travelling in rural locations at night in a car, that the whole countryside had suddenly, brilliantly lit up.

Looking up, he then observed a bright fireball crossing the sky. He remarked that the entry of the meteor into the Earth’s atmosphere must have generated an immense amount of energy, which then lit up the entire countryside, as bright as daylight, for kilometres around.

I responded by telling him that one night I had been out in my back garden when the entire area lit up just like daylight, for a second or so, then went dark again. This lead us on to talk about electrophonic sounds, heard when bolides are seen in the sky.

These sounds have been heard for centuries

For centuries, observers have been reporting, that simultaneously with seeing a bolide, they heard unusual sounds around them. These sounds, later named electrophonic, were separate from the sonic booms heard moments after the passage of a bolide. Electrophonic sounds were heard at the same time the bolide was visible.

For many years, these electrophonic sounds (hissing, swishing, rushing, roaring, crackling, sizzling, rustling) were felt to be of psychological origin, for no physical mechanism seemed to be able to explain them.

Enter Australian researcher - Colin Keay

Then, Colin Keay, an Australian physicist, investigated sightings of a bolide which passed over New South Wales, Australia in 1978. He found that some observers reported electrophonic sounds. He then went on to demonstrate that large meteor fireballs generated very low frequency electromagnetic energy, which may be audible to some observers on the ground. This energy is transduced into sound waves by nearby objects such as a fence; vegetation; spectacles, and hair. It has now been scientifically accepted that this mechanism does explain the electrophonic sounds described by some, but not all, bolide observers.

I read a number of scientific papers about electrophonic sounds from bolides.

 However, it was on Colin Keay’s website homepage that I came across something very interesting.

‘In 1992 veteran fireball reporter Bob Pugh of Oregon, USA, collected several reports of a large fireball which passed over the Coos Bay region. Besides reports of hissing, crackling and popping sounds at the same time as the fireball was seen, there was a report of a house trembling and a metal lamp making a static-sizzling sound for 2-3 s. At Winston, OR a shock was also felt inside an automobile. Near Diamond Lake Junction an observer felt a pressure on his chest at the time of the fireball.’

The interesting part about the above, was the physical effects noticed, apart from the electrophonic sounds.

Long term readers of this blog, will now know where I am going with this blog post!

UAP reports

I revisited one of my catalogues of UAP reports, one which detailed observations from persons travelling in automobiles, usually in rural settings. I found four Australian sightings along the lines of interest to me.

1. March 1970, Scottsdale, Tasmania.
A forestry worker was driving alone when he saw a flash of light in the sky. His car radio was overcome with static. A soundless, green object, three times the angular size of the full Moon was seen to the rear of the vehicle. (Source – TUFOIC.)

2. 5 February 1979, Lawitta, Tasmania. 2150hrs.
While driving alone, a man noted his car radio had died. Seconds later, an intense white light enveloped the car and he could not see beyond the bonnet. The car’s lights and motor failed in the same instant. Beyond the events are vague and the next thing he knew he was being stopped by police for driving the car without lights at night. He was taken to hospital and examined, and found to be in a state of shock. His vehicle, a Ford Cortina 71TC was inspected and found to have a flat battery and the engine oil level was low. The cut-off switch on the alternator needed replacing as did wiring, especially the headlights. Radiator water was also low. (Source – TUFOIC.)

3. April 1979, Gormanston Saddle, Tasmania. 0020hrs.
A green light with a purple edge came straight at a taxi driver, seemingly going straight over the vehicle, and lighting up the interior as if it was daylight. The taxi lost power and would not accelerate, the motor just shook. The driver tried to radio for help but it was dead. After the light passed, everything returned to normal. (Source – TUFOIC.)

4. Ca. 1994, Harvey Creek, Queensland. 2030hrs.
A huge light approached two women travelling by car. The engine and lights of the car went out for no apparent reason. The light passed over the car, temporarily blinding the women. After a few seconds the vehicle’s lights came back on by themselves. The engine of the car started the first time the ignition key was turned. (Source – UFORQLD.)

Can bolides explain these case?

My question at this point, is, could electromagnetic energy from a bolide produce these kind of effects reported within the UAP literature? Obviously, a lot more research needs to be conducted.
There is one more UAP report which I would like blog readers to consider under this hypothesis.

16 September 1974, St. Helens, Tasmania. 2115hrs.
This very unusual event occurred to Mrs Andrea Richards, housewife, thirty four, and her daughters Janine (eight) and Kathleen (five) when they were travelling home to The Marches near St Helens. Weatherwise it was a light drizzling rain, on a dark night. They were all very tired when suddenly static was heard on the radio. As soon as the static began the sky directly ahead became brightly lit up. The car lost power on a gentle incline, then stopped dead. The headlights, radio, heater, and dashboard lights all went out, and it was dark apart from the light in the sky.

Aerial view of the sighting location
Mrs Richards tried to start the car but after ten seconds a deafening, vibrating noise enveloped the car. This lasted about a minute. Almost simultaneously, quite painful, electric shocks began penetrating their bodies.

The car was then filled with an invisible chocking smell. Both Mrs Richards and Janine jumped out of the car taking Kathleen with them. They fled down the road leaving the car. The light in the sky was still visible. They went to a house. Upon returning to the car the car started alright. The next day it was checked at a garage but no faults were found. Mrs Richards suffered a numb right side to the face and a two cent sized red mark above her right eyebrow. The day after, her arms and fingers were badly swollen and she had difficulty walking. (Source – TUFOIC.)

The full report on this sighting may be read here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Still in the shadows

Last July, I decided to re-focus my UAP research, and now it is time to evaluate how this is going.


One of the things I instituted, was to cease using Facebook in my UAP work. So, yesterday I spent a little time looking at a variety of current Australian Facebook UAP pages. I had previously noted, that I had found little actual research occurring on such pages. My review, yesterday, found that between July 2016 and now, that things were no different. Facebook UAP ‘research’ still consists of short comments; very little data exchange; and no analysis of material or sightings. So, I feel that my decision to stop using Facebook for my research, was justified.

Book reviews

A second change, was to cease writing up reviews of books dealing with UAP. This has been relatively easy to achieve. Yesterday, I used the Amazon Books website to take a look at the titles, authors and content of both hard copy and UAP ebooks, since July 2016. I can count on one hand, the number of serious books to be found. 

A recent, excellent, serious work
Since last year, I have been publishing on one blog, rather than my previous two blogs. The amalgamation has been going well.

Mass media

I have continued to receive requests from both mass media outlets, and from documentary film makers for interviews with me. I have declined each one of these, as the mass media, in my opinion, seeks only entertainment; and many documentaries never survive the process of being created, edited and then coming to market.

So, all in all, I do not regret any of the changes which I made to the way in which my research has been going.

So, what have I been doing since July 2016?

1. I completed a joint project with Anthony Clarke of UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated. This involved the two of us summarising nearly 60 audio recordings, of Australian UAP witnesses, recorded by US researcher James E McDonald, during his 1967 Australian trip. Our results may be found here.

2. I reviewed documentation about the famous 1957, Levelland, Texas, USA, multiple witness, close encounter case. I prepared, then published transcripts of three rare interviews about the incident.

4. Paul Dean of Melbourne, and I, also researched, then published, a detailed ‘cold case’ review paper, about the visual sighting and color movie film taken at Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 23 August 1953. Our paper may be found here.

5. I have contributed a review of about 40 Australian sightings, which are listed on the NICAP website. I updated both content, and references to these.

6. In addition, also on the NICAP website, I have updated some 40 non-Australian cases; all documented in the US Project Blue Book files. Here, I provided case summaries and copies of the Project Blue Book documentation, downloaded from the Fold3 website.

7. Paul Dean and I are currently working on some comments about the 1986 Japan Air Lines flight, encounter over Alaska.


As can be seen from the list of what I have been doing, my re-focus has been to work in the area of quality, detailed research, away from the rambunctious (uncontrollably exuberant; difficult to control; noisy) social media environment.

I feel it worthwhile to repeat my recent mantra, to my Australian UAP colleagues. Consider stepping away from the use of social media, and conduct your research ‘in the shadows.’ You will find an immediate benefit. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Webs of deception

Hi all,

This month keep your (Australian) eyes to the skies!

May, in Australia, is the traditional month for reported falls of unusual looking, lengthy strands of 'silk-like' substance, which some UAP researchers refer to as 'Angel Hair.'

May 1974 - Albury, NSW - photo by Kevin Dixon
Is it simply spiders' web, or the residue of the propulsion system of extraterrestrial spaceships?

There was a very large fall of this substance around Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia,on 4 May 2015. For a detailed account of this fall, and the subsequent story which went viral on the Internet, take a look at my post dated 14 May 2015.

If the subject interests you, why not take a look at my comprehensive Australian catalogue and analysis of dozens of Australian falls, which may be found here.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has information on any 2017 falls.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The October 1967 Brisbane, Queensland, photographs

Recently, Vicente-Juan Ballester OImos, a Spanish researcher, asked me about a series of UAP photographs taken in 1967 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I didn't know much about this, so sought some original material to undertake some fact checking.

Thanks to another researcher, this time in the United Kingdom, I located a digital copy of issue number 12, (Nov/Dec 1967) of the Newsletter of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau (QFSRB.) This newsletter had a full account of the circumstances, the photographs, and an analysis. As few blog readers will have access to this Newsletter, I'll provide the full text of the informative article.

'The Brisbane photographs.

Last month a Brisbane man contacted the Bureau saying he had taken several photographs of a 'flying saucer' over the densely populated West End area of Brisbane.

The photographs were said to have been taken between 6.30 and 6.45 a.m. on Sunday, 22nd. October. Asked what he was doing at the time, he said he had gone outside to take a photograph of his girl-friend beside her new car, when the 'saucer' appeared in the viewfinder.

Source: SPACELINK, courtesy of Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Nine photographs or negatives were sighted by the Bureau: (1) the girl beside her car with the object in the top corner; (2) the girl shading her eyes, looking at object; (3) the girl pointing to object; (4) the girl taking a photo; (5) the object approaching - witnesses say here the object made 'fluttering' movement as it returned after having moved away after first approach; (6 &7) object closer; (8) object seemingly overhead - witnesses say here the object was starting to take up speed and that colour was seen for first time, 'red' and 'orange'; otherwise, object was silver-grey, metal colour; (9) object going away in distance - one witness says it was now blue colour. (No sound was reported.)

A local chemist told the Bureau that he had the film developed and that it contained photographs of the object being investigated. The film was collected on Monday afternoon (23rd. October) or Tuesday, (24th. October.)

The same day Mrs Sutton (Secretary) called on Mr Wallace and later that evening, Mr Russell (Public Relations Officer and Editor) visited his home and sighted the negatives.

Unfortunately, Mr Russell was not familiar with 35mm film and did not know that the frames were numbered, making it possible to check the actual sequence of the frames. Having sighted the negatives however, he advised Mr Wallace to put the negatives in a safe place (in a bank or with a solicitor) to avoid loss or damage before the Bureau could make a proper analysis of the film. At this point, Mr Wallace said two negatives were already lost or mislaid. One was found next day.

It should be stated that between the time he had collected the film from the chemist, which was handed back to him in a continuous roll or strip, and the time the film was sighted by the Bureau, Mr Wallace had cut the film into separate negatives or frames. It was one of these frames that remained lost. Asked why he had cut the film strip, Mr Wallace said he always did this when  he wanted particular frames enlarged or reprinted and he had wanted to have one or two of the negatives enlarged.

Mr Wallace agreed to have the negatives put in a safe place and to not make his photographs public until proper research had been completed concerning every aspect of his sighting. This was considered warranted because, at first glance, the photographs promised to be one of the best sets ever taken of a UFO. In half the set, the object is clearly seen, the shots generally included good sunlight, clouds, plenty of landmarks, houses, fences, trees, parked cars, the witnesses and so forth.

After closer research was completed, it was the abundant details that, in the end, made the photographs unacceptable to the Bureau.

A close up - courtesy Ballester Olmos
The first error in the witnesses' story was their stated time of sighting during which time the photographs were said to have been taken - 6.30 to 6.45 a.m. On Sunday 29th October, it was established by visiting the site and checking the shadows, that these photographs were taken much later than 6.30 a.m. The calculated estimate is approx, 9-9.15 a.m.

Having established the time of the photographs, a cold canvas of houses, block of flats and home units in the area was done. Except for one, five-year-old boy who said he saw the object, no witnesses were found.

To help find an independent witness, it was agreed to release some information to newspapers, asking people to report anything seen on this date. No UFO sightings were reported for this area of the city.

Source: Undated issue of Sun-Herald newspaper - courtesy of Ballester-Olmos
As anticipated, once the news was published, research could no longer, be carried out at a reasonable tempo. Overseas and interstate reporters wanted photographs and witnesses. Also, Mr Wallace and his friend had by now, attended a Bureau monthly meeting, showed the photographs to members and told the meeting what they had seen. Neither Mr Wallace or his friend are members of the Bureau.

On Tuesday, 7th. November, apart from the unsatisfactory conditions of the negatives, nothing concrete could be said about the whole affair. But on this day, Mr Stan Seers (The President) who was directing all technical investigations, came up with the findings from their shadow analysis; whereas the witnesses state that the duration of the sighting and taking of photographs was approx. 5-7 minutes; shadow movement on more  distant houses; discernible on larger photographs, showed clearly that the photographs must have been taken over a period of 75 minutes.

Bureau report - the negatives

When the Bureau several times requested the negatives for proper evaluation, Mr Wallace would not make definite arrangements. To the best of our knowledge, some negatives would be in the Bank and some would be at various photographers for the purpose of making enlargements for Mr Wallace. Four different photographic shops were involved in this investigation. But it was established that the film was developed through a local chemist whose testimony is acceptable on this count. The film was in fact, processed in D.H.A. premises as a routine job.

The negatives or frames themselves show no obvious discrepancies. But their sequence is very much open to suspicion. Only the last five negatives run in unbroken sequence, The numbers run 2A-3 then 4A-5, then 9A-10  right through to 14, being the last photograph. One badly cut negative is unplaceable and the missing negative is presumed to be of the girl pointing at the object.

The original photograph of the girl pointing was sighted by the Bureau but Mr Wallace had never afterwards produced either the negative or the photograph of this particular shot. Also, the missing negative- between 4A-5 (girl shading eyes) and 9A-10 (girl taking photograph) - leave a gap in  the film where the very discrepancies in the shadows were observed. The film, therefore, because of mutilations and missing negatives, is not acceptable to the Bureau.

(Re girl taking photograph of object: said to have been taken as 127 colour film. Only one negative said to have been used  which did not "show anything." Girl states she threw the negative away.)

The Shadow Analysis -

The following report is written by Mr Seers:-

Alleged UFO Photos, Brisbane, 22nd. October 1967

The method by which it was positively established that the photographs 1 to 5 (one to five) occupied a period of time of at least seventy-five minutes in the actual taking, as against the declared time, (see signed statement), of five to seven minutes, is well established and easy to follow.

Instructions, charts and a specially calibrated protractor are to be found in the text book: "Sunshine and Shade in Australasia." A study of the principles involved in finding the extent and direction of sunlight and shadow on buildings, together with a series of charts for different hours and seasons for the latitudes of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and the adjacent islands, by R.C. Phillips, B. Arch. A.R.A.I.A., crown copyright, Sydney, May 1948.

The complete characteristics of the shadow casts of the window awnings and other building structures are easily found for any hour of the day; given the aspects of the building and its geographical location. (In this case, Nth East, 0930, Brisbane, latitude: 27 1/2 degrees south, Plate 19.) This information is useful to architects, designers etc.

Conversely, local solar time of a photograph of a building can also be determined quite accurately from the charts. Hour and day is located on the appropriate chart, the protractor applied according to instructions, the rest being a matter of simple mathematics, which, in this instance, were worked out by a member of the academic staff from the University of Queensland.

The foregoing information may possibly help discourage some future would-be-hoaxers.'

Other sources of information listed by Ballester Olmos

1. Sydney Morning Herald, newspaper, 12 November 1967.
2. Hervey, M. 1975. 'UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere.' Robert Hale. pp 145-146.
3. SPACELINK, Volume 5, number 3, July 1968, p 20 & inside back cover.

SPACELINK - courtesy Ballester Olmos
4. Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga (2017.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cold case review report - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

In a previous post, I advised that Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I  were undertaking a 'cold case' review of the 23 August 1953, Port Moresby, visual sighting and movie film.

Port Moresby in relation to northern Australia
At about noon on 23 August 1953, Mr T P Drury, his wife, and young son, observed an unusual object in the sky. Mr Drury used a movie camera to film the object. The film was sent to the USA, and it has been claimed that when it was returned, some of the footage of the object was missing.

Close up of the Port Moresby area
In the last month, we have gathered a large amount of information, drawn from a mass of documentation; some of it courtesy of overseas researchers, including Barry Greenwood, Jan Aldrich, Mary Castner, Fran Ridge and others.

Article in South Pacific Post
The documentation gathered together, covers numerous newspaper articles; items in early Australian UAP newsletters; the USAF Project Blue Book' s records on the case; several books, and more recent Australian UAP magazines. As always, we have adopted a 'follow the evidence' approach; going back to original source material to check our facts. Something that many of today's researchers fail to do.

Early editions of the APRO Bulletin carried accounts
Despite the fact that some quite vital data is lacking in this material, it has turned out, in our opinion, that the available evidence points in a number of directions which run counter to prevailing beliefs about the case.

Australian researcher Edgar Jarrold investigated the case
Paul and I believe:

* that it is possible, that there may be no 'missing' film; which goes against current thinking

* that the object could perhaps have been a daylight meteor. The main observer, Tom Drury always maintained that the object was a guided missile. Others of course have claimed it to be a UFO

Courtesy of Bill Chalker
* that US researcher James E McDonald did not interview Mr Drury, when he (McDonald) visited Australia in 1967.

Courtesy of Melbourne researcher John Stepkowski, blog readers may now read our cold case paper.

As always, with our work, we welcome peer-review comments.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

'Cold case' review underway - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

I have previously written about the value of conducting 'cold case' reviews of older Australian UFO cases. Sometimes, the outcome is that the review adds additional information, to what is already known. This new data, may suggest a mundane explanation for a sighting which was previously considered 'unidentified.' On the other hand, sometimes, it might strengthen the case for the unknown nature of the event.

At the present moment, Melbourne researcher, Paul Dean and I, are taking a fresh look at all the available documentation on the 23 August, 1953, Port Moresby visual sighting and 8mm film case, involving Mr Tom Drury.

NAA file series MP1279/1 c/s 99/1/478

We have enlisted the assistance of a number of overseas researchers, who have kindly provided us with copies of documents which we did not have access to.

USAF Project Blue Book document

We believe that we have brought together, in a chronology, all the know relevant first and second hand documents, including fresh newspaper articles located in the National Library of Australia's TROVE digitised newspaper collection.

Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia

From this mass of information, we will compile a paper, providing the text of, or at least a summary of, each document, and see if it is possible to come to a definitive conclusion as to the cause of the sighting, and hence the nature of object on the colour 8mm movie film.

We will publish our results in due course.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Return to Balwyn


The 2 April 1966, Balwyn, Melbourne, photograph and visual observation, continues to generate interest among some UAP researchers. As long term readers of this blog will be aware, Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I, have published two lengthy reports on this sighting and photograph (click here and here to read them.)

Herald Newspaper 12 April 1966

During the preparation of these two reports, Paul and I engaged in dialogue with a number of overseas researchers, who both assisted us with locating hard to get articles about the incident, and gave their viewpoints on the Balwyn image.

Sketch of house and garden from where the photograph was taken

One of these individuals was Canadian Francois Beaulieu. Francois has had a long term interest in the study of UAP, and also photography, including Polaroid images. This made him an ideal person to take another look at the Balwyn image, especially as the Balwyn photographer, Jim Kibel, advised that he had located the original Polaroid picture (missing for some time) and made a new scan available for study.

To this end, Francois has prepared a report on aspects of the Balwyn image, and I have arranged with John Stepkowski, webmaster for the Project 1947 website, to host Francois' article. Thank you John.

What is in Francois' article?

Francois was using Polaroid cameras in the mid 1960's, shortly after the Balwyn incident came to light. He tried to recreate test shots of some of the photographic UFO cases of that era. This led him to acquire an in depth knowledge of Polaroid images. 

In  the article, Francois examines the controversy of an apparent zigzag line or discontinuity in the photograph; the apparent reflection of a house on the 'UAP' in the picture; looks at claims that the photograph is a photo montage; and finally asks the photographer, Jim Kibel,  to allow a higher resolution scan to be made of the original Polaroid photograph. To read this intriguing article click here.