A few days ago I posted about an old Adelaide, South Australia, entity case from 1962. It is a classic case mentioned in such sources as "Flying Saucers - Serious Business" by Frank Edwards; "Flying Saucers Where Do They Come From?" Richard Tambling, and even in "Passport to Magonia" by Jacques Vallee.
A Sydney research associate has just forwarded me a case document published by the Australian Entity Study Group in 1977, which provides a transcript of a taped interview between UFO researcher Colin Norris of Adelaide, and Mrs Sylvester, also of Adelaide, recorded shortly after the event. As this is the best, original source material to be found on this case, I am taking the liberty, for posterity, of providing this transcript here.
(Note C is Colin Norris and S is Mrs Sylvester.)
C. What time of day was this?
S. Well it was about 7.30 in the evening.
C. You were travelling in your car to somewhere.
S. Yes. I was with my family and we were coming home to Adelaide that evening and we stopped and had a look at this strange phenomena because we couldn't understand what it was doing.
C. Who was in the car?
S. My three children. My son Michael, aged 9, at the time. Allison 8 and Julie-Anne 6.
C. When you sighted this craft were you upset?
S. Oh no, no. I quite expect to see them. I simply noticed a light where I haven't noticed it before.
C. Where were you travelling?
S. Travelling from Salisbury as a matter of fact.
C. Going up the north road?
S. Well, we had just come off the Two Wells Road and we were proceeding along the Salisbury-Elizabeth highway.
C. Where was this in relation to the car? To the left of you or to the right?
S. To the right of me, I suppose a 36 degree angle to the right of me.
C. That would be past the Parafield aerodrome?
S. Probably in that direction but further beyond. It was in the hills.
C. What sort of craft was it? Was this hanging in the air?
S. Well, what actually happened was that I was driving along and I noticed this orange light. I couldn't drive and at the same time watch it. So we pulled to the side of the road, and stopped and I asked my children to look and then my son said 'Mummy, an oval shape and its got four legs.'
C. It must have been sitting on the ground.
S. This was sitting on the ground. I said can you describe any more because he has very good sight and I noticed he can see things at a long distance. He said , it was 'Oval got four legs. There's a light on the top and five windows.' He said, "Oh, I can see two men inside.'
c. Were they square windows like a house?
S. No, round.
C. Round windows and what size do you think?
S. I'm not sure because it was a fair distance away.
C. When you say a fair distance, over a mile?
S. It must have been well over a mile. I think it was more like five to six miles away.
C. That's a long way to be able to see people in a craft.
S. Well, that's true. But as I say, I know that my son has excellently good eyesight.
C. That's true, but when you say this highway that you were on. I'm vaguely familiar with it. I think it cuts across from the Port Wakefield Road. I don't think that the distance to the Adelaide Hills would be five miles.
S. Well it mightn't be but then I'm not much of a judge of distance.
C. No. Now those windows.
S. They were round and they appeared to be strangely divided. Three to the left of the craft as I looked at it, then a space then two to the right.
C. That is very true. That's the Adamski type craft as we refer to them. In fact they have three together, a space then two then three round the other side.
S. Possibly but then I only saw the one side. Then having digested the information that there were two men inside, my son informed me that one was bending down and that the other was climbing out, down what appeared to be a ladder. He also described for me what he looked like, almost as though he was wearing a gas mask. That is what it seemed to me because it is familiar from the war.
C. Did it have any lights on?
S. A light on his helmet.
C. Like a miner's cap?
S. I imagine so, yes.
C. When he was looking around did he seem to be doing any repairs to it?
S. Yes, well. What it appeared to be was that one of the legs would not retract while we sat watching we noticed that the man or the being on the ground with the leg did something. Then the craft rose a little way and then came down again. Now this happened about four or five times.
C. Fascinating. This craft it has just come into my mind possibly why you should see them. Did it have a ray of light around it?
S. Well to me it was more or less a glow. I imagine why the orange colour of it, that they were trying to take off and couldn't because one of the legs wouldn't retract.
C. Could be quite so because when these craft do in fact finally tale off they do take on an orange colour. So I agree with you.
S. ...we watched it stationary for about half an hour. My other daughter Allison confirmed everything that Michael says. My youngest one informed me that she was getting a bit sick of the situation because (...) go up and come down she couldn't see what they were doing.
C. How (...) Why didn't you report this to the, did you know there was a society here in...
S. Yes, I knew but at the time I was busy with examinations at High School and I had so much to do that I really didn't find the time. Probably I was rather remiss, but..
C. That's our misfortune.
S. That's your misfortune, yes.
C. When the craft finally took off how did the people get back into it again, do you know?
S. Well I believe from what I remember my son telling me that the man that was on the ground climbed back in and then it sort of lifted and moved slowly I imagine northwards, because I started the car up and I said to the children well now, you watch it and I'll drive slowly along. We watched it I suppose for something like 6 or 700 yards and then all of a sudden it had gone.
C. It had gone. They do travel very quickly. These people, were they little green men like they're reported to be in our comics and reports, or were they tall or what?
S. I think it would be a bit difficult what height they were from that distance, but judging from what my son told me about what he saw, I would say that they were nothing like little green men that popular fantasy would have it.
C. Do you think they would be six feet or do you...?
S. This is something that they must have been because as far as I can remember, the head of a man that got out of the craft would have been on a level with the base of a craft.
C. Do you realise that on the 28th of October as you've just said here, that there was a sighting over Pine Point by a Mr and Mrs McGovern?
S. No, I didn't.
C. There was, and also there was a sighting over Adelaide at about 4.30am. This was on the 29th but it was still that night.
S. That's very interesting.
C. So it's quite possible that this craft was the same one.
S. Well I would say myself that it would probably have been a scout craft. It certainly wasn't big enough for a mother craft.
C. How did you feel about this Mrs Sylvester?
S. I felt rather thrilled to think that I'd seen it. I wasn't afraid of course. Had I been nearer I probably would have driven up to it and had a closer look. Incidentally there's one more point about this. When my son went to school the next day, he was talking to his teacher who had been out on a picnic in that area. he told my son that he had seen exactly the same thing, but when he took his binoculars to look at it, they were obscured by some means or other and he didn't see as much as we did although he was nearer.
C. At the same time?
S. I was surprised to notice that practically no one travelling that road appeared to have any interest in this at all.
C. Were there any other cars?
S. There were many cars, yes but no one appeared to have seen it.
1. Mrs Sylvester reports seeing only an orange light, whereas her 9 year old son (and 8 year old daughter) report, via Mrs Sylvester, a structured object.
2. The distance between the observers and the object is cited as "...well over a mile..."; and "I think it was more like five to six miles away." Given these estimates, it would seem to me, that observing the reported details on a structured object, namely legs, windows, "man" wearing a helmet etc would not have been possible at such distances. Either the distance to the object was much less than Mrs Sylvester estimates, or there is a strong possibility that the children were reporting details which were not actually there, given that Mrs Sylvester simply reports seeing an orange light. Even the pro-UFO researcher who conducted the interview says "That's a long way to see people in a craft."
3. Interestingly, and a point not followed up by interviewer Norris, is that after he asked "When you sighted the craft were you upset?" Mrs Sylvester responded "Oh no, no. I quite expect to see them..." It would have been of value to know why she expected to see a UFO?
4. Regretfully, the pro-UFO interviewer poses leading questions such as "Like a miner's cap?" where Mrs Sylvester responds with "I imagine so, yes." Also, in trying to determine the height of the "man", the interviewer asks "..do you think they would be six feet ..."
All in all, the above transcript, as opposed to various articles in UFO books and on the Internet, provides sufficient data points to strongly suggest to me, that this is not a "classic flying saucer case" and on the contrary, is of extremely weak evidential usefulness.