I have been reading a new book "Return to Magonia: Investigating UFOs in History" by Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough. The book was published in 2015 by Anomalistic Books, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Its ISBN is 978-1-938398-54-4.
Chris Aubeck lives in Spain, and in 2003, founded an historical research group titled "Magonia Exchange." Chris gives presentations on the evaluation of UFOs as cultural history, and has co-authored a book titled "Wonders in the Sky" with veteran researcher Jacques Vallee. Chris recently advised me that a revised edition of this book will be out soon. Chris was also the organiser of the recent conference "The Inhabited Sky" held in Madrid, Spain.
|Image courtesy of Amazon books.|
Return to Magonia
"Return to Magonia" takes a look at numerous historical sightings with a date range between 1991BC and 1947 AD (with mention of sightings as late as 2012.) Its geographic spread takes in countries such as the USA; UK; Germany; Turkey; India, and Australia.
It provides details of each sighting from as close to the original source as possible, and then to my delight, attempts to analyse the event to find a cause. Along the way we learn a lot about astronomy; mirages; other meteorological phenomena; human observational skills, and, of course, UFOs.
|Image courtesy of Amazon books.|
Two representative cases, will illustrate the authors' methodology in each sighting presented in the book. As I live in Australia, I will use two from my country.
Firstly, from November 1862 is an observation by one O E Middleton, from near Morpoth, New South Wales, published in November 1866.
Middleton reports that "...early one morning" he heard a very peculiar rushing noise "...and that looking immediately overhead I saw distinctly a large meteor travelling with amazing rapidity in a southeasterly direction. Its apparent size was that of a large cask of a dark colour, the surface irregular..." which led Middleton "...to conjecture it was revolving on its axis." (p.168.)
The authors located an Osman Edward Middleton who matched the known details of the observer. Having established that the witness existed, they next looked at what conventional explanations might fit the observation. They suggest that "...the "dark color", surface detail, and absence of any trail appears to rule out a fireball meteor or any other astronomical explanation." (p.170.)
They then consider, and reject, the possibility of a dust whirl or a tornado funnel. They did not think the explanation lay in a dense flock of birds, or a swarm of insects. An early powered airship was also considered and rejected.
Their final conclusion was "We cannot suggest any mundane phenomenon that tallies perfectly with this sighting." (p.173.)
My second example happened in my own state, when on 6 February 1947 (documented at the time) an event occurred at Port Augusta, South Australia. Three workers of the Commonwealth Railways workshop, including a Mr Ron Ellis, reported seeing five, white or light pink coloured, egg shaped objects, pass over them. They "...appeared to be quivering;" were in formation and "...were casting shadows" as they travelled form north to south.
|Chronicle (Adelaide) Thursday 13 February 1947 p.6.|
Another sighting from Lock, South Australia, earlier that same day, reported five, oblong shaped objects, "floating" through the sky from north-west to south-east "...and caused a shadow."
Research established that the named witness at Port August, Ron Ellis; and the named witness at Lock, existed in historical records.
As to cause, Aubeck and Shough, considered the possibility of a superbolide unlikely (no other reports from other parts of South Australia); a flight of birds; balloons; aircraft and military operations at Woomera.
In conclusion, they wrote "...this is a striking case, and is certainly of great historical and cultural interest. Simply put, this is a modern UFO..." (p.350.)
For details of my own research on this case, click here.
As an individual who loves "cold case" analysis, I was in my element with this book. Some cases are shown to have mundane explanations including planets; fireballs; volcanic eruptions; ball lightning; and mirages. However, there are others which defy a reasonable explanation. The authors therefore remind us that some pre 24 June 1947 historical report have much in common with modern UFOs.