Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Police report on the Boyup Brook encounter, uncovered

Background

On 30 October 1967, an intriguing encounter happened near Boyup Brook, Western Australia. 

The story broke in the Wednesday 1 November 1967 edition of 'The West Australian' newspaper. According to the newspaper, the sole witness reported the incident to a constable L Johnson of the Boyup Brook police station.

I had always wondered what happened to the police report of the event? No one I knew of, had ever seen it, or had a copy of it.  A couple of years ago, I thought that I might have located the report, when a Western Australian Police Department file, number 64/2885 was found, titled 'Unidentified Flying Objects.' However, the file contained only 56 pages, despite the file's folio numbering system indicating that there had been 148 pages on the file. It turned out that there seemed to be missing folios, numbered 32-122, covering the years 1955-1969. So, no luck in locating papers dealing with a 1967 incident.

An image of the file cover.

2017

Fast forward to mid-August this year, when US researcher and historian Barry Greenwood of Boston, visited the archives of the J Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, in Chicago. One of his aims was to search for Australian material, which had not been seen for years, if ever, by most Australian researchers. Barry located the long missing Western Australian Police Department report on the Boyup Brook incident. Many thanks to Barry for sharing this find with me.

Firstly, Barry located a letter dated 20 February 1968, reference 64/2885 (the file we had part of already) from the Acting Commissioner of Police, addressed to 'Staff Assistant, National Investigation Committee on Aerial Phenomena, Washington DC 20036 USA.' It read:

'Dear Sir,

I refer to your letter of the 16th January 1968, addressed to Constable L Johnson of Boyup Brook Police Station and enclose herewith for your information, a copy of my officer's report in respect of a UFO sighting on the 30th October, 1967.'

'South Western District
Boyup Brook Station
1st November, 1967

Report of: Leonard Johnson, Constable 2514
Relate to: Reported sighting of  unidentified flying object, Kulikup (Kojonup-Mayanup Road) at approximately 9.20pm on Monday 30th October, 1967 by Alexander Roy SPARGO, 37 years, of 1270 Albany Highway, Cannington.

I have to report that at approximately 9.35pm on Monday the 30th October, 1967, Alexander Roy SPARGO, 37 years, shearing contractor of Great Southern Co;, 1270 Albany Highway, Cannington (telephone 682794) called at this station and reported having sighted an unidentified flying object on the Kojonup-Mayanup Road, Kulikup approximately 10 miles from Mayanup at about 9.20pm 30th October 1967.

Kojonup in relation to the capital city of Perth. Image courtesy of Google maps.

Spargo stated he was driving his 1967 Valiant Utility, Reg. No. USG.076, towards Boyup Brook from Kojonup at approximately 60-65 mph with headlights on high beam.

When approximately 10 miles from Mayanup the car suddenly stopped - motor stopped - headlights went out - and became stationary without any sensation of braking or deceleration.

He had been travelling alone in the vehicle and was on a bitumen road.

A tube of light descended close to the windscreen. The tube was about 2 feet in diameter. He looked up the tube and could not see anything but felt he was being observed.

The tube of light had descended from object shaped like a football, iridescent blue colour (lightning colour but stationary), with a pulsating glow appearance, and approximately 30 feet in diameter.

Spargo stated he just sat looking at the tube of light and object for approximately 5 minutes. He felt no personal effect other than surprise and not being able to believe his eyes. He heard no noise.

The object then moved off very quickly and disappeared in a 'flash.' When it had gone Spargo found his motor running, lights on, and again travelling at 60 to 65 mph (previous speed). He felt no sensation of acceleration.

He stopped the vehicle and got out and inspected same but could find nothing unusual. He then continued on to Boyup Brook and called at the Police Station and made his report.

Spargo stated he reported the sighting as he believed it should be reported. He did not want his name or address disclosed to the press for fear of being regarded publicly as a 'crank.' He was prepared to give any information required to any interested authority but apart from that did not intend discussing the matter with anyone else.

He stated he employed 60 men shearers and if they learned of his report he would be ridiculed.

Prior to this sighting he had read of other people's sightings and he had regarded those people as 'cranks.'

Spargo was dressed in sports clothes and thongs and appeared normal. His eyes had a tired look and slightly red. He admitted having had two brandies at Kojonup and was not a regular drinker and nothing in his appearance would indicate otherwise.

He stated he left Cannington at 9am that morning and travelled to Katanning and Kojonup shearing teams. He had mid-day and evening meals at 'Glen Lessy,' Kojonup and had the two brandies at the Commercial Hotel, Kojonup with Des O'Halloran of 'Glen Lessy.'

The localities mentioned in the Police report. Image courtesy of Google maps.
Spargo said he had the brandies as he felt a cold coming on.

He travelled to Boyup Brook and stayed overnight at Bill Inglis' farm where he had a team of shearers working and returned to Kojonup on the 31st October.

There had been a fairly severe electrical storm on Sunday evening the 29th with a great deal of lightning and thunder but little rain.

On Monday evening the 30th the sky had become overcast and some lighting seen around 7pm.

At the time the report was made at the Police Station the sky was quite clear and no sign of any lighting.

L Johnson (sgd)
Constable 2514.'

Image of the first page of the report



My comments

1. Dr Paul Zeck, a Perth, Western Australia, psychiatrist, interviewed Spargo on Saturday 2 December 1967 in the company of Spargo's general practitioner doctor. I obtained a transcript of this taped interview, from Dr Zeck in 1982.

2. There are a few differences between the Police report and Zeck's interview, e.g. the size of the object is given as 30 feet in the Police report, yet as 100 feet in Zeck's document. However, most details are the same in both documents. Zeck's interview is more detailed than the Police report.

3. To my knowledge, the RAAF did not interview Spargo. Despite a look through RAAF files, I am unable to find any RAAF documents.

4. The NICAP 'UFO Investigator' Newsletter, of Jul/Aug 1968, page 6, carried a short summary of the event. At the end of the NICAP account was '...since constable Johnson apparently was impressed by the witness, we shall ask him to secure a signed, more detailed report if possible...' As far as I can ascertain, this second report was never obtained.

5. NICAP's 'The UFO Evidence, Volume II' page 273, lists the incident as dated 31 October 1967, which is incorrect.

6. The English magazine, Flying Saucer Review, Volume 14 no. 2, Mar/Apr 1968 carried a short report on the incident on page 33, citing 'The West Australian' dated 1 November 1967. A longer piece by Joanna Hugill, appeared in FSR volume 14, no. 4, Jul.Aug 1968, pages 15-16.

7. Thank you again to Barry Greenwood for providing a digital copy of the police report, which adds to our knowledge of this event.

1 comment:

  1. > the size of the object is given as 30 feet in the Police report, yet as 100 feet in Zeck's document

    Living in Canada, my very first thought: could the first number have been said as "metres" by the witness but written as "feet" by the officer out of habit? (Thirty metres is 98.4 feet -- approximately 100 feet.)

    Australia, at the time, I believe, had mixed usage of metric and imperial standards. This is still true in Canada, 41 years after we officially adopted the metric system.

    ReplyDelete

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