Thursday, December 30, 2010

Please welcome new blog contributors


It is my pleasure to welcome our newest Blog contributors, Dominic McNamara and Larraine Cilia, of UFO-PRSA.

Please take a moment to visit their website at

"Wonders in the skies"

Dear readers,

Well, Adelaide, South Australia is in for two very hot days. Today's forecast maximum is 39 degrees Celsius, and tomorrow is going up to 43 degrees. Time to retreat to an air-conditioned room with a good book.

Today's post is about such a book; in fact a new book by Jacques Vallee. Any new book by Vallee is worth waiting for. His new book is co-authored by Chris Aubeck, and is titled "Wonders in the sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times." Published in 2010 by Jeremy F Tarcher (Penguin.) New York. ISBN 978-1-58542-820-5.


The foreword to the book is written by David J Hufford, Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine.

Hufford's PhD was in the field of Folklore, and Hufford reminds us that he "...was taught that such beliefs were both non-empirical and non-rational...However, I was pursuing the heretical idea that folk belief traditions might actually incorporate accurate observations, and that if they did they might point to important new knowledge."

Hufford comments that Vallee's book "Passport to Magonia" "...recognised the difference between the core phenomenonology of reports and the local language and interpretations that clothed that core in traditional accounts." (p.2.)

Hufford praises Vallee and Aubeck. "Their rigorously scientific insistence allows Vallee and Aubeck to retain the most challenging and interesting aspects of these events without the distraction of premature commitment to any particular interpretation."

The book:

Speaking about reports of UFOs, the authors believe that "Influenced by books and movies, most people have jumped to hasty conclusions: they believe that unidentified flying objects are spaceships from another planetary civilization..." (p.7.)

They state that "The phenomenon did not begin in the 1940's, or even in the nineteenth century. It is much older that that." (p.7.)

The book presents a catalogue of 500 reported sightings "...from antiquity to the year 1879..." The cut=off year was deliberately chosen so as to be able to exclude any possibility of observations being due to "...airplanes, dirigibles, rockets and the often-mentioned opportunities for misrepresentation represented by military prototypes." (p.8.)

The authors "...have emerged with four major observations:

1. Throughout history, unknown phenomena variously described as prodigies or celestial wonders, have made a major impact on the senses and the imagination of the individuals who witnessed them.

2. Every epoch has interpreted the phenomena in its own terms, often in a specific religious or political context. People have projected their world view, fears, fantasies, and hopes into what they saw in the sky. They still do so today.

3. Although many details of the events have been forgotten or pushed under the colorful rug of history, their impact has shaped human civilization in important ways.

4. The lessons drawn from these ancient cases can be usefully applied to the full range of aerial phenomena that are still reported and remain unexplained by contemporary science." (p12.)"

The authors argue that "...if the phenomenon has existed in fairly constant form for a very long time, it becomes harder to hold to a simplistic "ET visitation" scenarios to explain it." (p.13.)

The collation of material about older cases has been undertaken by "...several teams of historians, anthropologists, folklore specialists and philologists..." (p.19) aided by the availability of the Internet.

Citing historical references, the authors argue that claimed sightings have always changed the course of history.


The book is divided into three parts:

Part I: A chronology of wonders, pages 27-352.

Part II: Myths, legends and chariots of the Gods. Pages 353-449.

Part III: Sources and methods.

Part I:

The 500 "Wonders" start with an observation in about 1460BC in Lebanon, where a "star" defeats the Nubians (p.29.) Each entry provides a date, a location, the text and a source. Many entries have comments added by the authors.

Among the "Wonders" we find 'moving stars'; 'abductions'; 'hovering objects'; 'heat generating globe'; 'self-propelled cloud'; and many other descriptions.

Part II:

This section of the book looks at "...the stories we have rejected from the main chronology, under four major categories..." (p.354.)These are:

"1. Deceptive story, hoax, fictional account or tall tale.
2. Religious vision.
3. Natural astronomical phenomenon.
4. Optical illusion or atmospheric effect."

This section provides an examination of some of the weird and wonderful tales which have emerged in the past, and which keep circulating despite evidence that the account is incorrect.

Part III:

The authors relate how they screened and selected the material for inclusion in the book. Their rules for inclusions included credibility; specific rather than general date/time and elimination of known hoaxes.


Finally, the authors describe some of the things which they have learnt from undertaking this work. "...from all this work, how significant are the findings, do they teach us anything new about the modern phenomena generally called "UFOs" and is there more yet to be discovered?" (p.477.)


This book was a delight, both to browse through as soon as I received it, and to read through thoroughly which I now have made time to do. I have always looked favourably on the concept that the UFO phenomenon has deep roots and that the July 1947 "start" was only of the modern interpretation of what was being seen. I have always found compelling the arguments for a long history for the phenomenon, and to find it including other elements of the paranormal.

Two Australian cases feature in the 500 "Wonders."

Mount Wingen - case 408

"March 1828, Mount Wingen, Australia
Cigar shaped object lands
A mysterious flying object was said to have descended upon Mount Wingen at the Burning Mountain Nature Reserve. It was "cigar-shaped and had a funny silver colour" and made a loud banging noise. According to the report, "when it landed it set fire to all the vegetation and killed the cattle."

Allegedly, tall strangers appeared in the town at the same time. "They never said anything but always pointed to the things they wanted."

The event must have caused quite a stir as the folk of Wingen began linking it with strange disappearances among them: "Quite often people just disappeared and dogs and domesticated animals disappeared too," wrote the informant, referring to the tale his grandfather used to tell.

Source: Australian Post, June 17, 1989, and W Chalker, Project 1947, Australian Aboriginal Culture & Possible UFO connections (1990.)"

I was disappointed that the source for this entry was not some newspaper in 1828, but had only been set down in 1989. I turned to the reference by Bill Chalker at retrieved 27 December 2010.

"About six kilometres north of Wingen an underground coal seam has been burning for possibly 5,000 years...Kisha, who wrote a psychic column for the Australasian Post, recorded a bizarre story of a strange flying object landing at Burning Mountain (or Mount Wingen). She attributed the following text to a man named Ted:

"Grandad used to say that it was cigar-shaped and had a funny silver colour. When it landed it set fire to ll the vegetation and killed the cattle. The noise was dreadful and there was a series of loud bangs. Grandad also spoke of tall strangers appearing in town. They never said anything but always pointed to the things they wanted." Quite often people just disappeared and dogs and domesticated animals disappeared too.

"We always thought that Grandad's stories were good but he knew they were true and never made light of them."

"Kisha did not indicate a date for the events in Ted's grandfather's tale, but presumably its vintage would have to be at least contemporary with the first settler awareness of the burning mountain back in 1828."

Unfortunately, this account is ultimately sourced to a man called Ted who related it to a psychic named Kisha who published it in the Australasian Post magazine dated 17 June 1989.

25 July 1868, Parrammata, New South Wales - case 474.

"Mr Frederick William Birmingham, an engineer and local council alderman...saw what he described as an "Ark" ...a distinct voice, said, slowly, 'That's a machine to go through the air'...the machine the grass..." Birmingham was then "...lifted off the grass and gently carried through the air and into the upper part of the machine..." He was shown various things and given a set of papers "...the witness later experienced paranormal phenomena."

Source: Memorandum Book of Fred Wm. Birmingham, the Engineer to the Council of Parramatta. The authors of the Wonders add "The following account based upon a transcript of a manuscript that has never been located, must be taken with great caution."

Overall comments:

The book is an excellent example of the dedicated work undertaken by a number of people, in locating, screening and compiling material, from often hard to locate sources. I will be returning from time to time to browse sections of the material.

If you are at all interested in pre-1879 aerial phenomena, or simply wish to check if that ancient days story of yours has been determined to have been a hoax, then I would strongly recommend this book to you.

My copy came through the Special Orders section of , Dymocks Bookshop, Adelaide, and took three weeks to reach me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cold case 13 Jan 1965 Qantas aircrew - solved



I have been collecting UFO reports and cataloguing them since the 1970's. My catalogues are available on the net at

One of my catalogues is "A catalogue of Australian observations of UFOs from aircraft crew members and passengers."

One of the cases has always held my special interest, and was the reported observation of a UFO by the crew of an Australian Qantas aircraft, off the coast of New Zealand, inbound to Sydney, Australia on 13 January 1965. When the Disclosure Australia Project examined the Australian Government UFO files, there was some information on the case on RAAF file 580/1/1 part 4. A digitised image of the relevant two pages is available from the National Archives of Australia website at Open the website, click on "RecordSearch," click on "search now as a guest," in the "keywords" box type the words "flying objects" and click on search. Scroll down to 580/1/1 part 4 and go to pages 121-122.

I always wanted to find out further details but didn't think this was possible, given the lack of complete information in the Australian RAAF file. However, with the recent release of some of the New Zealand Defence Force's UFO files (they still haven't released their Defence Intelligence UFO files) I was able to learn more. Particularly, that the Qantas sighting triggered a military response in NZ fearing there were inbound unidentified aircraft involved, and a search for unidentified surface ships.

New Zealand Defence Force file:

File AIR 244/10/1 Volume 1 is titled "Reports of UFOs" and covers the years 1959 to 1983. It holds a number of documents regarding the Qantas report.

Document one is a telex dated 13 Jan 1965 and labelled "Confidential."

"Attention DAFI RNZAF DCAS and RNZAF staff liasion officer. Further to Telecon DDOps RNZAF and S Intel HQOPCOM concerning sighting of UFOs by Qantas crew flight 363 Captain Shannon on 13 Jan. Following are pertinent points obtained from interview:-

Para One. Aircraft position 41S 167E Course 275M Height 20000 feet Time 130845Z Shortly after sunset.

Para two. Weather: Strata cloud tops 7000 feet, clear otherwise, vis 30-40, Nil jet streams, front approx 169E.

Para three. Objects: Single vapour trail appeared to north west traveling east at approximately mach one plus becoming seven distinct contrails apparently made by large aircraft in loose formation. Altitude angle from observers approximately 30 degrees. Height estimated as H35-45000 feet. Trail dissipated from rear.

Para four. Observers: All crew members observed trails from various parts of the aircraft and agree with little variation to above. Source considered reliable.

Para five. Other information: Second pilot also recalls that at approximately longitude 166E this morning on the Sydney-Wellington flight he noticed what he considered as eleven ships in group on his radar screen.

Para six. For DAFI: RNZAF advise surveillance radars at Wellington and Ohakea recording nothing at height within 15-200 mls except quote angels unquote south of Wellington speed approx 100kts. NZ press are aware of sighting has been reported and RNZAF has suggested to them that weather phenomena is possible explanation, at this stage."

There is a hand written file reference of 244/10/1.

Document two is an Air Department NZ Aeronautical Message Form dated 13 Jan 1965 and is handwritten. The hand notes read:

"Qantas flight 373. Chch-Syd ETA Syd 1153Z. Capt (illegible word) Shannon. Sighted 0850Z. Approx 300m due west Wlton 41S 168E. 2150 Mon 30000 ft 10 secs. 10 deg Due E-W.

Week before 2 objects Just above horizon E-W Mile apart. 2 weeks ago Flying crane (?) 50 ft off hilltop. Back of Wightmans Valley."

Document three is handwritten notes most of which are illegible. Can read "DCAS rang Ops" "requesting info" and "airborne."

Document four is a telex dated 13 Jan 1965.

"For RNZAF Ops

Phone number to contact Capt Shannon 15 mins after arrival is NU042 Sydney airport."

Document five is a single page handwritten note which is very hard to decipher. Readable are the words "130845Z," "20000," "275M," "Twilight," "35-40000," "Shannon in NZ tomorrow," "Check Qantas," "Comment-twilight."

Document six is two pages of "Minute sheet" with handwritten notes. Readable words are "QF324/028 Dave Shannon," "WN," "1825ETA," "John Hawthorne," "NAC," Supervisor in charge," "1930," "John Drew," "Twilight," 'Satellite" and "Very bright."

Document seven is a copy of document one.

Document eight is a copy of document one with additional hand written notes "DDOps," "Copy given to US Air A."

Document nine is a copy of document 4 with handwritten note "OPsz" and "244/10/1."

Document ten is a one page RNZAF Message from HOBSONVILLE to RNZAFHQ WN Date/time group is 141600Z. Date stamped 14 Jan 1965. "Confidential."

"A Purple 1 January 14

B Brown 1 January 13

C Airborne132340Z on task 140100Z off task 141315Z Waterborne 141440Z x area searched 120nm either side of line joining Hobsonville and 36 south 167 east, plus 100nm either side of line joining 34 south 166 east 43 south 166 east.

X Unusually large number of high density cloud contacts. Up to 10 at one time were obtained up to a range of 70nm."

Document eleven is a "NZ Armed Forces Combined Message Form. File ref 244/10/1. From RNZAFHQ WN to DEPAIR "Confidential"

"Attention DAFI. HQOPCOM 131415Z refers

Para One. In view ref to radar repsonse in HQOPCOM signal para 5 search of area by maritime aircraft on Jan 14 revealed nothing except an unusually large number of high density cloud radar contacts. Up to 10 at one time were obtained at ranges up to 70NMS.

Para two. D of I RNZAF interviewed Captain Shannon at Wellington evening Jan 14. Shannon enlarged on report but nothing significant added.

Para three. Unless you have further information we propose to let matter drop. Press report has resulted in flood of UFO sightings."

Drafted by Hanson D of I."

Document twelve is a Department of Civil Aviation Area radar log Wellington ACC. 13 June 1965. It contains a table of times and notes as follows:

"2147 Radar echo 155 degM 70NM On heading of 180 deg M est speed 120kts

2152 Seven slow moving echoes bearing 150degM 20-40NM all leaving trails but suspect "Angels."

2158 Heading 150degM turning into 180degM at 40NM

2210 Response sighted at 132degM 50NM heading 135degM

2215 Response sighted at 180degM 55NM heading 180degM est speed 150kts

2220 Nat 371 asked if he could sight echo in his vicinity. No sighting.

2230 Echo speed approximately 100kts on comparison with DC3 speed. Echoes in SE quadrant continued to appear and disappear.

2305 Radar released.

Document thirteen is a memo from Air Traffic Control Centre, Dept Bldg, Stout Street, Wellington 14th January 1965 To Secretary for Civil Aviation Attention DOTS and CATS.

"Unidentified aircraft"

As requested herewith Air Traffic Controllers report detailing the action taken by this unit on the unidentified aircraft seen by Qantas flight Christchurch to Sydney on 13th January 1965."

Signed L Mexted Station ATC Officer.

"Minute to the SATCO Wellington from ACC. Date 14th January 1965.

Unidentified aircraft approaching Wellington.

132040 Radar released to technician.

132105 Air Traffic Control Officer at Auckland Control advised that Qantas outbound from Christchurch to Sydney had sighted seven high flying aircraft inbound Wellington at approximately 45000 ft Position 41south 168east at 2050.

132107 Asked technician to switch radar back to us. Discussed matter with Ohakea Air Traffic Control Officer.

132110 Endeavoured to contact Duty Air Staff Operations Officer.

132115 Wing Commander Tucker advised by phone. At the same time technician warned that a delay of thirty minutes required due defect at Radar head. Wing Commander Tucker required radar be made available regardless of delay, Technician instructed accordingly.

132130 Radar on and available. Radar search commenced. Mr Bowman arrived on duty. Commander Tucker phoned intention of using Air Traffic Control as co-ordination centre. Air Commodore Gill also on his way to Air Traffic Control Centre.

132145 Wing Commander Tucker arrived at the Centre and took control. Auckland Centre asked for more details. Pilot, Captain Shannon reported condensation trails but could add nothing further except ETA and aircraft call sign.

132150 Various radar echoes plotted in South East quadrant-suspected Angel. Liaison maintained throughout with Ohakea S.R.E. and echoes compared when relevant.

132200 Broadcasting news phoned requesting details of seven unidentified aircraft seen approaching Wellington. Air Commodore Gill instructed me to confirm the report but to add that the matter had been investigated and what was in fact seen was a peculiar cloud formation caused by a Jet Stream over the Tasman sea area. Mr Bowman and myself continued radar search throughout the period using long and short ranges and double checking of all echoes. An outbound DC3 bound Christchurch asked to visually check echo in his vicinity. Nothing sighted though, by comparison of blips this apparent angel was moving 100kts. We were plagued with string Angel paints. No aircraft echoes seen.

132305 Air Commodore Gill released radar watch.

Signed P L McDermott Air Traffic Control Officer."


The event:

At 0845 GMT on 13 January 1965, the crew of a Qantas aircraft, flying from Christchurch, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia reported seeing an unusual event in the sky.

The aircraft was at 20,000 feet off the West coast of New Zealand.

The crew reported seeing, in clear sky, at an angular elevation of thirty degrees above the plane, just after local sunset, a single vapour trail to the north west traveling east, which became seven distinct contrails.

The only possible mention of the duration of the event is in document two, where a figure of 10 secs is shown.

The response:

There were two responses from the New Zealand end. Firstly, there was a search by radar for confirmation that " distinct contrails apparently made by large aircraft in loose formation..." were in fact inbound unidentified aircraft. Despite the radar observation at 2152 of "Seven slow moving echoes... (document 12) no confirmation of any unidentified aircraft was made.

Secondly, a maritime aircraft was dispatched to examine the area of ocean off the West coast, mentioned in document one para five, for "eleven ships." No such ships were located.


It would appear to me, that there were no "unidentified seven aircraft" and no "unidentified eleven ships" involved in this event.

What did the Qantas crew observe at 0845Z, 2045hrs local time? There was one vapour trail which broke into seven trails, at an uncertain height above the aircraft. If the 10 seconds mentioned in document two is in fact the duration of the event, then I would suggest it was a meteor breaking up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Note addeed 26 July 2015.

Amateur astronomer Ted Molczan has an interest in visually observed satellite re-entries. I asked him to take a look at this case, and see if it could be explained in terms of a re-entry. Here is his response.

"I found no known re-entries that correlate with the sighting from 41S 167E, on 1965 Jan 13, near 08:45 UTC.

Of the 254 re-entry sightings I have catalogued, nearly 8 percent occurred on a date that differs from the USAF's catalogued date, typically by +/-1 day, rarely more than +/-2 days; therefore, I always check listed re-entries within 2 days of a suspected sighting. In this case, there were four, during Jan 11-14, none of which correlate.

Based on duration and described appearance, the 08:45 UTC sighting may have been of a meteor that broke up. I cannot rule out the possibility that it was the re-entry of an object of which there is no public record.

It was not unusual for the USAF to lose track of objects for long periods, during which they could decay without any record. Eventually, the USAF would estimate the date of decay, which could be far from reality. Those are called administrative decays. There are many in the USAF's catalogue, but experience may be required to recognize them as such.

A couple of recent examples of USAF limitations that could cause re-entries not to be catalogued:

On 2014 Sep 03 UTC, an uncatalogued piece of operational debris of a Russian spy satellite re-entered over the U.S., which was widely seen by the public. The USAF did not acknowledge the decay properly, and mistakenly catalogued the decay of the parent object on that date, despite it having made a controlled landing in Russia ~10 h earlier, on the day before (Sep 02 UTC). This is probably the only reasonably accurate news report on the events:

On 2014 Dec 28 UTC, a Falcon 9 2nd stage, that had been lost by the USAF, decayed over South America, and dropped several pieces of debris on Brazil. The decayed object was identified within hours by a fellow hobbyist, days before the USAF belatedly issued updated orbital elements and acknowledged the decay in its catalogue."

Thanks Ted.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The New Zealand "UFO Investigating Committee"

Dear readers

Today's post is about the former New Zealand Government "Unidentified Flying Object Investigating Committee" a body of which I had no prior knowledge.

One of the recently released NZ Government files is AIR 244/10/1 Volume 1, titled "Reports on UFOs" with a date range of 1959-1982.

Who was on the Committee?

The first document I found which mentioned this Committee was a Minute dated 16 Dec 1969 with a file reference of 66/30/17 DSI. It was from " Squadron Leader A Dyer, IPO(Air) Directorate of Service Intelligence" and addressed to member of the Committee. In part it read "...On 10 April 1968 a meeting of representatives from interested agencies ...was held to discuss the action to be taken on receipt of UFO sighting reports..." and called for a further meeting to be arranged.

The other Committee members listed were:

Dr E I Robertson, DSIR
Mr W J H Fisher, Carter Observatory
Squadron Leader A N Nilestone, D.DATC Ops
Dr D E Thompson, NZ Meteorology Service
Squadron Leader Irvine, D Ops

The Committee meets:

The next Minute of interest was one dated 20 June 1972 to which was attached a record of the Committee meeting of 29 January 1970. The attendee list is of interest, please note the Directorate of Service Intelligence was present. Members were:

Wing Commander R R Black, Directorate of Service Intelligence
Dr E I Robertson, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Dr D C Thompson, NZ Meteorology Service
Mr W J H Fisher, Carter Observatory
Sqd Leader A N Nilestone, D.DATC OPs, Ministry of Transport
Flt Lt C Mitchell, Directorate of Operations, RNZAF HQ
Flt Lt C Cole, RNZAF Public Relations Officer
Sqd Leader A Dyer, Directorate of Service Intelligence, Ministry of Defence.

The subject of discussions was the "...action to be taken upon receipt of U.F.O. sighting reports..."

Intelligence involvement:

A Ministry of Defence Minute dated 20 June 1972 with a reference 66/20/1 DSI states:

"The fact that an intelligence agency is involved would, to my mind, give the subject of UFOs and aura which it does not deserve. DSI became involved in UFOs as a result of integration. Originally the subject was handled by DAI (on the security side) on behalf of the Air Staff...I believe we have little interest in the subject...I understand that the Air Staff already keep their own files on the subject...If necessary S10 JIB could become a member of the Committee in order that the intelligence community could maintain a watching brief..."

A memo dated 27 June 1972 Reference 66/20/1 DSI from Lt Col DSI to ACDS(Pol) read in part:

"Our involvement is by inheritance from the Directorate of Air Intelligence who presumably were given it primarily as a security chore in the days when the Air Department controlled Civil Aviation...and went onto say "Any intelligence interest in UFOs is of a scientific and technical rather than a service nature...the committee is not an active one. It last met in January 1970..."

Department of Defence washes its hands:

In a Secretary of Defence, Memo dated 8 August 1972 Reference 66/20/1 which went to the DSIR, Transport, Carter Observatory cc to the Commissioner of Police, there is:

"For a number of years the Ministry of defence has been associated with this Committee in a leading role...the overall subject does appear to be primarily a matter of scientific interest rather than Defence..." The DOD sought to pass the UFO subject on to the DSIR or the Department of Transport. The memo closed with "In any reconstituted body which examines sighting reports of UFOs Defence representation would be restricted to Mr G M Seere, the Scientific Intelligence Officer at the Joint Intelligence Bureau."


Finally, in 1976 on file AIR 244/10/1 in a Memo dated 4 Nov 1976 attempts were made to finalise the matter.

The Secretary of Defence, reference Def 66/20/1 DDI, wrote: "I agree there seems no need to have a committee to investigate reported sightings of UFOs...As we have no interest other than to ensure that a reported sighting is checked as far as practicable by Air Traffic Control to eliminate the possibility of an unknown intruder, and in view of the lack of interest by other Government agencies, our further action will be limited to station log entries of the report."

So, it seems the New Zealand UFO Investigating Committee" met its end.


As you know, I maintain a keen interest in intelligence agencies and UFOs. It was therefore, of particular interest to read this portion of this file and see that at the bottom of those interested in NZ UFOs was the NZ Department of Defence's own intelligence staff. As you can see from the notes above, they were not interested in the scientific side of the UFO phenomenon, just the defence implications, and in 1972 were trying to move away from their involvement to place the subject with either the DSIR or the Dept of Transport. However, despite all that they said they wanted to have the Scientific Intelligence Officer, of the Department of Defence Joint Intelligence Bureau maintain a "watching brief."

If you have read any of the material located by the Disclosure Australia Project (see ) you will find that the Australian Department of Defence JIB, in 1972, was also looking to devolve its UFO responsibilities. Given this timing, same year, it would seem that the DOD Intelligence agencies in Australia and New Zealand were talking to each other about the subject of UFOs.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More New Zealand UFO files

Dear Readers

For our first post-Xmas day, the weather in Adelaide is a pleasant 22 degrees celsius, after a 32 degree Xmas day. Today, is a rest day, after the merriment of yesterday's Xmas lunch with family.

Today's post sees me taking another look at the New Zealand Government's UFO files release. Rather, I am taking a look at what is not yet available. For you see, there are other NZ Government UFO files which are not part of the batch released by the NZ Defence Force (NZDF).

I decided to check the files which are listed on the Archives New Zealand website
at click here against the list of files released by the NZDF. There are five files listed in the Archives which were not released by the NZDF as they are not NZDF files.

The other NZ UFO files:

1. Miscellaneous Files - UFO [Unidentified Flying Objects] Affair (1978 Kaikoura incident)- The Truth is Out There.
Agency: CAHG Accession CH135 Box 36/1 1979-1979.
This file is open to the public.

2. Political Affairs - Outer Space - Unidentified Flying Objects [UFOs]
Reference: ABHS 6958 W5579/227 1972-1982.
Details on accessing this file cannot be found.

3. Public Weather Service - Flying Saucers and Unidentified Flying Objects [UFOs]
Agency: BAIB Series 4052 Box 376 Record no 2/13 1956-1988.
This file is open to the public.

4. Support Services - Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) - General
Agency: AAAJ Series 965 Accession W 3239 Box 180 Record no 37/21/1 Pt 1 1972-1972.
Access to this file is restricted by the agency, which is the Commissioner of Police.

5. Support Services - Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)- General
Agency: AAAJ Series 965 Accession W4443 Box 103 Record no 37/21/1 Pt 1 1972-1972.
Access to this file is restricted by the agency, which is the Commissioner of Police.


Re items 4 &5. These files probably relate to the 1972 Ashbourne, NZ, space debris event, mentioned in NZDF file AIR 244/10/1 Volume 1.

I found a reference to this event in Kevin D Randle's latest book "When UFOs fall From the Sky." 2010. New Page Books. Franklin Lakes, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-100-8. Pages 256-257.

"April 7, 1972
New Zealand

The Space Defense Centre reported that they had witnessed two objects "de-orbit" and that the objects fell to the ground in New Zealand. At least one of the objects was recovered and turned over to the police department in Christ Church New Zealand. Captain D W Boucher from the US tracking station at Mt John, South Canterbury said that he thought it was part of a pressure tank.

The ball was 48 inches in circumference and had a blue-green sheen to it. It left a 6-inch indentation in the ground where it hit. Two other balls were also discovered. ll were made of titanium, which caused a New Zealand UFO expert, Captain Bruce Cathie to suggest it wasn't part of a prank. Titanium was too difficult for someone to use it as part of a joke. He had no real answer for what the balls were.

Officials in the Soviet legature in Wellington denied that the objects belonged to them,.

The most likely answer is that the objects were some type of terrestrially manufactured objects used in space flights."

I wonder if anyone in New Zealand has copies of any of these other NZ Government UFO files, they can share with us?

Friday, December 24, 2010

First quick look at New Zealand Government UFO files

Dear readers

I have just spent some time taking my first quick look at the New Zealand Defence Forces newly released UFO files. They are to be found at

They are split up into nine "books." Here are my notes from my quick review:

Book 1
File number: 1630/2 Volume 2
Time span: 1990-2009
Title: Reports on UFOs and Ethnology
Contains: Various pieces of correspondence from members of the public. Various UFO reports, mainly lights in the sky. Request from Dennis Grant of ACT, Australia for access to UFO files-denied.

Book 2
File number: 1630/2 Part 1
Title: Reports on UFOs and Ethnology
Contains: Correspondence from members of the public. Request from Timothy Good in the UK for information from files. Defence report on 1978 Kaikoura sightings.

Book 3
File number: Air 39/3/3 Volume 4
Title: Reports on UFOs
Timespan: 1981-1984
Contains: Request for information from Mr Harold J Knapman, MUFON, Christchurch re 1954 movie films and Mrs Moreland's 1959 encounter- three requests denied. Document dated 5 April 1984lists a number of cases 1979-1982 reported to Air Staff. Various reports from the public.

Book 4
File number: Air 39/3/3 Volume 3
Title: Reports on UFOs
Contains: Various reports of UFOs from members of the public. Query on Kaikoura events. Radar observation of 9 April 1979 by an aircraft of No 5 Squadron. "I believe this contact to have been a cloud contact..." Interesting internal documents on the Kaikoura investigation.

Book 5
File number: Air 39/3/3A Volume 1 Parts 1 &2
Title: Reports on UFOs and Ethnology
Time frame: 1979-1984
Contains: "Exclusively devoted to correspondence from/to a Christchurch based person on UFOs and Ethnology."

Book 6
File number: Air 1080/6/897 Volume 1
Title" Investigation of Unidentified & radar sightings East Coast South Island-December 1978."
Time frame: 1978-1981
Contains: Interviews with people involved in the 1978 Kaikoura sightings conducted by the RNZAF preparatory to the preparation of a final report into these sightings, File also contains technical reports from DSIR and other scientific experts and an independent report of the Kaikorua sightings by the NZ UFO Studies Centre.

Comment: This is worthy of a detailed review.

Book 7
File number: Air 244/10/1 Volume 1
Title: Reports on UFOs
Time frame: 1959-1982
Contains: Reports, interviews and requests for UFO information from media on Moreland sighting. RAAF report on Kaikoura. Interdepartmental correspondence on the future of the Government UFO Investigating Committee. Report on the 1972 Ashburton space debris event. Various information requests.

1. The Government UFO Investigating Committee papers will bear a detailed look.
2. The NZ Secretary of Defence states: "All I will say is that empiric evidence shows conclusively that there are no defence factors involved with UFO sightings." Memo 5 October 1976.

Book 8
File number: Air 39/3/3 Volume 2 Parts 1 & 2
Title: Reports on UFOs
Time frame: 1956-1979
Contains: Reports on UFOs from the public. RZAF investigation into Kaikoura. Summary of UAS from Australian Department of Defence. Correspondence from public.

Book 9:
File number: Air 39/3/3 Volume 1 Parts 1&2
Title: Flying saucers
Time frame: 1952-1955
Contains: Reports form public. Newspaper clippings. 75 questions and answers asked of George Adamsksi by "Adamski Flying Saucer Group of Timaru.

Overall comments:

As with the Australian Government UFO files, the New Zealand Defence Force files are a mix of:
1. Low significance UFO reports, specifically "lights in the sky" which may well have mundane explanations e.g. the planet Venus.
2. Correspondence from members of the public expressing views on the UFO phenomenon.
3. Frequent enquiries from UFO researchers from all over the world for details of the files.

However, what is different from the Australian experience is the detailed examination of the 1978 East coast of the South Island sightings which have become known as the "Kaikoura" events. The papers on these files will need careful examination. The papers concerning the Government's UFO Investigating Committee" will also be worth a detailed study to see who was on it and what it did.

Take some time and have a look for yourselves.

Digitised version of NZ Government UFO files

Dear readers

I have just located a digitised version of the files released by the New Zealand Government, click here.

Happy reading.

Argentina Air Force to study UFOs

Dear readers

It is obviously a day for Government action on UFOs! (See last post.)

Alfred Lambremont Webre, a noted Exopolitics figure, just announced on his Seattle Exopolitics Examiner blog that the Argentinian Air Force is forming a committee to study UFOs.

The following is an extract from the blog:

"The Air Force of Argentina on Dec. 23, 2010 formally announced the formation of a committee to study the UFO phenomenon.

The Argentinean Air Force’s action to form a UFO investigation unit was confirmed by Sylvia Perez Simondini of the CEFORA (Argentinean Republic Committee for UFO Phenomena Studies), "an organization formed by various UFOlogy groups in Argentina. The main purpose is the declassification of all related UFO phenomena in Argentina. It was formed by serious Argentinean UFOlogists in Victoria, Entre Rios during a conference.”"

For full details click here.

Release of New Zealand UFO files

Dear readers

A little Christmas present has come our way!

The New Zealand Defence Force has released its UFO files. I went to the website of Archives New Zealand to see if they had the files, but no!

Click here to find out how to access them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Meteorite lightning"

"Meteorite lightning" was the headline for the 4 December 2010 issue of "New Scientist" magazine, when it ran an item on the 16 May 2006 green fireball over Queensland, Australia.

"Space debris falling into the atmosphere may cause mysterious ball lightning.

Thousands of people have seen floating orbs of light, sometimes during thunderstorms, but their origin has never been established.

The weather was clear when Don Vernon, a farmer in Queensland, Australia, spotted two green balls descending from the sky on 16 May 2006. Oddly, the second rolled down a hill, bounced and then vanished.

Stephen Hughes, an astrophysicist at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, says the first was probably a bright meteor caused by debris from comet 73P, which came closer to Earth at that time than any other comer in 20 years. The second, he says, was ball lightning triggered by the meteor.

The cometary debris ionised the atmospheric gas as it passed through, boosting the current that normally flows between the ionosphere, an electrically charged region in the upper atmosphere, and the ground. Hughes believes when the "supercharged" conduit hit the soil, it formed a plasma ball, he argues. (Proceedings of the Royal Society A, DOI 10.10.98/rspa.2010.0409.)
Impacting space junk might also produce the effect, he says.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New book alert - Kasten

Dear readers

It's my day off, so I am browsing the net at my local library.

Just came across another new book. "The Secret History of the Extraterrestrials" by Len Kasten. Published by Bear & Company-Inner Traditions. Rochester, VT in the USA.

If you are into the German time machine, Nikola Tesla; the Serpo saga; Iraq's stargate, and other similar things then this one is for you.

For more information click here.

New book alert - Dolan

Dear readers

A beautiful cool summer's day today, which started off with a light shower of rain, and a top of 21 degrees celsius expected.

Another new book for your Xmas wish list. This one is by Richard M Dolan and Bryce Zabel. The title is "A.D. After Disclosure: The People's Guide to Life After Contact. Keyhole Publishing. 2010.

With a premise "What happens when the powers-that-be publicly admit that fact? How will the truth change our society and your life?"

Click here for more details.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Grace Hopper

Dear readers

In a series of previous posts, my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, shared some of his own thoughts from 40 years of UFO research, as to how best to maintain an active interest in UFO research. After reading a recent book from my bedside pile, I'd like to offer some suggestions myself.

Grace Hopper:

The book is titled "Grace Hopper and the invention of the information age" by Kurt W Beyer. Published by The MIT Press, Cambridge. 2009. ISBN 978-0-262-0130-9.

Who was Grace Hopper? Grace Murray Hopper played a pivotal role in creating the foundation for the computer industry. She is said to be "The Grandmother of COBOL" and was a mathematician par excellence. She joined the US Navy and rose to the rank of Admiral. Her contributions to the early information age are numerous.

Pointers from Hopper:

1. Empower youth:

"Hopper had the habit of assigning the most difficult technical problems to the youngest and least experienced members of a team." (p314.)

Why did she do this? She found it worked! " Hopper glibbly explained, young people did not know that they were expected to fail." (p315.) Beyond that she reasoned that senior people's "Education, traditions and community culture create a stable mental framework that helps to explain reality yet also hinders one's ability to see alternative approaches..." (p315.)


I appreciate people who will involve younger people in attempting to solve problems. In addition, how many senior UFOlogists do you know who are locked into a single chain of recurring thoughts on the UFO phenomenon?

2. Learn from the margins:

"Since youth is fleeting, Hopper discovered that one could maintain a 'youthful' creative outlook by constantly broadening one's own knowledge base." She read up "..on subjects as diverse as astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, zoology, economics, philosophy and the history of scientific thought." (p315.)


Besides reading on UFOs and my own professional areas, I also digest science magazines coming the whole spectrum of scientific topics. I find this often leads me to insights into some aspects of the UFO subject.

3. Proactive invention: inventor as salesman:

Hopper played two roles "...during the development of what she referred to as automatic programming." (p318.) She invented something and then marketed it.


I recall reading somewhere that the inventor, Nicola Tesla was a genius at inventing something but very bad at marketing his inventions. When I come up with what I think is an original thought about some aspect of the UFO phenomenon I blog, so I guess this is my marketing.

Have readers any ideas of their own to share?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More on green fireballs

Hi all


In a recent post I mentioned the just published research work of Stephen Hughes, of the Department of Physics, Queensland University of Technology. He published a paper titled "Green fireballs and ball lightning" which received a large volume of media interest. I have now had a chance to read the entire paper.


The paper reviews numerous reports of three green fireballs seen over Queensland on 16 May 2006. It provides data on one luminous green ball seen near ground level, and presents an hypothesis that the passage of one fireball provided energy which created the ground level event.


In this post I wish to focus on the luminous green ball observation, rather than the fireball. This is because Hughes writes (page 20) "If confirmed, this hypothesis may be able to explain previously unexplainable UFO sightings and the so-called foo fighters and other aerial phenomenon."

The ground level ball:

Don Vernon, a farmer from Greenmount, 28km south of Toowoomba, Queensland reported the observation "...just after he saw the fireball passing over the Great Divide." (p10.)

After the fireball went out of sight, "...a green ball, about 30cm in diameter was seen rolling down the slope of the range about 1km from the witness...the ball was a soft phosphorescent green...and faintly illuminated the ground out to a few metres...the green ball took between 2 and 3 minutes to roll down the hill...The ball was seen to stop and restart on its journey down the hill and was seen to bounce over a rock..."

The connection:

Hughes writes (p 13.) "The above account is strong evidence for a connection between a meteor and a luminous green ball rolling down a hillside. It is difficult to imagine any other explanation for the luminous ball if it was not connected to the meteor sighting."

"One possibility is that the green ball was some kind of ball lighting." (p13.)

"Could the witness have seen some kind of ball lightning (or some other electrical phenomenon akin to ball lighting) concurrently with the fall of the meteor?" (p14.)

Hughes discusses the possibilities, preferring to argue that "The observations described above are circumstantial evidence that there was some connection between the aerial fireball and ball lightning phenomenon of some kind on the ground." (p15.)


"The hypothesis presented in this paper is that the passage of the fireball over Greenmount momentarily reduced the resistance between the ionosphere and ground increasing the flow of current providing energy for the observed ball lightning phenomenon." (p15.)

"It is possible that in the case of the Queensland fireball, some of the plasma surrounding the green fireball broke away from the main object and descended to the Great Divide, possibly following an ionization trail produced by one of the fragments seen to break off the main object. The fact that the ball rolling down the hill was the same colour as the fireball would seem to be evidence in favour of this scenario." (pp15-16.)


"There are five possible mechanisms that could have reduced atmospheric resistance (i) thermal ionization; (ii) chemical reaction; (iii) corona discharge; (iv) trail of neutral conducting atoms, e.g. carbon or metal, and (v) fracture charging and tribocharging. It is possible that all five mechanisms could have been involved, with different mechanisms dominant at different altitudes. " (p16.)


"Momentary electrical connections between the ionosphere and ground created by the passage of a meteor are probably very rare and fleeting. However, the observations described in this paper do provide circumstantial evidence for this and five possible mechanisms are suggested. All five mechanisms probably have to be involved at different points for a conductive path to be maintained even for a few seconds or minutes." (p19.)

My comments:

The ground level, luminous ball observation is certainly anomalous. One point I'd like to make is that at 1km distance (presumably the known distance to the hill the ball moved down) I don't think that it would be possible to accurately estimate the diameter of the ball as 30cm. It is not described as a point source, so apparently had an angular size. However, the paper makes no mention of the witness' estimate of an angular size.

Another question is "how did the witness know the ball was 'rolling' down the slope? " Did they see markings on the ball which allowed them to see it was actually rotating? I think the more appropriate description would be that the ball "descended" the slope.

Despite these two points, the timing of the passage of the fireball and the ball seems to point to a connection.


As to the suggestion that some UFO sightings might be explained by the hypothesis described; I note that even the author himself points out the ionosphere/ground connections "...are probably very rare..." This rarity, and the necessity that "All five mechanisms probably have to be involved at different points..." seems to me, an unlikely explanation for even a small percentage of reported UFOs.

It would be prudent though, to conduct a review of any UFO reports which have in the past occurred close the passage of a fireball. The aim would be to see if one could find any more ground level green ball observations.

From my own memory, and I have collected multiple observations each, from at least three major fireball events, in my own state of South Australia, I don't recall any such green ball sightings.

What do readers think of this?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

UFO conference in Darwin 2011

Hi readers

There is to be a second Australian UFO conference in 2011, This one will be held in Darwin, and is being organised by Darwin UFO researcher, Alan Ferguson.

For details click here.

The new "UFO Matrix" magazine

Dear readers

Adelaide's unusual rainy summer and below average summer temperatures continues into the sixth day. Barely 20 degrees Celsius was our maximum yesterday, so I went for a trip into the City. Border's bookshop in Rundle Mall was my target.

I was delighted to find Volume 1 Issue 2 of the new United Kingdom magazine "UFO Matrix" (click here.) I was even more delighted to note that the magazine's Australian contributors are Lee Paqui and Sheryl Gottschall of UFO Research Queensland.

Their Australian contribution this issue, is a piece on UFO Research Queensland itself as an organisation. The piece starts off telling us that UFORQ "...has recorded over 5000 reports since it was first established in 1956."

Illustrating the quality of Australian reports, are brief details of the world known 1966 Tully, Queensland, "saucer nest" case (click here) and the 1959 Boianai Mission CE3 event (click here.)

A number of other Queensland events are described, including close encounters near Brisbane and Rockhampton, of which I had not previously heard.

Besides the Australian piece, the issue contains pieces by Nigel Watson on abductions; Albert S Rosales on types of beings encountered in the UFO field; Yvonne Smith's personal journey; more from the "Alien Autopsy casebook" and much more.

The Australian price is $11.95 for a 100 page quality issue, packed with some old but much new material. In my opinion,this mag provides you with a much better coverage of world news and world class researchers than does our local "UFOlogist" (click here) so I will be spending my spare dollars on this rather than the "UFOlogist" in future.

Highly recommended reading.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

1964 Woomera UFO movie solved - cold case

This post explores the 5 June 1964 British Pathe Film of a UFO taken at Woomera, South Australia. This case has often been regarded as a classic and is said to have been linked to the famous English, Solway "spaceman" photograph taken on 23 May 1964. It is now solved.


Over the years I have compiled a number of specialised Australian case catalogues of UFO reports. One of these is a "Catalogue of Australian Photographic UFO reports."

I stopped compiling this particular catalogue in 2005, when digital photography, and sophisticated software packages made it very easy to produce hoax images. In addition, with the number of digital images being produced and available on the net, I just couldn't keep up with all the claimed images, even just for Australia.

One of the cases which is in the catalogue, has the following entry:

"5 June 1964 Woomera, South Australia
This photograph was taken at the launching of a Blue Streak rocket, and shows an oval blob of light near the rocket. A black and white print in the FSR source was apparently from a colour movie."

The primary source was the English Flying Saucer Review Sep/Oct 1964 page 4, which carried one black and white photograph.

By 2003, when the Disclosure Australia Project commenced, I hadn't come across any further information.

Disclosure Australia Project:

The Disclosure Australia Project took a five year time frame to locate and document the Australian Government's UFO file holdings (see

One set of possibly relevant files on which detail about the 5 June 1964 sighting may have been found, was file series 580/1/1. This was the RAAF's master set of UFO reports. Part four of this series covered the time frame January 1963 to 4 December 1965. An examination of this file revealed that there were no recorded UFO reports for the entire month of June 1964.

Over the years the Project uncovered about 150 UFO files related to UFO research, and examined the majority of these.

One discovered file was D174/SA5281 held by the Federal Government's Department of Supply. This Department was responsible for the operation of the Joint United-Kingdom -Australia Weapons Research Project which operated the Woomera rocket range. As the 5 June 1964 photo/movie involved the launch of a Blue Streak rocker from Woomera, this was a promising lead. However, file D174/SA5281 turned out only to cover the period 1952-1955.

A search was therefore conducted for other Department of Supply files, or other files related to Woomera. A second file was located, with the date range being 1952-1968, therefore covering the year 1964. It was hoped that this file, D250/56/483 might assist. It was titled "Reports on unidentified aircraft, strange occurrences etc" and was held by the Weapons Research area of the Department of Supply. Unfortunately, despite and extensive examination there was nothing on this file relating to the 5 June 1961 photo/movie.

We came across no other files which covered Woomera in 1964. However, we did locate, on the National Archives of Australia's website, a reference to a series D897, Unknown objects - DSTO WRE (A-K 1948-1957) - Australian Archives. The series notes stated that the "Series contains approximately 4800 colour and black and white slides. Controlling records for this series (D896) indicates there are some 6200 slides registered between 1947 and 1961. The whereabouts of the missing 1400 slides is not known...These are slides of Skylark launches, Jindivik trials, Blue Streak movements and some unidentified objects..." This then was another promising lead.

The Project located a register for these slides in the Adelaide office of the National Archives of Australia. Archives staff produced two bound volumes which contained dates, reference numbers and details of the photographs. A close examination of these details of hundreds of pictures, revealed none of a Blue Streak launch for 5 June 1964. However, later, Disclosure Australia Project staffer Dominic McNamara located a still photograph at the Adelaide office which paralleled the one from the FSR. (Source: Telephone conversation between Dom and Keith, 10 December 2010.)

This then, was the sum total of Disclosure Australia staff knowledge which could be added to the available information. If a sighting report of the 5 June 1964 UFO had been made, we could find no record of it.

The Solway Firth photograph:

The 5 June 1964 Woomera photo/movie has been related by some researchers to the famous 23 May 1964 English Solway Firth photograph. What was the connection?

Jim Templeton took three pictures of his daughter. The middle picture showed what looked like a "spaceman" behind his daughter's head.

"A Blue Streak launch at the Woomera test range, using Cumbrian-built weaponry, had been aborted because of two large men seen on the firing range. Technicians at the time did not know about Templeton's sighting until it appeared on the front page of an Australian newspaper,and they said that the figure in Cumbria looked the same as the ones they had seen on the monitor at Woomera. Templeton told the BBC that technicians considered the two figures to be 'exactly the same type of man: same dress,same figure, same size as in the original photograph.'" (Source: )

So, the connection is said to be, on an unknown date, people at Woomera involved in a Blue Streak rocket launch saw two figures the same as the figure in the 23 May 1964 Solway photograph. Do we have a date for the Blue Streak launch?

"Not long afterwards the editor of the Cumberland News newspaper contacted Jim and asked if he could borrow the negative to send a copy out to Australia. Apparently the photograph had appeared in the press there and staff working at the Woomera test range area in Southern Australia had seen it. Jim was told that the day after he took his photograph,a Blue Streak space rocket was due to be launched from Woomera in Australia..." (Source: )

So, the date of the aborted Blue Streak launch, according to this source was 24 May 1964, and not 5 June 1964.

Some background:

ELDO - the European Launcher Development Organisation - was established to develop a satellite launcher for Europe. Tests were based in Woomera.The cancelled British "Blue Streak" ICBM became the first stage of the launcher. The second stage was built by the french and the third stage by Germany.The first launch was on 5 June 1964, and involved the first stage only.
This is the date of the UFO photo/movie. (Source: )

A link?

Thus, there would appear to be no links between the 23 May 1964 Solway photograph and the 5 June 1964 UFO photo/movie. The 5 June 1964 photo/movie stands alone.

1996 and 2010

I was unaware that English ufologist Jenny Randles in a 1996 TV documentary "Tales of the paranormal" reported on the 5 June 1964 footage, but found the relevant film canister missing from the British National Archives. An English MP, John Fraser, saw the documentary and launched an inquiry into the incident and the missing footage.

In 2010, David Clarke, senior lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, examined newly released files from the British Minstry of Defence, and found material related to the 5 June 1964 photo/movie. "When they actually looked at the papers back in 1964, British Pathe Film, who were actually there at the rocket launch and made the film, they wrote into the MOD and said, 'yeh there was soemthing on the film but it's quite clear to us looking at it that it's an internal camera fault, like a reflection in the lens.' The missing canister of filmed 'evidence' had been stored at the Imperial War Museum instead of the National Archived." (Source: )

Film found on the net!

That seemed to be the end of the story, but as I prepared this post,on a whim, I searched the net using the terms "british pathe blue streak 1964." This took me to the website of British Pathe Film and the very movie which is the subject of the post -the 5 June 1964 UFO movie!

The video clip on the site is titled "Woomera, Blue Streak - Two, One, Zero" and is listed as from canister 64/48. The issue date was 11 June 1964, and since the only Blue Streak launch had taken place on 5 June 1964 it must be the movie of the UFO.

Indeed, as I ran the video,( source: it clearly was. There, on the left hand side of the rocket is a classic internal lens reflection.

Case solved.


Sometimes, it takes an aweful long time to get to the actual facts behind a UFO story. In this instance, the fact that the film canister in question was missing in 1996 added an air of mystery. However, research has now lead to a copy of the original film, and the UFO in question is clearly a classic internal lens flare, and the case can therefore be removed from the "UFO" category.

P.S. For far more interesting UFO cases from Woomera, do take a look at the Disclosure Australia website at Check out the Newsletters and the two part final report.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold case investigation - ball lightning? - South Australia

Following on from an earlier post about green fireballs and ball lightning, I decided to take a look at my listing of South Australian UFO reports to see if there were any that could be connected to ball lightning.

I found the following:

1. 1994 Tailem Bend
A loud whistling noise was heard, and 3-4 seconds later an "electric blue" object passed overhead. Later, a tree on the property was found to have exploded. The event occurred during an electrical storm. Possible ball lightning. (UFORSA94002.)

2. 13 October 1996 Hawthorndene, Adelaide
At 2145hrs local time a loud rumbling noise like thunder was heard. A witness went to her backyard to take a look and saw a glittering or glowing, green light, some 50 metres away and only 10 metres off the ground. The light was initially stationary, and seemed some 30-45cms in diameter. She watched it for a very short time and then called for her brother to come take a look. However, by the time he arrived the light had departed. Total duration 5-6 seconds. (UFORSA.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wikileaks and UFOs?

Hi readers

From previous posts you will know of my interest in the work of intelligence agencies and their relationship with the UFO subject.

It was therefore interesting to read a quoted comment from Julian Assange of Wikileaks:

" is worth noting that in yet to be published parts of the cablegate archives there are indeed references to UFOs."

The full story is at:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Extrasolar planets

Hi readers

It has been a few hot days here in Adelaide, so time to read science magazines in my local library in the air-conditioning.

In the 27 November 2010 Volume 208 Number 2788 issue of the "New Scientist" I came across:

"Alien worlds"

The number of planets discovered outside our solar system has passed the 500 mark according to the Interactive Extrasolar Planets catalogue (see

The latest discovery, the fourth giant planet found orbiting the star HR8799 is puzzling astrophysicists as current models can't explain how all four formed."

New Zealand Government UFO files


Has the New Zealand Government released its UFO files?

At the beginning of 2010, it was announced that the New Zealand Government was "to release" its UFO files. This news received widespread publicity, on radio, television, in newspapers, and electronically via the Internet.

The other day, as it was almost 10 months since the announcement, I wondered if I had missed the release of this material?

The New Zealand UFO group, UFOCUS NZ was behind the efforts to get the New Zealand Defence Force to release its UFO files, so I checked with them by email.

Suzanne Hansen, of UFOCUS NZ, responded to my query. The answer was no, the files had not yet been released, and the release when it happens, would be through Archives New Zealand.

To keep an eye out for the release of the files yourself, you might wish to periodically visit Archives New Zealand's website at and search using the abbreviation "UFO." There are currently 13 files listed under UFO.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Near-death experiences and abductions


For readers who also follow research into near-death experiences, my latest post on may be of interest.

Cold case investigation - green balls of fire

At about 1820hrs local time on the 16 May 2006, a large number of people scattered over Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern New South Wales reported strange lights in the sky.


The website of UFO Research Queensland at recorded the following four sightings:

1. Hervey Bay. "I have just sighted something most unusual. Ten minutes ago at about 6.20pm my mum and I looked up from our verandah and saw a bright light looking like a shooting star, but it was low to the ground and appeared to be breaking up. It lit up the verandah, was bright blue/green and moved east to west, towards Torbanlea. We didn't hear any noise."

2. Marburg. "Sighted a blue/green glow behind clouds in the northern sky above Marburg, Queensland. It looked like lightning glowing, but blue-green in colour. Then a fireball I presume sped/fired through in front of the clouds leaving a sparkling trail as it headed towards the hills behind our hilltop house. I was driving up the hill in a northerly direction. The fireball went in a north-west direction towards the ground. I was amazed at the brightness and colour."

3. Sunshine Coast. "Moving very fast about the size of a helicopter, moving east to west and blue/orange/yellow. I was heading north on the Bruce Highway, in approximately the Beerwah, Landsborough Glass House Mountains area. Unbelievable."

4. South-east Queensland. "On Tuesday 16 May 2006 at about 6.30pm our telephone contact number was locked up for about 40 minutes by people reporting a large, bright green object moving east to west at about 6.20pm. We also received reports via the Internet and a from a member residing in northern New South Wales.

"The sightings were made by people located on a north-south line spanning from about Ballina to Hervey Bay, a distance of about 375 kilometres, and a line west from Brisbane to about Gatton, about 100km. The witnesses were looking to the north or the south (Hervey bay) at an object moving east to west, so it must have been at an altitude of the order of 50km. The duration of the sightings was up to 5 seconds, and sparks came off the object and tended to be left behind. These details are consistent with a piece of space junk or a meteorite burning up in our atmosphere."

The website of the Australian UFO Research Network at http://www.auforn carried the following additional report.

5. Strathpine, Brisbane, Queensland. " They were travelling north when they saw a very bright light, travel east to west. It was about 60 degrees from the horizon and it travelled very quickly, and was "very horizontal," It almost looked like fireworks being shot directly horizontally, but it didn't explode. It just disappeared."

A check of the Victorian UFO Research Society's website and that of UFO Research NSW failed to locate any additional reports, which assists locate the geographic area of witnesses.

Stephen Hughes:

Stephen Hughes of the Queensland University of Technology has just published a scientific paper about this event, titled "Green fireballs and ball lightning" in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. I located the paper's abstract at the society's website at


"This paper presents evidence of an apparent connection between ball lightning and a green fireball. On the evening of 16 May 2010 at least three fireballs were seen by many people in the skies of Queensland, Australia.

"One of the fireballs was seen passing over the Great Divide about 120km west of Brisbane, and soon after, a luminous green ball about 30cm in diameter was seen rolling down the slope of the Great Divide.

"A detailed description was given by a witness indicates that the phenomenon was probably a highly luminous form of ball lightning.

"A hypothesis presented in the paper is that the passage of the Queensland fireball created an electrically conductive path between the ionosphere and ground, providing energy for the ball lightning phenomenon.

"A strong similarity is noted between the Queensland fireball and the Pasmonte fireball seen in New Mexico in 1933. Both meteors exhibited a twist in the tail that could be explained by hydrodynamic forces. The possibility that multiple sightings of fireballs across southeast Queensland were produced owing to fragments from comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann is discussed."

My comments:

Firstly, for more information on the Pasmonte fireball click

Secondly, all in all, a fascinating piece of research by Stephen Hughes. I am now looking to read a copy of the full paper.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

As real as real

Good morning from Adelaide, South Australia

This post picks up one of the points my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, made in a previous post (click here to read it.)

One of the objections which some UFO researchers make about the abduction accounts of UFO experiencers, is that the experiencer describes the reality level of the abduction as "as real as real." By this they mean that their recollections of the experience did not have, say the quality of an ordinary dream, and was equal to that of any waking experience they would have.

Experiencers and some UFO researchers state that only waking reality could explain the quality of the abduction. That dreams and hallucinatory experiences do not have this level of reality to them. However, I beg to differ.

As real as real

People do report dreams which are "as real as real." I myself, have had dreams that were continuous scenes, where all my senses were active and giving me feedback, i.e. touch, smell, sight, taste and hearing. It was real to me at the time. There was no doubt about it, until I woke up and in retrospect knew that it had been a dream. However, that recognition that it was a dream in no way diminished my conviction that it had been real at the time.

Hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery can also have this reality level on occasions. I recall reading a piece by my co-blogger Keith Basterfield, in which he described his own encounter with sleep paralysis. He awoke paralysed, in bed, with a sense that there was something "evil" behind him. He describes this experience as "totally real." So much so, that after the paralysis had gone, he had to get out of bed and search the room for the "presence" which had been there. There was no one, or no thing, physically present in the room.

I have been reading a book published in 1984 titled "Visions * Apparitions * Alien visitors" by Hilary Evans. Published by Book Club. London (I couldn't see an ISBN number in my copy.)

The book is a comparative study of "entities" described not only in UFO cases, but in hypnagogic imagery; hallucinatory states; hauntings, and in folklore. It is a very fascinating read, but the one chapter which stands out is titled "Hallucination Under Control." This clearly demonstrates that for some people, hallucinations can be "as real as real."

The story of Ruth

Ruth was a 25 year old, marries woman, who visited psychiatrist Morton Schatzman (click here for more) "... for help with personality problems, which were accompanied by...recurrent sightings of apparitions of her father..." (Evans p189.)

What was unusual about these particular hallucinatory apparitions was that:

* The hallucinated father perfectly resembled the actual still living parent (who was in the USA at the time)
* The apparition fitted the environment. It sat in a chair if there was one present. It moved around real objects in a room. It left the room by opening and closing a door.
* The apparition conducted coherent (to Ruth) conversations with Ruth
* Under the guidance of Schatzman, Ruth learnt to control the apparition. However, and this is a very important point, although she was creating the hallucination, it behaved autonomously, i.e. beyond her conscious control.

An aside

I recall reading that the writer Enid Blyton wrote some of her stories simply by watching her book's characters autonomously playing out scenes in front of her eyes. (Click here for more on this.)

Back to Ruth

Shatzman conducted scientific tests which demonstrated brain wave changes when Ruth said that the apparition was present, which seemed to correlate yo what would happen if a real person was present.

All in all, this comes as close as possible to being able to demonstrate that Ruth's mind was generating an hallucinatory apparition, and was fooled into thinking that her father was actually present (even though at the time he was physically in the USA when Ruth was in London.

So, yes, it does indeed seem that you can get "real as real" hallucinatory entities. By logical extension, it would seem possible to perceive a "real as real" alien entity in your bedroom.

Project Galileo

Project Galileo Or to give it its full name, "The Galileo project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial...