Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's missing?

The recent media release stating that the defense department here in Australia was unable to locate files on UFO's is a little concerning. But my personal concern was to have a little giggle. You see, according to the news reporter that spoke to me about our work at AURA in uncovering such files, I learned that Fairfax media had in fact sent in an F.O.I. as late as May this year (2011) and at the very least, was returned with an answer after several months of searching that such files could not be located.

In September of 2010, Mary Rodwell was involved in a documentary on SBS in which both Mary and her son Chris, Larraine Cilia (my partner) and myself were invited to take part in one segment of the film taken down in Canberra. I suggested that it would be a good opportunity to visit the archives and 'pull' some files to view.

Knowing that we at AURA had a summary of those files, I looked up several from our AURA catalogue and promptly ordered them to be produced on the day. Sure enough, when we turned up, there they were. This was September mind you, but it does seem a bit strange that we filmed them as late as all this yet now they are 'missing'. All I can say is that the NAA has all of the files we requested for digitising on display on-line. AURA has paper copies and digitial imaging of all else that we found. "So if you have any requests", I told the lady reporter, "just give us a call!"
Dominic, Secretary

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Memories of abductions - only a dream?

Some abductees recall having experiences during the night, but find difficulty in being able to say whether their recollections are dreams or real events. Some recent scientific research may be able to assist.

How memories of dreams are made:

In the 7 May 2011 issue of the "New Scientist" magazine (page 16) there is an article titled "How memory of dreams are made," by Andy Coghlan. The article reads:

"Why do we remember some dreams but not others? It's because the brain mechanism that controls whether we remember or forget things when we are awake is involved.

"So says Luigi De Gennaro at the University of Rome, Italy, and his team, who used an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor the brain activity of students as they slept. The team monitored 65 students; 30 who habitually wake up while in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and 35 who usually wake up in stage 2 non-REM sleep. About two thirds of both groups recalled dreams during the study.

"Those who wake during REM sleep and successfully recalled their dreams were more likely to demonstrate a pattern of EEG oscillations called theta waves in frontal and prefrontal cortex areas-the parts of the brain where our most advanced thinking occurs. "The kind of EEG oscillations and the cortical region involved are the same as those important for recalling memory in awake subjects," says De Gennaro.

"In non-REM wakers, those who remembered their dreams had patterns of alpha wave activity in the right temporal lobe - involved in recognising emotional events - that resembled activity known to be key for recall while awake. (Journal of Neuroscience, DOI:10.1523/jneurosci.0412-11-2011.)

"The upshot is that even when we are asleep, the same parts of the brain are on the alert for things to remember. These are often events that are emotionally charged, and that the brain deems important, whether we are awake or not.

"De Gennaro says the results are the first evidence that the physiology by which memories are stored is the same whether we are awake or asleep. "These findings are similar to known EEG patterns in wakeful memory recollection, suggesting a continuum of cerebral processes throughout the sleep-wake cycle," says Michael Czisch, who studies sleep at the Max Planck Institute of psychiatry in Munich, Germany.

My comments:

This is a very interesting article.

In my own work with Australian experiencers who report nocturnal abductions, I like to ask them these couple of questions. One is, what time did you fall asleep the night of the abduction? Do you know what time the abduction event occurred? With the latter question, some people did check their bedside clock, others do not know.

If they do know both times, then I do a calculation to determine the time interval between going to bed (rough time of falling asleep) and the event. We know that we cycle through the stages of sleep at roughly ninety minute intervals. So if we fall asleep at say 11pm and the event happens at 2am, then the time interval is 3 hours or roughly two sleep cycles, and we are likely to be in REM (rapid eye movement) or dream sleep at 2am.

If you are in REM sleep at the time of the event then it is possible that the event is a dream.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Female investigative journalists and UFO research - Annie Jacobsen

Annie Jacobsen is an investigative reporter, based in Los Angeles, USA. Her mainstream writing has been in the areas of finance, business and terrorism, and has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. (Click here.)

A while ago, she became interested in the topic of Area 51 and subsequently published a book in 2011 titled "Area 51:An uncensored history of America's top secret military base." Orion. London. ISBN 978-1-40914-1136. (Click here.)

The book includes accounts of the S-4 Bob Lazar saga; UFO sightings caused by the U-2 and A-12/SR71 then "secret" US aircraft operating out of Area 51, and an engineer with a really different origin for the famous 1947 Roswell crash.


It is nice to see women taking a deep interest in the UFO phenomenon, and be willing to risk their mainstream reporting careers to discuss this topic. Well done!

Have any readers come across other female investigative reporters publishing in this field? If so, please share.

Female investigative journalists and UFO research - Linda Moulton Howe

Based in the USA, Linda Moulton Howe graduated from Stanford University with a Masters degree in Communication and has spent many years as an investigative journalist and reporter.

Science, the environment and medicine have been some of the areas where she has produced stories in film, radio and television.

Her paranormal interests have included studying crop circles; animal mutilations; the Laos "Wildman" and of course, the UFO phenomenon.

Four books have been authored by Linda:

An Alien Harvest. (Click here.)

Glimpses of other realities, Volumes 1 and 2. (Click here.)

Mystery lights and crop circles. (Click here.)

She has extensively lectured throughout the world, and will be visiting Australia for a lecture tour, in July 2011.

Linda currently reports and edits "Earthfiles" (click here.)

Female investigative journalists and UFO research - Leslie Kean

Leslie Kean is an American investigative journalist whose interest in the UFO phenomenon started in 2000 when she wrote an article for the Boston Globe. She broke the story of the French COMETA report (click here.)

In 2002, she co-founded the Coalition for Freedom of Information (click here) which sought greater openness from the US government on the subject of UFOs.

In 2007 she organised the very successful press conference in Washington DC, which brought together a number of high profile military and other witnesses to openly speak about their own UFO encounters.

2009 saw the launch of the documentary "I know what I saw." (Click here.)

Finally, in 2010, her book "UFOs:Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record" was published by Harmony Books of New York. ISBN: 978-0-307-71684-2.) It presented first hand testimony of high ranking military officers about their own UFO encounters. It also called for the funding of a UFO Study Agency within the US Government. (Click here.)

Female investigative journalists and UFOs - Paola Harris

Dear readers,

Today in Adelaide, it's sunny, with that typically Australian deep blue sky.

This post is the start of a series of short posts about the increasing number of female investigative journalists who are studying, and publishing their research into the UFO phenomenon.

"Paola Leopizza Harris is an Italo-American photojournalist and investigative reporter in the field of extraterrestrial related phenomena research." So says her website (click here.)

Paola has a masters degree in education; is the International Liaison Director for the Exopolitics Institute and lives in Rome, Italy and Boulder, Colorado in the USA.

She has published a number of books including:

2003 - "Connecting the Dots - Making Sense of the UFO Phenomenon."

2007 - "Exopolitics: How does one speak to a ball of light?"

2010 - "Exopolitics."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Australian Department of Defence "loses" UFO files

Dear readers,

Like my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, I have been following the saga of the "lost" Australian Department of Defence (DOD) UFO files.

It seems to me that the bottom line, is that the Freedom of Information staff at the DOD are simply not aware of their own Department's previous involvement in the UFO phenomenon.

How is corporate knowledge passed on?

Usually a company's history is passed on through word of mouth and written company history. The passage of 17 years since the DOD's Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ceased its UFO studies, is time enough for the failure of word of mouth as new staff have been taken on since then.

As for written company history, the RAAF, as the DOD's area charged with the UFO 'problem', had its written history on files. However, these files were transferred to the National Archives of Australia, by, at the latest, 1994. Hence, it is likely that no current DOD FOI staff member has ever read them.

In short, it is no wonder that the DOD's FOI staff did not have knowledge of the material.

The Sydney Morning Herald's (SMH) story was that the DOD had "lost" its UFO files. The story wasn't that the files had been transferred to the National Archives. The SMH reporter with a few key strokes, or a phone call, could have found the UFO files for themselves. A telephone call to any Australian UFO group would also have revealed the true facts.

The story's result was that the DOD had "lost" its UFO files.

A number of people have communicated with the SMH to advise them of the fact that the Adelaide based Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) conducted a major exercise to locate, examine and document the contents of the DOD's UFO files. However, I notice that the SMH has not run this story, i.e. what was in the files. This in itself is another story.

The findings of the AURA Disclosure Australia Project may be read at (click here.)

Element 115 and Bob Lazar

Dear readers,

An article in the 11 June 2011 edition of "New Scientist" magazine titled "Heaviest elements yet join the periodic table" page 11, advises that new elements have been recognised by science.

The Joint Working Party on Discovery of Elements recognised elements 114 and 116 on the periodic table.

The article states, in part, "The committee also considered discovery claims for elements 113, 115 and 118, but said the evidence was not yet strong enough to add them to the periodic table."

Why is this of interest to UFO researchers?

A while ago, one Bob Lazar said that in 1988 he was interviewed and later offered a job as "senior staff physicist" in a classified research program and worked for a while at S-4, near Area 51 in the USA. There he said he had seen and touched flying discs. While there, he learnt "...that the discs at S-4 propelled themselves via energy generated by a mineral that doesn't occur naturally on Earth. He labels this element "115." (page 71, "Darlington, David. "The Dreamland Chronicles: The Legends of Area 51, America's Most Secret Military Base," Little, Brown and Company, London, 1998. ISBN 0-316-64406-4.)

So, Lazar's claims about element 115 remain unproven.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Australian UFO files "lost"

Hi all

I have just been looking at various blogs and news sources on the net which have carried the story about the "missing" Australian Department of Defence UFO files.

Unfortunately, most accounts base themselves on the original Sydney Morning Herald newspaper's story. It would seem that almost no one thought to contact credible Australian UFO researchers to find out if the story's main theme, that the DOD's files had been "lost," was in fact true!

A check with people here, would have found that the truth was that many DOD UFO files are safely held by the Australian Government Archives, and that anyone can digitally read them by going to the NAA wesbite at http://www.naa.gov.au/ clicking on Recordsearch and typing in the key words "flying saucers."

The Australian UFO Research Association, of which I am a member, has a list of all the 150 or so Australian Government UFO files (many DOD files) which it located during the five year search for such files. The findings of the project may be seen at http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org

If any reader would like a copy of this list, then simply send me an email at keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au and I will happily forward you a copy.

Hopefully, this story about the DOD files being lost, will now die.

Adelaide talk by Linda Moulton Howe

Hi all

The Adelaide, South Australia, based Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) is hosting a talk by investigative journalist and UFO researcher, Linda Moulton Howe. Details are as follows:

Date: Monday 18 July 2011
Venue: Tiffins on the Park, 176 Greenhill Road, Parkside (corner of Hutt Road), Adelaide.
Doors open: 6.30pm
Seats reserved until: 6.45pm
Talk starts: 7pm
Entry fee $20 per person, pay at the door.
Title: "ET's, Time Travelers and Self-Activating machines."
To reserve a seat (no tickets issued) phone 04 222 78 103.

New book alert - Seargent

Dear readers

I came across a new book the other day which I found of interest. It's title is "Weird Astronomy: Tales of Unusual, Bizarre and Other Hard to Explain Observations." The author is Australian David A J Seargent. Published 2011 by Springer. ISBN 978-1-441-9642-36.

David has been an amateur astronomer for many years, specialising in observations of comets, and is a well known contributor to astronomy magazines. He holds a doctorate degree in Philosophy, but is now a full time writer on science topics.

This book, according to his own words "...is about the weird side of astronomy - anecdotes, oddities, factual trivia, and titillating tales." (p.v11.) Here you will find tales of unusual observations, which at the time challenged the establishment, but now seen from a distance, allow us to see that even these sort of apparently anomalous events can be used to see the bigger picture.

The UFO connection:

I believe this is the same David Seargent who was one of the founders of The Australian Centre for UFO Studies back in 1974, alongside Harry Griesberg, (click here )and who wrote the book "UFOs: A Scientific Enigma" published by Sphere in 1978. This book was one of the first truly scientific Australian UFO books.

Livingston, Scotland UFO encounter revisited

Dear readers

Well, Adelaide is now in the grips of winter. Minimum temperatures down to 5-7 degrees C and maximum daytime temperatures hovering about 15 degrees. It's a lovely time of the year to be in my favourite pub, sitting by a roaring log fire, with a glass of superb South Australian red wine at hand.

The other day, I was there at the pub, and discussion with my friends turned to what they know is my passion - the UFO phenomenon. I was telling them about an encounter in Scotland, based on a recent piece I had read in the English Fortean Times (FT) magazine (Issue 273, May 2011 page 26.)

The Livingston encounter:

The event took place on the 9 November 1979 near Livingston, Scotland and the witness was Bob Taylor. Here's part of the article from the FT.

"Taylor encountered a large sphere hovering between the forest floor and the tops of the trees...two smaller spheres detached themselves from the object and rolled toward him. Taylor could see the spheres, hear the sound as their spines touched the floor and was conscious of "a strong pungent smell that was overpowering" ...he passed out...'

The article continues: "...David Slater's excellent "Musing on Anomalous Culture" blog has suggested a possible cause for Taylor's bizarre experience. He notes that Deadly Nightshade (Belladonna) is indigenous to the area, the berries of which contain atropine, a poison that can dramatically affect the body's central nervous system in a number of ways, with perceptual distortions and hallucinations being common.

"Is it possible that Taylor naively picked and ate some of the tasty-looking berries or even just touched or crushed them? Slater's theory is highly speculative, but all the elements for it exist in known reality ..."

Slater's full article:

To read Slater's full blog article, click here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This blog makes "Best 50 UFO blogs" list

Dear readers

It's nice to be recognised for what we do. This blog just made it to the "Best 50 UFO blogs" as judged by Forensicscience.net (click here for their list.)

Thank you readers for your support.

Australian Department of Defence loses UFO files

Hi all

Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) newspaper ran a story that the Australian Department of Defence had "lost" its UFO files. (Click here for the full story.)

Interestingly, the Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) was mentioned in the story.

It was AURA members who spent the period 2003-2008 locating, examining and documenting the contents of about 150 Australian government UFO files. The results of their search may be viewed on the Disclosure Australia website. (Click here for that website.)

As the person who compiled a listing of thes files, I have now sent a copy to the Department of Defence's Freedom of Information section, mentioned in the SMH story, in order that they at least know what files they did have!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Childhood abductions and false memories

Hi all


During the 1980's and 1990's I undertook a large amount of research into UFO abduction accounts, reported by individuals, both in Australia, and elsewhere in the world. I was the only Australian abduction researcher to present at the global 1992 abduction conference held at MIT.

Like every other abduction researcher I was confronted by adults who recalled childhood abductions, and by children who told of personal encounters.

A Melbourne six year old boy told of little men entering his bedroom; Wayne, aged 35 from Tasmania spoke of recalling events from age 4; a Sydney man related memories of an encounter at age 3 or 4 while in England.

I wondered as to the reliability of adults remembering things from a young age,and I wondered as to the reliability of children's' accounts.

The Grand Delusion:

Recently, I was reading New Scientist magazine (number 2812, p38 dated 14 May 2011)and noted an article by Graham Lawton, titled "The Grand Delusion." Part of it seemed relevant to my wonderings.

"We've known since the 1960's that memory isn't like a video recording - it's reconstructive," says psychologist David Gallo of the University of Chicago." Memory is fallible and suggestible.

"It is probably true that all autobiographical memories are suspect" Kimberley Wade, University of Warwick. Research has shown some of our memories of specific events are false."

The last comment about specific event memories, made me question whether anyone had undertaken research into the possibilities of inducing false memories into children?
I went to the net and found that, not only had someone looked at this very topic, they had done it using a false memory of a UFO abduction! How specific could you get?

Abducted by a UFO:

The article was titled "Abducted by a UFO: Prevalence Information Affects Young Children's False Memories of an Implausible Event."

Authored by Henry Otgaar; Ingrid Candel; Harald Merckelbach and Kimberley Wade it appeared in the Journal "Applied Cognitive Psychology" 2009. 23:115-125.

The article summary reads:

"This study examines whether prevalence information promotes children's false memories for an implausible event. Forty-four 7-8 and forty-seven 11-12 year old children heard a true narrative about their first school day and a false narration about either an implausible event (abducted by a UFO)or a plausible event (almost chocking on a candy.) Moreover, half of the children in each condition received prevalence information in the form of a false newspaper article while listening to the narratives.

Across two interviews, children were asked to report everything they remembered about the event. In both age groups, plausible and implausible events were equally likely to give rise to false memories.

Prevalance information increased the number of false memories in 7-8 year olds, but not in 11-12 year olds at interview 1.

Our findings demonstrate that young children can easily develop false memories of a highly implausible event."

The true narratives were such things as the child's first day at school, verified by their parents.

One false narrative was:

"Abducted by a UFO: Your mother told me that when you were 4 years old, you were abducted by a UFO. This happened when you were alone outside. Your mother was inside the house. The she suddenly saw through the window that a UFO took you."


Among the study findings was "A substantial number of children (over 70%) falsely remembered that they were abducted by a UFO. Although previous studies have looked at the cognitive characteristics of individuals who report UFO abductions (Clancy, McNally, Schacter, Lenzenweger & Pitman, 2002; McNally,Lasko, Clancy, Macklin, Pitman and Orr, 2004) this is the first study that succeeded to implant false memories of UFO abductions."

My comments:

While appreciating that this is an academic study, there are some clear implications for UFO abduction research. If it is possible in an academic setting to implant a false memory of a UFO abduction, could UFO researchers either inadvertently or deliberately implant such memories in children, or adults during their investigations?

I encourage readers to add their thoughts.

Project Galileo

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