Saturday, March 31, 2012

James E McDonald on "cover-up" vs "foul-up."

Hi all,

Recent blog readers will have noticed that I have posted a number of items about the late James E McDonald and his work on the UFO phenomenon. I hadn't know very much about his work until I read Annn Druffel's book "Firestorm" (click here.)  I am now deeply impressed by McDonald's work ethic; his research skills, and his determination to pursue all leads in cases. I was therefore intrigued  to read what his views were on "cover-up" versus "foul-up."


Some UFO researchers argue that world governments have ( and continue to do so) covered up their knowledge of the UFO phenomenon. Others, suggest that governments have fouled up their investigations. What were McDonald's views?

On page 61 of "Firestorm", we read that following McDonald's visit to Project Blue Book (click here for their archives) , McDonald "...bluntly told them that the observations in Blue Book files and the whole picture of UFO activity strongly indicated a non-terrestrial origin. "You've been involved in a foul-up," he informed them."

On this same visit, McDonald spoke to General Cruickshank (click here) , the commander of the Foreign Technology Division of the Air Force. "He told Cruickshank about the cover-up vs. foul-up controversy, and indicated that the absurd explanations that had been given to stunning observations by thoroughly credible observers tended to feed the cover-up hypothesis. Crucikshank replied, quite convincingly that there was no cover-up at FTD." (p.62.)


On a flight together, during September 1968, Hynek (click here) and McDonald "...discussed the controversial "cover-up" hypothesis. McDonald was continuing to think that government inaction on UFOs was the result of a "grand foul-up" rather than a true cover-up and so expressed this to Hynek. He found that the astronomer shared his opinion. In all of his writings, including his journals, McDonald never seemed to seriously think that there was any government "silence group" deliberately covering up information about UFOs, although he conceded that there seemed to be localized cover-ups of specific cases." (p.80.)

There is a footnote (number 46) on page 80 which reads "There is some evidence to think that McDonald, shortly before his death, was beginning to find evidence of an official cover-up. See, for example, Fowler Raymond E, Casebook of a UFO Investigator. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall. 1981 hardcover pp50-51." (click here.)

Later, Hynek would never admit to McDonald that his 20 year's AF consultancy - in which he'd participated fully in explaining away excellent cases - contributed  to the Air Force UFO "foul-up" and to the scientific establishment's neglect of the UFO question." (p.83.)

Second Blue Book visit:

In June 1966, McDonald again visited Project Blue Book. There he met three military officers who were conducting a review of Blue Book's operations. "Over coffee on the patio, McDonald pressed the issue with the trio about the importance of the UFO question and the "foul-up" in which the Air Force was engaged." (p.138.)

Donald Menzel:

"Dr Donald Menzel, a prominent astrophysicist who had written widely on the subject of UFOs. Menzel was more than a scientific critic; he took up the cudgel against McDonald in a slashing manner..." (p.162.)

"McDonald felt that Menzel had contributed to, and perhaps had even created, the "grand foul-up." (p.164.) (click here.)

The Drury film:

When in Australia in 1967, McDonald met with Thomas C Drury, who had taken a movie film of an object in the sky over Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in August 1953 (click here). (Druffel incorrectly states the date as August 1957 on page 174.) The film went to the Royal Australian Air Force and then to the USA. Claims were later made that a part of the film went missing. (click here.)

"Judging from incidents like these, it had become clear to most UFO researchers that some group in government, or in the Air Force itself, was hiding the best UFO data as it surfaced. But even Drury's experience failed to convince McDonald of a cover-up, for he was seeking incontrovertible and scientifically verifiable proof." (p.179.)

Sydney talk 1967:

"At a packed meeting of the Sydney UFO Investigation Centre at Strathfield, he reviewed his research to that date and emphasised, that the USAF had "fouled-up" a complex subject by neglecting to treat it seriously." (p.187.)


McDonald "...was invited to speak on UFOs at the Research lab of United Aircraft Corporation..." (p.265.) He "...outlined several classic cases, explained in detail why Blue  Book's and Menzel's explanations did not wash and addressed the "grand foul-up vs. cover-up" question." (p.268.)

The Heflin photographs:

In 1965 Rex Heflin took a series of photographs (click here) which intrigued McDonald. Heflin's photograph number four struck him as  similar to a series of photographs taken by  a man named Stofko.

Druffel, on page 315, writes in part of his investigation "For perhaps the first time, McDonald seems to be saying that the government might be seriously involved in the UFO problem, to a greater extent than his "grand foul-up" theory allowed for. "


"As the spring of 1969 drew near, McDonald continued sorting out the cover-up controversy in his mind...We all along debated the cover-up vs. foul-up theory," says Dick Hall, who shared, in part, McDonald's skepticism regarding a widespread "conspiracy." He did acknowledge that some of the things we came up with shook his faith a little bit."

"At times McDonald conceded that particular situations into which he'd stumbled didn't really fit his foul-up theory, but were more like a cover-up. He'd found cases where the documentation had vanished." (p.361.)

Back to 1968:

One story which puzzled McDonald was that of a man named Dewey who had met an Air Force officer in 1956 or 1957. This man claimed that the Air Force officer had told him he was in charge of UFOs for the Air Force, had secured the collaboration of foreign nations and knew UFOs were extraterrestrial.

In a letter to his wife, McDonald wrote "If there's accuracy in what [Dewey's] told us, if, as late as 1957 or so, USAF really was still engaged in an extensive UFO investigation behind the scened, and was enjoying the cooperation of foreign air intelligence groups...then maybe Don Keyhoe's long-standing insistence on grand cover-up is correct..." (p.366.0

However, McDonald never located this Air Force officer. "He tended to regard the inability to track down Crawford as evidence which strengthened the "foul-up" hypothesis rather than the "grand conspiracy," but his mind remained open." (p.366.)

Secret group?

Some UFO researchers have postulated that a "secret group" somewhere, monitors the UFO phenomenon. "McDonald found it hard to accept that a question as  serious as the UFO problem was being furtively studied by a "secret group" of scientists in the Air Force, as Don Keyhoe and NICAP hypothesized." (p.380.)

"One of the reasons he remained unconvinced of an official "cover-up" was his own experience concerning the Manhattan Project. Contrary to the prevalent opinion that the project which developed the atomic bomb was kept strictly secret, he wrote in his "cover-up vs. foul-up" file, "Most of the scientists around the country knew about [the Manhattan Project] early on." (p.380.)


"He discussed the cover-up vs. foul-up puzzle with any colleague he thought could throw any light on it." (p.381.)


"At the Santa Monica IEEF briefing, McDonald had made a statement which hints that he was re-considering the logic of an Air Force "cover-up"..."Maybe the Air Force felt, 'Maybe we can get a hunk of the technology ourselves and use it to military advantage' he said. This brought his thinking closer to most of his UFO colleagues, who theorized that one of the reasons for a "cover-up" was that the government hoped to unlock the secrets of UFO propulsion before any potential enemy could figure it out." (pp579-480.)

My comments:

Druffel provides an excellent review of McDonald's thinking on this important aspect of the UFO phenomenon. My own research into documentation held by Australian government departments on the UFO subject, indicates to me that they were engaged in a "foul-up" rather than a "cover-up." (click here and here.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Westall and a possible "broken arrow"

Dear readers

In a post about the 6 Apr 1966 Westall case (click here) I speculated about the very remote possibility that the event might have involved a "broken arrow" (click here). A number of readers posted responses to my article stating that they found the hypothesis of no value.

At the end of the post I posed questions, including "Did any of the Westall witnesses recall seeing military personnel using geiger counters?" This question was raised in the spirit of testing the "broken arrow" hypothesis. It would seem that no one who replied to the post, bothered to check out the available published material and see if  any Westall witnesses had made such observations.

I have waited until now to provide the following. In Bill Chalker's 1996 book "Oz Files" there is a section on pages 116-121 about the Westall incident. Bill states that Ray Fischer of the Victorian UFO Research Society had met a man who visited the site on both the day of the event, and a few days later. Fischer states that "He saw that people in uniform were examining the circle with radiation detectors."

The same information is available on the Yahoo Westall groups website here .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Australian press and James E McDonald

Hi all

Reading Ann Druffel's book, "Firestorm" on James E McDonald's interest in the UFO phenomenon, drew my attention to McDonald's impact on both Australian UFOlogy, and the Australian media.

I recently visited the State Library of South Australia to locate newspaper articles about McDonald's Australian visit in June and July 1967. I found three such articles. As I doubt that many blog readers will have had the opportunity to read them in full, I will reproduce the texts in this post.

McDonald arrives:

(From The Sun-Herald, Sydney, New South Wales on Sunday 25 Jun 1967 page 11.)

"'Saucer' Expert from U.S.

A top American scientist flew into Sydney last night on a "secret mission" to investigate unidentified flying objects in Australia.

He is Professor J.E. McDonald (pictured) of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of Arizona University. He
is expected to meet leading scientists in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, and to interview Australians who claim to have seen flying saucers and other types of unidentified flying objects.

At Mascot airport last night, Professor McDonald refused to reveal any details of his mission. "I have nothing to say" he said. "I have certain objectives and it is not my habit to talk about them until they are accomplished."

Professor McDonald refused to say whether Australia was considered a fertile country for flying saucer sightings. "Do you think the press will treat this matter seriously?" he asked.

Govt. Grant:

Officials of the Sydney branch of Unidentified Flying Objects Investigation Centre met Professor McDonald. The President of the centre Dr M Lindtner, said he was surprised, and embarrassed by Professor McDonald. "We have been corresponding with the professor and he told us he wanted to meet people who had seen unidentified flying objects," he said. "We plan to introduce Professor McDonald to four people in Sydney who have seen objects. He will meet others in Melbourne. He is the most distinguished flying saucer expert to visit Australia."

In Melbourne:

(From the Melbourne "Sun" dated 6 Jul 1967.)

"In Melbourne as part of a world wide campaign  to clear up the flying saucer mystery is American Professor James E McDonald.

Professor McDonald is interviewing Victorian witnesses of unidentified flying objects -UFOs. And sightings of the objects could be, if anything, higher in Australia than in the U.S. he said last night.

Professor McDonald visit is being sponsored by the U.S. Government, and will take him to other parts of Australia. His interviews in Victoria are being arranged by the Victorian Flying Saucer Society.

Professor McDonald has been working full time on the UFO mystery for 13 months. "In that time my attitude about them has changed completely," he said.

When asked if he believed UFOs are really from other planets he replied: "The hypothesis that I regard as most probable is that these objects are of extra-terrestrial origin and engaged in something which can be loosely described as surveillance."

Professor McDonald has urged a full-scale scientific inquiry by the United Nations. He has already met the U.N. Outer Space Affairs Group and the U.N. Secretary-General U-Thant has agreed to meet with him.

Professor McDonald believes that one of the main barriers to a full-scale UFO inquiry is the fear of ridicule."

Flying saucers are real:

(From The Sun-Herald dated 9 Jul 1967 - written by Max Suich.)

"Flying saucers are real says scientist
Australian probe

Flying saucers are real, a leading American scientist said yesterday. They come from another world out in space, he said. The scientist is Professor James McDonald, senior physicist of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Arizona.

He has been in Australia for a fortnight to investigate sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects. His inquiries have taken him, to Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. Today he will fly to Brisbane and return to the U.S. tomorrow.

Professor McDonald said that scientific proof of flying saucers and acceptance of their existence had been delayed by a deliberate "debunking program" mounted by many world governments and backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

In Australia Professor McDonald has made tape recordings of the experiences of 70 people who claim to have seen flying saucers.

Some of the reports he believes authentic were:

- A flying saucer that followed a car at up to 115mph speeds until the car almost crashed
- Another saucer that gave some Gippsland people a 'hair raising' experience when it swept in at them at 'treetop height'
- A UFO that caused the lights of a motor car to bend. "Scientifically impossible to explain," said the Professor
- A 'very impressive' sighting in New Guinea by a clergyman and 30 others of a saucer that hovered above the sea. The occupants, who appeared to have human-type torsos and heads, returned the friendly waves of the watchers
- Another sighting by a clergyman, at Cressy, near Launceston. of  cigar shaped object, which was joined by domed discs and which flew within about three miles of witnesses.


He was impressed by reports last year of flying saucer 'nests' at Tully in North Queensland. "These sightings appear to be authentic" he said.

Professor McDonald said he believes about 90 per cent of the reports were authentic. He had some doubts about reports of flying saucers with crews. "There have been some very strong reports of this" he said, "But the level and number of these reports have not been as impressive as the ordinary UFO sightings, and there must remain an element of doubt."

I talked to the professor yesterday after he had addressed a packed meeting of the Sydney UFO Investigation Centre at Strathfield. Two people in the audience told him of sighting saucers.

Some speculated about space dwellers behind the visits of saucers.

Professor McDonald discouraged this type of speculation, "People who speak to little green men who come from back of the moon have done a great deal to discredit flying saucers," he said.

"I have been impressed by the reliability and level-headedness of many of Australian citizens I have interviewed."

(The piece was accompanied by photographs of McDonald, and of the Tully 'nest.")

Learning the cost:

Professor McDonald, 47, the father of six, has been working full time on saucer investigation for 18 months. His children are doubtful about saucers, but his wife is beginning to take UFOs seriously.

His trip to Australia is being paid from US Navy funds allocated to him for physics research.

He said he had no scientific explanation of why spaceships would be sent from another world to the earth.
Pressed to theorise, he said a possible explanation was that the saucers were on an 'anthropological probe' from another and much more advanced civilisation. "We are already learning the cost of visiting primitive societies and wiping them out. Look at Tasmanians," he said.

"Why don't they talk to us? Why don't we talk to ants? But this is more unscientific speculation and I would not like it to be treated as anything but that."

Professor McDonald is bitterly critical of the US Air Force and the C.I.A.


"Investigations of flying saucers have been seriously hindered by C.I.A. inspired legislation, which made it a serious offence for Air Force personnel to publicly report UFO sightings," he said.

"I do not believe this is a  conspiracy by the C.I.A. to cover up the truth. "Rather it is a device to solve the problem of the big number of intelligence operatives tied up on UFO inquiries. "The CIA does not believe in this problem, and has tried to sweep it under the carpet."

Australian Flying Saucer Review article;

Finally, I found an article in the Australian Flying Saucer Review, Issue number 7, 1967.

"US scientist  addresses UFO societies

A leading American scientist, Dr James E McDonald, visited Australia in July and addressed several meetings organised by local UFO societies.

Dr McDonald is Senior Physicist in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and Professor in the Department of Meteorology at Arizona University. Dr McDonald visited Australia under the auspices of the U.S. Navy to further his research work in the field of atmospheric physics. While in Australia he was able to devote much of his time to his private investigations into the UFO problem, interviewing some 80 witnesses throughout the Commonwealth and addressing various groups of scientists as well as the general meetings of members of the Melbourne and Sydney societies.

The professor was also able to find time for appearances on several A.B.C. television and radio shows as well as the highly rated 3DB session "Talk back to Barry Jones."

The beneficial effect of Professor McDonald's visit to Australian UFO research cannot be over emphasised.

Many Australian scientists and representatives of news media are now prepared to admit that the subject is much more significant one than they had hitherto believed.

Following his return to the United States professor McDonald has been engaged in several new lecture tours and expects to be able to place fresh material before the United Nations Outer Space Affairs group, which committee he addressed before the Australian visit.

All Australian researchers will wish James McDonald continuing success in his endeavours to win recognition for our much maligned subject."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

19 May 2012 Adelaide AURA seminar

Hi all

The Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) will be holding a UFO seminar on Saturday 19 May 2012, at Tiffins on the Park, 176 Greenhill Road, Parkside, between 1.30 and 6pm.
Four interstate speakers will be featured.

Shane Ryan, from Canberra, will speak about the famous 6 April 1966 Westall High School, Clayton, Melbourne incident, where dozens of students and teachers saw an unusual object, which is reported to have landed and created a ground marking. It is also reported that the military were involved in the incident. Shane will provide a detailed overview of the incident and his research todate.

Andrew Arnold from Victorian UFO Action, will present details of his group's re-investigation of the world famous 21 Oct 1978 incident where an aircraft and its young pilot, Frederich Valentich disappeared, after he reported sighting a UFO near the aircraft. Andrew will also cover recent cases from Victoria.

Larraine Cilia and Dominic McNamara from The UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia, based in Sydney, will cover past and recent NSW events, and Larraine will discuss her own experiences.

All in all, it promises to be the Adelaide UFO event of 2012.

Tickets are $30 for the event. For further details and to get a ticket telephone:

Helen Danby 0413 188 464 or Debbie Payne on 0413 800 143.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pre-1947 UFO reports and James E McDonald

Hi all

Long term readers of this blog will be aware of my work in publishing details of Australian pre-1947 UFO reports ( click here for draft catalogue.)

It was therefore, something of a surprise to find that James E McDonald thought that pre-1947 UFO reports were important. The following quotes come from Ann Druffel's book "Firestorm." Wild Flower Press. Columbus, NC. 2002. ISBN 0-926524-58-5.


In this year, McDonald was in conversation with Tom Malone, "McDonald confided that he not only wanted to view Blue Book files personally, but he also wished to get to a good library like the Congressional or the New York City Library to check pre-1940 observations. Early sightings of UFO-type phenomena intrigued McDonald. He told Malone about a 1904 observation by the crew of an American ship, the USS Supply, and added that many observations were reported in books, newspapers and other records back to the 19th century and even earlier. He pointed out that Dr Hynek hadn't looked into any early sightings." (p.50.)

Later that year, when in discussion with Brian O'Brien "McDonald reminded him that UFOs had been reported for centuries, and were not just a new phenomenon, as most people believed. O'Brien concluded that 'it was useless to check old observations. [The] story grows with the re-telling," he said."

McDonald asked O'Brien if he could recommend getting a small panel-on a summer study basis-to go over the 'old stuff.' "A panel reviewing important past sightings could advise optimal design of new investigations and would be able to provide stronger motivation for it," argued McDonald." (p.51.)

Later, "O'Brien warned McDonald that no one he knew in the Air Force seemed interested in studying old reports." (p.53.)

Gordon Lore:

"McDonald also talked at length with Gordon Lore, a talented researcher and writer who had joined the NICAP staff the previous October. Lore was writing a book about pre-1947 sightings... Early UFO reports were of special interest to McDonald. It was almost impossible, of course, to investigate most of these 'on-site' since most of the witnesses were deceased and those still living had been small children at the time. Taken together with other early reports of "UFOs" in the books of Charles Fort and other sources , however McDonald had begun to suspect that the UFOs were not simply a recent problem, but one which had sporadically surfaced during human history." (pp.94-95.)

Blue Book:

"McDonald also discussed his growing interest in pre-1940 UFO cases and urged that Blue Book expand its operations into this aspect of the problem. He cited the classic to me, The Books of Charles Fort, as a good place to start a literary search." (p.139.)

Specific report:

In 1968 after giving a talk, McDoanld met  "A German emigre scientist who was working at a US Army research lab was also present, and described a 1945 sighting event...McDonald was intrigued by this early sighting, ...about two years before Kenneth Arnold's first public UFO report..." (p.357.)

My comments:

Pre-1947 reports provide tantalising glimpses of a phenomenon which appears to have been around for a long, long time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

James E McDonald and Woomera - part 2

Hi all

In a 29 Feb 2012 post (click here to read that post,)  I wondered just what Woomera, South Australia,  sightings James E McDonald was referring to, in Ann Druffel's book "Firestorm" when there was mention of "...some intriguing sightings involving staff at scientific facilities in Woomera..." (p.200.) In conducting some research. I did find a series of observations of the one object, from Woomera, dated 28 Apr 1967.

It then occurred to me to look at a listing of audio recorded interviews that James E McDonald made, while in Australia in 1967. I found these here. This website contains an excellent listing of McDonald's Australian audio interviews. Disc 46 lists an audio interview: "Andrew Van der Brink UFO sighting, May 23 1967(?) Woomera, Australia, Recorded June 30, 1967, Southern Cross Motel, Melbourne, Australia. 33:30." It is the only interview which lists "Woomera" as the location of the UFO sighting, and fits in with the correct timescale for when McDonald was in Australia.

I checked various catalogues of mine to see if the name Van der Brink was listed, and for the date May 23 1967 or indeed on any other date. I found that I had not come across such an event. I also checked RAAF UFO file file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 parts 7-9 which cover 1967, but found nothing on them re this sighting.

A search for Andre Van der Brink on the internet found only the Wolfvideo website listing for disc 46.

This 23 May 1967(?) sighting may therefore be one of the "...sightings involving staff at scientific facilities in Woomera.." mentioned by Druffel.

Have any blog readers come across details of this event?

Friday, March 16, 2012

A 1942 Australian UFO photograph?

Hi all

There are very few early Australian UFO photographs. So, I was surprised to come across the following. I would welcome any further information which Blog readers may have come across on this latest case.

October 1942 Devils Marbles, Northern Territory.

"A photograph on the wall of the roadhouse -given to Farkas by Alice Springs plumber Phil Martin - shows Australian  soldiers posing at nearby Devils Marbles in October 1942, with a small silver craft hovering nearby, clearly in shot." Farkas is Lew Farkas, owner of the Big4Holiday Park, Wycliffe Well, Northern Territory.

The source for the above is Miller, Julie and Osborn, Grant. 2010. "Something is Out There: Unlocking Australia's Paranormal Secrets." Arena. Crows Nest, NSW. ISBN 978-1-74237-132-0. page 146.

Westall sequel?

Hi all

In a post dated 5 Mar 2012 (click here to read post) I drew attention to an item on page 184 of Ann Drufel's book "Firestorm" about James E McDonald.

"While McDonald was still in Australia, he learned of a July 8th sighting of multiple UFOs being pursued by several light planes, similar to the Andrew Greenwood case..."

I wondered what this Westall sequel-like July 8th sighting was? In commenting on the post, Westall researcher, Shane Ryan, mentioned that he also had wondered about this reference.


I was re-reading the "Firestorm" chapter which details McDonald's 1967 Australian visit, and found that I had overlooked another reference to this July 8th sighting, on page 190.

"On July 9, 1967, the day before McDonald was due to return to the States, Thomas Clark, the US Ambassador to Australia, called repeatedly, but he couldn't reach McDonald, who had left Melbourne for an ONR appointment. Geoffrey Rumpf tracked him down and  found him at the Meteorological Department in Townsville. By this time it was almost midnight on Saturday. The same day Clark tried to reach him, there had been a sighting of multiple discs being chased by several light planes in Victoria, but McDonald, busy in Queensland, could not participate in the on-site investigation."


Herein lies a problem. The page 184 reference says the multiple UFOs chased by several light planes event was on July 8th (which was a Saturday.) The page 190 reference "The same day Clark tried to reach him, there had been a sighting of multiple discs being chased by several light planes in Victoria, but McDonald, busy in Queensland, could not participate in the on-site investigation" which is talking about July 9th (which is a Sunday.) To further confound us, the page 190 reference also says "By this time it was almost midnight on Saturday" which is the 8th not the 9th.

So was this Westall-like sequel on the 8th or the 9th July 1967?

Where did it happen?

Where was the location of this Westall-like sequel? The page 184 reference does not tell us. However, the page 190 reference says " Victoria."

There is also mention of "...on-site investigation." If the event occurred in Victoria, then it would most likely have been investigated by the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS). Do any VFSRS documents refer to the case? The most logical place to look would be the VFSRS Review magazine, the next edition after July 1967, which appears to be their edition 7(1). However, a check of this magazine reveals nothing about such a case.

So, the mystery remains.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

UFOs and crime fiction

Dear readers

Welcome from Adelaide, South Australia, where we have had a great week of Autumn sunshine and temperatures maxing in the mid 20 dgrees C. The city is in full "arts" blossom, with our Adelaide Festival; our Adelaide Fringe; our World Music Festival and just gone, was our weekend of high powered motor racing through City streets. A great time to visit our lovely city.

Crime fiction:

Finding out just what causes some UFO reports is an art. Just like the detective in crime fiction solves a murder. An eye for small detail, and an analytical mind are two of the tools, which both crime fiction writers and good UFO researchers, bring to bear on their respective targets.

Another tool, is persistence, as it sometimes takes quite a while to arrive at a solution. Yet another tool is curiosity. You might read a small item connected to the UFO phenomenon, and wonder just where did that come from?

Stieg Larsson:

An example of my own curisoity came about when I was reading one of Swedish author Steig Larsson's novels (Click here for my original post) "The Girl Who Played With Fire" (Maclehose Press, London. 2009.) One of the characters "Salander" visits the island of Grenada, and talks about the UFO interests of the island's former leader. Larsson had based this on fact. Sir Eric Gairy, indeed did have a deep interest in UFOs.

Since I wrote that post, one bit of my brain, pondered over the question "Where did Larsson get this very small piece of UFOlogical history from?" It has taken me several months to find the answer.


I have just been reading a book by Jan-Erik Pettersson titled "Stieg: From Activist to Author," (published by Quercus. London. 2011. ISBN 978-1-84916-499-3.)

The author writes: "This is not a biography in the conventional sense. It is a book about the public personna of Stieg Larsson, about his work and his writing, about the interplay between his life and work and society at large." (p.ix.)

"He had a keen interest in the sciences and new technology...Everything to do with space fascinated him. At a friend's house he read Allers magazine, stories of encounters with the unknown, about spaceships and flying saucers." (pp19-20.)

Stieg at high school was reading science fiction, "Asimov's books became cult reading for Stieg...he and his friend Ruine Forsgren planned their Asimov inspired stencilled fanzine...he was chairman of the Scandinavian Science Fiction Association for a year in 1980 and editor of its Journal." (p.23.)


"The informal description of Grenada and its capital, in The Girl Who Played With Fire reveals that Stieg Larsson was well acquainted with the island..." (p.47.) It turns out that Stieg and his partner visited Grenada in 1981 to study the revolution which had recently taken place.

In 1979, the reign of Eric Gairy came to an end. "He demanded absolute loyalty from his supporters, threatened anyone who showed any inclination to oppose him and built up his image as a great mystic with supernatural abilities. It was said, for instance, that he could walk on water, and he himself became progressively more obsessed with the idea that alien spacecraft had landed on his island." (p.53.) On the coup which occurred, 'There was singing and dancing in the streets of St George's on that first day of the revolution: "Freedom come, Gairy Go, Gairy go with UFO." (pp54-55.)


I think I can now rest easy. Larsson got his Grenada UFO information from his visit to the island of Grenada. He probably mentioned it in his book, due to his prior interests, and to flesh out the Grenada connection.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Missing Tully UFO film

Hi all

In a recent post (click here to view) I mentioned the alleged involvement of the former Australian government Department of the Interior in missing photographic evidence. I have now tracked down further information on the incident.


The English Flying Saucer Review, Volume 15, number 3, dated May/Jun 1969 carried an article titled "North Queensland UFO Saga" written by Stan Seers and William Lasich.

It provides information on the 19 Jan 1966 Tully, Queensland (click here for details) "nest" and associated UFO sighting, then goes on to relate that the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau set up a "monitor/detector" at a site  in Tully. The monitor was established in 1968 by Vince Mele and an electronics friend, and was linked to a "cine-camera."

On 4 Mar 1968, locals in Tully reported a UFO sighting and the monitor was found to have been triggered. The exposed film was forwarded to Kodak Ltd, Melbourne. "Some 10 days later a letter was received from Kodak stating that the container which was returned to sender, had been empty on arrival."

"The loss of the film was reported to the civil police who were very co-operative, but after a careful detective investigation interstate, were unable to shed light on the mystery...Unofficially, however, a hint was thrown out by a person of  reliable character and seemingly well informed in police matters, that it was likely that Commonwealth authorities had taken possession of the film..."

"It is not without interest to record, shortly after loss of the film, circa March 13, two R.A.A.F. helicopters were observed for some time deploying over the site of the very lagoon..."

"Mr Colin Bennett, M.L.A., Barrister, after studying complete documentation of the incident, expressed keen interest and promptly offered his every assistance in inquiries...In a reply from Canberra, dated August 29, Mr Gordon Freeth, Minister of Air stated he was unable to offer any suggestions as to the fate of the film. He denied positively the Department of Air had ever at any time, removed from Kodak Ltd material relating to UFOs."

My comments:

This then appears to be the fuller story, of the piece from Ann Druffel's "Firestorm" which was the subject of my earlier post. Readers will note that the Department of the Interior is not mentioned in this fuller account. It therefore remains a mystery as to what relationship, if any the Department of the Interior, may have played in this saga.

For a full text of the article click here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

James E McDonald - sighting details sought

Hi all

In her book "Firestorm," about James E McDonald, Ann Druffel, (click here for my previous post on the book) wrote on page 184:

"While McDonald was still in Australia he learned of a July 8th sighting of multiple UFOs, being pursued by several light planes, similar to the Andrew Greenwood case..." Druffel cites no reference for this Jul 8  sighting.


The reference to the Andrew Greenwood case, is to the 6 Apr 1966, Westall High School, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia event where multiple witnesses reported an unusual object in the company of five light aircraft. (Click here for Yahoo Groups site on Westall.)

McDonald was in Australia between 25 Jun 1967 and 10 Jul 1967, so the mention of 8 Jul, implies the sighting took place on 8 Jul 1967. Whether it was in Australia or elsewhere in the world is unknown. If it was indeed in Australia it may have relevance to investigations into the Westall event.

Have blog readers any knowledge of this 8 Jul 1967 sighting?

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