Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cold case investigation - Wittenoom, Western Australia - 2 Aug 1964

Hi all,


When my first UFO book was published, way back in 1981 (click here) it contained a catalogue of Australian UFO cases up to that date. One of the events listed, happened in Wittenoom, Western Australia (click here). I categorised the event, based on the data I had at the time, as a close encounter type one. This was based on details which appeared in a 1967 book by Michael Hervey (click here)  titled "UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere." Horwitz. Sydney. My catalogue entry read:


"Residents called police to tell them they had observed a cigar-shape lined with windows which shone with red, white, orange and yellow lights. There was a red tail, and it was some fifty metres long, being only some ten metres above the ground." (Hervey, p.157.)

I catalogued it, based on this information and didn't come across any more material on the event until this year. I was reading a RAAF UFO file (file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 part 4.) Pages 152-161 of this file contained four eye witness reports and a sketch.


The sketch, was to say the least, dramatic. It features a long, cylindrical object with definitive edges. There are eight, square, windows from which red, white, orange and yellow light is indicated to come. There is a  blue rear glow, and a red tail. The object is shown over hills and the height of the object above these, is indicated as "between 30 feet and 19,000(?) feet." I guess the ten metres (30 feet) mentioned in the catalogue entry comes from this number.

However, an examination of the sketch shows that none of the witnesses drew it. The drawing, says on it, that it was by a Const (presumably police constable) Roce "...from descriptions of attached reports."

The witnesses:

There are four completed proformas on the file, by Antoni Uchanski; Gary Juszcyk; Edo Rossi and Alexander Brian Elder.

Uchanksi was a crane driver. At about 3am on 2 Aug 1964, for approximately one minute, he saw the object. He was located outside a tailing bin at ABA mine in  Wittenoom. Coming from behind a hill, the object travelled  above the Hammersley Ranges. His attention was drawn by a "storm of light in the sky." The single object was "similar to a rocket."  When asked about the colour of the object, he wrote "Colour of object not known." He did note it had yellow-orange light coming from it, and blue close to the object. As to shape, he wrote "Appeared as a rocket. Body longer than aeroplane." He wrote "no" to the question "Was any detail of structure observed?" There was no sound at all.

To the question of height, he wrote "Hard to say. Could not judge. But at least 30 feet above the ranges." Regarding speed, he wrote "Estimated to be the same speed as Fokker-Friendship, maximum ground speed at takeoff." The object travelled south-west to north-east, in a straight line. There was a "trail of red flame." It was lost "behind a hill." The weather was good, visibility clear.

Juszczyk was a shift boss at the mine. It was at 3am, duration 2 minutes. First seen coming from behind a hill, the object appeared "like a rocket." The colour of the object was "not known." There were orange and yellow lights inside the shape. There was no sound. He estimated its height above the ground as 200 - 300 feet above the ranges. Its speed was about 200-250mph. It travelled horizontally. Gary said the object travelled from south to north, from the mine towards the township. It travelled in a straight line, until lost from view over the ranges. There was a trail of red from its rear.

Rossi was a mill foreman, when at 3 am for about 1 minute he saw a light coming from behind a hill, looking "similar to a rocket." It had red lights and white lights in windows. The actual colour of the object itself was unknown. Its shape was "similar to an aeroplane body, but longer and wider." It was soundless. It seemed "about 100 feet above the ranges." Speed - about "the same as a Fokker Friendship." It was travelling south to north in a  straight line and went out of view over the ranges, behind a hill.

So far, we have a consistent description from three witnesses, all at the Wittenoom mine. At 3 am a silent, rocket-like object, came from behind one hill, travelled across the sky in a straight line and disappeared, between 1-2 minutes later, behind another hill. It moved south to north. It was emitting multiple colours. It had a red tail. One witness reported seeing "windows." Height estimates vary between 30 feet and 300 feet.


There is a fourth witness report form on the file, from an Alexander Brian Elder. Elder was an electrician, but he was not at the mine when he sighted the object. He states he was "on the road between second and third crossings in Wittenoom Gorge, travelling south from the town to ABA mine." He says he initially saw one object, at 3.10am, "coming from behind a hill on the side of the Wittenoom Gorge." His attention was drawn to a single bright light. However, the single object became several objects. There were "approx six or seven objects - the long object appeared as a streak of light attended by discs of light." Their colour was golden-yellow. There was no structure visible and no sound was heard. he estimated its height as "over 20,000 feet." Its speed was "Through 90 degrees in 2 minutes." The object was travelling south to north from ABA mine to townsite. The object travelled in a straight line and disappeared behind another hill.

Same object:

Despite the 3.10am timing, Elder's observation appears to be of the same object as that described by the other three witnesses. However, unlike them, Elder reports seeing first one, then several objects.

What was it?

Hervey's size for the object as fifty metres long appears nowhere in the material on the RAAF file. His altitude above the ground of 10 meters appears drawn from Uchanski's estimate of "at least 30 feet."  However, he first wrote "hard to say. Could not judge" then took a guess. Other estimates are 100 feet; 200-300 feet; and "over 20,000 feet."

A check of the night sky (in Sky View cafe) as seen from Wittenoom for 3am on 2 Aug 1964 shows that the Moon was up, in the north-eastern sky. The planet Jupiter was near the Moon, and the planet Saturn was at 70 degrees elevation in the western sky.

On reading the descriptions on the file, my first thought was that the event was due to a bright meteor. The object was described as bright, soundless, travelling in a straight line, from horizon to horizon, and was multi-coloured. Elder also said it consisted of several objects. Only one witness reported seeing "windows" and analysis of other reports of meteors and re-entering space debri ( e.g. click here ) have shown that some people report seeing "windows" in these mundane events - a trick of the brain. No details given here are inconsistent with the object being such a bright meteor.

Far from being a close encounter type one event, the 2 Aug 1964 Wittenoom event is highly likely to have been an IFO.

Friday, May 25, 2012

"What happens when we detect Alien life?"

Dear readers,

This post is about two recent articles in science magazines, about SETI. As you will no doubt know, most SETI proponents steer clear of the UFO subject, preferring, as they say, not to get SETI tarnished with the UFO phenomenon. I came across the following two items the other day.

What happens when we detect Alien life?

The May 2012 issue of Astronomy magazine (Vol 40 No 5) carries an article by SETI astronomer Seth Shostak (click here for more on Seth) (pages 24-29.)

The article starts off "We've never heard a peep from aliens...then poses the question "...has any serious consideration gone into what happens when our efforts to detect cosmic intelligence pay off and we find a blip of a signal in the sea of radio noise that pours into the SETI antennas?"

Shostak then reviews the work of Frank Drake's "Project Ozma" (click here) and the International Academy of Astronautics' (click here) SETI detection protocols. The protocols "...boil down to this: (1) carefully verify that the signal is truly extraterrestrial, (2) inform other scientists and the public, and (3) seek international approval before transmitting any reply."

A discussion of possible public reactions to such an announcement follows. The author concludes "But this much we can say: If SETI succeeds, we'll have proof that biology is as much a part of the cosmos as pulsars and pockmarked planets. And, while instant brotherhood is unlikely to erupt suddenly on Earth, we'll at least know we're neither the crown of creation nor even particularly exceptional..."

Scanning for E.T.'s calls

The Scientific American magazine, April 2012 issue, Vol 306 No4 page 10, carries a piece about a new SETI initiative.

"More than 44,000 radio antennas will soon link over the Internet to create one of the most ambitious radio telescopes ever built. Its job will be to scan largely unexplored radio frequencies, hunting for the first stars and galaxies and, potentially, signals of extraterrestrial intelligence....The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) will consist of banks of antennas in 48 stations in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden and the UK...The array will be finished by the middle of this year...In the next few years, the array will also scan for artificial radio emissions as part of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) at lower, neglected frequencies than past SETI missions."

For more on LOFAR click here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vallee on McDonald - final part

Dear readers,

Adelaide today, is experiencing the start of  "winter" (it's still autumn) rains, with heavy falls all over the city. So, I thought I'd find a nice indoor location to finish what has turned out to be a four part post on James E McDonald as seen through the perspective of Jacque Vallee's diaries.

Chicago. Monday 17 July 1967

"McDonald continues to act like a bull in a china shop. Not only is he telling every journalist he knows that the United Nations wants to undertake a "discreet" (!) study on UFOs, he is instructing everyone to send massive amounts of UFO magazines and books to the "Moscow Committee for UFO Studies." " (p.297.)

Saint Germain. Thursday 9 May 1968

On the issue of the Condon committee's revelation over the Low memo. "Now I have learned how the expose unfolded. It appears that a meeting took place in Boulder, gathering all the critics of the Condon committee including Hynek and McDonald. But it is only after Hynek's departure that Saunders told McDonald about the memo, which had been discovered by staffer Ray Craig. Jim caught fire, charged ahead and used the memo immediately, in his typical "elephant in a china shop" fashion." (p.347.)

Willingboro. Sunday 2 March 1969

Writing after the release of the Condon report. "Jim McDonald is expected to write a formal critique on behalf of NICAP. Always the same old maneuvers: These people have understood nothing, nothing at all." (p.384.)

Belmont. Friday 7 May 1971

Professor James McDonald of the University of Arizona, who has become such a prominent advocate of UFO reality since the late sixties, has shot himself in the head. Allen just told me the very sad news. He isn't dead but will remain blind for the rest of his life. There is much speculation about the reasons for this failed suicide attempt. McDonald recently testified before the Senate, opposing the supersonic airplane...The media, gleefully, didn't fail to stress that this was the same professor McDonald who "believed in little green men." His colleagues shook their heads sadly, noting "you see, that's what happens when you get mixed up in all those stories."

Allen was shaken up in spite of his dislike for the man...I pointed out to him that we both had a solid sense of humor, a trait which had always been missing from Jim's personality." (p477.)

Belmont. Wednesday 16 June 1971

Jim McDonald has killed himself. His body was found in the Arizona desert. Janine and I can't shake the depression that this news has precipitated." (p.482.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vallee on McDonald - part three

Dear readers,

This is the third post in my series taking a look at James E McDonald, as viewed through the eyes of Jacques Vallee's diaries.

Chicago. Sunday 23 July 1966.

Speaking of Hynek's forward to his book "Challenge."

"Why  should he be defensive before McDonald? It is to the public that he owes an explanation. McDonald, who is fast becoming the darling of the ufologists, is only another demagogue." (p.198.)

Chicago. Sunday 24 July 1966.

"I am finishing the study of the Air Force files for 1951. I find landings and large cigar-shaped objects, just as in Aime Michel's classic work. I am beginning to think like McDonald: how could Hynek have missed this?" (p.199.)

Chicago. Tuesday 26 July 1966.

Speaking of Hynek. "He is still worried about McDonald, who gives orders at Wright Field as if he owned the base." (p.200.)

Chicago. Friday 7 October 1966.

"In the midst of all this Jim McDonald is trying hard to recapture the attention of the media, which is slipping away from him. He is now telling the press what he secretly believed all along: Flying saucers are extraterrestrial spacecraft. Big deal. He does not have any evidence to support his statement, so he has very little impact except among the small circle of the ufologists, who were already convinced. In the scientific world he carries far less weight now than he did last spring. Besides, the gossip in Arizonia academic circles is that his wife doesn't believe in UFOs." (p.223.)

Chicago. Tuesday 17 October 1966.

"Jim McDonald was going through O'Hare tonight. He took the time to call me, at the end of a gray cold day. He seemed much more calm than last time, perhaps because his personal position is now a matter of public record. He wanted  to know what was happening behind the scenes in France. I gave him a vague answer, without mentioning how high our contacts went. He told me he felt good about the Colorado team, given Condon's reputation as an intellectually independent man...McDonald only regrets seeing no field experienced scientist on the team..." (p.223.)

Chicago. Wednesday 29 March 1967.

"This evening, McDonald called me to say he was coming to Chicago in three weeks. he wanted to meet with me to discuss the results of my last trip to France. he is still trying to bring me into his team...The man is sure of himself as ever, he keeps telling everybody what to do. He has lost nothing of his arrogance." (p.249.)

Chicago. Sunday 16 April 1967.

Vallee was sorting papers at Hynek's house. "...I stumbled on something I felt was important. I found it among the relics of Project Henry. It was a simple letter dated 1954.

It came from a cloud physicist at the University of Chicago who was studying for a doctorate at the time. Together with three other physicists he had seen a bright unidentified object in the sky above Arizona. The letter gave precise details and calculations. It was signed James McDonald." (p.255.)

Chicago. Tuesday 18 April 1967.

"At lunch today I brought Bill Powers up to date. He told me he placed no trust in McDonald. "All his views are negatively oriented," he observed. "He doesn't propose anything concrete, otherwise he would just do it and move forward. All he does is to complain and criticize." (p.256.)

Chicago. Saturday 22 April 1967.

"Jim speaks today before the annual meeting of American newspaper editors. He has sent me the advance text of his remarks. This time all the cards are on the table. He repeats loudly what we have been saying in private about the Air Force, which he accuses of negligence, and about Menzel whom he practically calls incompetent. he also comes close to calling Hynek a coward...he accuses Menzel of not conducting a proper quantitative study, but he is guilty of the same thing. One minute he makes a big show of blowing up the doors that we have already forced open, the next he rushes forward crazily and hits his head against solid brick walls." (p.257.)

Chicago. Sunday 23 April 1967.

"In the evening Jim McDonald came over to Bryn Mawr...I hadn't seen McDonald in a year or so. I thought he looked much older, and he seemed to have lost some weight. He told us frankly that his press conference, without being a complete fiasco, had not led to the major fight he had been hoping for. Menzel had skilfully avoided him. Klass had wasted his time. Quintilla had not contradicted him. Reporters in the audience had asked questions that were too limited in scope...."  (p.258.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ashtar Command - an Australian connection

Hi all

Over the years I have come across a number of individuals with stories to tell. The other day, for some reason, I thought about a man I interviewed several years ago in a northern suburb of Adelaide. After hearing his story he suddenly lapsed into what seemed to be a trance state and started receiving automatic writing communications from a source he said was the Ashtar Command. I hadn't previously known much about the Command.

However, I was in the State Library of South Australia the other day and found myself in the section which dealt with religions. I idly browsed the shelves with nothing particular in mind. A book edited by Christopher Patridge title "UFO Religions" published by Routledge, in 2003 in London caught my eye. Opening the book,  I noted that chapter eight was "From Extraterrestrials to Ultraterrestrials: The evolution of the concept of Ashtar," and included an Australian connection.


Contactee George Van tassel "...began to receive extraterrestrial messages via a telepathic connection which introduced to the UFO and metaphysical communities a being called Ashtar." (p.163.)

"...Ashtar spoke with a great deal of apocalyptic concern over the development and testing of the hydrogen bomb." (p.164.)

"By the mid 1950s Ashtar and the concept of a galactic law enforcement organisation preparing to rescue humanity had become well-established within UFO religious circles." (p.169.)

Interestingly, "Dozens of people were claiming contact with Ashtar (and therefore authority) and presenting conflicting messages." (p.170.)

For years, after this channelling Ashtar declined in popularity. "Indeed the entire concept of the Ashtar Command may have been lost had it not been for the work done by a charismatic channeller named Tuella (the pseudonym of Thelma B Terrill) in the 1970s and 1980s." (p.170.)

In addition, " Yvonne Cole, who had been channel;ling Ashtar since 1986, warned her followers that the destruction of the planet would occur in 1994." (p.173.)

World wide web:

With the arrival of the internet, "A great deal of effort was put into producing a single Ashtar world view." (p.173.)

"The Ashtar Command is a spiritual network of Lightbeings...Their role is also to assist us on a personal, spiritual level." (p.175.)

By 1994 some Ashtar Command members said "...they had been taken off Earth and placed aboard the 'ships of light' that were circling the planet." (pp175-176.) "...a core group of seven Ashtar Command members meeting in Australia began providing detailed accounts of their time aboard the ships." (p.176.)


In providing a summary, an author called Hellard is quotes as writing "The understanding of Ashtar as a flesh-and-blood extraterrestrial has now been replaced by an understanding of him as a spiritual being, even an Ascended Master." (p.177.)


A strange coincidence of thinking of an Adelaide man I interviewed years ago, and finding this chapter in a library book, has now given me a better understanding of the concept of the "Ashtar Command."

For more reading on the Ashtar Command (click here  and here. ) For an Australian connection (click here  and here.) 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

AURA - Adelaide Seminar - May 19 2012

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.

Friday, May 11, 2012

UFO on radar? - new RAAF UFO file emerges

Hi all

RAAF file series J63, control symbol 5/51/Air barcode 1877393 was recently released to me by the National Archives of Australia.

The file (of 4 pages) is titled "Unidentified Flying Objects - Townsville Radar Area," and is dated from 1978. The front cover indicates that the file originated from headquarters RAAF base Townsville and was opened on 3 April 1978.

Page 2;

This is a "Priority" message form and is from  RAAF base Townsville to DEFAIR Canberra, and HQOC. The recipient in the Department of Air is the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence and the recipient in Headquarters Operations Command is the Command Intelligence Officer.

The subject line is "Unidentified Aircraft report." The text is in some kind of standardised format system and reads as follows:

"Ax HQTVL A018/HQ of 30 Mar 1978.
Bx   Summary of unidentified aircraft sightings in the Townsville area on 30 Mar 1978.

300201Z Townsville radar painted unidentified object bearing 085 deg M at 47NM. Estimated heading 300 deg M and speed 180-200 knots.

RAAF and civil ops had no known traffic in the area. Townsville customs were informed.

300217Z EDQ A Beach Barron Dep Townsville to intercept unknown aircraft.

300225Z Unidentified aircraft bearing 330 deg M at 38NM. EDQ bearing 340 deg at 39NM.

Page 3:

300235Z Paint faded with object bearing 325 deg M at 57NM. EDQ at this time was at 5000 ft and painting strongly, so it is assumed that the object aircraft was flying low level.

300725Z A second aircraft was painted on radar bearing 095degM at 35NM. Heading was towards Townsville and speed was estimated at 5miles/min.

300726Z Exc reported Townsville on an intercept course but sighted nothing.

300727Z Paint faded and lost at 20NM Townsville.

310221Z A further sighting was recorded position 070 deg M 38NM Townsville heading 340 deg speed 148kts.

310225Z Position 055 degM 42NM Townsville heading 010 deg.

310230Z Lost contact 045 deg M 50NM.

Page 4:

Cx The ABC evening news on 30 Mar reported that the sightings on the afternoon of the 30 Mar were two aircraft on a ferry flight from Honiarra to Sydney but the SOC DOT advised that there were three aircraft Nandi to Sydney but they were accounted for at the time.


This file is reminiscent of a series of RAAF files from Darwin, file series E12327/25 control symbol 5/4/Air, titled "Unusual sightings - incidents." These files list a mixture of what seem like observations of meteors; aircraft sightings, condensation trail sightings etc. The series seems a catch all for unusual sightings of all kinds, presumably kept to document any possible "foreign aircraft intrusions" in the north of Australia.

Folio 157 says "Memo HQOC to various units. “Whilst the investigation of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) is understandably a tedious one …it is nevertheless necessary to obtain as comprehensive a record as possible of such occurrences.”

Take a look at for more information about the Australian Government's UFO files.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Angel Hair" - spiders or UFOs? A "new" old Australian case located.


In 2001 I published a catalogue and analysis of known Australian "Angel Hair" cases (click here). "Angel Hair" is the name given to falls from the sky, of a substance which carpets an area of the ground. Debate has raged over whether the falls are due to spiders, or to something connected to the UFO phenomenon.

"New" old case:

While in the South Australian State Library recently, I came across details of another Australian fall, previously unknown to me, from 1963. It was reported in the Western Australian newspaper, the "Sunday Times" dated 8 September 1963, as cited in the UFO magazine "Panorama." published by the former Adelaide group UFOPIA (Volume2 number 6 of 1963.)

The details:

At 8am on 29 August 1963, a fall of "air silk" (as the newspaper put it)  began, which lasted for two hours. Lengths of a substance up to about 30 feet (9 metres) glistened in the sunlight as they fell from the sky. The material fell over a wide area which included the locality of Cue, Western Australia (latitude 27deg 26min S; 117 deg 54 min E); Mt Magnet (50 miles - 80kms - south of Cue); and Big Bell (18 miles -29kms - NW of Cue.)

One eyewitness, Mr A N Deas, of Cue said the material had the appearance of large cobwebs and drifted in from the East on a slight breeze.

Other eyewitnesses, Mrs P Thomas and her three children, reported seeing what appeared to be two "balloons" moving across the sky at about 8.30am.

A public analyst, Mr P Asotoff, conducted a chemical analysis of the substance. He reported that the strands of the material measured 2.5 to 3 microns across. It was not synthetic; or plastic and not asbestos. He detected the presence of Glutamic acid, which is associated with silk compounds. Mr Asotoff is quoted as stating "it is spiders web."


In the analysis section of my 2001 paper, I wrote that the data on known Australian "Angel Hair" falls revealed that:

1. The geographic areas of falls clustered between latitude 25 and 38 degrees South of the equator.

Cue, WA, is at latitude 27deg 26min South, which fits in the above range.

2. The calendar months with the highest number of falls are May and August.

The Cue fall was in August.

3. All falls occurred with start times between 8.20am and 4pm and were daytime events.

The Cue event started at 8am.

4. An odd fact which I noted was that all falls which occurred in the season of winter, occurred in the morning; and all spring/autumn falls took place in the afternoon. Why this should be so is unknown to me.

The August 1963, Cue event took place in August, i.e. winter in Australia, and in the morning. Thus Cue once again fits the previously observed pattern.

5. All falls were of lengthy duration, ranging from 40 to 300 minutes.

The Cue event is reported to have taken place for 120 minutes.

6. In rural locations (Cue is rural) the air temperature at the time of the event was in the range 7.2deg C to 15.2deg C measured at the nearest meteorological observation site.

We do not have temperature details for the Cue event.

7. In all cases set in rural surroundings, the wind speed was reported to be "light" at the nearest meteorological observation site.

Cue eyewitness, Mr A N Deas reported a "slight breeze."

8. Cloud cover was 2/8 or less in 11 out of the 15 cases where this factor is known. It was a cloudless sky in 9 out of the 15 cases.

This factor is unknown for the Cue event.

9. "UFOs" were reported in 8 out of the total number of cases in the catalogue. Their shape was described as round (5 cases); elongated (1 case) with 2 shapes not known.

Cue eyewitness Mrs P Thomas reported seeing what she thought were balloons (presumably round) in the sky at 8.30am.

10. Falls were recorded over a large distance, i.e. 40-80kms.

The WA fall was reported to have been noted at places 80kms apart.


It is fascinating, 11 years after producing a catalogue and analysis, to have located another Australian "Angel Hair" event.

The data from Cue, closely resembles that discussed in the original 2001 analysis.

Have readers of this blog come across any other Australian "Angel Hair" cases not reported in my 2001 catalogue?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Vallee on McDonald - part two

Dear readers,

This post will continue from my previous one (click here) which started taking a look at what Jacques Vallee's diaries told us about James E McDonald, as seen from Vallee's perspective.

"Chicago. Thursday 9 June 1966.
...Afterwards Hynek bought me lunch...Naturally we compared notes about McDonald, and we discovered we had the same impression: extremely positive and enthusiastic at first, then a certain feeling of mistrust towards the man, an uneasy reaction that was hard to define." (p.188.)

"Chicago. Sunday 12 June 1966.
Tomorrow Hynek goes to Wright Field to meet with the Base Commander, General Cruikshanks. He wants to find out just how impressed he was with McDonald's arguements...In his answer the Secretary of the Air Force says he has "Carefully studied" his ideas: indeed the Air Force will go ahead with university-based investigations, which McDonald wanted to scratch as  academic, worthless and irrelevant." (p.188.)

"Chicago. Thursday 16 June 1966.
...Hynek seems more preoccupied and tense than ever. The source of his worries is McDonald's abrasive, insulting ways, so diametrically opposed to his own gentle and witty personality. I pointed out that McDonald's radicalism would in fact make the way smoother for him. He is preparing a lecture before the American Optical Society in which he will argue that a serious, sober study is needed. In contrast, McDonald now advocates throwing everything overboard." (pp188-9.)

"Chicago. Thursday 23 June 1966.
Hynek can't sleep anymore, caught as he is between McDonald's vitriolic attacks and the Air Force's desertion...Finally he picked up the phone and woke up the Lorenzens to share his distress with them. They told him that Jim McDonald had had a strong interest in UFOs for the last four years. So, why is he pretending to have suddenly "discovered" a scandal? Why has he picked Hynek as his primary target?"  (p.192.)

"Chicago. Sunday 26 June 1966.
Jim McDonald called me yesterday from Tucson to get more data about power failure cases. We ended up spending an hour on the phone talking about the general situation of the field. He confessed to me that his radical campaign bore little fruit so far. He acknowledged he had not succeeded in convincing Kuiper either. Even his friend Brian O'Brien, with whom he had another meeting last Friday, remains skeptical. One would think he would learn something from this. Yet he continues to claim that the lack of interest in the subject among scientists is all Hynek's fault. He has clearly been indoctrinated by the folks at NICAP especially Keyhoe and Hall. In a conversation with McDonald, Hall has even insinuated that Hynek doesn't really know much about the UFO problem, and that he had only done research on "five or six cases," which is patently false. Hyneck's only interest in the whole thing, Hall told McDonald, is the money he gets from the Air Force!...Jim tries to recruit me for his camp.

"If it wasn't for your influence, and all the research you brought over from France, Hynek would still be arguing that ninety-nine percent of those reports are due to Venus or to marsh-gas!" he said. "It's time for you to move on."

Yet I don't see what good McDonald's approach will do, if he keeps behaving like a bull in a china shop." (p.195.)

"Chicago. Sunday 10 July 1966.
...when I think about the coming year it seems probable that the UFO scene will now be narrowed to two main groups...On one side will be the university group that will be funded by the Air Force, and on the other side NICAP which will find a strong supporter in McDonald. I think he has enough ambition to see the UFO problem as a springboard that can send him to the foremost echelon in American science.

The other day he told me on the phone that "Hynek's hesitation demonstrated he wasn't the man of the situation." The implication was that he Jim McDonald was the one who should lead ufology to its ultimate victory and that I should rally under his banner. He certainly is a true man of action, capable of organizing a vast campaign, leaving no detail uncovered. He does not have Hynek's subservient attitude towards power, his obsequiousness towards the military. For example, McDonald has clearly seen through Hynek's harmless pleasure at having a jeep and a driver at his disposal in Michigan. What he fails to recognize in Hynek are the other important and subtle traits in his character...Where was McDonald all these years?" (p.197.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vallee on McDonald -part one

Dear readers

Adelaide has slipped into its third month of autumn, bringing rain with it. Our climate is technically classed as "Mediterranean," meaning that we have long hot summers, and rain falls mainly in our winter time. So autumn rain is always most welcome.

I have been closely following the postings of my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, on the work of Dr James E McDonald, through Ann Druffel's book "Firestorm." As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a keen student of the work of Jacques Vallee. Druffel cites Vallee's comments about McDonald in "Firestorm."

I thought it might be useful to bring out my copy of Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Journals 1957-1969," (published by North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA. ISBN 1-55643-125-2) to see what Vallee himself wrote about McDonald. As few people seem to have copies of Vallee's Journals, I'd like to share references from the book with readers.

"Chicago. Wednesday 8 June 1966.
A major event has happened in the last few days. A friend of Brian O'Brien has launched a bold new campaign that is taking everybody by surprise. His name is James McDonald, forty-five years old, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Arizona. Having suddenly become interested in the subject, he read many books, including Anatomy and decided to do his own research. Through O'Brien he asked to be authorized to spend two days at Wright Field. He began by requesting to be shown all the cases of "globular lightning." He was amazed and horrified at what he saw; case after case that obviously had nothing at all to do with electrical discharges in the air. So he asked to see more and started reading the general files, getting increasingly upset as he kept on reading.

McDonald moved very fast once he realized, as he told us bluntly, "that the explanations were pure bullshit." So he bypassed the Major and went straight to the General who heads up the base, to tell him exactly what he thought of Blue Book. After forty-five minutes, which is much longer than Hynek ever spent with the General, they were talking about the humanoid occupants! Then he flew back to Arizona and started contacting all the amateur investigators, one by one, from APRO to NICAP. He made an appointment to see Hynek.

We have just had lunch with McDonald today, and it is clear that an entire era has come to a crashing end. This man has many contacts, many ideas, and he is afraid of nothing.

He reached the campus about 11:30 and Hynek took him on a tour of the observatory. At noon I went to pick them up, and I drove them back to Hynek's office, where we all sat down. McDonald signed the Guest book, and I presented him with a copy of Phenomenes Insolites.

After that the serious business began, with a forceful attack against Hynek.

"How could you remain silent so long?"

I jumped in before a fight could erupt.

"If Allen had taken a strong position last year the Air Force would have dropped him as a consultant and we wouldn't be here talking about the phenomenon."

McDonald brushed aside my comment.

"I'm not talking about last year. It's in 1953 that Allen should have spoken out! Public opinion was  ready for a serious scientific study."

"In 1953 I was nothing, a negligible quantity for the Air Force," replied Hynek. "Ruppelt regarded me with considerable misgivings, as a first class bother. He didn't like to have a scientist looking over his shoulder."

"Yet he says some nice things about you in his book."

"That didn't stop him from playing very close to the chest whenever I was around. He didn't let me see his cards."

The debate remained on that level, with McDonald insisting that Hynek had a duty to say something while Hynek would only concede that he had been "a little timid."

Bill and I kept trying to explain to McDonald that any forceful statement by Hyenk would have thrown him out of the inner circle. It could even have precipitated a decision by some General to put the files into the garbage.

Eventually we set aside our differences and the four of us went to lunch. At the restaurant the discussion became more constructive. Hynek retraced in detail the real history of Project Blue Book, truly an incredible tale. Thus he explained how, following Ruppelt's departure, he had seen a succession of unqualified, uninterested officers at the head of Blue Book. He was almost never invited to give an opinion. Hardin neglected his duties completely, he said. He spent all his time following the stock market while waiting for retirement. Indeed, today he runs a brokerage office. McDonald was astonished, although he ought to have some experience of how the military runs. I can see how difficult it will be for the public to understand the situation, when the history of this incredible period finally gets written down." (Vallee, pp186-187.)

Project Galileo

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