Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Australian sighting reports - the final post

Hi all,

Between September 2014 and September 2015, Melbourne colleague Paul Dean, and I published a series of detailed monthly blog posts. These posts provided any reader with that month's summary of 30-40 Australian sighting reports and sources.

Following this 12 months, we then reverted in recent times to only reporting and analysing Australian sighting reports which seemed to occupy that 5% of all incoming raw reports which, at first glance, do not appear to have a mundane explanation.

Now, however, we need to again review the best use of our time. Paul specialises in using both the Australian and the American Freedom of Information Acts, to obtain hard to get documentation, as his recent blog posts will attest to.

I have been spending my time on two major projects. Last year I started, and completed stage one of, Project Newsprint. This Project aims to seek out both current and past sightings from rural and remote Australia. I am about to commence stage two in the new year.

My other Project is "Magonia Down Under," which aims to collect, catalogue and analyse Australian pre 24 June 1947 observations. The research results are published at http://magoniadownunder.blogspot.com.au

Therefore, due to this workload, Paul and I have decided that we do not have the time to continue searching for, and analysing Australian sighting reports on an ongoing basis.

We are therefore terminating our second series of monthly Australian sighting reports.  Naturally, we still appreciate readers sending us copies of any documented, investigation reports they might prepare.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Argentinian official study group releases report

Hi all,

The Argentinian Air Force announced in 2011, that they were establishing an official government UFO investigation unit, to study reports. Its name is the Commission for the Investigation of Aerospace Phenomena (CEFAe).

Their website is sparse.

Recently, on their website they advised that they had published a report on cases investigated in 2015. Details of ten cases are provided, mainly reported in 2015. Nine cases included either photographs or videos. All cases were satisfactorily explained as due to mundane causes which included stars; aircraft navigation lights; the international space station; a small ball thrown into the air; the planet Jupiter; a bird; and the Moon.

Index of cases.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Research into Australian pre 24 June 1947 UAP

Hi all,

I have become increasingly re-interested in researching Australian pre 24 June 1947 UAP reports. As you may have noticed, of late,  I have published a number of blog posts about this research area. However, I appreciate that some readers do not share my interest in this area. So, I have decided to start up a new blog devoted to just this research. You will find it at:


I hope you might stop by, take a look, and see if this interests you. If so, you might care to recommend it to others. If not, then  I hope you will continue reading this blog.

Keith Basterfield.

Friday, December 11, 2015

"A supposed escaped balloon crossing the centre of Western Australia" - 1893

Hi all,


In an earlier post I wrote about a "balloon" seen over Western Australia in 1894. I now have additional information about this incident.

I originally received an email from Peter Bridge of Hesperian Press in Western Australia. Peter told me that in 2004 he had reprinted L R Menzie’s book “A Gold Seekers Odyssey” first printed in 1937. Peter read a number of old newspapers for biographical details of prospectors and found the following account, and added it as an appendix .
It comes from the “Australian Advertiser” newspaper (a precursor to the “Albany Advertiser”) dated 15 October 1894. It is to be found on page 156 of “A Gold Seekers Odyssey.”

The account
“A correspondent signing himself “Eye witness” writes to the Victorian Express as follows from the Murchison goldfield:- Although rather late, I beg to inform you that about the second week in October, Mr Menzie, the manager of The Star of the East mine, was fixing the tram work of the battery, and when placing one of the uprights he caught sight of a large balloon passing along the line of sight.

Naturally, such an extraordinary visitor caused an ejaculation of surprise from Mr Menzie. All hands (some ten of us) looked up and perceived the object that so surprised Mr Menzie to be a large balloon travelling at a terrific rate from north-west to south-east. Although at a great altitude, the balloon could be distinctly seen in every outline and was travelling at such a rate of speed that the body of the balloon was considerably in advance of the car.
The ariel (sic) visitor created more than surprise at the time and every man was going to write to the paper about it but the old-old story every body’s business invariably turns out to be no body’s business and thus the matter was never published.

Joe Clarke and Quinn who are now shareholders in the Lady mine and myself were among the men working at The Star of the East with Mr Menzie and witnesses the sight described. It would appear probable that the balloon escaped from any port of the Indies or The Strait settlements as it came from that direction.
The general opinion at the time was that possibly it was being prepared from some experimental military work or probably for exhibition purposes when it broke adrift. It would indeed be interesting to know if it had been seen in any other part of the world and where it came from and where it has gone to.”

Research notes

1. I visited the National Library of Australia’s TROVE digitised newspaper collection. Unfortunately they do not have copies of the “Australian Advertiser.”
2. I wondered if the reference to the Victorian Express was a reference to another newspaper?  Indeed TROVE revealed that there was a paper of this name. The “Victorian Express” was published in Geraldton, Western Australia between 1878-1894. TROVE did have copies. A search located the account in the Friday 28 September 1894 issue, on page 3. Here there was one slight difference in the account.

The date of the event is said to have been “…about the second week in last October.” As the item appeared in the 28 September 1894 issue it can only refer to October 1893, and not 1894 as I first assumed.  The story was headed “A supposed balloon crossing the centre of Western Australia.”

3.  Another search through TROVE revealed that a shortened version of the story did appear in the following newspapers:
a. “The Telegraph.” (Brisbane, Qld 1872-1941) on Saturday 5 January 1895 p.2.

b. “Warwick Examiner and Times.” (Qld 1867-1918.) on Saturday 12 January 1895 p.4.

c. “Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate.” (NSW 1876-1954) on Thursday 27 December 1894 p.5.
d. “The Daily Northern Argus” (Rockhampton, Qld 1875-1896.) on Thursday 10 January 1895 p.2.

4. An Internet search revealed that Leslie Robert Menzie was a prominent figure in the search for gold, both in Australian and overseas. He was indeed the Manager of The Star of the East Mine. This mine was located 620 kilometres north-north-east of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. The nearest town to the mine was Meekatharra, some 40 kilometres away, the latitude of Meekatharra is 26.6 degrees South and its longitude is 118.5 degrees East.
Image courtesy of Google maps.
5. Having established that the location existed, and that the main witness' details are consistent with an historical figure, can we say anything about the object itself? Unfortunately, we do not have an exact date and time. All we have is "about the second week" in October 1893. Presumably the observation occurred during daylight hours.
We do know that the object travelled from north-west to south-east. However, without recourse to weather details we cannot even say whether or not the object was travelling with the wind, across the wind or in what direction the wind was blowing at the time. In fact, the article makes no mention of the weather conditions at the time.
The object's appearance was such that it is described as a balloon, and it is noted that there is mention of a "car" presumably referring to the idea that a large balloon would have a gondola. However, then the account says it "...was travelling at such a rate of speed that the body of the balloon was considerably in advance of the car." I am not sure what to make of this. No sketch is provided to clarify this.
6. In summary, I think that the best I can do is record what I have found, and leave the reader to deduce any further information that they may be able.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

New book alert - "Return to Magonia."

Hi all,

I have been reading a new book "Return to Magonia: Investigating UFOs in History" by Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough. The book was published in 2015 by Anomalistic Books, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Its ISBN is 978-1-938398-54-4.

The authors

Chris Aubeck lives in Spain, and in 2003, founded an historical research group titled "Magonia Exchange." Chris gives presentations on the evaluation of UFOs as cultural history, and has co-authored a book titled "Wonders in the Sky" with veteran researcher Jacques Vallee. Chris recently advised me that a revised edition of this book will be out soon. Chris was also the organiser of the recent conference "The Inhabited Sky" held in Madrid, Spain.

Image courtesy of Amazon books.
Martin Shough, who lives in Scotland, has been a frequent contributor of technical articles on the website of the National Aviation Reporting Centre for Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) in the USA.

Return to Magonia
"Return to Magonia" takes a look at numerous historical sightings with a date range between 1991BC and 1947 AD (with mention of sightings as late as 2012.) Its geographic spread takes in countries such as the USA; UK; Germany; Turkey; India, and Australia.
It provides details of each sighting from as close to the original source as possible, and then to my delight, attempts to analyse the event to find a cause. Along the way we learn a lot about astronomy; mirages; other meteorological phenomena; human observational skills, and, of course, UFOs.
Image courtesy of Amazon books.
Two representative cases, will illustrate the authors' methodology in each sighting presented in the book. As I live in Australia, I will use two from my country.
Firstly, from November 1862 is an observation by one O E Middleton, from near Morpoth, New South Wales, published in November 1866.
Middleton reports that "...early one morning" he heard a very peculiar rushing noise "...and that looking immediately overhead I saw distinctly a large meteor travelling with amazing rapidity in a southeasterly direction. Its apparent size was that of a large cask of a dark colour, the surface irregular..." which led Middleton "...to conjecture it was revolving on its axis." (p.168.)
The authors located an Osman Edward Middleton who matched the known details of the observer. Having established that the witness existed, they next looked at what conventional explanations might fit the observation. They suggest that "...the "dark color", surface detail, and absence of any trail appears to rule out a fireball meteor or any other astronomical explanation." (p.170.)
They then consider, and reject, the possibility of a dust whirl or a tornado funnel. They did not think the explanation lay in a dense flock of birds, or a swarm of insects. An early powered airship was also considered and rejected.
Their final conclusion was "We cannot suggest any mundane phenomenon that tallies perfectly with this sighting." (p.173.)
Flying eggs
My second example happened in my own state, when on 6 February 1947 (documented at the time) an event occurred at Port Augusta, South Australia. Three workers of the Commonwealth Railways workshop, including a Mr Ron Ellis, reported seeing five, white or light pink coloured, egg shaped objects, pass over them. They "...appeared to be quivering;" were in formation and "...were casting shadows" as they travelled form north to south.
Chronicle (Adelaide) Thursday 13 February 1947 p.6.
Another sighting from Lock, South Australia, earlier that same day, reported five, oblong shaped objects, "floating" through the sky from north-west to south-east "...and caused a shadow."
Research established that the named witness at Port August, Ron Ellis; and the named witness at Lock, existed in historical records.
As to cause, Aubeck and Shough, considered the possibility of a superbolide unlikely (no other reports from other parts of South Australia); a flight of birds; balloons; aircraft and military operations at Woomera.
In conclusion, they wrote "...this is a striking case, and is certainly of great historical and cultural interest. Simply put, this is a modern UFO..." (p.350.)
For details of my own research on this case, click here.
Cold cases
As an individual who loves "cold case" analysis, I was in my element with this book. Some cases are shown to have mundane explanations including planets; fireballs; volcanic eruptions; ball lightning; and mirages. However, there are others which defy a reasonable explanation. The authors therefore remind us that some pre 24 June 1947 historical report have much in common with modern UFOs. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The "Inhabited Sky" conference

Hi all,

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have an interest in pre 24 June 1947 reports; as my recent catalogue shows. It was therefore nice to recently, (although belatedly,) come across details of a conference, looking at such older reports.

The "El Cielo habitado" conference, was held in Madrid, Spain over two days, 27-28 May 2015, and was organised by Chris Aubeck.  Included in the event were presentations by Jacques Vallee; Chris Aubeck; Nigel Watson; Theo Paijmans; Jesus Callejo; and Juan Jose Sanchez-Oro.

On the 27th
Jacques Vallee spoke on the social impact of reports of anomalous phenomena through the ages. 

Nigel Watson reviewed the media reporting of advances in aviation and space travel and its shaping of cultural responses.

Theo Paijmans examined the early twentieth century cultural impact of comics and other forms of literature, in relation to the phenomena.

There was then a question and answer time with Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck.

On the 28th
Juan Jose Sanchez-Oro, examined medieval art in search of clues to reports of that era.
Chris Aubeck covered the idea of a populated universe from Ancient Greece to the beginning of the modern era of "flying saucers."
Jesus Callejo, a journalist and author of over twenty books on history and folklore, spoke about the idea of flying machines before these were known in orthodox history.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books.
For those blog readers interested in reading more on these topics, you might like to take a look at "Wonders in the Skies" by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books.
 For any blog readers who can read Spanish, take a look at "Ooparts: Objetos fuera de su tiempo" (Objects out of time) by Juan Jose Sanchez-Oro and Chris Aubeck.
A number of conference presentations are available on Youtube, including the following:

Jacques Vallee.

Chris Aubeck.

Nigel Watson.

Alternative view
Jason Colavito, is a US author, editor, and blogger, who refers to himself as a "sceptical xenoarchaeologist." After the conference, Colavito posted a review of some of Jacques Vallee's presentation. Colavito has previously published pieces, critical of Vallee's work in this area, which may be read here and here. Other pieces about Vallee's work, by Colavito appear here , here , and here.  


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Project Newsprint - stage one concludes

Hi all,

The initial stage of my year long project to collect sightings reports, from rural and remote Australia, is drawing to a close in Western Australia. It is now time to take a look at what I found in this state.

Courtesy Google maps.

Older sightings

Firstly, I collected a lot of older sightings in the time range 1890's  to 1997. A representative list follows:

“My family used to camp a lot and I remember dad saw a UFO. He actually reported it to the authorities. There were no reported planes in that area that night. Nothing ever came of it.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 6 June 2014.

“My late bro in law used to see a lot of night activity at Waroora station. He saw the Min Min light a lot and other strange stuff early hours of the morning. Too weird to tell.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 6 June 2014.

“My late brother Ray and wife Lorna didn’t believe in UFOs ... and had to drive a concrete mixer truck to Perth once for repair. Both went together and as they approached Three Springs about 2am they saw a light shining on the moonlit night from way up. It was a beam shining down on the cemetery in Three Springs that scared the life out of Ray and Lorna so much that he put his foot down on the truck and Lorna laid on the floor of the truck until they got out of town. They became believers of course.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 6 June 2014.

An elderly lady recounted an observation of her father. “He was a bushman, his name was Jack. He worked in the north-western part of Australia and used to use a dray and four horses to cart things around. One day he was plodding along when he saw this light coming straight towards him, just before it reached him it separated into two  lights which flew separately either side of the horses. The horses were scared and started going out of control. He did not see what happened to the lights.”Source:  AUFORN compiled reports, issue 23, August 2001.

1960’s early 70’s
“My father and his friend travelled around Australia in his early years. He was in his late 20’s I think. He was able to get work at Exmouth setting up the communications, this is where he and about 200 people witnessed a craft directly above them. The Americans would set up an outside picture theatre for the staff every weekend and whilst they were watching the film the craft appeared above them. Left at an incredible pace. This is the story my father told me as a child. Would have been in the late 60’s I guess or early 70’s.” Source: Email from Kris to Keith Basterfield 2 Nov 2015.

NW Cape to Karratha - courtesy Google maps

“We saw many UFOs over the ranges and over the town in 1968-1973 looked like large golf shiny balls sitting on top of Charlie Knife Road we always saw them anytime any year.One night we went out to shoot a roo and came back as quick as we could when we saw something landing in the bush at night. We went flat strap back home.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 3 June 2014.

“In 1973 as a rigger on the towers, myself, ... saw a metallic object above the towers for more than an hour. We reported it to the Navy and never heard another thing about it.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 20 Nov 2015

“Geraldton to Exmouth. Early hours of morning. Driving a few kilometres after crossing Lyndon River. Unsealed road. Dad and I also out fishing one evening just on dusk and saw something much like Bill had seen. It was approximately 1974 as I remember being home from boarding school. It was at the light house beach. We were pretty excited. I remember dad calling the RAAF base to report the incident but no report of any aircraft in the area at the time.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page.

“Interesting to read your post. I actually am still convinced to this day that I saw a UFO sitting on the Canyons. There was Kev, me and two others driving out to Kailis for the cockroach races. This was about 1975. I saw this huge thing sitting on top of the canyon. I mentioned it but they remarked it was the Moon. Wasn’t until we got to Kailis that I noticed the full Moon was actually over the opposite end of the gulf! I never mentioned it again.” Source: Exmouth Adventure Facebook page 6 June 2014.
While driving between Exmouth and the Naval Communication Station, an individual reported an unusual very bright light in the sky over a period of time. Source: http://ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/sightings-at-us-navcommsta-harold-e.html
“Don’t know if it’s the same incident but it would have been about 1991. I think we told what we’d seen – on a night mobile APS patrol, when departing HFR access road, we saw a stationary solid light to the south, “about 2000 feet up.” It paced us enroute to Exmouith, then veered off over Learmonth airfield. It stopped for about 30 seconds then it did a couple of passes over the field. Stopped after each pass (passes were in an instant) stopped, then went straight up till it was out of sight – again, in an instant.” Source: Exmouth Adventure facebook page 19 Nov 2015.
A spectacular nocturnal encounter involving a civilian and two Australian Federal Police officers. Source: http://ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/an-extraordinary-close-encounter-near.html

Satellite courtesy Google maps - NW Cape to Karratha.
Mid 1990's.
“I have seen some strange lights out by the VLF in the mid90’s.” Source: Exmouth Adventure facebook page 19 Nov 2015.
Newer sightings
Besides the older sightings, I also heard of a few, newer sightings. These included:
WA newspaper websites
I took a look at a number of websites for Western Australian newspapers, and found that they had not carried many stories at all, from locations in WA,  about UAP. They carried pieces about sightings in other parts of Australia, but not local ones.
Donnybrook Bridgetown Mail 9 May 2012

In summary
1. My original aim for the Project was to investigate whether or not there existed, recent (say over the last ten years) interesting UAP reports in rural and remote Australia I believe that part one of the Project, in Western Australia shows that not only are there such reports, but that a large number of unknown older sighting reports have simply lain there waiting for someone like me to ask people to talk about them.
2. There is a definite shift in recent years, away from reporting sightings through newspaper to reporting through social media, particularly Facebook, as evidenced by the existence of such Facebook groups as "Pilbara UFO" and "Exmouth Adventure." No doubt there are other such pages which I didn't come across.
3. A concluding remark is, that I remain amazed that none of the state based UAP groups has undertaken this sort of Project that I have commenced upon.
4. The next state on my list is Victoria.

November 2015 - Australian documented reports roundup

Hi all,

This is the second of the new series of taking a look at Australian national level monthly sightings reports.  The first series ran for twelve months and each month brought you summaries of 35-40 Australian sighting reports and their sources. This proved to be too time consuming for Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean, and I, so we changed to a new format. Last month we brought you only four October reports, however each had been investigated as far as it was possible, and we documented what we had been able to find out.

Current reports

This month, covers November 2015. Surprisingly, Paul and I found no report worthy of deeper study. The reports which we did look at were easily explainable in terms of mundane explanations, e.g. meteors. fireballs, aircraft, satellites.

If you feel you have come across a report dated November 2015, which has been investigated, and documented in the style that I have done on my blog, e.g. Oakey ; or Blue Haven then please forward it to me at keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au for inclusion in next month's summary. We are not interested in hearing that "a large cigar shaped object was seen by three people" if no-one has interviewed those three people and written up an investigation report. Neither are we interested in seeing a video, which is night vision, has no reference points, and is not accompanied by an interview of what the videographer saw at the time. The blog post "Videos- field work is important" shows that we do support individuals who take videos, but they do have a responsibility to work with an analyst and document the sighting, just like any other.

Older reports
"Project Newsprint", a one year Project to seek sighting reports from rural and remote parts of Australia, has in fact turned up some interesting reports from Western Australia. Details are available in the following series of blog posts.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Encounter at Karratha, Western Australia

Hi all,


In the process of collecting reports from Western Australia, I heard from a Karratha resident about an incident which occurred to him in 2010. He kindly provided me with the following details.

Courtesy Google maps

The encounter

"Driving to an 8am meeting at DPA in October 2010 from Karratha (it was the same day and year that everyone in New York saw heaps of white orbs above New York – I found this out much later, a year or two later on the internet). There was no-one on the road as everyone on the Burrup Peninsula goes to work at around 6:30am and this was at 8am.
Came just past airport looked east and saw a strange object hovering (white, shaped like a lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear) over water to the north of the airport just around (South and slightly west) from Hearsons cove (the object seemed to be about 1km away but actually on Google earth it measures more like 3km and I estimated its size to be a football field long – about 150m).
I thought “what is that?” and initially thought “it can’t be a ufo it’s not a disk or cigar shape” thought it must be perhaps new grandstands at the speedway but I could see underneath so it didn’t make sense. My mind then became confused trying to work out what it was. I carried on out along the Burrup rd as was very close to meeting time with the DPA.
About ¾ along Burrup Rd I suddenly saw a light grey sphere rise up straight from behind the hill (where the first object would have been). It then proceeded  to travel from there across the south of BFPL fertiliser plant over KBIE hover for a while and then it sped off out north over DPA to sea (either sped away or shrunk to nothing, hard to say) I remember groping for camera and realised all I had was new S2 Samsung phone which takes ages to get into camera and would have taken too long. Besides I didn’t want to stop or draw attention to myself in case it was aggressive but it didn’t give off aggressive vibes necessarily. When I got home that evening after work I told the wife about the whole thing. I think she thought I was mad but I know what I saw."    
After reading the above, I formulated a number of questions, which my correspondent kindly answered in detail. I present these below.
Q1 Does DPA stand for Dampier Port Authority?
A1." Yes. Now the PPA (Pilbara Ports Authority)."
 "There was no-one on the road as everyone on the Burrup Peninsula goes to work at around 6:30am and this was at 8am."
 Q2 May I just clarify, was the meeting at 8am and so your observation was sometime before 8am? If so, can you estimate the time of the start of the observation? (I will then use an astronomical program to determine the exact elevation and azimuth of the Sun at that time.)
A2. "Meeting was at 8:00am but I had contacted client saying I was going to be 15 minutes late. I was in a great rush). Start of observation was from about 8:05am and finished at about 8:10am. With a 3-4 min gap in between where the lipstick shape object went out of view and the grey sphere came into view."
 "Came just past airport looked east and saw a strange object hovering (white, shaped like a lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear) over water to the north of the airport just around (South and slightly west) from Hearsons cove."
 Q3 Have you ever drawn this object on paper? If not, would you be able to? (It seems a most unusual shape.) If you can, could you then send me a scanned copy of the sketch? Thank you.
A3. "Refer attached PDF."
 "(the object seemed to be about 1km away but actually on Google earth it measures more like 3km and I estimated its size to be a football field long – about 150m)."
 Q4 Do you estimate the distance to the object, by assuming it is stationary over some precise geographic point? If, so over which point?
A4.  "The Dampier Salt Eastern Salt Ponds and the nearby Quarry. Also the airport to the south."
 Q5 Can you estimate the angular size of the object by reference to the size of the full Moon on the horizon .
A5. "0.5 degrees."
Q6 Can you estimate its angular elevation above the horizon?
A6. " It seemed to be at horizon level almost, the object seemed to be  hovering about 20’ above the ground."
  "I thought “what is that?” and initially thought “it can’t be a ufo it’s not a disk or cigar shape” thought it must be perhaps new grandstands at the speedway but I could see underneath so it didn’t make sense. My mind then became confused trying to work out what it was.
 "I carried on out along the Burrup rd as was very close to meeting time with the DPA."
 "About ¾ along Burrup Rd I suddenly saw a light grey sphere rise up straight from behind the hill (where the first object would have been)."
 Q7 Did the hill hide your view of the lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear object?
A7. "Yes."
Q8 Is this 3/4 of the way between Karratha and Dampier?
A8. " No just that road. It is point C on the attached PDF and I meant ¾ to the turn off to the DPA but it was more like ½ way after drawing it out. "
 Q9 At what point did you lose sight of the white, shaped like a lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear object?
A9. "At point A."
 Q10 I take it you did not simultaneously see both the white, shaped like a lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear object and the light grey sphere?
A10. "No I first saw the sphere at point C (it popped up from behind the hills at point D) and last saw it at point E (it sped off or disappeared to nothing at point F).It floated across from D to F very slowly and I watched it the whole time." 
 Q12 Do you mean that the light grey sphere was now in same direction  that the lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear object would have been if you could still see it? A12. "Close. Refer attached. I may have the positioning of the two objects slightly wrong. It’s possible it came from the same place."
 Q13 What was the angular size of the light grey sphere by reference to the size of the full Moon on the horizon (0.5 degrees)?
A13. "20-25 degrees say."
 "It then proceeded  to travel from there across the south of BFPL fertiliser plant over KBIE hover for a while and then it sped off out north over DPA to sea (either sped away or shrunk to nothing, hard to say)"
 Q14 Can you estimate the total time duration of your observation of the white, shaped like a lipstick container on its side with a dark grey disk sticking half out of rear object?
A14. "Maybe 30 seconds to a minute."
 Q15 Can you estimate the total time duration of your observation of the light grey sphere?
A15. "Maybe 30 seconds."

The PDF mentioned in the text above.

Monday, November 30, 2015

UAP sightings - Bureau of Meteorology - 1982-2006

Hi all,


Although the majority of UAP files held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), are sourced from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), there were a number of other Australian government departments which held such files. These included the former Department of Civil Aviation; the former Department of Supply and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

NAA file series PP956/1, control symbol; 45/38 titled "Observations - General by outside authorities (includes UFO)." Its date range is 1972-1981.

NAA file series PP956/1 control symbol 45/38

Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean had this file digitised in 2013 and it was found,  (total 297 pages) to consist of:
1. Reports of meteorological phenomena.
2. Reports of astronomical phenomena.
3. Reports of UAP.
4. Various miscellaneous pieces of correspondence.

I prepared a summary of UAP reports on this file in a post dated 29 March 2013 The file closed with the fact that papers after 1981 were on file 45/38 part 2.

Part two

A few months ago I decided to search the NAA's database RecordSearch for part 2. Nothing was found. I therefore decided that mindful of the date; that I would submit a request under the Freedom of Information Act to the Bureau of Meteorology. This I did. Several months went by and after paying the required fee, I received a series of eight PDF files making a total of 233 pages.

What is on it?

The date range of part 2 is 1982 to 2006. It consists of:

1. Discussions with various outside bodies about weather stations, and meteorological phenomena.
2. A few UAP reports.


Image 1 is an inward telex dated 20 Sep 1982. It is a report from the Royal Flying Doctor Service at Kalgoorlie, to the BOM Perth. It reads:

"Large bright yellow light with a greenish tail descended slowly in eastern sky in a north south direction - tail appeared to be ten times the width of light. Object appeared close and very bright. Met office Kalgoorlie at 0800 WST 20/9/82. Would appreciate any ideas so base may relay some back to Warbo. Thanks.:

Image 2 is an undated letter from the Perth UFO Research group (PUFORG)  to the BOM thanking the BOM for providing weather details for a sighting at Tonebridge on 4/10/82 at 1900-1930hrs.

Images 3-10 are the PUFORG newsletter for October 1982.

Image 21 is a letter dated 27 Aug 1982 from an individual in Busselton. It reads:

"I have always wanted to see a UFO and it looks as if I may have fluffed my chances. Early Sunday morning [23 Aug] I was pulling the curtains in preparation for bed, early because I was in the full; onset of the flu and because I have my television in my room which faces north, when I saw a bright light through the louvers and the trestles of my grapevine slightly to ENE. Now a thought crossed my mind. It was rather low, about 12 degrees in the northern sky, for the Moon, as I say I was not in my right mind or I would have braved the cold to check. Until I heard the other sightings up north I had thought no more about it...."

The BOM forwarded the letter to the Perth Observatory.


Images 1-16 are the PUFORG Newsletter Vol 1 No 2. Images 18-29 are an early 1983 PUFORG

Image 31 is a letter dated 20 March 1983. It reads:

As my husband and I were driving south along the south-west highway on Friday night last we saw what we momentarily though was a falling or shooting star. We soon saw it was much too low in the sky and too close to us. While we watched there was a sudden burst of brilliant white light of a tear drop shape, followed by a trail which appeared to be smoke. The light was so brilliant  it lighted up the car and road, nullifying our headlights which were on high beam. It was then very close to the ground. This occurred at 11.15pm and between Pinjarra (?) and Carblip (?) We don't know if your department is interested in such sightings but we would..."

Images 33-46 are of the March 1983 PUFORG Newsletter.

Also on the file copies of the WAUFOIC Bulletin


Images 1-29 are of two PUFORG Newsletters Vol 1 no 3 and one other undated newsletter.

An invitation to join the WAUFOIC was on the file


Image 18 reads as follows:

"Sighting of UFO Saturday 15 June 1985. At 8am on the above date (deleted) and "deleted) reported the sighing of a UFO to the Training Officer and the weather bureau officer (deleted.) They reported that at 5am this morning they saw a UFO in the sky. It was travelling at an altitude of about 800 feet, coming from the western hills, slowly at first, and then gathering speed and disappearing over the eastern hills. The object was balloon shaped, and made no noise. Its estimated size was a diameter of about 30 feet. It had a "tail" which could have been a rudder. It was very bright and silver, strong enough to catch the eye of observers. The Sun was just rising, so some of the brightness could have been a reflection of the Sun. It had no wings. It travelled in a straight path, without departing from its course. It was observed for about 15 minutes."

Image 19 is a letter to the Manager Met Office Perth, from the Training Officer, referring on the sighting.


Image 7 is a letter dated 25 February 1986:

"I wish to report the observation of an unusual phenomenon on the night of Thursday February 20th 1986. I reside at (deleted) approximately 75 metres north-west of the water towers on the top of Ewen Street hill, one of the highest points of land in the metropolitan region and approximately 2.5 kms from the ocean at Scarborough. On the night of the 20th there was an almost complete coverage of the sky by a relatively high cloud layer of nimbo-stratus associated with cyclone Rhonda and all the stars were consequently obscured. From my side veranda I have a good ocean view, and at 11.20pm my attention was drawn by a bright light, at an elevation of about 10 degrees in the vicinity of Brighton Road, above the sea. Momentarily it appeared  to radiate light but this was  probably due to atmospherics at low altitude. The object ascended rapidly, also perpendicularly, to an altitude of probably 2 top 3 thousand feet at which height it resembled a light or orange sphere. It then moved northwards parallel to the coast just below the cloud base, to a point north of Trigg island before coming back towards the city of Perth at an elevation of about 60 degrees. Its velocity approximated that of satellites which I have observed previously.

At this point UI moved from the veranda on to the street verge, the better to observe the object, which was just below the cloud base and from time to time became hidden by wisps of cloud. It appeared to be rotating or moving erratically but not in a zig-zag fashion.

Having trained as a wireless-navigator in the RAAF in 1944 and having done courses in astro-navigation and meteorology I was of the view that the object  could have been a meteorological balloon which had broken loose from its mooring or tether. However, when the object had reached a point several miles to the north-east of Perth it again changed course by circling to the west of the City.

Its velocity increased dramatically at a point due west of the City when it moved at incredible speed faster than  any meteor/meteorite I have ever observed, before disappearing in the south-west sky while still overhead. Apart from its phenomenal speed, what intrigued me was that it travelled in straight and level flight with no apparent descent, nor did it leave any trail of light so characteristic of meteors.

From the time I first observed the object until its disappearance at 11:32pm I had it under observation for all but a few seconds for a period of some twelve minutes."

Image 11 is a letter from the BOM dated 2 Apr 1986 to the writer of the above letter. The lengthy reply included: "The direction of surface and low level winds (as well as its speed of movement) eliminates the possibility of the object being a weather balloon carried along by the wind...The fact that there were no reports of lightning or thunder during the night weighs against ball lightning...for charge separation to occur within clouds requires precipitation...Rain was not reported at Perth airport...there may have been some form of electrical discharge at the base of the clouds..."


Image 8 is a sighting report to the BOM:

An incident happened to me in 19666 whilst travelling on the (deleted) in which I encountered a lighted object in the sky; probably about 10 a.m. above me. I am trying to eliminate possibilities.

At the time I became aware of the object, I stopped the vehicle and got out to get a better look. It was stationary above me, but did not strike me as being extra-terrestrial. Indeed I had no feeling of being frightened. The object hung  above me and appeared to be a light or object the same size, colour and intensity as a car headlights, except that it seemed to be pointing upwards. There was no noise and it did not move. After some minutes I got back into the vehicle and carried on.

Later that day I heard via the radio that other sightings had been made here in this state and on the same day.

At the time I shrugged the matter being too busy to persue it although there were suggestions that the sightings could have been weather balloons. Now, I wonder..."

Image 9 is a reply from the BOM:

The BOM doesn't usually comment on extra-terrestrial matters
"Many thanks for your letter outlining your experience on the Roy Hill -Wittenoom Road in 1966. Generally the Bureau of Meteorology does not get involved in the extra-terrestrial, but as you relate the experience to that of a weather balloon, I will try to describe the equipment we used back in those days...the nearest weather station releasing them being Port Hedland some 215 kilometres to the North...As to records kept of possible UFO sightings back in those days, unfortunately I am unable to locate any mention of such things which is probably due to it not really our field of expertise...can not think of any meteorological phenomenon that might explain your sighting..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wonders in the skies

Hi all,

In recent times I have been re-discovering the TROVE digital newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. Here you will find hundreds of Australian newspapers digitised, and ready for you to view. In the most part, newspapers are available only up until 1954.

The TROVE opening webpage
However, there are some papers, which reach into the 1980's such as the South Australian "Victor Harbor Times" or indeed to as recently as 1995 , with the ACT's "Canberra Times."

A sample article
Historically, the modern UAP phenomenon is said to have started on 24 June 1947 with the dramatic sighting of Kenneth Arnold. However, as even a cursory glance at TROVE newspapers before that date will show, there are some tantalising observations reported in older newspapers, which cause you to wonder if some of them were samples of today's UAP. Two examples are the mysterious "airship" over Minderoo Station, near Onslow in Western Australia in 1910

Mysterious airship in 1910
and a number of mystery "aircraft" over Darwin, Northern Territory in 1938.

Darwin 1938
 A close examination of these older observations, will reveal that undoubtedly many are sightings of aurora; planets; stars; meteors and other such natural phenomena. Still, there are quite a few which give pause to wonder.

Wonders in the skies
With wonders in my mind, I thought back to a review of a book by my former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, who wrote a delightful review of a book with the catchy title "Wonders in the skies." It is so relevant to the topic of today's blog, and the fact is, many readers of this blog today have probably never heard of the book. So, I reproduce here in full Pauline's five year old blog post.

Dear readers,

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

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


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

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

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

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

The book:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Amazon books


The book is divided into three parts:

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

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

Part III: Sources and methods.

Part I:

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

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

Part II:

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

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

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

Part III:

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


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


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

Two Australian cases feature in the 500 "Wonders."

Mount Wingen - case 408

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

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

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

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

I was disappointed that the source for this entry was not some newspaper in 1828, but had only been set down in 1989. I turned to the reference by Bill Chalker at http://www.theozfiles.com/history_australian-ufo-history.html retrieved 27 December 2010.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall comments:

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

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

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