Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dr Michael J Duggin passes

Hi all,

Dr. Michael J. Duggin, had a deep interest in the subject of UFOs, between at least 1966 and 1973, while he was in Australia.

In November 1966, Duggin visited Jacques Vallee and J Allen Hynek, in Chicago, in the US to discuss their topic of mutual interest [Vallee, J. Forbidden Science, Volume 1, North Atlantic Books 2nd ed. Nov. 1992. page 226.]

In December 1966, Dr Duggin wrote to the Australian Department of Air, which was the official Australian government Department charged with looking into UFOs. Duggin referred to an earlier telephone call, and supplied a letter of introduction from Allen Hynek, to the Department. Part of this letter read "I would like to investigate cases myself where possible and would be very willing to be of any help which I can." [NAA file series A8520 HM1/30 digital pp 78-81]

An internal Department of Air memo [NAA file series A8520 HM1/30 digital page 77] re Duggin's letter, read, in part, "It is understood that this scientific investigation is quite unofficial...This Department had no objection additionally to passing reports of all UFO sightings to Dr Duggin provided that this would not cause you any embarrassment."

A hand written note on the CSIRO file, reads "Discussions with Colin Harper (at Chippendale) - has no objections to Duggin's extra-curricular activity."


Dr Duggin conducted an investigation of a report from Sydney on 8 March 1967, where a dull grey-black object, emitting a low humming sound was observed. Duggin forwarded the details of the case to Hynek in the USA and a copy of this report may be found on a RAAF file. [ NAA file series A703 580/1/1 part 7 digital pages 173-191]

Image from NAA file A703 580/1/1 part 7 p 173

When the Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008) interviewed former Joint Intelligence Bureau employee O Harry Turner, Turner was asked about a proposal for an official Australian government rapid investigation team for UFOs. Turner told us that he was the instigator of the team concept, and that Duggin was the other main player.

Together, Turner and Duggin investigated a reported UFO landing on a Sydney gold course in 1969. They took samples and looked at what temperature would have been needed to make the marks.


In 1970, Duggin investigated a trace case at Boggabri, NSW. A year later, he presented a talk titled "The Analysis of UFO reports" at a Symposium in Adelaide, South Australia on 30 October 1971. This symposium was organised by the SA Division of the Australian and New Zealand Society for the Advancement of Science.


In August 1973, Hynek was in Australia and together with Harry Turner and Duggin, Hynek attended a meeting on the 24th, with the Department of Defence's Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI). A DAFI file note [ NAA file series A703 554/1/30 part 3 folio 16] called it "An unofficial an endeavour to expand the scientific relationship to the problem." DAFI suggested that perhaps they could refer selected cases to the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), where Duggin worked.

At this meeting, Duggin was described as a member of the CSIRO, based in North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, and heading the Australian aspect of ERSAT.

Almost nothing is known regarding Duggin's UFO interests between 1973 and 1979. One thing which is know, however, courtesy of an article about the work of the late James E McDonald, in the August 2006 issue of the MUFON Journal, by Ann Druffel, Vincent Uhlenkott and Ralph McCarron, is that an "...Australian scientist inquired about the Blue Book R-V files ..She [Betsy McDonald] allowed him to copy the R-V files..." The article states that before agreeing to this, that Betsy had been satisfied that the scientist had the required knowledge about atmospheric physics, astronomy and radar systems to be able to conduct scientific work on her former husband's radar visual UFO cases which James McDonald had located in the Project Blue Book files. This was in the early 1970's. It is highly probable, that this unnamed 'Australian scientist,' was in fact Duggin, who had expertise in these areas.


A biography located on a USAF website, indicates that Duggin left Australia in 1979 and became an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse, USA.


The biography goes on to say that in 2002, Duggin left that position and became Senior Scientist, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, USA.


Dr Duggin, aged 79, passed away on 20 December 2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. An obituary notice advised that his personal interests, ranged from scenic drives to fine wines. He was a talented photographer and a collector of cameras, fine writing instruments, knives and recorded classical music. There was no mention of UFOs at all. However, as anyone knows who has ever been bitten by the UFO bug; once interested you generally carry this interest with you, in one form or another, for the rest of your life. In the military world in which Duggin found himself in the latter part of his life, it wouldn't surprise me if his interest in UFOs continued 'under the radar.'

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