Saturday, April 4, 2015

March 2015 - Australian monthly reports roundup

Hi all,

March 2015 Australian national level sightings listing

Compiled by Keith Basterfield and Paul Dean.

This is the sixth in a series of Australian national level sightings listings, gathered from input by Australian civilian UAP groups, and other sources. Many of the reports in the listing have not been investigated and documented.

One of the reasons for the listing, is to draw people's attention to cases of which they might not be aware, and to stimulate them to then investigate and report back to us all. Paul and I would prefer to be publishing only cases which have been investigated, but the lack of investigated and published cases within Australia, would mean we would miss out on so many others. We have therefore chosen to compile as many as possible, with the hope, that over time, most cases we list here will have been investigated.

If you have items for the April 2015 listing, please forward them to by 3 May 2015.

Recurrent light phenomena in Tasmania:

A man visited a property in Tasmania which has been the scene of previous unusual light phenomena. At 2040hrs on 20 March 2015, in the company of the two property owners, they brought his attention to a slight glow around the honey box which he thought was just normal light. Then, moving to a rear fence, the owners saw a light and the man tried to approach it. He "...could clearly see a golf ball sized light at 70??metres away sitting at the base of a tree." The man approached the light but lost sight of it. The owners told him "...the light had shrunk to a very small point source as I approached it."

At about 2100hrs, the man "...walked about 40 metres from the owners...and the 6 week old torch I had (with new batteries) started to act weird and the light would go on and off." After walking back, the torch resumed its usual functioning.

At about 2140hrs "...a second light appeared in the air about 2 metres (?) off the ground and about 5 metres to the left of the 'pilot light' which was still sitting at the base of the tree." The three went inside after watching for a while longer.

On the 21 March 2015 at 0610hrs, "I witnessed a light about the size (?) of a basketball (?) appear at approximately 70-100 metres away. It stayed in the air for about 4 seconds. I initially flashed my torch at it with no response from the light, which then moved to the right and I could not see it anymore."

"I also placed three game cameras (which work off localised heat sources) and set them to video function as normal. When I picked up the cameras, which had nothing of note on them, I found that two of them were now on still mode."

The man returned to the location on the 26 March. At 2015hrs the "pilot light" was again visible from the front gate. He approached this light but it faded so he returned to the gate. He could then see it again, approached but lost sight of it. The walkie talkie he had with him was working until he was about 100 metres away from the property owners, it started cutting in an out. He moved forward about another 100 metres, and a white light appeared at about 50/70 metres to his left and started flashing on and off. One second on and two seconds off. After about ten seconds another white light appeared about 10-15 metres to the right of the first light and this also turned on and off. After five minutes he returned to the farm. More lights were seen at 2245hrs and also on the following night.

(The above was summarised from a first hand account by the visiting male witness, supplied courtesy of Bill Chalker and TUFOIC. Keith Roberts of TUFOIC has kindly supplied us with a full account on the recurrent light phenomena.)

March reports:

2 March 2015 1556hrs Mount Druitt, New South Wales ?mins Raw
Raj Saini took a photograph during a thunderstorm.

2 March 2015 2030hrs Howrah, Hobart, Tasmania Facebook & telephone.
Bright light to north of Mt Wellington. The star like light brightens and fades, plus moves about a bit before descending behind hills. Astronomical.

5 March 2015 0545hrs Near Wollongong, New South Wales ?mins Raw
"Driving north along Sheepwash Rd heading towards East Bowral and west of Kangaloon...saw a flash lighting of deep blue colour light up the whole east side (left side of car) of the sky for a couple of seconds. At the same time the radio went off and then returned sounds after the blue flash had finished. There was a full moon on the right hand side of the car in the sky. I reported it to the ABC Illawarra radio station to see if anyone else saw it and confirmed what it was...ABC Illawarra confirmed they had an outage for 10 seconds around the same time."

5 March 2015 2130hrs Tweed Heads, New South Wales 20mins Raw
Looking north at an elevation of about 45 degrees, Terri saw four medium sized white lights "circling almost dancing" which seemed to be contained in one cloud" on a cloudy night. One was slower than the others. "These lights did not stay in the same spot they moved close in a south direction." They then disappeared.

6 March 2015 ?hrs Melbourne, Victoria ?mins Raw
A night vision video of a triangular-shaped object.

8 March 2015 Evening East of Nerang River, Queensland (40-50) secs Raw/IFO?
Witness saw a "..big ball of light" before it faded out. "They then saw something black drop from the object." Seemed only 200 meters up in the air. No sound. No flashing lights. Suspected garbage bag balloon.
UFO Research Queensland.

9 March 2015 0930hrs South-West Western Australia secs IFO
Hundreds of people watched a silver object with a tail travel over south-west Western Australia. It was extremely bright. It exploded and there was a two second long ball of light. Identified as a fireball.

9 March 2015 ?hrs Safety Bay, Perth, Western Australia 20+mins Personal observation
Amanda Lucks "Just recorded an orange orb over Safety Bay, Wambro Beach from my house in Waikiki. Very bright. Watched for 20+ minutes and it never moved left or right, only faded out. On video. It was flashing with red flashing lights."
Perth UFO Casebook Facebook page.

10March 2015 1217hrs Kalbar, south-east Queensland ?mins Raw
"Captured by the weather cam network, an unidentified flying object was seen over the skies of Kalbar at 12.17pm."

12 March 2015 2129hrs Newcastle, new South Wales ?mins raw
Adam saw "3 bright orange objects" travelling north. All at different times, but within a couple of minutes of each other. Faster than an aircraft. Burning. On a slight descent.

13 March 2015 (1830-1900)hrs Greenwood, Perth, Western Australia. ?mins Raw
Greg Ramsden reported seeing "a fire cracker" travel across the sky. He had time to call two other people to watch it. It was lost in the distance. "Slower burning light" than a fireball. "I don't think it was a UFO." Travelled south to north in the eastern sky.

13 March 2015 2355hrs Apollo Bay, Victoria (2-3)secs Raw
A bright lime-green coloured , object with a tail, was seen at azimuth 200 degrees, elevation 10-15 degrees. It was descending towards the sea. Orange sparks were trailing off it. It blinked out. A similar object was seen at 0036hrs 14 March 2015 by the same observer.

15 March 2015 1030hrs Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ?mins Raw
A glint of light in the western sky caught the attention of the witness. "A disc shaped object not a long tube with wings" therefore not an aircraft. "Appeared to be spinning or pulsing." Moved slowly. "I often see objects like this in the area from time to time." Sunny day with intermittent cloud cover.
MUFON case management system.

17 March 2015 1930hrs Dural, Sydney, New South Wales 10mins Raw
Ron reported seeing lights in the sky, "green in the centre red surrounding them quite bright." Seen at 45 degrees north-west. The object was under dark rain clouds. "Moved about in a small area about half a kilometre away in erratic circles and then very slowly move away from this position going north-west till it disappeared 10 minutes later." No sound.

17March 2015 (1800-1830)hrs Northern Gold Coast, Queensland (3-4) secs Raw
Witness noticed a bright red, pulsating light over the hinterland. It was close to a bright star in the sky. It then made a quick U-turn  under the star and stopped close to the star. It then disappeared.
UFO Research Queensland Facebook page.

17 March 2015 2255hrs McDowall, Queensland (3-4)secs Raw
A glowing blue ball was noticed in the eastern sky. It was moving very quickly to the west. Emitted a high intensity light. It was apparently lower than the clouds.
UFO Research Queensland Facebook page.

19 March 2015 2017hrs Ellenbrook, Perth, Western Australia 20mins Raw
John Brown reported looking 45 degrees south, and seeing a "bright red and white flashing light which moved across the sky and then back again before moving out of sight.

19 March 2015 1930hrs Gorokan, Central Coast, New South Wales ?secs
Josh Elton, 15, and other family members were in their lounge room, when they saw what they thought was a low flying aircraft. "It was swerving all around as we looked out to San Remo..." The 12 second video shows a very bright ball of light crossing a small portion of sky near the horizon. The video is available to view at the link below. The Express Advocate newspaper sent the video to UFOPRSA in Sydney. Dominic McNamara is cited as saying "Flashing lights are normally at a slower frequency, but can sometimes appear to be a revolving object instead...Interestingly, vector diagrams and measurement shows that it appears to change course ever so slightly towards the left of camera as it is about to be lost to sight...In the end it is impossible to say what this is...To date there is no other report of this."

19 March 2015 2130hrs Rose Bay, Tasmania 10secs Facebook
Star like light at high elevation, travelling south but after ten seconds seems to fade out. Satellite.

20 March 2015 0030hrs Wagga, New South Wales
A photograph, showing a light trail in the sky, was submitted.
MUFON Case management system.

20 March 2015 0200hrs St Leonards, New South Wales ?mins Raw
Two people reported a boat sized rectangular object, hovering just above the water at a distance of 15 metres.
MUFON Case management system.

21 March 2015 0000hrs Rockhampton, Queensland ?mins Raw
A witness reported being attacked by a UFO, and that something took control of his mouth.
MUFON Case management system.

22 March 2015 (2130-2200)hrs Patterson Lakes, Melbourne, Victoria ?mins Raw
Ron and two other people were sitting on a balcony, when Ron saw a "red ball of light shoot up from somewhere, guessing in the Dingley, Westal or Springvale area...It started to head in our nearly flew directly over us...towards the Portsea area...lost sight of it." No flickering, and no sound. After 30 seconds to a minute, another one appeared.

23March 2015 1952hrs Shelly Beach, Ballina, New South Wales ?mins Raw
A man saw a single, white light travelling north, faster than an aircraft. It was white, round, soundless. It was 10 degree elevation above the ocean. It then reduced in size and appeared to change course from north to east, as it got smaller and slowed, until it disappeared. It appeared to have a smaller light to the rear.
UFO Research New South Wales.

26 March 2015 ?hrs Darwin, Northern Territory 10secs Raw
A bright, lime green light in the sky was seen by 21 year old Yoanna Williams."It slowed right down and disappeared."
Northern Territory News. 30 March 2015.

26 March 2015 2000hrs Eastern freeway, Melbourne, Victoria 30secs Raw
Kylie and her partner saw a "...white object fly horizontally across the sky...It flew behind a cloud for a couple of reappeared...continued to fly north/west bound." White colour. Left no trail.

27 March 2015 Between 2000-2300hrs Long Reef, Sydney, New South Wales Personal observations.
UFORNSW conducted a sky watch and CE5 session. On a clear, starry night a number of observers reported the following:
Mariana - "Two objects briefly moving before fading out and also an extremely bright shooting star travelling east to west."
Damien " I noticed 3 bright lights in a triangular formation at a 35 degree angle from my position...The centre light appeared to have a much smaller spherical light under it..." The lights moved and at one point two merged into one.
Rozainah - Saw three very quick flashes from the corner of her eye towards the south-east. Also something like a smoke trail, very short and lasting a couple of seconds.
John - Saw some flashes of light in the sky. One flashed brighter than other stars and then faded.
Monita - An orange object at 70 degrees seen for 2 seconds.
UFO Research New South Wales.

27 March 2015 1840hrs Gold Coast, Queensland ?mins Raw
Sitting in a backyard, three people observed, overhead, a pulsating "bright ball of light" moving north. " was below the cloud line." It then changed direction to move north-east. It was soundless and moved at a constant speed. It finally "...disappeared out of the sky" at an angle of 30 degrees.
MUFON Case management system.

28 March 2015 0600hrs Perth, Western Australia ?mins Personal observation
Samuel Johnson reported "...a bright orange line shooting down slowly on the horizon east of was slow and then started to curve before going behind the hills."
Perth UFO Casebook Facebook page.

28 March 2015 2015hrs Baulkham Hills, Sydney, New South Wales 9mins Raw
Damien Nott advises: "This object was seen heading east to west over the city and then did a slow controlled half circle U-turn and then head back east towards Sydney at an upwards angle...seen by two witnesses and caught on two different cameras. On video it can be seen spitting out semi-transparent blobs of what appears to resemble white puffs of plasma like smoke."
Via UFO Research New South Wales.

28 March 2015 2030hrs Ansons Bay Road, Tasmania 60mins Facebook & telephone contact
Two witnesses were returning at about 8.30pm from a shooting trip, when they noticed a large light, low over paddocks. Estimated to be half kilometre or more from the road. They stop to view the light through binoculars and a rifle scope. It appears to be a triangle shape with a dome area above. The colour is a blend of green, red and  yellow. Beneath, there seems to be ribbons of coloured light reaching down towards the ground. At this point a loud beep sound was heard and a white light was observed approaching from the south-east. It is only visible for 15 seconds as it performs a quick turn and disappears in the sky.

The witnesses now decide to see if they can approach closer to the light from nearby farm and bush tracks. Due to locked gates they fail to get any closer and after 30 minutes return to the road. The light is still there. They now shine their spotlight (range 350 metres) towards the light and it appears to reflect the light. Almost at once the object looks to move away from the road in a zig zag or circling movement and is soon lost to view. The two witnesses return home to St Helens and say they can still see a fading light, high up ion the sky.

The report was lodged on Facebook (29th March) with follow up  by TUFOIC's Northern rep. Phil Polden. Investigation in progress.

 Older cases:

28 February 2015 2203hrs Hardwicke Bay/Warroka, South Australia ?mins Raw
An individual noted that the wind increased, looked up and saw an object hovering over trees. The object had yellow and orange lights "around it shaped in a disc form." A beam of blue and white light came down from it.
MUFON Case management system.

28 February 2015 1715hrs Olympic Park, Sydney, New South Wales 15mins Raw
A "tiny silver dot" was seen in the sky. The witness was facing north, looking up at a 60-70 degrees elevation. It was lost, then found again, at 45 degrees east of the original position, and at 80 degrees elevation. It was slowly moving west, then made a slow right turn to head north. It was lost to sight behind trees/buildings. The sky was clear and blue.

9 February 2015 1930hrs Toowoomba/Clifton, Queensland 40mins
"A man was driving from Toowoomba to Clifton when he saw two lights in the sky he thought could be planes. He continued driving but then saw three lights in the sky dipping up and down, so he pulled over to look at them through binoculars.

It was then he could see a shadow with lights around it that had a diffused shape. He continued to drive to Clifton  and was outbound on his way to Leyburn when he saw an object with 8 golden yellow lights spinning around it about 25 to 50 meters in front of him, and at tree top level about 10-15 metres above him. The object was silent and the lights gave off no emanations on the surrounding environment. witness described thee lights as "looking like they were suspended in the sky." The witness observed the entire event over a 40 minute period while he travelled about 20 kms at very slow speed. There were two other drivers who he thought would have seen the light too."
UFO Research Queensland.

6 February 2015 2035hrs Sydney, New South Wales ?mins Raw
(Reported 12 March 2015.)
Was filming the Moon rise as it was a new full moon, with Aiptek handheld camcorder - no filter on lens - in nigth vision setting. Did not notice the object until playback and in full screen mode. "In playback I noticed an orange globe - but find it hard to get a single frame. managed to capture an image - it was coming and going between frames which made it difficult. I was on the balcony in front of my apartment. In playback the object seemed to be heading straight up and disappear. In the clip it appears at 0.01 at 12 position."
MUFON case management system.

February 2015 1630hrs Williamtown, New South Wales ?mins Raw
Brett reported seeing five silver, diamond looking objects, "appearing tiny due to cruise height, flying south to north in formation."

8 January 2015 Ca. 2100hrs Bray Park, Brisbane, Queensland 3mins Raw
Two people sitting outside a house saw an object in the sky. It dimmed and brightened a few times. It was moving slowly with small, erratic, movements. It moved off to the south-west at high speed. It was white in colour, and spherical in shape.

20 December 2014 2240hrs Logan, Queensland ?secs Raw
An individual was sitting outside, looked up and saw a big  white light. It went behind trees and was lost to view. Then, looking straight ahead "something streaked across the sky leaving a mustard yellowish orange streak. It faded in seconds. There was no associated sound.
UFOPRSA "Phenomenon Times." February 2015.

27 October 2014 1637hrs Moonta, South Australia ?mins Raw
(Reported 16 March 2015.)
"Taking photos of a storm approaching from NW." Captured something in one of the pictures, it is small. Not in photos before or after. "A few other people around town I mentioned the object to have said they saw something flying in the clouds glowing a red or orange colour that same day." "I didn't notice the object at the time."
MUFON case management system.

7 April 2012 2000hrs Warner, Queensland ?mins
(Reported 12 February 2015.)
"A young man was at a friend's house when they decided to walk to the local shop. They reached a high point on a hill and saw a deep orange dot in the sky. They didn't think anything of it but as they walked a few hundred metres and turned a corner they saw a bus-sized sphere about 50 metres above the road. It had a diameter of 4 metres and was moving silently at about 5km/hr. It appeared to be made of a fire or plasma and an orange/red colour. They heard a man yell "What the that" a girl scream and another girl crying. They watched it move at about 40 to 50 metres then it accelerated to 4/5 times its speed, then disappeared at a 45 degree angle. The object was extremely bright but didn't scatter any ambient light nor did the witness recall seeing it cast any shadows. Even though the light was bright it seemed to cause no harm to their eyes."
UFO Research Queensland.

Contributing Australian groups this issue:


Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre

UFO and Paranormal Research Society of Australia

UFO Research New South Wales

UFO Research Queensland
Hotline: 07 3376 1780
Facebook page.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Mutual UFO Network in Australia

Hi all,


Many of today's senior Australian UAP researchers, have, at one time or another, been members of the US based Mutual UFO Network (MUFON.) Click here for their website.

Between the 1970's and 1990's many of Australia's "key" UAP cases were documented in the pages of the MUFON Journal, courtesy of Australian researchers. If you were to go back through issues of the Journal, you will find comprehensive investigation reports on the 1978 Valentich disappearance; the 1988 Mundrabilla "UFO lifts car off road" case; the mid 1990's Kelly Cahill abduction, and numerous others.

Some of Australia's most well attended UAP conferences, with a variety of local and international speakers, were organised by Australian MUFON supporters.

However, after that era, the MUFON network in Australia wound down, due to a variety of reasons.


The February 2015 issue of the MUFON ejournal announced that Adelaide based researcher, Cheryl-lee Vanagelis had been appointed as the new National Director for Australia for MUFON. The March 2015 issue advised that Adelaide based researcher Donna O'Halloran had been appointed as the Assistant National Director for Australia for MUFON.

The March 2015 issue also advised that Michael Robinson and Brian Johnson were now Australian MUFON Provincial Directors. Previous announcements had been made that Justin Busuttil and Laura Corbett were accredited MUFON field investigators in Australia.

I welcome this new version of MUFON in Australia, and look forward to working with the MUFON Australia team. This will now be our second national level network, the other being, the long standing Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN) who have openly shared their data over the years,  and publish the "UFOlogist" magazine.

Blog readers who have looked at the monthly Australian national level sightings listings that Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I publish, will note that we already carry summaries of MUFON reports from Australia, which are carried in the MUFON case management system (click here to go to that publicly open database.)  I look forward to reading details of MUFON Australia's completed investigations, as they are conducted.

(For transparency reasons I must add that I am a current MUFON member and have just signed up to undertake their online field investigator training.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

More air incidents from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's database

Hi all,

I have previously reported on Melbourne researcher Paul Dean's use of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to obtain details of air safety incidents from both Air Services Australia (ASA) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB.) For examples, click here, here, and here.

Paul submitted a further FOI request to the ATSB on 25 November 2014, which requested information on:

* Unusual, unknown or unidentifiable aircraft or objects
* Suspected drones/ unmanned aerial vehicles
* Meteor/fireball events
* Especially unusual weather phenomenon.

ATSB FOI response:

On 19 March 2015, the ATSB provided three PDFs of material to Paul, totalling 158 pages of documents. Paul and I have conducted an analysis of this material, which reveals there are 24 separate incidents involved, with date ranges from 2004 to 2014. Five of these events were already known to us from previous FOIs to the ASA and the ATSB. In addition, many of the others were explainable as sightings of balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles, remote controlled model aircraft and other such mundane causes. However, three are of interest to us. Details of these are provided below.

Abnormal radar returns:

At 0610hrs local time (EST) on 21 March 2014, Williamtown Department of Defence radar experienced what they referred to as "abnormal radar returns." The ATSB documentation states:

"Please note that this occurrence is a notification only and has not yet been investigated. After being issued departure instructions and a take-off clearance [redacted] take-off clearance was cancelled due to multiple unidentified system tracks that appeared on the Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS) Situational Data Displays (SDD). The tracks presented as primary radar returns only, with no associated secondary surveillance radar (SSR) data. These tracks appeared at approximately 30NM south of WLM and disappeared from all SDD screens at approximately 8NM south of WLM. No further returns were observed and [redacted] was subsequently departed without further incident."


At 0956hrs local time (EST) on 26 April 2005, an airprox event occurred near Mount Sandon, New South Wales, at latitude 31deg 19mins south, and longitude 151deg 24mins east. The aircraft involved was a Beech aircraft B200C turboprop belonging to the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, which had left the ground and was cruising at an altitude of about 20,000 feet. Its SSR code was A1055.

The ATSB documentation read:

"4NM north of Mount Sandon the pilot of [redacted] thought they saw traffic just below them coming towards them. They commenced a turn to the right to avoid the object then turned back to the left to see behind and attempt to identify what it was. The pilot subsequently reported that it was a red and white object travelling very fast but it could not be identified for certain as an aircraft. There was no other known traffic to the ATS system within 12NM of the aircraft and there was no cloud. The sun at the time was high and to the rear left of the direction of travel. Air situation playback  (ASPB) confirmed there were no other Mode-C SSR returns. The area is outside of primary radar coverage. The object passed at an estimated distance of less than 500 feet below the aircraft."


At 1000hrs EST on 5 May 2012, a Boeing 737-838 aircraft was on a landing course for Sydney, at latitude 33deg 57.77mins south and longitude 151deg 11.63mins east, when the pilot reported seeing:

A large (approx. double size of a soccer ball) cylindrical shiny object passed by aircraft by our right hand side. Its colour was brown/orange. It caught my eye in the 1230 position and I watched it pass by our right hand side at our level and missed our right hand wing tip by about 5 metres. Reported to ATC (Sydney approach). It happened very quickly and I was the only known witness. It might have been a balloon but it was not round."

Paul is to congratulated for his efforts in obtaining this material, and then sharing it with us all. Further material about this latest find, may be read at Paul's blog at:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Three more RAAF UAS files digitised by NAA

Hi all,

The National Archives of Australia, at my request, and upon payment of a fee, has just digitised three more UAS files of the Royal Australian Air Force.

A9755 control symbol 21:

This file is titled "RAAF Headquarters Operational Support Group - Unusual Aerial Sightings." It has a date range between 6 Aug 1989 and 31 Jul 1992. The file cover reveals that the original file number was 5/40/Air Part 7. There is a mask on the file which indicates that 47 folios are outside the Archive Act date range and are therefore not available at the moment. 134 digital pages are available to read.
Barcode is 3533564.

This file consists of a couple of dozen RAAF UAS 10 question proformas, handwritten by RAAF personel taking details down from incoming telephone calls from members of the public. Almost all are of distant lights in the sky. Geographically almost all the sightings come from Queensland in the years to 1990. None are of particular interest to us.

A9755 control symbol 20:

The second digitised file is titled "RAAF Heaquarters no 82 Bomber Wing, Amberley, Qld - Unusual Aerial Sightings." This has a date range of 1989-1991. Barcode 3533553. There are only four pages of digital material available. A mask indicates that there are three cms of material on this file but outside the Archive Act date range at the moment. The original file number was 5/113/Air Part 9.

The four pages are of one sighting. "About 15 years ago, at 2000hrs one Lance Raymond Keith Smith, age 44, of Rosewood, Queensland, a railway fettler observed "One large light has been observed for about 15 years and now it has been 'joined' by another smaller the north-west of Venus..." Details recorded 15 Dec 1989.

A9755 control symbol 19:

This file is titled "RAAF Headquarters no 82 Bomber Wing, Amberley, Queensland - Unusual Aerial Sightings." It has a date range of 6 Dec 1988 to 15 Dec 1989. It was originally file 5/113/Air part 8. Barcode 3533548.

 There are several dozen RAAF 10 question proformas completed by RAAF personel from incoming phone calls from members of the public. Almost all are of distant lights in the sky. None are of real interest to our study of the phenomenon.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Re-reading the classics

Hi all,

One of the little pleasures of life for me, is re-reading "classic" books on UAP. I find they often provide historical insights which can be of use today. At the moment I am enjoying "The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry" by J Allen Hynek. Corgi Books. London. 1974. ISBN 0552 094307. (Click here.)

Hynek, as many blog readers will be aware, was a scientific consultant to the United States Air Force, on UAP. He started this work with USAF Project Sign (click here)  in September 1947, to February 1949, then worked with Project Grudge (click here) then Project Blue Book (click here), though to its closure in 1969.

So it wasn't long after the closure of Project Blue Book, that his own book was first published, in 1972 (Corgi edition 1974.)

His views on science:

His views on how science works, included:

"Erwin Schrodinger. pioneer in quantum mechanics and a philosopher of science, wrote "The first requirement of a scientist is that he be curious. He should be capable of being astonished and eager to find out." The scientific world has surely not been eager to find out about the UFO phenomenon and has expressed no indication to astonishment." (p.21.)

Applying this to the subject of UAP, Hynek felt that there were two classes of scientist. Those that denounced the subject without examining the data, and those that studied the data and concluded that it was most probably psychological. He reasoned that the latter group was worthy of debate, whereas the former group was not.

On this topic, Hynek concluded "It is likely that many scientists would have given serious consideration and effort to the UFO problem had they been properly appraised of its content." (p.24.)

J Allen Hynek

Hynek's years of interviewing witnesses led him to a few observations which I feel apply equally today. Among these are:

"In my experience in interrogating witnesses one phrase has been repeated over and over again. 'I never saw anything like this in my life.'" (p.29.)

Time and time again, in my own interviews, I have come across this phrase. This "newness" of the experience, with somehow an inability to put the observation into words, stands out. However, an investigator's job is to extract data, pulling out pieces of information such as colour, angular size, angular elevation, angular velocity, etc and to record these.

"I have seen this process of going from the simple, quick description and explanation, step by step, to the realisation that no conventional description would suffice (escalation of hypotheses.)" (p.29.)

Witnesses often tell you that "At first I thought it was a..." followed by a rationale as to why it wasn't a ...   As an investigator you are looking to exclude conventional explanations, so it is very useful if a witness takes you through their own mental analysis of their observation.

"Essentially, the crucial question is, did what the reporter say happened really happen?" Noting that it is preferable if there are multiple witnesses, Hynek observes "...there are no a priori reasons for dismissing such statements out of hand. The crux of the UFO reporter problem is that perfectly incredible accounts of events are given by seemingly credible persons..." (p.38.)

From my own experience, I would add that often, it is the interpretation of what the witness comes up with that may be in debate. I recall standing on a beach front suburb in Adelaide, looking at what I knew was the planet Venus in the sky, with a credible witness telling me "There's my UFO! It isn't Venus!"


"In terms of scientific study, the only significant UFO reports are, as we have seen, UFO reports that remain puzzling after competent investigations have been conducted." (p.41.)

Too often today, UAP groups place raw UAP reports onto their publicly viewable websites, before they conduct an investigation; or sometimes when no investigation is to be carried out. Viewers then get the impression of hundreds of UAP reports coming out of a particular country or region, when, if only investigations had been conducted, this number would have been reduced to a few, good cases - our "core" UAP.

Hynek's findings:

Skipping over the book's data related chapters to some of his findings, I noted the following:

"... we do not have the means at our disposal by study of highly selected and screened UFO reports to characterise explicitly what needs to be explained." (p.267.)

My own cataloguing work has led me to screen incoming raw reports, examine them and come up with screened observations that continue to puzzle me.

"The general confusion surrounding the subject and the lack of attention by scientists have effectively prevented proper data collection." (p.274.)

Regretfully, 40 years on from this statement by Hynek,  I still see UAP groups who are not properly collecting data. They collect raw reports and publish these, but do little or no investigation of them.

"We may even have to face the fact that the scientific framework, by its very internal logic, excludes certain classes of phenomena, of which UFOs may be one." (p.285.)

Perhaps so, but to me, the scientific method seems our best hope for understanding UAP.

Final words:

Hynek's final words in his book are:

"When the long awaited solution to the UFO problem comes, I believe that it will prove to be not merely the next small step in the march of science but a mighty and totally unexpected quantum jump." (p.288.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Moe, Victoria - questions to Trevor Brew

Hi all,

I recently published a four part post on the 15 March 1963, Willow Grove, near Moe, Victoria case.

VUFOA "cold case" review:

Ben Hurle and Andrew Arnold recently travelled to Willow Grove, Victoria to interview Trevor Brew, the son of Charles Brew. Trevor was present at the incident, and heard but did not see the UAP.

I took the opportunity to ask Ben and Andrew to pose a series of questions to Trevor, which he kindly answered. The following are those questions and responses, for readers' perusal.

1 How did the story get out into the newspapers so quickly?

A: His father called the papers straight after the incident .

2 Does he recall his father finding an unusual rock at the place where the object hovered?

A: Trevor did recall a "rock" being found - he said it was a meteorite and he thought it was not connected to the incident.
He couldn't recall who collected it , but does remember it being found and taken away.

3. After all this time what does he think the object was?

A:  Trevor is very puzzled by the object. He described the sound as "powerful" and "impressive". He heard the object "power down" when it arrived and "power up" when it took off.
It was a sound he had not heard before , or since and was clearly audible above the diesel engine in the dairy. He deeply regrets not going outside to see the object.

He has no natural explanation for what they saw - rejects the tornado theories outright - and believes that without any logical explanation - that the object was not from here ,or natural in explanation.

He revealed to me there was another local witness (independent ) on that day - he wouldn't reveal identity - but I'm working on him!

4. Did he or his father see anything else unusual after the 1963 event?

A: No further sightings by them - but is aware of other sightings in the district over the years.

5. Can he explain why the RAAF never had a completed Pro forma?

A: He was not able to recall too much from the investigations after it - too much time had passed - I've asked him to consider this question further and will talk to him again soon.

6. Can we ask him for his recollections of the weather on that day?

A: The overwhelming memory was steady rain - as it was on the shed roof and grey cloud. Mainly the sound of rain he recalls from the time of the incident.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Felician Andrzej Berson - the CSIRO - and his interest in UAP


There are scattered references, in the civilian UAP literature, to the interest of an individual named Dr. F A Berson, who worked for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research organisation (CSIRO). I thought it might be useful to bring these references together, hence this post.

Dr F A Berson
(Source: Garratt, J et al.  "Winds of Change." CSIRO publishing. 1999. Out of print.)


Firstly, before investigating his interest in the subject of UAP, I present a biography which I found in an article "Clouds on the Horizon" written by Berson himself, which appeared in  volume 72, number 2, February 1991 of the Bulletin American Meteorological Society.

Berson decided to study meteorology and qualified for his doctorate in 1934; then worked at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute; followed by the Polish State Meteorological institute until 1939. Berson then moved to England where he joined the RAAF as a meteorologist, during the second world war.

In 1946, one of the items on his research list concerned cold fronts. After the war he accepted a post with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Berson writes that at one point (about Carl-Gustav Rossby) "He appreciated the fact that I had imagination and was anything but institutionally inclined, he also enjoyed the eccentric behaviour I displayed on occasions.  p.208.)

In 1952 he "...applied to join the rapidly growing group of English wartime colleagues led by C H B Priestley forming the section (later Division) of Atmospheric Physics in the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) at Aspendale near Melbourne." (p.210.)

Between 1953 and 1974, when he retired, Berson worked at the CSIRO, and was known as Andgei to his colleagues. He researched cold fronts, Antarctic circulation; quasi-biennial oscillation; convective systems and interpreting radar echoes. During this time he worked for a period at the International Antarctic Analytical Center, and another period of time at the US Weather Bureau in Washington, DC. He also spent time at NCAR's National Hail Research Experiment at Boulder and Grover, Colorado in the US.

Ca. 1956:

According to Berson himself, in a letter, dated 28 November, 1966, to Robert Low of the famous Condon Committee, he became interested in the topic of UAP around 1956:

"It was in fact Mr Groodin who first got me interested in the subject. This was some ten years ago. I have since had one or two contacts in this matter, with Government departments, but have established closer contacts with a private agency in Victoria in an endeavour to find out what they were up to and whether scientific research was feasible."

According to Garratt, J; Angus, D and Holper P. (1999. "Winds of Change." CSIRO publishing, page 13,)  Ivan S Groodin was working for the CSIRO's Atmospheric Physics section from 1953, and was there at the time Berson joined that same section.

Ivan S Groodin in a group photograph.
(Source: "Winds of Change." CSIRO Publishing. 1999.)

March/April 1963:

Dr Berson investigated the 15 March 1963 Willow Grove, near Moe, Victoria, case. In an interview between Peter Norris of the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society, and the witness, Charles Brew; Brew says:

A. "...the CSIRO were here and number one question as far as they were concerned - he asked me did I get a headache. I said..."

Q. "What did the CSIRO man say? Incidentally, do you know his name? What's his name?"

A. "Er, Mr Berson. Yes, Mr Berson was his name."

Q. "And what did he say about the headache?"

A. Well, he said, 'that ties in with what our theory, we always had the impression that it was ..." (what would you say) he gave me the impression it was electro-magnetic or something to that effect - that's beyond me - but he said that would more than likely cause a headache  and it certainly took all day to get rid of it, anyhow. I know that."

Q. "What else did the CSIRO do?"

A. " Well, as I said, he took away samples of rock - they were very interested in that - because he said being a sort of an ironstone, it may have some attraction for it. And there is the reef as I said..."

Q. "How long after the sighting, did the CSIRO come down here?'

A. "They were here about 4 days after..."

On 8 April 1963, Dr Berson wrote to Sylvia Dutton of CAPIO, advising that:

"I visited Mr Brew in company of a friend of mine, but we did not take any rock samples. But I know that somebody else did. To obtain more information about the mentioned sighting, please contact the RAAF Department of Air, Canberra who are investigating this case." 

The following is from a letter from Berson to Robert Low, dated 11May 1967:

"...among them a sketch of the distribution of total magnetic intensity (as recorded by an AN/ASQ-1 airborne magnetometer installed in a DC3 aircraft) in a part of Gippsland surrounding the site of the Willow Grove sighting."

Later, in the same letter Berson suggested:

"Following a discussion with a geophysicist in the Antarctic Division of the Department of External Affairs I venture to suggest to you that a statistical investigation should be made on the following lines: place and/or time of (low level?) sightings of high credibility rating be correlated with magnetic data such as the three hourly geomagnetic k index at observatories and the world-wide kp index."

Who was Berson's companion on his visit to Moe in 1963? Berson mentioned he was accompanied by a Mr Clarke. On the website for the Encyclopaedia of Australian Science I found the following information:

Reginald Henry Clarke ( (1914-1990) joined the Bureau of meteorology in 1940, and then joined the CSIRO's Division of Atmospheric Physics at Aspendale in 1957. He retired in 1978 and passed away in 1990. One of his research interests was the subject of tornadoes.

Reg Clarke
(Source: "Winds of Change." CSIRO Publishing.1999.)

19 September 1963:

On Thursday 19 September 1963, Berson had his own sighting. I found the following information in an interview between Berson and James E McDonald dated 29 June 1967.  As far as I can ascertain he was at home in Mt Eliza, Melbourne at the time. He was with his son, when they noticed a cherry-red light in the sky. Far from being a point source of light, he estimated it had an angular size of one quarter of a degree, i.e. half the diameter of the full Moon.

The object appeared stationary, and there was no associated sound. He went inside the house to fetch binoculars, but when he came out, his son said that the object had formed two objects, and disappeared.

There was a newspaper report that an object was also reported from the Melbourne suburb of Dudley South at the same time. He checked the azimuth direction of his observation (it had been near a tree or similar object) and the track passed over Dudley South. He deduced that the object was not a balloon, or a hoax.

I found additional information on page 77 of the book by Michael Hervey, titled "UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere." (Click here.)

"On September 19, 1963, at approximately 8pm, the VFSRS received a telephone call from a man living at Mt Eliza. He and his family had watched an unusual object in the sky a little earlier that evening. The object, about 20 to 30 degrees above the horizon, appeared blood red  and was blinking on and off. It seemed larger than a star and made no sound. The object disappeared in a slightly easterly direction."

"The Express" Newspaper of Wonthaggi, Victoria in its 26 September 1963 edition provided some other information. At 1845hrs South Dudley children at a playground saw an object. An orange ball was seen to the west. There was no sound. Tom Lymer reported "It was flashing on and off like an aeroplane light" but bigger and brighter. It was moving much slower than an aircraft. Suddenly flame shot out and it travelled at a tremendous speed. It was lost for a while then picked up to the south, hovering. Tom Ruby said that after hovering and still flashing on and off, it moved over the sea and disappeared. It was reported that television reception was affected.

The Australian Flying Saucer Review, May 1964, page 1 said that a John Waters, 17 saw two objects. "One appeared first, travelling in an area but not stopping, and the second object came over a little higher and followed the same trajectory." Mrs Sutton said that the Mt Eliza man's object was travelling in a south to south-east direction. Mrs Sutton checked with the RAAF, weather bureau and the Department of Civil Aviation and said that there were no balloons, kites, planes etc in the area at the time.

McDonald in his handwritten notes of interview with Berson wrote that the object was "Not blinking. Review is in error."

April 1966: The Westall incident:

In Ann Druffel's book on James E McDonald, "Firestorm" (click here) she wrote that

"Dr Berson had done his own investigation of the Westall High School sighting. He'd called Moorabbin airport also, but had been told he would have to call four separate companies in order to try to track down the source of the five Cessnas! He'd learned that students at Clayton school had also seen the object at the same time. he went to the Department of Air, but was given no information. There he was told by an aviation instructor, "We have a sub-chasing aircraft with very bright lights that can be misinterpreted."  The Australian officials were reaching as far afield for 'explanations' as project Blue Book."

Berson himself refers to this incident, in a letter to Robert Low dated 28 November 1966. In part it reads:

"On another occasion I established the fact that a similar D.A. team had appeared so quickly on the scene of a sighting made by a group of school children and a teacher in the vicinity of an aerodrome as to make one believe that they had some foreknowledge.The teaching staff was asked by the DA men to "play it down" and the sighting was promptly ridiculed, but quite independently another group of people had reported the unusual phenomenon from the opposite peripheral area of the aerodrome."

July 1966:

An article titled "The Tully Nests: How freakish can whirlwinds be?" appeared in the Australian Flying Saucer Review, number 5, dated July 1966 pages 3-7. The article was "written by a member of VFSRS who has been connected with studies in atmospheric sciences." The references include an article by Reg Clarke. This may have been written by Berson.

May 1967:

In the McDonald archive section of Dr Michael Swords' digital file  collection, I found a letter dated 26 May 1967 to Dr Berson from James E McDonald. McDonald advised Berson that he was visiting Australia in June and July 1967. In part it read:

"I am now convinced it is a problem warranting greater increased scientific attention by a much larger group of workers...In going over one account of the Brew case, near Moe, Australia, I have noted that you are cited as a CSIRO investigator who looked into that interesting case. I should like very much to discuss that and any other Australian cases of which you have direct knowledge...I should like very much to speak to some of the CSIRO meteorologists about this entire problem...I might mention that I know...Priestley and Swinbank of your group."

June 1967:

Also in Swords' files is a letter dated 10 June 1967 from Sylvia Sutton, CAPIO to McDonald. In part it reads:

"The Chief purpose of this letter is to invite you to dine at my home...Dr Berson of the CSIRO, with whom you have been  corresponding, has become a good friend of my I have invited him and his wife to join us. He was particularly pleased about this because he would have liked to arrange some social occasion at his own home at Mt Eliza but due to the travelling distance, this rather ruled it out..."

McDonald met Berson on a number of occasions whilst in Melbourne, Victoria.

In the Australian journal of James E McDonald I found an entry dated 29 June 1967:

"then to Berson office to see geomagnetic anomaly at Brew site, and interviewed Berson re his Sep 19, 1963 sighting. Met Eric Webb who's been interested in UFOs (?) for some time but not until few weeks back did Berson learn of that..."

Eric Webb also worked also worked for the CSIRO.

Eric Webb
(Source: "Winds of Change." CSIRO Publishing. 1999.)

Another McDonald entry dated 30 June 1967  read:

"Phoned Berson. He wants me back. Priestley back and quite interested."

July 1967:

Another entry dated 4 July 1967 reads: "Paul and Geoff drove me to the CSIRO, Aspendale, met Priestley and Deacn (?) and Dyer."

CSIRO files on UAP:

The National Archives of Australia holds two relevant CSIRO files. File series A9778, control symbol M1/F/31, date range 1952-1957 is titled "Flying Saucers."

File series A852, control symbol HM1/30 titled "Miscellaneous Enquiries - General - UFOs."

 Is there anything on these files about Berson's UAP interests, or indeed about that of Groodin? I failed to find anything, however there were three items of general interest:

1. A memo dated 26 June 1968 from the Department of External Affairs addressed to the Secretary, Prime Minister's department, Canberra cc'd to Dr D F Martyn. Officer in charge, Upper Atmospheric Section CSIRO, about the Condon committee in the USA. However, the Upper Atmospheric Section was in Camden, New South Wales and not Aspendale, Victoria.

2. In the period 1959 to at least 1965, a copy of UAP reports were sent to the CSIRO, from the Department of territories (Papua New Guinea). There is no mention of which section/division of the CSIRO they ultimately ended up with.

3. A memo from the Department of Air, to the CSIRO dated 28 November 1968 advised that:

"During the course of an investigation into the unusual sightings made by Mr A S Ricketts of Baccus Marsh, Victoria, it was learnt that a 'team of CSIIRO scientists" had visited him on 7th July 1966. This Department would be grateful for any information on this visit that could be of assistance in assessing the origin of Mr Rickett's sightings."

 On 5 December 1966 the CSIRO replied:

"I have made inquiries from several likely CSIRO Divisions, but with negative results."

RAAF file 580/1/1 Part 6, held by the National Archives of Australia reveals a detailed investigation report on multiple observations by Mr Ricketts. It included:

"Mr Ricketts had a visit from a team of CSIRO scientists who saw something but would not confirm that this that this was a UFO. Mr Rickett's would not divulge the names of the CSIRO scientists."


I welcome any additional information on Dr F A Berson from blog readers.