Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cold case investigation - Boyup Brook WA - 30 Oct 1967

Hi all,

One reason for taking a look at older Australian cases, is that I am updating my Australia wide catalogue of reports. I have been working my way up from the early 1950's re-checking sources cited in my original catalogue which I started back in the 1980's. It is interesting to find that as careful as one was at the time, that inevitable errors of facts have crept in. I have been able to detect and fix quite a few of these, having found that the dates cited for some events were incorrect; and finding a more original source, has altered my perception of what others have, till now, regarded as a classic case. On the other hand some cases remain rock solid as evidence of the "core" phenomenon. The one I am about to write about is in this latter category.

Newspaper report:

The Boyup Brook case was first heard of via a short account in "The West Australian" newspaper of Wednesday 1 Nov 1967 page 7:

"Man tells of strange object.

Bunbury Tues: An Unidentified Flying Object was sighted on the Mayanup-Kojonup road last night by a man who refuses to give his name because of possible public ridicule.

The sighting which was made about ten miles from Mayanup about 9.30pm was reported to constable L Johnson of the Boyup Brook police station. Constable Johnson said  "The man was travelling about 60mph when suddenly his car stopped, the engine and lights went off, but he had no sensation of stopping. A tube of light descended towards the windscreen of his car and he could look up it and he  thought someone was looking down at him. Up the tube of light he could see a 30 ft pulsating bluish football shaped object which was iridescent and made no noise. He just sat looking at the object. In a flash the object was gone and he was once more driving at 60mph with the lights on."

Original source material:

I was fortunate, some time ago, to obtain copies of 23 pages of interview notes, courtesy of  a Perth psychiatrist, Dr Paul Zeck. Dr Zeck conducted an extensive interview with the witness, after locating him through the police. The following is a summary of information coming out during that interview, which took place a short time after the event.

The event:

Mr Harris (pseudonym) a wool classer by profession, was a married man with three children. He had about 60 men working for him and finished paying off one team at the CSIRO research farm, Glen Lossie, near Kojonup at about 8.30pm local time. He stopped in at Kojonup to have two drinks, then headed roughly westwards towards Mayanup, some 66 kms away. From Mayanup he intended to travel a further 15kms north to Boyup Brook to visit another team of men. He travelled these roads quite frequently and the terrain is undulating, with fairly tall, 18-21m, high trees.

The incident happened some distance before Boyup Brook, which places it to the east of, but close to, Mayanup. The time of the incident is about 9.30pm. It was a dark, starlit night.

Harris was travelling alone at a speed of about 100-105kph when all of a sudden "My machine just stopped dead and all electrical systems, motor, radio everything went dead. I had no feeling of deceleration at all...the car just instantaneously came to a stop...I didn't feel any - no feeling of deceleration..."

He felt the car had stopped. Then an object was present and a hollow "tube of light," "clear" in colour, descended out of the object, down onto him. He was able to look up the tube as "...there was no glare or anything inside this tube," although it was bright and glary on the outside. The tube was an estimated 60-90 cms in diameter.

Mr Harris stated that he "...had a feeling that I was being observed from this, through this tube..." He couldn't see anything up this tube; felt no fear, didn't think of anything, just stared up the tube.

After about five minutes, "...the tube of light closed off...like you switch a light off." The object itself was described as  at least 9 metres in diameter, about 30m off the ground, and "...the tube came out of it on about a forty five degree angle as it came down on the windscreen of my vehicle...it sort of focused right on me..."

Shape wise, it was like an Australian football, oval. "I could only see the underpart of it...It was all glowing itself, it was an iridescent sort of a light bluish coloured light, and sort of all glowing."

After the tube switched off, the object "Took off at terrific speed...it vanished out of sight within seconds..." It left to the west with a slight darkening of its colour.

"The moment it left, my machine was doing exactly the same speed that it was doing before it stopped and I had no feeling of acceleration at all. It was just like gravity had stopped." There was no difficulty controlling the vehicle. During the event he had not tried to move and simply sat holding the steering wheel.

Mr Harris noted that there "...was no noise whatsoever and incidentally while this was on - whilst it was there, everything around the place was dead quiet. There wasn't a sound of any sort."

After the object had left, he stopped the car, got out and looked around. He then drove to the Boyup Brook police station and reported the incident.

When he reached Boyup Brook he noticed that his Omega chronometer watch was five minutes slow; although it didn't usually lose time.

Other witnesses:

A week later, Harris returned to the area and stopped at the Kojonup Golden Fleece garage. Here he found that a man had seen the same object, and that two other farmers around Mayanup , one named Bock, had seen something.

Questioned by Zeck on his health, Harris said he'd never had blackouts, faints or concussion; although since the event he'd had "...terrific headaches in the last couple of weeks." The interview was conducted on 2 Dec 1967.

Mr Harris' GP, who was present at the interview with Zeck, advised that Harris had consulted him for 3.5 years and no psychiatric issues had ever arisen.

Dr Zeck contacted Bock; a Mr O'Halloran and the Golden Fleece garage owner. In Zeck's opinion  O'Halloran saw a satellite. The garage owner and Bock denied seeing anything unusual.

Dr Zeck's thoughts:

Dr Zeck considered four possible explanations.

1. A hoax.
2. Dropping off to sleep at the wheel and dreaming the event.
3. Temporal lobe epilepsy.
4. A genuine encounter.

On the second possibility Zeck wrote "...whole experience could have been an hallucination - hypnagogic if you like - although I would tend to think of it as a brief dream.  Such experiences are usually, but certainly not invariably recognised for what they are immediately."

On the third possibility, Zexk wrote "Temporal lobe epilepsy hallucinations may be less recognisable to the sufferer but still tend to have a quality iof unreality about them."

On the possibility of a hoax, Zeck made no comment. However, the event was reported to police and ended up, even though anonymously, in the West Australian newspaper. It wouldn't have been hard on the information available to have deduced Harris' real name.

Newspaper search:

I reviewed the contents of the October and November issues of the "West Australian" and "The Sunday Times" newspapers and found one interesting account in the 16 Oct 67 issue of the "West Australian" on page 3.

"Ottawa. Sunday. The Royal Canadian Air Force has intensified an investigation into flying saucers after reports that mysterious objects with flashing lights had been seen near Calgary, Canada. A woman claimed a dazzling light stabbed out of the night sky as she drove home on Wednesday. Then her car's engine and electrical system cut out while a dark oval shape slowly circled over her at a height of about 1000ft..."

Other details:

The "West Australian" paper gave sunrise on that day as at 0522hrs with sunset at 1840hrs. Moonrise was at 0328hrs and moonset at 1518hrs. So, neither Sun nor Moon were above the horizon at 9.30pm that night. A check of Skyview cafe confirmed these details.

In Perth that day the maximum temperature was 78.2 deg F and minimum was 62.4 deg F.

Comments:

I checked the RAAF's main file for reports and there was no record of Harris' case.

This, despite there being one witness, is a very well documented event.

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