Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three classes of impossibilities before breakfast

Hi all,

I have been reading the 2008 book by Dr Michio Kaku, the well known physicist. (click here.) The book is titled "Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration of the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation and Time travel." The book was published by Allen Lane. London. ISBN 978-0-713-99992-1. (Click here.)

The work is divided into three parts, class I, class II and class III impossibilities. He defines these as:

Class I - "These are technologies that are impossible today but that do not violate the known laws of physics, so they might be possible in this century, or perhaps the next, in modified form..."

Class II - "These are technologies that sit at the very edge of our understanding of the physical world. If they are possible at all, they might be realized on a scale of millenia to millions of years in the future..."

Class III - "These are technologies that violate the known laws of physics...If they do turn out to be possible, they would represent a  fundamental shift in our understanding of physics..." (pp.xvii)

Surprise:

It was therefor surprising that in part 1, class I impossibilities, that there is a chapter titled "Extraterrestrial UFOs."

Kaku covers the search for extraterrestrial life, SETI, where are they? Plus information on extra-solar planets, before touching on the topic of UAP.

UAP:

"Some people claim that extraterrestrials have already visited the Earth in the form of UFOs. Scientists usually roll their eyes when they hear about UFOs and dismiss the possibility because the distances between stars are vast. But regardless of scientists' reactions, persistent reports of UFOs have not diminished over the years." (p.147.)

Kaku then notes that "UFO sightings actually date back to the beginning of recorded history." (p.141) citing biblical and other sources. Mention is made of Project Blue Book and the 2007 release of French government files (click here.)

As to the cause of the majority of reports, Kaku lists Venus, swamp gas, meteors, atmospheric anomalies, radar echoes, weather and research balloons, aircraft and deliberate hoaxes. "At least 95 percent of sightings can be dismissed as one of the above." (p.150.)

"But thus still leaves open the question of the remaining few percent of unexplained cases." (p.150.) He cites as examples, the 1986 JAL flight 1628 case; (click here) the 1976 Tehran aircraft encounter (click here) and the 1989-1990 Belgium wave.

However, "What is frustrating to scientists is that, of the thousands of recorded sightings, none has produced hard physical evidence that can lead to reproducible results in the laboratory. No alien DNA, alien computer chip or physical evidence of an alien landing has ever been retrieved." (p.150.)

"Allowing for the moment that such UFOs might be real spacecraft.." (p.150) Kaku poses the question what propulsion system could they use?

Using the reported characteristics of unexplained cases he postulates "...a vehicle propelled by magnetism " (p.151) and goes on to examine potential nanotechnology.

This section concludes with "Given the rapid advance in SETI and discovering extra-solar planets, contact with extraterrestrial life, assuming it exists in our vicinity, may occur within this century..." (p.153.)

Comments:

It was interesting to find this piece in such a work. Unfortunately, it is a cursory overview, but at least if doesn't totally dismiss the topic out of hand, even noting that there remain unexplained cases.

I looked up the biography to see what books on UAP, that Kaku had referenced as the source(s) of his information. There aren't any. There are also no footnote references to the topic.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Department of Civil Aviation file digitised

Hi all,

Paul Dean's program of paying for UAP files of the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to be digitised, has resulted in another file. This one is NAA file series B595 control symbol 21/1/387 PART 2 titled "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." Its barcode is 9044809, Canberra office, with a date range of 1960-1965. The file is 70 pages in length, was opened on 10 Aug 1959 and closed on 11 Aug 1965. The file originated with the former Department of Civil Aviation (DCA.)

The file contains numerous reports of UAP, including:

* 29 May 1961, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. At 1125hrs two men, saw a passing Bristol Freighter aircraft in the sky. Near this aircraft they saw a white object. It generally travelled south, but at times appeared stationary. The Director General's office of DCA suggested "...scientific balloons released at Mildura...or one of the daylight visible planets."

* 17 Nov 1961. Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. 1630hrs z. A bright flash lit up the sky. Looking up, witnesses saw vapour trails in the south-western sky.

* 17 Apr 1962. Policemans Point, South Australia. 2000hrs. A man sighted a fast flying, low down, soundless craft. It had three very brilliant cabin lights on it. 15 minutes later, and 125 miles away, a similar object was seen.

* 27 Apr 1964. 36deg 36mins South 127 deg 22 mins East. 1240hrs z. Report from a ship, MV Burwah. Starlike object seen near the star Sirius, about the same brightness. Originally stationary, it then moved south, then east, curved north then south. Duration 5 minutes.

* 7 Nov 1964. Rockhampton, Queensland. 2045hrs z. An observer at the aerodrome saw what they took to be a high flying aircraft and associated vapour trail. However, there was no known aircraft in the area. The vapour trail was inspected 10 minutes later through binoculars but no aircraft was visible. A check of adjacent air traffic control units failed to identify any aircraft in the region at the time.

* 5 Nov 1964. Bisbane, Queensland. 2000hrs. Mr M German on duty at the weather radar installation noted a return on the radar at 075deg T, range 140 mls. The return was travelling in a northerly direction. There were no known aircraft in the area.

In all these cases, DCA forwarded the reports of UAP on to the RAAF for further action.

Comments:

The Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008) located a number of UAP files held by DCA. Material on these files are in the date range from the early 1950's to 1986. This means that the DCA was involved for a long a time as the RAAF, in collecting (but not analysing) UAP reports. Their role was to be a collection point for reports from airline pilots; air traffic controllers, other DCA staff, and members of the general public and then pass details on to the RAAF.

Through the Disclosure Project we are aware of the file numbers of several other DCA UAP files, which have not been located using the NAA's electronic database RecordSearch.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Was there a connection between the Westall incident and the Balwyn photograph?

Hi all,

Many Internet accounts seem to assume an automatic link between the 2 Apr 1966 Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria UAP photograph (click here to see photo) and the 6 Apr 1966 Westall incident (click here.) However, almost none of the Internet sources provides the text of original documentation on Balwyn. This post provides such text.

May-Jun 1966 issue. APRO Bulletin:

“Best Photo Yet – In Australia

Peter Norris has forwarded a print of the clear colored photograph taken by a prominent Melbourne businessman on the 2nd of April. Although the photographer asks anonymity, he is a member of the VFSRS and is known and vouched for by Mr Norris.

2.20pm on the 2nd, the man was in his garden using up the remainder of the film in his Polaroid color camera. Suddenly, a bright reflection caught his eye, and he looked up and saw a bell-shaped object hovering, on its side, over the house. The man snapped the photo, whereupon the object accelerated at great speed and took off in a northerly direction. He estimated the object was about 20 to 25 feet in diameter, and at about 150 feet altitude.

If at all possible, the photo will be included with this article [KB – it was.] In the black and white print the bottom appears black but in actuality, in the color photo, it is pink, reflecting the color of the roof over which the object hovered.”

Australian Flying Saucer Review (Vic edition) July 1966:

“VFSRS member snaps a UFO

A Polaroid colour photograph of a UFO is now under investigation by the VFSRS.

The photograph was obtained in Balwyn, Victoria at 2.02pm on Saturday, April 2nd by a society member who has requested that his name be withheld for business reasons.

The member’s description of the incident is as follows;

“It was a warm, clear day, and suddenly the whole garden became lit up. It was like a reflection from huge mirror being shone on the garden.

I looked up and saw an object bright and shiny coming towards me. It would have been 20 feet to 25 feet in diameter and was about 120 feet up in the air.

It seemed to float towards me. It resembled a big mushroom with a stalk pointing towards the earth.

Then it spun through an 180 degree angle on its vertical axis to take up the position in which I photographed it.

Then it turned slowly through another 180 degrees on its horizontal axis, to bring the stalk facing me.

From an almost stationary position it shot off northwards at terrific speed, accelerating to what seemed to be hundreds of miles an hour in seconds.

I ran and got a carpenter who was working on the house. Seconds after took off we heard a boom, similar to the sound jets make when going through the sound barrier.”

One interesting aspect of the photograph is a shading of pink directly on the bottom part of the UFO. This appears to be a reflection of the pink tiles of the roof over which the UFO was apparently passing at the time the photograph was taken.

When details of the photographic experts’ analyses are to hand they will be published in an issue forthcoming.”

Sep-Oct 1966 issue. APRO Bulletin:

“The Balwyn Photo

A complete photo analysis of the photograph of a bell-shaped object hovering over a residential section of Balwyn (Melbourne suburb), Australia, has arrived at headquarters.

Along with the analysis which proves the photo authentic (see page 1, May-Jun issue) was the identity of the photographer, and the office was surprised to find that he is one of our many Australian members.

Mr X has an extremely important position in Melbourne, and it is easy to see why he would hesitate to be identified with a UFO picture, or incident considering the controversial nature of the subject. The full story:

Mr X was in his garden of his home when his attention was attracted by a brilliant flash, as if some huge mirror was reflecting light to the garden. He looked up and saw the object coming in his general direction. It appeared to be between 20 and 25 feet in diameter and about 150 feet altitude. It resembled a big mushroom with its short stalk pointed earthward.

Mr X ran to get a carpenter who was working in the house so that he could watch the object also.

The object spun through a 180 degree angle on its vertical axis ending up with its rim pointing down. Mr X who had been using up film in his Polaroid color camera snapped the photo and waited from the timing process before pulling it out. The object then turned slowly through another 180 degrees on its horizontal axis, whereupon the “stalk” part was facing Mr X.

From this almost stationary position, the object shot off to the north at great speed. Seconds after it took off the two men heard a boom, “similar to the sound jets make when going through the sound barrier.”

Peter Norris, APRO’s Australian representative interviewed both Mr X and the carpenter (who also wished anonymity.”

The carpenter emphasised that he had Mr X in sight when the photograph was taken and that Mr X was alone all the time. The two stood shoulder to shoulder waiting for the photograph to process.”

McDonald interview:

The following text is taken from the book “Firestorm: Dr James E McDonald’s Fight For UFO Science” published in 2002 by Wild Flower press, Columbus, NC. ISBN 0-9-26524-58-5. Kibel was interviewed in mid 1967 by McDonald, when McDonald was in Australia.

“On April 2, 1966 James J Kibel was supervising alterations at his parent’s home in Australia. He decided to use up the film in his Polaroid 800 camera on the beautiful garden.

The film was so old, the witness told McDonald, that it was of altered speed. “Kibel tried one shot, which turned out badly. He adjusted the speed setting.”

Suddenly he noticed a bright flash on the ground. Although it was full daylight, half of the garden lit up. Startled, he looked up and a peculiar shiny object, descending downward. The top was shaped like a bell, and a “stalk” projected from the bottom. The object bounced up and down in “yo-yo” fashion. Kibel had difficulty describing how far the object descended. “Two hundred to three hundred feet,” he estimated. “It’s terribly hard to say.”

It was a warm, sunny day with a strong northerly wind, gusting to 30mph, yet the wind seemingly had no effect on the object’s bouncing motion. At one of its descents, the object’s bouncing motion stopped and flipped up on its lower edge. It hovered a half second and Kibel hastily shot a photo. In his haste and excitement, the camera hit his nose so hard that it hurt afterwards.

He lowered his camera , he was unable to shoot again immediately because the color Polaroid film demanded a 60 second wait between pictures. McDonald’s journal continues

“Rolling to the north, it then seemed to lose a bit of altitude, maybe 15-20 ft bottom of drop, it jerked violently upwards 30-40 feet at an angle 30 degrees to horizontal. Then curved over and accelerated at very great rate. Disappeared behind trees.

Kibel ran around the house trying to find other witnesses, pulling the film in the Polaroid to start the developing process. A worker, Mr D English, was bending down in the yard; he had seen nothing. Kibel pulled the picture out, startled by the clarity of the photo. He looked for other witnesses, but could find none. It was an exclusive neighbourhood where not many people spend time outside, he explained. He told McDonald that the object, in his opinion, was definitely “manufactured” and that its motion were “mechanical.” He estimated its size as between 15-25 feet diameter.

Jim Kibel had seen two other UFOs from that same garden when he was still living at home. In late afternoon August 1954, at the age of 15, his mother had called him suddenly into the garden to view a disc which was flipping in the sky, showing alternately a shiny side and a dull, dark bottom. Its angular size was equal to an Australian ten cent piece at arm’s length, very much larger than the moon.

Mrs Kibel reported the object to the staff of a Melbourne  newspaper, who ridiculed her, suggesting she’d been drinking too much!

After a sighting in 1958 which was also witnesses by his fiancĂ©e Jim Kibel reported it to Peter Norris of VUFORS, whom he knew personally. Remembering his ridicule his mother had sustained, he didn’t report it to anyone else. McDonald wrote in his journal “All Jim Kibel knows is that the objects were definitely there.”

Photographic analysis:

If any blog reader has a copy of the Balwyn analysis, would they kindly scan it and forward it to me at keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au in order that I might share it with readers.

Intelligence reports and early Australian UAP sightings

Hi all,

This post provides details on four more National Archives of Australia (NAA) UAP files which have recently been digitised at the request of Melbourne researcher Paul Dean. They show that RAAF Intelligence officers were at the forefront of investigating early sightings in Australia.

1952:

NAA file series A11066 control symbol 5/1/27 PART B is a file titled "(Eastern Area Headquarters - Intelligence) Report on unusual sighting 3rd May 1952 (includes news clippings of 'flying saucer')" Barcode is 3315433. Canberra office.

This is a 16 page file which starts with a clipping from the "Daily Telegraph" dated 6th May 1952 and describes three servicemen's report of  a 'flying saucer' over Sydney on 3rd May 1952. Their reports were given to Dr J H Piddington, principal research officer of the radiophysics Division of the CSIRO, rather than  to the RAAF.

Later documents on the file indicate that the object, a ball of light, was seen at about 6.10am; was a meteor-like object, which appeared in the south-eastern sky and travelled due east, as seen from Sydney.

What was obvious was that the object was also seen from widely separated places such as Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong and Melbourne.

Interestingly, a detailed report was prepared by Flt Lt W J Sadler and Sq Ldr M C Murray. This six page document gathered observations, and analysed them. Their conclusion was that "The light was probably caused by a meteor or similar body."

Notes:

For an earlier post on this case click here. A copy of the RAAF's report turned up in the USAF's Project Blue Book files, click here for a post on this. The USAF and the RAAF had some early interaction where RAAF reports ended up with the USAF, see here and here.

1959:

"Sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object by Mr L N Waldron" barcode 12254705 is NAA file series A.1945 control symbol 10/1/70. Canberra office. The file is eight pages long and belonged to the Department of Defence, Canberra.

It starts off with a hand-written letter dated 20 Sep 1959 from a Lloyd N Waldron of Waldrona, via Roma. Queensland which was addressed to the Department of Defence, Canberra.

He reports sighting a "rocket" at 6.15pm on 14 Sep 1959. It was an orange coloured streak in the south-western sky at about 10 degrees elevation. The object disappeared into heavy cloud and then re-appeared travelling horizontally to 45 degrees elevation. It finally was lost in the light of the Moon.

Notes:

Interestingly, the Department of Defence sent the letter on to the "Department of Supply which is the Department most directly interested in this kind of thing..." I have not come across such a report on any of the Department of Supply files located in the NAA.

The Department of Defence took no further action.

1959:

A rare Navy file was found at NAA file series A6826 control symbol 136/1/1-3. It was titled "Earth Satellites, Space Vehicles, Unidentified Flying Objects - General." Barcode 8220868. Canberra office. Owned by the Navy Office, Department of Navy.

It is three page file, which has two pages of what appears to be a file sheet. This has one relevant entry dated 1 Jul 1959, correspondence from the Department of Defence re "Reported sighting of fallen object. Territory of Papua and New Guinea 24 May 1959."

Notes:

I checked NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 Part 2 and found the following details about this May report:

24 May 1959 Baniaram Territory of Papua and New Guinea 1900hrs 75 mins duration
Object seen in the west, high in the sly. Descended erratically in a south-west direction. Colour was a brilliant blue "alternating at long intervals to a reddish glow and ending with a green flash."
(Source: Pages 84, 92, 182, 183, 187-188 on digital copy of RAAF file 580/1/1 part 2. Original reference Department of Territories 58/26 DOD 128.1.21 (20)

1960:

NAA file series A12639 control symbol 5/1/AIR is titled "Intelligence - Reports of Unusual Sightings." Barcode 7267079. Canberra office. It is a nine page file opened on 7 Apr 1960. It was held by the Department of Defence, Central Office.

It consist of:

* A telex dated 6 Apr 1960 about the re-entry of satellite Sputnik 3, and called for any sightings to be reported to the Department of Air. One sighting report is on file.

* A second telex dated 21 Sep 960 regarding the re-entry of Sputnik 5, and calling for any sightings to be reported. One sighting report is on file.

Notes:

It is unclear who was doing what with any observations of these re-entrys of Soviet satellites. It is possible that someone. somewhere was hoping to be able to retrieve pieces of these satellites to study, much along the lines of the US Project Moon Dust. Click here for a post on Moon Dust and its relevance in 1962 to Australia.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Operation Lost-ball, GHOST balloons and Detective Meskell


Hi all,

National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 part 7 has now been digitised, courtesy of Melbourne researcher Paul Dean, and is now available for viewing at the NAA website.

Contents:

The digital version of the file consists of 371 pages, and covers the years 1966 and 1967 (for readers who are aware of the 6 April 1966 Westall event, no it does not have any documentation on this case!)

However, inter alia, it does have:

* A 27 Nov 1966 observation from Eildon Weir, Victoria where an orange/yellow light was reported travelling in a north-west direction. The RAAF attributed the cause of this report to either "ball lightning" or a "plasma." It should be noted that very few of the thousands of UAP reports made to the RAAF received this "solution."

* A 30 Dec 1966 sighting from a ship at sea, of UAP travelling ESE at supersonic speed, parallel to the horizon. At least four groups, of several objects per group, were seen. Each object was circular and showed light streams astern.

* On 15 Feb 1967 a man in a car north of Townsville reported seeing a dark triangular object in the sky travelling SW to NE at an estimated height of 20,000 to 30,000 feet, in a straight path. The RAAF found that the only known aircraft in the area was a Pan Am aircraft which wasn't the object seen.

* A mention of a mystery "Operation Lost-ball." A man found an unusual object on his property in a paddock. A file note states that the material was handed to "...a Mr Mills at the Department of Supply Perth who was nominated by NASA as the W.A. Handling Authority for Operation Lost-ball." A search of the NAA website and the Internet, found no information at all about an Operation Lost-ball. Have any blog readers ever come across it?

* A copy of a telex dated 18 Apr 1967 from "External Canberra" which I take to be the Department of External Affairs, Canberra, to the Department of Civil Aviation, Melbourne; the Melbourne Bureau of Meteorology, and the Department of Air. It was headed "Ghost balloons." It read "Further launching on 27 March -no. 91022, code DDD, transmitting on 15022 kc/s." As I had not previously heard of "Ghost balloons" I checked the NAA for files. I found only one, file series A432 control symbol 1971/15 barcode 9009307, Canberra office, status "Not yet Examined." Its title is "Agreement with United States Government for release of "ghost" balloons from Darwin." The file belonged to the Deputy Crown Solicitor's office, Canberra.

An Internet search found that "The Global Horizontal Sounding Technique (GHOST) program was an atmospheric field research project for investigating the technical ability to gather weather data using thousands of simultaneous long-duration balloons." 231 GHOST balloons were launched between March 1966 and December 1969. The balloon s were only flown around the southern hemisphere, and one flight lasted over a year. For more on this program click here and here.

* A copy of a memo, dated 18 Mar 1967 from the Police Station at Goolagong to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) about "mysterious happenings" centred around a satellite re-entry.

* A report of an object sighted on 22 Apr 1967 by a Detective Meskell c/- the Police Station at Coolangatta, Queensland. He sighted a light travelling North which then changed direction.

Detective John Meskell, was the central character of the reported Bougainville Reef aircraft, photographic case of 28 May 1965. To read about this case and Meskell's part in it, click here and here.

* A memo dated 27 Jul 1967 from RAAF Headquarters Supply Command to the Department of Air including  copy of a lecture given by James E McDonald in Washington. The memo noted "Professor McDonald has recently been in Melbourne for discussions with the CSIRO on meteorological problems, and at the same time, took the opportunity to present an address to members of associations interested in UFO activity." To read this paper click here.

End notes:

There are always interesting bits of information to be found on any of the RAAF file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 files. Currently we are waiting for parts 12, 27 and 33-35 to be digitised, courtesy of  a request by Paul Dean.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gone with the wind - balloons and UAP

Hi all,

Introduction:

Balloons of all kinds can cause reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP.) Long term readers of this blog may recall that I wrote a series of posts about the stratospheric balloon program known as HIBAL. In Australia, HIBAL was a joint program between the US Atomic Energy Commission and the Australian Department of Supply, launching large balloons from Mildura, Victoria. For newer blog readers, you might wish to take a look at these posts, click here; here ; here ; here and here

Early reports:

In June 1948, US pilot Captain Thomas Mantell died while attempting to intercept a UAP. However, later data suggested that the UAP was most likely a US Navy Skyhook balloon (click here.) Writing about James E McDonald, in her 2003 book "Firestorm" Ann Druffel wrote "McDonald was satisfied that Moore's balloon-flight data explained the Mantell incident..." (Druffel. Wild Flower Press. p.72.)

Another US Skyhook balloon, in October 1953, crossed from the US to the United Kingdom (UK)  and on 3 Nov 1953 was spotted near London by a Royal Air Force aircraft. However, it wasn't until "2004 that British Intelligence concluded this UFO was a Skyhook balloon." (Clarke, D. 2012. "The UFO Files." Bloomsbury. London. pp 57 and 163.)

A team from Bristol University in the UK launched 300-400 foot diameter balloons, in a cosmic ray research program which landed in such diverse places as Ireland and France. In July 1954 one balloon flew over London and caused flying saucer reports. (Clarke p.63.)

In February 1956 reports of a flying saucer flooded in from South Wales and England. A naval aircraft took off to investigate and flew to 35,000 feet. However, the object ws still higher than this. The pilot's log book notes that the object was "...probably a cosmic ray research balloon." (Clarke pp64-65.)

Russian balloon:

Sometime in the 1960's US Oxcart (click here) aircraft pilot Ken Collins was sent on a mission to locate "...a Russian reconnaissance balloon was flying across the United States, floating with the prevailing winds in a westerly direction...on direct orders by the Pentagon to 'hunt and find' the Soviet weather balloon visually and using radar...flying somewhere over the middle of the continent, Collins briefly identified an object on radar about 350 miles away...he never saw the balloon with his own eyes." (Jacobsen, A. 2011. "Area 51." Orion. London.)

Madrid:

In 1968 Madrid was the scene of report by hundreds of people who saw tetrahedron shaped UAP crossing the sky. Photographs (for one click here) were taken of the object. Research later determined that the object(s) were French research balloons (click here.)

Australia:

Here in Australia, also in 1968, persons in Sydney reported a UAP in the northern sky, travelling along at a rapid pace. It turned out that the University of Adelaide had launched a balloon with a telescope attached, launched from Mildura in Victoria. (McCraken. K. 2008. "Blast Off." New Holland Publishers. Sydney.)

The following year, numerous reports were received from people around Amberley, Queensland, on 29 August. Witnesses stated that they saw a "balloon-like" object to the south. A RAAF Canberra aircraft located the cause of the sightings as a balloon over Milmerran at 6,000 feet. Later it was revealed that the balloon launching station at Mildura had launched a balloon on 25 August which failed to self-destruct and floated over south-eastern Queensland. (National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1.)

On 19 May 1988, a witness was travelling by car near Bandendone, Queensland and at 1.25pm saw an object in the sky, reflecting "metal-like" in the sunlight. There was no associated sound. It appeared to be hovering before rising steadily as it travelled east. An Excite x-ray telescope had been launched by a balloon from Alice Springs, NT that day and appears to have caused the report. (NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1.)

Smaller balloons:

Thousands of meteorological balloons are launched from airports and other sites every day to obtain details of the atmospheric conditions. If you live near one of these sites you may, from time to time, see these balloons and their associated equipment ascending into the sky, or the equipment descending if the balloon itself has burst.

Since the mid 1990's hundreds of reports have been received by Australian UAP research groups, which describe either single, or multiple in formation, orange coloured lights travelling across the night sky. These observations have come from most Australian capital cities and many regional centres.

Investigation of thes reports indicate that the source are hot air filled garbage bags launched by individuals trying to cause UAP reports. The reports tend to come in clusters, e.g. around the Narre Warren area of Melbourne, Victoria in June 1996 ; Townsville, Queensland in July 1998. People have been seen launching these bags; and remains of bags have been found. These kind of UAP continue to be reported today. The latest known to me was observed from Mawson Lakes, a northern Adelaide suburb in early March 2013.

In the UK hundreds of UAP reports are believed to have been due to Chinese lanterns being launched into the skies, in recent years (for video click here.)

In conclusion:

When analysing UAP reports, the possibility that the cause might be a hot air garbage bag; a meteorological weather balloon or a stratospheric large diameter research balloon should always be considered.
 

Cold case investigation - North Queensland entity case - W C Hall

Hi all,

This post continues my series of cold case investigations into Australian cases. I look for original documentation on these cases which has never seen the light of day before.

W C Hall:

Australian UAP researchers have long been aware of an entity case from the 1950's, from North Queensland. Indeed, my own Australian entity catalogue carried the following entry:

"Oct (?) 1954(?) North Qld, Hall.
A Mr Hall was inspecting sheep when he heard a whirring noise. He then saw six tiny white dots in  the sky which landed. Close up they were ten metre tall cylinders with a rim or ramp around their bottom. About a dozen "men" got out and formed a group. They then re-entered the objects and took off. Mr Hall reportedly blacked out and had a vision of his property as a "fertile paradise." He says within two months this had occurred. (Sources cited were "Sunday Telegraph" Undated, quoting Sir magazine dated 23 Jan 1955."

No one I know of has ever been able to track down either the "Sunday Telegraph" article or the 1955 "Sir" magazine, until now.

Sir article located:

I recently had an email from US researcher Luis R Gonzalez who informed me that Mikhail Gershtein had located a copy of the relevant "Sir" magazine article. Gonzalez kindly forwarded me a digitised copy. Here, then is the story as carried by an original source.

The story:

The front cover reveals that the magazine was called "Sir! A magazine for males." W C Hall's account appeared in the February 1955 edition. The cover features a coloured drawing of a man set in what appears to be a desert setting. In the sky appear 10 white oval oval shaped objects. Across the drawing is a banner "Flying saucers on my ranch" by W C Hall. Pages 14 to 16 contain his account which reads:

"Flying Saucers On My Ranch

An Australian sheep grower gives a first hand account of fateful day when strange ships landed on his ranch!

By W C Hall

The flying objects that looked like petrol tanks came down on my ranch in Australia on  a dull grey day in October. With my own eyes, I saw six of them whirl gently to earth like helicopters with propellers.

My ranch in the North Queensland section has 15,000 acres. It was once like any other Australian ranch, but now it's the weirdest place this side of Jupiter. But that's getting ahead of the story.

It all began when a heard of locusts swarmed over the pastures during the last days of August. The locusts destroyed things to the point where my cattle and sheep were hard put for something to eat. And they were getting leaner as the days went by.

One day in October while on an inspection tour I rode my horse to the top of a hill in a remote section of the ranch. The sky was overcast but vision was good across the broad plain that stretched before my eyes. In the distance I saw cattle grazing, trying to salvage something from the ravaged earth.

Then I heard a soothing whirring sound that almost made me drowsy. High in the sky I saw six tiny white dots descending, and the dots grew bigger and bigger as they approached the ground.

The objects which resembled petrol tanks, landed in the open pasture about three quarters of a mile away from me. As they touched the earth, the atmosphere became strangely calm. There was no breeze, no draft.

I rode my horse down the hill and towards the objects in order to get a closer view. They were about 30 feet tall, and elliptical in shape with a rim, or ramp running like a ribbon across their middle sections.

Then I saw people get out of the objects. There were about 12 men and from a distance they appeared to be perfectly normal. They were garbed in uniforms like those worn by American paratroopers whom I saw in Australia during the war. All stood around in a huddle and seemed to be discussing something.

Fascinated and curious I rode towards them. When I arrived at a point about three hundred meters away, the strangers got out of their huddle and, for the first time, saw me.

For a moment they paused indecisively, then turned  and ran back to their machines. I was close enough now to see ladders of about ten rungs which hung from the side of each of the tank-like objects. The men scurried up those ladders and disappeared inside.

Then I heard the soothing whirring sound again as the six machines rose from the earth. My horse reared violently and thing began to happen. As I dismounted, the air became completely clear, and I dropped to the ground. I didn't know why. I just dropped to the ground.

As I lay there I saw an odd-coloured kind of exhaust fume spewing out of the objects and settling towards the earth. For about five minutes the things hung suspended in the sky, giving off the fumes before zooming off to become, once again, only white dots in the gray overcast.

All muscular activity ceased in my body, and I became as shaky as a mass of jelly. I blanked out, but while in that state of suspended consciousness a remarkable thing occurred. I became clairvoyant and events which were destined to come true paraded before my eyes.

It was almost as if something had been inserted in my mind. In my vision, instead of locust-ravaged land, I saw my ranch a broad plain of fertility exceeding the imagination.

Everything came on bountiful waves. Sheep, cattle, grass and all manner of animal and plant life grew and multiplied at an astonishing rate of speed.

While these visions were before my eyes, I lost all sense of gravity and I floated about five feet into the air.

In the distance I saw  the tiny white objects giving out now with a whining sound as they faded into the gray overcast.

When I awoke from this trance, my first contact with reality was the sight of my horse. He was lying on the ground, senseless. I tugged at the reins for about five minutes before getting him on his feet.

Riding back to the ranch I wondered if I had been dreaming. I told my wife about the six strange objects, and she thought they must have been some new type of airplane.

Two months later, across the fields of my ranch I noticed an amazing transformation in vegetation. Ring bark trees stood like forests where a few weeks before the land was devoid of vegetation. Rabbits, the plague of good pasture land, bounded everywhere, devouring the grass as fast as it sprouted from the earth.

The next year on the ranch was fantastic.

Grass grew, not as a natural process, but came up matted, creating a soft rug of green over hundreds of acres on both sides of the river which ran through the ranch.

Chickens multiplied like rabbits, and some of the newly-born chicks had two feet. Cattle almost doubled themselves in number, and some of the heifers were born with five legs. The wool of my 15,000 sheep became thicker than ever before making shearing more difficult.

The only explanation for all this, it seemed to me, would be the six strange objects which descended into the pasture that October day. The oddly colored exhaust fumes they gave off must have contained atomic radiation capable of changing the genes of animal life. And even vegetation was affected by those magnetic rays.

The rapid increase in the number of cattle and sheep was accompanied by a corresponding increase in the problem of jack-rabbits. These pest eat up the pasture, devour seedlings and even under normal conditions vast sums are spent in trapping and poisoning the creatures.

But now the jack-rabbits may bankrupt the ranch at a time when production is at a peak.

My wife's going to have a baby not so long from now, and every night I pray the gene changes won't affect the normal life of our child.

The end."

Comments:

1. In the article, distances are quoted as "three quarters of a mile" at one stage, while later as "three hundred meters." This is an odd mix of imperial and metric systems. In 1955, Australia used imperial measures, e.g. miles, etc. Later the country adopted the metric system, e.g. kilometres.

2. The word "color" in Australian English is spelt as "colour." If the article was indeed written by an Australian they would use Australian English. The article uses American English. Of course W C Hall's original Australian English account may have been edited into American English.

3. The words "pasture" and "fields" used in the article, which are of English origin, are not used in Australian English. Here the word used to describe these terms is "paddock."

4. Regarding locust plagues in the month of August. I am very doubtful that this is accurate. I checked several sources on the Internet and confirmed mu suspicions that plague of locusts are indeed a summer phenomenon i.e. November to February here in Australia in Queensland. In addition, the article uses the word "heard" of locusts, whereas in Australia we refer to a "swarm" of locusts.

5. The article uses the term "ranch," which is not a term which would be used by an Australian writer. Here the term "station" has been in long term use. Again, this suggests the article was either written or edited by someone using American English.

6. The setting of the account is delightfully vague. It is set in "North Queensland" which is a awfully large area. No  specific location is given. There is no mention of a town or locality.

7. All in all, it seems a delightful tale, more likely written by an American, setting it in a vague overseas location, and drawing on imagery of genetic radiation and magnetic rays. However, I'll remain open minded enough if any blog reader can suggest otherwise.

Final note:

There is also a famous Australian UAP photograph (click here to view) which is said to have been taken by a W C Hall in Queensland in 1954. My own catalogue of Australian photographs merely states:

"Oct 1953 North QLD
Mr W C Hall photographed a dense looking tropical hat shaped UFO of circular form with a prominent dome on top as it hovered over a herd of sheep.  (Sir magazine Feb 55.)"

You will note that it is a "W C Hall" and from "North Qld" suggesting that it is the same Hall as the entity case described above.

You will also note that the source I have is the same issue of "Sir" magazine as the entity case.

Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos' work "Fotocat" (click here) states:
DATE:
October 1953
LOCATION:
North Queensland (Australia)
FORMAT:
Picture
PHOTOGRAPHER:
W.C. Hall
EXPLANATION:
Fake (as per Flying Saucer News, Bill
Chalker, Luis Ruiz Noguez, and Larry Robinson)
REFERENCES:
According to Keith Basterfield, the initial
source was Sir magazine of February 1955, which is
quoted in Flying Saucer News, spring 1955, page 17.
REMARKS:
This is a standard UFO photograph of the Fifties
and Sixties and it was dated innumerable times either as
simply 1954 or as July 18, 1954 (even quoting the primary
source as well).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

PDF files now available of National Archives of Australia UAP files

Hi all,

UK researcher Isaac Koi has worked in recent months to create PDF versions of digitised UAP files in the National Archives of Australia (NAA.)

Today, http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread942661/pg1 Isaac announced that anyone can now download his collection of these files, after he received permission from the NAA to upload them to his online site. Also included in the download is a table which provides some details of the relevant files.

To download the entire collection go to:

https://www.wetransfer.com/downloads/bd6c6d90d4a6a161aacbf5fad14b134220130423090520/e32cc5155e188ee981df336c2cbc143f20130423090520/f28051

The collection may also be viewed at:

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=55caf0fca1c31c69&id=55CAF0FCA1C31C69%21356

Isaac'a suggestion is:

"In short, use the Wetransfer link above if you want the entire collection and it is before 6 May 2013. Use the Skydrive link above if you only want a single file or it is after 6 May 2013. "

In addition, Isaac has placed a copy of a 121 page guide to the files, prepared by myself, on behalf of the Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008.) This can be found at:

https://www.box.com/s/47pd77p7qxluqq3hwf8u

Isaac is to congratulated on this initiative, which will allow more people to directly access these Australian UAP files.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cold case investigation - Butterworth 2 Jan 1979

Hi all,

Introduction:

This post examines a report where the witness is said to have been a member of the RAAF, who observed and photographed a UAP.

Newspaper article:

The "National Echo" Penang, Malaysia, (cited in the MUFON Journal Feb 1980 page 8) on 4 Jan 1979 carried an article which read as follows:

"Butterworth Wed

An unidentified flying object (UFO) was reportedly sighted by a RAAF personnel. And to substantiate his claim, the RAAF personnel, who refused to disclose his name, said he had taken two photographs of the sighting.

He told the National Echo today that he was coming out of a supermarket in Jalan Bagan road when he saw a round, silvery object in the sky at about 6.15pm yesterday.

He described the object as "glowing in bright orange colour" and had several porthole windows lining the edge. The object was shaped like a flying saucer.

He said that he took 12 shots with his camera but when the film was developed only two shots showing the object came out.

The pictures were taken near the Town Council soccer field opposite the supermarket.

According to him the object was hovering in the sky for nearly 20 minutes before it disappeared.

News of the sighting is spreading through the town, although many people are still doubtful that it was a UFO."

The pictures:

To take a look at one of the pictures click here and here.

Comments:

I conducted an Internet search and every site which I examined had no more information than that contained in the 4 Jan 1979 newspaper article. There were no other sources of data.

I contacted a friend of mine who was in the RAAF and was stationed at Butterworth in 1981 and 1982. He has had a long term interest in UAP, but advised me that he never heard of this story while he was stationed at Butterworth.

I looked at digitised files in the National Archives of Australia (NAA) which contained Unit Reports for RAAF Squadrons numbers 3, 75 and 77 which had at times been based at Butterworth. There were no references to such an incident.

There are no RAAF UAP files for the year 1979 available in the NAA.

So, the end result is one newspaper article and one photograph.

Further reading:

Click here for information on RAAF 3 Squadron based at Butterworth which provides some interesting material, including photographs of the base, men and aircraft.

Have any blog readers further information on this report?

A PS:

While researching the 1979 story I came across one from 1959, also at Butterworth RAAF Malaysia.

Bill Chalker wrote an article "UFO crash/retrieval stories: The Australian Experience (click here.) In it he mentions "1959 Butterworth RAAF Malaysia (letter writer to RAAF refers to plane destruction and debris from destroyed UFO."

I looked at NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 which covered 1959 but failed to find any such letter. It may. of course have been written at a later date, referring back to 1959. If any reader can provide a source for this letter, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Angels" in the air - coming next month?

Hi all,

Like other things in the world, aspects of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) come into, and go out of,  fashion. The month of May in Australia is a good time to keep your eyes on the skies for one of the rarer occurrences.

One quite rare feature of  UAP these days is the fall of what is called "Angel hair." Angel hair is a sticky, fibrous substance which falls from the sky in connection with the sighting of unusual aerial objects. Some of the earliest cases from modern times occurred in France in 1952 (click here to read about these.)

Australian cases:

There have been recorded falls here in Australia. Some examples are:

(1) 5 August 1961 0820hrs 55mins Mt Hale Station Western Australia (26.03S 117.15E)

“Twelve round flying objects, moving fast in pairs, were sighted on August 6th, 1961, by ten independent witnesses near Meekatharra. They left a white trail of “streamers” which crumbled and disappeared when picked up by startled watchers at Mt Hale station, seventy-five miles west of Meekatharra. The silvery, round objects passed over the station at regular intervals between 8.20 and 9.15 am.

One of the witnesses, Mr E Payne, stated: “The objects were flying at an altitude of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. I picked up one of the ‘streamers’, but it vanished in my hands as it touched my skin.” He drove into Meekatharra to report the incident to the police. Constable J Coyle checked with the Department of Civil Aviation, which said that no aircraft were in the area and no meteorological balloons had been sent up. An official said that the RAAF would make a report on the sightings to the Department of Air.”

Source: Hervey, M. (1969.) UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere. Sydney. Horwitz. p156. (Hervey gives date as 6th August.)

“I am a Shearing Contractor aged 37 years and am at present working at Mt Hale station which is situated about 70 miles west of Meekatharra. My home address is (deleted). About 8.20 am on the 5th August, 1961, Mr (deleted) Mt Hale Station came over the shearing shed and asked me to have a look at two objects in the sky. The objects were round in shape, bright silver, about 2 feet each in diameter, that is from ground level. The objects appeared to be about 8 to 10,000 feet, possibly higher. They were travelling at a fast speed and could be kept in sight for only about two minutes. Their course appeared definite, no surface wind. In all 12 objects were sighted, the last being about 9.15 a.m. They appeared to be in pairs. The objects gave off a white substance which took on various shapes whilst falling to the ground. The white substance was followed and I managed to pick up some of the substance, It was of snow white colour and appeared to be in a fine mesh. It crumbled very easily. Apart from (deleted) the following persons saw the objects. (deleted). The persons mentioned are shearers employed by me. Some station hands also saw the objects....”

Source: RAAF files.

Other references are (1) APRO Bulletin 1962 1 p1 (2) Lorenzen, C & J (1969.) UFOs The Whole Story. New York. Signet. p232. (3) Adelaide Advertiser 7 August 1961. (4)  Holledge, J (1965). Flying Saucers Over Australia. Sydney. Horwitz. p86. This source mentions that the objects travelled from N to S.

Weather 9am Meekatharra 15.2C 1/8 cloud Wind from N at 18km/hr.

(2) 10 August 1998 (Sometime between midday and 1 pm) 90-120mins Quirindi near Tamworth New South Wales (31.30S 150.41E)

A Mrs Eunice Stansfield, 61 and a female friend, Noelene Mozetic,  reported seeing a silver ball travelling quickly across the sky from east to west. Several other objects were then seen in the sky, reportedly up to 20 altogether. They were a bright metallic grey in colour. Some moved quickly while others were stationary at times. There was no noise at all. One of the larger objects was seen to be two spheres connected by a cylinder shape.

The objects manoeuvred across the whole sky in complex patterns. When the spheres were manoeuvring, a light whitish material could be seen streaming from them. This material formed into long, white strands which fell slowly downwards onto telephone wires and trees. There was no surface wind. Air temperature was cool.

The material fell in surrounding areas. The female friend collected a piece of it, a 30cm long strand from a bush. “...it was extremely light, whitish and strong, like cotton, requiring a good tug to break. It quickly “dissolved” away to nothing when handled.” A second piece was collected in a clean yoghurt container.

A Telstra technician, Gary from Gunnedah reported he was at Piallaway, 40km north of Quirindi at 2pm and saw masses of cobweb-like material falling around. The material evaporated upon handling.

The yoghurt container was passed to Moira McGhee and then to Bill Chalker for analysis of the contents.

The sample as received by Bill Chalker was approximately the size of a match head. The sample was placed in a freezer-no phase differences were noted. “The sealed container contents were then sampled through the intact gladwrap via an eppendorf syringe to sample any possible gas phase. None confirmed per comparison to ambient conditions & atmosphere.”

A comparison of the Quirindi sample and known spider’s web, using video microscopic imaging led to the conclusion that the Quirindi material was identical to the control sample of spider’s web “...including inclusions of coloured webbing, which often occurs.”

However, Chalker noted that the container with the original white material in it, was opened by the witness at a later stage to add some more of what she thought was the same material, but could have been ordinary spiders’ web. (2)

Source: (1) Compilation published by the Keith Basterfield Network of sightings etc for 1998. Investigators: Moira McGhee, Bill Chalker, Bryan Dickeson, Diane Harrison, Robert Frola UFO group: INUFOR, UFOIC, UFOR(NSW), UFOICQ. (2) personal communication from Bill Chalker to the author dated 30 December 2000.

Weather: 12noon Tamworth 14.4C Cloud cover data not available. Wind from the SW at 9km/hr.

Catalogue:

Back in 2001 I collected together a range of Angel hair reports from Australia and conducted an analysis of the details available to me. A copy of the catalogue and analysis is available to read here.

For a very interesting case which I found after I had completed the catalogue see my earlier blog post.

When to look in the sky:

One of the analyses I conducted was to determine which months of the year (in Australia) were the peak months for observations. It turned out that May was equal first.

So, next month keep your eyes to the skies. Best locations are where your latitude is between 30 and 34 degrees south; longitude 135-139 degrees east. You are more likely to find falls happening in a rural setting; and between midday and 5pm. It would be good if the wind speed was either zero or slight, and if the sky is cloudless.

I'd welcome any reported observations which blog readers may come across. Send them to keithbasterfield@yahoo.com.au

Monday, April 15, 2013

Drones in the desert - Woomera, South Australia

Hi all,

New drone to be tested:

As if UAP researchers hadn't enough mundane objects to sort out from the core phenomenon, now there is one more. A new drone, named Taranis (click here) is to be flown at the Woomera test range, in northern South Australia.

The "Sunday Mail" newspaper published in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, dated 14 April 2013 read:

"Ian McPhedron
Defence Writer

The most secretive piece of airspace in Australia - the RAAF run Woomera flight test range in South Australia - will make history later this year when the world's first unmanned supersonic stealth combat aircraft makes it maiden test-flight above the desert.

Extreme secrecy surrounds the joint British-French project and the drone is called a Taranis, named after the Celtic god of Thunder and built by a British/French consortium led by aerospace giant BAE systems.

Resembling an insect and using the delta-shaped "flying wing" technology favoured by modern-day stealth aircraft such as America's B-2 stealth bomber, Taranis is designed to fly above the speed of sound over long distances undetected by enemy radar to attack targets with an array of precision missiles and bombs.

Unlike current generation attack drones such as Predator and Reaper, which are used extensively to attack targets in Afganistan, Pakistan and Yemen, Taranis will carry the latest in remote defensive technology so that it can also evade missiles and hostile manned aircraft.

The Woomera restricted area has already played host to a number of world firsts, including the maiden-flight of a scram jet engine that could power aircraft to speeds of more than 8500 km/hr or Mach 7 - seven times the speed of sound. That would make future passenger jets to fly from Sydney to London in two hours.

The rocket range is the second busiest launch pad in the world after NASA's Cape Canaveral in Florida.

In 2009 BAE systems flew a propeller-driven drone known as a Mantis at Woomera. The military regularly use the range to test missiles and foreign governments use the vast test site for a variety of top-secret test missions.

The company said Taranis was designed to use the most advanced means possible of achieving low observability.

"This includes both the systems and technology inside the aircraft as well as the shape, design and finish of the exterior of the aircraft. This does mean there are aspects of the exterior design of the aircraft which remains classified," he said.

Other details such as range and top speed are also top secret.

The development of pilotless combat aircraft is controversial and many regard the risks of mistakes associated with memory humans from the kill chain as unacceptable.

Several American companies are also developing unmanned fighters and helicopters for land and sea operations.

A senior American aerospace executive told News Limited that the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being purchased by the RAAF and be the last manned fighter built in the USA."

Global Hawk:

Taranis will not be the first advanced drone in South Australian skies. The USAF flew Global Hawk drone missions between 2001 and at least 2006, out of the RAAF base at Edinburgh (click here for more on RAAF base Edinburgh.) The full story is at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/revealed-us-flew-drone-missions-from-australia/4236306

The missions were detected by members of the West Beach Aviation Group, who stated that the drones generally arrived and departed at night.

Although the Australian government wished to announce the flights, the USAF insisted that the Global Hawk mission remained classified.

The news item stated that even the Premier of South Australia was not briefed on the missions.

"Global Hawk's only official visit to Australia at Edinburgh was in April 2001..."

WBAG spokesman Mr Daw said, "They used a strange call sign. The Global Hawk would line up to land from 200 nautical miles out over Port Augusta."

"The Australian Defence Department now confirms US Global Hawk visited Australia, but plays down the significance of the missions."

Daw said "Sometimes a Global Hawk would go out [from RAAF Edinburgh] on two or three flights. The aircraft would climb to 60,000 feet...they had enough fuel for 30 to 35 hours, and they'd return."

"The aviation enthusiasts say they spotted 10 missions to Adelaide."

Did the missions finish in 2006?

This brings me to a curious observation of an unknown object, in 2012, by one of our local Australian UFO Research Association members.

The site of the observation was the Adelaide Gaol, in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton, just south of the CBD. The date was 12 Feb 2012. At 0115hrs it was a calm, clear night, with no clouds; temperature was 15-16 degrees Centigrade.

Looking up at the night sky the witness saw a number of flashing/blinking lights heading in a south-westerly direction towards him. The Moon was visible in the north-east sky. The angular size of the object was estimated as half a degree.

The mystery object flew overhead, slightly to the south of the witness. It had four flashing/blinking lights under its belly, with two red lights and two whitish/yellow lights, in a square formation. No fuselage was visible. It blacked out the stars as it passed over. There was no noise associated with the object.

It travelled in a straight line, and was visible for about 75 seconds altogether. It headed south-west towards the ocean and was lost to view.

A check was undertaken of the website of Air Services Australia. At this site under Webtrak (click here) it is possible to look at and re-run the Adelaide radar returns of all aircraft with transponders, leaving and arriving Adelaide airport, Parafield and elsewhere. No aircraft appears on the radar at around 1.15am on that morning.

What this object was, remains to be seen. Was it some kind of drone which did not have a transponder, flying late at night in Adelaide skies, where there is an 11 pm to 6am curfew for non jet aircraft, meaning that the skies are very clear of other aircraft.

BAE Systems:

For more on BAE Systems click here

For a history of Woomera click here.

For information about non-defence uses of Woomera click here.

Have any blog readers, additional information about drone flights over South Australia?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Alien abductions - the answer?

Hi all,

Introduction:

One of the pleasures in life is re-reading a book which you last read years ago. I have just had an opportunity to re-read "The Abduction Enigma: The truth behind the mass alien abductions of the late twentieth century." Authored by Kevin D Randle; Russ Estes, and William P Cone. Published in 1999 by Forge. New York. ISBN 0-312-87270-4.

Dr William P Cone is a psychologist who had some unusual childhood dreams; recurrent childhood nosebleeds, and a paralysis event. On coming across Whitley Strieber's book "Communion" he questioned whether or not he might be an abductee? Later, he went on to work in the area of satanic ritual abuse and multiple personality disorders. Between 1988 and 1998 he studied the abduction phenomenon.

Russ Estes had some paranormal experiences, including a near-death experience which led him to documentary film making and recording the stories of abductees. (For more on Estes click here.)

Kevin D Randle is a UAP researcher, with a string of books on this topic to his credit, who believes that we have been visited. (For more on Randle click here.)

Contents:

The authors start by reviewing the history of abduction claims, reaching back to the 1896 airship wave; through the 1957 Villas-Boas case (click here) , to Betty and Barney Hill's 1961 event (click here,)  and the 1973 abduction wave in the USA. One interesting insight they noted was:

" UFO researchers tended to accept these tales because of the use of hypnosis. Researchers also noticed the emotions displayed by the victims under hypnosis. To many, they underscored the validity of the memories and the research being conducted." (p.43.)

Folklore:

One chapter of the book explores the role that folklore may have played. "For those who accept the idea that alien abductions are real, there is a major stumbling block. Similar tales of abduction, though not of alien, meaning extra-terrestrial, abductions, exist throughout all of human history." (p.105.)  "Abduction tales, do not conform to the folklore tradition. However, alien abductions do mimic much of the traditional folklore. This cannot be denied." (p.115.) (Click here for more on this topic.)

Pop culture:

A later chapter examines whether or not "...these tales of alien abduction are influenced by our pop culture including science fiction books and movies...?" (p.116.) Their answer is that " Pop culture from the beginning of the twentieth century is filled with examples of alien beings and alien spacecraft that match, to an astonishing degree, the beings and craft being reported today by the abductees." (p.119.) (More here.)

Dreams:

A third mechanism or element of the creation of an abduction scenarios is to be found, according to the authors, in dreams. They discuss dreams recollected by Betty Hill; Jim Weiner (the Allagash abduction); Leah Haley; Karla Turner and others. The authors note "There are those who remember their abduction without the use of hypnosis, but many of those "conscious" memories first surfaced as dreams. These witnesses are later convinced that the dreams are real and not fantasy..." (p.142.)

The researchers:

The lengthy part three of the book looks at a number of US abduction researchers including Dr Richard Boylan (click here); John Carpenter (click here) ; Dr James Harder (click here) ; Budd Hopkins (click here) ; David Jacobs (click here); and Dr John Mack (click here). It examines their methodologies and beliefs.

The authors state that researchers in general:

* "...prime them with books and magazine articles on abduction." (p.62 re Boylan.)

* "...the consequences for some of his subjects is extreme. The damage to Leah Haley's life can't be underestimated." (p.177 re Carpenter.)

* "This case reveals how easily a subject who wishes to learn about a "forgotten" experience can be subtly led." (p191 re Harder.)

* "What this demonstrates for us is that Hopkins, like so many other investigators, leads the witness to the point he wishes to reach." (p.266 re Hopkins.)

* "Jacobs believes that you must be a good hypnotist, and if you are then you can get accurate information. He has again stumbled on a truth about the whole of the abduction phenomenon but he doesn't understand the overall ramifications of it." (p.273 re Jacobs.)

* "Mack should know that emotion in telling a story is not an indication of the truth, or a validation of the tale..." (p.274 re Mack.)

Psychological parallels:

"There is another psychological phenomenon closely linked to that of alien abduction...And just like alien abduction, the existence of it is predicated on, almost exclusively, testimony that has been recovered  through hypnotic regression, visualisation and other memory enhancement techniques. And like an alien abduction there is virtually no physical or corroborative evidence that the phenomenon exists at all." (p.265.)

The topic, the subject of chapter 18, is "Satanic Ritual Abuse." There have been hundreds of individuals who have claimed to have suffered abuse at the hands of other individuals, in a satanic setting.

What do the authors conclude, after examining details of these claims. "And it all relates to the tales of alien abduction because we can see the same thing when we study these cases. These are troubled people who find their way to a therapist. Using what he or she believes to be standard techniques, the therapist or abduction researcher, attempts to fill in blocks of missing time. Over a number of sessions, a picture begins to emerge that suggests to the researcher that an abduction has taken place." (p.284.)

Recovered memories:

The authors then discuss the nature of human memory. They point out that memory for most of us is "...patchy and episodic." (p.287.)

It is possible to confabulate. Memory is inaccurate. "...people with a poor sense of self repeatedly report that they cannot remember their childhoods. " (p.290.) Memories of false events can be implanted by researchers.

Sleep paralysis:

An exploration of the topic of sleep paralysis and associated hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery leads the authors to state "...that 50 per cent of UFO abduction reports are the result of sleep paralysis." (p. 299.)

Evidence:

Scars, implants and missing fetuses have been put forward by abduction researchers as evidence that alien abductions are a reality. However, after reviewing the evidence, the authors find nothing of value in the lines of evidence put forward.

Hypnosis:

The authors review what we know of hypnosis and its value in retrieving abduction memories. They conclude that "Clearly, regression hypnosis is a poor tool for recovering memory, and yet, abduction researchers swear by it." (.357.) They note that the American Psychiatric Association and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis issued a formal statement that hypnosis should not be used to enhance recall" (p.336) and "In the UK in October 1997 the Royal College of Psychiatrists issued a ban on using recovered memories in cases of child abuse." (p.332.)

Conclusions:

After reviewing all aspects of abduction research, what did the authors conclude?

* The belief of abduction research that the emotions of abductees is very real, hence the event is real, is incorrect. "There is, of course, no clinical or experimental evidence that such a claim, that is, the "realness" of the emotion, means anything relevant to this study." (p.345.)

* The statement by some abduction researchers that no one would make up such a story, is wrong "You only have to watch a few of the daytime television talk shows to realize that people would, in fact, subject themselves to ridicule and embarrassment just for the opportunity to be on national TV." (p.345.)

* The statement by researchers that there is a high degrees of internal consistency in abduction accounts, results from the sharing of this level of detail by abduction researchers themselves. "The key to understanding how so many abductees can tell stories that are so consistent when they have never met each other is because of those who conduct the research." (p.348.)

* On the origins of abduction accounts. "What we have learnt is that sleep paralysis, which is not a psychiatric illness, can account for a large number of the tales of alien abduction." (p.350.)

* Many of those who later describe abduction events remember those events with no hypnosis. They are, however exposed to researchers who believe that abductions are real. "...the investigative environment is conducive to the creation of "memories" rather than the retrieval of memory." (p.351.)

* "Many of the conscious memories of abduction come from dreams...These are not conscious memories of events but dreams that have been translated into conscious memories with a belief that they somehow reflect reality." (p.352.)

* "Human culture and folklore are filled with such tales." (p.352.)

* "Here's exactly where the evidence, all the evidence takes us. A Large number of abduction cases can be explained as sleep paralysis...some of the cases of alien abduction are the result of poor investigative techniques by the abduction researchers themselves...Hypnosis...is a poor tool for investigating abduction...The researchers contribute to the similarity of tales." (pp360-361.)

The Australian scene:

I must admit that it has been several years now since I have personally interviewed an Australian abduction experiencer. However, between the mid 1980's and 2000 I interviewed dozens of such individuals; published a couple of dozen articles in various UAP journals and newsletters, and ran an Australian Centre for abduction research. It has not been for want of trying over the last few years. Alien abductions appear to have gone away in this country. I have spoken to colleagues here, and they tell me that they still occasionally are contacted by someone with the classic abduction experience, however this is a rare thing.

Why is this a rare event? In the 1980's and 1990's dozens of experiencers came forward, either on their own accord, or in response to calls made by Australian researchers. I have spent endless hours in dialogue with such individuals listening to their stories. There was hearty debate, among Australian UAP researchers, about the nature of such experiences.

The number of such individuals coming forward decreased around 2000 and by 2013 it is down to a very low number per year.

So, why is it so? Perhaps the aliens have gone away - their task completed. Perhaps the social setting has changed and society as a whole has no need to sustain a myth about alien interaction? The main scientific reaction to such claims has been to declare them to originate in sleep paralysis episodes and associated hallucinatory states. However, people haven't stopped sleeping since 2000, and there is no reason to believe that the incidence of sleep paralysis has changed since then, so why would people stop reporting abductions if they were simply episodes of sleep paralysis?

The short answer, is that we don't know why claims of abductions have decreased in recent times.

To read my Australian abduction catalogue click here.

Over to blog readers for your thoughts and comments.