Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New book alert - Webb

Hi all,

This is a short, 80 page length book titled "UFOs," by Stuart Webb, published by Rosen Publishing, New York, in 2013. ISBN is 978-1-4488-7176-6. (Click here to read about Rosen.)

It provides a simplified, non-sourced overview, of a range of  classic cases, including Kenneth Arnold (1947); Mantell (1948); Trinidade (1958); Exeter (1965); Bentwaters (1956); and Cash/Landrum (1980.)

Interestingly, for Australian readers, and fairly unusual for a US published book, it also covers rather a high number of Australian cases. These are, the Yerecoin, Western Australia (1967); (Click here for my own blog post on this event); Tayene, Tasmania (1974); Tully, Queensland (1966): and Valentich (1978) cases.

The book would make a good gift for someone who wanted to quickly gain a very broad overview of the phenomenon. However, there is nothing in the book cover to tell us, who Stuart Webb is, nor his qualifications or reasons for writing this book.

Monday, October 28, 2013

UAP and spontaneous human combustion

Hi all,

I have been catching up with some old issues of the English magazine "Fortean Times" from my local library. I always look forward to the "UFO Casebook" column by Jenny Randles.  The July 2013 column was no exception. Jenny's work is always thought provoking.

In the column, Jenny mentions that she is working, with colleague Peter Hough, on " e-book version of an investigation that we carried out into the mystery of SHC (spontaneous human combustion) and the ensuing debate over potential natural and more extraordinary causes that might explain what occurs in these cases." (p.31). The column looks at a possible relationship between their SHC idea that some people can generate vast amounts of static electricity, and experience an electrochemical "overheating," and certain UAP events.


Jenny cites some examples:

1. Halewood, Merseyside. A man saw a white "balloon" near his face and his skin began to tingle. His arm experienced "goose bumps" and his hair was standing on end.

2. Loch Raven Dam. 1958. Car stoppage case. Witnesses felt sensation on their faces while UAP present. Red coloured faces similar to sunburn.

3. Risley, Cheshire. 1978. Witness to a "glowing white mass" had his radio receiver "explode" and he received sun burnt fingers. Plus his watch stopped.

4. Changi, Singapore. 1953. An orange ball travelled through a house. It passed the fridge, which overheated. Switched off lights glowed a dull orange, until the ball left.


"...I am suggesting that we apparently have accidentally discovered some science that illuminates the physics of UFO encounter cases in which an energetic UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon) or atmospheric phenomenon forms spontaneously and introduces change into the surrounding atmosphere or into a susceptible human who comes into close proximity." (p.31.)

Jenny suggest that:

"Perhaps people who are "super carriers" may prove to be especially prone to undergoing hyper-reactive close encounters, whereas others would just report seeing a light in the sky." (p.31.)

Australian cases:

I checked my Australia wide catalogue of UAP events and a quick review revealed the following cases which might relate to Jenny's hypothesis.

1. Childers, Queensland. 1969. "Sombrero-hat" shaped object with a glow, was seen by a family. They also heard a noise like a swarm of bees. The hair on the family member's heads and arms stood up as the object left. (North Queensland Register, 18 Jan 1969.)

2. Pinnaroo, South Australia. 1972. A woman's hair stood on end during the time she drove passed a grey-white oval shape, with lights on, which hung, seemingly only some 30 meters off the ground. (Personal investigation by this author.)

3. St. Helens, Tasmania. 1974. A car stalled after a brilliant light lit up the area. The car's occupants experienced a vibrating noise; painful electrical shocks to their bodies and a chocking smell. The adult in the car suffered a numb right side to her face and found a five cent sized red mark above her right eyebrow. In addition, her arms and fingers were badly swollen by the next day. (Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre investigation.)

4. 60kms from Melbourne, Victoria. 1994. Four women in a car saw a large orange light near their car. Getting out they saw a large, diamond shape. One of the women was charged with static electricity. (Women's Day magazine, 26 Dec 1994.)

Have any Australian blog readers cases which they can add to this list?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cold case investigations - a listing from this blog

Hi all,

Over the last three years, I have been undertaking a series of "Cold case" investigations of some Australian UAP events. I have published my findings in various blog posts. I recently decided it would be a good idea to prepare a list of these cases for new blog readers who may like to view them. So here is the list, and links to each post:

26 Feb 1942. Timor Sea. Object circles Dutch cruiser at sea.

5 Feb 1947. Port Augusta, South Australia. Five objects cast shadows.

10 Jan 1954. Morgan, SA. Aircraft event.

15 Jan 1954. Mount Gillen, Northern Territory. Photo taken.

Easter 1954. Eucla, Western Australia. Multiple photo case.

31 Aug 1954. Goulburn, New South Wales.

Oct(?) 1954. North Queensland. W C Hall entities case.

13 Jan 1962. Coogee, NSW. Object in sky.

29 Feb 1964. Plympton, SA. Entity case.

5 Jun 1964. Woomera, SA. The famous film case.

13 Jan 1965. Between Australia and New Zealand. Qantas aircraft case.

24 May 1965. Eton Ridge close encounter and trace.

28 May 1965. Bougainville Reef. Aircraft photo event.

July 1965. Canberra, ACT. Daylight Air traffic controller sightings.

30 Oct 1967. Boyup Brook, WA. Car stop incident.

16 Nov 1967. Yerecoin, WA. Close encounter.

29 Apr 1968. Heyfield, Vic. Close encounter.

2 Aug 1968. Wittenoom, WA. "Low level" UAP.

22 Aug 1968. Zanthus, WA. Classic aircraft encounter.

1 Jun 1970. Zanci Station, NSW. Light near the ground.

Nov 1970. Binolong Bay, Tasmania. Missile?

25 Jul 1972. Frankston, Vic. Classic car stop and abduction.

Nov 1979. Butterworth, Malaysia. RAAF member takes photos.

Happy reading!

The Teesdale Inheritance

Hi all,

I enjoy a good joke as much as anyone. When I came across the story which is the subject of this post, I did a double take. Was it a joke; an expensive joke, or was there more to it?


Veteran researcher, Jacques Vallee ( click here)  tells the story in "Revelations," published in 1991 by Ballentine Books of New York (click here.)

"...a curious advertisement in the Parisian magazine Nouvel Observateur for the week of March 11-17, 1988" (p.195) started the story. One of the magazine's classified ads read in part:

" The trustees charged with the estate of A.P. Teesdale, Esq. of Durham county in England are attempting to enter into contact with those responsible for organisations that may be able to meet the requirements of his will."

The groups in question are "serious organisations that have as their goal the establishment of the maintenance of relationships with extra-terrestrial beings."

Those concerned may bring their existence to the attention of the trustees by sending a brief summary of their organisation and its activities to the paper, reference 1001, before March 31, 1988." (p.196.)

One French investigator answered the query; got a reply telegram from London, but it then took a year before anything else happened. He received a telephone call and was invited to a meeting in Paris, which was held in a private dining room of a Paris restaurant.

The meeting:

Hosted by representatives of a firm named Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard; besides Vallee's colleague, there were two other candidates. These were "Francois Raulin (click here,)  a distinguished chemist from Paris University, who has done research on the nature and origin of life, and Claude Vorilhon (click here,) a notorious sect leader who has claimed contact with extra-terrestrial beings..." (p.197.) Fifteen people in total were present that night.

The will of the late Teesdale told how he had been born in 1899 and underwent a near-death experience, in World War One; plus a similar incident in World War Two.

In the first incident he woke to find an unusual object in his hand, and a voice told him "All that is required is that you place this in the hands of your best scientists." (p.199.) Despite trying to do so, he apparently never succeeded, hence the need for this Paris meeting.

The three candidates all spoke on their backgrounds and qualifications. The Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard (TTS&T) representatives then announced that Claude Rael-Vorilhon was the successful candidate.

"Vorilhon received a large laboratory cryogenic container measuring about twelve inches at the base and fifteen inches high. The frost on its walls made it impossible to see the material. Presumably it contained the mysterious extra-terrestrial talisman. And Teesdale's fortune would go to the sect." (p.200.) Vorilhon assured Raulin and the French researcher that he would turn over the specimen to them for analysis. They never received the artifact and a representative for Vorilhon said he never received the inheritance.


The residential address given by TTS&T in London, turned out to be non-existent. No one could confirm, the existence of a Teesdale inheritance. Vallee asked all the questions which blog readers would like to know "...why the attorneys for the alleged estate went all the way to Paris to find suitable candidates, while London is filled with groups doing similar research. Why did they hand over the container to Vorilhon, who was clearly preselected...why the elaborate charade of a dinner for fifteen people in a Paris restaurant..." (p.201.) Of course, there were no cryogenic containers in 1916.

Vallee's conclusion was "The Teesdale inheritance is pure theatre. The restaurant scene could have been dreamed up by John Fowles, the master novelist who has described similar theatre in The Magus, played out in pursuit of the esoteric pleasure of hidden masters." (p.201.) (Click here.)

Vallee ended with the words "The Teesdale Inheritance is only the latest in a series of such manipulations." (p.202.)

Susan J Palmer:

In the book "Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion" ( click here) published by Rudgers University Press; New Brunswick, NJ. ISBN 0-8135-3475-5, on pages 55-56 and 190, I found comment on the Inheritance saga.

Palmer (click here) cites Vallee's "Revelations" account, and then continues with "The third unexplained mystery in Rael's life concerns the covert clone," Baby Eve. (p.56.)

On page 190, Palmer writes "The tale of the Teesdale inheritance bears many of the lineaments of the Baby Eve story...Although the first "hoaxer" was never exposed, if one were to ask who would gain from the Teesdale charade, the answer would have to be Rael. To win the prize of alien artifacts would support his charismatic claims to be the Elohim's chosen prophet..."

Palmer continues by citing Jerome Clark's 1998 views on Vallee's work, finishing with "Thus, it is not unreasonable to imagine that Vallee may have concocted the whole story to support his conspiracy theory regarding UFOs, and to discredit Rael."

Vallee responds:

In May 2007, Vallee responded in a post on Amazon (click here,) where he wrote:

"Researchers of alternative religion who would welcome a well documented study of Claude Vorilhon and his Raelian religion will be disappointed  by this book, which is flawed in content and methodology. For example Ms Palmer implies that I concocted a particular incident known as the "Teesdale Inheritance " because supposedly I was motivated by a desire to discredit Vorilhon. She makes  this accusation which amounts to defamation of character - essentially attributing to me the behaviour of a fabricator and liar - based on innuendoes from another ufologist that she never bothered to check.

I have a full research file on the Teesdale Inheritance, complete with first-hand testimony from people who could shed light on this episode and its relationship to Rael's career, yet I was never even contacted by this supposedly "scholarly" author - or by any fact-checker from Rudgers University. If the author is so careless in this one episode, where she does not hesitate to cast doubts on the ethics and integrity of a fellow researcher, can we trust anything else in her book?"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Did radar track the Rendlesham Forest UAP? Part three.

Hi readers,

The USAF angle:

After reading the material on this matter, which I had described in parts one and two of this post, it seemed fairly definite that, in fact, there was no radar confirmation of the Rendlesham Forest UAP according to official UK Defence sources. However I did not that all commentators so far had been referring only to English radar operators. As there were USAF personnel involved in the incident, I broadened my Internet searching to include any possible USAF observations. Indeed I found some on the following website (click here.)

Hastings advises that:

"I have also interviewed the two USAF air traffic controllers who were on duty during the period of the UFO activity." The two are named as James H Carey and Ivan "Ike" R Barker, and "belatedly admitted to tracking an unidentified target at the Bentwaters Air Traffic Control tower one night - sometime between December 26 1980 and January 1 1981."

Jim Carey told me "At the time I was a tech sergeant, an air traffic controller with the 2164th communication squadron. The other controller was named Ike Barker. A Major named ___ was also there. I think the incident happened between 10 and 12 o'clock if I remember right. Ike and I usually worked 6pm to midnight but it was during the holidays, when we might have to work eight or nine hours. But as I recall, it happened before midnight."

Carey continued " What I remember seeing was a very fast object on the radar we had in the tower. The scope was variable - it had a zoom as far as its [displayed] range, between five and 60 miles radius, but I think it was set at a 60 miles when the object appeared. It came in from the east, went straight west across the scope and disappeared off the left side. It took maybe four sweeps  - each sweep was two to three seconds - to cross it entirely. So it covered 120 miles in [approximately eight to twelve] seconds. In the 15 years I was an air traffic controller I'd never seen anything travel across the scope that fast. A few seconds later, it came back on the scope retracing its course, west to east, at the same speed. Then - I think it was maybe half or three quarters of the way across - it did an immediate right angle turn and headed south..."

Barker told Hastings, "I was a master sergeant with the 2164th communications squadron. There were three of us there that night. I was the tower supervisor. Jim Carey was working for me, and the supervisor of flying was Major ___. We had a radar scope in the tower we called the "Bright 2"...a 60 miles radius around the Bentwaters complex...I looked down at the scope and saw a bright streak move across it...that's how fast it was moving. It came in fast from the north east directly over the base, stopped for a few seconds, immediately reversed course and went back out the way it came in ..."

So, here we have the answer to my questions as "yes" there was radar contact, but not by the RAF, but by the USAF. Note though that the date was somewhere between 26 December 1980 and 1 January 1981, no specific date was given.

Nick Pope:

I did find one UK researcher, Nick Pope who quoted the following on his website (click here):

"Yet, as I was to discover years later, the UFO had been tracked, after all. I spoke to a former RAF radar operator called Nigel Kerr. He had been stationed at RAF Watton at Christmas 1980 and had received a call from somebody at RAF Bentwaters. They wanted to know if there was anything unusual on his radar screen. He looked and for three or four sweeps, something did show up, directly over the base. But it faded away and no official report was ever made. It was only years later that Kerr even heard of the Rendlesham Forest incident and realised he might have a missing piece of the puzzle."
So, here the answer to my questions is "yes." However, you will note that Pope's source mentions "Christmas 1980" and not any specific date.


Official UK military sources clearly say that no radar confirmation of Halt's observations were made.
Two USAF ATC state, many years after the event, that they saw something on radar between 26 Dec 1980 and 1 Jan 1981. Pope's source says "Christmas 1980." Neither of these can specifically say that what they saw related to Halt's observations.

Due to the passage of time, it would seem that we are never going to be able to definitely say whether or not there was radar confirmation of the Rendlesham Forest UAP. I am however, open to correction by blog readers. Over to you.

Did radar track the Rendlesham Forest UAP? Part two.

Hi readers,

Enter Ian Ridpath:

One individual who has followed the Rendlesham saga, is UK journalist and amateur astronomer, Ian Ridpath. On his website at (click here) there is a section titled "The Supposed Radar Sightings."

Ridpath writes "The answer is that the supposed radar sightings are simply part of the Rendlesham mythology. In my researches on this case stretching back to 1983, I have never found any evidence that the supposed Rendlesham Forest UFOs were tracked on radar. Recent release of the Ministry of Defence file on the case confirms that there were no radar sightings on any of the days the UFOs were seen." Ridpath cites his evidence as:

1. 9 Oct 83 wrote to the MOD. A 9 Oct 83 reply " unidentified object was seen on any radar recording during the period in question."

2. 14 Nov 83 wrote to the MOD. A reply on 7 Dec 83 was that there was no truth in the story that radar records had been confiscated.

3. In Jan 1994 MOD employee Nick Pope prepared an information note "No unidentified object was seen on radar during the period in question."

4. April 1994 issue of "Omni" magazine. "Interview of Col Halt who said his command post contacted RAF Watton who said they didn't see anything.

5. Sqdn Ldr Derek Coumbe, the senior operations officer on duty at RAF Watton was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 in 2003 and recalled calls from Bentwater. "We scrutinised the radar time and time again completely, and kept a watch on it through the whole period when these calls were going on and nothing was seen. Nothing at all."

6. On 9 Dec 1994 the "Strange but True" program implied that Mal Scurrah a former radar operator at RAF Neatishead had seen the Rendlesham object on radar. In the May/Jun 1995 issue of "UFO Magazine" Scurrah said his radar sighting was in late Oct or early Nov 1980.

So, according to Ridpath the answer to our question is "no."

The UK MOD Rendlesham papers:

The National Archives of the United Kingdom have the MOD papers on the incident. In his 2012 book "The UFO Files: The Inside Story of Real-Life UFOs" second edition, published by Bloomsbury, London, ISBN 978-1-4081, author David Clarke, covers the Rendlesham saga on pages 105-114. Clarke's comments, are in part, drawn from the official papers.

On page 108 Clarke writes "While these sightings were ongoing, Halt used his radio to contact RAF Bentwaters control tower to request radar confirmation. They called British military air traffic control at RAF Watton in Norfolk, but the response said nothing unusual could be seen on their screens."

On page 112 Clarke writes "Another rumour emerged in 1981 claimed the UFO was tracked on British radar on one or both nights. While the MOD file reveals that checks were carried out on incorrect dates and times provided by Halt's memo, it clearly states that no unusual targets were detected by any RAF radars during the Christmas/New year period of 1980. This was confirmed by Squadron Leader Derek Coumbe who was duty commander at RAF Watton, the air traffic control centre for the region during the incident.

When I spoke to him in 2001 he recalled receiving a call from RAF Bentwaters whilst Halt's team were in the forest during the early hours of 28 December 1980. "They were very jumpy and panicky on the phone" he said, "but I personally checked the radar picture and there was absolutely nothing to be seen. They kept coming back and implying there should be something but we kept a watch on it through the whole period and nothing was seen."

So, the answer to my question is "no."

(Continued in part three.)

Did radar track the Rendlesham Forest UAP? Part one

Hi readers,

Every now and then, a thought enters my mind about some aspect of the UAP phenomenon. A recent thought, was the question, was there radar tracking associated with the 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident? You would think there would be a definitive answer, readily available, but there is not.

Most material I looked at on the net said the answer is a resounding "no." That there was no radar confirmation of the UAP. However, all is not what it seems. I'd like to take you on the journey which I followed in trying to answer this seemingly simple question.

Sky Crash:

My initial search started with a book that most blog readers probably haven't ever heard of, let alone read. The book is titled "Sky Crash: A Cosmic Conspiracy" by authors Brenda Butler, Jenny Randles and Dot Street. It was published by Neville Spearman, Essex, United Kingdom. In case you wish to track down a second hand copy its ISBN is 854-351-538.

On page 24 of my copy, there is an account supplied to the authors by someone they refer to as "David Potts," a pseudonym for a then radar operator at Watton, Norfolk. Potts told a story which he said he had been told by one of his colleagues who had been on radar duty that night. The following is the account the authors described.

On 27 December 1980, an unusual target was seen heading in from the coast. There was no military activity. "Watton lost the target about 50 miles south to the East of Ipswich and in the vicinity of Rendlesham Forest...They understood that other radar centres had tracked the object too..." (p.26.)

"A couple of days after the tracking there were some unusual visitors to the radar station. They were intelligence officers from the United States Air Force. They were greatly interested in the recordings of the radar tracks from the night of the uncorrelated target...The radar men were told that it was  possible that what they had tracked was an object that had crash landed into a forest near Ipswich. This had been a metallic UFO, a structured device of unknown origin..." (p.27.)

"Potts definitely gave the date as 27 December, but added that the radar tapes this night and several others, were removed. He further claimed that RAAF Bentwaters had called Watton and asked for radar confirmation of an unusual sighting on that night as it was happening." (p.27.)

So, "yes" is the answer to whether or not the Rendlesham object was tracked on radar.


When I originally read this story, I thought it odd that USAF intelligence officers would have told any radar operator that a "UFO" was involved. Usually one reads  that such individuals try and suppress UFO stories, not confirm them. I wondered if the account, which was second hand, wasn't some kind of disinformation exercise designed to cover up a non - UAP cause for the event.

The Internet story:

I then looked for Internet based accounts about the radar issue. Typical of the stories I found was one at (click here) . This site had a copy document, dated 21 March 1983 which reads:

"Loose minute
D/DDOps (GE) 10/8

1. At reference you ask if the suggestion that the USAF be asked for the tape recording was followed up by the Deputy Directorate. It was considered that the tapes would reveal no better report that that already received, and no further request was made. However, it is considered that your approach to the RAF Liaison Officer, will produce any considered view on the event.

2. I believe your outlined response is the right one, Neatishead, which is the sector ops centre responsible for that area had nothing unusual to report, and nothing more substantial has come to light. I have received no evidence that any radar reported unusual tracks. Miss Randles appears to have "evidence of radar tracking," and provided it can be managed without undermining our position, I would like to have a look at this radar evidence.

J D Badcock
Sqn Ldr
Ops (GE) 2b (RAF)

This official RAF document, thus states the answer to our question, is "no."

The website then goes on to say:

"East Anglia has always had extensive radar coverage, ever vigilant for a possible invasion from across the North Sea. This ensured that the object seen on 26th of December was detected. At RAF Neatishead, an unidentified object appeared on the radar and created panic in the control room. It returned no signal and was outperforming the RAF's finest aircraft. As they lost it off screen at a phenomenal speed, the matter was subject to a major investigation. The Neatishead radar tapes and those from nearby RAF Watton were requisitioned three days later. Remarkably, when USAF intelligence officers visited Watton to collect the film, they claimed that a UFO had crashed into the forest. Senior officers from a nearby USAF airbase witnessed the event, they said, and they had even seen floating in beams of light underneath the spacecraft. Incredibly, the radar officers were not even told to keep this extraordinary story secret.

David Potts’, a civilian radar operator at RAF Watton told that in the early hours of 27 December 1980 he had tracked an unknown signal over the sea. He wasn’t particularly impressed because it was a common occurrence and he put it down to a false signal. Next day plain clothes men with an American accent came asking for copy of the radar tapes: Potts thought they belonged to OSI (USAF’s own intelligence agency) or to the National Security Agency since they had the necessary security clearances so he was quite surprised when these usually tight-lipped men freely offered a fantastic story: the signal he had tracked was not caused by equipment malfunction but by a metallic UFO which had been sighted near a large airbase in East Anglia"

So,  the answer to our questions is "yes." However, the website does not cite the reference for its version of the story.

(Continued in part two.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Should the US Congress investigate UAP?

Hi all,

I have been re-reading Don Donderi's recent book "UFOs, ETs and Alien Abductions" (click here for my previous post on the book.)

Donderi's views:

The last segment of the book provides an insight into Donderi's views on what needs to happen next. I pick up on page 195 "Congress should reopen the public debate about UFOs and extraterrestrials. America has the largest defense budget and the most powerful armed forces on the planet. Smaller allies as well as the larger powers that have a distant but mutually respectful relationship with the United States will have little choice but to follow the lead of Congress in dealing with UFOs...When Congress finally gains access to and then disseminates the United States' non technical information about UFOs and close encounters, then we can have an informed debate about extraterrestrial surveillance. The goal should be to figure out how to maximise the benefit and minimise the disruption of this unsolicited interest in us and our planet."

Alexander's views:

The above views of Donderi contrast sharply with those expressed by John B Alexander's (click here ) 2011 book "UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities."

"The ultimate gaol for many UFO disclosure enthusiasts is to have Congress hold hearings. There it is assumed the truth will suddenly pour forth and nefarious elements will emerge from the shadows and confess that they have been withholding information that ET is among us. Unfortunately, this is a very naive position, as most investigative Congress hearings go nowhere. They are useful for getting material on the record but rarely lead to action." (p.65.)

Alexander then goes on to describe an attempt to hold Congressional hearings, which he was involved in, in 1999, and another attempt in 2005. Neither managed to succeed.

Kean's views:

I recall another suggested approach as to how to proceed, which was described in Leslie Kean's 2010 book, "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record." (click here.)

I looked at the book again recently, to see what Kean thought about Congressional hearings. There were three references in the book's index. Page 110 describes the 1966 hearings; pages 111-112 and 285-286 describe the 1968 hearings. However, nowhere in her book do I see Kean proposing a call for new Congressional hearings. I

Instead, "Logically the first step on moving forward a solution is the establishment of an office in a small agency within the US Government to handle appropriate UFO investigations, liaison with other countries, and demonstrate to the scientific community that this is indeed a subject worthy of study." (p.211.)

These then, are three views expressed by US authors of UAP books, within the last three years, about the question of should the US Congress investigate UAP?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Follow up research on the 28 May 1965 Bougainville Reef aircraft encounter

Hi all,

One of the things which I like to do when conducting cold case investigations, is to do some basic fact checking.


I have previously reported (click here and here) on my cold case investigation into the classic 28 May 1965 Bougainville Reef incident, off the coast of Northern Queensland. This post provides information on further research, which I and a research associate based in Sydney, have been conducting.

Basic data:

At 0325hrs local time, on Friday 28 May 1965, the Captain (John Barker?) of a DC6B aircraft, owned and flown by either Ansett ANA or Trans Australian Airlines (TAA), reported to ground control that he had encountered and photographed a UAP near his plane. The aircraft was said to have been flying between Brisbane, Queensland ( click here) and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (click here.)

Fact checking:

1. Did Ansett ANA and/or TAA fly a route between Brisbane and Port Moresby in 1965?

A check of several Internet sites including this one (click here), and a visit to view timetables at the Mitchell Library in Sydney (click here) showed that both TAA and Ansett ANA flew the route between 1960 and 1971, and did so in 1965.

2. Were their flights overnight?

A check of copies of Ansett ANA timetables for May 1965 shows that flight 902, flying Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays left Sydney at 2145hrs, arrived at Brisbane at 2345hrs; departed Brisbane at 0040hrs and arrived at Port Moresby at 0610hrs (all local time. Note Sydney, Brisbane and Port Moresby are all in the same time zone.) A total flight time of 5.5 hours.

A check of TAA timetables for August 1965 (when TAA was flying Lockheed L188 aircraft and not a DC6B) show that TAA flight 1302 departed Sydney at 2340hrs daily except Sundays and Tuesdays. It arrived Brisbane at 0110hrs; departing at 0155hrs and arrived at Port Moresby at 0600hrs. A total flight time of 4 hours 5 minutes.

So, yes, both airlines had an overnight flight.

3. Would these flights be over the Queensland coast at 0325hrs?

Yes they would.

4. However, would they have been over or near Bougainville Reef at 0325hrs?

Detailed calculations by my Sydney based research associate, reveal, that if an aircraft left Brisbane at around 0040hrs and arrived at around 0610hrs at Port Moresby, then it could, if on schedule, fly over or near Bougainville Reef at about 0325hrs. If one uses the maximum speed of a DC6B, it would have been possible to reach the area by about 0325hrs.

5. In 1965, were TAA and/or Ansett ANA flying DC6B aircraft?

The 1960, and 1961/1962 TAA timetables show the aircraft used on the route was a DC6B (click here for pictures) The August 1965 timetable shows it was by then using an Electra which was a Lockheed L188 aircraft (click here.)

The 1963 Ansett ANA timetable shows they were flying DC6B aircraft on the route. The 1 May to 30 June 1965 timetable also indicates DC6B aircraft in use on the route. By 1966 Ansett ANA was also using Electra aircraft.

6. Was there an Ansett ANA and/or TAA plane which departed Brisbane on a Thursday night?

Both the 1 May to 30 June 1965 Ansett ANA timetable and the August 1965 TAA timetable indicate such Thursday night flights were scheduled.

7. Was there an Ansett ANA or TAA pilot named Barker?

I located a website (click here) which lists Ansett ANA aircrew over a lengthy period. This lists a Douglas Emmerton (Doug) Barker, and an Alan Barker, but no John Barker. I have been unable to locate a website which lists TAA air crew members for 1965 for DC6B aircraft. (there is one for TAA Electra crew in 1966.)

Of note, is that a pilot named Douglas Barker reported a UAP over Melbourne in 1954 (click here to read about the sighting.) This person appears to be the Douglas Emmerton Barker, born 20 June 1908 in Melbourne, as cited in National Achives of Australia file series A9301 control symbol 300111.

Douglas E Barker, pilot also features in a 1939 newspaper article (click here) and a 1943 newspaper article about an aircraft crash (click here.)

An aside:

In the book "The UFO Experience," published in 1972, J Allen Hynek, on page 28 wrote "The comment was made by a Trans-Australian Airlines pilot with some 11,500 hours of flying experience: "I had always scoffed at these reports, but I saw it. We all saw it. It was under intelligent control, and it was certainly no known aircraft."4.

Footnote 4 on page 31, says "Sighting of May 24, 1965..." Some sources have attributed this Hynek quote to pilot Barker involved in the 1965 Bougainville Reef case.

Hynek's date of May 24, 1965 is not the date of the Bougainville Reef sighting, which was May 28, 1965.

However, May 24, 1965 is the date of the equally famous Eton Ridge, Queensland, CE2 event. In this event, pilot James William Tilse, a senior commercial pilot, with others, reported a ground based UAP sighting.

Page 23 of the digital RAAF file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 part 4 held by the National Archives of Australia is a copy of an item from the "Brisbane Courier Mail" of 27 May 1965. The article refers to the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge event. In part it reads, "Mr Tilse, who is a commercial pilot with 11,500 hours experience..."

It would therefore seem to me, that Hynek's comment in 1972 actually refers to pilot Tilse and the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge event, and not pilot Barker of the 28 May 1965 Bougainville Reef event.

I welcome comments on the contents of this post.

Special note:

I wish to thank a Sydney based research associate, who wishes to remain anonymous, for their extensive discussions on the Bougainville Reef case. Also  for their time in visiting the Mitchell Library to consult copies of TAA and Ansett ANA timetables held by that source; and finding references to Douglas Emmerton Barker in the Trove newspaper collection in the National Library.

Further notes added 30 October 2013:

Since I wrote the original post above, I have followed two more leads in this case.

1. I located and spoke to,  Colin Phillips, who was formerly a member of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau (QFSRB - now UFO Research (Queensland.)  Colin was in the QFSRB at the time of this 1965 event. However, he advised me that the key investigator of cases from this era was one Roy Russell. Unfortunately, Roy has passed away. I asked Colin if he had any papers on Bougainville Reef, and although he had recollections of the incident, he no longer has any papers on Queensland cases.

2. I attempted to contact former Detective John Meskell, the original source of the whole story. John has published several books through Zeus Publications of Queensland. I sent them an email and asked if that could forward it on to John. I received a prompt response from them advising that John is not on email. However, they offered to contact him by telephone and ask if he would talk to me. They did so, but the reply from John was that he did not wish to talk to me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"The new search for alien intelligence"

Hi all,

Occasionally I like to report on SETI initiatives. In "Astronomy" magazine (click here) for September 2013, volume 4 number 9, pages 28-31, I came across an article by David L Chandler, about some interesting new directions for SETI.

Targeting advanced civilisations:

The article opens up "Most search strategies have concentrated on radio or laser signals that humans know how to send..." (p.28.) Then, "But a whole set of new programs takes a different tack. These searches target highly advanced civilisations throughout our galaxy and beyond without assuming that they are putting any time, effort or thought into communicating their presence." (p.28.)

What are these new ideas:

Geoff Marcy (click here) of the University of California, is looking for evidence of a Dyson sphere (click here), " arrays surrounding the host star." (p.30.)

Lucianne Walkowicz, of Princeton University (click here), is looking through data from the Kepler satellite for "Stellar lighthouses...patterns in the data...for both increases and decreases in light levels, which could indicate anything from laser flashes to massive structures or even partial Dyson spheres..." (p.31.)

Marcy is also running a "...separate SETI project...they hope to eavesdrop on extraterrestrials rather than look for intentional transmissions...The idea is to hunt for signals these aliens may be beaming to each other using modulated laser beams..." (p.31.)

The article presents a very good overview of these new techniques, and well worth you locating a copy of the article.