Sunday, February 4, 2018

The websites of two Australian UFO groups

Dear readers,

As I write this my home City's temperature is sitting on 23.3 degrees centigrade, which is rather comfortable, compared to a hot week ahead for my former home town of Adelaide which is bracing itself for several days around 38-39 degrees centigrade. 

Overseas, you hear of Australia's beach culture, and one of the reasons is indeed our hot climate, especially during February - traditionally our hottest month.

So with a glass of Victorian chardonnay at my side, and hubby looking after the kids, I sat down to take a look at the websites of two of the biggest UFO organisations in Australia. Here are my observations.

1. UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated.

Up front I must say that I am far more interested in the quality of information provided on a website, than how it looks to the viewer. I found this website to be extremely easy to navigate, having just four main areas, namely 'events;' 'sightings;' 'membership;' and 'archives.' It opens up to the 'events' page.

Here we find current events - details of the group's upcoming monthly meetings, with speakers and a summary of what they will be talking about. Over the last few years, under the leadership of Mariana Flynn (recently retired as President) a large range of overseas speakers have appeared at the group's meeting, together with a diverse range of Australian researchers. Here you can also sign up for notifications of events by email. 

The 'sightings' area opens up to (a) report a sighting; (b) UFO sightings guestbook and (c) UFO sighting reports. Individuals wishing to report a UFO sighting can choose to either complete an on-line report form, or write a guestbook entry. When I checked out the guest book, I found reports dated between 1958 and 2017. Many of these appear to be of mundane objects, and it would have been nice to see an analysis of the sightings plus a probable cause listed. 

The membership area sets out terms, conditions and fees.

A pleasant surprise for me was the 'archives' area. Here there are lots of original source materials (something I learned to appreciate from Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield!) There are old Newsletters and Journals; plus a large newspaper archive. While newspaper accounts must always be treated with caution - sometimes they get facts wrong - they are occasionally the only record which exists of a sighting. 

One very valuable piece of archive work is the Dr James E McDonald archive. In it there are around fifty summaries of McDonald's audio interviews with Australian witnesses, back in 1967. An excellent piece of work on this by Sydney researcher Anthony Clarke, and Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield.

This archive area also has a few articles on such topics as the Frederick Valentich disappearance back in 1978, and 'alien abduction.'

On the Wilson scale for assessing UFO websites, this one rates a 5 out of 5- an excellent source of factual material.

2. UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia.

An interesting concept. Here is a website of a group which has an interest in both UFOs and the paranormal. The opening screen has 14 areas, including 'membership;' 'report sightings;' expeditions to local 'hot spots;' and Journal archives. I don't intend to bore you with details of each, just a few which took my own interest.

As you would expect there are on-line copies of the groups' periodical, 'Phenomenon Times' going from 18 months ago back to 2009. A valuable on-line resource.

You can report a sighting via an on-line report form; or check out the database of New South Wales close encounters. As with the UFOR(NSW) Inc. website, I would like to see some analysis of the sightings, rather than just the witness telling you what they saw. Otherwise it implies that 100% of these reports are of genuine UFOs.

Another good area is 'misidentifications' which is a short list of some of the things which are commonly mistaken for UFOs.

On the Wilson rating scale for websites, I'd give this one a 4 - well worth spending time reviewing the information they present.

Well, that's your lot for today. Hubby has fired up our barbeque and is waiting with some sausages and patties, plus of course, another glass of chardonnay! Cheers until next time. 

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