Monday, June 29, 2015

Allan Hendry - on investigating cases

Hi all,

In September, I  will be presenting a conference talk, in Melbourne. The theme of the conference is "investigations." In recent blog posts I have discussed IFOs such as "fireballs" (click here), and discussed some of the investigation tools which I use (click here.)

As part of my research for my talk I have been re-reading the book "The UFO Handbook" by Allan Hendry ( 1979. Doubleday & Co. New York.) To me, it is a classic text on both the subject of IFOs, and UFOs.


Qualifications:

Hendry was employed by the US Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) as a researcher. He was able to deal by phone "...with the witnesses of over 1,300 sightings in the United States." (p.3.) Most incoming calls were through a dedicated CUFOS police hot line. His total sample, he classified as 1,158 IFOs; 113 UFOs; and 36 exceptions" ( cases which held no "data, e.g. unreliable witness.)


Explainable:

At the end of his study he wrote that "Nine out of ten raw UFO reports are IFOs. They represent 90 per cent of the total UFO phenomenon by volume." (p.87.) Importantly, he noted that with both IFOs and UFOs, "The reports spring from the same sources  and channels, people of both sexes, all ages, all occupations, backgrounds, personalities, education, observational abilities, relative  training, and income."


Townsville, Queensland - 2015 - searchlight on clouds

Unique UFOs:

Hendry reasoned that "A fruitful way to proceed here would be to list statements and characteristics about genuine UFOs that are supposed to make them unique and examine how these statements hold up in the light of the knowledge we have gained from the IFO accounts." (p.91.) He then went on to study these statements.

1. "UFOs are unique because of their appearance."

UFO researchers argued that "No natural or man-made object looks like a domed disc, especially when it is viewed with large angular size." Hendry found a number of reports of conventional stimuli which did just this, e.g. advertising aircraft; meteors.

2. "UFOs are unique because they are reported to move in ways that defy the laws of physics."

In exploring IFO reports Hendry found that there was a "...long series of reports where motion along 'line of sight' was to be claimed not only for airplanes but also for other IFOs like stars and advertising planes." (p.94.) He found it important to determine if  "...motion took place across one's line of vision or along one's line of sight." (p.94.)

3. "UFOs are unique because they make no noise or at least very little noise."

"The problem is that IFO reports are equally quiet. Only 20 per cent of all the 1,158 reports involved noise..." (p.96.)

4. "The close encounter UFOs are unique because their proximity to the witnesses minimises the chance of misperception."

Hendry realized that "This would be true if it weren't for the realization that we seldom learn the actual distance between the observer and the UFO candidate." (p.98.)

5. "UFOs are unique because of the emotional reaction of the witness."

However, by studying IFOs, Hendry found many examples where there were extreme emotions of witnesses to IFOs, such as aircraft, stars, meteors, and Venus. In the end Hendry wrote "The conclusion is self-evident. When mothers are too scared to let their children out of the house to see Jupiter fluctuating in brightness for two hours overhead, and when wives scream for their husbands to get back in the car as an advertising plane flies near, then no one can claim that genuine UFO experiences have an exclusive hold on strong emotional reactions." (p.100.)

6. "UFOs are unique ... because the witnesses are determined to be sincere, reliable or sane."

After exploring a number of cases Hendry wrote "The disturbing feature of all these cases is this: as unacceptable as they appear as "data" in terms of accurate portrayals of actual events, they were delivered with the same degree of sincerity, conviction, and in the same state of unexcited casualness as any UFO cases accepted as genuine." (p.101.)

7. "UFOs are unique because they are reported by people with occupations or educations that indicate "trained observers."

Using the ration of IFOs to UFOs, per occupational grouping, he determined that pilots reports were actually of IFOs 75% of the time; and that law enforcement staff who reported sightings were reporting IFOs 94% of the time. So called, "trained observers" were as likely, if not more likely to misidentify stimuli.

In summary, Hendry stated that he found, for his group of 1000 plus sightings, "...that we cannot blindly accept UFO witnesses as "error free" instruments." (p.103.)


Hendry's conclusions:

1. "Even with the very best UFO incidents to which I gained access in a year and a half, I was unable to establish anything better than a probability figure that the event actually took place in the extraordinary manner described, or that the source of the report was something truly anomalous, not already understood," (p.283.)

2. I do not endeavour to argue that UFOs do not, in some form, exist; indeed why shouldn't they?" (p.265.)

3. " But with our current inability to fully draw the distinction between real UFOs and IFOs, fantasies or hoaxes, coupled with a heated emotional; atmosphere, I can only assert that it is my feeling that some UFO reports represent truly remarkable events..." (p.285.)

Kapunda, South Australia - 2013 - bug/bird close to camera
UFOlogists:

In my exploration of the way investigations are conducted in Australia at this current time, I find that the lack of interest about IFO reports,  is not useful. I can do no better than the words Hendry wrote in 1979 "...they are doing themselves a disservice; the more reports they can succeed  in identifying and the more attempts to research the worthy ones, the more valuable the remaining cases will be." (p.279.)



Another Australian example of bird close to camera


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The 5% residue - what does it consist of?

Hi all,

Many UAP researchers agree that about 95% of all incoming reports can be explained in mundane terms. It is the residual 5%, which constitutes the "core" phenomenon, which really interests us.

There has been considerable debate however, between UAP researchers and sceptics, as to whether the characteristics of the 95%, and the characteristics of the 5% are different, or the same.


Sceptical views:

UK researcher Dr. David Clarke argues ( "How UFOs Conquered the world." 2015, Aurum Press, London) about this 5%:



"...but they are not significant because they have no characteristic features that distinguish them from the ninety-five percent that have been explained." (p.273.)

However, even some otherwise sceptical approaches, agree that there may be something in this 5%:

Paul Davies, an English Physicist (click here) in responding to a query from David Clarke (Clarke, 2015, p.258) replied:

 "I agree that some small fraction of reports might include novel physical phenomena (e.g.ball lightning) but not alien activity."

Professor Reginald Victor Jones was a British physicist and scientific military intelligence expert who at one stage looked into the subject of UAP.  (Click here. ) In appendix V to the "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects"; (edited by D S Gillmor, Bantam Books, New York, 1969,) on page 932, Jones wrote:




"If known natural phenomena are insufficient to explain everything that has been genuinely seen, the alternative to the intelligently controlled vehicles is an as yet recognised natural phenomenon. "


UAP researchers:

On the other hand, UAP researchers would argue that the residual 5% does contain cases which have no mundane explanation, with most going on to suggest that the answer lies with the extra-terrestrial hypothesis.

Looking on the Internet, and in books, I found a large number of lists of what some call their "ten best cases." One of the earliest such lists appeared on page 21 of Ronald D. Story's 1981 book "UFOs and the Limits of Science." (New English Library, London.)



1. Newport News, Virginia.1952.
2. Lakenheath, England. 1956.
3. Levelland, Texas. 1957.
4. Boianai, New Guinea. 1959.
5. Whitefield, New Hampshire, USA. 1961.
6. Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. 1965.
7. Ravenna, Ohio, USA. 1966.
8. Mansfield, Ohio, USA. 1973.
9. Tehran, Iran. 1976.
10. Kaikoura, New Zealand. 1978.

Skipping, thirty years from 1981, US researcher, John B Alexander, in his 2011book "UFOs: Myths, conspiracies and Realities" (Thomas Dunne Books, New York.) listed which cases he thought were strong evidence of something unusual. Chapter ten is titled "Real cases and hard data." Alexander wrote:



"There are so many strong UFO cases that selecting which ones to highlight is difficult." (p.155.)

So, what cases feature in this chapter? They include:

1. Bentwaters, UK. 1980.
2. Cash-Landrum. 1980.
3. Mansfield, Ohio, USA. 1973.
4. Phoenix, Arizona, USA. 1997.
5. Gulf Breeze, Florida, USA. 1980's.
6. Malstrom Air Force Base, USA. 1967.
7. Byelokorovicje, Russia. 1982.
8. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, USA. 1999.

Another, researcher who wrote "In the end I side with the believers. My conclusion is not based on personal preference but on familiarity with the evidence," was US based Eddie Bullard. In his book "The Myth and Mystery of UFOs" (2010, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas,) Bullard wrote:



"...candidates for the honour roll would surely include these noteworthy examples." (p.76.)

1. Tehran, Iran. 1976.
2. Cash-Landrum, USA. 1980.
3. Trans-en-Provence, France.1981.
4. JAL flight 1628, Alaska, USA. 1986.
5. Mundrabilla, Western Australia. 1988.


The best cases?

Reviewing a number of these lists, revealed a consistent suggestion that cases such as the following should be included in the 5% residue which appear to lack conventional explanations:

1. Socorro, New Mexico, USA. 1964.
2. Tehran, Iran. 1976.
3. Rendelsham Forest, UK. 1980.
4. Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. 1965.
5. JAL flight 1628, Alaska, USA. 1986.
6. Cash-Landrum, USA. 1980.
7. Trans-en- Provence, France. 1981.
8. O'Hare airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA. 2006.
9. Stephenville, Texas, USA. 2008.

In summary, then, UAP researchers feel that the 5% residue does indeed feature cases whose characteristics do not put them in the IFO category.


Comments:

1. One immediately notices that most of the cases in these lists are pre 1990, and occurred in the USA. The latter is perhaps explainable by the fact that many of the lists were prepared by US based researchers. The former, is perhaps due to the fact that the numbers of close encounters, and hence interesting cases, has been on the decrease since around the late 1990's.

2. Are these lists of any real value? They do reflect the opinions of serious, as opposed to Internet based, researchers. They offer what is felt to be cases which cannot be explained in mundane terms.
The lists do allow for a focused debate, and re-investigation by interested parties.

One example of this, is the 2014 report (click here) on the classic 1950 photographs taken in McMinnville, in the USA which claims to have found evidence of a thread suspending a model. McMinnville was to be found on many of the "ten best cases" lists.

Another example is the Belgium wave, where sceptical discussion, centred around astronomical sources and helicopters (click here.) Again, this wave features on many "ten best cases" lists.

3. UAP researchers, in my opinion, should welcome these sort of sceptical debates about the cause of what they feel are "unknowns" in the 5% residue. My own thinking, is that even if the residue, "only" reveals Paul Davies' "...small fraction of reports might include novel physical phenomena..." or  Professor Jones'  "...an as yet recognised natural phenomenon.. " it is still worthy of our study.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Investigation report - Townsville, Queensland - 29 May 2015

INVESTIGATION REPORT - Townsville, Queensland - 29 May 2015

Compiled by Keith Basterfield.

Report:

On the evening of 29 May 2015, I was contacted by a resident of Townsville, who emailed me that she and her daughter had been watching lights circling in the clouds for about 20 minutes just before she emailed me. The lights were first noticed at about 1825hrs on 29 May and last seen at about 1845hrs. There were three white, oval/circular lights moving around the clouds. There was no associated noise. The female resident took five photographs of these lights which she emailed me that night.


The photographs show a night scene, with house and street lights visible. In four of the photographs there is a very bright light source to the top of the images. The clouds are between this light source and the street lights. It is possible to faintly see some lights on the clouds.


I emailed the witness back and asked some questions. These, together with the witness' responses are listed below:

Q1. In four of the photographs is the very bright circular lights source at the top of the photographs, the Moon?
A1. Yes it is.
Q2. What was the weather like at the time?
A2. Wind was still. Few patchy clouds around.
Q3. How did the lights move?
A4. Sometimes at random, sometimes clockwise pattern.



Further information:

1. Location - is latitude 19.26 degrees south. Longitude is 146.82 degrees east.

2. Weather - obtained from the Bureau of meteorology for Townsville airport at 1830hrs that night was:

Temp. 24.3C; Dew point 19 C; 72% relative humidity; Wind from the east at 22km/hr;  Pressure 1019.0hPa. Rain since 9am 0mm.

3. The Moon was at 51 degrees elevation. Azimuth 74% 82% illuminated.



4. I submitted an electronic letter to the editor of the Townsville Bulletin newspaper; and also submitted a post to the blog of the same paper, asking for anyone else who may have seen these lights, to contact me. No one did.



Analysis:

1. At first viewing of the images, and a check with Google Earth, I found that the lights were seen in the direction of the Townsville airport. Unfortunately, the WebTrak aircraft tracking website indicates no coverage for Townsville.

2. The location of the Moon as determined from an astronomical website, confirms the witness' statement that the very bright light source in the photograph is the Moon.

3. As the lights were in fact seen in the direction of the Townsville airport, and as the Bureau of Meteorology has a base at the airport, I initially thought about the possibility that the lights were from the BOM's ceilometer, which uses beams of light to measure cloud heights. Further investigation; plus the fact that there were three lights seen, plus the duration of 20 minutes led me away from suggesting this as an explanation.

4. However, the witness' description and the images on the photographs are strongly suggestive of searchlight beams, visible on the clouds. I have seen identical lights, circling in various patterns, on clouds, in Adelaide.  Upon investigation they turned out on one occasion to be advertising a new night club in the city 20 kilometres away. On another occasion they were advertising a new model of car. I recall similar observations from both Melbourne and Sydney.

5. For transparency, I must add that although I conducted an Internet search for an event which may have been using searchlights in Townsville that night, I was unable to find any such event.

Notes:

I obtained the witness' consent to publish her observation, and use her photographs in this report. I have advised her of the report's conclusion.

Conclusion:

The most likely cause of the observations are searchlights.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

May 2015 - Australian monthly reports roundup



May 2015 - Australian monthly national sightings listing.

Compiled by Keith Basterfield and Paul Dean.

This is the eighth edition of the Australian national level sightings reports listing, which is on a twelve month trial. Readers are advised that most of these sightings have not been investigated.

Updates

11 May 2015 1400hrs Blue Haven, Central Coast, New South Wales 2mins IFO?
A man was out checking his mailbox when he saw a black/grey object, which had no shape. A mass or round shape. Dark colour. Was hovering. Then, there was a flash of light, like sunlight on a window, and it was gone. The weather was clear, no clouds. A letter to the editor of the local paper failed to locate any additional witnesses; the local radio station's blog contained no UAP reports for that day; and the local UAP group received no reports about the Blue Haven object. Our Sydney based research associate found that it was not an AusGrid electricity power line checking helicopter patrol, and that commercial aircraft routes do not go over this area. In summary, it was not possible to conclusively identify the source of the observation.
Dave Reneke.

25-27 April 2015 Various times Central Victoria and New South Wales ? mins  IF0 - Balloon
Last month we carried a number of sightings, all reported on 25 April 2015, from Central Victoria. These all turned out to have been due to a high altitude (33kms) balloon, launched by NASA. The Sydney Observatory blog site, "Lights in the sky" has further observations of the same balloon. We list them here for readers to be aware of.

25 April. 1600hrs Glenrowan, Victoria 1 hour
Ian observed a star-like object, dropping some 15 degrees elevation, over an hour. Through binoculars, it appeared as an oval shape, and estimated 1/20th the size of the full Moon. In clear sky it appeared twice as bright as Venus.

25 April. 1830hrs Ruffy, Victoria ? mins
An object, estimated as 1/5th the size of the full Moon was seen at 60 degrees elevation. Through binoculars it was seen to appear a round shape. Jan Medovarsky was the witness.

26 April 0730hrs Griffith, NSW 4.5hrs
Dom reported a "bright round light" to his north, at 30-40 degree elevation. It was bigger than a star and appeared stationary. By 10am it had moved to the east, and by 12 noon, further east again.

26 April 1730hrs 40kms E of Parkes, NSW 60mins
Bernie observed a bright, white light at 60 degrees elevation, west. It was round in shape and appeared stationary.

27 April 1730hrs 50kms W of Moree, NSW (4-5)hrs
A star-like object was seen by Richard, at 20 degrees elevation west. It seemed to stay in roughly the same area over the whole time.

Due to a leak, the balloon came down in remote country on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, on 28 April 2015.


May 2015

1 May 2015 1230hrs Whyalla, South Australia ? mins IFO - seagull?
Witness took a panoramic photograph of the beach area, "and when I checked the image on my computer I noticed the anomaly." A look at the photograph shows a blurred black and white image, suggestive of a seagull. Seagulls are visible in other parts of the photograph.
http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report_handler.pl?req=search_page

4 May 2015 ?  Goulburn, New South Wales ? mins IF0 - spiders' web
Ian W. reported the whole area covered.  He did notice spiders on his house and the garden. Ants and birds were going nuts. He noticed lots of clumps of cotton like stuff floating 100 metres up in the sky. He looked at the Sun and some of it was in long thick strands.
UFOR (NSW).

5 May 2015 1812hrs Glenwood, Queensland 1min Raw
Witness Peter saw a bright light comparable in size to the planet Venus. It moved steadily eastwards. No flashing strobe lights, no navigation lights. Moved out of sight behind tree line. No sound. Clear sky.
VUFOA.

6 May 2015 0554hrs Adelaide, South Australia 6 secs Raw
Witness arrived home from night shift. They were by the car when they looked up to see "...two orange glowing star-like spheres flying over from east to south very quickly...side by side." The spheres vanished into the night sky. Moon was full and bright.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

8 May 2015 1830hrs Sydney, New South Wales (5-6) mins  IFO - International Space Station
Heath saw an extremely bright object crossing the sky heading south-south-east. Faded at 25 degrees in the south.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

9 May 2015 Morning Acacia Hills, Northern Territory ? mins Raw
Alan Freguson reported capturing an unusual image, after "he set his camera on a fast-speed loop.'
www.dailymain.co.uk

9 May 2015 1820hrs Warwick Farm, New South Wales 30 mins Raw
Sarah saw, at 50 degrees west, a very bright light,  moving north.  Over 30 minutes it slowly faded towards north.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

9 May 2015 (1840-1920)hrs  Narrangba, Queensland (1-2) mins Raw
Looking west, Sheree Carter, at a 70 degrees elevation, saw a "small blip". It travelled south to north, then a couple of minutes later, moved north to south. Ten minutes later it travelled south to north.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

9 May 2015 (2200-2300)hrs Roaring Beach, Tasmania Facebook
Witness stayed in a small loft house in Tasmanian mountains looking over a valley, bottom of Tasmania near roaring beach. Saw a bright light 10-11pm. The light got faster and brighter, then it entered something like a hole in the sky and vanished. Unable to obtain any further details from the witness.
TUFOIC.

10 May 2015 0515hrs Ipswich, Queensland  15mins Raw
In a clear sky, a red light was seen by Lesley. It was "...moving around fast sideways up and down." It then flew to the left, and changed from steady to flashing. Eventually dimmed to nothing. A small white light then travelled to the same spot and disappeared.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

10 May 2015 0600hrs South Hobart, Tasmania 1-2 secs IFO - meteor?
Stephen Cameron sais: "I was in South Hobart about 6am on May 10th looking south (maybe SSW). It was may be at 45 degrees elevation. The object was visible for maybe one, two seconds. The sky was mainly clear and I could see the Moon, although that was in another direction. It was so bright. I have never seen  something so bright like this at night. It was white in colour and appeared to have a short tail, but it happened so fast I was just amazed by the brightness, the white light."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/
TUFOIC adds "Probably a meteor."

10 May 2015 1805hrs Rouse Hill, Sydney, New South Wales 6 secs Raw
Pat reported a cylindrical object with two orange to red looking lights at each side. It appeared very high, and "heading up in an upward motion." Heading south-west.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

10 May 2015 1845hrs Miller, New South Wales  1-2 mins Raw
Sean Nicholas saw a "...very large, very bright light looking North West from our front porch." It appeared and grew in brightness, to become the brightest thing in the sky. Slowly faded and vanished, then cycled again. Stationary all the time.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

11 May 2015 0435hrs Quakers Hill, Sydney, New South Wales  ? mins Raw
A "slow moving blinking object" was seen in the sky by Rebecca. It was small in size, and moving slowly from north to south. It also had a red blinking light.  A second object appeared nearby and peeled off to the west/south-west.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

12 May 2015 1855hrs City Beach, Perth, Western Australia 2 mins Raw
Gaz reported a light in the sky which appeared to change course "...quite erratically several times," at 85 degrees elevation in the east. It moved south to north on a clear night.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

14 May 2015 1930hrs Palm Beach, Queensland 2 hours Raw
The witness reported an oscillating bright light in the sky at 15 degrees elevation, at an azimuth of 30 degrees west of north. It was brighter than surrounding stars. Clear sky.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

16 May 2015 1915hrs Orange, New South Wales / mins Raw
Witness reported an object flying over Orange. Witness said it seemed roughly hall a kilometre up. It went from north to south then veered east. Flew very quickly. Green in colour. Seen by three people. Event filmed but the object moved too quickly.
Sydney UFO Sightings Facebook page.

18 May 2015 ? hrs Melbourne, Victoria ? mins Raw
Ricky "...saw a strange object that looked like a silver spirally long thingy." The Sun was reflecting off it.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

20 May 2015 1810hrs Hornsby, New South Wales 5 mins Raw
Looking 45 degrees elevation west, from a car, the witness saw a light moving west. It "...changed shape from triangle/kite to round like full Moon."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

22 May 2015 Night Huonville, Tasmania 10 mins Facebook
"My friend and I witnesses a strange light in the night sky  over Huonville on Friday 22nd May. The ball of light began as a very small dot. It got increasingly larger and larger and brighter very quickly and then  completely vanished. This happened 2 or 3 times over a 10 minute period, getting less and less bright and smaller each time. There was no cloud and the light seemed to appear from nothing. "
No further details from the witness.
TUFOIC.

23 May 2015 1708hrs Woden, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory  2 mins Raw
Video. "is was first moving slowly south over the Woden (district) area in Canberra A.C.T. It then changed direction and moved west. Then stopped and was stationary for a couple of minutes above my suburb. The object also seemed to be changing shape. Witness discontinued the observation and upon returning the object had gone.
http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report_handler.pl?req=search_page

23 May 2015 2015hrs Lakemba, Sydney, New South Wales ? mins IFO - blimp?
Marguerita reported that through a window, she watched :...a large white lit up object slowly moving in a horizontal direction through the sky." Round to oval in shape, it was "...totally lit up with white light." Small, flash in g lights were visible underneath the object. The Observatory suggested it may have been an airship/blimp run by "Appliances Online."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

23 May 2015 Evening Petersham  30mins Raw
Glenn Kelly described a "...very large half Moon shaped," yellowish in colour object, visible at 45 degrees elevation in the north-east. It was travelling slowly sought. The sky was clear. A crescent Moon was visible in the north-west.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

29 May 2015 1825hrs Townsville, Queensland 20 mins Under investigation
A woman and her daughter watched 3 oval to round lights circling in the distance, amongst clouds. There was no sound. Five still images taken.
Personal email communication to Keith Basterfield.

31 May 2015 (1630-1700)hrs Blacktown, Sydney, New South Wales 20 mins Raw
Jason and his wife saw what "looked like a flock of birds flying but changing direction very quickly and changed its size." They were looking in the direction of Campbelltown. It disappeared then reappeared.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

31 May 2015 1700hrs Chatswood, New South Wales 45 mins Raw
David Payne was looking towards 50 degrees elevation, east on a clear sky night. He noticed a small object, flashing lights white and red, out to sea to the east. 45 minutes of hovering. Going up and down. "...hover again head left at great speed not plane/helicopter no noise..."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/



Older cases

29 April 2015 1430hrs Kew, Melbourne, Victoria 60 mins Raw
Geoff Sherrington reported seeing a magnitude -1.0 object through light, high cloud, at 70 degrees west-south-west. There was no apparent movement.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

28 April 2015 1115hrs Wollumbi, New South Wales 10 mins Raw
Cassandra Seaton saw , in clear blue sky, two object travelling across the sky from west to north-west, at 45-50 degrees elevation. The lower object was larger than the other. Both had tails.
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

27April 2015 2045hrs Harvest lakes, Western Australia 5 secs IFO - Meteor?
Kat reported a green light, the "size of a street light" that appeared at 45 degrees elevation, and it travelled downwards in a straight line."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

25 April 2015 0540 hrs Adelaide River, Northern Territory 15 mins Raw
Reported 2 May 2015.
Attending the Anzac Day dawn service. Witness' Alan's daughter drew his attention to a moving star in the sky. In space of 10 minutes saw four lights. Dark sky with no Moon.
VUFOA.

25 April 2015 1800hrs Mansfield, Victoria 25 mins Raw
Witness Carol's daughter while they were travelling in a car, saw a light in the sky. "It appeared to be coming closer and getting bigger." It then became smaller and changed colour to a dull orange/red...The object had an aura or haze surrounding it."
VUFOA.

25 April 2015 1845hrs Warners Bay, New South Wales 15 mins Raw
Garry Scow observed, looking north-west, low in the sky, a very bright star-like object, "but when filming and zooming in there were multiple objects, different colours, blue, red, orange..."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

22April 2015  Dusk   Lara, Victoria 5 mins Raw
Reported 23 April 2015.
Witness, David, reported seeing five objects "...came down from the clouds moved slowly along in the same  direction, below cloud level...They were all round, thick black in colour with an hole  looking like donuts." Partly cloudy.
VUFOA.

Ca. 5 April 2015 2230hrs Young, New South Wales 3mins Raw
Sue Pears reported "three bright yellow lights moving north - they moved fast...no noise."
http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2007/report-a-sighting/

30 March 2015 2005hrs Wyndham Vale, Victoria 1 min Raw
Reported 5 May 2015.
Looking out of his bedroom window, to the north witness Jake reported seeing two red lights that were not flashing. "They were flying directly parallel until one slightly veered towards the ground and then both faded into the night. Clear sky. No sound.
VUFOA.

6 February 2015 1958hrs Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Western Australia 1min Raw
Reported 19 April 2015.
Larry, advised that "I was outside recording objects flying in the night sky  with my night vision camera. I saw a bright light in my peripheral vision... " Witness posted a video on YouTube.
VUFOA.

February 2012 0100hrs Balgowan, South Australia 3 hours Raw
Out fishing with a friend, saw a bright light over the ocean. "Hovered in place for around 3 hours." During this time a smaller light "seemed to come out of the larger one. It orbited the first light several times then re-joined or re-entered the larger light then after around 3 hours it sped off at an incredible speed..
http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report_handler.pl?req=search_page

17 October 1978 0617hrs Bunyip, Victoria 10 mins Raw
Reported 17 May 2015
Witness Rod, was woken by his father to look out the kitchen window. To the north he saw a soundless, black coloured, stationary , hovering object, above Mt Erica, north of Moe. After about 10 minutes the object ascended straight up  and disappeared very quickly. His father was a police officer, rang RAAF East Sale and was advised they had something on radar but it vanished.
VUFOA.

Australian contributing groups for this issue are

Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre
Website: http://tufoic.eu.pn

UFO Research New South Wales Website: http://www.ufor.asn.au
Victorian UFO Action
Website: http://vufoa.com
Hotline: 0456 447 112

Monday, May 25, 2015

New book alert - David Clarke

Hi all,

New book:

UK writer David Clarke's new book "How UFOs Conquered the World: the History of a Modern Myth," (Aurum Press, London, 2015, ISBN 978-1-78131-3038) has just been published. In short, the book is about Clarke's personal journey through Ufology. However, it is far more than that.


Chapter one:

Chapter one is based around an interview with  Denis Plunkett, "...the last remaining founder member of the British Flying Saucer Bureau." (p.23.) Clarke's interest here was expressed as "I wanted to know what motivated Denis to persevere in his belief that UFOs were craft piloted by extra-terrestrials." (p.25.) Along the way is a discussion of early UFO sightings and personalities, and concludes "What Carl Jung called 'a modern myth of things seen in the sky' had been created." (p.48.)


Chapter two:

This chapter explores the issue of witnesses' conviction of what they observe, in the light of belief and expectation, illustrated by case histories from the United Kingdom. He outlines studies such as that of CUFOS' former Allan Hendry which found that 90% of all incoming raw reports had mundane explanations after competent investigation. He writes "Williamson' story demonstrated that it is not the experience that is at the root of the syndrome but how it is subsequently interrupted by the observers and, if reported, by the media and the ufologists." (p.65.)


Chapter three:

This is centred around the events in the 1960's around Warminster in the UK, and includes scientific research conducted by David Simpson and other members of the Society for the Investigation of UFO Phenomenon, using balloons to create false UFO reports which UFOlogists accepted as genuine. In summing up Clarke writes "...every type of UFO evidence, from complex photographs to alien abductions, secret government documents and stories told by high ranking military officials about extra-terrestrial cadavers hidden in air force hangers, has at some point been unveiled as being invented. " (p.95.)


Chapter four:

Here, Clarke focuses on the UK Ministry of defence and their involvement in the UFO subject. Clarke writes "What struck me was the stark contrast between the popular idea of a lavishly funded secret government agency tasked with suppressing the facts about alien visitation and the mundane daily reality faced by those who ran the MOD's actual UFO desk." (pp99-100.)

Clarke interviewed Alex Cassie who worked with DI55's John Dickison and S4's Leslie Ackhurst; plus Jim Carruthers, a senior MOD official. Later interviewees included Linda Unwin, who ran the MOD's UFO desk in the early 2000's All very interesting reading.


Chapter five:

Chapter five covers the MOD's release of its UFO files; the televisions series 'X-files;" Steven M Greer's Disclosure Project; categories of conspiracy thinking, and UFO researcher Gary Heseltine. In closing, his account of his interview with Heseltine wrote "...I was struck by the fact that, for all its talk about evidence, ufology was not an empirical discipline. In order for it to survive it had to close itself off from the scientific method." (p.145)


Chapter six:

"Crashed saucers" feature in this chapter. Clarke describes the 1962 Ardgay, Scotland incident; then Roswell and other such events. Archival research suggested that the Ardgay device was part of a mid 1950's CIA Project Moby Dick, where large balloons launched from Scotland over the USSR. At the chapter's end, Clarke writes "The truth is that governments can only successfully keep secrets when knowledge is confined to a small group of people. That simply cannot be the case with the UFO conspiracy." (p.169.)


Chapters seven and eight:

Chapter seven examines the world of contactee George King and the Aetherius Society of the UK. "...I saw little to separate the stories of contactees like George King from the experiences described by the many sane, rational people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens." (p.192.) Chapter eight examines the world of abductees, which takes us into the world of sleep paralysis, and altered states of conciseness`. "I was satisfied that cultural and psychological factors were the key to exploring the stories told by experiencers." (p.211.)


Chapter nine onwards:

Here, Clarke tells of his interview with Father Paul (Eric Inglesby), Britain's longest serving Christian ufologist, about his views on UFOs. Father Paul told Clarke that  "...ufology was a vast, huge subject, shot full of religious danger." (p.222.) In the chapter, Clarke's view remained that "...all my investigations pointed to the mundane truth that most if not all UFOs could be explained in terms of misperceptions, altered states of consciousness and the influence of pop culture." (p.220.)

The penultimate chapter focusses on the question of life elsewhere in the Universe. Clarke reviews the views of astronomer Professor Paul Murdin, and Dr Michael Swords. Clarke confesses that "After spending three decades immersed in a syndrome where the scientific method is nearly always sacrificed to wish-fulfilment I had reached the point where I had to reject the extra-terrestrial hypothesis as an explanation for UFOs simply because it can never, ever be refuted." (p.254.)

Clarke's conclusion chapter titled "In the eye of the beholder" summarises his 30 year journey through Ufology. "One of the paradoxical lessons of the phenomenon is not what it tells us about extra-terrestrials but what it reveals about ourselves. " (p.265.) "Eventually I came to embrace the only explanation that satisfied me. It is often described simply as the PSH, or psychosocial hypothesis..." (p.268.)


In conclusion:

Clarke says that along the way, he "...discovered not one but ten basic truths." (pp272-278.)

1. "There is no such things as 'the UFO phenomenon' but there are lots of phenomena that cause UFOs."

2. "There is no such thing as a 'true UFO.'"

3. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

4. "Accounts of UFO experiences form the core of the syndrome, but stories do not constitute 'evidence.' They are folklore."

5. "Culture - not experience - creates the UFO interpretation but some experiences are independent of culture."

6. "The UFO syndrome fulfils the role of the supernatural 'other.'"

7. "The extra-terrestrial hypothesis and other exotic theories cannot explain UFOs."

8. "The idea of a super-conspiracy to hide the truth about UFOs is unfalsifiable."

9. "The common denominator in UFO stories is the human beings who see and believe in them."

10. "People want to believe in UFOs."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Investigation report - Blue Haven , NSW - 11 May 2015


INVESTIGATION REPORT ON THE 11 MAY 2015, BLUE HAVEN, NEW SOUTH WALES, REPORT.

By Keith Basterfield and Paul Dean -  Version 3 - 31 May 2015
The report:

The initial report came via David Reneke. David passed it on to Paul Dean of Melbourne, who contacted the witness by email.
The witness then supplied the following response by email:

"I am open minded ,and like things explainable if you know what i mean, what i saw was strange and could not work it out , must have been some size for me to see it with the naked eye from a distance, I'm in Blue Haven; on the 11th of May ,2pm just above Wyee a town in NSW Central Coast ,  i was checking the mailbox, and saw a black/ grey object ,had no shape just look like a mass or round ? dark colour, wasn't a plane or helicopter ,and just hovering not moving, then a light flash ,like sunlight on a window and it was gone, went inside to get the camera and binoculars but it was gone ,no sign of anything, the weather was clear no clouds. Checked the web to see if anybody else had seen anything but could not find anything at all.”
A follow up email from Paul Dean asking a number of questions, received the response:

  1. Direction of UFO –north.
  2. Angular elevation – 30-45 degrees.
  3. Any sound? - None.
  4. Angular size? –Jumbo plane size. Blob. Round. Grey dark in colour.
  5. Duration? – 2 minutes.
  6. Other comments? – Saw a flash, like the Sun hitting the window, then gone. “The flash was close to the electricity power lines …but over the lines…the flash was on the left hand side of the object looking north.”

Investigation:
1. Location:

Blue Haven is situated on the Central Coast of New South Wales at latitude 32.20 degrees south and longitude 151.48 degrees east.

2. Weather:
A check of the Bureau of Meteorology website revealed the two nearest stations were:

Station 061412 Lake Macquaries NSW 12.4 kms distant.
Min temp 10.3 deg C; max temp 21.3 deg C. Rain 0.2mm. Max wind gust from the west at 65km/hr at 0611hrs.

At 9am 18.3 deg C; 48% relative humidity; wind from WNW at 11km/hr, 1011.7 hpa.
At 3pm 20.5 deg c; 41% relative humidity; wind from WNW at 20km/hr; 1011.0 hpa.

No details of cloud coverage.
Station 061366 Norah head NSW 12.7km distance.

Min temp 15.2 deg C;Max 21 deg C; 0mm rain; Max wind gust from the west at 48km/hr at 0706hrs.
9am 18.2 deg C; 49% relative humidity; wind from WNW at 11km/hr; 1010.9hpa.

3pm 20.1 deg C; 48% rh; wind from WNW at 17km/hr 1009.9hpa.
No details of cloud coverage.

3. Local paper:
The Gosford, Central Coast, Express Advocate was checked for May 13 and 15th- the nearest issues. There were no mention of UFO reports. A letter to the editor was published in the newspaper, asking for additional witnesses to this event. No such witnesses contacted the authors.

4. Local radio station:
A check was undertaken of the blog site for radio station 2GO, Gosford. There were no mention of any UFO reports around the 11 May 2015.

5. Local UFO group:
There is a local UFO group run by Joann Kanda, at Tuggerah Lakes, close to the location of Blue Haven. Joann was unaware of this case, and knew of no similar reports from around 11 May 2015.

Joann advised us that:

"...maybe six weeks ago I recall reading the neighbourhood watch fb page and chat site where there had been much discussion about large helicopters in that area and wanting to know what they were. Looked grey from a distance but black and white. Admin eventually intervened and said they were ausgrid helicopters."

6. WebTrak:
Is there any evidence that there was a helicopter in the area at the time? In fact there is. Below is an image taken at 2.08pm on 11 May 2015, from the Air Services Australia WebTrak website which shows secondary radar images recorded at Sydney International airport.

 

The blue symbol is in fact a helicopter, heading north towards Blue Haven, at an altitude of 500 feet.


Analysis:

1. It should be noted that the Blue Haven witness stated that the object was "hovering." Also that the object was close to the electricity power lines. Joann mentioned AusGrid helicopters in the area. AusGrid is a large electricity supply company. They use helicopters to patrol power lines.

2. Joann refers to the colour of the AusGrid helicopters being grey when seen from a distance. The Blue Haven witness says his object was grey, dark.

3. Helicopters do of course make noise. The witness however says there was no sound associated with his object. But hearing noise from a chopper depends on wind direction and distance from the witness.

4.  There was a helicopter in the general area at the time. The following link shows a map of selected areas and scheduled dates for AusGrid helicopter patrols:

http://www.ausgrid.com.au/bushfirepatrols#.VVwvkMuJjIU

5. However, our Sydney research associate contacted AusGrid in Newcastle, and was advised that "records do not show any helicopter patrols in the Wyee/Blue Haven area on 11th May." Thus ruling out an AusGrid helicopter as the cause of the Blue Haven sighting.

6. However, the behaviour of the object, i.e. "hovering"" over the power lines is still suggestive of the possibility that the object might have been a helicopter. We have not been able to identify the helicopter shown on the WebTrak screen. We must, however, note that the witness stated that in his opinion, the object was neither a helicopter nor an aircraft.

7. Our Sydney research associate visited the area of Blue Haven; looked at the location of the power lines; and noted that the area is not on the usual aircraft routes into/out of Sydney. In his view, the object appears not to have been a helicopter or aircraft.  

Conclusion:
 
Based on the information available to us, we have not been able to conclusively ascertain the identity of the object seen at Blue Haven.
.

Monday, May 18, 2015

"A few home truths" - from Jenny Randles

Hi all,

"A few home truths" is a chapter by UK researcher, Jenny Randles, in a book titled "A World History of UFOs," which I found so fascinating when I re-read it recently.


General observations:

To begin with, Jenny noted that "Today's new brand of star chasers seem every bit as besotted as earlier generations were  with the Extra-terrestrial hypothesis..." followed by "...with the mass of conspiracy theory rammed down their throats by TV every day and the huge financial rewards if you promote grays, cover-ups and crashed space trips...there never has been a bigger incentive not to think objectively about UFOs..."

Later, she writes, "...Ufology is such a useful weapon in the TV ratings war, it has become many a producer's personal addiction..."

Finally, "...serious UFO researchers have become an endangered species..."


My thoughts:

Much of today's Ufology on television, is simply entertainment. Short snippets of a delightfully vague, out of focus video clips, which have received no investigation.

Many newspaper articles on the subject, even if they start off in a serious vein, often then degenerate into using words such as "ET's," "aliens spaceships;" and denigrate our topic. Rarely is there a serious discussion of the subject.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with them! I prefer opinions to be based on an examination of fact based evidence. Perhaps that makes me "old school" but I make no apologies for holding this view.

The above words of Jenny's are as applicable today, as they were when they were written, which was in 1997, 18 years ago!


Jenny's "rules."

Jenny came up with a number of "rules" about UFO field investigations:

Rule one:

"If you don't solve at least nine out of ten cases you are doing something wrong."

Based on her own years of investigations she and her associates, were able to find mundane explanations for 90-95% of raw reports.

Rule two:

"The more witnesses there are, the less likely it's really a UFO."

Through 25 years of investigation, Jenny noted that the core "unexplained" cases had an average of 1.5 witnesses. This compared to the average IFO having a larger number between 4 and dozens.

Rule three:

"Never say never."

Jenny found, through trial and error that some IFOs took months, perhaps years, to determine they were the cause of some cases. She felt that just because you places an investigated report into the "unknown" category, that you should not forget that case. That you periodically need to return to these "unknowns" and carry out a cold review analysis, in the light of today's knowledge.

Rule four:

"First hand is the only hand."

Jenny felt that you need to conduct a personal, first hand investigation, and not rely on media or second hand information.

Rule five:

"It's the witness' story, not yours."

Whatever you think the cause of an observation was, the witness may have their own opinion, which may differ from your own interpretation. You deduce your own conclusions, based on the evidence you collect, even if the witness does not agree with your conclusions.

Rule six:

"Dig deep."

Jenny says, never assume what is on the surface of a case, is all, there is. Be prepared to dig deeper.


My final thoughts:

In my opinion, today's UFOlogists would benefit, from following Jenny Randles six "rules.