Friday, March 16, 2018

The current state of Australian UFOlogy

Dear readers,

Today's post is being typed as I lounge by the backyard family swimming pool with a glass of Victorian Chardonnay at hand. It is a personal reflection of my recent review of several Australian UFO websites; over 60 Australian UFO Facebook pages; several Australian blogs belonging to individuals, and private email discussions with a number of selected high profile Australian 'researchers.'


No, not the android character from the Star Trek franchise, but pieces of information. Sightings of things in the Australian sky are reported to a large number of Internet sites. These range from overseas based organisations such as MUFON, to Peter Devonport's NUFORC, to local sites such as UFOR (NSW) Incorporated, and UFOR (Qld) Incorporated. Both Sydney and Perth observatories receive sightings, as do dozens of Facebook pages.

I can't find anyone who regularly monitors this vast area of data; collects it in one place and attempts to analyse it. The one exception to this statement is that for a period of 12 months, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean and my co-blogger Keith Basterfield (on a long term break from UFO research at the moment) did just that. However, it is interesting to note that almost no Australian UFOlogists commented that they found it of any value to them!


Readers of my last few columns will be aware by now that the question of lack of interest in analysis of sightings by Australian UFO 'researchers' is a pet peeve of mine. Raw sightings contain valuable information about the UFO phenomenon. When was the last time you saw a table of numbers of reports versus time of day for Australian sightings? Or a breakdown of types of Australian sightings under the J Allen Hynek classification system, ie nocturnal lights, CE 1, CE2 etc? Or the number of witnesses per type of sighting? On the latter point, British UFOlogist Jenny Randles once found that the average number of witnesses to a nocturnal light sighting was around 2.4, whereas the average number of witnesses to a close encounter event was very close to 1.0. Telling us that most close encounters happen to single witnesses. 

All this kind of data analysis was being done by overseas researchers back in the 1960's -1990's. Why aren't Australian researchers doing this kind of data analysis today and publishing it?


Type in the words 'Australian UFO hotspots' into a search engine and you will find stories about Wycliffe Well in the Northern Territory. Despite all the media hype which abounds, there is a strange lack of detailed documentation on what has been seen. Like some of the places in the US who have capitalised on the UFO phenomenon, individuals at Wycliffe Well have become expert at marketing their locality as a hotspot.' The mass media loves this sort of 'here's the stories' ready made to publish, don't bother analysing what is said.'

Based on my Internet searches, the true Australian hotspots for UFOs were many years ago, in Northern New South Wales; North-Eastern Tasmania, and around the Clare valley in South Australia. But you will have to dig deep to find information on these today. In truth, today there are no UFO 'hotspots' in Australia, that aren't the creation of the media and certain Australian 'researchers' who seem to love the media attention it brings to them.

Social media

I think by now that readers will know my thoughts about the lack of value of most social media posts about the phenomenon. I am far from impressed with UFO pages on such outlets as Facebook.


What I do notice about discussions, particularly about Australian UFO videos on such places as Youtube is the amount of associated hype. There are screaming headlines with the video clip which do not reflect the content. I have quietly been querying people who post such Australian videos. Or should I say attempting to query them. I mainly get vague responses or very evasive responses when you politely ask an individual the most basic of questions such as, in what direction was your device pointing when you captured the images you show? My study of such videos has lead me to the belief that either the object featured is mundane, such as a helium party balloon, or a plastic bag, or that it is a computer generated image - ie a fake.


I found few people contributing anything beyond submitting vague videos and vague sightings. The few that are, such as Shane Ryan's research on the 1966 Westall incident (unfortunately never getting any closer to official Australian government confirmation as to the cause of the event;)  Paul Dean's work with official Australian government documents; Keith Basterfield's work shared in this blog (which does attempt to analyse Australian sightings in depth;) and Bill Chalker's work published on his blog (although most of his case analysis is of very old sightings, e.g. Tully back in 1966) stand out above the rest.


On the other hand, there are folks organising seminars or 'conferences' allowing individuals with an interest in the phenomenon to hear invited guest speakers from interstate or overseas. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to extend to providing an unbiased critique of the material which these speakers are presenting. Putting on seminars such as this is fine, but contribute little to our understanding of the phenomenon, as there is no effort made to sort 'the wheat from the chaff.' 

For example, Victorian UFO Action recently ran a meeting where witnesses to the 1966 Westall incident shared their personal stories. The witnesses who did this are to be congratulated for being willing to stand up in public and speak on this topic. Good material for a 30 second clip on television the day after. But VUFOA made no effort to critique these stories; to attempt to place them in the overall context of what has become a very complicated, multi-thread account of what at first seems to be a simple mass sighting. There are detailed, but contradictory accounts now from several people who claim to have been there that day. VUFOA made no attempt to tell people this. 

Too critical?

Am I being too critical? I don't think so. All the major Australian UFO groups on their websites state that they are investigating and researching the subject. The truth is that most are not. They are promoting the subject; marketing the subject to both individuals and the mass media; hyping up the topic, but are failing to conduct real research. 

This is the state of today's Australian UFOlogy.

In summary

As a science based researcher, I am very disappointed that Australian UFOlogy, in terms of research (and not based on popular appeal) has gone backwards since my last foray into the subject several years ago.

What is also disappointing is that this would be the same view obtained by any of my science based colleagues who would privately do the same research that I have been doing in recent weeks. You can undertsand why no Australian academic openly advertises any private interest they may have in the subject.

Is it possible to turn this state around? I don't believe so, the time of the marketed UFO phenomenon is with us to stay. All that science based researchers like myself can do, is to tell it like it is; and as Jacques Vallee once said, just go quietely about your own research. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Australian UFO conferences

Dear readers,

At long last we have slipped into Autumn here in Melbourne. The very hot days of summer are behind us, and we can look forward to cooler weather. I find Autumn a pleasant time, and my productivity usually increases the further away from summer we get, when the hot weather drains your thoughts away.

The recent family trip mentioned in my last post was very enjoyable. I had the opportunity of getting in some dark sky observing. Looking up at the sky from a country location reminds you of our place in the vast universe. You can't help but start to think about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Not just life, but conscious intelligent life such as ourselves. Then, of course you get to thinking about the likelihood of any such intelligent life finding its way to the third planet of an average star in an average galaxy. Statistically this is extremely unlikely. This inevitably brought my thoughts back to the UFO phenomenon.


In my last few posts I have been exploring the contents of Australian UFO websites and Facebook pages. In this post I decided to use a browser and typed in the key words 'Australian UFO Conference.'

UFO conferences of the type once regularly held in Australia, by such organisations as ACUFOS and MUFON in Australia, and UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated are a thing of the past. No organised UFO group now brings together a group of say a dozen, well credentialed speakers from overseas and interstate, and post-conference publishes (either in print or electronic form) a proceedings of referenced papers by all the speakers.  I can understand why not, as these big conferences used to cost A$40,000 or so each to put on. That's a lot of money. 

The first thing which came up was the 'Cardwell UFO Festival.'  Cardwell is a small tropical coastal town in Far North Queensland with a population of 1,176. Someone there decided to start up an annual UFO Festival as a means of attracting tourists. If you read the details provided on the website, you will see that the festival is an updated version of a country fair, but with an extraterrestrial flavour. The UFO part is catered for by a couple of speakers; dress ups, kids activities and other ET flavoured functions. However, it is by no means a 'conference.' As I mentioned above, I would define a conference as a gathering which brings together a large number of speakers, usually around a central theme, for several days. Professional conferences always publish a proceedings of the papers presented by all the speakers. 

Close Encounters Conference

The only other entry which emerged in my browser search was a 'Close Encounters Conference' which does partly meet my definition of a conference (it doesn't seem to publish a conference proceedings.) The 2019 three day conference is being advertised on this website, together with a list of speakers, with the venue being Coffs Harbour, on the north coast of New South Wales. Unlike most conferences of the past it is not being held in a state capital city. 

The speakers listed are: Caroline Cory; James Bartley; Megan Heazlewood; Tim Zyphin; Mary Shaw; Kay McCullock; Cask J Thompson; Elektra Titania; and Pane Andov.

I chose two of the speakers at random and used the Internet to find out something about them. I was particularly interested to know their qualifications to be speaking on the UFO subject.

James Bartley

James maintains an 'official website' and the 'About James Bartley' area allowed me to find out that 'He specializes in research and investigation into Reptilian aliens and Military Abductions,' having carried out most of his research in the USA. The site goes on to state that 'James is an independent Historian with an emphasis on Military History, Intelligence/Counterintelligence and Special Operations.' 

What it didn't tell me was anything about him as a person; where he was born; his educational qualifications, or his work history. It gave me no indication as to why he was qualified to talk about the material he does.

Under the site's 'articles' tab we find articles about Native American spirits; monosodium glutamate; chronic disease; and how to protect yourself from radiation. What these have to do with the UFO or abduction phenomena isn't clear to me.

Bartley's own articles speak to such topics as 'the Grey Recyclable Container Agenda;' 'the Grey Borg Hive Agenda (weren't the Borg a fictional alien race in the fictional Star Trek franchise?); and mention of a law enforcement person whose genetics were altered; and finally, 'the training reptilians give to human abductees' (following the same line as US abduction researcher David Jacobs speaks of - although Jacob's methodology has been questioned of late.)

In short, the site's content is an exhaustive personal interpretation of Jame's perception of the UFO and abduction phenomena, and the interaction between a bunch of alien races and humanity.

I spent some time reading though articles and viewing a 2014 presentation which James gave in Sydney to make sure I was correctly understanding the content presented there. I came away feeling it was a bottomless morass of ill defined opinion; from dubious sources, all wrapped up in a fantasy land of unreality, with zero evidential base behind it.

This didn't give me much confidence to spend money to travel interstate to listen to James as a speaker.    

Kay McCullock

The next speaker runs an organisation titled ' Consciousness Development and Research Group (Australia). The website contains the following 'All information on this blog is copyright of C.D.R.G (Australia). Do not reproduce without prior consent.' Fair enough. So, I will paraphrase.

Amongst other things the group is about providing opportunities for individuals to contact aliens using certain protocols, some of which derive from the work of Dr Steven M Greer in the USA. Readers might be aware that Dr Greer's work has come under increasing criticism in recent times. The group facilitates 1-3 day duration CE-5 events. It also researches other subject such as demonology; cryptozoology; shamanism, and magic. 

My overall impression of the website and hence the group was of a lengthy collection of catch all 'new age' topics designed to offer something for everyone.

Unlike James Bartley's site, Kay did provide the information that her educational qualifications were 'Adv. Dip. Nat. BSc and Adv. Dip. Ap. Sc' which provides a scientific background. I checked with 'Google scholar' and did a general Internet search for professional/academic publications which Kay may have written but found nothing.

The site also states that she was associated, some years back with a number of Australian UFO groups, which provided her with insight into the UFO phenomenon. Elsewhere I found details of her personal ET experiences. 

In her energy and environmental medicine work, Kay charges for consultations, healing sessions, shamanic healing sessions, and spiritual mentoring.

During my general Internet search I did come across one odd item. This was in December 2017, where it is reported that Kay felt that an invisible predator was terrorising a guinea fowl.

Is it worth going to the conference?

I will leave it to my readers to conduct their own research to judge if the two speakers I randomly selected from the Close Encounters Conference 2019 event are representative of the other seven listed on the CEC website, and the value of spending money to travel to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales to hear them speak. Based on my random selection of two of the speakers I won't be going. 

Past conferences

Victorian UFO Action is a Victorian based group which has in recent times put on conferences (and provided videos of speakers' presentationsmore here)  VUFOA are to be congratulated on these efforts. A visit to their website reveals no current plans for further conferences, other than asking for ideas for speakers.

NEXUS Magazine was holding regular annual conferences  with a few of the talks being about the UFO phenomenon. There wasn't one in 2017, but the website refers to 'some exciting events being planned for 2018' although there is no mention of a conference. 


I welcome feedback on my blog posts via the blog comments section. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Australian Facebook UFO pages

Dear readers,

We are now close to the end of the Australian summer, and it has been a hot one. Folks who say that global warming isn't real, should come and live in Australia. Having said that, friends in Europe and Canada tell me they have been having some very cold spells. 'Global weather changes' would be a better name than 'global warming' I think.

This week's post is early as the family is going away on a well deserved trip out of the city,  to the Victorian Central Highlands. I am looking forward to some clear night skies, to remind myself of our place in our galaxy. A small blue dot in a vast universe.

Australian group websites

I have now visited all the Australian UFO group websites which turned up using a browser search. There may be others which I haven't visited. If you know of one please drop a comment in the comments section of this blog. Thank you.

Today's post is designed to answer the question 'If you are the 'person in the street' how do you find out about the UFO subject in Australia?'

Monthly meetings

After visiting a website, I guess you might decide to go along to one of the monthly meetings held by such groups as UFO Research (Qld) Incorporated (Brisbane); UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated (Sydney); or the UFO and Paranormal Research Society of Australia (South-Western Sydney.) However, what if you live in other states, particularly in remote localities?


I looked at the five main Australian UFO websites, and none give figures for how many people go to their monthly meetings. Some do show photographs of these meetings so I could get some idea of numbers. I doubt whether the total number attending regular monthly UFO group meetings across Australia exceeds 250 people. When groups have international speakers doing the circuit of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth the number of people attending a speakers circuit might total around 500. Out of the current Australian population of close to 25 million, this is a very small percentage. Despite what the media portray with numerous items about UFOs being featured quite prominently, the majority of the Australian population doesn't have any real interest in the subject!


It seems to me that the main source of electronic information, after websites, is Facebook. So, over several weeks now I have become a member (under an alias) of around 60 Australian UFO related Facebook pages spread geographically from North Western Australia, through Victoria, to Far North Queensland

I paid nothing to join any of these Facebook pages. I wasn't asked any personal details. I simply asked to join and was never 'knocked back.' The individual Facebook page administrators have no idea who I am; didn't even ask me for verification via an email or telephone call. They have no idea whether or not I am a 'real' person (I am a real person, but as I openly told everyone when I started this blog in 2009, Pauline Wilson is not my real name.) Many Facebook page administrators don't appear to moderate their page, and some of the UFO Facebook page discussions I have read are pretty foul, both in tone and in language.

You didn't know there are at least 60 Australian UFO related Facebook pages?

Here's the list I came up with

Adelaide UFO Sightings; Victorian UFO Action (several pages); Melbourne UFO Sightings; Pilbara UFO & Paranormal; Westall Flying Saucer Incident; Adelaide UFO Sightings; Perth UFO Sightings; MUFON Australia; Australian UFO Sightings; UFO Sightings Australia; UFO Australian Sightings & Abductions; Brisbane UFO Sightings; Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group; Sydney UFO Sightings; Perth UFO Casebook; UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia; UFO Research (Qld) Inc; Melbourne UFO Centre; aufornnewsand sightings; UFO-PRSA-Qld; Australian Cosmic Connections Adelaide; Independent Network of UFO Researchers; Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre; UFO Research (NSW) Inc; Perth UFO Informer; Queensland UFO Sightings and Research; UFO Australia; UFO Sightings and Photos; Australian UFO & ET Experiences; Australian UFO & Paranormal Research; Australian Skywatchers & Enthusiasts; UFO Gold Coast; Yarra Ranges UFO Sightings; Sydney UFO Hunters; Adelaide UFO Reporting; South Australian UFO Network; Australian UFO Hunters; High Strangeness Australia - UFOs and all things Paranormal; Central Queensland UFO Investigators; Queensland UFO Society; CE-5 Queensland UFO/ET Contact group; Australian CE-5 Disclosure Project; CE-5 Western Australia; CE-5 South Australia; Australia's CE-5 ET/UFO Contact Group; UFO Sightings Perth to Rockingham and surrounds Western Australia; Australian UFO Action; Mutual UFO Network - Australia/New Zealand; Sydney Australia UFO Sky Watchers; Nightvision UFO Skywatching Australia; Unidentified Australia- UFOs - Ghosts; Australian UFO/Alien Abduction Investigators; UFO East Coast Australia; Western Australia UFO Reports; AUFOG (Australian UFO Group); UFO Believers in Australia; Society of UFO Investigators South Australia; South Australia UFO/Demon Hunters; West Australian UFO and Paranormal Group; Australian UFO Sightings & Information Group; First UFO Sighting in Australia; There are UFOs Over Australia.

I bet there are multiple 'secret' Facebook pages which I couldn't even see, and suspect my list above is also probably incomplete. This doesn't include Facebook pages of individuals UFO researchers. 

Why do people post?

My overall impression of spending several mind numbing hours joining and then browsing the above pages, was that there are a few smart people who participate in discussions on these pages. However, they are few and far between. On the other end of the spectrum there are some individuals who exhibit all the signs of having mental health issues. In other words a typical cross section of society.

Why do people post on Australian Facebook  UFO pages? After looking at several hundred individual posts/comments I believe there are a number of reasons, including:

a. A poster somewhere else on Facebook seems to reveal a 'new truth' and so a viewer of this material feels the need to share the post with everyone they know.

b. A comment posted by someone else resonates with their personal belief system so they agree with that comment.

c. Someone else's comment (however true) disagrees with their personal belief system so they feel compelled to share their opposing viewpoint.

d. They are bored and decide to post just any old random comment.

e. Other posters are reporting seeing 'UFOs' nightly and so they feel the need to also see 'UFOs' whether or not they actually did.

f. A small number of individuals are taking money for so called 'UFO services' such as getting rid of the grey aliens bothering you. These people are using Facebook to advertise their 'services.' From what I can see these are almost always pseudo-scientific in nature.

g. Others inject made up stories of their 'abduction' by aliens, with absolutely no scientific proof provided.

h. Others genuinely believe that they have actually been abducted by aliens, and seek like minded individuals to compare experiences.

i. A few individuals seem to have  genuine desire to take a serious look at the phenomenon and post intelligent questions about 'sightings;' UFO radio shows, new books; famous cases and want to have rational discussions about these topics. 

Informative data?

I was really hoping to find somewhere on Facebook where individuals in Australia with a curiosity about the topic could get sensible, accurate and informative data. I found that the Australian Facebook pages which best met my criteria were in fact associated with the main UFO research groups, like UFO Research (Qld) Inc; and UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated. Their Facbook pages seemed well moderated, presented me with relatively good material, including details of sightings (except for my usual 'beef' about not following up and analysing these sightings.) However, having said that, the majority of Australian UFO related Facebook pages are full of sharing dubious cgi generated videos; judgmental views on other people's opinions; name calling; and a lack of logical train of thought. In short, to be avoided.

On various 'sightings' pages I found individuals making statements such as, 'It's back in the sky' (no description of which part of the sky); 'did you see a black blob on Friday evening?' (no mention of time, location seen from etc.) Moderators sometimes interposed to ask the poster a few of these questions, but the poster rarely gave any better information the second time round. This makes sightings of these kinds of no value to a researcher like myself.

CE-5 contact pages in general were full of pseudo-scientific terminology; sometimes charged a fee to go on a skywatch; then posted vague results of an evening's viewing. They seem a complete waste of time.

I got the impression from the stated membership sizes of individual Australian UFO Facebook pages- quoted as having between 1 to  around 3,000 members - that there are several thousand people - many actually from outside Australia - using these over 60 pages to communicate their random views on the topic - to little overall value. Certainly nothing that increases our knowledge about the UFO phenomenon. Interestingly you see the names of some individuals posting on multiple sites, giving an inflated impression of the total population of people using Australian UFO Facebook pages.

Of any value?

If I were a newcomer to the subject looking for unbiased information, particularly if they have a science background, I think that I would not bother using Australian UFO Facebook pagers for this purpose. I particularly found no evidence of anyone really conducting research to my liking. By research  - I mean with sightings; gathering and publishing all the data you can find by interviewing witnesses, including discussing possible hypotheses to account for the sighting; plus for specific topics - eg the 'crash at Roswell' providing both pro and con arguments for the topic. 

Perhaps I shouldn't expect to find much value in Australian UFO Facebook pages, as the medium itself, ie Facebook, supports people using it for quick responses which lack depth. 

Time to stoke up the family BBQ, put on a steak, and drink away the memories of all that time wasted on looking for intelligent discussions on most of the Australian UFO related Facebook pages.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The website of the Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN)

Dear readers,

Unexpectedly I have a day off work today; the kids are at school and hubby is interstate on a business trip so this post is early.

I am still looking at websites operated by Australian UFO groups, in order to update my self after several years away from the field. These reviews are simply my own opinions of what the websites offer. Someone else checking out the same website may come away with a different view than mine. That's to be expected. However if Australian UFO groups want science or even government to treat the subject in an objective way, then they need to present their website material in a far better manner.


I used a smart phone to access the AUFORN website. The home page states that AUFORN has been around since 1998 - 20 years this year. This would make the website the oldest Australian UFO website. Well done. 

However, you then notice the words 'The most up to date Australian UFO web page on the Internet' but this is immediately followed by the words 'Updated April 19th 2014' which is rather contradictory.


The home page has nine tabs namely: 'About us;' 'public meetings;' 'UFO sighting reports;' 'online report form;'UFO hotline;' 'articles;' 'what's on;' 'links;' and 'contact us.'

About us

We learn that 'AUFORN was formed to continue the work of ACUFOS defunked in 1992/93' and was established by Diane Harrison and Robert Frola. 'We believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to prove the existence of UFOs.' Then 'Our objective in the coming years will be to provide this evidence to the Australian government.' There is no detailed statement about what this circumstantial evidence is, and nothing on the site indicates that the evidence has ever been presented to the Australian government. 

Public meetings

The website advises that public meetings are held and provides a land line telephone number to call for further details. No dates or names of speakers are given. Curiously, it also states that 'AUFORN hold meetings around Australia and everyone is invited' yet it gives no more details than that.

UFO sighting reports

Here was an area of interest to me, data about sightings. There are reports from the years '1800's' through to 2012. Choosing years at random I checked a number of dates. I found several hundred summaries of sightings - an excellent resource for people like me who like hard data. Some of the summaries even have a basic analysis of the event looking for explanations. Most do not. Its a pity that this resource is not being kept up to date.

In this area another excellent resource are copies of issues of 'Australian UFO Reports and Experiences;' 'Australian UFO Reports;' and Research Digests of UFO Research Australia. Dozens and dozens of sightings with some analysis. Great work.

There are also old newspaper clippings; and the Newsletters of the AURA Disclosure Project which located and arranged to have digitised Australian government UFO files, plus some TUFOIC and UFORFNQ periodicals. Much interesting reading here.

All in all, this is the best repository of Australian UFO reports out of all the Australian UFO group websites I have so far examined. It is a great pity that no one is keeping it up to date.

On line report form

This electronic UFO sightings report form is the best one I have seen so far. After asking for some initial details it next has a big free-form box 'please write your own account of what happened.' Often if you simply have a list of questions you are unable to get a general overview of the incident. This is followed by a series of other questions including about the weather and the astronomical sky. A great piece of work.

UFO hotline

A free toll hotline number is provided to call in sightings. However when I called the number myself I got a recorded message where the voice of an unidentified female asked me to leave a message. There is no live operator.

I recall reading somewhere over the last few weeks that this hotline has been discontinued, then why is the number still advertised and why do you get asked to leave a message? Why not delete this area from the website?


Here I found a range of interesting articles mainly by past and present Australian researchers, such as Bill Chalker, Dominic McNamara, Daniel Sims and George Simpson. However, the site states that this area was last updated on 10 February 2009. Another disappointment as I hear that AUFORN's 'UFOlogist' magazine has carried some really good articles in the period 2009-2018. Why aren't some of them here?

What's on

This area refers to three no longer operating radio shows - 'Ghost radio;' 'UFOs Down Under;' and 'UFO matters.' Why this area is still on the website I couldn't work out.


Here are links to things that happened in the time frame 1998-2008. It appears that nothing has been added for 10 years or so.

Contact us

We are again given the hotline number and an email address.

In summary

After going through the entire website I was left with two conflicting thoughts about the site's content.

On the one hand it has excellent (if outdated) resources in the form of several hundred summaries of Australian sightings - useful data to people like me; plus articles by Australian researchers.

On the other hand, there are multiple areas which appear not to have been updated for many years. It certainly does not live up to its claim  to be 'The most up to date Australian UFO web page on the Internet.'

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The website of Victorian UFO Action

Dear readers,

The family is out for the day, so it's now my time to indulge in my hobby - UFOlogy. 

Today's post is continuing my look at websites of Australian UFO groups. After several years away from the topic of UFOs, this is one way to re-acquaint myself with today's UFOlogy. So after looking at New South Wales and Queensland it is time for my home state of Victoria, and the sole UFO group website I could find, that of Victorian UFO Action.

A few general observations

Interestingly unlike UFO Research (NSW) Inc. and UFO Research (Qld) Inc. VUFOA does not have the word 'research' in their name. I was therefore interested to see just what it is that the group does?

I mentioned in previous posts that I don't usually bother about the appearance of a site, being more interested in the content. However I am going to make an exception for the VUFOA website. It is cluttered; and visually overwhelming to my eyes. It scrolls down and down and down, unlike most website home pages which are short and to the point. Coloured letters and lots of icons don't make for a good first impression with me.


There are nine tabs along the top of the home page,  'Home;' 'About us;' 'donations;' 'members pages;' 'search VUFOA;' 'guestbook;' 'report a sighting;'seek support' and 'more.'

'Home' of course is the home page.

'About us' opens up into 'contact us;' 'team members' and 'media releases.' 

'Contact us' brings up a preformatted form which asks for your name, and email address and allows you to send an inquiry to VUFOA.

'Team members' finds a list of four 'investigators' and the geographic areas each covers; plus a listing of eleven 'specialists' which they really aren't as 'Joyce - inner suburbs' and 'Ray-Tasmanian correspondent' and most of the others don't speak to a speciality. In fact there are only two 'specialists' listed, namely "George - photographic' and "Mike-aviation.' Even then, there is no background given which tells you why they are such specialists. 

'Media releases' gives a 'general media pack;' plus the dates 2013 through to 2017 which didn't open for me. Did VUFOA issue any media releases or not?

The general impression I gained from this area was that VUFOA was attempting to project an image for themselves which exceeds what they can deliver.

The  'Donations' tab intrigued me as I don't recall seeing it on any of the three websites already reviewed. So I opened it and found there had been three 'fund raising campaigns' so far. 'Launch to the skies' raised 0% of its $5000 target; 'Raise the cause' raised 0% of its $5000 target, and the more modest $1000 target for 'Support the cause' raised 6.5% of that target. 

The 'Members pages' tab opens up a list of some thirty sub-tabs. Not being a member of VUFOA, I clicked on several at random and was met with a 'sign in' box. Up came a 'Not yet a member register for free' box. This asked me for a display name, email address, password, date of birth, location and gender. It also provided me with a several thousand word terms of service agreement which it asked me to agree to. 

As this is a free registration, and VUFOA is not asking for any fee to join, why do I have to register and supply personal information? What do they use that information for? I declined to register and went on with my public viewing of the site. 

I expected the 'Search VUFOA' tab to allow me to do the usual general keyword search of the entire site. However when I opened it I got the same sign up for membership box as above. You can't conduct a general search of the site, as with almost any other website. I don't understand why this is so.

The 'Guestbook' tab is revealing. Although there are 103 comments, most are very old, with the latest being 7 March 2017, almost a year ago. Clearly very few people are bothering to communicate via this guestbook. This compares most unfavourably with the guest book for UFO (NSW) Inc. which is regularly used, and often excellent sightings are reported in this way to them. VUFOA are loosing an opportunity to get sightings here.

Although VUFOA states it is a state level organisation its 'Report sighting' speaks of a national Australian UFO database. The electronic form utilised is a typical one for a UFO group. Like all the rest it fails to allow for a good freeform description of a sighting, instead falling back on preformatted questions. There is no pre-form statement explaining what VUFOA will do with the data; no committment to get back to you; and no time frame in which they will respond to your sighting data.

The 'More' tab opens a drop down list of eight items, which includes 'positions available;' one of which is for a business manager with experience applying for grants; and 'wanted, one individual with tenacity to ask the tuff questions...' The impression I get from this area is that VUFOA are a bunch of amateurs without a real clue as how to run a modern, efficient, effective, not for profit organisation.

Back to the home page

Most websites would stop at this point but the home page goes on and on scrolling down, presenting items, apparently at random. Here one finds something akin to a 'mission statement' (apart from the top of page ' seeking the truth,' whatever that means.)

Amongst the generalised statements is found:

'Dedicated to UFO activity in Victoria' - (then why are they collecting for an Australian wide database?)

Your resource for all UFO events in the state.

Investigate on the ground UFO activities.'

Hold it a moment, I was just taking one last look at the website before publishing this blog post, when amongst the clutter I found a mission statement which gave me details of what VUFOA is about. So, just another pointer to the site being chaotic and too 'busy' ie too much disorganised content on the home page. 

There is a sightings map and a 'Who would you like to see at a future Melbourne UFO conference?' which are useful contributions to someone browsing the site.

'VUFOA presents' tells me that on 24 March 2018 VUFOA is holding a presentation at which Peter Khoury and Bill Chalker will speak about the 'Hair of the alien,' Peter's story and subsequent investigation. Although this is an old, old story, I might get myself along to the occasion to see if there is any new scientific peer reviewed evidence being offered.

Then follows a couple of sighting reports, one from 2004 and one from 2017.

Finally, something of real interest to me as a 'non member' without access to sightings material, is the '2016 VUFOA sighting report just released.' There is a nice map showing the location from where people reported sightings and further data which opens to some statistics (although it says only up to 19 Feb 2016, yet lists 179 cases but with 47% still open, which makes little sense.) Again, the impression I get from this area of the website is that VUFOA are a bunch of amateurs trying to look professional about investigating sightings, but failing. 

Then there are three boxes titled 'The Ben Hurle show;' 'VUFOA TV' and 'Southern skies radio.' To me the only one of these worth further looking into is VUFOA TV which does have some very good material, such as James Fox's 2017 Melbourne talk; and Westall - the Witnesses speak. I get the impression that in this area of holding conferences with guest speakers, and documenting the results, someone at VUFOA is demonstrating a professional approach - congratulations to James- their events manager.

Almost at the bottom of the home page is 'Reported sightings to VUFOA' which states 'As you can imagine we have had a huge response to our sightings database...' which gives a 2015 dated list of closed sighting cases with explanations. This is exactly the type of material I like - details and analysis and a conclusion of some sorts - well done here VUFOA.

In summary

I found the VUFOA website to be extremely frustrating. Why must I register for free information?

The appearance of the site is too 'busy;' too chaotic; for me. Bits appear to have been added on in any sort of order. It needs to be reorganised better under main heading tabs. It seems very out of date in many areas of information and looks like no one is bothering to update it regularly. 

It was my choice to not register as a member, so I have been unable to assess the quality of their sightings investigations and analysis apart from the occasional pieces which are strangely listed way down on the home page.

In short, the quality of content varies from the excellent - eg the VUFOA TV section, and items relating to events; to the poor - eg the hype/attempt at marketing, both in the 'team members' and 'positions available' areas. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The website of UFO Research Queensland Incorporated

Dear readers,

I am running a couple of days late with this post, due to illness in the family. This week I am continuing my look at the websites of Australia's major UFO groups. Last time it was UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated and the UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia. Today it is the website of UFO Research Queensland Incorporated. 

UFORQ for short, states on its website that it was established in 1956 and is Australia's oldest UFO Association. There are seven tabs on the home page, namely 'About Us;' 'Sightings;' 'Meetings;' 'Resources;' 'Shop;' 'Blog' and 'Join UFORQ.'

I started off by reading the history of the group under 'About Us.' I should say histories, as there is a short section titled 'History' and a much longer section titled 'A brief history.' I think someone needs to edit this section of the website.

Here we also find out some of the motivation of the group. '...we want to be there when the great body of hidden information is finally brought into the public domain...' Unfortunately, there is no definition provided of what exactly this 'hidden information' might be (I suppose its hidden after all!) Nor is there any indication of who the group thinks might hold this knowledge. It all reeks of conspiracy theory.

My main  interest is not in the body running a website, but in the quality (or otherwise) of the data on it. So I next took a look at the 'Sightings' tab. Here you can either report a sighting or take a look at sighting reports post 1997. This is disappointing as the groups' excellent research works of the 1950's and 1960's - the heyday for unknown Australian sightings, is not available to us here.

As with the sightings area for the websites of the previous two groups, there appears little to no analysis of the sightings. No attempt to provide mundane explanations for the 95% of UFO reports which are universally recognised to be explainable. This is a great disappointment to me.

As you would expect, the 'Meetings' area provides details of the group's regular public meetings. There seems a good spread of topics covered in these talks, including some overseas speakers, who do the Australian circuit of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. 

The 'Blog' section which I hoped would be full of analytical debate and discussion, was nothing but advertising each of the monthly meetings. Again a definite disappointment.

All in all, I would rate this website as lower in standard than that of both UFOR(NSW) Incorporated and the UFOPRSA.

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. 

The current state of Australian UFOlogy

Dear readers, Today's post is being typed as I lounge by the backyard family swimming pool with a glass of Victorian Chardonnay at han...