Saturday, August 16, 2014

New book alert - Peters

Hi all,

My local library continues to surprise me by coming up with new books on UAP. The latest find was Ted Peters' "UFOs:God's Chariots? Spirituality, Ancient Aliens and Religious Yearnings in the Age of Extraterrestrials," published this year, by New Page Books, Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-318-7.

New version:

This book is a second version of the original 1977 work of the same title. The book aims to "...fill out our understanding of at least one important dimension of the UFO phenomenon. This is the religious dimension, the spiritual dimension." (p.12.) "Overall, this book is an attempt to understand how we understand Unidentified Flying Objects." (p.13.)


The main thrust of the book is to explore four models. "We understand new and unusual phenomenon in terms of prior systems of belief. The close encounter, abduction and contactee cases examined in this book seem to fall loosely into four basic belief subsystems...Interstellar Diplomat (a political model); the Research Scientist (a scientific model); the Celestial Savior ( a religious model); and the Hybridizer ( a model that combines the scientific and the religious.)" (p.37.)

Interstellar diplomat:

Encounters with aliens is viewed "...with centuries of political wars and international diplomacy contributing to our experience." (p.38.)

Research Scientist:

When mankind went to the Moon we collected rocks to analyse. We view UFO visitations as explorers.

Celestial Savior:

"...the ufonauts teach us to save ourselves rather than we do it for us." (p.38.)


Reflecting on abduction accounts which "...resemble reports from earlier in that decade of childhood sexual abuse and satanic ritual abuse." (p.38.)

Peters explores each model by presenting individual cases; and a review of relevant cultural events, such as films.

Interspersed in the models, among other things,  are looks at Roswell; MJ-12; Philip Corso; Disclosure; the Condon Committee; Erich von Daniken, and ancient astronauts.


Peters explores the ETH as a proposed hypothesis for UFOs. He points out that although there are three sides involved (civilian UFO groups; the scientific community, and scientists such as Hynek and Vallee)  " most people see it, the controversy has only two sides. The argument is between the first two positions mentioned above: either pro UFO-ETH or con UFO-ETH." (p.105.)

Peters observes "What is interesting to note is that each position in the debate accuses the other of being unscientific." (p.106.)


Peters is currently Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. In chapter ten he examines his central hypothesis . "In this book I am testing the hypothesis that even though we in our modern era have been enlightened by the discoveries of science, to the extent that we feel we have outgrown the mythological world view of the ancient religions, the same spiritual needs that found expression in those ancient religions are still with us." (p.202.)

In the book he is also exploring a second hypothesis "...which I will call the global anxiety hypothesis." (p.207.) This hypothesis suggests that the growth of interest in UFOs, reflects the correlation between flaps and international tensions. "I think that, to some extent, belief in UFOs is an expression of insecurity or anxiety and the need for salvation." (p.230.)


Peters defines a new term "astrotheology," which he states is "...that branch of theology which provides a critical analysis of the contemporary space sciences combined with an explication of classic doctrines such as creation and christology for the purposes of constructing a comprehensive and meaningful understanding of our human situation within an astonishingly immense cosmos." (p.260.)

The ETI religious crisis survey:

Peter proposed and tested the hypothesis, "Confirmed contact with extraterrestrial intelligent beings would precipitate such a crisis among traditional religions that these religions would collapse." (p.265.)

With 1300 respondents to the survey, "It became clear that the vast majority of religious believers, regardless of religion see no threat to their personal beliefs caused by potential contact..." (p.265.)


I found this a deeply thoughful work. It was hard going reading at times, however, it was always worth the effort.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A very important workshop on UAP

Hi all,


The "Groupe D'Etudes Et D'Informations Sur Les Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Identifies" (GEIPAN) held an important workshop, on 8th and 9th July 2014, in Paris, France.

GEIPAN was created by the "Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales" (CNES) to study reports of "Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non identifies" (PAN) (Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena.) The CNES is the National Centre for Space Research for France, and is responsible for proposing space policy and implementation to the French government.

The workshop:

The workshop, of scientists and invited UAP researchers, was looking at methods and tools, which could improve the collection and analysis of information on "Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena."

A number of very interesting talks were presented, including:

* "Useful research methods for aircrew and air traffic controller UAP sightings." Richard Haines.

* "Keeping Omni-comprehensive UFO databases: a cost benefit analysis." Edoardo Russo.

* "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: a strategy for research." Jacques Vallee.

* "The Hessdalen Phenomena: 30 years of research, instrumentation, results, witness stories, challenges and difficulties." Erling Strand.

* "Instrumented monitoring of aerial anomalies." Massimo Teodorani.

Attendees included Jeremiah Vaabaillon, Paris Observatory; Jacques Py, Psychology professor; Thomas Rabeyron, psychology lecturer; and representatives of the gendarmerie and the French Air Force. In addition there were a number of civilian UAP researchers, including Richard Haines; Jacques Vallee; Bertrand Meheust and Ron Westrum. Australian researcher Bill Chalker was invited, but was unable to attend.

Workshops of this calibre are extremely rare, and GEIPAN is to be congratulated for arranging it. I look forward to reading any proceedings of this workshop, if they become available.

One cannot imagine such a workshop being organised here in Australia.

To read the available GEIPAN workshop material (in French) click here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to Echuca - 1978

Hi all,

I was taking a look at my "Catalogue of interesting Australian UAP reports"  (to view the latest version click here .) I review it from time to time refreshing my memory on particular cases. In my latest re-examination, I came across details of a 1978 report which I recalled almost nothing about. Noting that one of my sources for it, was from "The Northern Star" newspaper, I asked my Sydney research associate if they would be able to visit the State Library of NSW and see if they could locate and copy the relevant article. They were able to do so, and I received a scan of page 5 of "The Northern Star" newspaper dated Thursday 8 March 1978.

UFO scares woman:

The headline was "UFO scares woman."

"Great balls of fire are the latest mysterious phenomenon apparently plaguing townships of northern Victoria. 'A blazing, hovering, cobweb of white light' which appeared in the early hours of Tuesday morning sent Mrs Nancy Gilham, 65, rushing back into her home.

'It was rather a nightmarish thing' Mrs Gilham of Glanville Road, Echuca Village said. 'It wobbled, sort of shook. You could not see a tree, just nothing but the light. I ran inside. I got a bit nervous' she said.

A 4cm depression was left in the driveway where the light appeared, Mrs Gilham said.

Mrs Gilham and her husband Bill, also 65, awoke when sheep gathered around the house and their dogs became barking. 'I got up and walked past the wash house and it was all alight' Mrs Gilham said.

'Then I saw this huge big light in the paddock. It was a burning. blazing white light. It did not have a centre but it was like as great big cobweb.'

'We watched it for about 20 minutes. It was hovering just a bit above the ground. It made my eyes ache. 'I didn't see it go away because I came back inside.'

Leitchville, a small town 50km north-west of Echuca has had mysterious reports recently of UFO sightings; weird lights and peculiar burned patches in fields.

But a Police spokesman in Echuca said yesterday there had been no reports of the lights Mr and Mrs Gilham saw, and no other recent reports of inexplicable happenings."

The Leitchville-Echuca flap:

The late Australian UFOlogist, Paul Norman, summarised some of the events of what came to be known as the Leitchville-Echuca flap, of 1977-1978 in the MUFON Journal, (page 15) number 190, December 1983.

"In Victoria an intense build up of UFO activity began in September 1977 along the Murray River, near Leitchville. This flap reached a peak in December. The UFOs were not only demonstrating their mysterious activity in the sky, they were landing in the paddocks and leaving physical traces on the ground. VUFORS investigators spent a total of 30 days within a three month period interviewing witnesses and compiling reports, some of which are still to be published.

One of the more spectacular sightings began on the  night of December 13, witnessed by 12 witnesses who climbed to the top of a milking shed to watch the display. A large UFO was seen by Mr and Mrs Tom Church at a low altitude descending at about the landing speed of an aircraft.

After it hovered, three objects were seen flying from the main object within three minutes. One of the smaller UFOs flew 25 miles within two minutes before it took up its position between the witness and Pyramid Hill. Within five minutes two other objects flew from the parent object and took up position between the large UFO and Pyramid Hill.

During the course of four hours, the witnesses saw what they thought were meteorites falling to the ground. More of the 'meteorites' fell within the 25 mile zone as if they were drawn into the zone by a magnetic force.

About one in every three 'meteorites' curved up before burning out. They fell about the rate of 15 per hour. After four hours all witnesses were asleep. An interesting case for further follow-up hypnosis analysis."

Catalogue cases:

My 2005 "A catalogue of Australian Physical Trace Cases" (click here) lists the following cases

Aug 1977 Leitchville 13m diameter circle.
30 Sep 1977 Leitchville Prefect circle.
21 Oct 1977 Cohuna 4, 3-3.6m rings.
4 Dec 1977 Leitchville 8m diameter circle.
Early Dec 1977 Bamawm Central 2.4m diameter ring.
19 Feb 1978 Newsted 4, 3-6.5m diameter ring.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Australian "Cold case" reviews - a listing

Hi all,

As part of my on-going work cataloguing interesting Australian UAP cases (for the current version of my catalogue click here ) I have undertaken a number of "cold case" reviews. These provide an in-depth re-examination of all the information I have been able to gather on each case.

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

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

10 Jan 1954. Morgan, SA. Aircraft event.

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

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

31 Aug 1954. Goulburn, New South Wales.

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

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

29 Feb 1964. Plympton, SA. Entity case.

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

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

24 May 1965. Eton Ridge close encounter and trace.

28 May 1965. Bougainville Reef. Aircraft photo event.

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

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

16 Nov 1967. Yerecoin, WA. Close encounter.

29 Apr 1968. Heyfield, Vic. Close encounter.

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

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

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

Nov 1970. Binolong Bay, Tasmania. Missile?

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

16 September 1974, St Helens, Tasmania car effects

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Condensation trails passing in the moonlit night

Hi all,

Two of my recent blog post interests crossed over recently. Firstly, readers will be aware of my series of posts, about the work of colleague Paul Dean and I about the 25 October 1973 North West Cape incident. Secondly, I have been examining digital copies of the "Canberra Times" newspaper, held by the National Library of Australia (available up till 1992.)

Mystery aircraft:

Two civilian airline pilots reported seeing a mystery "object" leaving a condensation trail in the moonlit night sky, near Derby, Western Australia in the early hours of Monday 29 November 1982.

"The pilot of the Qantas aircraft, Captain Barry Roberts, told company officials yesterday that he had been flying at about 10,750 metres, when in the bright moonlight he noticed a newly formed condensation trail running from north-west to south-east. His aircraft was then over approximately the entrance to King Sound." ("Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.) This position put the aircraft at about 150 kilometres north-west of Derby.

Captain Roberts contacted Perth ATC who advised there was no other civilian aircraft in the area. The vapour trail was almost directly across the flight path of the Qantas jet which was flight QF2 from London, via Singapore to Sydney. The Qantas pilot estimated that the condensation trail was at a height of 11,400 metres.

"A few minutes later, according to a Department of Aviation spokesperson, the Singapore Airlines pilotadvised Perth that he too could see the condensation trail at about 12,300 metres but that the aircraft making it was not showing any running lights. The SIA pilot reported that the aircraft was heading north-east across air traffic route Amber 76. The Singapore Airlines aircraft was then 135 kilometres north-west of Derby." ("Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.)


The Department of Civil Aviation stated that apart from the Qantas and Singapore Airlines flights there were no known scheduled civilian aircraft in the area. "Department of Aviation officials were advised yesterday by defence authorities that none of their aircraft was in the Derby area at the time of the incident." ("Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.)

There was an ANZUS sponsored defence exercise in the area, called Sandgroper 82. However, all related air activity had ceased well before the Qantas and Singapore Airlines pilots reported the condensation trail.

Checks with the US Embassy in Australia revealed that a USAF "Starlifter" aircraft had passed through the airspace concerned. It had been on a flight to Alice Springs. However, it had passed through some 45 minutes before the two commercial aircraft. It was also flying the Amber 76 route.

The closest ATC or air defence radars were at Darwin and Perth, so there was no radar coverage to show what the cause of the condensation trail was.

It was reported that "A team of RAAF investigators was asked yesterday to interview the airline pilots over their reports..." ("Canberra Times" 1 Dec 1982, p.9.) It was also reported that "A senior specialist of the Bureau of Meteorology will make an urgent study of upper atmospheric winds...The study is part of an intensive investigation by the Department of Defence." ("Canberra Times" 3 Dec 1982, p.7.)

Winds at the height of the condensation trail were estimated as 110km/hr which would have quickly dissipated a fresh condensation trail.


What was the object which had created the observed condensation trail? Speculation fell into three categories.

1. "...the possibility being actively investigated now are that it was a smuggling operation, though these tend to take place at low altitude..." ("Canberra Times" 3 Dec 1982, p.7.)

2. "...or a Soviet electronic surveillance machine returning from an Indian Ocean sortie." ("Canberra Times" 3 Dec 1982, p.7.)

"The aircraft could have been a Soviet reconnaissance aircraft- possibly a Tupolev -TU126...from its base at Da Nang..." ("Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.)

"The aircraft could have flown over the Australian-US Communications station at North-West Cape..." ("Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.)

3. " It is now suspected that the aircraft...was a privately owned jet..." ("Canberra Times 7 Dec 1982, p.10.)

However, the bottom line on identity was "RAAF investigators have not yet been able to establish the identity of an aircraft which passed close to two airliners near Derby, Western Australia on Monday morning last week." ("Canberra Times" 7 Dec 1982, p.10.)


The fact that the RAAF were actively investigating the encounter, suggests to me that the most likely cause of the sighting of the unlit aircraft, was indeed a Soviet electronic surveillance aircraft. The fact that the four Canberra Times articles on the sighting were all written by Frank Cranston, Defence and Aviation correspondent only adds to my deductions.

Given the nature of the operations at the time at North-West Cape, it would be logical to suggest that the Soviets would wish to keep an eye/ear on the station.

I searched the Internet for any further information on this incident, but failed to find any.


1. "Airline pilots report mystery aircraft over WA" "Canberra Times" 30 Nov 1982, p.3.
2. "Mystery aircraft not yet identified." "Canberra Times" 1 Dec 1982, p.9.
3. "Weather expert called in to study mystery air trails." "Canberra Times" 3 Dec 1982, p.7.
4. "Aircraft puzzle not solved." "Canberra Times" 7 Dec 1982, p.10.

Other items of interest:

1. On National Archives of Australia file series E1327, control symbol 5/3/Air Part 1, at folio 5 appears a report of sightings of unknown aircraft from the light house keeper at Cape Leveque, Western Australia. Keeper Weston, in December 1976 claimed that he had been "...asked by RAAF Darwin to keep a look out for Russian jets." The RAAF stated "...the presence of Russian aircraft is thought unlikely..."

2. The "Canberra Times" dated 6 January 1977, page 1, reported that a Russian research ship had been seen by RAAF Orion aircraft, off Scott Reef, Western Australia. It had apparently been refused permission to put into any Australian port. The newspaper article said that the Russian embassy had ordered the ship to leave Australian territorial waters.

The exclusion from Australian ports seems odd, unless perhaps the vessel was actually a Russian electronic surveillance ship.

Friday, July 18, 2014

North West Cape - follow-up questions

Hi all,

Subsequent to my last post on the 25 October 1973, North West Cape incident (click here) I posed a number of questions to Bill Lynn (Jnr.) and Kate (daughter of Bill Lynn Snr.) They have both kindly responded to  these questions. I set out the questions, and their responses, below. Please bear in  in mind, that at the time of the incident, Bill (Jnr.) was just 5 years of age, and Kate was 14 1/2 years of age. For those readers new to this topic, you might care to click here and read about what was, in 1973, a US Navy base on Australian soil.

Q1. Did your dad ever mention who he reported his sighting to?

Bill. "My reasonably firm understanding was that because he worked for the US Navy, he had to complete the official report to his superiors within the US Navy. The US Navy base was separate to the town and very much run by the US. There was very much an air of confidentiality of everything the Americans were doing in Exmouth, and dad obviously worked for them. Even as his son, there were not many times I went onto the base (during my 15 or so years living there,) and even then had to have special permission to enter onto the base. Over the years there has been a lot of speculation about what the US were doing in Exmouth. There were places that even my dad was restricted to enter (even in his position.) That is certainly one reason I was surprised to hear my dad's report had made it into the open hands of Australians/civilians."

Kate. "Dad reported this to the Security Commander on the base."

Q2. Did he ever say whether or not he was interviewed by anyone about his sighting?

Bill. "I am not sure, but cannot recall dad mentioning any interviews. In terms of any material matter he dealt with (particularly in relation to security or any other major incident) he had to complete a formal report and submit it. The US had very strict protocols about these type of things."

Kate. "No, he didn't say he was interviewed as such, but he was asked to fill in an official report, after he reported it in writing (via letter.) From memory, I think he was discouraged to report it, but he insisted."

Q3. Do you know how he came to know about the other witness?

Bill. "I don't know. The other person was obviously very senior, and from the ranks within the US. From recollection I always seem to remember dad saying he was lucky to have someone else witness the event. He always said this provided a much greater level of credibility to his sighting.  I was always of the impression dad found out after the fact (of formally reporting the incident) - but stand to be corrected. I personally cannot remember the person or name Moyer."

Kate. "Not sure how he came to know about the other witness - but the news was all over town. Everyone was talking about the 2 sightings. It was general knowledge."

Q4. Did he mention whether or not he was asked/told to keep his sighting quiet?
Bill. "I don't know, but do not believe so. I was always of the impression that he was told it would be investigated but nothing more ever came of it."

Kate. "Not sure if he was asked to keep quiet, but he was definitely discouraged from reporting it. (As I said- this is my memory of it.)"

Q5. Did he make any statements about what he thought the object was?

Bill. "To me he always stated it was a UFO (of some sort,) and certainly believed in UFOs. However, I wouldn't be surprised if he thought it may have been something the Americans were up to, based on some of the facts under point (1)."

Kate. "Not really, but he was convinced that it was a genuine UFO. Not sure if he thought it was some kind of spy craft, or an extra-terrestrial."

Q6. Did he ever see anything else unusual during the rest of his time at the base?

Bill. "I don't believe so, and certainly nothing else material was mentioned to me."

Kate. He never saw any other UFOs or similar during the time he lived at Exmouth, North West Cape, or on the base, to my knowledge."


I would like to thank both Kate and Bill for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"The UFO that remains very, very 'U'"

Hi all,

I have been browsing the TROVE digitised newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. Most of the digitised newspapers have been digitised only up until the year 1954. However, the "Canberra Times" newspaper, is available through till 1992. I came across the following intriguing article on page 1 of the Tuesday 22 June 1982 issue. I have added some links for readers to obtain further information about key data in the article.

"The UFO that remains very, very 'U'"

By Frank Cranston, Defence and Aviation correspondent.

"On the morning of Friday, June 4, about 300 nautical miles south of Cocos Island,(click here)  a small task force of Soviet military and civilian ships collected an object which had come from space.

The re-entry of the object and its recovery by the Russians was closely observed by a Lockheed P3C Orion patrol aircraft (click here) of the Royal Australian Air Force.

During several sweeps low over the area the cameras and other sensors aboard the Orion captured a series of pictures, apparently in minute detail, of exactly what it was the Soviets deployed their ships to gather.

A specially equipped United States Air Force Boeing 707 electronic intelligence aircraft ( click here) was also in the vicinity and may have taken its own photographs of the recovery operation.

Two days later, the RAAF issued pictures of the Soviet ships but no information about what they recovered.

Beyond the release of the pictures, no further information has been made available. Not only have the authorities since refused to release pictures of the space vehicle and its recovery but refused even to comment on its nature and why it might have been programmed (if it was) to splash down so close to a relatively well-trafficked area.

Not only the Australian authorities ("at the highest level") are refusing information on the Soviet vehicle but also the US.

At the weekend the US Secretary of State, Mr Haig, (click here) disclosed that, in the period leading up to and during the "splashdown" the Soviets were testing an anti-satellite weapon or "killer" satellite.(Click here.)

Defence officials have refused to speculate on whether this could have been the vehicle recovered in the Indian Ocean.

A Soviet space authority denied last week that the vehicle was connected with the Salyut program (click here) or that it was part of the Soviet space shuttle. (Click here.)

There has never been any reticence on the part of Western or Soviet authorities to discuss civil satellites. A good example of this was the much-publicised re-entry of Skylab..."

The "U" is identified:

With the hindsight of time, and use of the Internet, it was easy for me to determine just what the RAAF photographed in June 1982. It was no extra-terrestrial spacecraft, but a Soviet one. It turns out that the mysterious object which came from space was a Soviet unpiloted orbital rocket plane. For further details please take a look at (click here.) For some fascinating intelligence aspects of this and the Soviet space shuttle program, click here.