Monday, September 22, 2014

"This is one of the most remarkable cases of a flying saucer..." Adelaide - 1962

Hi all,

As readers of this blog will be aware, I always try and locate original source material on an incident, where ever possible.

One case which has appeared in numerous magazines and on the Internet, is the October 1962 report from a Mrs Sylvester of Adelaide, South Australia. The details which I recorded in one of my Australian case catalogues, is as follows:

28 Oct 1962  Salisbury  SA  CE3  1930hrs  40mins Sylvester   (34:56, 138: 36)
A high school teacher and her three children were travelling back to Adelaide, by car, along a highway. They were turning from a southerly direction to an easterly one, facing the Adelaide hills. On the lower level of the hills, at an angular elevation of 45 degrees, they reported seeing an orange coloured, oval shaped object. Her 9 year old son first saw it. “It appeared to have landed on the earth on a level piece of ground.” It sat on three “legs.” It had round windows and the son reported seeing people inside it. He said one of them came down steps to the ground. After a while the object began to move, to the north at incredible speed.

Australian Saucer record:

While recently in the State Library of South Australia, I made time to locate a copy of the "Australian Saucer Record" Volume 9 Number 1, dated March 1963, pp13-14. In this issue I found the best documentation yet, on this incident. I'd like to share it here for other researchers to be aware of it.

"A Flying Saucer lands near Adelaide.

This is one of the most remarkable cases of a flying saucer observed so close and having been seen 'landed' so near to a city, at least in Australia. However, the integrity of the witnesses, particularly the mother of the children, leaves us in no doubt at the reliability of the evidence, and the actual incident being a very factual one.

Mrs Ellen D Sylvester, the mother, is a high school teacher, and indeed her ability to give evidence places her in the class of a first class type of witness. The following account is an abbreviated one taken from the actual tape recording of the interview, made by our special investigator Colin Norris, whose work in the field over the past twelve months has been one which calls for commendation which we like to register here.

Mrs Sylvester is a resident of one of the close suburbs of Adelaide and the date on which this occurred was October 28th 1962, a memorable date for sightings as this was the evening of the sighting which caused a stir to the police when an object was observed at Pine Point, across the gulf a few hundred miles distance away from the observation and we consider it is very possible it was one and the same craft.

The time was 7.30pm and the sighting was made as Mrs Sylvester and her family of three children were travelling back to Adelaide along a highway. They were turning from a southerly direction to an easterly one which brought them into a position which faced the hills surrounding Adelaide.

It was on the lower level of these hills that the object was first observed. The whole actual observation lasted about 40 minutes and therefore was one which could hardly be classified as an optical illusion or an hallucination. The elevation was about 45 degrees. The object was oval and orange in  colour to the outline of the sky and Sun setting reflections.

A son 9 years old first drew his mother's attention to the object and it was very clear to all the party. It appeared to be landed on the earth on a level piece of land fully observable to the party. It had three legs upon which it stood. It had windows round in shape and the lad remarked that he could see some people in it. Then one of the occupants got out and came down some steps to the ground and appeared to be doing something to one of the landing legs.

Mrs Sylvester says she thought that he seemed to have some trouble in making it retract which finally he overcame. Evidently some adjustment had to be made to it  as it was on this portion of the craft he worked all the time he was being observed.

The distance from the observers was, Mrs Sylvester said, a few miles away. She said had she been closer she would have gone up to the object. She had no fear, merely amazed wonderment. The person from the craft was about six feet tall she thought, as best as she could determine from the distance, as his head reached the outer fringe of the craft in height.

He wore a helmet more like a description to a gas mask of the war type so Mrs Sylverster said, and a drawing is given below as done by the son.

The craft had a light around the centre rim. Weather conditions were admirable fine and very clear.

After the mechanic had attended to the landing gear he returned to the craft and it began to move at first slowly away, then terribly fast and disappeared incredibly swiftly away to a northerly direction.

Mrs Sylvester stated herself that she could not understand why other people had not reported it as there must have been people closer to it than they, as well as traffic was passing along the two main highways close at hand. It seems she said that because they were not facing the actual object but travelling north and south with the object in the east, may have been an explanation in that to see it they would have had to take their eyes off the road and look directly away from their driving direction. Also the speed travelled on these highways would not give a good point of view unless the attention was drawn to it as their's was by turning and facing directly east.

Asked is she believed in such things and if she considered that a craft could have been from space she answered positively in the affirmative and added that it could not have been an earthly craft  its speed was too terrific. Also that she had never seen any known craft of this size and description as belonging to earth.

She ridiculed the idea of anyone classifying the man from the craft as a little 'green man' saying in her opinion such belongs to the fantasy world of the science fiction writers and the press. It was here that she was able to tell us the height by comparing the man's height with that of the craft. She was positive that it was not any known object normal to earth.

A press man was present at the interview and appeared to be very impressed by the evidence given.
Upon questioning as to the headgear of the man she added that there were two lights on either side of his helmet and there was a  form of breathing apparatus coming from the helmet down to his chest. This made it impossible for them to determine any facial features of the man, or the color of his skin, as he was clothed in a uniform which gave no clues to this."

My comment:

Having now obtained the above, detailed description, a large number of questions come to my mind. Not least is Mrs Sylvester's estimate that the object was "a few miles away." How would it be possible to see the fine details she reported, at such a distance? The fact that the event occurred in 1962 prevents us from any further analysis. Best perhaps, to simply record the above details and move on to other things.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just a dot in the sky, but what was it at 50,000 feet?

Hi all,

Recent blog readers  may recall my 29 July 2014 post titled "Condensation trails passing in the moonlit sky." This told the story of two commercial flights, which had reported seeing a mystery object leaving a condensation trail, above their flights, in the early hours of Monday 29 November 1982, near Derby, Western Australia. The estimated height of the object was some 37,500 feet. The object was never identified.

State Library search:

On a recent visit to Melbourne, I paid a quick visit to the State Library of Victoria, and browsed through their copies of "The Australian UFO Bulletin." I located  a parallel case from 1980, except this time, the incident occurred in daylight. The source of the Bulletin's story, was Russell Boundy of UFO Research (Far North Queensland) and excellent researcher.

At about 1300hrs EST on 7 August 1980, a TAA jet aircraft, flight 534, left Cairns, Queensland, on a flight to Darwin, via Gove. It was flying domestic route AVOCADO.

When it was about 120 miles north-west of Carins, and at 30,000 feet, Captain Willinczyck reported to a Cairns Flight Services Officer, that he had sighted an unknown object above his own aircraft.

At an estimated height of 50,000 feet, it was headed north-west, the same direction as the TAA aircraft. It was visible for five minutes until it was lost to view in the distance. It was seen as a dark dot with a normal looking condensation trail. The sky was totally clear.

Checks made:

A check revealed that there were no other civilian, or Australian military aircraft in the area at that time. Even the US embassy was checked for US aircraft, but with negative results.

Russell spoke with the Cairns FSO, who told Russell that the pilot seemed disinterested in speaking further on his observation. Russell did write a letter, to the pilot, with a series of questions. However, the pilot never responded.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

More on the little known 1980 Smithsonian Institution UAP symposium

Hi all,

In reviewing a number of scientific symposia on UAP, I mentioned the little known 1980 Smithsonian Institution event. My Sydney research associate provided me with two sources of further information about the event.

Jerome Clark;

The first source is Clark, J. 1989. "The UFO Encyclopaedia." (2nd. ed.) Omnigraphics. Detroit. ISBN 0-7808-0097-4, pp 854-855. One of my reasons for reviewing the several symposia that I have posted about, was to see if our knowledge of the subject has advanced since they were held. I will, therefore, reproduce Clark's piece in full.

"Smithsonian UFO debate.

On September 6 1980, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, UFO proponents and debunkers squared off for a day-long debate on the merits of the case for UFOs - a debate for which debunkers had long lobbied, convinced that it would show up the weaknesses of the ufologists' case.

Proponents were Bruce Maccabee, an optical physicist employed by the US Navy; J Allen Hynek, Northwestern University astronomer and former Project Blue Book consultant, and Allan Hendry, chief investigator for the Center for UFO Studies (Now the J Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies).

The debunkers were Philip J Klass, aviation journalist and head of the UFO subcommittee of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal; James E Oberg, aerospace engineer and science writer, and Robert Sheaffer, writer and Skeptical Inquirer columnist. The debate was moderated by Frederick C Durant.

During morning and afternoon sessions advocates and antagonists repeated arguments familiar to those who had maintained more than a passing interest in the subject. The former cited the persistence of the UFO phenomenon and the puzzling nature of the best reports. The latter charged that there is "no scientifically credible evidence" (Klass) and that UFOs "seem to behave like fairies and ghosts" (Sheaffer). Some of the debate concerned the relevance of polygraph tests to a UFO investigation, with Hendry citing studies indicating their unreliability and Klass asserting "I'm prepared to take a polygraph test on everything." Hynke said, "Reading a good UFO report is like reading Agatha Christie - except there is no last page to turn to."

Oberg, taking note of tabloid tales of aliens on the moon not ordinarily mentioned in serious arguments for the existence of UFOs, declared ufology a "failed science." (Rohrer, 1980.)

The most heated exchange occurred between Klass and Hendry. Klass accused Hendry of "withholding data" which would have led to a prosaic explanation for a case Hendry had investigated the year before, an incident in which Marshall County, Minnesota, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson reportedly saw a UFO shooting down a deserted country highway toward his patrol car. Johnson suddenly passed out. When he awoke he discovered his vehicle had been damaged and his eyes injured. (Hendry, 1979.)

"I would agree there are only two possible explanations to this case," Klass said. "It could not have been Venus. It could not have been a weather balloon. It could not have been an hallucination. Either it was a spaceship, or Deputy Val Johnson did it himself because he likes to play practical jokes, especially in the late evening when he gets a little bored, as I learned -Hendry did not - by talking to some of the people who have worked with him and know him very well. I also discovered that he once talked about setting up a UFO patrol to go out looking for UFOs. Yet, according to Hendry, this was a deputy who...prior to his sighting 'was rather indifferent to the UFO subject'..."

"I would wish that Allan Hendry...had taken the final step and said, 'Val Johnson, will you take a polygraph - a lie detector test given by a very experienced examiner? Let's see what the results are.'"

Hendry responded, "We've already heard from Philip Klass today a perfectly excellent illustration of why it would be difficult to ever convince the skeptics based on the facts." Hendry said that Klass' penchant for digging up irrelevant episodes in UFO witnesses' past and using them as evidence that their testimony should be rejected amounted to "character assassination." Hendry cited another case, the alleged abduction of Travis Walton (...) in which polygraph tests had come to conflicting conclusions, as had two polygraph experts who later reviewed the charts. "Thus," he said "you begin to understand why I did not feel that the final step in an examination of Deputy Val Johnson necessarily rests on a polygraph examination."

He added, sarcastically, "Actually, I'm inclined to agree with Klass, I think that Val Johnson is such a practical joker that he deliberately injured his eyes - as judged by two doctors - and he deliberately entered a phony state of shock for the benefit of the ambulance driver who removed him from the scene of the accident." (Clark, 1981.) Hendry remarked that Johnson's casual talk of a "UFO patrol" reflected a belief, widely held in rural America at the time, that there was a link between UFOs and seemingly mysterious cattle deaths..."

As an effort to settle the UFO controversy, the Smithsonian debate was a good public spectacle, settling nothing and changing nobody's  mind. No one suggested a sequel."


Clark, Jerome. "Phil Klass versus the 'UFO Promoters." Fate 34, 2. (February 1981): 56-57.

Hendry, Allan. "Minnesota CEII: The Val Johnson story." International UFO Reporter Pt 1. 4,3 (September/October 1979); 4-9. Pt II 4,5 (November 1979):4-10.

Rohrer, Stuart. "Tempest in a saucer." Washington Post. (September, 8, 1980).

MUFON Journal:

The second source provided to me by my Sydney research associate, was found in the MUFON Journal number 152, of October 1980 pp.3-4. In an article titled "Smithsonian UFO Symposium" author Richard Hall provided an overview of the event.

Hall's piece included the facts that

* "A large crowd (400-500) filled the Baird Auditorium of the National History Museum."

* The moderator was Frederick C Durant III.

* Dr Hynek probably summed it up best in a comment at the University of Maryland the night before. "I don't know of a single scientific problem that was ever solved by debate, only by hard work." He added, however, that a debate in such a prestigious forum could help to stir up the interest that would allow the hard work to be done."

* "Klass acknowledged that UFOs could not be anyone's secret weapons, but also said they could not be spaceships since the US radar network is all-encompassing and they would not go unidentified. Nor could the US government keep a secret for over 30 years."

* "Sheaffer then proceeded to give the most irrelevant talk of the day, linking ufologists with people who study fairies, witchcraft, astrology and a long list of other borderline sciences or pseudo sciences."

* "Oberg...believes that UFO reports do deserve scientific attention of reasons of serendipity, if nothing else, and that if they are something real, they would clearly be of great import."

Hall summarised "The major impression of this observer was that the level of dialogue has changed little in 30 years, that minds are made up, and that too much time is wasted arguing about 'pop ufology' rather than about the hard core cases...Due to the visible public interest, the Smithsonian is considering publishing the  proceedings."

Monday, September 15, 2014

The 1980 Smithsonian UAP symposium

Hi all,

This is the last in a current series of posts about scientific meetings devoted to the topic of UAP. I have been able to find out very little about this particular symposium, other than the facts below.

The Smithsonian Institute sponsored a half day UAP symposium on 6 September 1980, in Washington, DC, USA.

Six speakers presented papers. These were:

* J Allen Hynek (click here.)
* Allan Hendry (click here.)
* Bruce Maccabee (click here.)
* Phillip J Klass (click here.)
* James E Oberg (click here.)
* Robert Sheaffer - his paper is available online (click here.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2013 symposium on official and scientific investigations of UAP and UFOs

Hi all,

Continuing my series on scientific symposia, which have been conducted over the years.

On 29 and 30 June 2013, a UAP symposium was held at Greenboro, North Carolina, USA.

It was organised by Kent Senter. Following a 1985 sighting, he founded the North Carolina chapter of MUFON. After being diagnosed with incurable cancer he decided to organise and host this symposium.

Speakers were:

* Dr Richard Haines - "UAP and Flight Safety: There is a Relationship." (Click here.)

* Charles Halt - "Incident at RAF Bentwaters." (Click here.)

* Leslie Kean - "Government and UFOs." (Click here.)

*Nancy Talbot - "The science of crop circles." (Click here.)

* Alexander Wendt - "Militant agnosticism and the UFO taboo." (Click here.)

* Ron Westrum - "Hidden events." (Click here.)

* Wilfried De Brouwer - "UAP wave over Belgium." (Click here.)

* Jose Lay - "The official UAP agency in Chile." (Click here.)

* Xavier Passot - "GEIPAN: The official French bureau for UFO investigations." (Click here.)

*Timothy Good - "Need to know: UFOs the military and intelligence." (Click here.)

For further information please click here and here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A 1997 scientific UAP review panel

Hi all,

I have been recently posting about scientific groups who have reviewed UAP over the years. Today's post concerns a 1997 scientific panel review, undertaken in the USA. I draw my information from "The UFO Enigma" by Peter A Sturrock; Warner Books, New York, 1999. (Click here.)

How did the panel come about?

" December 1996, Mr Laurance Rockefeller (click here), a distinguished and influential citizen and chairman of the LSR fund, invited me to review with him our understanding of the problem posed by UFO reports. We agreed that the problem was in a very unsatisfactory state of ignorance and confusion. I expressed the opinion that the problem will be resolved only by extensive and open professional scientific investigation, and that an essential prerequisite for such research is that more scientists acquire an interest in this topic." (p.61.)

"...therefore conceived of a meeting at which prominent investigators of UFO reports would meet with a panel of eight or nine scientists with wide-ranging interests and expertise." (p.61.)

Investigator group:

* Dr Richard Haines (USA) (Click here.)
* Dr Illobrand von Ludwiger (Germany) (Click here.)
* Dr Mark Rodeghier (USA) (Click here.)
* John F Schuessler (USA) (Click here.)
* Dr Erling Strand (Norway) (Click here.)
* Dr Michael Swords (USA) (Click here.)
* Dr Jacques Vallee (USA) (Click here.)
* Jean-Jacques Velasco (France) (Click here.)

The review panel:

* Dr Von Eshleman, Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. ·Radiowave propagation and radar.) (Click here.)
* Dr Thomas Holzer. (Space sciences.)
* Dr J R Jokipii, Regents Professor of Planetary Sciences and Astronomy at the University of Arizona. (Geophysical phenomena.) (Click here.)
* Dr Charles R. Tolbert. (Observational astronomy.) (Click here.)
* Dr Francois Louange. (Photographic analysis - France.) (Click here.)
*Dr H J Melosh, Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Arizona. (Geologist.) (Click here.)
* Dr James J Papike, Head of the Institute of Meteoritics. (Upper atmospheric phenomena.) (Click here.)
* Dr Guenther Reitz. German Aerospace Center. (Radiation injuries.) (Click here.)
*Dr Bernard Veyret. Bioelectromagnetics Laboratory at the University of Bordeaux, France. (Plant biology.) (Click here.)


David Pritchard (click here) and Harold Puthoff (click here) served as moderators.


The venue selected was the Pocantico conference centre at Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, New York."  The group convened on 29 September 1997, for three days.

Presentations by investigators:

* Dr Richard Haines - Photographic evidence.
* Dr Jacques Vallee - Luminosity estimates.
*Jean-Jacques Velasco - radar evidence.
* Dr Erling Strand - The Hessdalen Project.
* Dr Mark Rodeghier - Vehicle interference.
* Dr Richard Haines - Aircraft equipment malfunctioning.
* Dr Michael Swords - Apparent gravitational and.or inertial effects.
* Jean-Jacques Velasco - Injuries to vegetation.
* John F Schuessler - Physiological effects on witnesses.
* Jacques Vallee - Analysis of debris.

Panel's response:

Pages 120-122 present the "Panel's conclusions and recommendations." Among these were:

"It was clear that at least a few reported incidents might have involved rare but significant phenomena such as electrical activity high above thunderstorms ( e.g. sprites) or rare cases of radar ducting." (p.121.)

"On the other hand, the review panel was no convinced that any of the evidence involved currently unknown physical processes or pointed to the involvement of an extraterrestrial intelligence." (p.121.)

"It may therefore be valuable to carefully evaluate UFO reporters to extract information about unusual phenomena currently unknown to science." (p.121.)

"It appears that most current UFO investigations are carried out at a level of rigour that is not consistent with prevailing standards of scientific research." (p.121.)

"Studies should concentrate on cases which include as much independent physical evidence as possible and strong witness testimony." (p.122.)

"Some form of formal regular contact between the UFO community and physical scientists could be productive." (p.122.)

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science - UAP symposium 1971

Hi all,


Having recently posted about the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics UAP study committee (click here) (1967-1970); and the American  Association for the Advancement of Science 1969 UAP symposium (click here), this post takes us closer to my home, in Adelaide, South Australia. This is because in 1971, the South Australian Division of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) (click here), held a one day symposium, in Adelaide, on 30 October 1971. I doubt if many blog readers have ever heard of this symposium, so I thought it would be useful to write a little about it.

Invitation to RAAF:

Interestingly, we can gain insight into the aims of the symposium from correspondence to be found on National Archives of Australia file series A703, control symbol 554/1/30 Part 2, the RAAF's UAP policy file.

On 16 April 1971 Dr B H Horton, the symposium convenor, wrote to the Australian government's Department of Air. This body was the official Australian government agency charged with the responsibility for UFO research. The letter read:

"The committee of the South Australian Division of ANZAAS is convening a one day symposium on the topic of "The Unidentified Flying Object Problem." It is our feeling that there is a certain amount of unhealthy speculation on this subject which tends towards belief in obstruction by scientific and officials and an almost religious attitude.

Our aim is to look at the field and include the hypothesis that the phenomena are related to extraterrestrial life forms and examine this from a number of scientific viewpoints.

As an introduction a representative of a UFO organisation will speak. We then hope that a spokesman for the Department of Air would explain the processing of reports. This approach would repute, in the eyes of the public, the idea of deliberate suppression by officials of such reports.

I would be grateful if you could arrange for a member of your Department to address our symposium on this topic. The period of the talk would be 25 minutes with the option of joining a panel to discuss audience questions at the end of the day. The date of the symposium is 30th October 971. I am enclosing a first draft of a program for the symposium for your information.

Trusting you can assist us in this venture."

Radio station switchboard jammed:

The attachment to this letter reveals the thinking behind the symposium, and its origin.

"During a recent discussion program with listeners' participation on a commercial radio station in Adelaide, the station switchboard was jammed one minute after opening and remained so for the one hour duration of the program.

The topic discussed, which produced such interest, was Unidentified Flying Objects. The listeners' contributions ranged from a personal report of sightings to statements of disbelief. Explanations of the sightings by a physicist on the program in terms of physical phenomena was more educated guesses than sound science. The basic reason for this is that few persons with scientific knowledge are willing to consider the problem seriously. Thus when the topic is discussed with the public, which is definitely interested, scientists appear unknowing and disinterested.

The Committee of the South Australian Division of ANZAAS felt that such an image does very little for the scientific community and, a one day symposium titled "The Unidentified Flying Object problem," to be held in Adelaide on October 30th 1971.

Format of symposium:

The form planned for the symposium is as follows"

(a) A statement of reported sightings by a senior member of the "Flying Saucer Research Group."

(b) A coverage of the treatment of such reports by official bodies given by a responsible member of such an organisation.

(c) A reasonably detailed discussion of the various physical phenomena usually described loosely by non specialists in a number of published explanations.

(d) In view of a largely held belief UFOs are extraterrestrial observers examination of this hypothesis should be considered. The first topic suggested is a study of compatibility of the form of sightings with known satellite observation techniques and foreseeable developments in this field.

(e) If UFOs are extraterrestrial, where is their place of origin? What are the chances of there being other planetary systems in the galaxy. e.g. are there theories relating to the angular momentum of stars and the possible existence of planets. What ranges of radiation fields, temperature conditions, atmospheres, would be expected.

(f) If other planetary systems exist, what conditions would support molecular structures of the complexity necessary for a sentient being capable of constructing surveillance vehicles. What atoms have properties capable of forming complex molecules. Are there examples of such structures. What is the probable form of an extraterrestrial being? How long would it take too develop? Is there a limit to the period that such a species would remain viable.

(g) Given hypothetical distribution of possible planetary systems in the galaxy, and hypothetical development and stable periods for a species what are the chances of space-time coincidence of two space capable technologies with foreseeable and conceptually possible transport systems.

(h) A final paper by a recognised scientist who regards the whole problem as real and worthy of serious attention by the scientific community in view of the observational material available and the often undermanned investigation of this material.

(i) A period in which some or all of the speakers form a panel to comment on points brought out in audience participation discussion."

RAAF response:

Digital page 39 of the file, is a minute from Group Captain R S Royston, Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) to the Director of Public relations, dated 11 May 1971.

"1. Reference folio 43. It is suggested that you might reply advising the committee of the South Australian Division of ANZAAS that it would not be possible for a member of this Department to attend the symposium on 30 Oct 71 to discuss "The Unidentified Flying Object Problem."

2. It is suggested you might forward Dr Horton a copy of the summary of Unidentified Sightings that you hold in your directorate."

On this minute there are hand written notes, dated 12 May 1971 from the Director Public relations to Assistant Secretary, Air.

"DAFI has recommended that no member be made available to attend the above mentioned symposium. But I do not know whether this will be the departmental attitude. The attached address by Mr R G Roberts will be sent as a useful contribution. The ANZAAS body is a reputable one."

On 26 May 1971 A Sec A wrote to DAFI:

"I agree that a member of this Department should not attend this symposium. I also consider that the suggestion by S Air SS as a footnote to folio 44, that a description of our method of processing reports be provided in lieu of a speaker should be adopted. We might also include reference to our interest in Unidentified Flying Objects and the limits of this interest. A reference to the Condon Report would also be appropriate."

On the 17 Jun 1971, the Secretary, Department of Air, responded to Dr Horton:

"It is regretted that it will not be possible for a member of the Department of Air to attend the symposium on the topic of "The Unidentified Flying Objects Problem" to be held on 30th October 1971. It is hopped however, that the following information may be useful to your society during discussions.

There is no evidence that UFOs have landed in Australia, or, in fact, anywhere on earth. Naturally, however the Department of Air is concerned with any possible threat to Australian security and in that context all reported sightings of UFOs are investigated by RAAF officers. When a sighting is reported to the RAAF, an officer from the nearest RAAF unit interviews the person making the report. The interviewing officer records all pertinent details on a pro forma which is subsequently forwarded to the department of Air where it is processed and summarised. Summaries are held by the Director of Public relations who will provide them to members of the public on request. The summary of sightings is at present being brought up to date and a copy will be forwarded to you within a few weeks.

You may or may not be aware that the United States until late 1969 had a team of scientists investigating the possible presence of UFOs in the American region. Under the direction of Dr Edward Condon, the University of Colorado carried out an exhaustive study. Their report concluded that little if anything had come from the study of UFO reports over a period of 20 years and that further extensive study is not justified. The findings of this investigation were published by Bantam books in a paperback titled "The Condon Report."

Attached for your use is a summary of an address given by Mr B J Roberts, a member of the Department of Air to the Ballarat Astronomical Society at ballast in 1965. It is hoped this will be of value to your discussion."

The Symposium is held:

The symposium went ahead, in Adelaide, South Australia, on 30 October 1971, with an audience of about 300 people in attendance. The program presented was:

1. Dr Brian Horton. Introduction to the topic.
2. Colin Norris. UFO researcher. A history of UFOs and selected reported sightings. (Click here.)
3. Dr Bill Taylor. Read the RAAF Roberts paper.
4. Dr M Duggin. "The Analysis of UFO Reports."

5. Lynn Mitchell. Deputy Director, SA Bureau of Meteorology. Meteorological phenomena of relevance to UFO reports.
6. Dr Peter Delin. "Psychological Aspects of Belief and Disbelief."
7. Dr Don Herbison-Evans. Among other things, described diffraction gratings and their value to gathering spectra of lights in the sky. (Click here.)

A motion was agreed by those at the symposium:

"The symposium as a group feels very strongly that some action on the problem of UFO reports be taken...(and) that  the possibility of setting up a subcommittee for the study of UFO reports be considered by the executive committee of ANZAAS (SA Division.)"

No such subcommittee eventuated.


In looking for a copy of the proceedings of this symposium, I located a copy in the National Library of Australia, but failed to find one in the State Library of South Australia. I would welcome hearing from anyone who may have a scanned copy of this document, via an email to me at