Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Still in the shadows


Last July, I decided to re-focus my UAP research, and now it is time to evaluate how this is going.

Facebook

One of the things I instituted, was to cease using Facebook in my UAP work. So, yesterday I spent a little time looking at a variety of current Australian Facebook UAP pages. I had previously noted, that I had found little actual research occurring on such pages. My review, yesterday, found that between July 2016 and now, that things were no different. Facebook UAP ‘research’ still consists of short comments; very little data exchange; and no analysis of material or sightings. So, I feel that my decision to stop using Facebook for my research, was justified.

Book reviews

A second change, was to cease writing up reviews of books dealing with UAP. This has been relatively easy to achieve. Yesterday, I used the Amazon Books website to take a look at the titles, authors and content of both hard copy and UAP ebooks, since July 2016. I can count on one hand, the number of serious books to be found. 

A recent, excellent, serious work
Since last year, I have been publishing on one blog, rather than my previous two blogs. The amalgamation has been going well.

Mass media

I have continued to receive requests from both mass media outlets, and from documentary film makers for interviews with me. I have declined each one of these, as the mass media, in my opinion, seeks only entertainment; and many documentaries never survive the process of being created, edited and then coming to market.

So, all in all, I do not regret any of the changes which I made to the way in which my research has been going.

So, what have I been doing since July 2016?

1. I completed a joint project with Anthony Clarke of UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated. This involved the two of us summarising nearly 60 audio recordings, of Australian UAP witnesses, recorded by US researcher James E McDonald, during his 1967 Australian trip. Our results may be found here.

2. I reviewed documentation about the famous 1957, Levelland, Texas, USA, multiple witness, close encounter case. I prepared, then published transcripts of three rare interviews about the incident.


4. Paul Dean of Melbourne, and I, also researched, then published, a detailed ‘cold case’ review paper, about the visual sighting and color movie film taken at Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 23 August 1953. Our paper may be found here.



5. I have contributed a review of about 40 Australian sightings, which are listed on the NICAP website. I updated both content, and references to these.

6. In addition, also on the NICAP website, I have updated some 40 non-Australian cases; all documented in the US Project Blue Book files. Here, I provided case summaries and copies of the Project Blue Book documentation, downloaded from the Fold3 website.

7. Paul Dean and I are currently working on some comments about the 1986 Japan Air Lines flight, encounter over Alaska.

Summary

As can be seen from the list of what I have been doing, my re-focus has been to work in the area of quality, detailed research, away from the rambunctious (uncontrollably exuberant; difficult to control; noisy) social media environment.


I feel it worthwhile to repeat my recent mantra, to my Australian UAP colleagues. Consider stepping away from the use of social media, and conduct your research ‘in the shadows.’ You will find an immediate benefit. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Webs of deception

Hi all,

This month keep your (Australian) eyes to the skies!

May, in Australia, is the traditional month for reported falls of unusual looking, lengthy strands of 'silk-like' substance, which some UAP researchers refer to as 'Angel Hair.'

May 1974 - Albury, NSW - photo by Kevin Dixon
Is it simply spiders' web, or the residue of the propulsion system of extraterrestrial spaceships?

There was a very large fall of this substance around Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia,on 4 May 2015. For a detailed account of this fall, and the subsequent story which went viral on the Internet, take a look at my post dated 14 May 2015.

If the subject interests you, why not take a look at my comprehensive Australian catalogue and analysis of dozens of Australian falls, which may be found here.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has information on any 2017 falls.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The October 1967 Brisbane, Queensland, photographs

Recently, Vicente-Juan Ballester OImos, a Spanish researcher, asked me about a series of UAP photographs taken in 1967 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I didn't know much about this, so sought some original material to undertake some fact checking.

Thanks to another researcher, this time in the United Kingdom, I located a digital copy of issue number 12, (Nov/Dec 1967) of the Newsletter of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau (QFSRB.) This newsletter had a full account of the circumstances, the photographs, and an analysis. As few blog readers will have access to this Newsletter, I'll provide the full text of the informative article.

'The Brisbane photographs.

Last month a Brisbane man contacted the Bureau saying he had taken several photographs of a 'flying saucer' over the densely populated West End area of Brisbane.

The photographs were said to have been taken between 6.30 and 6.45 a.m. on Sunday, 22nd. October. Asked what he was doing at the time, he said he had gone outside to take a photograph of his girl-friend beside her new car, when the 'saucer' appeared in the viewfinder.

Source: SPACELINK, courtesy of Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Nine photographs or negatives were sighted by the Bureau: (1) the girl beside her car with the object in the top corner; (2) the girl shading her eyes, looking at object; (3) the girl pointing to object; (4) the girl taking a photo; (5) the object approaching - witnesses say here the object made 'fluttering' movement as it returned after having moved away after first approach; (6 &7) object closer; (8) object seemingly overhead - witnesses say here the object was starting to take up speed and that colour was seen for first time, 'red' and 'orange'; otherwise, object was silver-grey, metal colour; (9) object going away in distance - one witness says it was now blue colour. (No sound was reported.)

A local chemist told the Bureau that he had the film developed and that it contained photographs of the object being investigated. The film was collected on Monday afternoon (23rd. October) or Tuesday, (24th. October.)

The same day Mrs Sutton (Secretary) called on Mr Wallace and later that evening, Mr Russell (Public Relations Officer and Editor) visited his home and sighted the negatives.

Unfortunately, Mr Russell was not familiar with 35mm film and did not know that the frames were numbered, making it possible to check the actual sequence of the frames. Having sighted the negatives however, he advised Mr Wallace to put the negatives in a safe place (in a bank or with a solicitor) to avoid loss or damage before the Bureau could make a proper analysis of the film. At this point, Mr Wallace said two negatives were already lost or mislaid. One was found next day.

It should be stated that between the time he had collected the film from the chemist, which was handed back to him in a continuous roll or strip, and the time the film was sighted by the Bureau, Mr Wallace had cut the film into separate negatives or frames. It was one of these frames that remained lost. Asked why he had cut the film strip, Mr Wallace said he always did this when  he wanted particular frames enlarged or reprinted and he had wanted to have one or two of the negatives enlarged.

Mr Wallace agreed to have the negatives put in a safe place and to not make his photographs public until proper research had been completed concerning every aspect of his sighting. This was considered warranted because, at first glance, the photographs promised to be one of the best sets ever taken of a UFO. In half the set, the object is clearly seen, the shots generally included good sunlight, clouds, plenty of landmarks, houses, fences, trees, parked cars, the witnesses and so forth.

After closer research was completed, it was the abundant details that, in the end, made the photographs unacceptable to the Bureau.

A close up - courtesy Ballester Olmos
The first error in the witnesses' story was their stated time of sighting during which time the photographs were said to have been taken - 6.30 to 6.45 a.m. On Sunday 29th October, it was established by visiting the site and checking the shadows, that these photographs were taken much later than 6.30 a.m. The calculated estimate is approx, 9-9.15 a.m.

Having established the time of the photographs, a cold canvas of houses, block of flats and home units in the area was done. Except for one, five-year-old boy who said he saw the object, no witnesses were found.

To help find an independent witness, it was agreed to release some information to newspapers, asking people to report anything seen on this date. No UFO sightings were reported for this area of the city.

Source: Undated issue of Sun-Herald newspaper - courtesy of Ballester-Olmos
As anticipated, once the news was published, research could no longer, be carried out at a reasonable tempo. Overseas and interstate reporters wanted photographs and witnesses. Also, Mr Wallace and his friend had by now, attended a Bureau monthly meeting, showed the photographs to members and told the meeting what they had seen. Neither Mr Wallace or his friend are members of the Bureau.

On Tuesday, 7th. November, apart from the unsatisfactory conditions of the negatives, nothing concrete could be said about the whole affair. But on this day, Mr Stan Seers (The President) who was directing all technical investigations, came up with the findings from their shadow analysis; whereas the witnesses state that the duration of the sighting and taking of photographs was approx. 5-7 minutes; shadow movement on more  distant houses; discernible on larger photographs, showed clearly that the photographs must have been taken over a period of 75 minutes.

Bureau report - the negatives

When the Bureau several times requested the negatives for proper evaluation, Mr Wallace would not make definite arrangements. To the best of our knowledge, some negatives would be in the Bank and some would be at various photographers for the purpose of making enlargements for Mr Wallace. Four different photographic shops were involved in this investigation. But it was established that the film was developed through a local chemist whose testimony is acceptable on this count. The film was in fact, processed in D.H.A. premises as a routine job.

The negatives or frames themselves show no obvious discrepancies. But their sequence is very much open to suspicion. Only the last five negatives run in unbroken sequence, The numbers run 2A-3 then 4A-5, then 9A-10  right through to 14, being the last photograph. One badly cut negative is unplaceable and the missing negative is presumed to be of the girl pointing at the object.

The original photograph of the girl pointing was sighted by the Bureau but Mr Wallace had never afterwards produced either the negative or the photograph of this particular shot. Also, the missing negative- between 4A-5 (girl shading eyes) and 9A-10 (girl taking photograph) - leave a gap in  the film where the very discrepancies in the shadows were observed. The film, therefore, because of mutilations and missing negatives, is not acceptable to the Bureau.

(Re girl taking photograph of object: said to have been taken as 127 colour film. Only one negative said to have been used  which did not "show anything." Girl states she threw the negative away.)

The Shadow Analysis -

The following report is written by Mr Seers:-

Alleged UFO Photos, Brisbane, 22nd. October 1967

The method by which it was positively established that the photographs 1 to 5 (one to five) occupied a period of time of at least seventy-five minutes in the actual taking, as against the declared time, (see signed statement), of five to seven minutes, is well established and easy to follow.

Instructions, charts and a specially calibrated protractor are to be found in the text book: "Sunshine and Shade in Australasia." A study of the principles involved in finding the extent and direction of sunlight and shadow on buildings, together with a series of charts for different hours and seasons for the latitudes of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and the adjacent islands, by R.C. Phillips, B. Arch. A.R.A.I.A., crown copyright, Sydney, May 1948.

The complete characteristics of the shadow casts of the window awnings and other building structures are easily found for any hour of the day; given the aspects of the building and its geographical location. (In this case, Nth East, 0930, Brisbane, latitude: 27 1/2 degrees south, Plate 19.) This information is useful to architects, designers etc.

Conversely, local solar time of a photograph of a building can also be determined quite accurately from the charts. Hour and day is located on the appropriate chart, the protractor applied according to instructions, the rest being a matter of simple mathematics, which, in this instance, were worked out by a member of the academic staff from the University of Queensland.

The foregoing information may possibly help discourage some future would-be-hoaxers.'

Other sources of information listed by Ballester Olmos

1. Sydney Morning Herald, newspaper, 12 November 1967.
2. Hervey, M. 1975. 'UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere.' Robert Hale. pp 145-146.
3. SPACELINK, Volume 5, number 3, July 1968, p 20 & inside back cover.

SPACELINK - courtesy Ballester Olmos
4. Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga (2017.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cold case review report - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

In a previous post, I advised that Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I  were undertaking a 'cold case' review of the 23 August 1953, Port Moresby, visual sighting and movie film.

Port Moresby in relation to northern Australia
At about noon on 23 August 1953, Mr T P Drury, his wife, and young son, observed an unusual object in the sky. Mr Drury used a movie camera to film the object. The film was sent to the USA, and it has been claimed that when it was returned, some of the footage of the object was missing.

Close up of the Port Moresby area
In the last month, we have gathered a large amount of information, drawn from a mass of documentation; some of it courtesy of overseas researchers, including Barry Greenwood, Jan Aldrich, Mary Castner, Fran Ridge and others.

Article in South Pacific Post
The documentation gathered together, covers numerous newspaper articles; items in early Australian UAP newsletters; the USAF Project Blue Book' s records on the case; several books, and more recent Australian UAP magazines. As always, we have adopted a 'follow the evidence' approach; going back to original source material to check our facts. Something that many of today's researchers fail to do.

Early editions of the APRO Bulletin carried accounts
Despite the fact that some quite vital data is lacking in this material, it has turned out, in our opinion, that the available evidence points in a number of directions which run counter to prevailing beliefs about the case.

Australian researcher Edgar Jarrold investigated the case
Paul and I believe:

* that it is possible, that there may be no 'missing' film; which goes against current thinking

* that the object could perhaps have been a daylight meteor. The main observer, Tom Drury always maintained that the object was a guided missile. Others of course have claimed it to be a UFO

Courtesy of Bill Chalker
* that US researcher James E McDonald did not interview Mr Drury, when he (McDonald) visited Australia in 1967.

Courtesy of Melbourne researcher John Stepkowski, blog readers may now read our cold case paper.

As always, with our work, we welcome peer-review comments.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

'Cold case' review underway - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

I have previously written about the value of conducting 'cold case' reviews of older Australian UFO cases. Sometimes, the outcome is that the review adds additional information, to what is already known. This new data, may suggest a mundane explanation for a sighting which was previously considered 'unidentified.' On the other hand, sometimes, it might strengthen the case for the unknown nature of the event.

At the present moment, Melbourne researcher, Paul Dean and I, are taking a fresh look at all the available documentation on the 23 August, 1953, Port Moresby visual sighting and 8mm film case, involving Mr Tom Drury.

NAA file series MP1279/1 c/s 99/1/478

We have enlisted the assistance of a number of overseas researchers, who have kindly provided us with copies of documents which we did not have access to.

USAF Project Blue Book document

We believe that we have brought together, in a chronology, all the know relevant first and second hand documents, including fresh newspaper articles located in the National Library of Australia's TROVE digitised newspaper collection.

Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia

From this mass of information, we will compile a paper, providing the text of, or at least a summary of, each document, and see if it is possible to come to a definitive conclusion as to the cause of the sighting, and hence the nature of object on the colour 8mm movie film.

We will publish our results in due course.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Return to Balwyn


Background

The 2 April 1966, Balwyn, Melbourne, photograph and visual observation, continues to generate interest among some UAP researchers. As long term readers of this blog will be aware, Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I, have published two lengthy reports on this sighting and photograph (click here and here to read them.)

Herald Newspaper 12 April 1966

During the preparation of these two reports, Paul and I engaged in dialogue with a number of overseas researchers, who both assisted us with locating hard to get articles about the incident, and gave their viewpoints on the Balwyn image.

Sketch of house and garden from where the photograph was taken

One of these individuals was Canadian Francois Beaulieu. Francois has had a long term interest in the study of UAP, and also photography, including Polaroid images. This made him an ideal person to take another look at the Balwyn image, especially as the Balwyn photographer, Jim Kibel, advised that he had located the original Polaroid picture (missing for some time) and made a new scan available for study.

To this end, Francois has prepared a report on aspects of the Balwyn image, and I have arranged with John Stepkowski, webmaster for the Project 1947 website, to host Francois' article. Thank you John.

What is in Francois' article?

Francois was using Polaroid cameras in the mid 1960's, shortly after the Balwyn incident came to light. He tried to recreate test shots of some of the photographic UFO cases of that era. This led him to acquire an in depth knowledge of Polaroid images. 



In  the article, Francois examines the controversy of an apparent zigzag line or discontinuity in the photograph; the apparent reflection of a house on the 'UAP' in the picture; looks at claims that the photograph is a photo montage; and finally asks the photographer, Jim Kibel,  to allow a higher resolution scan to be made of the original Polaroid photograph. To read this intriguing article click here. 









Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A 1929 Australian observation

Hi all,

A recent find on the Magonia Exchange Yahoo groups forum was an Australian sighting from 1929.

Witness Ken Dyer, was cited in the March 2002, Australian UFO Bulletin, and provided the following details.

The sighting occurred in the small locality of Mathoura, in New South Wales. A number of school pupils were playing tennis after school, when two of them saw something unusual. A silver coloured; bullet or cigar shaped object, travelling very fast; came out of a white cloud, went across a patch of blue sky and entered another cloud. There was no associated sound.

Researcher Drew Williamson on the Exchange, suggested the possibility that the object was a plane. He located a 1929 newspaper article indicating that Mathoura was on an aircraft route.

Courtesy of Google maps

Sunday, February 19, 2017

James E McDonald's radar-visual cases

Hi all,

Introduction

In early 1966, James E McDonald made his first trip to the USAF's Project Blue Book (Druffel, A. 2002. 'Firestorm.'  p.55.) Among other things, 'That afternoon, McDonald read about 80 case reports.' (Druffel p. 57.) Subsequently, he reviewed many other case files on the visit. He copied a number of case files to take away with him,

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

McDonald made a second trip to Blue Book, at the end of June 1966. (Druffel, p.137.) A third visit took place the next month. (Druffel, p.143.) 'In spite of McDonald's interest in numerous types of UFO reports, he realized that only those reports where documented proof could be obtained would convince the scientific community that UFOs were real. Two types which seemed to hold out hope of proof were: 1. Photo cases which held up under the most careful scrutiny; and 2. Radar-visual cases, where the objects were seen visually and monitored on radar at the same time.' (Druffel, p.287.)

'Reading that the Condon Committee had had access to R-V cases which were not known to the UFO community, he decided to visit Wright-Patterson AFB again to search for them. 'At the end of June 1969...He spent the next two days  going through the files for the fourth time and hand-typed notes on 18 cases. On this trip he carried with him a list of cases, mostly R-V, which he was most interested in tracking down.' (Druffel, p.337.) 'On his fourth Blue Book visit, McDonald was still denied access to classified R-V cases.' (Druffel, p.338.)

'...on May 18 (1970?-KB) he was hard at work in the Historical Division, Aerospace Science Institute at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama...But once he started studying the R-V files, McDonald realized he'd struck a bonanza. He spent an extra week there, copying literally hundreds of them...Greatly stimulated, he brought the files home and spent the next two weeks studying each case...' (Druffel, p.478.)


Where did these case files go?

Californian researcher Ann Druffel, worked with the late James E McDonald's wife, Betsy, to relocate McDonald's files to the University of Arizona.

In the August 2006 (number 460: pp 5-10) issue of the MUFON Journal, Ann Druffel, Vincent Uhlenkott and Ralph McCarron, published an article titled 'Scientist, ufologist James E McDonald's voice speaks again to researchers.'

MUFON Journal Aug 2006 issue

'Shortly before McDonald died, he wrote a letter to Betsy, stating his concern that his voluminous UFO files not be simply burned after his death, but archived in some form so that capable researchers could use them in further studies on the UFO phenomenon. Of particular concern to him were hundreds of Blue Book radar-visual (RV) sighting files which he had acquired in 1970 at Maxwell AFB, a few months after Project Blue Book was officially ended.' (Druffel et al, 2006, p.6.)

The University of Arizona Library's Special Collections Section agreed to house them. 'The Collection continues with the 580 Project Blue Book R-V files photocopied by McDonald at Maxwell AFB. These are in four boxes, filed chronologically by date, as McDonald originally arranged them. The dates on these R-V files begin with "June 1947, Hamburg, NY" and ends with "July 11, 1968, Nielson AFB, Alaska." (Druffel et al, p.7.)


University of Arizona

I visited the website for the University of Arizona's Special Collections - McDonald's UFO material. The MS412 collection summary in the 'scope of and content note', in part, states 'Contains photocopies of approximately 580 Project Blue Book sighting reports, mostly by pilots and some with airborne and ground radar verification.'

I copied the list of 'Series 2: Project Blue Book, 1947-1968,' to my computer. Indeed, as Druffel et al stated in 2006; the list starts with 'Hamburg, NY, June 1947 and ends with 'Nielson AFB, Alaska July 11, 1968.'

I noted that Druffel et al (2006) speaks of '580 Project blue Book R-V files,' while the University of Arizona's collection notes speaks of 'approximately 580 Project Blue Book sighting reports, mostly by pilots and some with airborne and ground radar verification.' So, at this point of my research, I was unsure whether or not all the 580 cases were R-V.

I therefore contacted a couple of senior US researchers and asked for their thoughts on this topic.

Researcher one, who wished to remain anonymous stated 'The McDonald papers at UA Tucson have approximately 20,000 to 22,000 pages, of which only about 7,000 pages have been copied by a CUFOS-led coalition nearly 20 years ago, and an unknown amount of the 7,000 pages digitised...How much is Radar-Visual is difficult to say...'

Researcher Jan Aldrich, responded 'Dr Michael Swords led a team of researchers to the University of Arizona on a two week look at McDonald's files...No one was looking for RV cases as a collection.'


An aside

The previously mentioned August 2006 MUFON J article stated, in part,'...Australian scientist inquired about the Blue Book R-V files..she [Betsy McDonald] allowed him to copy the R-V files...' As far as I can ascertain, no Australian, and indeed no global researcher, has copies of these copies of these R-V files.' The consensus among those I have asked about the identity of this Australian scientist, is that it was probably, Dr Michael Duggin.


Research work

I have been undertaking some work on this subject. I retyped the list of McDonald's approximately 580 Blue Book case files into an Excel spreadsheet. I then added references to such cases which I found in the records of the Michael Swords digital collection; and also cases found in Brad Sparks' 'Comprehensive Catalog of 1,700 Project Blue Book UFO Unknowns' version 1.27 dated Dec 20, 2016.

A section of my draft Excel spreadsheet

In addition, I checked each listed case against those held in the chronology section of the NICAP website. Noting that there were a number of cases, on McDonald's list where there was no NICAP chronology listing, or a detailed entry in the Sparks' catalog, I utilised Internet sources such as the Fold3 Project Blue Book documents, to prepare a case file summary, and a PDF file of the available documents. I have an ongoing project to do this for as many cases as possible, and am periodically submitting these to the NICAP website for use there.

Below, are two examples of the R-V cases, which appeared on McDonald's list.


July,11, 1968; Eielson AFB, Alaska

Visual observation

At about 0300hrs local time (1200Z) on 11 July 1968, three control tower personnel (aged 20,31 and 32) observed a bright, round orange coloured, self-luminous, solid, sharp-edged, object in a clear area of a partly cloudy sky. It was observed both with the naked eye and through binoculars. After 25 minutes, it was lost to view due to solar illumination (the Project Blue Book documents provide the time of sunrise as 0239hrs local) and haze in the atmosphere.

The estimated angular elevation was in the range 7-12 degrees. Two of the three men specifically stated that the object rose higher in the sky between 0300 and 0325hrs local, while the third man indicated it had moved but didn’t indicate whether it had risen or fallen in elevation. Their estimates of the object’s azimuth ranged from an initial position (180-195 degrees) to a final position (190-202 degrees) with one man stating his estimate as mag (magnetic.) Based on sketches drawn by the three men the object’s angular size can be calculated as in the range 0.2 to 0.3 degrees (Moon is 0.5 degrees.)
The tower contacted Major Gammon, 6th Strategic Wing supervisor. He reported, that at 0340hrs local he arrived at the tower, but by this time the tower had lost sight of the object. He could see nothing with his naked eye, however, based on RAPCON’s radar report, using binoculars, he picked up a dim object in the haze at 10-15 degrees’ elevation. It faded from view by 0345hrs local.

Radar observation

Donald A Sproul ATCS(T), Eielson RAPCON (Radar approach control) stated that he was contacted by the tower at 0405hrs ADT (Alaskan Daylight Saving Time.) He had noted a radar target at 18 miles, bearing 140 degree mag (SE-KB) (29 degree variation from true) from their radar antenna.

The target’s initial position was about 2 miles south of the Harding Lake tower on a SW heading. After 10 minutes, it turned; headed E; and 5 miles south of its initial point, headed SW. Then it slowed to 30 knots.  Observed for a total of 35 minutes and faded 10 miles E of Cold King airport. Two targets were noted on the observed track for ¾ of the paints. 10 minutes before it faded, two additional targets appeared at the same point as the original target first did. These tracked awhile then split into two targets, 15 miles SW of Harding Lake tower. One followed the rough track of the first object, but the second tracked due W and was lost 30 miles S (180 degree magnetic from the antenna.)

A check was made with 744 ACW Squadron at Murphy Dome (22 miles W of Eielson AFB.) However, no radar or visual sighting was made by Murphy Dome.

Project Blue Book analysis

There were no known aircraft in the area; nor any balloons. There were no unusual weather phenomena noted.

Project Blue Book concluded that the radar observations were probably due to anomalous propagation (Sproul talked of ‘ghost’ returns in his report.) Project Blue Book concluded that the tower visual observations were caused by the Moon.

My own analysis

1. A check (using Your Sky, Fourmilab) sky chart revealed that, at 1200Z 11 July 1968 for Eielson AFB 64.6431N latitude, and 147.0638W longitude), it placed the Moon at 2.2 degrees’ elevation at azimuth 190 degrees.  At 1225Z the Moon was at elevation 1.7 degrees, and azimuth 196 degrees. For comparison, the PBB papers, at 1200Z, places the Moon at 5-6 degrees’ elevation, azimuth 194 degrees; and at 1225Z at elevation 4-5 degrees, azimuth 201 degrees.

2. Fourmilab places the Sun almost on the horizon at azimuth 29 degrees (NNE.)

3. Could the observed object have been the Moon?

Points for the object being the Moon are

a.       * It was round in shape.

b.     *  It was 0.2-0.3 degrees across, the Moon is 0.5 degrees.

c.      *  The Moon was roughly in the observed position.

d.       * There have been instances of UFO reports being caused by the Moon at low elevation.

e.     *   None of the observers reported seeing the ‘UFO’ and the Moon together in the sky.

Points against it being the Moon

a.       * It was said by all three to be orange in colour. The Moon can appear orange due to it being in eclipse, but there was no total or partial Lunar eclipse that night. It can also appear orange due to dust particles in the sky, say due to forest fires. No fires were reports, only ‘haze.’

b.       * Two of the three observers reported their object gained angular elevation over the 25 minutes. The Moon lost angular elevation.

c.      *  There are several degrees’ difference between the object (higher in the sky) and the Moon (lower in the sky.)

As can be seen, there are points both, for and against the object being the Moon. Regarding pro point e. Could the Moon have been hidden from view by the terrain as seen from the tower? Indeed, it could have been. Amongst the Project Blue Book documents are topographic maps with elevations (in feet) of high points. One of the maps shows the estimated visual direction of the object, and there is a point shown on the map (near Blair Lake 1404 feet) which would appear to be 3-4 degrees’ elevation, as seen from Eielson AFB. Thus, it may be possible that the Moon was indeed hidden from the observers. (A much more detailed analysis than I can perform here would be needed to be more certain.)

So, based on the Project Blue Book data, yes, the radar returns may well have been anomalous propagation, that would not have been noted unless the tower asked for the radar operator to look. I am much less certain as to whether, the Moon was the object observed.


October, 14,  1957; North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, California

A few minutes before 1900hrs local (October 14) (0300z Oct 15); three individuals, Vyrl E Ewing (Ac/3), Douglas Cowen (MM1), and Margaret Davis (Ac/c), Air Control Section No 3, Naval Air Station, North Island, were on duty.

Ewing noted a bright, round, white light, bearing 210 degrees True, from the tower; which remained stationary, at an estimated altitude of 300 feet, for about two minutes, then became ‘smaller and smaller.’ After, 1-2 minutes, the apparent same object reappeared slightly to the north and a bit lower than before, slightly brighter than the first occasion.  It remained stationary for about two minutes and then faded away.

Project Blue Book record card

For a third time, a light appeared about one minute later, again slightly to the north and lower. This third time it seemed to vary in intensity, wobbling slightly. A halo encircled the upper half of the object. Its colour at this stage was white with a bluish tinge on one side. It remained in sight for one to two minutes. As he was at this stage vectoring in an aircraft towards the object, he is unable to say how it disappeared. At some stage, binoculars were used to view the object. Its estimated angular size was 1.2 degrees as calculated from Ewing’s statement. Sky visibility was good.

The Project Blue Book report contains a statement by the aircraft pilot. At about 1900 hrs local time, a flight crew consisting of LtJG Glenn T Conrad, Jnr; William E Standley (radar operator) and William “P” Cooley (ECM operator), were warming up an S2F-1 Grumman S-2 tracker aircraft, on the runway, for a night flight. The tower cleared the flight and requested that the crew maintain 200 feet and proceed to check out a stationary object at Point Loma, bearing 210 degrees magnetic from the tower. (Note, the tower personnel said it was at 210 degrees True.) The co-pilot and pilot observed the light from the runway.

The aircraft took off, climbed to 200 feet while keeping the object in view. The pilot’s strategy was to proceed seawards of the light and silhouette it against the lights of San Diego. However, when it was abreast of the light, off the aircraft’s right wingtip, it underwent a rapid acceleration away from them, to the west. There was relative motion between it and the lights of San Diego. The light began to vary in color and intensity, between bright red and blue-white, at irregular intervals.

The pilot turned west, heading 230 magnetic with the light dead ahead. The aircraft radar required four to five minutes to warm up; then the radar operator reported a target dead ahead at 17 miles and above them. The sky was clear ahead and above. There was a discernible horizon and low clouds 30 miles west. Stars were visible, bright and clear, but small and dimmer than the object.

From Point Loma out, the object climbed steadily and the pilot followed in a gradual ascent at 140 knots IAS, closing irregularly. At 4,500 feet, the object levelled out, 12 miles ahead and then drifted right ten degrees in about five seconds. The pilot turned to 240 magnetic, levelled off, and increased speed to 160 knots. The range closed to ten miles and stabilised. After following for about three minutes at ten miles’ range, the pilot decreased speed to 120 knots but observed no range rate on radar.

The pilot then accelerated to 180 knots IAS and observed no range rate. The object drifted 20 degrees to the left (220 magnetic) in no more than ten seconds and then closed range to eight miles in one rotation of the radar antenna (7.5 seconds.) The range stabilised to eight miles and the pilot gradually climbed the aircraft. At 8,000 feet, and about 40 miles from Point Loma, the object levelled out, disappeared visually and off radar. 15 seconds later, it reappeared visually but not on radar. The visual observation was continued until the aircraft was 50 miles from Point Loma. The object faded from view bearing 230 magnetic, 58 miles from Point Loma.

My comments

1. The Project Blue Book explanation was ‘Arcturus in position of reported light (bearing 220 deg) at about 05 deg elevation and setting at 1920.’ Arcturus was in fact at 4 degrees’ elevation, azimuth 290 degrees. Up to 70 degrees away from the object.

2. The planet Venus was at 4 degrees’ elevation, azimuth 238 degrees. Its brightness was magnitude -4.1. The planet Saturn was visible, at 10 degrees’ elevation, azimuth 237 degrees.


The Michael Swords digital collection

While doing the above work, I looked at a set of McDonald's papers in three folders, in the Michael Swords digital collection, labelled 'Maxwell,' reasoning that this was the most likely location to find at least some of McDonald's R-V collection. Between these three 'Maxwell' folders, I found details on 45 Project Blue Book cases. There are 28 typed notes on individual cases, apparently typed by McDonald during visits. Some cases in the folders, are simply one page Project Blue Book Record Cards; while others are multi page reports. Some cases are visual only, while others are radar-visual in nature.

A check of my McDonald listing (of 583 cases) Excel spreadsheet, against the 45 'Maxwell' Project Blue Book cases, revealed that all of them are recorded in one source or another, e.g. Sparks; Swords; NICAP.

I found two of these 'Maxwell' incidents of interest, even though they featured lights only, and not some form of 'classic flying saucer.' They were:

14 March 1953, Sea of Japan

During a routine patrol into the Sea of Japan,  a ten man crew from Patrol Squadron Twenty-Nine, based at US Naval Air Station Atsugi, were flying a P2V-5 aircraft. The weather at their altitude was clear, on top of broken overcast, estimated to have a base at 4,000 feet, and tops at 8,000 feet. The air was smooth and stars were clearly visible.



The aircraft was returning to base, after a routine anti-submarine patrol for TF-77, finishing at 2256I. The TF-77 control ship alerted the aircraft at about 2311I that there were two or three aircraft targets in the area of the P2V at about the same altitude. These targets showed friendly IFF but could not be identified. The P2V radar operator tracked one of these unknowns which crossed the bow of the P2V at less than four miles. Nothing was seen visually.

At about 2343I, the P2V was at an altitude of 10,000 density, heading 120 degrees magnetic at 160 knots indicated. The co-pilot saw something unusual in the sky and alerted the pilot. The following is what the pilot reported.

The pilot, Lt R J Wooten, saw a display of coloured lights. They were in groups from four to six in number, lasting about three seconds; disappearing, then reappearing after ten seconds. Sometimes two groups appeared simultaneously. Each group appeared to maintain a relative position to the aircraft. They moved aft along the port side and disappeared just off the wing after five minutes.

After first being seen, the entire crew was alerted of the presence of the lights and all saw at least some of the lights. The radar operator reported a target 45 degrees off the port bow at a distance of seven miles. It looked like an aircraft. The radar bearings matched the area where the lights were seen visually. At one point there appeared to be two targets which merged.

The pilot discounted the possibility that the lights were due to tracers or rockets, due to their extreme precision in separation and lack of motion. No sound was audible above the engine noise. The pilot estimated that about 20 separate groups of lights were observed, totalling perhaps 90-100 individual lights.

The co-pilot added that the aircraft was at 12,300 feet indicated and that then lights were at the same altitude. He estimated that it took the lights four minutes to drift from the 1030 position to the 9 o'clock position. He stated that most of the lights were red in colour, but that there were occasionally a few yellow and some with a bluish tinge.

The Project Blue Book conclusion was 'Unidentified.'




14 April 1953, Sea of Japan

At 2123I, a P2V aircraft was at 43:07N; 135:40E, at 9,000 feet when the crew observed two bright lights flashing in code letter 'D.' The unknown aircraft paced the P2V at 12 miles distance to 41:45N; 132:20E, where three more unknown aircraft appeared. The P2V descended to 2,000 feet and the aircraft closed to three miles.



At 2243I at 39:05N; 136:33E, the P2V descended to 400 feet. There were now ten unknown aircraft present. From 2243 to 2350, the P2V 'was the target of at least 70 aggressive non-firing passes.' The unknown aircraft made high speed passes, some from the beam, but most from the stern 'all passing under the P2V still flying at 400 feet...At least two passes were made by four aircraft. The unknown aircraft departed as a group when the P2V was about 100 miles off Niigata, Japan.


What were some of the R-V cases which McDonald himself, considered significant?

1. 'The 1957 Gulf Coast RB-47 Incident.' (Flying Saucer Review 1970. 16(3):2-6.)

2. 'UFOs Over Lakenheath in 1956.' (Flying Saucer Review 1970. 16(2):9-17.)

3. Kincheloe AFB, Michigan. Sep 11-12, 1967.

4. US Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. Oct 14, 1957.

5. Gulf of Mexico B-29 Dec 6, 1952. (Source: 3-5. 'Meteorological Factors in Unidentified radar Returns.' Proceedings 14th Radar Meteorology Conference. Nov 17-20 1970. Tucson Arizona.)


In conclusion

I have identified sources, where some of McDonald's R-V cases reside, but it would appear, that no-one today, other than the University of Arizona's Special McDonald's collection, has a copy of all of these R-V cases, in one place.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

How long does it take? - does size matter?

Hi all,

Unusual observations

1. In broad daylight, a man sees an unusual object rising from the ground. He describes it as looking like two saucers face to face. A 'hissing' sound accompanies the visual observation. The object, despite being only an estimated 25 yards away, shows no structure. The object departs into the sky at an extremely fast rate.

2. Again, in broad daylight, another man, hears a 'hissing' sound and then sees an unusual object approaching the vehicle he is in. The object hovers mere feet from the man's vehicle. It appears as an inverted saucer shape. By the time he gets out of his vehicle, the object is no longer in sight.

3. Yet another man, another daylight observation. During low cloud and rain, a man sees an object descending from clouds. A 'swishing' sound accompanies the sighting. The object hovers over a tree and then rises into the clouds and is lost to view.

Each of these Australian observations, is totally unexpected by the individuals involved. Each was simply going about their normal, daily work at the time.

Minimum duration?

In analysing reports, I always look, among other things, at two aspects. Firstly, the duration of the event. What would you say is the minimum duration of events such as this, so that you could be certain that the object was not simply a misidentification of a mundane object? To be clear in your mind that it could not be something ordinary, experienced in some set of unusual circumstances? Perhaps time for an aircraft heading straight towards you, to turn and show its side view.

So what were the durations of the three events I describe at the start of this post? The first, Tully, Queensland, was 5-6 seconds. The second, Yerecoin, Western Australia was 10 seconds. The third, Moe, Victoria was at a maximum 15-16 seconds.

Minimum angular size?

The second thing I look for, is an indication of the angular size of the object. A very small angular size may not allow sufficient detail to be made out, thus not allowing a positive identification to be made, e.g. an aircraft seen at such a distance, and direction, that no wings nor tail are visible.

What of the angular sizes of our three Australian examples? From the witness' estimates of distance and diameter, I calculated the angular size of both the Tully and Moe objects to have been around 19 degrees, which is 38 times the angular size of the full moon. The Yerecoin figure is a staggering 122 degrees.  These angular sizes should certainly be sufficient, so that the witness would be very clear they were not looking at anything conventional.

How accurate?

All in all, how accurate are these eyewitness observations, given their short duration, but large angular sizes? Unfortunately, in each instance there was only one witness, so in the end we cannot say with any certainty if the observations were accurately described or not.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Newly received RAAF file contains photos of an unidentified object

Hi all,

I have just obtained a copy of a previously unseen RAAF file from the National Archives of Australia. File series J229, control symbol 5/13/Air, barcode 21290309 has a date range of 1956-1966, and is titled 'Sighting of unidentified objects.' It originated from 10 (MR) Squadron RAAF, based at Townsville, Queensland, Australia. It is 130 pages in digital format.



Among reports of a probable meteor (Townsville 13 Oct 1956); probable lightning flashes (Townsville 20 Jul 1957); a probable submarine intruder (during exercise Tuckerbox II, 12 Sep 1962 at 1922S, 15450E); another probable submarine sighting ( 27 Sep 1963 in the Torres Strait), is a much more intriguing set of photographs.


Unidentified object

On 16 May 1958, a Lincoln aircraft A73-60 photographed Cartier Island, at 0220Zulu, while flying at 1500 feet, using a 5 inch lens.



A memo from the Squadron photographic officer to the commanding officer, 10 Squadron, dated 29 May 1958, states in part:

The location of the island

'After normal processing film was numbered and assessed  for printing during which time object was discovered.'

The object

Dimensions of the object
Close up of object
His report and photographs were forwarded to Head quarters Home Command on 3 Jun 1958. HQ asked for a further surveillance run and low level visual inspection of Cartier Island, during the next regular surveillance overflight.

This second flight was carried out on 3 August 1958. Part of the resultant report read 'A visual survey of Cartier Island was carried out at low level. Nothing could be seen in the area off the western end of the reef in the vicinity of the reported unidentified object.'

The object, remained unidentified.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Australian material in Project Blue Book files

Hi all,

Readers will have noticed that I have been busy going through digitised issues of the Flying Saucer Review; NICAP's the UFO Investigator; the MUFON Journal, and the APRO Bulletin, in order to document Australian material in these overseas periodicals. Having Excel spreadsheet indexes of this material, makes it so much easier, when I am answering email from people, asking me about Australian sightings.

My latest small project was examining online resources, which contain files relating to the former USAF Project Blue Book, and checking these for Australian material. In all, I found 20 Australian sightings in these Blue Book files.


The best reference source I found, was Fold3. However, simply typing in such keywords as 'Australia;' Tasmania (as many Americans refer to Tasmania as if it were a separate country to Australia, whereas it is one Australian state); New Guinea etc., may not have revealed the full extent of Australian material. There may be additional sightings listed in other ways. I also found that you need to look at each page listed, as, for example, there were three reports for Melbourne, Victoria, dated 1 January, 14 January and 15 January 1954, all contained in the file dated 1 January 1954, Melbourne.  In addition, I found pages about non Australian sightings, attached as part of an Australian sighting file.

All in all, I found a total of 104 pages for the 20 sightings. Many of these sightings had Project Blue Book evaluations, e.g. Condamine, Queensland, dated 2 February 1951 was said to be a meteor; while the 20 August 1963 Turner River Station, Western Australia was listed as a satellite observation.

One example will illustrate the path these sightings took. On 12 June 1961 there was an observation by two residents of the Azerita Plantation, Papua New Guinea, at 0400hrs local time. Over a fifteen minute period the observers saw a shiny object which approached from the North East. It was shaped like the hollow in a New Moon, and could have been delta winged. Its estimated height was 15,000 feet. It kept moving back and forth, to and from the North East. Eventually, it returned back the way it had come and was lost to view.

The report was made to the Australian government Department of External Territories; who passed it to the Australian Department of Defence. From here, it was sent to the Head of the Australian Joint Services Staff in Washington; then to the US Department of the Air Force, in Washington, then onto the Foreign Technology Division, USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Project Blue Book.

The Blue Book case index card stated that the cause of the sighting was 'Probably atmospheric refraction in pre-dawn hours of planet or star.' Ultimately, though it was listed as 'insufficient information.'

If you'd like to read more about the early interaction between the RAAF and USAF as regards UAP reports then click here and here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Australian reports from 1947

Recently, I posted the account of one Neil McIntyre, who related a very close encounter, in mid 1947, which happened in Shepparton, Victoria. In that post I asked any blog readers who may be aware of other Australian 1947 sightings, to let me know details of them.Yesterday, I heard back from a Sydney research associate, who told me that Sydney researcher, Bill Chalker, had collected other 1947 sightings. Here are my summaries of Bill's details.


One morning in 1947

At 0200hrs at the Greta Army camp, near Maitland, New South Wales, an individual saw a light in the sky, approaching from the west. As it drew closer he saw it was a silver dome shaped disc, with blue flames underneath. It flew in a zigzag pattern, leaving behind a faint yellow or golden trail. It flew above an overhead cloud bank, and he saw the glow from flame in the cloud. The cloud suddenly lit up; the light then faded. There was no associated sound. {Source: Letter from witness to UFOIC dated 26 August 1971.]


One clear night in 1947

A RAAF Flt. Sergeant Leslie W Bastin and daughter Jean, at home in Lawson, New South Wales; saw a pewter type metal structure hovering over a gully. It had a domed top; with a flange around the centre. Lights were visible above the flange area. It stayed for 30 minutes, then left silently, and quickly. [Source: Letter to Bill Chalker from Jean Bastin dated 11 February 1983.]


End of June 1947

A 40 year old woman was on Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, at about 2100hrs. She heard a humming sound above her, and saw 'The Air ship.' It was a cigar shape, and a very pale blue colour. It was there a few minutes, and then disappeared in the dark sky. [Source: Letter from Mrs. A N.... to UFOIC dated 10 September 1978.]


My comment:

Regretfully, none of the above reports was documented in contemporary times. I checked the TROVE digitised newspapers, for that era, and can find no mention of any of the above sightings. Thus the only two pre 24 June 1947 Australian sightings, which were documented in contemporary newspapers were the 5 February 1947 South Australian reports.


July 1947

Mr W Quinlan of Grafton, and his wife and son, were on the river, about 1430hrs, when looking at an aircraft saw some shiny discs in the sky. He described them as transparent and disc like in shape. 'They appeared to be caught in the eddy of the wind.' [Sources: The Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW) dated Thursday 10 July 1947 p3. and Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW) dated Saturday 12 July 1947 p.2.]


The next day, The Daily Examiner (p2.) featured a follow up account which stated that an aircraft had been dropping leaflets in that area at that time.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Newly discovered Australian report from 1947


Introduction:

The modern UFO phenomenon is said to have started on 24 June 1947, with the well-known observation by pilot Kenneth Arnold in the United States. Australian newspapers quickly started publishing local reports; e.g. Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 9 July 1947 page 1, ‘Sydney people still say They’re seeing “Flying Saucers’; and Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, Thursday 10 July 1947 page 1, ‘”Saucers” over Melbourne.’

Reports from 1947:

What is less-well known, is that there were three reported Australian sightings, well before the 24th June 1947. The first and second sightings, were reported on the same day, namely 5 February 1947, from South Australia and recorded in contemporary newspaper accounts.

The ‘Advertiser’ (Adelaide, South Australia) dated Friday 7 February 1947 on the front page, carried the following account:

‘Strange objects reported in sky.’

‘While working in the yard at the Commonwealth Railways workshop yesterday morning Mr Ron Ellis and two workmates claim to have seen five strange objects in formation pass across the sky from north to south.  

‘The objects were white or light pink and shaped like an egg.   Mr Ellis said that he could not give an accurate estimate of the size of the objects, but they were casting shadows and judging by his experience with aircraft in the RAAF during the war he considered they were about the size of a locomotive.  

‘Although the objects kept on a direct course at a height of about 6000 feet they appeared to be quivering he said.   Owing to their great speed they were out of sight within a few seconds.

‘Any question of the phenomenon being an optical illusion was dispelled by the fact that a few minutes later both Mr Ellis and his companion gave an identical description of what they had seen.   Their description was verified by another member of the workshop who said he had also seen the objects.’

The next day, Saturday 8 February 1947, the ‘Advertiser’ carried a second article:

‘Objects in sky not meteorites’

‘Commenting yesterday on a report from Port Augusta that several men working in the yard at the Commonwealth Railways Workshops at about 9am on Wednesday had seen five strange egg shaped objects in formation pass across the sky at a height of about 6000 feet the Government Astronomer Mr G F Dodwell said that the phenomenon did not fit in with anything astronomical and was a complete mystery to him.   


Mr Dodwell discounted the probability of the objects being meteorites.   He said that meteorites being so small and travelling at such high speeds did not cast shadows whereas the report stated that the objects had cast shadows about the size of a locomotive.   The presence of falling meteorites would have been accompanied by a deafening roar.


My research:

1.   I had known about these newspaper articles for several years, thanks to Adelaide resident Darryl Tiggeman. I visited the State Library in Adelaide on 27 January 2011 to check a copy of the ‘Adelaide Advertiser.’ I found that the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ did indeed carry these articles on the dates quoted.

2.   I searched for additional information on the event in other South Australian newspapers.   In total I checked the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ between 1 and 19 February 1947; the ‘West Coast Sentinel’ (based at Streaky Bay, 320kms W of Port Augusta) between 5 and 19 February 1947; ‘The Recorder’ (based at Port Pirie, 80kms S of Port Augusta) between 7 and 14 February 1947; Adelaide’s other daily newspaper ‘The News’ between 5 and 11 February 1947; the Adelaide weekly ‘The Mail’ for 8 February; ‘The Quorn Mercury’ (based at Quorn 22 kms NE of Port Augusta) between 6 and 20 February 1947.

3.   I found that ‘The Quorn Mercury’ of 13 February, page 3, carried the exact same account as that of the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ dated 8 February 1947.   However, more importantly ‘The Quorn Mercury’ of 20 February 1947, page 3, also carried an additional report of a sighting.

‘Writing in the Advertiser, Mr F W Flavel of Lock, Eyre Peninsula states: ‘I saw objects in the sky between 7 and 8 o’clock the same day as you record a report from Port Augusta.   I was walking in a north-westerly direction to the house after feeding the pigs.

‘There were five of the strange objects and they seemed to be coming up out of the sea like a shadow with smoky grayish color around them.   They were oblong with narrow points.   I saw them quite plainly.   They seemed to be floating in the air from north-west to south-east and caused a shadow.’

4.   I then found a letter to the editor in the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ of 17 February 1947, page 2 from Mr Flavel.   It read:

 ‘Strange objects in the sky.’

‘I saw objects in the sky between 7 and 8 o’clock the same day as you record a report from Port Augusta.   I was walking in a north-westerly direction to the house after feeding the pigs.

‘There were five of the strange objects and they seemed to be coming up out of the sea like a shadow with smoky grayish color around them.   They were oblong with narrow points.   I saw them quite plainly.   They seemed to be floating in the air from north-west to south-east and caused a shadow.’

‘I called the wife to have a look at them and she did so.   It was a sight.   I wish I had watched them longer as others had seen them and Port Augusta men did so an hour later.   I have never seen anything like this before, and after reading what others saw I thought I would let you know that my wife and I both saw these objects.’

5.   I checked the weather forecast for Wednesday 5 February 1947.   The state forecast was:
‘Unsettled, with scattered rain and thunderstorms.   Cool on part of the coast, elsewhere
Warm to hot and sultry.   SE to NE winds.’ The weather map was shaded over Port Augusta indicating rain was expected.

Sunrise was 0539hrs.   Moonrise 1925hrs.   Full moon 6 February 1947.

Adelaide’s actual temperature (300kms S of Port Augusta) for 5 February 1947 was minimum 73.8F at 0545hrs; maximum 98.3F at 1245hrs.

5.   Lock (latitude 33 deg 34 min S; longitude 135 deg 45 min E) is a small country town 225kms SW of Port Augusta, and is inland.

6.   As the 7 February issue of the ‘Adelaide Advertiser’ stated that Mr Ron Ellis has been in the RAAF during the war; I checked the National Archives of Australia service records for World War 2 looking for a Ron Ellis whose details might match the witness’s.   I found there was a service file for a Ronald Ernest Ellis, born 5 November 1920; at Port Augusta, South Australia.  

7.   After I posted the above information on the Magonia Exchange forum on the net, Chris Aubeck, who lives in Spain, sent me the following items:

(1) From the Adelaide Advertiser Thursday 10 July 1947 p2.  

‘Seeing things’

Early in February, some queer egg-shaped objects, pink and slightly luminous, were seen to pass across the sky near Port Augusta, but this phenomenon was hardly so much as a nine day’s wonder, for a South Australian amateur astronomer was ready with a plausible theory about meteors, which most people promptly accepted.   We now know that, in the slang of the moment, Port Augusta ‘started something.’ The egg-shaped apparitions about which South Australia was mildly excited five months since, were plainly the harbingers of those ‘flying saucers’ that have been creating such a sensation in America.

Our trans-Pacific cousins have seldom given their imaginations so much play.   Multitudes of people have seen the new hosts of heaven flying across the sky in the likeness of saucers; and those who have seen nothing, have been ready to make amends by offering explanations of ever increasing fantasy.   It was left to a Sydney physiologist to point out that ‘flying saucers’ are likely to be nothing worse than red corpuscles in the eye of the observer, and several American and British scientists having hastened to agree that this is a valid theory, the greatest known epidemic of ‘seeing things’ may fairly be supposed to be on the wane.’

(2) From the Adelaide Advertiser Tuesday 25 February 1947 p2.   Letters to the Editor.

‘Slow meteors’

Sir – Perhaps an amateur astronomer may be allowed to voice an opinion about the strange objects recently seen passing across the sky at Port Augusta.   Usually, any meteor entering the atmosphere is travelling at the terrific velocity of forty miles per second.   This compresses the atmosphere ahead of it and raises its temperature, as the piston of a diesel engine compresses and heats the gases in the cylinder, but whereas the diesel piston merely raises the temperature to ignition point, the tremendous pressure caused by the meteor raises the temperature thousands of degrees, and in this cap of incandescent gas the meteor is burned up in a matter of seconds.  

At rare intervals, however, meteors enter the atmosphere at comparatively slow speeds.   Some years ago a whole ‘procession’ of such slow meteors was seen to pass across part of the USA, finally ending their flight in the waters of the South Atlantic.   These slow meteors have a very different appearance from the swift blaze and trail of fire of the fast ones.   Friction with the air does no more than heat them until they glow, as the giant V2 rocket is heated on its flight.   As high-speed camera photographs of bullets in flight reveal, anything passing swiftly through the air creates both shock waves and turbulence which, by reflecting light rays passing through them, register distinctly on the photographic plate and, if the object is large enough, on the eye also.  

It is this turbulence in the air which is seen when a slow meteor passes across the sky in daylight.   The actual meteor may be quite small, weighing not more than fifty pounds in some cases, but the area of compressed and disturbed air is much larger, giving the impression that the object is of huge size and casting a visible shadow as it passes.

It also explains why many observers have described what they saw as ‘resembling a swimming fish’ on account of the way in which the ‘tail’ of the object seemed to wave to and fro.   I suggest, therefore that the objects seen were meteors travelling at what is a slow speed for such visitors from the depths of space.   If they were heading inland and we could obtain cross-bearings from observers to plot their course, it might be possible to find what is left of them, just as Sir Kerr Grant found the Karoonda meteorite a few years ago.’

H A Lindsay Cross Road, Highgate.


A third 1947 observation:

‘The Murrimbidgee Irrigator’ newspaper, (Leeton, New South Wales) dated Tuesday 8 July 1947, page 2 carried the following account:


‘In May last during the rice harvest, Mr H Nettlebeck was out in the fields when he heard a swishing noise as if a mob of ducks were flying overhead.   On looking up he saw five metal bodies flying in v formation with the sun glistening on them.   They appeared to be about 2000 feet up and each looked to be about the size of a large duck.   He estimated the speed at about 1000 miles per hour.   Mr Nettlebeck states the whole thing appeared too fantastic at the time for him to report the sight, but on reading in the City Press yesterday of the ‘flying saucers’ or radar controlled missiles he sees a similarity.   Mr Nettlebeck would like to know if any other settlers saw the five metal parts whizz through the sky in May last.’


Yet another 1947 account surfaces:

A few days ago, Canberra researcher Shane Ryan alerted me to a newspaper account from the digitised version of ‘The Shepparton News’ (Shepparton, Victoria) dated 2 January 2017. The account read, written by journalist Barclay White, titled ‘Memories of long-ago UFO,’ read:

‘Did an alien spacecraft hover over the streets of Shepparton on a cold winter’s night back in 1947?
A former Victorian policeman has broken his nearly 70-year silence on what he claimed was a close encounter with a flying object not of this earth.

Mr Neil John McIntyre, who would have been just 12 at the time, claimed that he saw an alien spacecraft when he was walking home late one night in June 1947.

He claimed he saw the spacecraft as he was heading home after a night out with his friend, Max Carlos, at a billiard saloon at Wyndham Street.

“It was a Sunday, and it was a cold, dark night” Mr McIntyre said.

“We finished at about a quarter past nine and made our way home.”

According to his recollections of the evening, he and Max saw a UFO hovering above the street, just metres from them.

He claimed that it stayed in the air for a good four to five minutes, as he and Max stood and watched, completely dumfounded by what they were seeing.

“I was not so much scared as surprised,” he said.

“It was a bit smaller than a Melbourne tram, it was similar to flying saucers seen around the world.
“You could clearly see two guys (in the craft) that we called aliens in the front cockpit.”

He claimed that the two aliens had no hair, or glasses and looked humanoid in shape, but not human and were looking at a lamppost in the street.

“Their hands were not in my view, but I got the impression they were controlling some sort of instrument,” he said. “It might have been extracting power from the lamppost.”

As he and his friend looked on in wonder, he claimed the spacecraft then flew away in the direction of Dookie.

After the encounter, he said this friend Max drew pictures of what they claimed to have seen in the sky.

“Maxy Carlos was empathic not to tell anyone,” he said.

Although he does not remember the exact date, he remembered it was a few days after or before the Roswell incident, a famous encounter in UFO folklore where the US Airforce is said to have recovered a spaceship that crashed in the New Mexico desert.

His friend Max Carlos eventually became famous for his feats in the ring as a professional boxer, and because of their friendship, Neil stayed true to his word to not speak of the incident.

Neil eventually joined the Victorian Police Force and is retired and living on the Gold Coast.

With Max having died Neil in his twilight years finally decided it was time to break his silence about what he claimed to have seen in the sky all those years ago.

“All I could say is it’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” He said.

Research:

Shane Ryan contacted both the journalist, Barclay White, and the witness, Neil McIntyre. Neil kindly responded, by email, to a number of questions which both Shane and myself put to him. These are as follows:

A check of digitised newspapers in the National Library of Australia’s TROVE collection, revealed numerous accounts about boxer Max Carlos. One in particular, from ‘The Argus’ (Melbourne, Victoria) dated Thursday 26 June 1952, page 14, records that Max in 1954 was aged 16, making him about 11 in 1947. Another, in the Shepparton Advertiser’ (Shepparton, Victoria) dated Friday 18 May 1951, page 5 spoke of Max Carlos of the Shepparton Boys Club. An internet search revealed that Mx had passed away on 12 May 1996.

Questions 1 and 2: ‘ When did you first go public with the story? Why did it appear in the newspaper now?

Response from Neil: ‘I never bothered, until recently when I mentioned this to my friend John Giliberto, and then it got rolling along.”

Shane added: ‘Barclay first interviewed Neil a couple of months ago, after being alerted to the story by a friend of Neil’s Another journalist, who is now also the Chief of Staff at the Shepparton News, John Lewis, who wrote the article about me and Westall In April 2014, encouraged Barclay to research the story and  to write it.”

I then noted that the Roswell, New Mexico, crashed ‘debris’ was said to have been found on 14 June 1947.

Question 3: ‘When did you first come across the Roswell story?’

Response from Neil: ‘I cannot recall that, it must have been discussions I overheard or talked about, with adults in Shepparton, when that got publicity, because I didn’t read the papers, or listen to radios much.

I checked with the TROVE digitised newspaper collection, to see when Australian newspapers carried articles about the Roswell incident. Newspaper all over Australia carried accounts around 9th and 10th July 1947. Some reported the finding of a ‘flying disc;’ while most carried the story that the ‘disc’ had been identified as a weather balloon. Examples are; ‘”Flying discs” found in New Mexico,’ The Canberra Times, dated 10 July 1947 page 1; ‘‘’Flying saucer’ was weather balloon,’ Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, New South Wales) dated 10 July 1947 page 1.

Noting that the newspaper account contained a drawing of ‘two alien’ I asked Neil:

Question 4-7: Can you confirm that Max did the drawing in 1947? Who kept it since it was done?
 Where was it kept? I there anyone else who can verify that it was done in 1947?

Response from Neil: ‘I did many of those sketches in my spare time, but the first one I did on that night when I got home, and Max did the same thing, we met at school the next day & compared those sketches. I have a clear vision of those Aliens, even today, and I have no problems doing sketches of them. My original, what I may call it, was done a few years back, & just put aside, it will be under tight security from now on, as I intend to Auction it later. As I mentioned to you Max couldn’t draw for nuts but I had a natural art ability, and even today 6th January 2017, I have no trouble seeing in my mind those two Aliens, in their UFO, no problems.’

Shane added: ‘The drawing, then, is Neil’s not Max’s, and is not the original one done by Neil which has long since been disposed of. Max’s relative Yvonne Carlos (sister or daughter perhaps) wrote on the Lost Shepparton Facebook page, confirming the story: “I do remember Max believing that flying saucers (as we called them in the 50’s) definitely existed, because he and his friend Macca had seen one had seen one over Wyndham Street when they were quite young after leaving the Mechanics Institute pool room. He never told me about seeing aliens piloting it, but they watched it for a few minutes and it went off towards Dookie.”

Shane asked Neil, other questions:

Question 8: ‘If your sighting was about 100 metres or yards north of the pool hall, perhaps you were somewhere near the Queen’s Gardens, or not far from the Nixon Street intersection with Wyndham Street. Did you ever go back to the location of your sighting wondering if you would see them again?
Question 9: ‘Have you given any thought to doing a drawing of what the craft looked like, and perhaps how it was positioned in relation to the street light pole?’

Responses by Neil: ‘The Queen’s Gardens, that would be correct, across the road, was a Motor mechanics shop, on the corner. My brother Wal worked at that place for quite some time. No, I never made any special visits back to that area to see if I could witness all that again, you see, we probably shouldn’t have been out that late on a Sunday night anyway, it all just happened because we got involved in a few games of Pool, and that it why we upset the Manager of the Billiard or Snooker room, he wanted us out at 9pm. We argued we were only half way through our game, & he took pity on us, and allowed us to finish the game off, which took some ten minutes, over his lock up time, I think.

I’ve done a few sketches of that UFO, sideways, on, it was like looking into a “Myers Shopping Window wide open” if you know what I mean. The two Aliens stood out, right in the middle of the window, cockpit or clear open area, obviously behind glass or what ever material used on the UFO, and as I stated, I couldn’t even from that close, say they were standing or sitting, because their hands, were out of view down out of my eye line, if you know what I mean. So in my spare time over the years I have only really sketched what I was looking at, those two Aliens five feet away, inside a window type cockpit, if you know what I mean. I still “rattle” when I see how close that UFO was to hitting that lamp post, as I quivered, I think I was quivering also, it was soooclose, only an inch or so, from striking the lamp post, in the most awkward, side on, balancing angle, you could imagine. “

After completing this article, I forwarded it to Neil, and asked him to check it for accuracy, as far as the details of his sighting were concerned. This he did and advised me there was one point in the Shepparton News article which needed correction. At the time of the incident, Neil and Max were riding bicycles without lights; not walking. They got off their bikes “when the place around us lit up like a thousand candles.”

Neil kindly consented to allow me to publish the above details.

A further account:

Sydney researcher, Bill Chalker, makes mention of an account from Maffra, Victoria, in the winter of 1947. The details he gave are as follows:

“Driving home with her son, a woman almost collided with a ‘dazzling golden ball’ hovering just above the road.  The woman could not stop the car and found it buffeted by wind.  At the point of impact, the ball seemed to roll to one side over a high embankment and disappeared behind tall maize.  The wind then ceased.”


In conclusion:

There are few known accounts, from Australia, dated 1947. Out of the four given here, only two; i.e. Locke, and Port Augusta, South Australia were published in contemporary newspapers. This author, would be very interested to hear of others from that era. I may be contacted at keithbasterfield@gmail.com 

Note added 10 January 2017

I received a message from Sydney researcher, Bill Chalker, who advised that he had communications with Neil McIntyre, about a decade ago. McIntyre's story at that stage was basically along the lines of the account in the recent Shepparton newspaper.