Monday, January 30, 2012

Operation 'Flying Saucer.'

Hi all

Did you know that the Australian Department of Air conducted Operation "Flying Saucer" in 1953?

I was browsing files at the National Archives of Australia website, when I came across file series A705 control symbol 153/1/1637, titled "Operation 'Flying Saucer'"owned by the Department of Air.

Operation Order No 5/53 - Operation "Flying Saucer" told the story.

"In time of war, No 22 (City of Sydney) (F) Squadron and No 23 (City of Brisbane) (F) Squadron may be called upon to defend vulnerable points in our coastal cities against air attack."

An exercise to test Sydney's air defences was conducted on 20 and 21 Jun 1953. The attacking forces were from No 82 (B) Wing and No 32 (T/T) Squadron. "The code name of this Operation is 'Flying Saucer.'"

After reading the file, I couldn't find any reason for the choice of the code name "Flying Saucer."

I checked the National Library of Australia's digitised newspapers, which did carry several articles about this air defence exercise. They all mentioned that the Operation was code named "Flying Saucer" but again, no reason was given for this choice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

More speculation on Westall

Dear readers

In a recent post (click here) I researched the possibility of a US secret Corona spy program satellite photographic re-entry module being the cause of the Westall incident. My research rejected this possibility.

After the post was published, a girl friend of mine in Perth continued to look for any other secret US driven operations that would cause the Australian government to cover up such an operation, such that a record would never appear in official Australian government files.

The most extreme case that she could think of was the accidental dropping of a US nuclear bomb from a USAF aircraft. This would certainly have been immediately swept under the official carpet. However, when she raised this possibility with me I thought that this would have been an impossible scenario, that it could never have happened, until I was reading a part of Annie Jacobs' book "Area 51."

"On the morning of January 17 1966, a real-life dirty bomb crisis occurred over Palomares, Spain. A Strategic Air Command bomber flying with four armed hydrogen bombs - with yields between 70 kilotons and 1.45 megatons - collided midair with a refueling tanker over the Spanish countryside." (p.297.) Note the years was 1966, the same year as Westall.

"But when the two bombs without parachutes hit the earth, their explosive charges detonated, breaking open the nuclear cores. Nuclear material was released at Palomares in the form of aerosol sized plutonium which then spread out across 650 acres of Spanish farmland." (p.298.)

"The nuclear accidents did not stop there. Two years and four days later there was another airplane crash involving a Strategic Air Command Bomber and four nuclear bombs. On January 21, 1968, an uncontrollable fire started on board a B-52G bomber during a secret mission over Greenland...In November of 2008, a BBC News investigation found that the Pentagon ultimately abandoned that fourth nuclear weapon after it became lost." (p.300.)

Westall:

Is is at all conceivable that something along these lines happened at Westall? Were there USAF aircraft in Australia in April 1966? Were there any US nuclear weapons in Australia in 1966?  Did any of the Westall witnesses recall seeing military personnel using Geiger counters?

How to start researching this scenario?

"TRUE UFO accounts from the vaults of Fate magazine"

Dear readers,

Another new UFO book came my way the other day, courtesy of my local library."True UFO Accounts from the Vaults of Fate Magazine." Published in 2011. Compiled by David Godwin, it is published by Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, Minnesota. ISBN 978-0-7387-2575-8. David Godwin is a journalist and the current managing director of FATE magazine.

Introduction:

"In the summer of 1948, the first issue of FATE magazine was published. On the cover was a painting of Arnold's plane and a huge flying saucer. Inside was Arnold's own account of the incident." (p.1.)

Prehistory:

Pages 7 to 74 reproduce articles by J D Haines about the alleged UFO crash of 1865; J A Danelek's "The Airships of 1897;" Kevin D Randle's "Aurora, Texas, and the Great Airship of 1897;" Kenneth Arnold's "Phantom Lights in Nevada;" Ray Palmer's "Spaceships,Flying Saucers and Clean Noses'" and William Bathlot's "Phantom Lights in Oklahoma."

Roswell:

Chapter two is devoted solely to the topic of Roswell. Here you will find "The Real Roswell Story" by Stanton T Friedman; "Roswell's Last Gasp" by John A Keel; and James McWilliams' "UFO Chronicles."

Chapter three:

This opens with Gray Barker's account of the 1952 Flatwoods 'Monster' case in "The Monster and the Saucer." Coral Lorenzen in "UFO lands in New Mexico" covers the 1964 Socorro event; while John C Ross provides details of the 1959 Boianai, Papua CE3 case. George Adamski authors a piece in "I photographed spaceships."

The chapter continues with a piece by French researcher Aime Michel , "Meeting with the Martians" which covers the 10 Sep 1954 Mazaud affair. Scott Nicholson's "ET's Phone Here" concerns the saga of Lori Cordini, a contactee/abductee whose journey started in 1947. Jason Offutt in "Is this a piece of an Extraterrestrial craft?" examines the 1985 finding of a metallic object and efforts to determine just what it was. Another contactee, Rita Milios presents her personal experiences in "Accepting my ET Heritage."

Speculation:

"Since at least the early 1950's, conventional wisdom has decided that UFOs are either (1) delusions and fakes or (2) space vehicles from another world. But this is a false dichotomy; there could be any number of other explanations." (p.173.)

Brad Steiger opens up the chapter by posing the question "Are UFOs Alive?" based on the experiences of Fay Clark. Virgina M Tilly's "Do UFOs share a Metaphysical Aspect?" explores areas such as the ability of UFOs to materialize and dematerialize. Scott Corrales explores reports of "The Watchers" in "Angels or Aliens?" The Mysterious Biblical Struggles of Angels and Men."

English researcher Nigel Watson's "Broomsticks, Sharmans and UFOs" looks at the association of the UFO phenomenon with witchcraft and shamanism. The chapter is rounded off with "UFOs:3-D or 4-D?" by Karl T Pflock and James Moseley.

You make the call:

"Here are a few articles from recent years that reflect contemporary 21st-century thinking on the subject in some cases or offer new insights into old happenings." (p.227.)

"Shadowcraft and the UFO phenomenon" by Curt Sutherly discusses stealth technology and advanced terrestrial aircraft. Preston Dennett's "Is there an Underwater UFO Base off the Southern California coast?" is self-explanatory.

"The Invasion was Televised" by Kenn Thomas provides details on the incident of one Fred Lee Crisman who features as far back as 1947.

The closing essay is by long time researcher Brad Steiger. "60 Years of UFO Research" gives us an overview of our thinking on the origins of the UFO phenomenon. "After 60 years of serious investigation, we UFO researchers can't even agree among ourselves if the enigma originates from outer space or within ourselves - or if it is some metaphysical combination of the two." (p.262.)

Comments:

This is the second compilation by various authors, on the UFO phenomenon that I have read in recent times (click here for my post on the new book "UFOs and Aliens.")

This current compilation of essays covered the period 1948 to 2009 and provided me with some old ground and some new material. In part, it shows me how our old thinking, eg about contactees of the 1950's, has moved on. In other parts, it provides pause for much thought.

I most enjoyed reading Brad Steiger's travels through the various levels of his personal thinking in "60 Years of UFO Research." He writes "When I wrote Strangers from the Skies," I was as 'nuts and bolts' an advocate of physical craft and crews visiting our planet from an extraterrestrial source as any of the other researchers and writers of that era of UFO investigations." (p.263.)

"By the early 1970's, I had reached the conclusion that UFOs, ghosts, poltergeists, revelatory experiences and even seemingly misplaced archaeological anomalies were all facets of some larger intelligent, teaching mechanism." (p.265.)

"I have now authored or co-authored 22 books on a wide range of UFO phenomena Today I answer interviewers' questions regarding my conclusion about the UFO enigma by stating that I believe in the reality of the phenomenon, but I have 17 theories as to what the UFOs might be..." (p.271.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soviet overflights of the USA - UFO reports?

Dear reader

Adelaide has just entered a week of predicted maximum temperatures over 33 degrees C, a rather hot time. So, its book time - time to read; chill out with a nice ice cold South Australian white wine, and do some more thinking.

US overflights of USSR:

Much has been written about the United State's covert surveillance of the former Soviet Union ( e.g. click here.)  The story of balloon (click here ) , U-2 ( click here ) and SR71 ( click here) aircraft overflights  are well known. A question which arose in my mind, was, did the Soviet Union undertake similar covert overflights of the USA?

There are certainly numerous accounts of incursions around the boundaries of US territory (as recently as 2008 click here) , but are there instances where a Soviet device penetrated further into the USA? I did some research on the Internet and found the following: 1. Report of a TU-95 over Langley AFB in 1980. 2. Report of TU-16s over Shymia AFB in 1969. (Click here.)

What of Soviet balloons?

Annie Jacobssen's 2011 book "Area 51" (click here) (UK edition published by Orion. London. ISBN 978-1-4091-4112-9 pp 248-250) tells an interesting story.

Colonel Kenneth B Collins ( see photograph) was one of the A-13 Oxcart pilots for the CIA, based at Area 51 in the 1960's. He relates being woken one morning to fly an unplanned A-12 mission. "...the pentagon had called to say that a Russian reconnaissance balloon was flying across the United States, floating with the prevailing winds in a westerly direction. Collins was to find the Soviet balloon - fast."

Collins had "...direct orders by the Pentagon to "hunt and find" the Soviet weather balloon visually and using radar."

"Flying somewhere over the middle of the continent, Collins briefly identified an object on radar about 350 miles away...he never saw the balloon with his own eyes."

"After Collins returned to base, engineers scrambled to read the information on the data recorder. The incident has never been declassified. Admitting that the Soviets invaded U.S. airspace whether in a craft or by balloon - is not something any U.S. official had ever done. Collins never asked any follow-up questions."

If anyone on the ground had been able to observer the Soviet balloon and reported it as a UFO, then no-one apart from the pentagon would have been able to identify it for what it really was.

Interestingly, an Internet search for information about Soviet balloons over the USA turned up no references.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Important RAAF UFO file released by Archives

Hi all

File series A9755 control symbol 4, titled [RAAF Headquarters Support Command, Victoria Barracks Victoria] UFO [Unidentified flying Object] reports [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings] has just been examined and digitised by the National Archives of Australia, at my request.

It is an RAAF UFO file, formely numbered 5/6/1/Air Part 8 titled simply "UFO Reports." The file cover is stamped "Retain permanently" and there is  a hand written note "Held by CINTO" which I take to mean Command Intelligence Officer."

There is then a NAA blue mask indicating that one folio on the file dated 1989 has been withheld from the digitised copy as it is not in the 30 year open access period.

A typed file note indicates that folios 3 and 53 are unlocated. Another note says "This file progresses logically to Folio 63 then consists of numerous "Initial Unusual Aerial Reports" all of which are un-numbered.
Another hand written note says "Valentich incident. Reports summarised at 5/6/1/Air Part 8 (53.)"

Finally there is a note which explains the un-numbered folios. "Please file these UAS reports on 5/6/1/Air Part 8 (closed.) They were kept apart from the file during the inquiry into the Valentich incident and never replaced. Folio numbering is unimportant."

What inquiry?

The RAAF has always maintained that it did not investigate the Valentich case. So, the question here, is what 'inquiry?" From other papers on the file it would appear to refer to the Department of Transport accident investigation inquiry.

Newspaper clippings:

A number of newspaper clippings appear on the file. They are from "The Age" 23 Oct 78; "The Sun News-Pictorial" 23 Oct 1978; an unsourced clipping; "The Sun News-Pictorial" 24 Oct 1978 and "The Age" 24 Oct 1978.

RAAF UFO report forms:

There are numerous completed "Initial Unusual Aerial Sightings Report" from individuals. These are dated between 8 Jan and 24 Dec 1978, and are from a variety of Victorian and interstate locations. A number cluster in October 1978.

Other interesting folios;

Page 49 of the digital copy is a letter dated 27 Nov 1978 from the Federal Department of Transport to the Command Intelligence Officer, HQ Sqd Ldr T Filing. It is headed "Missing Aircraft: Cessna 182 VH DSJ on 21.10.78"

"A recent letter to you (V116/783/1047 of 23.11.78 refers) concerning missing aircraft VH-DSJ and other matters, was dispatched without the mentioned attachments. These attachments are included with this letter for your attention." The next documents on the file are further "Reports of Unusual Aerial Sightings: dated 21.10.78, which may be the documents referred to in the DOT's letter.

Digital image 92 is a "Summary of UAS sightings for the period 18-23 Oct 78." It lists 21 reports, and someone has handwritten on the list between two entries "Valentich 1913hrs SAT 21 Oct." There is another hand written note that says " Copy to DOT investigator."

Kidnapping?

Digital image 134 is a minute dated 26 Oct 78 signed by a G F Boileau, LtCol, SO1 (Int.) to Sdr Ldr Filing, subject "More fantasies" and says "More details on UFOs as per our minute of 12 Oct 78. Both were received prior to the kidnapping of a light aircraft over Bass Strait recently." The enclosure is a hand written letter speculating about UFOs seen over the River Murray.

All in all ,this is a fascinating file to have been released. The 21 UFO reports between 18-23 Oct 78 make fascinating reading and deserve  a detailed study to see if they can contribute to the existing knowledge of Valentich's disappearance.

Accident investigation file:

The file, Vic 116/783/1047 is the Department of Transport's accident investigation file into Valentich's missing aircraft. I requested access to this file after discovering last October that it was actually filed with the National Archives of Australia, and not destroyed as suggested by the Department of Transport in 2004, when I submitted an FOI request for it.  I am still awaiting advice from the NAA as to whether the file will be made available, or at least the papers dated 1978-1981 which are outside the 30 year rule.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More National Archive Australian UFO files released

Hi all

It pays to periodically visit the National Archives of Australia website, and take a look for any new Australian government UFO files which have been released by the Archives.

Recently, I found details of five new files which haven't previously appeared in the Archives' RecordSearch database.

They are:

1. File series A9755 control symbol 4 titled [RAAF Headquarters Support Command, Victoria Barracks, Victoria] UFO [Unidentified Flying Object] reports [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings] 1978-1989.

2. File series A9755 control symbol 8 titled [Headquarters RAAF base Williamtown] Exercise Close Encounters [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings] [UFO - Unidentified Flying Object] 1983-1983.

3. File series A9755 control symbol 11 [RAAF Headquarters Support command, Victoria Barracks, Victoria] Information and photographs relating to unexplained aerial sightings [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings] [UFO - Unidentified Flying Object] 1983-1994.

4. File series A9755 control symbol 15 titled [RAAF Headquarters Amberley Base, Queensland] Unusual Aerial Sightings [UAS] [UFO - Unidentified Flying Object] 1982-1985.

5. File series A9755 control symbol 22 [RAAF AF Intelligence and Security, Canberra] UFOs [Unidentified Flying Object] enquiries from members of the public and civilian research organisation [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sighting] 1982-1994.

Don't rush off to the archives!

Unfortunately, A9755 control symbols 8, 11, 15 and 22 are marked with a status "Not yet Examined" which means Archives staff have not yet determined if they will be open for public inspection. In fact when you take a look at the date range of these files you will see that they range from 1982-1994, meaning that none of the papers on the files will be open to view them until 2013 at the earliest. So, knowing of the existence of these four  files is of little value!

The only file presently marked with a status "Open with exception" is files control symbol 4.

Disclosure Australia Project:

All is not lost. Members of the Disclosure Australia Project had an opportunity to view some of these files in August 2004 at the RAAF Base Edinburgh. Details are available at http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org/ in Project newsletter number 15.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Airships

Hi all

Previously, I looked at the details of the 25 October 1910, Minderoo Station, Western Australia, "airship" sighting and found it remained mysterious after a re-examination of the known details (click here).

Since that post, I recalled the great "airship" wave of 1896-1897 in the USA. There were literally hundreds of reported sightings during that wave, reported in hundreds, if not thousands of newspaper articles.

Folklorist Thomas E Bullard, and others,  spent much time locating and examining newspaper article on this wave. What did Bullard make of them? Are they evidence for UFOs before 1947?

Bullard:

In his book "The Myths and Mystery of UFOs", published in 2010 by the University Press of Kansas, Laurence, Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1729-6, Bullard writes:

"The great airship wave of 1896-1897 makes a striking impression on anyone who reads the newspaper reports as they unfold from day to day, but a disappointment lurks beneath the surface, not one of the thousand or so reports seems to describe a genuine UFO. Most accounts say nothing more than "...the airship was seen last night," while sightings reported at greater depth resolve into accurate descriptions of conventional phenomena or spectacular appearances due to hoaxes." (p.111.)

"In other cases where people saw multiple lights or structured features, a fire balloon or a kite bearing a paper lantern was the likely culprit." (p.112.)

"With questions overshadowing this remainder of quality reports, the authenticity of even one phantom airship seems doubtful." (P.113.)

Comment:

For an excellent review of Australian "airships" take a look at at this link (click here.)  (Thanks to Bill Chalker for pointing out this web site's articles.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cold case - Kingman, Arizona - 1953

Dear readers

My co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, has posted an excellent series of "cold cases" re-examining Australian UFO cases in the light of information available today.

I thought I might occasionally, conduct a few "cold case" investigations of my own. This post concerns the Kingman, Arizona, USA 'crash' case of May 1953.

Kevin D Randle:

In his excellent 2010 book "Crash: When UFOs Fall From the Sky" (published by New Page Books, Franklin Lakes, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-100-8,) author Kevin D Randle (click here) presents the following information on Kingman.

1971: Researchers Young and Chetham (click here) interview a source. ('Fritz Werner' later said to be Arthur Stancil.) The source tells them of a UFO, "...12 feet long and fairly intact." There was an associated creature "...dark brown, two eyes, nostrils and ears..." (p.163.) "It was also clothed in a silvery, metallic suit and wore a skullcap." (p.131.) The crash site was said to be 25 miles from Phoenix.

1976: Research Raymond Fowler (click here) interviews the same source getting "...a slightly different version of the story." (p.163.) There, the "...object was disk shaped, 30 feet in diameter, and about 20 feet from top to bottom." (p.166.)

1978: Researcher Len Stringfield (click here) cites researcher Charles Wilhelm's (click here) source 'Major Daly.' April 1953. Daly reports examining "...the remains of a crashed flying saucer...25 to 30 feet in diameter..." (p.170.)However, the location of the crash was unknown. Stringfield also reports "...on a man...who claimed that he saw the delivery of three bodies from a crash site in Arizona in 1953 "...4 feet tall...brownish skin..." (p.170.)

1994: Stringfield cites a further source - JLD - who reports on "...two crashes in Arizona. He also told him three bodies, one sverely burnt, and parts of the wrecked craft, were delivered to the base." (pp170-171.)

Schmitt's source:

Don Schmitt, (click here) came across a source Judie Woolcott (click here). Her story was that in 1965 her husband, serving in Vietnam had written her about a 1953 incident at Kingman, Arizona. This involved a crashed object and bodies. (pp172-173.) Further research seemed to discredit this source.

New book:

A chapter in a new book titled "UFOs and Aliens:Is There Anybody Out There?" edited by Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley (published by New Page Books. 2011. Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-173-2) throws new light on the 1953 Kingman, case.

Pages 121 to 136 are a chapter titled "The Kingman Affair" written by Nick Redfern. Nick covers the Young and Chatham material; Raymond Fowler's investigation, and those claims by source JLD, plus Judy Woolcott's account; although Redfern provides the original source's real name as "Arthur Stansel." (p.128.)

2009:

A source "Marion Shaw" (click here) emerged claiming "...to have typed a lengthy classified report on the Kingman crash and body recovery..." (p.129.)

Redfern also covers the contactee Truman Bethurum, who in 1952 near Kingman, Arizona claims to have encountered an object, and olive skinned, 5 feet tall, creatures wearing uniforms and caps.

2011:

Redfern used FOI requests to unearth material from USAF files "...showing that in the same precise time frame of the Kingman crash - specifically during the Atomic Energy Commission's Upshot-Knothole tests that Arthur Stansel played a role in the military was secretly test-flying drone aircraft in the Nevada/Arizona area, with monkeys on board." (p131.) The monkeys were "...dressed in various types of protective clothing and wore skullcaps." (p.132.) For more on the tests (click here. )

Redfern goes on to write "Albert Barker, who formerly worked in the US Army's Psychological Warfare Center, has shown me copies of additional documentation that refers to the secret recovery of one such drone aircraft that went wildly off course and crashed approximately 33 miles outside of Kingman in May of 1953. According to these documents, the recovery of the device and the bodies of the dead monkeys was the subject of stringent security because the crash was tied to the Upshot-Knothole atomic tests undertaken in Nevada." (p.132.)

As a final note, "..recall that Stansel was informed by his superiors that the Kingman craft was a secret experimental vehicle of the US military." (p.134.)

Comment:

This new information obtained by Redfern, suggests that the 1953 Kingman crash had a terrestrial origin.

Friday, January 13, 2012

UFOs and aliens - new book alert

Dear readers

I've been ploughing my way through books in my "waiting to be read" pile by my bedside and it was the turn for a new UFO book. It seems that a librarian at my local library must have an interest in the UFO phenomenon, as the library gets a lot of the new UFO books. The latest offering from the library is "UFOs & Aliens. Is There Anybody Out There?" edited by Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley. It is published by New Page Books. 2011. Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-60163-173-2. The book consists of a series of 13 essays. For those who haven't come across this new book and would like to see if any of the essays would make good reading in full, I will post some details.

1. A Cosmic Watergate: UFO Secrecy. Stanton T Friedman. (Click here.)

Friedman argues that governments can keep secrets from the general public, and provides examples such as the Manhattan Engineering District; the U-2 aircraft; and the Corona spy satellite program. "In sum, it is very clear that various agencies of the United States government had and and continue to have the capability of keeping secrets, and have intentionally and consistently withheld facts and information regarding - and even actual wreckage of - alien spacecraft." (p.24.)

2. The Real X-Files. Nick Pope. (Click here.)

Pope recounts the story of the release of the UK government's UFO files, highlights some interesting cases, such as the 1957 Milton Torres interception; the 1991 Al Italia aircraft near-miss; the Bentwaters 1980 incident and the 1993 Cosford event. "These are exciting times. As of this writing, numerous countries are releasing their UFO files." (p.45.)

3. Doubt Beyond reason. Gordon Chism. (Click here.)

Chism details a personal observation of an unusual object, in 1958 in Nevada. he then explores three factors which he believes steer people away from acceptance of the UFO phenomenon. "I believe that all of these things - our fear of losing status, our tendency to follow the group consensus, and our use of faith and denial to override logic - have enabled us to reject the existence of aliens and UFOs." (p.56.)

4. An Alien Intervention. Jim Moroney. (Click here.)

Jim had a personal abduction encounter in 1987 which he describes, along with details of an abduction in the Yukon, and the 1994 Rawa, Zimbabwe event. "It is no longer of question of when extraterrestrials will confront us, but rather the much more difficult question of how they will interact with us." (p.79.)

5. Alien Abduction: Fact or Fiction? Kathleen Marden. (Click here.)

Marden reviews a range of non-terrestrial explanations for the UFO abduction phenomenon. Using the details of a number of well known abduction cases, she argues that these appear to be more than of psychological origin. "Clearly, alien abduction investigation is firmly planted on the frontiers of science. As in any science, the careful, methodical collection and evaluation of credible evidence over an extended period of time, along with political change, might bring about a paradigm shift. But until then, the controversy will rage on. " (p.102.)

6. Cosmic Peeping Toms: UFOs and Invisibility. Micah Hanks. (Click here.)

Using case studies, Hanks suggests that "...extraterrestrial craft might be lingering in our aerospace without our knowledge, thanks to an advanced technology that renders them invisible to the naked eye, and perhaps even to advanced radar equipment as well." (p.108.)

7. The Kingman Affair. Nick Redfern. (Click here.)

Something crashed near a place named Kingman, Nevada in May 1953. Redfern examines and discusses the known facts, and interestingly comes down on the side of a non-extraterrestrial explanation. namely, that the object was a military drone aircraft with monkeys on board.

8. Roswell in Perspective: The Human response to an Extraordinary Event. Donald R Schmitt. (Click here.)

Schmitt, a long time Roswell researcher asks us to "...ignore the minutia and instead to focus on the human aspect of this story." (p.138.) The basic core story is outlined, arguing the words of the witnesses who have come forward should be heard.

9. Star Travel: How Realistic is it? Stanton T Friedman.

Friedman's second essay in this book shows that some experts in the past have been proven wrong in their statements. Discussing the possible role of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Fission propulsion systems have been tested in the past. "Given our own technological progress, which shows no signs of slowing or abating, the stars may soon be within our reach..." (p.165.)

10. The UFO Problem: Toward a Theory of Everything? John White. (Click here.)

White argues that "...based on the evidence, it seems clear that no single explanation can cover every experience and event..." (p.168.) White sees that three solutions could contribute to an overall conclusion. These are the extraterrestrial; terrestrial and the metaterrestrial - (outside ordinary space time.)

11. Killing the Roswell Story. Thomas J Carey. (Click here.)

This essay focuses on an aspect of the Roswell story, namely "...the killing of the original flying saucer story by the Air Force." (p.190.) Cary presents his findings, including the testimony of Brigadier General Arthur Exon.

12. Identity Crisis: When is a UFO not a UFO? Marie D Jones and Larry Flaxman. (Click here and here.)

The authors first explore a range of things which generate false UFO reports. then they go on to look at the alternate universe theory; the inter dimensional hypothesis, and visions and altered states of consciousness.

13. Hybrids: Memories of the Future. Erich von Daniken. (Click here.)

Taking a look at what geneticists are doing these days, the author suggest that "What is being attempted today - and will one day succeed - already exists millennium ago," (p.231.)

Comments:

As with any collection of essays on a theme, the quality ranges from the average to the excellent. In general, I enjoyed this collection and the thinking it required me to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cold case - the Mount Gillen photograph - Alice Springs - 1954

Hi all

One entry in my catalogue of Australian photographic cases (click here) is the following:

15 Jan 1954 Alice Springs NT

A person was taking pictures of Mount Gillen (click here) when suddenly an enormous round object appeared from behind it. It went high, then dropped low. A picture was taken, and then suddenly it gained speed and shot off at high speed to the west. (Source: Hervey, M. "UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere." 1969. Sydney. Horowitz. p.96.)

Recently, when looking at the digitised newspaper collection of the National library of Australia, I came across the original newspaper article about the event, which made interesting reading. I doubt that many people have had access to the original account, so I reproduce part of the text.

"Unknown" Claims Snapped Flying Saucer Over Alice:

"Men from Venus, secret flying machines from Russia, meteorites, optical allusions (sic) or just plain fakes and lies - what are these "flying saucers" reported to have been seen in many parts of the world, including Alice Springs?

Below we have published a photograph claimed to be that of a "flying saucer." With the picture, the following note was pushed under the door of the "Advocate" office.

'For several reasons, one of which is because I can hardly believe it myself I refuse at this stage to come forward and allow my name to be used. But study this picture of a flying saucer yourself.

'I was taking a picture of Mount Gillen on the day that a number of Alice Springs people said they heard something strange pass over the town (Friday January 15). Suddenly an enormous round looking object appeared from behind Gillen. It went high then dropped to come down quite between the mountain and the town - it was not travelling fast at this stage - in fact it appeared to be almost hovering. That was when I took this picture - almost automatically. I focused and clicked the camera. It would have been possible to take more shots but I just looked, then suddenly the thing moved off very fast - it gained speed until it must have been travelling at terrific pace going high to the west.

'I did not hear much of a whistling sound. The saucer looked to have been anything up to 150 feet across - I don't know, maybe Adamski had something about those men from Venus.'

The only comment that the "Advocate" is prepared to make at this stage is that the picture could easily be a fake - on the other hand it one would have to go to considerable trouble to make it up. If genuine, the saucer looks to be a very large affair, although distance would make all the difference in this."

The account then goes on to speak of Adamski, hoaxes and stories from other places.

The above quote is from the Centralian Advocate (Alice Springs, NT: 1947-1954) Friday 5 Feb 1954 pages 1-2.

The photograph:

The black and white photograph shows a scene which includes a mountain recognisable as Mount Gillen, scrub country in the foreground, and some sky. At the two o'clock position from the centre of the picture, in the sky, is a circular  object of quite large angular size. It has a circle in its centre, about one quarter to one third the diameter of the whole thing. From the edge of the inner circle, six "spokes" radiate out to touch the outer circle at the  2,3,4, 7,9 and 10 o'clock positions. The object is in clear focus while the landscape looks a little out of focus.

The date of the sighting:

The date of the photograph is given by the photographer as Friday 15 Jan 1954, and is said to be the same day as "...a number of Alice Springs people said they heard something strange pass over the town...I did not hear much of a whistling sound..."

Harts Range flying saucer:

Is there any documentation on the audio event? I found an item in the Centralian Advocate dated Friday 15 Jan 1954, page 1.

"Flying Saucer at Harts Range:

Something streaked across the sky in the Harts Range area very early one morning recently with a strange high pitched noise. Some who have heard the report believe that Central Australia has been visited by a "flying saucer."

The report is the first of any kind in the NT and is suggestive of the current "flying saucer" stories. They have been "seen" in Australia recently, but this is the nearest we have come to having our own "saucer."

Four Aborigines were witnesses to the strange sound. It was about 5am in the morning and the sky was clouded over, so that whatever past (sic) overhead was not seen.

Very uneasy about the incident the four men immediately went to the camp of Mr Mark Mitchell and his wife to report. They said the sound was not that of a plane, and they have heard many planes. Apart from sound, the object was travelling too fast. The natives claim that whatever it was, and it sounded to be just above the low cloud, it shot across at tremendous speed, but they heard it coming and going for several minutes.

Mr Mitchell stresses that he did not hear the sound, but is positive that the men heard something strange, because they are reliable unemotional types. They were plainly intrigued and their first thought had been to go to some one who may be able to tell them what it was.

The "Advocate" checked to see if the sound could possibly have been a jet aircraft, but no aircraft passed that way at this time, or during the week of the incident."

My comments:

1. The date of 15 Jan 1954, for this case, given in my catalogue appears incorrect. The photographer in their note to the paper gave the photo date as 15 Jan. However, they also wrote that the photo was taken on the same day as "...a number of Alice Springs people said they heard something strange pass over the town..." (Centralian Advocate 5 Feb1954.)

However, the Centralian Advocate of 15 Jan 1954, which refers to a report of a strange sound, states that this audio event occurred "...very early one morning recently..." i.e. prior to 15 Jan 1954 but not actually 15 Jan 1954. This discepancy casts doubt on this aspect of the photographer's claims.

The 15 Jan date for the photo is also cited in articles in "The Mail" (Adelaide, SA: 1912-1954) Saturday 6 Feb 1954 p.12, and "The Mercury" (Hobart, TAS:1860-1954) Saturday 6 Feb 1954 p.27.

2. To my knowledge, the Mount Gillen photographer has never to this day, been identified. It therefore remains an anonymously sourced photograph.

3. What did local people think about the photograph? The "Northern Standard" (Darwin, NT: 1920-1955) Thursday 11 Feb 54 p.3 provided some responses:

"...there are theories about the object in the sky between Mount Gillen and the town, ranging from a washing machine agitator, to a button, some folk believe it is the wheel of a toy car, others that it is an inflated rubber cushion. Still others believe it is in fact a "flying saucer"..."

4. My own impressions of this photographic case are that:

(a) There is doubt about the link between the audio event and the photograph, and the date given by the photographer.

(b) The photographer is anonymous and no details of the camera and film, are available, and no copies of photographs either side of the flying saucer one.

(c) The image of the object appears sharper than the scenery, suggestive of the object being closer to the camera than the scenery.

5. I conclude that this photographic case is of little value to us. Take a look at the photograph for yourself (click here.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interaction between the RAAF and USAF - Project Bluebook

Hi all

In a recent post (click here) I wrote about the 1953 interaction between the USAF and RAAF, and pondered whether the RAAF participated in the USAF Project Blue Book by passing on early Australian flying saucer reports to the USAF. After browsing the Project Blue Book archives (click here) I can now report further.

George A Uhrich:

Uhrich was the Assistant Air Attache at the American Embassy in Australia in 1953. In that year, in May, he visited the offices of the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (RAAF) to discuss Australian reports of flying saucers.

The Project Blue Book archives indicates as follows. Blue Book references are shown first - you can look up these documents for yourself on their website.

MAXW-PBB8-1010
Dated 17 July 1953 it is a copy of a report from Condamine, Queensland sent to Blue Book by Uhrich.

MAXW-PBB8-1011 to 1013
This is the report from Condamine, titled "Report on Unidentified aircraft" of 2 Feb 1951. It was prepared by the RAAF Intelligence Officer, Amberley RAAF base, and forwarded to blue Book by Uhrich. I have never seen this document in any RAAF file that the Disclosure Australia project reviewed.

MAXW-PBB10-403
A Blue Book index card recording details of the 3 May 1952, Kew, Melbourne, Victoria sighting.

MAXW-PBB10-104
This document from Uhrich to Blue Book is dated 20 Jul 1953 and encloses a copy of the Kew report.

MAXW-PBB10-405
A copy of the RAAF's report, dated 15 may 1952 on the Kew, Melbourne report of 3 May 1952.

MAXW-PBB10-406
A memo from Uhrich, dated 20 Jul 1953 encloses a report from Sydney, Australia.

MAXW-PBB10-407 to 411
A copy of the RAAF's internal report on the 3 May 1952 sightings over Sydney.

RAAF file:

For those interested in reading the RAAF's own file on the 3 May 1952 Sydney sightings take a look in the National Archives of Australia website at file series A11066 control symbol 5/1/27 Part B titled "Eastern Area Headquarters Intelligence Report on Unusual Sightings 3/5/1952."

Evidence:

Here then, is the direct evidence, that the RAAF had supplied the USAF with information on sightings from Australia in the early 1950's.

Lost file:

SEC CD2/2 is a file reference which appears in some early RAAF files. It is believed to be a file which held their prior to 1953 internal UFO reports. It may hold further information about the early interaction between the USAF and RAAF. However, although searches have been undertaken to locate this file, it has never been located. Indeed suggestions are that it has been "lost."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cold case - April 1954 - Western/South Australia

Hi all

I have been spending some time in the State Library of South Australia looking through all the issues of the "Australian Saucer Record" (ASR) a magazine formerly produced here in Adelaide, South Australia. I have extracted quite a few South Australian UFO reports from the 1950's and incorporated summaries in my South Australian reports catalogue.

One interesting report which I have always known about, but had never seen the original source material before, was detailed in ASR Volume 5 Number 3 of 1959, page 13.

A reported fantastic photographic case:

"The following story was related to us by one of the men involved in it who gave without hesitation all the facts, including the names of the other witnesses, for reasons of diplomacy all names are withheld from the publication, but we do not doubt the veracity of the witnesses.

The date Easter 1954 Place Near border of South Australia and West Australia

The story. Three young men were travelling to South Australia in an Austin A70 car. They had passed through a town 17 miles from the West Australian border, and five miles on the West Australian side a saucer began to follow the car. It continued following them for about 50 miles up to within five miles of the next town.

It was very low at times enough for them to see portholes in the object and they took various photos of it with their cameras, and becoming a little concerned they decided to inform the police at the next town. The saucer having now left them. The police upon receiving this information immediately rang the Air Control at Salisbury. The young men were detained and a helicopter soon appeared from the Edinburgh Air field (Distance approx 200 miles.)

Two Air Force officers got out of the copter, but oddly enough, although in uniform, they wore no rank badges, but they did have on service ribbons. They asked the young men innumerable questions and demanded the five cameras which had been used to take photos with which there were three 35mm cameras with one containing a colour film, and two black and white. All told they had 92 exposures of the object. As well there were two Rolleicords each with 12 exposures of black and white.

The cameras were seized by the officials and the men warned not to discuss the matter with anyone. The officers then left and the young men continued on their way a little scared. Two weeks later their cameras were returned to them through registered post with letters to each man again warning them not to tell anyone of their experiences.

Later through other means one of the party was able to secure one of the photos, but it was in his opinion the worst of the series taken. This young man in now in England where we are trying to locate him and secure the photo or a copy.

According to our witness the saucer followed about 100 yards away from the car, and mostly about fifty feet above them, until they turned the car round to face it. It was then the saucer came and hovered over them and they were able to take most excellent photos of the object, some very good close-ups being among them showing the underside with a three ball landing type gear. Out of all these photos (over 100) what has happened top the others including those very good close-ups? Why have they never been released to the public?"

My comments:

1. "They passed through a town 17 miles from the West Australian border." There is only one road they could have been on, the main highway between Perth and Adelaide. An examination of a map of the area shows there is no "town" at this location. The locality of Eucla is 13 km or 8 miles West of the border.

2. "It continued following them for about 50 miles up to within five miles of the next town." This places the "next town" at 50 miles East of the border.  Another look at a map shows there is no "town" at this location. It is an extremely desolate part of Australia. the next "town" is Penong which is some 400kms or 250 miles East of the border.

3. "They decided to inform the police at the next town." See my comments at 2 above.

4. "A helicopter soon appeared from the Edinburgh Air Field (Distance approx 200 miles.)" Even if they did stop in Penong, then the 200 miles is incorrect. Penong is some 600kms or 370 miles from Edinburgh Air Field (the old name for the current Edinburgh RAAF Base) in a straight line (not road distance which is greater.)

Just what helicopters did the RAAF have in 1954?

According to a website (click here) the RAAF had two types of helicopters in use in 1954. These were:

1. The Sikorsky S-51 Dragonfly.
2. The Bristol Sycamore.

Another website (click here) says there were only three such helicopters in RAAF service between 1947-1964. However, two had crashed before 1954 and only the remaining one, helicopter A80-374, operated with Number 22 Squadron until 21 June 1955. A further RAAF website (click here) indicates that the total range for this helicopter was 579 miles. Number 22 Squadron was however, based at Richmond, New South Wales and not at Edinburgh Air Field. It therefore appears that none of these type of copter was based at Ediburgh Air Field.

What of the Bristol Sycamore? Again the list of RAAF aircraft indicates that the RAAF had only two of these helicopters in the period 1951-1965. One of the previously mentioned websites (click here)  shows that these copters were based at the Woomera rocket range and used almost exclusively there. It had a total range of 431kms. There is no evidence on any of the websites which I consulted that these helicopters were ever based at the Edinburgh Air Field. In addition their operational range is insufficient to have travelled to the area indicated in the UFO story.

In summary, It would appear difficult to match the known RAAF helicopters of the day, with the details indicated in the ASR account.

5. "Letters to each man again warning them not to tell anyone." One would reasonably expect the ASR informant to have been able to produce such a letter to back up their testimony. The ASR is silent on this point but I think it reasonable to say that if the ASR had sighted such a letter they would have mentioned it.

6. To my knowledge, none of the alleged photographs ever saw the light of day and I have seen nothing in the UFO literature to say they did.

7. On the off chance that there may have been an account of the event in the 1954 newspapers, I checked the digital newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. I found nothing about the account.

In conclusion:

In my opinion, the problems with details of the event, as recorded in the ASR article, leave doubts in my mind, as to the veracity of the informant, and hence the event as described.

I'd like to hear from readers who may have further information or documentation on this event.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Corona spy satellites and Westall - a link?

Dear readers

Happy New Year from Adelaide, South Australia!  What a start to 2012, with our maximum temperature today climbing to 41 degrees C. I'm settling down with a glass of cold Queen Adelaide wine, and reading a copy of the new book "UFOs and Aliens" (details below.)

Hot weather and a lazy day always gets my brain pondering UFO cases; strange but true. While reading a passage in this book, my thoughts turned to the 1966 Westall case (click here .)

Westall:

At about 11am on 6 April 1966, something travelled through the air over the Westall High School, in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton, Victoria. It is said that military personnel, possibly RAAF, Army, USAF, and Commonwealth Police attended the scene, some in so short a time as to appear that the authorities knew about the aerial object beforehand.

Conventional explanations:

Some researchers have suggested that there is a conventional explanation for the event (e.g. click here.)

While sipping my wine, and reading "UFOs and Aliens" I thought that if you were looking for a conventional explanation, you would need to find some secret project, which was operational in 1966 over Australia; which had something known to be in the Melbourne area, and something which the USAF were involved with.

In earlier blog posts, my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield explored the possibility of a link between Westall and the USAF Australian U-2 program, Operation Crowflight (click here and here.) Ultimately, after studying previously unpublished Australian Government files, he concluded that there appeared to be no link.

So, now to that passage from "UFOs and Aliens," edited by Michael Pye and Kirsten Dalley (New Page Books. 2011. Pompton Plains, NJ. ISBN 978-1-66163-173-2.) In a chapter titled "A Cosmic Watergate: UFO Secrecy," UFOlogist Stanton T Friedman writes about the formerly secret CIA Corona spy satellite program. These American satellites were in use between June 1959 and May 1972, and certainly around in 1966 the time of the Westall event. They photographed various parts of the world and "The de-orbited film containers were snatched out of the sky and captured, usually away from populated areas (over the Pacific Ocean or the deserts of Australia, for example.)" (p.12.)
The program remained secret until 1995.

So, here came my line of thinking. A secret program, in operation in 1966; involving USAF personnel in which something came down from orbit at a known date and time, which sometimes occurred over "the deserts of Australia." Suppose something went wrong with one of these descending film containers and it veered over Melbourne?

Corona:

In this scenario, the question of course, is, was there a Corona spy satellite in orbit and de-orbiting a film container at 11 am on 6 April 1966?

I located a NASA website (click here) which listed each of the Corona program satellites (the KH range). KH 7-26 (NSSDC ID 1966-022B) is shown as being launched 18 March 1966 and decaying on 23 March 1966. KH 7-27 (NSSDC ID 1966-032A) was launched 19 April 1966 and decayed 26 April 1966. Thus according to this source, there was no Corona program satellite in orbit on 6 April 1966.

However, I then located another website (click here) which also had a list of launches. Here, we find:

Mission number 1030
NSSDC Id 1966-018A
Launched 9 Mar 1966
Decayed 29 Mar 1966.

Mission number 1031
NSSDC Id 1966-029A
Launched 7 April 1966
Decayed 26 April 1966.

A check back with the NSSDC catalogue shows that these two missions were also apparently Corona program satellites. Again, though none was in orbit on 6 April 1966 (even allowing for time differences between locations on Earth.)

In conclusion:

Like the U-2 program which involved USAF personnel, the Corona spy satellite program appears to have no link to the Westall event.

For those readers now intrigued to read more on the Corona program  please take a look at the CIA History Staff, Center for the Study of Intelligence, book on Corona edited by Kevin C Ruffner (click here to read a copy.)

UFO crash lore:

Interestingly, this secret program may have contributed to "UFO crash" lore, e.g. on page 33 one reads that Corona mission 1005 was launched on 27 April 1964. On 26 May 1964 observers in Venezuela saw five burning objects in the sky. On 7 July 1964 workers found a "battered golden object" on the ground on a farm near La Fria, Tachira state. "A team of CORONA officers, ostensibly representing the USAF, flew to Caracas to recover the remains."  "...CORONA officers...quietly dismissed the event as an unimportant NASA space experiment gone awry." (p.33.)

I found a very informative website with an excellent report on the Venezuela incident (click here.)

Have any readers come across Corona related "UFO crashes?"