Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New book alert - "UFOs and Government."

Hi all,

Introduction:

As many blog readers will be aware, I facilitated a team of Adelaide based researchers (members of the Australian UFO Research Association) who looked for, located, and documented the file holdings of the Australian government, between 2003-2008. I now continue this work as an individual, as I slowly find more and more files in the National Archives of Australia. It is for this reason, as well as others, that I looked forward to reading a new, scholarly, work titled "UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry" written by members of the UFO History group, and published in 2012. The publisher is Anomalist Books of San Antonio, Tx, USA. ISBN is 19-33-66-55-80. My copy was courtesy of a member of the group, Jan Aldrich.

Members of the Group:

A little rundown of the group's members is in order. Jan Aldrich is formerly of the  US Army; Bill Chalker is a renowned Australian researcher who was one of the first to get a look at Australian government files; and Barry Greenwood is co-author of the groundbreaking book "Clear Intent." Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos worked with the Spanish government's Air Force to review their files for public release; Robert Powell is MUFON's Research Director; Steve Purcell is a member of MUFON's STAR field investigation team; Clas Svahn is vice-chair of the Archives for UFO Research; Michael Swords is a board member of CUFOs, and Richard Thieme is an author and speaker. As you can see, the list of contributors to this work, speaks volumes about the serious nature of the quality of the contents.

The USA:

The major portion of the book is dedicated to the exploration of the phenomenon by various elements of the US government. 13 of the 20 chapters of this massive 580 page book relates to the US experience. However, this work starts with two chapters which discuss pre 1947 events in non-US countries. The first delves into World War Two observations of what came to be known as "foo fighters." The second takes a look at the Scandinavian "Ghost Rockets."

This introductory material paves the way for an excellent, in-depth review of the US government's actions (and inactions) regarding what started off as "Flying Discs." We read of the formation and demise of Projects Sign and Grudge; of reports during the Korean War; and the official response to the 1952 Washington events.

There were some surprises for me in this book. In Feb 1950 the US Navy presented an intelligence analysis on the subject. The book states "This is a mild surprise to modern historians because, although it has been known that the Navy was getting copies of Air Force reports at least since late 1948 the existence of a formalised method of UFO case analysis by Naval Intelligence has only been suspected." (p.90.)

"The CIA solution:"

Chapter nine was of particular interest to me, as I had previously read much material on the involvement of the CIA. "The CIA analysts viewed the Air Force handling of the UFO problem as honest but inadequate." (p.175.)

Chapter 12 "Something Closer This Way comes" reminded me that the American experience, up to that stage, was one where the "unknowns" were in the air and not on the ground. This was opposed to the 1954 experience in France where many close encounters on the ground were being reported. This, to a degree, set the US government's responses in context.

The classic Nov 1957 Levelland, Texas, "close encounters" with multiple events, met with a limited USAF response. Lt Col William Brunson's reports included "...would suggest that Saucedo was unreliable, the sheriff had seen lighting and electrical storms, and Neville Wright must have encountered a rare case of ball lighting." (p.254.)

NICAP v the USAF:

The saga of the civilian group NICAP versus the USAF is examined in depth, telling the story of NICAP's use of the political arena to push for serious research. The book provides a far more in depth exploration of this era than most others. We read of the characters on both side of the debate.

The 1960's:

Moving into the 1960's we come to chapter 14 "The Colorado project" and find strong support for the fact that the Project lacked a proper, scientific approach. In an interesting twist, this lack of scientific rigour "...awakened many academics and intellectuals, and they came, at least briefly, out of the closet with their interest." (p.332.)

With the release of the University of Colorado report came the demise of the USAF "Project Blue Book." "...the defense function could be performed within the framework established  for intelligence and surveillance operations without the continuance of a special unit such as Project Blue Book" said the USAF. (p.336.)

The final chapter of the US involvement, chapter 15, takes the story from 1969 through to the "Stephenville lights" of 2008. "Government agencies continued to be interested in the phenomenon, as we have seen." (p.349.) The Roswell incident was responded to by the USAF in two reports "The Roswell Report: Fact versus Fiction in the  New Mexico desert," in 1994, and the 1997  "The Roswell Report: Case Closed."

Other countries:

The government response in some other countries has been different to that of the USA.

In chapter 16 "The Swedish Military's UFO History" we learn of the interaction between the official Swedish Defence Research Institute (FOA, now FOI) and the civilian group UFO-Sweden. "This cooperation and sharing of information between a civilian UFO group and a military UFO desk is unique." (p.371.)

As regards to the Australian experience "The Australian response was more of a middle ground," (p373) between the USAF's no official program from 1969, and the UK's, secrecy. Bill Chalker competently covers the RAAF's involvement, together with the early efforts of the Department of Civil Aviation. Harry Turner's extensive investigations and role, are well set out. A number of well known, and not so well known Australian cases, are documented, together with the official Australian response.

Chapters 18 and 19 set out the government's response in Spain and France respectively. "Historically speaking, two stages are distinguished in the performance of the Spanish Air Force in the UFO business: (a) secrecy (1962-1990) and (b) disclosure (1990-1999.)" (p.437.)

In France, science studies the phenomenon, not the French Air Force. "The support provided to GEIPAN by the French government illustrates the significance that one of the world's major powers places upon the scientific understanding of the UFO phenomenon." (p.453.)

Finally, chapter 20 takes a brief look at the government's response in Belgium, the Soviet Union and Brazil.

Conclusion:

The book's Epilogue includes "This is exactly our conclusion - many UFO incidents have occurred and are documented in the governmental sources, for which no obvious explanation was, nor is, available." (p.469.)

My final thoughts:

"UFOs and Government" is a thoroughly, well researched and enjoyable read. It makes a magnificent contribution to our knowledge of global governmental response to the  phenomenon.

I heartily recommend it as an essential part of any serious researcher's library.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Valentich - the rest of the file is available

Hi all,

I previously reported on the release, by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) of the major part of file series B1497 control symbol V116/783/1047, titled "DSJ - Cape Ottway to King Island 21 October 1978 - Aircraft missing." This was the Australian Government's Air Accident Investigation file on the disappearance of aircraft VH-DSJ, piloted by Frederick Valentich.

The file released by the NAA, under the Archives Act allowed access to documents on the file, which were more than 30 years old. As I requested this file in 2012, this meant papers up to 1983 were released to me. This left an unknown number of folios (a folio can mean one or more papers) on the file up until the file was closed and placed in the NAA.

I therefore submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the  file's current owner, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), requesting the rest of the folios on the file. I had little hope of finding  anything of real value, given that the final report on the disappearance of the aircraft and pilot appeared on papers released under the Archives Act. However, I thought that I would be thorough, and obtain the rest of the file's documents. If no-one obtained the papers, there would always be some conspiracy theory that there was something hidden on the rest of the file.

I have just received these documents. What was on the file beyond 1983?

Authority to make this decision:

The decision maker in response to my FOI Act request, was Ian Sangston, General Manager, Aviation Safety Investigations, Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

I was advised that there are 23 folios on file V116/783/1047 relevant to my request. These documents fall into one of three categories:

1. Documents released in full - 3
2. Documents released with some deletions - 17
3. Documents totally exempt form release - 2.

That totals 22 folios. One folio is several pages long; four pages of it are exempt; one page released with some deletions and one page fully released. This totals the 23 folios.

What are the folios?

1. 26 Jun 1985. From Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) to Trans Media Productions Pty Ltd. "I refer to your Freedom of Information request...for a copy of an unedited tape recording of the conversation between Mr F Valentich and Melbourne Flight Service on 21 October 1978. it is Departmental practice to recycle tapes and the particular tape to which you refer has, after investigation of Mr Valentich's disappearance, been returned to service. As no other tape recording of the conversation is held by the Department, the Department is unable to comply with your request."

2. 25 Jun 1985. From Trans Media productions -Channel 9 TV, to the Department. (Keith's note - this document is almost unreadable due to being very faint, but would appear to be the request alluded to in 1 above.

3. 26 Jun 1985. Internal memo from Regional Director, Victoria, to Director, BASI. I propose to reply to Trans media productions as per the draft here.

4. 11 Jul 1985. Letter from Trans Media Productions to BASI. "Is the tape in the archives of the recyling department or has it been destroyed? If so who made the decision to recycle the tape? It seems amazing that a tape of this nature would not be preserved for future investigation i.e. an inquiry into the possible death of Mr Valentich by the courts." Trans Media asked for a "...copy of the unedited transcript of this tape..."

5. Four pages of the "Preliminary transcript from Melbourne Flight Service Recording."

6. BASI document. Two pages. Completely blank. The schedule of documents under the ATSB response states that this folio is "Tape order book records." The "Exemption category" states "R with out of scope. Information deleted. Tape order book records relating to other aircraft."

7. 17 Jul 1985. BASI document. Two pages. Described as "Internal minute." Completely exempt.

8. 16 Jul 1985. BASI document. "Note containing NOK personal information." This folio is a one page "Bureau of Air Safety Investigation Minute." Handwritten "Note. Mr Guido Valentich." The rest of the folio is blank.

9. 8 Aug 1985. Department of Aviation letter to Trans Media Productions.  "...has decided to grant access to the summary report relating to the accident involving Mr Valentich. This report contains a complete transcript of Mr Valentich's conversation with Melbourne Flight Service."

10. 26 Jul 1985. Letter Department of Aviation to Trans Media Productions. "Regarding your question on the recycling of audio tapes. I confirm the advice of (deleted) on 9 July that it is departmental practice to "recycle" tapes after use. This means that unless tapes are required for investigation purposes they are retained for 30 days and then reused, as needed, to record further operational conversations... Our records indicate that the tape concerning Mr Valentich was returned to service on 6 April 1979, following its release from BASI."

11. A one page BASI note. Handwritten. It appears to show two file numbers V116/783/1047 and M116/783/1047. It is a table with columns headed "Folio," "Release (Yes/No)," "Reason (If no)," "Agrees."
There is a handwritten note "Accident report only see F6 on U86/46." Under "folios" there are 63 folios shown. Some have "yes" written under "release" and others have "no."

12. 24 Oct 1988. BASI. "Investigators file note." One page. Totally exempt. Not included in my package.

13. 27 Sep 1989. Fax from Southdown press to Bureau of Air Safety investigation. Asks BASI "I wish to request a public release document containing details of the flight,. subsequent investigations and the conclusion reached..." Apparently for an article for the "Australasian Post" magazine.

14. 27 Sep 1989. Fax from BASI to Southdown press. Response to 13. Here is what you asked for.

15. 9 Apr 1990. BASI to "An external party." "Letter regarding request for a copy of the Accident report concerning VH-DSJ."

16. 4 Apr 1990. "Ineligible document as received." Totally blank.

17. 9 Apr 1990. BASI. "Internal minute regarding attachment of document to file."

18. 15 Mar 1991. Letter from Mary MacKillop Catholic Regional College, South Gippsland to BASI. For a communications project could we please have information on Valentich's disappearance?

19. 26 Mar 1991. BASI to Mary Mackillop Catholic Regional College. Includes "The file on this occurrence was archived some time ago but I have requested its issue from Australian archives to obtain for you a copy of the report made available for public release following investigation of the occurrence...Interest in the disappearance has continued primarily due to the UFO connotations which were not substantiated and yours is one of several requests we receive each year for information on this occurrence. Even iI would like to know what really happened but it is one of those mysteries which probably will never be solved."

20. 27 Mar 1991. BASI to Mary MacKillop College. Provides a copy of the "Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary report."

21 27 Mar 2012. "An external party" to BASI. The year date of 2012 shown in the ATSB documents is incorrect as it is labelled as folio 144. This folio is between folio 143 which is dated 27 Mar 1991 and folio 145 dated 27 Jul 1992. The "schedule of documents" supplied by ATSB shows this folio is six pages long. Four pages are totally exempt. One opage is partially deleted and one page was released. Of the two pages I received, one is an envelope dated 13 Jul 1992 addressed to "The Director, Bureau of Air Safety Regulation" and the other page is the back of the envelope with the address deleted. The contents of the four page letter enclosed, were not released to me.

22. 27 Jul 1992. A one page internal BASI minute. "Here is an unusual one for you. It is the famous Valentich case of October 1978. Folio 144 is an attempt at an  explanation which is offered in good faith. I spoke to the author and acknowledged receipt. I don't have the expertise  or time to look at it. This sort of thing is in the psych's area. Would you give it to them for consideration and response (verbal would be OK) to the author."

23. 25 Aug 1992. BASI to an external part. "I refer to your letter of 10 Jul 1992...As you understand, the event remains a mystery, however your suggestions concerning a possible cause are appreciated..."

Comments:

So, this is the rest of the ATSB's file, as released by the current owner, the ATSB. This then, is the final chapter of files series B1497 control symbol V116/783/1047.

What do blog readers think of this final piece of the file?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Communion" - Whitley Strieber's original book

Dear readers,

My last post took a look at US author Whitley Strieber's new book, 'Solving the Communion Enigma: What is to come." As I was very young when the book "Communion" came out, I thought I had better read it. I located a copy in a second hand book store, and have just read it in one session. As I would think that a number of younger blog readers will be in the same position as me; that is will not have heard of the book, let alone read it, I thought I would provide some context, for you, to his latest work.

My copy of "Communion" is dated 1988 and titled "Communion: A True Story: Encounters with the Unknown," published by Arrow Books, London. ISBN 0-09-053420-7. At this stage of his career, Strieber had already written and published a number of novels, namely "Wolf of Shadows;" "Catmagic;" "The Nightchurch;" "Black Magic;" "The Hunger" and "The Wolfen."

The pivotal event:

Anne and Whitley Strieber owned a cabin in upstate New York in the USA. It was a quiet and hidden location. On 26 Dec 1985 both were in bed by 10pm and asleep by 11pm. "I do not know the exact time - I abruptly found myself awake. I heard a peculiar whooshing, swirling noise coming from the living room downstairs...I noticed that one of the double doors leading into our bedroom was moving closed...Then I saw  edging around it a compact figure...A few moments later, when it was close to the bed, I saw two dark holes for eyes and a black down-turning line of a mouth that later became an O...The next think I knew, the figure came rushing into the room. I recall only blackness after that, for an unknown period of time...My next conscious recollection is of being in motion. I was naked...The next thing I knew I was sitting in a small sort of depression in the woods...there was a small individual...on my right was another figure...The next thing I knew I was sitting in a messy round room...an extremely shiny, hair-thin needle ...they proposed to insert this into my brain...they had performed the proposed operation on my head...I had seen four different types of figures...I was being shown an enormous and extremely ugly object...They inserted this thing into my rectum...One of them took my right hand and made an incision on my forefinger...Abruptly my memories end. There isn't even blackness, just morning." (pp19-30.)

After this event, Strieber describes a change in personality which came over him. "I became mercurial, frantic with excitement about some idea one moment, in despair the next." (p.35.)

Science and the UFOs:

Strieber's brother had given him a book "Science and the UFOs" by Jenny Randles and Peter Warrington, which he then read. He came across reports of alien abductions. "They were talking about people who think they're taken aboard spaceships by aliens. And I seemed to be such a person." (p.40.)

Strieber contacted New York abduction researcher Budd Hopkins, met him and later underwent regression hypnosis, and retrieved further detailed memories of the events of 26 Dec 1985.

Second pivotal event:

Talking to Hopkins brought back another experience to Strieber. In this one, the Striebers were at their cabin, with Jacques Sandulescu and Annie Gottlieb. During the night he "...Startled awake and saw, to my horror, that there was a distinct blue light being cast on the living room ceiling...I watched this blue light slowly creep up the ceiling...I fell back to sleep...I was again wakened this time by a loud report...I was stunned to see that the entire house was surrounded by a glow that extended into the fog...the glow suddenly disappeared...The next morning little was said about the incident." (p.45.) Later Strieber questioned his wife; Sandulescu and Gottlieb about the event, and underwent regression hypnosis where more detailed memories of the event were recovered.

A lifetime of events:

In section four of the book, Strieber described a number of memories of unusual events which occurred to him between 1957 and 1984. They varied in content and details.

Thoughts:

Following the examination of his memories, what were Strieber's thoughts on what he was experiencing? "I began this search by assuming that I was dealing either with a mental aberration or a visit "from another planet." If I had been asked I would have said that the nature of my experience indicated that the visitors hadn't been here too long and that I had been studied by a team of biologists and anthropologists." (p.223.) However, he speculated on six possibilities, which ranged from "from within us" to "a side effect of a natural phenomenon." (p.224.)

Strieber  conducted a lot of research into aspects of UFOs, psychology and psychiatry looking for explanations for his experiences. Strieber had also studied and practiced meditation for many years, and also studied a number of esoteric subjects. "My historical survey has found that the core experience of seeing flying disks and small figures goes back a long, long time" (p.225.) "The central question remains. Is there anything real about all this?" (p.226.)

In trying to make sense of all the possibilities, Strieber does narrow down to some concrete thoughts, such as:

"It is also obvious from their secrecy that they want very much to hide." (p.235.)

"...their activities go far beyond a mere study of mankind. They are involved with us on very deep levels. Playing in the band of dream, weaving imagination and reality together until they begin to seem what they probably are - different aspects of a single continuum." (p.243.)

"Those who have seen the devices or their occupants are often convinced that they are extraterrestrial in origin." (p.289.)

"Looking back over my experience with the visitors, I cannot say that I felt inferior to them. On the contrary, the people I encountered did not seem superior as much as wiser, but also more simple and unformed as individuals. And they not only feared me, they seemed in awe of me." (p.290.)

"I would not be at all surprised if the visitors are real and are slowing coming into contact with us according to an agenda of their own devises, which proceeds as human understanding increases." (p.294.)

Comments:

You can clearly see, in this 1988 work, the seeds of the ideas which Strieber expresses in his last work.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

RAAF Darwin UAP National Archive files digitised

Hi all,

I am aware of three RAAF Darwin UAP files. However, owing to their titles, it is not easy to locate them in the National Archives of Australia. They are:

1. File series E1327 control symbol 5/4/Air Part 1.
2. E1327 5/4/Air part 6.
3. E1327 5/4/Air Part 6/7.

I have now had all three files digitised, and have previously posted details of one of the files, i.e. E1327 5/4/Air Part 6 (click here.) This post reports on the other two files.

E1327 5/4/Air Part 6/7:

The date range of the file is Nov 1979 to Jun 1990, but the Archives Act allows access only to 71 pages, up to 1983. The title is "Unusual  sightings and incidents." There is, for example,  a 21 page copy of the DOD (Air Office) summary number 5 of Unusual Aerial Sightings for 1975. There is also a copy of a letter from RAAF Darwin to the Editor of the Northern Territory News, releasing information on a number of reports at 8pm on 15 Oct 1974, of a group of reddish "tailed" lights.

One interesting letter, dated 16 Oct 1981, from the DOD (Air Office) Canberra, to all RAAF bases refers to "...the recent re-entry of a meteorite near Marble Bar at the same time as Cosmos 434 was due to re-enter causing considerable confusion. The statement by the Perth Observatory that it was nuclear powered, created great, and unwanted, media attention." The  letter goes on too advise "Investigating Officers are, however, requested to refrain from putting a possible name to any suspected space debris re-entry."

Close encounter:

One report came from 34 year old Richard Bett, of Humpty Doo, NT. On a Saturday, which was either 5 or 12 Nov 1983 he was at lot 45, Power Road, McMinns Lagoon, Humpty Doo, NT. At about 1430hrs, on a slightly overcast but mainly sunny day, he saw, at 80 degrees elevation,  an object heading north. It appeared to be only some 30-40 feet above him. The witness' hand written report states in part:

" It was a single object, no lights (daytime) dull...moved away very fast over the house. (I guess 160kph.) approx size would be 4-6 feet long, and slim, possibly winged. It made a fluttering whosh noise like a very silent jet. Could feel faint shock wave. Dogs dived under chair in fright. It awoke my wife who was dozing in chair on verandah. She just caught a glance as it disappeared over rooftops 200m away. It just cleared tree tops which are approx 30-40 feet high."

The investigating officer for the RAAF wrote "May have been a Mirage, although the Saturday does not fit that well. No further investigation proposed at this stage."

E1327 5/4/Air Part 1:

This is a 169 page file titled "Unusual Sightings-Incidents." The date range is Sep 1960 to Feb 1968, and stamped "Secret."

The file contains a number of low-value reports. However, a few cases are worthy of note.

8 Mar 1961:

Charles Neville Bell, a pilot with Muir Aviation, reported seeing an unusual object at 0330z during a flight from Maningrida to Darwin. Shortly after take off he noted a distinctive cloud formation. As he approached the cloud he noted that "...each end of the formation ended abruptly." Also, whatever had made the trail had made a 180 degree right hand turn. He watched it for 40 minutes. The "trail" was in a clear blue sky at 35-40,000 feet. No aircraft was observed at all, just the cloud.

22 Nov 1966

H Munstermann was a meteorological observer at Dal;y Waters, NT. "At 0943 whilst doing my Balloon Flight I suddenly picked up an  U.F.O. My balloon at 26,000 feet was close to the Sun and impossible to follow any further. This object appeared when I left the balloon, azimuth 280 deg, elevation 59.2 deg. I followed the object for about 2 (two) minutes then lost it. I immediately took another reading, azimuth 320 deg elevation 27.9 deg. It seemed to be travelling at tremendous speed...I was informed there was no aircraft in the area..."

He described it as a metallic grey in colour, oblong in shape, with no structural detail visible. It travelled in a straight line from north to south. It was lost in mid-air due to its speed. The RAAF investigating officer in an "original" thought wrote "Met balloon???"

Royal Australian Navy:

One document on the file struck me as odd. It is dated 13 Dec 1967 and from the Naval Staff Office, Darwin and addressed to:

Squadron Leader, L F E Fosdike, RAAF Darwin.
Major F J Spry, NT Command, Darwin.
Mr L Gordon, ASIO Darwin.
Seargent J B Tiernan, Special Branch, NT Police, Darwin.

The memo is headed "Report on sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects" and had attached, a statement of a Mr J Lord of Munmalary Station, South Alligator River, NT about a bright, pulsating white light seen on a number of occasions. However, this isn't the interesting part.

The Navy memo continued "List of Incidents, Sightings of Unidentified craft and Aircraft, Flying Objects and/or phenomena held at this office has not been amended to include reports received after 31st January 1966. In order to bring these records up to date, it would be appreciated if details of any reports with these categories could be furnished so that complete records are available on our files for reference purposes." The memo was signed A F Parry, Lieutenant Commander RANVR Staff Officer (Intelligence.) The memo had a reference of 300/9E/23. No reply from the addresses is on this file.

What was the Navy doing collecting such reports?

I checked my files and found that another file, series E499/18 control symbol C21/4/41 titled "Unidentified Flying Object Sightings" was a 41 page file held by Defence Establishment Berrimah (Formerly HMAS Coonawarra). This file dates between 1959 and 1974. It contains the same RAN memo of 13 Dec 1967as that mentioned above. However, it also contains a reply dated 14 Mar 1968 from RAAF Darwin to RAN Darwin and lists 7 UAP reports dated between 27 Sep 1966 and 28 Jan 1968. There is also a copy of the Lord, Munmalary Station report on this file.

So, the RAN, at least in Darwin, maintained a UAP file at least between 1959 and 1974, a 15 year period. Why?

A search of Disclosure Australia archives located only four Navy UAP files. These are;

1. MP926/1 control symbol 3079/101 "Unidentified Objects"(Flying Saucer sighted by Navy pilot.)
2. SP 338/3 control symbol 13/4/10 "Unidentified Objects." Same sighting as 1.
3. E449/18 control symbol C21/4/41 "Unidentified Flying Object sightings."
4. A6826 control symbol 1361/1/3 titled "Earth satellites, space vehicles, Unidentified Flying Objects -general" was 3p long and mentions only one low value UAP report.

If any reader knows why the Australian Navy was collecting such reports, I would be interested in hearing from them.

To read any of these files go to http://www.naa.gov.au, click on advanced search and type in the file series details, and the control symbol details. happy reading.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

UK intelligence agencies and their interest in UFO researchers

Dear readers,

Long time readers of this blog will know of my interest in the involvement of various government's intelligence agencies in the UFO phenomenon. This blog contains a number of posts on this subject (e.g. click here and here.)

I recently came across a book, which I missed reading when it first came out, but which has quite a few accounts of intelligence operatives and UK UFO researchers. I'll summarise some of it, in case you have never read the book yourself.

Saucer spies:

The book in question is titled "On the Trail of the Saucer Spies: UFOs and Government Surveillance." The author is Nick Redfern, and the book was published in 2006 by Anomalist Books, San Antonio. ISBN is 1933 66 5106.

APEN:

The first thread tells the story of a UK group calling itself the "Aerial Phenomena Enquiry network" (APEN). APEN (click here) contacted a range of UK UFO researchers and groups in the period 1974-1992.

Redfern writes "When APEN surfaced the intense, official surveillance of practically the entire British UFO research community began in earnest." (p.136.) Redfern source his knowledge, in part, to a character he refers to as "the Sandman." This individual claimed to have been involved in an "...operation...designed to carefully monitor a number of low-profile individuals in the north of England, Nottingham, Cambridge, Birmingham, London, Leicester and elsewhere, who were all tied...with underground and extremely ultra-right wing fascist organisations in Britain." (p.136.)

Sandman claimed the operation involved Special Branch, Scotland Yard and MI5. The Sandman went on to say that "...six of the people being carefully watched 'for extremist actions" had a personal interest in the UFO controversy." (p.137.) The thinking of the government agencies was that perhaps the UFO interest was just a cover for something else. The Sandman told Redfern this group of individuals created APEN to attempt to destabilise UK UFO groups, and recruit people for right-wing groups. The Sandman admitted to Redfern that to counter APEN's methods "We decided at Special branch and GCHQ that there was one way we could stop this: we began creating our own APEN letters and began sending them out." (p.142.) Redfern says that confirmation of Sandman's information came from another source via Andy Roberts. (p.142.)

Matthew Bevan:

Redfern interviewed "...a self confirmed computer hacker who lives in Wales..." (p.183) Bevan got into the subject of UFOs when "One guy in Australia - had on his bulletin board all these text files about UFOs. This was about 1994." (p.185.) He later hacked into computer files at Wright Patterson USAF base, looking for UFO information. Bevan's hacking activity came under the notice of Scotland Yard and the US "Defense Information Systems Agency" and the USAF Office of Special Investigations. Bevan was arrested and charged. later, be believed he was still under surveillance. (Click here for more on Bevan.)

Mathew Williams:

Williams was a South Wales UFO researcher, who in the mid to late 1990's was "...delving into claims that a crashed UFO and alien bodies were held deep below ground at a sensitive Royal Air Force installation in the south-west of England called RAF Rudloe Manor." (p.194.) Redfern asserts that Williams was under government surveillance, and that (citing the Sandman) "...questions would be asked at an official level about Williams' intentions - including even whether or not he was utilising his UFO research as a cover for working with none other  than the Irish Republican Army. " (p.220.) Click here for other views on Williams.

"The British Roswell:"

Following a lead to a reported UFO 'crash' in the UK in early 1964, Redfern interviewed one Harold South. South told a story of seeing what appeared to be an Army, Police and RAAF operation to remove "...a large object had been lifted on to the trailer and had been a partially covered by a tarpaulin." (p.224.)

This object seemed to be a triangular shape, and South said that he was later interviewed by a police inspector, and his camera and photographs he had taken of the scene were taken by police. South told Redfern that Ministry of Defence Police had called him shortly before the interview with Redfern. Redfern wrote "There seemed only one conclusion: somebody in the intelligence or defence community wanted to let us know that by  probing into the complexity of the Pentridge crash, we had opened up a sensitive can of worms." (p.228.)

GCHQ:

The UK's Government  Communications Headquarters, was the target of research by UK researcher Robin Cole. Redfern reports "...that GCHQ has a large and impressive library that contains a considerable number of books on UFOs; that GCHQ was implicated in the study of military originated UFO encounters as far back as the early 1950's; and that GCHQ was involved in the investigation of an intriguing UFO incident that occurred off the East coast of England in October 1996..." (p.232.)

On 1992 Cole wrote a booklet titled "GCHQ and the UFO Cover-up." Someone from GCHQ rang Cole up to ask for his source. Later, he was interviewed by a Detective Sargent from Special branch, and apparently surveilled by the Ministry of Defence. For more on Cole click here.

Summary:

If you have never caught up with this book of Redfern's it is worth getting hold of a copy and studying it.

I'd be interest to hear from any blog readers who were caught up in the APEN saga and for your views on the accounts given in Redfern's book.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Solving the Communion Enigma: What Is To Come" - Part two

This post continues my look at Whitley Strieber's latest book.

Topics other than abductions:

Strieber reviews the topic of crop circles, and animal mutilations in ensuing chapters. "As I have said, most of the researchers believe that we are looking at the work of creatures from another planet. Personally, I wonder if there is not a more thorough and accurate way of describing what is happening." (p.141.)

"The fact that our visitors are often seen walking through walls, as I have personally seen...Maybe driving into other universes in a car isn't more than just imaginative misinterpretation of commonplace events. Maybe such things can actually happen..." (p.162.)

The dead;

"In the years that followed my conversation with the FAA inspector, I began to see, more and more, that the dead were involved with our supposed alien visitors, and through them with us." (p.171.)

"Are we looking here, through the door that may have so distressed Dr Von Neumann, and finding on the other side not aliens, but another evolution of the human species..." (p.172.)

"It seems to me that the persistent appearance of the dead in the company of the visitors suggests that their mere presence breaks down the most fundamental of all barriers, which is the one that separates the living from the dead." (p.172.)

The Master of the Key:

Encounters with a mysterious entity Strieber calls "The Master of the Key" leads Strieber to write "The Master of the key opened a door for me when he commented, "You must understand that the living and the dead share the same world." He then added "You the living are changing now. As this change proceeds, your are better and better able to feel the presence of your dead." (p.192.)

"...the entire enterprise of close encounter is about the dropping of the veil between those who are in physical form and those who the Master said are in 'radiant' form." (p.192.)

"If conflict between mankind and this other level of consciousness is not even happening primarily in what we think of as  the physical world, but in another aspect of reality, then it might appear as it does to us: extraordinary confusing..." (p.193.) If so then at our level "...it is operating as an attempt to shock us into a new level of awareness." (p.193.)

Will they contact us?

"As the United States is unlikely to admit that it knows that the visitors are real, it would seem that unless something completely unforeseen happens (always, perhaps the leading possibility), then they are not going to initiate contact, if at all, unless they must." (p.212.)

Comments:

There are some very interesting points which Strieber raises in this latest work, although some, such as the concept of talking to a dead friend who was with what appeared to be aliens, is a little hard to deal with.

What do readers think of Strieber's thoughts in this deep and complex work?

"Solving the Communion Enigma: What Is To Come" - part one

Dear readers,

I have finally reached the bottom of the "pile by the bed" of UFO books. I have saved one of the more interesting books until last.

Introduction:

U.S. bestselling author Whitley Strieber wrote a trilogy of non-fiction books, "Communion," "Transformation" and "Breakthrough" where he described his numerous and complex encounters with what he termed "the visitors." In this, his latest work, "Solving the Communion Engima: What Is To Come," published by Jeremy P Tarcher/Penguin. New York. ISBN 978-1-585-43917-2, Strieber looks back to these works, and then adds detail of what has happened to him since, and what he thinks is going on.

As he points out on page 1, accounts of "the visitors" are "...conventionally known as "close encounters of the third kind" or "alien abductions." But are they what they seem?" Strieber points out "After I published Communion, I was immediately - and absurdly, I thought - labelled as an advocate for alien contact." (p.2.) "As I have never embraced it, though, I cannot repudiate it, but I certainly don't reject the possibility."

No advances:

Strieber writes "But what of the dialogue about all this? In the sixty years since it first began, it has gone absolutely nowhere." (p.11.)

Strieber's thinking is that "...it has to do with the next stage in the evolution of this species..." (p.12.) "This is why I have titled this book Solving the Communion Enigma. Because truly, we have unfolding before us an incredible possibility, a journey into a new way of being that is as far from where we are now as the human mind is from that of the animals." (p.12.)

"The mirror shattered:"

Strieber's encounters include very unusual elements e.g. "During my 1985 encounter, I saw an old friend whom, as he told me some years before, had recently retired from the CIA. He was with these seeming aliens. Afterward, I found out from a relative of his that in December  of 1985 when I saw him and talked to him, he had been dead for months." (p.14.)

In chapter two Strieber notes Dr Kenneth Ring's work which indicated that near-death and close-encounter witnesses recalled childhood trauma, and then analyses his own memories for evidence of such personal trauma. "I always hesitated to write about them because of the explosive implications that children were being abused under some very distasteful circumstances by people with some sort of official brief." (p.24.)
Strieber considers that he may have been involved in a government program as a child and adds "I think that my parents eventually understood that whatever I was being made to endure was causing me harm and got me out of the program." (p.28.)

Evidence:

Strieber went in search of evidence of just such a program, and concludes "...I would be very surprised if any will ever be  forthcoming." (p.27.) Following this comment, he writes "Had I not as a child been brutalized by whatever this was, I don't think that I would have been able to perceive the visitors." (p.38.)

After relating his 1994 transition from upstate New York to San Antonia, and unusual events around that time, Strieber went to work with one Bill Mallow, and others on the topic of implants. "From what I have seen, though, I believe that the implants are a genuine mystery." (p.52.)

Personal implant;

In 1989, during the night, Strieber found "...a man and a woman standing in the doorway at the far end of the bedroom..." (p.54.) "Later that day, I noticed a sore lump at the top of my left ear. There was no trace of a scar or a wound..." (p.57.)

Next, while meditating "...people, not aliens, began to show up...They were physical but had capabilities very unlike our own..." (p.59.)

Strieber decided to have the implant in his ear removed by a Dr John Lerma, "Who diagnosed the swelling as a probable benign cyst." (p.61.)

Strangely, during the operation the implant moved and "...slid under the skin from the top of my ear down into my earlobe." (p.62.) Dr Lerma's instrument had a sliver of the object on it, but the rest remained in Strieber's ear. Two days later, it moved back into its original location. Strieber recalls that a pathologist told Fr Lerma "...the fragments was the strangest thing he had ever seen. It consisted of a metallic base with organic cilia growing out of it. He did not believe it was anything natural, or that it was known technology." (p.63.)

Motives:

Moving on to pose the question "What might they want?" Strieber reveals that on occasions he asked a question of a visitor. Sometimes a response was obtained. "And this is why one of the most profound aspects of close encounter may be very near the heart of their motive for hiding themselves." (p.73.)

Part two:

The second part of the book takes a look at evidence that "the visitors" leave behind. "Looked at in the aggregate, it suggest that a stealthy and many levelled process of penetration of our world and our lives is taking place." (p.75.)

Discussing a number of UFO accounts, Strieber concluded "...each of these incidents reveals two things: first, a display of what I would describe as "might" and second, one of defensive capabilities." (p.85.)

After reviewing the work of, and sightings, by Dr Paul Hill, Strieber writes "So when we see a combination of actions that induces official secrecy but also excites the curiosity of scientists, what we may be seeing is the enactment of policy. This policy would be to try to induce us to make the necessary discovery ourselves, so that we don't meet them as supplicants." (p.103.)

Continued next post.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

Hi all,

I have been using the term "Unidentified Flying Objects" (UFO) in my own research, since 1968. It is probably the most widely used term to describe those unknown objects seen in the sky and on the ground, which have been frequently reported since 1947. However, the term "UFO" is usually translated as "extraterrestrial spacecraft" by many people. I have found this particularly true in recent times when dealing with the mass media.

Is there a more neutral term which could be used? In Australia the RAAF used to use the term "Unusual Aerial Sightings" (UAS.) Overseas, other research organisations and individuals prefer to use the term "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAP.)

After some discussion and debate with a few other individuals whose opinions I value, I have decided that, in future, I will use the term "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" (UAP) wherever possible, in my own research. Naturally, when citing others who use the term "UFO" I will use their nomenclature. You will also note that the title of this blog uses the term "UFO." This is the choice of the blog owner, Pauline Wilson, and I respect her continued usage of this term.

RAAF Neptune aircraft encounters mysterious lights

Hi all,

The National Archives of Australia have just released to me, file series J63 control symbol 5/40/Air Part 3 titled "Reports on Unusual Aerial Sightings." The file originated with the RAAF Base Townsville, and the date range is 1974-1979. There are dozens of low value reports on the file. However, two reports are of great interest.

Neptune encounter:

The crew of a RAAF Neptune aircraft sighted a set of three unusual nocturnal lights on the night of 30 Aug 1975 as they flew back to Townsville from seawards. The aircraft was from 10 Squadron RAAF Base Townsville. The pilot was 29 year old Flight Lieutenant  P A Ware, and the co-pilot 23 year old Flying Officer C A Hyde. At the time of the encounter the aircraft was at position 115nm ENE of Mackay, Queensland.

The co-pilot's written report read:

"I was the co-pilot of a Neptune aircraft transiting up the Queensland coast on the 30 Aug 75. The aircraft was at 3000 feet flying straight and level. The weather was scattered cloud with occasional rain showers. At 1233z the captain, FLTLT Ware, drew my attention to a group of lights. They were readily identified and consisted of three lights grouped as shown in the following diagram. The lights appeared to be the size of one of the planets, eg Venus, but not as bright.

They were white/yellow lights and shone steadily. They appeared to be level with the aircraft and moving on a course of 080 deg (approx) with a high angular velocity. A diagram of their apparent movement is contained at the bottom of the page.

The captain commenced a left turn believing a mid-air collision to be imminent. The lights passed down the starboard side of the aircraft. As the lights approached the two o'clock position relative to the aircraft they disappeared as if they were switched out or flew into very heavy cloud. The lights changed position gradually till they were in the following position when they disappeared. Duration of the observation was approx 10-15 seconds."

The pilot's report read:

"1. On 30 AUG 75 I was the captain of a Neptune aircraft which was returning to Townsville from seawards. Weather at the time was sky clear above and some cloud (CU/SC). I was in the left pilot seat.

2. At 301233z, aircraft heading 290 deg M position 20 36S 151 10E, I saw three white lights, two in the same horizontal plane and one positioned halfway between and above the plane (see fig 1.)

The lights were about the same intensity as average stars, and were moving horizontally just above the horizon (the horizon was visible as the horizontal limit of visible stars.)

3. When just sighted the lights appeared to be at the aircraft height, 12.30 relative to the aircraft and moving left to right. My first reaction was to exclaim 'look' and the co-pilot immediately confirmed the sighting.

4. The lights continued to move to the right of the aircraft, and to close the aircraft. At that point I banked left and commenced climbing as the lights passed down the starboard side of the aircraft. The lights appeared to disappear into cloud abeam the aircraft.

5. My assessment of the movement of the object was
a. On the horizontal plane; and
b. Initially at an angular velocity of 20 degrees per second accelerating as they passed down the starboard side of the aircraft."

The RAAF's investigating officer wrote in his report "Nil radar traces noted by 10SQN aircraft radar operator." Then,  "Both men are reliable and trained observers." This officer sent off his report to headquarters.

Light leaves traces?

On 23 Mar 1975 at about 10.30pm while travelling back home, five people in a road vehicle sighted a strange light in amongst the timber on the side of the Mt Flora to Dingo Beef road, North Queensland. The location of the event was 22 22S 148 30E.

After passing the location where the light had been sighted the driver turned the car around for another look, when there was a loud bang heard. As others in the car were panicking at the unusual event, the driver decided to travel home but first passed by the scene again. They stopped to look. The driver's account was:

"The first set of lights were about 3 feet above ground level. These lights were flashing on and off. Their colour was a very dull white but you couldn't see anything above the lights except for the bluish green saucer type light.

"This light was not (?) big light. It was ring approx ring. In the centre of the light it was black. This black circle was about four inches wide. The bluish green part of the light was about 12 to 18 inches across. The length of the object seemed to be about ten feet long. We could not see all of the bottom lights..."

The occupants of the car then travelled along the road and came across a camp occupied by Main Road workers. Alerting these men to the event, a mixed group of the original witnesses and these men went back to the site, but when they arrived there was nothing unusual to be seen.

What make this sighting of interest to us, is that the driver, Mr M R Kreher of Batheaston Station reported the event to the Department of Transport in Mackay and also to the Nebo police. Both the Police and the RAAF conducted an excellent investigation and their detailed reports with photographs of the site and possible traces are available on the file for us to study. The RAAF investigator found a gravel storage pit at the site of the event, with several traces. There were three oval shaped area, one roughly circular and one rectangular. The file also contains RAAF report forms completed by three of the witnesses; and a statement by P L Curley, of the Nebo police.

Read the file for yourself:

1. Go to http://www.naa.gov.au
2. Click on search the collection.
3. Click on begin your search.
4. Click on RecordSearch advanced search.
5. Click on the green items box.
6. In the series number box type J63.
7. In the control symbol box type 5/40/Air part 3
8. Up comes the file.
9. Click on the digitised image icon to read a copy of the file.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bougainville Reef - 28 May 1965 - cold case investigation -part two

Hi all

Part one of this post ended with details of the aircraft involved. Here, I describe my efforts to locate the pilot and DCA officer said to have been involved in the event.

1. Captain John Barker.

I emailed the TAA museum in Melbourne. Their membership is said to consist of individuals who were former pilots, former flight attendants and other former employees of TAA. I sought information on anyone who had recollections of the Sydney to Port Moresby flights of 1965. I received no useful information from this source.

I posted an item on one of the Internet forums of the Professional Pilots Network website, titled "Where are they?" which looks to locate former aircrew. I received a very nice email from a man in the UK. He advised me that his late father was a pilot, and had known a Captain John Barker, an Australian pilot, who flew here in the 1950s and 1960's. Unfortunately, Barker, according to a relative in Brisbane, had passed away.

I was unable to locate any further information on Captain Barker.

2. William Orr.

I looked at the Queensland electoral rolls in the South Australian State Library for 1966 (they did not have the 1965 rolls.) Listed in the division of Herbert, sub-division of Townsville was the following entry:

13432. Joseph Willam Orr. 22 Latchford Street, Pimlico. Townsville. Com. Officer. male.

This appeared to be the correct Orr. He was not listed in the equivalent 1972 roll.

A lengthy check of all volumes of the 2009 Queensland electoral rolls located only one Joseph William Orr. I sent him a tactful letter merely indicating that I was seeking a 1965 DCA officer from Townsville, and asking if he recalled a report of a DC-6 aircraft pilot reporting a UFO to him?"

On 1 August 2012 I had a telephone conversation with Orr, some 47 years after the events described.

The only sighting of an unusual object which he could recall was of a great, moving cloud across the sky, very, very high up. No-one knew what it was. It was letting out a long streak behind it. He checked with the RAAF who advised him that it was a Canberra bomber aircraft.

I asked if he could recall an event where an airline pilot had radioed him to report seeing a UFO? He said he could not recall any such event.

I asked if he could recall the 1965 DC-6 flights between Sydney and Port Moresby? He said he could, and went on to provide some details about them including the reporting points which the pilots had to observe. I asked if the Port Moresby flights were day or night? He told me that they left Brisbane in the dark with the idea of getting to Port Moresby when it was light.

I asked him if he could recall knowing any detectives at the CIB in Townsville He said he could not. I then asked him if the name John Meskell meant anything to him? He said it did not. However, he did recall a Townsville DCA Air traffic Controller with a similar name. Orr told me he had accidental recently run into this individual in a local shopping centre only a little while ago. The DCA man is now living in Brisbane, after retirement and has 12 children and this is why Orr recalled him.

Orr is now aged 85, and although sounding a little frail on the telephone, was lucid and clear in his recollections to me.

Summary:

1. The sole source of this intriguing account is cited as DCA operator William Orr, through John Meskell, a detective at Townsville CIB. However, in a recent telephone conversation, Orr stated to me that he had no recollection of the event described in this post; no recollection of dealing with detectives, and no recollection of the name John Meskell. Of course, all of this, might be due to Orr's age and state of memory.

2. Meskell was interviewed by Dr James E McDonald in June 1967, when McDonald was here in Australia. Meskell was also interviewed by Sydney researcher Bill Chalker in 1982. However, to my knowledge no-one has ever tracked down and interviewed, or published direct interviews, with either Captain John Barker or DCA operator William Orr, until now.

3. The RAAF denied any knowledge of the event.

4. Bill Chalker's examination of DCA files, revealed no apparent knowledge of the case on their behalf.

5. In short, although it is an intriguing account, it remains a second-hand story, which lacks real documentation. I'd certainly appreciate hearing from anyone who has secured first hand details. However, I fear that the passage of time now means we may never locate such information.

John Meskell:

Only a few days after the Bougainville Reef event, Meskell reported his own UFO sighting to the RAAF.

On 3 Jun 1965, Detective Constable 1st Class J Meskell, Townsville Police Station; Clarence Edward Meskell of Newcastle and Eric Finsch of Newcastle were on a fishing boat at 20 09 S 148 26E for the first two sightings at 1900k and 1903k.  A third observation, at 2000k occurred at 20 03 S 148 26E. Each observation lasted for one minute.

They reported seeing objects like a white light, growing larger in size as it descended, to about 20,000 to 30,000 feet, at about the same height as a Boeing 707 travelling north that they saw at 032100k.

The RAAF investigating officer, R J Roberts, stated on the RAAF's UFO report form. "The first observer is a Townsville Detective used to making observations, also is well read on UFO's material, therefore made accurate notes of directions and times etc. He was able to recall most of the important sightings of flying objects that have occurred throughout the USA over the past ten years or so, by names and locations."

A search of the Internet revealed that in 2009, Meskell had a book published (click here)  titled "UFOs: Food for Thought" published by Zeus Publications. ISBN 192157420. The plot line is given as "Maxwell Carter is a government investigator who, with his partner, starts to unravel facts from around the world on UFO sightings and abductions."

Bougainville Reef - 28 May 1965 - cold case investigation - Part one

Hi all

Introduction:

Another spectacular report followed closely on the heels of the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge close encounter, which I reported on a few posts ago (click here.)  My Australian wide catalogue provides the following summary:

"28 May 1965 Off Bougainville Reef Photo 0325hrs
In the early hours of the morning a DC-6 radioed Townsville control tower that it was being 'buzzed' by a UFO. The object was described as spherical in shape; flat on top and the bottom. Exhaust gases were reported coming from the object. It is said to have paced the aircraft for some ten minutes during which the captain took photographs. The object then moved ahead of the plane and disappeared. An official 'cover-up' is reported to have occurred."

Detailed account:

The most detailed account which I have now been able to find of the event was that carried by the former NICAP's "The UFO Investigator", June-July 1965 edition, page 4 (click here)  which reads:

"UFO Photos by Airline Captain reported.
Bulletin: The following preliminary report, forwarded to NICAP by an officer of the Criminal Investigation Branch, Townsville, North Queensland, Australia was received just before our deadline. We are trying to get further details for the next issue.

Five nights after the landing described on page 1, an Australian DC-6 airliner was 'buzzed' by an unidentified flying object. According to the police source stated above, the airline captain  photographed a round-shaped machine while it paced the aircraft.

This latest encounter, in the early hours of May 28,1965 involved a DC-6 operated by Ansett-ANA. It was on a regular flight from Brisbane to Port Moresby, New Guinea.

At about 3.25am, the airline captain using the flight call sign of 'VH-INH' radioed a Queensland airport control tower that the DC-6 was being 'buzzed' by an unknown flying object. He described it as spherical in shape, flat on the top and the bottom. Exhaust gases could be seen coming from it, he reported.

For ten minutes, the UFO paced the airliner, during which time the captain took several photographs of the mystery craft. He also had two other members of the crew confirm the sighting before the object raced ahead of the aircraft and disappeared.

Censorship reported:
NICAP note - Although we are reducing the number of censorship stories, following the majority wishes in the recent poll (see page 6) we believe this case will have special interest since it shows UFO secrecy is not confined to the United States.

"He was instructed not to have the film developed in New Guinea" states the report "He was flown to Canberra (on his return) where the film was taken from him...The twelve hour tapes with the pilot's report to the control tower also were confiscated."

It is not clear whether the film was confiscated by a government agency in Canberra, or by a representative of the airline. The understandable uneasiness of airline officials, who fear UFO encounter stories might frighten away passengers, could be a factor. But one reference int the report indicating the Department of Civil Aviation was involved. In the May 24th landing case, the DCA made no attempt to cover up. But since the Royal Australian Air Force is the official UFO investigation agency, the Civil Aviation agency may only be following orders. In the past, Australian authorities have not tried to hide UFO sightings - even official Navy reports. We hope this censorship is only temporary and that the full story will soon be available."

Comment:

An examination of later issues of "The UFO Investigator" failed to locate any further details of this event. One might, of course, say that this is due to the official 'cover-up.'

NICAP:

The current NICAP websites "Category 11 case Directory sightings from aircraft" (click here) carries a summary of the case, citing their source as "Volume II, The UFO Evidence, A Thirty-Year Report, Richard Hall, 2001. page 128." This source states:

"3.25am local. The pilot and aircrew of an Ansett-ANA DC6-B, (callsign VH-INH) was en-route from Brisbane, Australia to Port Moresby, New Guinea. The pilot called Townsville control tower and spoke to operator William Orr, informing him that his aircraft was being buzzed by a UFO. The pilot gave his position as above, or abreast of Bougainville Reef. The object was a flattened sphere with what looked like exhaust gases coming from it. It paced the aircraft for 10-15 minutes, then accelerated and raced ahead and out of sight. Photographs were taken during the sighting. The pilot was diverted back to Brisbane and from there flown to Canberra where the film was taken from him and we were told he was instructed to tell no person of this incident. The audio tapes of air traffic control transmissions at Townsville also were confiscated. Some days after this air traffic controller was told to "shut his mouth" about the incident, with the added threat that if he didn't he might be dismissed by the Department of Civil Aviation."

Comment:

The NICAP website account of the incident has a link to USAF Project Bluebook's reports of global UFO sightings. NARA-PBB1-333 (click here) is a list of reported global sightings between 1-31 May 1965. There is no listing for the Bougainville Reef case.

Searches:

I am aware of two searches undertaken by Australian UFO researchers looking to obtain further information on this case.

1. CAPIO - Peter Norris.
National Archives of Australia file series A703 control symbol 554/1/30 Part 1 page 103, is a letter dated 19 Jul 1965, from Peter Norris to Mr B Roberts, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Air. In this letter Norris asks if Roberts could confirm if a sighting reported in a US UFO magazine re an Australian aircraft 'buzzed' by a UFO, had occurred.

On 18 Aug 1965, Squadron leader Wheeler, of the RAAF responded to the letter that they had no such report, and referred Norris to DCA.

2. Bill Chalker.
In volume 4 number 6 of the Journal of the Australian  Centre for UFO Studies, page 15, as part of an article titled "Study of Official Government Involvement in the UFO Controversy- a Progress report" Chalker wrote:

"It has been alleged that evidence about the case, including the film has been confiscated by DCA officials and subsequently covered up. The classified papers I examined consisted largely of internal communciations between the Queensland Regional Director of DCA and the Director-General of DCA, which appears to confirm a lack of knowledge about the event, at least at the level of Directors of DCA."

Bill Chalker's book:

"The Oz Files," (1996, Duffy and Snellgrove. Potts Point. ISBN 1-8759-8904-8) (click here) page 110 carries an account of the incident. Details provided there, follow those in the NICAP version, but the following additional points are included:

1. "Dr Allen Hynek quotes the pilot in his book. "The UFO Experience." "I had always scoffed at these reports but I saw it. We all saw it. It was under intelligent control, and it was certainly no know aircraft."

2/ "The pilot has been identified as Captain John Barker and the duty officer at Townsville control was William Orr. Orr passed on the details of the incident to John Meskell, a detective with the Criminal Investigation Branch."

Comments:

The Hynek reference mentioned above, appears on page 28 of Hynek's book "The UFO Experience." (Corgi, UK. 1974.) ( click here.) However, Hynek added a footnote which reads:

"Sighting of May 24 1965. Report is not included in appendix 1 because author had no personal contact with the reporter or the investigator."

This date of 24 May 1965 appears to show that the quote attributed by Chalker to Captain John Barker's report of 28 May 1965 may be incorrect. It would instead, appear that the quote came from the main witness to the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge case, J Tilse, himself a pilot.

RAAF UFO files:

I hoped to find a report on the Bougainville Reef case in the UFO files of the RAAF. However, a close examination of their files revealed absolutely no documentation on the event, apart from the 1965 correspondence to and from Peter Norris.

Comment:

The aircraft said to have been involved in this case was given as aircraft callsign VH-INH. This probably referes instead to aircraft registration VH-INH. A search of the Internet turned up an aircraft site (click here) of a Douglas DC-6B, which appears to be the correct aircraft. It entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register as VH-INH on 16 Dec 1954. It was registered to Australian National Airways, then cross charted to TAA on 26 Feb 1960 to 29 Aug 1966. It "Operated TAA's first Sydney to New Guinea service - July 9 1960." "Operated final TAA evenue service - August 14 1966." Re-entered service with Ansett-ANA - December 6 1966."

Is this is indeed the same aircaft involved in the UFO case, then on 28 May 1965 it was not an Ansett-ANA aircraft but a TAA aircraft. Thus the Meskell report to NICAP where the aircraft is described as "Operated by Ansett ANA" appear incorrect. Indeed, the cited aircraft wesbite has a photograph of VH-INH at Sydney airport in May 1965 clearly showing it painted out as a TAA aircraft.

In part two of this post I will provide details of my search for the Captain of the aircraft, and the Townsville DCA officer.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New book alert - Soriano and Bouck

Dear readers,

Don't you love the winter months? This morning I woke up; looked out of the window, and there was fog everywhere - an errie sight. Knowing that I didn't have to rush off to work today made the decision even easier to roll over in bed, pick up a UFO book from "the pile by the bed" read it, and prepare this post in long hand in a note book.

Today's new book is "UFOs Above the Law" by Frank Soriano and James Bouck. The book was published last year by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, Atglen PA in the USA. ISBN 978-0-7643-3920-2. Although published last year it has only recently arrived on the shelves of Adelaide bookshops.

Authors:

The front inside cover of the book tells us that "Jim Bouck and Frank Soriano are two former law enforcement officers. Frank Soriano is a retired NYS Corrections Officer and Jim Bouck is a former NYS Park Police Officer. Both have had their own sightings and investigated many more of others." The sub-title of the book is "True Incidents of Law Enforcement Officers' Encounters with UFOs."

Approach;

"Because of our law enforcement background, we approach the subject of UFO investigation in a different way than that adopted by many researchers. Police officers are trained to observe, to collect, and evaluate evidence in a way that the layman is not." (p.11.)

"The reason we are writing this book is to give the law enforcement officer a backup when confronted by the skeptical public or other officers. We hope to show that there are hundreds, and even thousands of officers that see these objects and are not alone." (p.11.)

To set the scene for law enforcement reports the authors first take us on a quick review of the 1947 Arnold sighting; Roswell; the Lubbocks lights of 1951; the Betty and Barney Hill case; the 1952 Washington incidents; the Hudson Valley flap and the 1997 Phoenix lights episode. Then the next section covers sightings by military personnel, including the 1980 Rendelsham Forest episodes.

At page 32 we start "Police reports" featuring both known  (e.g.Zamora, 1964, Socorro); and unknown to me (e.g. Laconia, 1974, New Hampshire) UFO reports. Some of the case summaries include transcripts of taped communications between policer officers on duty and their base. While most cases are from the USA there are a scattering from elsewhere, including the UK, Brazil, Argentina and France (gathered from the Internet.) I did not see anything from Australia.

Police chases:

"Police chase" cases start on page 66, which includes a lengthy transcript on the Warren County, Ohio 2001 event. These cases are outlined in greater detail than cases previously described in the book.

Bob Pratt:

Former researcher Bob Pratt's "Police cases" feature in the next section (there are no chapter numbers in this book.) I found the December 27 1977, Charlotte, North Carolina case of two helicopter police officers of particular interest. There is also a lengthy piece about the 1966 Varginha, Brazil events.

The Government's response:

"As hard as the government appears to stay out of the UFO phenomena, it is burned deep in conspiracy, from the alleged UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 to the current sightings." (p.141.)

This section covers the 1953 Robertson panel; the Condon report; sightings by NASA personnel; official US Projects such as Sign, Grudge, and Blue Book.

Despite the title and aim of the book, there is a section titled "UFO sightings by politicians and celebrities."

Abductions:

On starting to read this book I wondered if the evidence presented in it was going to include anything on the UFO abduction phenomenon. It does, in a section commencing page 156. there is an account of police Seargent Herbert, of Schirmer Ashland, Nebraska, who in 1967 reported an incident. Later under hypnosis he recalled an abduction/contactee experience.

The authors also present a little item on the New York, Brooklyn Bridge Case, investigated by Budd Hopkins in which "The primary witnesses of the abduction were NYPD officers..." (p.159.)

Personal sightings:

Two of the final sections of the book provide details of the authors' own UFO sightings.

The section from page 171 is headed "Conclusion," so what do the authors think is going on?

"For a number of years, certain questions have recurred concerning the origin of UFO crafts. Are they solid objects that travel through space, are they interdimensional crafts, or are they from here on Earth? They may be all three, or soemthing else altogether." (p.171.)