Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The website of UFO Research Queensland Incorporated

Dear readers,

I am running a couple of days late with this post, due to illness in the family. This week I am continuing my look at the websites of Australia's major UFO groups. Last time it was UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated and the UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia. Today it is the website of UFO Research Queensland Incorporated. 

UFORQ for short, states on its website that it was established in 1956 and is Australia's oldest UFO Association. There are seven tabs on the home page, namely 'About Us;' 'Sightings;' 'Meetings;' 'Resources;' 'Shop;' 'Blog' and 'Join UFORQ.'

I started off by reading the history of the group under 'About Us.' I should say histories, as there is a short section titled 'History' and a much longer section titled 'A brief history.' I think someone needs to edit this section of the website.

Here we also find out some of the motivation of the group. '...we want to be there when the great body of hidden information is finally brought into the public domain...' Unfortunately, there is no definition provided of what exactly this 'hidden information' might be (I suppose its hidden after all!) Nor is there any indication of who the group thinks might hold this knowledge. It all reeks of conspiracy theory.

My main  interest is not in the body running a website, but in the quality (or otherwise) of the data on it. So I next took a look at the 'Sightings' tab. Here you can either report a sighting or take a look at sighting reports post 1997. This is disappointing as the groups' excellent research works of the 1950's and 1960's - the heyday for unknown Australian sightings, is not available to us here.

As with the sightings area for the websites of the previous two groups, there appears little to no analysis of the sightings. No attempt to provide mundane explanations for the 95% of UFO reports which are universally recognised to be explainable. This is a great disappointment to me.

As you would expect, the 'Meetings' area provides details of the group's regular public meetings. There seems a good spread of topics covered in these talks, including some overseas speakers, who do the Australian circuit of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. 

The 'Blog' section which I hoped would be full of analytical debate and discussion, was nothing but advertising each of the monthly meetings. Again a definite disappointment.

All in all, I would rate this website as lower in standard than that of both UFOR(NSW) Incorporated and the UFOPRSA.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The websites of two Australian UFO groups

Dear readers,

As I write this my home City's temperature is sitting on 23.3 degrees centigrade, which is rather comfortable, compared to a hot week ahead for my former home town of Adelaide which is bracing itself for several days around 38-39 degrees centigrade. 

Overseas, you hear of Australia's beach culture, and one of the reasons is indeed our hot climate, especially during February - traditionally our hottest month.

So with a glass of Victorian chardonnay at my side, and hubby looking after the kids, I sat down to take a look at the websites of two of the biggest UFO organisations in Australia. Here are my observations.

1. UFO Research (New South Wales) Incorporated.

Up front I must say that I am far more interested in the quality of information provided on a website, than how it looks to the viewer. I found this website to be extremely easy to navigate, having just four main areas, namely 'events;' 'sightings;' 'membership;' and 'archives.' It opens up to the 'events' page.

Here we find current events - details of the group's upcoming monthly meetings, with speakers and a summary of what they will be talking about. Over the last few years, under the leadership of Mariana Flynn (recently retired as President) a large range of overseas speakers have appeared at the group's meeting, together with a diverse range of Australian researchers. Here you can also sign up for notifications of events by email. 

The 'sightings' area opens up to (a) report a sighting; (b) UFO sightings guestbook and (c) UFO sighting reports. Individuals wishing to report a UFO sighting can choose to either complete an on-line report form, or write a guestbook entry. When I checked out the guest book, I found reports dated between 1958 and 2017. Many of these appear to be of mundane objects, and it would have been nice to see an analysis of the sightings plus a probable cause listed. 

The membership area sets out terms, conditions and fees.

A pleasant surprise for me was the 'archives' area. Here there are lots of original source materials (something I learned to appreciate from Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield!) There are old Newsletters and Journals; plus a large newspaper archive. While newspaper accounts must always be treated with caution - sometimes they get facts wrong - they are occasionally the only record which exists of a sighting. 

One very valuable piece of archive work is the Dr James E McDonald archive. In it there are around fifty summaries of McDonald's audio interviews with Australian witnesses, back in 1967. An excellent piece of work on this by Sydney researcher Anthony Clarke, and Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield.

This archive area also has a few articles on such topics as the Frederick Valentich disappearance back in 1978, and 'alien abduction.'

On the Wilson scale for assessing UFO websites, this one rates a 5 out of 5- an excellent source of factual material.

2. UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia.

An interesting concept. Here is a website of a group which has an interest in both UFOs and the paranormal. The opening screen has 14 areas, including 'membership;' 'report sightings;' expeditions to local 'hot spots;' and Journal archives. I don't intend to bore you with details of each, just a few which took my own interest.

As you would expect there are on-line copies of the groups' periodical, 'Phenomenon Times' going from 18 months ago back to 2009. A valuable on-line resource.

You can report a sighting via an on-line report form; or check out the database of New South Wales close encounters. As with the UFOR(NSW) Inc. website, I would like to see some analysis of the sightings, rather than just the witness telling you what they saw. Otherwise it implies that 100% of these reports are of genuine UFOs.

Another good area is 'misidentifications' which is a short list of some of the things which are commonly mistaken for UFOs.

On the Wilson rating scale for websites, I'd give this one a 4 - well worth spending time reviewing the information they present.

Well, that's your lot for today. Hubby has fired up our barbeque and is waiting with some sausages and patties, plus of course, another glass of chardonnay! Cheers until next time. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Very hot but down to work

Dear readers,

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast for my home city of Melbourne today was for a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius. It is currently sitting on 37.7 degrees. So, with the kids in the swimming pool I have had some time to work on this blog post.

Firstly, a word about my style of writing blog posts. As an academic I write papers for publication in refereed professional journals all the time. So for this blog I'd like to adopt a much lighter tone, sometimes even humorous (my sense of humour is legendary at work and at home.) Above all I aim to provide factual information, and be readable. My initial perspective will be that of someone reactivating a dormant interest (which of course is true.)

As my blog profile states, I enjoy watching science fiction movies. A recent favourite was 'Passengers' - highly recommended as a love story set on an almost 100 year long interstellar trip. On the other (serious) hand I retain an interest in hard science - keeping up with developments in astronomy particularly in the area of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Well today I have started to look around at today's UFOlogy, by reading a number of websites. The current range of views is very broad indeed. In one place I read the views of individuals who believe they are 'star seeds' - part human, part alien. In another place people recount their solid belief in the existence of reptilian creatures who abduct humans. Elsewhere, there are collections of individuals sharing accounts of their nightly sky watches - and the 'UFOs' they regularly see. Buried amongst all this are 'scientific ufologists' providing hard data and analysis.

It's going to take me a while to digest everything on my UFO search 'menu.' I guess I am on the entrée course at the moment.

I'll look to publish a weekly post, probably each Sunday.

Must away, my youngest is hungry from all the pool work out!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Pauline Wilson returns

Dear readers,

For those of you who have been reading this blog since its inception and who have a long memory, you may remember me (Pauline Wilson) as the person who started off the blog. After a while I got married, things became very busy and so I handed over the blog to Adelaide researcher Keith Basterfield.

Last month on an impulse I checked on the blog, and was pleasantly surprised to find it still going, with an excellent track record of posts. I then read Keith Basterfield's post advising that he was taking a break from UFO research. I approached him with the thought of writing the occasional post, and he agreed.

I will take some time to acquaint myself with today's UFOlogy, and then start posting. I have a few year's worth of catching up to do!  

One new website I have already visited is The Australian UFO Archives  - check it out. 




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The last post...for a while

This blog was initiated by Pauline Wilson, an Adelaide based UFO researcher, in 2009. When Pauline's interests moved on to other things, I took over the blog. Since 2009 there have been 896 posts; some short, and some thousands of words in length. Total hits on the site have exceeded 750.000.

Over my 51 years of interest in the subject, I have taken a number of breaks from my research. My shortest break was six months, and the longest was four years. I find these breaks from research to be very useful. It is too easy to get bogged down with keeping up to date; reading books; blogging one's research; answering questions from people who wish to know what it was that they have just seen in the sky; and keeping across some 45 Australian Face Book pages dedicated to hundreds of well meaning, but in the end, inane discussions on the topic. Enough becomes enough at some stage.

Despite all the current excitement about the formerly secret US Department of Defence Pentagon UFO program, it is time for me to take another break. At the moment I do not know how long the break will be.

I thank all my blog readers for sharing the journey so far.

Before I go, I'd like to recommend a new Australian website, called The Australian UFO Archives. It is only in draft form at the moment but it provides links to a large amount of factual, informative, Australian material. You will find it here.

So, this blog will see no new posts until I return from my 'holiday' from UFO research.

Signing off for now.

Regards,

Keith Basterfield.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

National Archives of Australia - more new UAP files available

Background

Over the years, Australian researchers have found around 150 files in the National Archives of Australia (NAA), dealing with the subject of 'Unusual Aerial Sightings;' 'Flying Saucers'; 'Unidentified Flying Objects' and a variety of other titles. Wherever possible, these files have been digitised by the NAA, upon the payment of a fee by a very small number of Australian researchers, including myself. Today, anyone can go to the NAA website, type in a variety of keywords, and read the files for themselves.

New material

The NAA continues to add new files, about UAP, to their RecordSearch database. Two newly available files were added in October 2017. These are:



1. NAA file series BP990/1, control symbol 5/113/AIR PART 1, barcode 22420284, titled 'Unusual Aerial Sightings.' This file has a date range of 1975-1977. It is a correspondence file, originally created by Headquarters RAAF Amberley in Queensland. The current file status is 'not yet examined.' In order to view the file someone needs to ask the NAA to review the file, then pay them to digitise it.

2. NAA file series BP990/1, control symbol 5/113/AIR PART 2, barcode 22420285, titled 'Unusual Aerial Sightings.' This file has a date range of 1977-1979. It is a correspondence file, originally created by Headquarters RAAF Amberley in Queensland. The current file status is 'not yet examined.' In order to view the file someone needs to ask the NAA to review the file, then pay them to digitise it.



There are two other files whose status is 'Open with exception' which are waiting for someone to pay for them to be digitised. These are:

3. NAA file series A9755, control symbol 9, barcode 3533451, titled 'RAAF No 92 Wing HQ, Edinburgh. Unusual Aerial Sightings. The file's date range is 1992-1994. 

4. NAA file series A9755, control symbol 23, barcode 3533584, titled 'RAAF No 82 Bomber Wing, Amberley.' Date range is 1992-1994. 

Would any blog readers like to assist us all, by arranging for all these four files to be digitised?

Monday, December 11, 2017

The full version of the Western Australian Police Department UAP file

Background

Between 1951 and 1975, the Police Department of the West Australian government kept a file titled 'Unidentified Flying Objects.' The State Record Office (SRO) of Western Australia posted some 55 pages of this file, to their website around 2015. I came across it and wrote about the contents of the available pages, in a blog post dated 3 July 2015.

It wasn't until 2017 that I noticed that there was a gap in the folio numbering of the 55 available pages. This indicated that there might be other folios of the file available to me. I therefore communicated with the SRO, and indeed the full version of the file contains 156 images. I have just recently purchased a copy of the full file.



My previous post covered folios 1-31 (1951-1954) and folios 123-148 (1970-1975). Thus this current blog will fill in the gaps.

Sightings in this section

26 August 1954. V E, R V and R M H Antonio were in a car near Monument Hill, near Northam at 2.15pm and sighted a grey, oval shaped object in the clear sky. It was stationary.

15 December 1954. At 3am, two men, travelling south by car from Carnarvon to Geraldton saw a light in the ESE sky. Seen for 20 minutes. They reported seeing 'portholes,' along the side of the machine. The object rotated every 30 seconds.

 6 March 1957. Three men were travelling west along the Great Eastern Highway at 12.30am when they sighted a very bright green light with a tail, above trees. It rose up, then arced over the trees. Duration 4-5 seconds. It lit up the whole countryside.

3 July 1957. A number of people at the Fibre Queen Asbestos mine, 126 miles SE of Port Hedland, said they saw , at 10pm, a very bright light light up the whole area. Several explosions were then heard.

28 November 1957. At 10.45 am a Mundrabilla station hand heard a loud explosion and saw a cloud of dust and smoke rise into the sky. Soon after that he saw an object , cigar shaped, 030 feet long with no wings. Also at 10.45am two persons some distance away saw the same thing for 5 minutes and thought it was a guided missile. It came in from Eucla, circled at Madura and then went eastwards over Mundrabilla. One person reported that a piece fell off it. There was a blue vapour trail. The RAAF said it was a high flying Canberra jet aircraft.

19 August 1960. At Yallalong Station, 90 miles from Mullewa at 4pm the station owner reported seeing a bright object in the sky, The manager of Curbar Station 160 miles north of Mullewa heard an explosion.

5 August 1961. At 8.20am at Mt Hale Station. The very well known story of multiple objects dropping 'angel hair.' Interviews with some of the observers. For my catalogue and analysis of this and similar 'angel hair' cases, click here.

2 August 1964. At Wittenoom, at 3am , Mr E Rossi was at the Hamersley Ranges, 7 miles south of Wittenoom. He said he saw a 200 foot long object with square windows. It was well lit from within. There were no wings, and no tail. It was travelling at an estimated 200 mph, south to north. It had a tail of flame. It was also seen by three other men. For my cold case review click here.

27 September 1965. At 3.30 am, C K Hallett and M F Holbrook were travelling by truck near the Cane River, 30 miles north of Onslow. Their headlights lit up a cylindrical object. estimated to be 10 feet high and 10 feet in diameter, which took off from the ground at high speed. The two men travelled on in the truck. 10 miles later, they met two other people attending to a broken don truck. After being at this new location for 10 minutes the object appeared again. It swooped down over the two trucks at 200-300 mph. It lit up the surrounding area with a pale green light. The object itself was iridescent green and was lit up all over. It then climbed to a high altitude and disappeared from view.

The Police interviewed Holbrook who added that the object originally travelled roughly east to west, slightly towards them. It crossed the road in front of them and landed, then immediately took off again at high speed. It rose at a 45 degree angle and had descended at a slightly less angle. There was no noise from it. It was pale iridescent green and glowing. It had touched the ground for only a few seconds before rising up again.

On the second viewing at about 4 am, they were facing sought on the bank of the Cane River. The object had been travelling east to west at a low altitude slowly descending as if going to land again. He judged that the object would have been again landing in the same area as on the first occasion. It was the same colour as the first time, but was also emitting a bright white light, sparkling. There were small sparklets falling out of the light. The object passed within an estimated 100 yards of the observers and was silent.

14-15 August 1966. P G Johnston of Kununurra, was driving a bulldozer at night. At 11.54pm on the 14th he watched bright lights come from the south-west, slow down, and stop over a hill at an estimated distance of 1 mile. Then he saw a row of red lights, which appeared to come from behind the first light. There were 6-8 of them. These were not very bright. A few seconds later the red lights went out and the white light grew brighter, in fact too bright to look at.

An area about 12 feet around him lit up like a searchlight. Duration 5 minutes. The bright light went out and four less bright red lights travelled down behind a hill over which they had been stationary. The witness then sat and eat a meal. Then lights appeared from behind the hill and approached to within a 1/4 mile. These hovered 20 foot in the air. A bright white light came on and he could see this clearly. After 3-4 minutes this light went out and he then saw red lights over Kun Air strip.

By starlight he observed a 'flying saucer' type machine. It tilted as it rose so he could see its top. It was silver in colour, 10 feet high, 180 feet long and 80-100 feet wide. Red lights appeared to be portholes on the long side. As it rose, what seemed to be 3-4 points of vapour trailed from the underside. This wandered about the valley for 1 1/2 hours before seeming to land on hills. The lights were there till the first light of dawn on 15 August.

14 February 1967. At around the same time as there was a search for the American Biosatellite believed to have come down over Western Australia, there was a sighting between 7 and 7.30pm of an orange light seen from Bunbury.

30 October 1967. The classic encounter case, near Boyup Brook, between a car and an object, where the driver states that the car instantly decelerated from high speed without any effects, and then accelerated back to high speed in an instant, again with no effect on the driver. For my cold case review click here. 

5 May 1968. At 11am there was a report of what appeared to be a flare off Bremer Bay.

25 May 1969. At 2.43pm at Derby, there was a report of a large 'jet' seen NW to WNW.

11 March 1970. AT Christmas Creek Station, 60 miles east of Fitzroy, a cruising object left a vapour tail, as it travelled NW at high speed. The trail was not constant but broken. Smoke followed it to the ground.

The website of UFO Research Queensland Incorporated

Dear readers , I am running a couple of days late with this post, due to illness in the family.   This week I am continuing my look at the...