Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Defence Science and Technology Organisation records on UAP - part three

Introduction

This post continues my report on the contents of a newly available Australian government UAP file. I am providing a folio by folio description, plus comments to place the documentation into context.

Folios 69 to 103

Copies of the Department of Air's annual summaries of explanations for UAS, between 1960 and 1971.

Folios 104 and 105

A two page internal DOD minute, subject UFOs, dated 27 July 1971 from R S Royston, Gp Capt DAFI, to S/Air/SS. It provides background to the discussion re the Department of Supply interest.

Comment:

This minute is previously known from RAAF file 554/1/30 (67.)

Folio 106

A one page memo, dated 5 August 1971, from DOA, Canberra to Mr S T M Johnstone, Defence Science Division, attaching folios 104 and 105.

The memo

Comments;

1. This is a reply from DAFI/DOA re the DOS idea.
2. SAIRSS is R Cartwright, DOA.

Folios 107 and 108

An article from 'Pix' magazine dated 25 December 1971, pp8-9, titled 'UFos own the world.'

Inquries in the United Kingdom

Folios 109

Is a letter dated 27 January 1972 to Commodore J W McClure, RAN, DST representative in London, from S T M Johnstone, Attached are folios 107 and 108. It asks about the alleged statements attributed to Dr Fred Hoyle.

Folio 110

Appears to be a sample UK government letter to a witness of a sighting.

Folio 111

Appears to be a sample of a UK government letter to someone who asks about UFOs.

Folios 112 and 113

Appears to be a blank UF UFO report form.

Folios 114

Appears to be a table showing UFO sighting stats for the UK 1 January 1959 to 31 December 1971.

Folio 115




Is a response to folio 109, dated 15 June 1972. It includes the following text. 'The officers at MOD are naturally reluctant to show much public interest but a good deal of cataloguing and quiet investigation takes place.'

Folios 116 to 120

Articles from the UFO Subcommittee of the US AIAA organisation.

Folios 121 and 122

A two page memo from Commodore J W McClure in London, to S T M Johnstone, dated 16 November 1972. It describes the UK government's UFO process, and this explains why folios 110 to 114 are on this file.

J Allen Hynek

Folios 123 to 125

A three page article from the magazine 'New Scientist' dated 17 May 1973 titled 'The man who spoke out on UFOs.' It is an article about Professor J Allen Hynek.

Comment:

In August 1973 Hynek was in Australia and together with Dr M Duggin and Harry Turner, met with DAFI on 24 August 1973. Was someone gathering background material on Hynek prior to his visit here?

Folios 126 to 127

A two page letter from J Allen Hynek, to the Editors of 'Physics Today' dated 15 February 1971.

Folios 128 to 129

A two page letter from the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence to a 'Richard' who had asked the DOD for information on UFOs.

Folios 130 to 133

Various newspaper clippings about the subject.

Folios 134 to 139

A blank DAFI UAS sighting questionnaire.

Moving into 1981 - UAS and a Chinese satellite

Folios 140 to 142

A confidential minute dated 12 June 1981 from A W McMichael, Director of JIO, to FASSIP, DOD. The FASSIP asked for '...an outline of the principles and procedures which govern UFO sightings in Australia.'


Part of the minute

Comment:

Interestingly as part of the minute, JIO stated 'The Missiles, Space and Electronics Section in the Defence Science and Technical Branch JIO maintain a liaison with DAFIS...The RAAF's routine procedures for investigating Unusual Aerial Sightings were extremely valuable in the field investigations associated with the Chinese satellite launch failure and subsequent re-entry in July 1979.'

(Continued in part four.)

Defence Science and Technology Organisation records on UAP - part two

Introduction

This post continues my report on the contents of a newly available Australian government UAP file. I am providing a folio by folio description, plus comments to place the documentation into context.

A proposed official government investigation team

Folios 43 to 45

This is a three page memo, dated 16 March 1970, signed by O H Turner. It is titled 'Scientific investigation of UFO reports.' It starts off with 'On the basis that a team of two scientists is to be formed to investigate selected UFO reports on behalf of the Defence Science Division, the following suggestions are made...'


Part of the memo


The memo lists equipment that should be utilised; procedures for reporting of special cases; preliminary survey by originating agency; investigation team's rapid response; and future investigation teams.

Comment:

Here then is a detailed, internal Australian government proposal, which confirms Bill Chalker's statements in various sources, that a DOD rapid investigation team was proposed in around 1969.

More Harry Turner material

Folio 46

Is a one page 'Chronology of RAAF involvement with UFO's.'

Folios 47 to 51

Are a five page 'Chronology of US investigations into UFO phenomena.'

Folios 52 and 53

Are two pages about 'RAAF attitudes to UFO's.'

Folios 54 to 60

Are seven pages about  'US official attitudes to UFO's.'

Folios 61 and 62

Are a two page summary to folios 46 to 60. There is a hand written note on folio 62 which says 'Prepared by H Turner (JIO)7/5/71. Discussed GEB 10/5/71.'

Comments on folios 46 to 62:

1. Copies of many of these documents also appear on JIO file 3092/2/000.

2. They represent a detailed argument as to why Australia should conduct its own research into UFOs.

Folios 63 and 64

Are a copy of a four page article 'Flying saucers keep coming,' from the magazine 'Australasian Post'
dated 13 May 1971.

Front cover of Australasian Post
The Department of Supply to conduct in-depth UAP investigations?

Folios 65 to 67

Are a three page 'Draft submission to the Secretary.' In part it says 'The purpose of this submission is to inform you of previous arrangements in Australia for handling reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) and to suggest a change in these arrangements.' 

It provides details of the current process of the RAAF handling the reports. Then, 'It is proposed that the Department of Supply undertake a scientific investigation of selected UFO reports for a period of say two years...' The memo proposes the undertaking of deeper research on such cases, as where artifacts are found; there are ground markings; radiation or magnetic disturbances, amongst other criteria. It suggest that about 20 cases a year would receive this treatment.

Part of the submission

At the bottom of page three there are handwritten notes which read:

(In red biro.) 'Some estimate of cost and resources included? Presumably no (illegible word) to new arrangements. RAAF to be prime contact with public as at present.'

(In blue biro.) 'Show it is little more, if any, than RAAF at present.' And 'Make a proposal on publicity. Promotion of other agencies (e.g. CSIRO) to be referred to in the submission.' Also 'Mention Lawrence's agreement.'

(In lighter blue biro.) 'CSIRO should be suitable to undertake many of these investigations, especially when biological factors are indicated, but lack the technical resources of DSL or WRE. Useful Divisions of CSIRO would probably include Physics (Sydney), Meteorological physics (Melbourne), Plant industries (Canberra), Wild Life (Canberra.)'

Comments:

1. Here, then, is a more detailed proposal for Australian government research into UAP. It is not the suggested rapid investigation team per se, but certainly is about a deeper look at certain cases by the Department of Supply.

2. From previous research, we know that on 27 July 1971 DAFI was discussing Department of Supply interest in undertaking research. We also know that on 27 May 1971, that the then JIO was suggesting the DOD pass investigations from the RAAF to the Department of Supply.

3. This suggests that the internal memo being currently discussed be dated between 13 May 1971 (file folios 63 and 64) and 27 May 1971 (file folio 68.)

Folio 68

Is a one page internal DOD minute, dated 27 May 1971 from R W Furlonger, the then Director of JIO to DOD Deputy Secretary B. The JIO Director supports the idea of the Department of Supply taking up investigations.

The memo

There is a handwritten note that says 'Mr Barlow. This can be taken into account in your submission. R F 31/5.'

Comment:

A copy of this particular minute was previously known, from JIO file 3092/2/000.

(Continued in part three.)

Defence Science and Technology Organisation records on UAP - Part one

Introduction

In a blog post dated 14 June 2016, I advised that I had found a file in the National Archives of Australia (NAA), file series A4090, control symbol 529/1/16 Part 1, titled 'DSTO records of unidentified aerial phenomena.'

The file had only been registered with the NAA on 30 September 2015, and originated with the Australian Department of Defence (DOD). The file was listed as 'closed,' with the reason given,being 'withheld pending advice.' This usually means that the file is still with the originating agency, being examined by them for 'sensitivities' before being opened.

I immediately asked the NAA to have the DOD complete their examination of the file; knowing that once the file status changed from 'closed' to 'open,' that I would be able to order a copy of the file.

While waiting for this process to be completed, I wrote to the DOD and asked an obvious question. If this was part one of the file, was there a part two? The DOD responded that there was no part two. In addition, I checked to see if the NAA RecordSearch had a part two, it did not.

In addition, also while waiting, I wrote a second blog post dated 20 June 2016, gathering together what I could find out about any DSTO involvement with UAP in Australia.

Time passed, until I was advised on 26 June 2017, that the file had been digitised for me. At this point, I wish to acknowledge UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated, who donated half the money needed to purchase a digital copy of this file. Many thanks for your generosity.

The file itself

The new front cover

The digitised file is 201 pages in length. The blue DOD file cover is stamped 'Confidential,' and the file number is shown as DST 529/1/16 Part 1 titled 'DSTO records of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.' However, inside this blue cover, is a fawn covered sheet which suggests it was a previous file cover. This sheet states the file is 'Unclassified.' Then 'Defence Science Branch file, Department of Defence.' Subject: 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.' The next sheet on the file is fawn in colour and says 'Superseded file series notification file no. DST 529-1-16 Pt 1.' I deduce from all this, that there was an original files belonging to the Defence Science Branch DOD, that on 18 January 1980 became a newer, DSTO, DOD file.

The original front cover

What is on this file?

I think the best way to record the details of the contents of the file is folio, by folio, with some explanatory comments by myself, to allow readers to explore the context of the documents.

Folio 2

Is a letter, dated 28 November 1967 from Allen Fairhall (the then Minister for Defence) to Peter E Norris (President of the Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organisation [CAPIO.] With a copy to the Secretary DOD for attention.

'Mr Hasluck has referred your letter of October 31st to me. I read the attached project note with interest and appreciate your concern in the matter.

If funds were to be made available they should most appropriately be found from the Defence vote for Science Research.

I need hardly say that these are severely limited. However, I will have the matter investigated and will write to you again in due course.'

Comments:

1. I located NAA file series A703, control symbol 569/5/451 Part1, titled 'Reps on Behalf of Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organization re Unidentified Flying Objects in Australia' which assists in our understanding of the context of folio 2. 

2. On 6 March 1967, CAPIO forwarded correspondence to Peter Howson (then Minister for Air), and drew the Minister's attention to the US University of Colorado, which had been granted money by the USAF to study UFOs. CAPIO suggested that similar assistance should be given to some Australian government agency such as the CSIRO, or a university, to study UFOs.

3. Various internal DOD memos discussed this suggestion as documented on the 569/5/451 file; and correspondence went back and forth between the DOD and CAPIO. In the end, the Minister's response was in the negative.

4. While I did manage to locate a copy of the CAPIO letter of 31 October 1967, I failed to find a copy of the 28 November 1967 letter from Allen Fairhall to CAPIO on the 569/5/451 file. 

5. Interestingly, on the 529/1/16 file, someone underlined the words 'If funds were to be made available they should most appropriately be found from the Defence vote for Science Research.' 

Folio 3

Is a one page, typed sheet to 'Mr Barlow' from 'O H Turner' dated 6 December 1968, and is headed 'Organizational aspects.'

'1. Responsibility
(a) Type, and relations to RAAF ( e.g. scientific analysis before or after RAAF has identified)
(b) Financial
(c) How is analytical work to be shared.
(d) D.S. Establishment

2. New form
(a) Prepare envisaged new versions or talk to old form plus modifications?
(b) Do we have meeting with DAFI in Defence building or Air Force building
(c) Any need for any preliminaries, e.g. prior issue of suggested amendments?'

Comments:

1. Mr Barlow is George E Barlow of the Defence Science and Technology (DST) area, within the DOD. He was the number two man in DST.

2. O H Turner was Harry Turner, then working in the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) in the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) area of the DOD. The JIB was later renamed the Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO) and later, again renamed the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO.)

3. Sydney researcher, Bill Chalker has described, in a number of references, that in 1969 there was a proposal generated by Harry Turner for a DOD rapid investigation team to investigate UAP. When interviewed by both Bill Chalker, and by the Disclosure Australia project, Turner confirmed that George Barlow was also to be involved in this project.

4. In 2008, I obtained a copy of a JIB UAP file, NAA file series JIO63, control symbol 3092/2/000 titled 'Scientific Intelligence - General - Unidentified Flying Objects.' I rechecked if a copy of folio 3 was on this file, but it is not.

5. 'New form' probably refers to the fact that there was a suggested update to the RAAF's Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) pro forma questionnaire sent to UAP witnesses.

Folio 4

Is a newspaper clipping from the 'Herald' of 9 December 1968 about 'Just space junk.'

Folios 5 and 6

Are a memo dated 12 December 1968 from G E Barlow to Mr R L Brooks, Defence Science Attache, Australian Embassy, Washington. In part it read:

'One of the more exotic tasks of my office is to provide scientific 'guidance' to RAAF interest in UFOs...' It goes on to seek information from NORAD about satellite re-entry predictions. '...Finally, because of the emotional connotations of any sort of work on UFOs, I suggest the reason for our interest be kept from the US authorities at this stage...'

Part of the 12 December 1968 memo

Folio 7

Is a telex, dated 15 January 1969, from R L Brooks to Barlow. It states that copies of satellite prediction data are already sent from the US to the Australian Department of Supply and to the Weapons Research Establishment.

Folio 8

Is a handwritten note from Harry Turner to George Barlow, dated 20 January 1969. It is a follow up to a phone conversation between the two.  It notes that the Condon report was released 9 January, and provides a list of suggested dates for correlating possible re-entries.

Folios 9 to 12

Is an article from the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,' 4 April 1969, about the Condon report.

Folios 13 to 24

Are  a 'Report on investigation of UFO sightings in Perth, 5-7th June 1969.' A handwritten note by George Barlow, dated 25 June 1969 says 'Chief Defence Scientist. A "sanitised' version has been passed to RAAF.'

The beginning of the 1969 Perth report

Due to a large number of UAP reports from the Perth, Western Australia, area of Australia, received via the RAAF; the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) who were in charge of investigating such reports, asked Defence Science for assistance. JIB were requested to supply an investigator to conduct on site research.

Comments:

1. This is one of the very few times where a comprehensive DOD investigation of a series of UAP reports was conducted. This investigation is documented in this report, folios 13 to 24.

2. In part the report reads 'There is a clear need for continued investigation of UFO reports, particularly from the viewpoint of scientific analysis.'

3. The report is signed by O H Turner, and dated 20 June 969. Turner was the unnamed investigator from JIB.

4. Although some details of the contents of this report have been described before, e.g. by Bill Chalker, I do not recall the whole report turning up on any previous Australian government UAP file.

Folio 25

Is an undated newspaper clipping 'Seeing things in Western Australia,' written by Don Smith in Perth.

Folios 26 to 42

Are a report titled 'Ground marks on Sydney Golf courses.' 

Comments:

1. This is a very comprehensive report, by an unnamed author, on usual markings found at two Sydney golf courses, at the end of June 1969, investigated on 31 July 1969.

A sketch of the layout of some of the marks

2. Some of the details about these marks, and indeed, this investigation, are known from other sources. These sources suggest the investigators were Harry Turner (DOD) and Dr Michael Duggin (then working for the CSIRO.)

(Continued in part two.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Four months before Kenneth Arnold

Kenneth Arnold

24 June 2017, is the 70th anniversary of the birth of the modern UFO phenomenon; the Kenneth Arnold sighting of 24 June 1947. However, there were many sightings which occurred, and were published, prior to Arnold's observation. One such sighting occurred in  my home state of South Australia, and remains unexplained.

The Port Augusta and Lock sightings

Between 7 and 8 am on the morning of 5 February 1947, a Mr F W Flavel of the country town of Lock, South Australia, stated that he had observed something unusual. He said he saw five, strange objects traversing the sky. In shape, they were oblong, with narrow points. They seemed to be floating from north-west to south-east and cast a shadow. (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 17 February 1947, p.2.)

At about 9am that same morning, Mr Ron Ellis and two workmates were at work at the Commonwealth Railways workshop, in Port Augusta. Ellis reported seeing five, strange, egg shaped objects crossing the sky, from north to south. They cast shadows, and appeared to be quivering. They were lost to view within a few seconds. Their colour was said to have been white to light pink. (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 7 February 1947, p.1.)


I wrote two blog posts about these two observations (click here and here.)

Potential explanations

At the time, a  number of possible mundane explanations were put forward as to the nature of the strange objects. These were:

1. Meteors.

An amateur astronomer (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 25 February 1947, p.1) suggested that the objects were daytime meteors. However, the South Australian government astronomer, Mr G F Dodwell, was quoted (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 8 February 1947, front page) as saying '...that the phenomenon did not fit in with anything astronomical and was a complete mystery to him. Mr Dodwell discounted the probability of the objects being meteorites.'

2. A mirage.

J C Fowler (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 22 February 1947, p.2) suggested that the explanation was a mirage. The South Australian government astronomer, Mr G F Dodwell (same paper) discussed the hypothesis but concluded 'This seems to correspond with real objects and not with a mirage reflection.'

3. Birds.

In a letter (Adelaide 'Advertiser' 1 March 1947) G L Forth wrote 'In all probability the strange objects in the sky at Port Augusta and Lock were flocks of galahs migrating from the arid districts in the far north.

It is not an uncommon sight to people living in the north. Galahs usually fly in packed formations and at a high altitude. They do not screech while travelling long distances. No doubt this would also account for the pink and grey colors mentioned by your correspondents.'

4. Other thoughts.

Researchers Chris Aubeck and Martin Shough (2015. 'Return to Magonia.' Anomalist Books. San Antonio, Texas, chapter 21) discuss a number of other potential explanations. These included balloons; wind borne objects; '...perhaps even small clouds.' (p.343);' lighter than air airships (p.345); aircraft and rockets.

Ultimately though, Aubeck and Shough   concluded '...this is a striking case, and is certainly of great historical and cultural interest. Simply put, this is a modern UFO...' (p.350.)

Naturally, I welcome hearing from any blog readers who either, have additional material on these sightings, or can suggest an explanation.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cold case review - 31 August 1954 - 'Sea Fury' radar/visual


A classic Australian case reanalysed

One of Australia's classic cases, is an incident where a Navy pilot, on a night flight, near Goulburn, New South Wales, encountered two 'unknowns,' which were also picked up on radar.

On the Internet, the sighting is frequently, but incorrectly, referred to as the 'Nowra incident.' It would be better titled, either the 'Sea Fury' radar/visual event of 31 August 1954, or the Goulburn radar/visual event of 31 August 1954.

The sighting made headlines in many Australian newspapers, two examples of which, are shown below.

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1
The case has been extensively investigated, and reported upon, by Sydney researcher Bill Chalker. I reviewed the case in two previous blog posts (click here and here.)

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1
Despite all previous research, the nature of the 'unknowns' has never been resolved.

Courtesy NAA file series MP926, control symbol 3079/101/1

A fresh approach

Now, an Adelaide UFO researcher, who wishes to remain anonymous, has taken a fresh look, 'cold case,' approach to the sighting. The researcher reviewed all the published material on the event, and has come up with a very plausible, non-UFO, suggestion as to the identity of the two 'unknowns.'

Courtesy of John Stepkowski in Melbourne, we can now all read this new 'cold case' research paper.

The anonymous author (known to me) and myself, would be very interested to hear what blog readers think of the hypothesis.

Monday, June 12, 2017

James E McDonald - where did his UAP interest come from?

Paul Hellyer

My former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, at one time, was intrigued about where the UAP interest of certain researchers came from?

In a blog dated 6 May 2011, she started her enquiries with Paul Hellyer, a former Canadian Defence Minister, who was then in the news, making statements about UAP. Pauline found that his '..UFO opinions derived from reading Colonel Corso's book rather than official knowledge.' (According to Bullard, T E, 2010. 'The Myth and Mystery of UFOs'.University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas. p.9.)

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

Peter A Sturrock


Image courtesy of Amazon Books

In a further blog post dated 26 July 2011, Pauline, after reading a book by Peter A Sturrock titled 'A Tale of Two Sciences: Memoirs of a Dissident Scientist'. (2009. Exoscience. Palo Alto, California) wrote ' that Sturrock, in 1947, while in the English countryside, had seen, in the sky 'A round, bright white object...travelling in a straight line, seen for less than a minute' (p.1.) This impressed him.

J Allen Hynek 


Image courtesy Amazon Books


She went on (blog post 11 August 2011) to write about J Allen Hynek's interest. She found the answer in Jacques Vallee's book 'Forbidden Science Volume 1,' (2002. Documentica Research, LLC.) page 277. In a diary entry, dated November 1966, Vallee wrote:

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

[Hynek to Vallee] 'Did I ever tell you how I became interested in science?'

'Wasn't your mother a schoolteacher? You told me she once gave you a book about astronomy that fascinated you.'

'That's not what made me decide to take up science as a profession. So many people get into science looking for power, or a chance to make some discovery that will put their name into history books...For me the challenge was to find the very limits of science, the place where it breaks down, the phenomenon it didn't explain.'

James E. McDonald

Re-reading these blog posts made me wonder where the UAP interest of James E. McDonald came from?

I went to Ann Druffel's book about McDonald ('Firestorm.' 2003. Wild Flower Press. Columbus, NC.) to try and find the answer. The first relevant reference I located was on page 2.

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

'McDonald's friend and colleague, Dr Paul E Damon of the University of Arizona, feels that McDonald's intense interest in UFOs may have started in the early fifties at an international meteorological conference in Italy. There had been a new report of an Italian UFO sighting which intrigued McDonald.

He discussed the sighting with some senior colleagues at this conference. They reminded him that the United States Air Force had a group, Project Blue Book that was specifically in charge of investigating UFOs. These colleagues reasoned that, if there was anything to the report, the Air Force would have found this out and would have alerted the scientific community.  This satisfied McDonald for a while but in 1958 when public UFO reports in his home town of Tucson began to come to his attention, McDonald''s curiosity was piqued. And when his friends and colleagues also began to confide their own sightings to him, he felt it was vitally necessary to study the question.' (Interview between Ann Druffel and Dr Paul E Damon, 27 February 1994.)

Page 15 of 'Firestorm' provides the additional information that 'McDonald had himself seen a bright, anomalous object in the daytime sky when he first came to Tucson in 1954.' Druffel summarised this sighting and notes that McDonald wrote a letter to the USAF detailing his observations.

The letter

Through US researcher and historian, Barry Greenwood, I obtained a copy of this letter. As very few blog readers would have had the opportunity to read this letter, I present part of the contents below.

'On Sunday, January 10 of this year [1954-KB], at 1725MST, while driving north along Arizona State Highway 83, about five miles north of Sonoita (latitude 31deg 45min, longitude 110deg 40min) I observed an unusually brilliant object low in the south western sky. As viewed from our level, the sun had just set behind the Santa Rita Mountains even though nominal sunset for a level plain in this vicinity would be about 1740MST. I estimated that this object was only one or two degrees above the crest of the range of mountains and that the latter rose to an altitude angle of perhaps five or six degrees, from our position.

Its exact azimuth was uncertain to me at the time of observation since this was unfamiliar territory with no landmarks, but since my return to Chicago, I have determined from astronomical tables that the sun's azimuth at 1725MST near Tucson was approximately 243 deg and this bright object lay no more than five degrees southward of the sun in azimuth according to my estimate,

Hence, when seen from the approximate position cited above, this object was at altitude six to eight degrees and azimuth 235deg to 240deg. The altitude may have been even below 6 deg...the luminosity did not vary as we continued our sinuous way northward. I pointed the object out to my three companions...it became evident that the object was either not moving with any perceptible velocity across out line of sight or that it was doing so intermittently...we held it under observation for a total period of was about fifteen minutes...the mountain blocked out view...Its light was white...the sky was cloudless.'

In looking for an explanation, McDonald considered whether or not it was the planet Venus; a weather balloon; and also looked at the weather at the time.'Above a shallow layer of easterly winds, the circulation over the southwest US on the afternoon of January 10 was westerly. Tucson's 500mb winds were southwest 30 kts at both 0800MST and 2000MST.. I would estimate magnitude -5 to -7...' (Source:  letter from McDonald to USAF, 1954.)

The object seen by McDonald and his companions, remained unknown.

'There had been a new report of an Italian UFO sighting which intrigued McDonald.'

I checked Fold3 Project Blue Book records looking for some Italian cases from the early 1950's. I found two possible cases, which were:

1. 14 September 1954. Italy.

'The inhabitants of Pitigliano reported sighting a round, white object making a strange, loud noise. The object came to a standstill and then disappeared at high speed. ATIC Eval: Unknown-insufficient detail.'

2. 17 September 1954. Rome, Italy.

One, soundless object, the shape of a jellyfish when stationary, but cigar shaped when in motion. It was silver in colour, with red/violet streaks along one side with a circle of dark grey/black beneath. Seen in the sky. Seen from control tower of Ciampino Air Base. Object approached from 270/280 degrees azimuth.Approached to about 30 km distance, descended to altitude of 6000 to 10000 ft. Remained stationary. Then moved north to 290 degrees azimuth. Gained altitude then moved to west to 270 degrees azimuth. Lost at azimuth 270 degrees, at a low elevation. In sight for 30 minutes clearly then for occasionally for a further 15 minutes. Seen with naked eyes and through binoculars. Also reportedly tracked by radar, but radar report not available to PBB. Seen between 1645Z and 1715Z clearly and occasionally until 1730Z 17 September 1954. Just before sunset and seen towards the sun. The report also made the newspapers.

It is not possible to be certain if either of these reports was the one referred to by Druffel, though the second one would certainly have intrigued McDonald. I also failed to locate details of any Italian meteorological conference in the early fifties, which might have provided a more accurate date for the Italian sighting which intrigued McDonald. However, it would seem reasonable to suggest that McDonald's interest came from an Italian sighting of the early 1950's, and his own 10 January 1954 observation.

A small aside

The USAF apparently took no action about McDonald's 1954 letter, apart from an acknowledgement of the letter. So, how do we know about the letter today? In Vallee's 'Forbidden Science Volume One' pages 254-255, Vallee relates that on 15 April 1967, he was at Hynek's house sorting through files.

'...I stumbled on something I felt was important. I found it among the relics of Project Henry. It was a simple letter dated 1954. It came from a cloud physicist at the University of Chicago who was studying for a doctorate at the time. Together with three other physicists he had seen a bright unidentified object in the sky over Arizona. The letter gave precise details and calculations. It was signed James McDonald.' 

Can any blog readers add any additional information?

Friday, June 9, 2017

An Australian witness to a 1926 sighting in the UK

I was re-reading a set of hand written notes by US researcher James E McDonald, which he wrote while in Australia in 1967. This material was obtained many years ago when a group of US researchers, including Dr Michael Swords, reviewed the McDonald collection at the University of Arizona.

Some of the notes were made at the same time that McDonald was interviewing witnesses to selected Australian sightings.



One of the sightings documented was from the UK in 1926! I thought it would be of interest to provide the details which McDonald recorded. McDonald's handwriting is very difficult to read at times, so in the following text, the use of (-) indicates that a word is illegible to me.

The individual whom McDonald interviewed was Mrs Mary Kibel of Melbourne.

'Was age 15 in Scotland. One (-) but permission to a charity concert at Scremerston, Northumberland. Home was in Berwick on Tweed.

Winter 1926. East Coast Scotland. Lived at sea level. Had to take a road from home and little traffic. Came down from (-). 4 - 2 boys and 2 girls. Talking and laughing. Suddenly a terrific swoosh. All (-) cowered. Road had a  high hedge (-). 12-15 ft high. Object swooped over hedge and over to field. All was cowering. Noise was (-) (-). Brilliant red and blue white. (-) glow. (-). Banding of colors. Swept over it +50ft. Went too fast to see shape but feels it was possibly round.

(-) (-) near to village, into homes. She (-) into houses, told by parents it was a falling star. Next AM, all decided if it was a falling star, must be in field. But when checked found nothing, so decided to forget it.

Three zones of color. White in middle, red on top, blue at bottom. She recalls saying to aunt it was colored just like the red-white-blue lifeboats at (-) station.

Hedges were ca. 25 ft apart. Object must have been 20 to 25 ft diam. It did not get down onto the roadway. Came d. a bit. Subtended ca. 20 degree angle. She (-) over.

Girl was Edith Ward (now Mrs Bruce.) Boy was Athol Whitfield (killed in war), John Brown also killed in war.'

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New fees for digitising files from the National Archives of Australia

I have been waiting several months now, for the National Archives of Australia (NAA) to open a particular file of interest to me. I finally received an email to advise me that the file now has a status of 'open.' This meant, that I could finally apply for a copy of the file.

I followed the indicated process to order a digitised copy of the file (it appears you can no longer obtain a hard copy of a file) and got to the section where the fee for the digitisation service was shown. To put it mildly, I was shocked.

I then viewed a copy of the NAA Fact Sheet number 51, titled 'copying charges.' Increased charges for file digitisation, applied since 24 October 2016.

A small file (typically up to 10 pages) costs $27.90.

A standard file (typically 11-100 pages) costs $75.90.

A large file (typically 101-400 pages) costs $235.40.

Now, any reader of this blog who has used RecordSearch on the NAA website, and looked for files on UFOs, will know that they are typically over 100 pages long. This means that if you were to request any UFO file today, it would cost you $235.40 per file.  I doubt that many blog readers would ever pay $235.40 for one digitised file.

Fortunately, due to the diligence of a number of South Australian UFO researchers, almost all the known NAA UFO files have already been digitised, at vastly lower fees.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

One foot in the grave!

Over the last few years, I have spoken to a number of Australian UAP researchers, about the need to preserve Australian material for future generations of researchers.

At least, long runs of the AFSRS magazine are held by the State Library of South Australia

Sitting around
After such discussions, I found that there are several large collections of UAP material; i.e. Newsletters; report forms; investigation reports; photographs and negatives, sitting in garages, spare rooms and even self-storage units, across the country. There is little hope of the broader research community gaining access to these slowly deteriorating resources. These collections are currently destined too pass away with their owners.

Likewise, long runs of Panorama are held by the State Library of South Australia
Lack of planning

The usual process is simply, that people fail to plan for the future. I note that much of the excellent work undertaken in Victoria by such researchers as Paul Norman, Peter Norris, and John Auchettl, has already been lost to us. I have heard stories of relatives of deceased researchers, emptying years of hard work, into skips, destined for the rubbish tip.

A page of a large scrapbook of un-digitised Australian newspaper clippings
In South Australia, the broader UAP community has lost access to the vast collections of material, formerly held by Colin Norris and Fred Stone.

An article about Colin Norris in an unscanned collection

In the same unscanned collection, an article about Fred Stone

Interstate
 

In Western Australia, the collections of groups such as UFORUM; UFO Research (WA) and West Australia UFO Investigation Centre, are no longer accessible to anyone. In Tasmania, TUFOIC's investigation files are harder to access, since Keith Roberts retired from the scene.

Astute readers of this blog will now be asking, what has this author done in regards to his own collection of UAP material? Several years ago, I began the process (which has been completed) of scanning into digital form, my Journals; Newsletters; sighting reports etc. Quietly, over the last couple of years I have been distributing copies of my digitised material, on USB sticks, to 25-30 Australian researchers. Thus most, currently active, Australian researchers have a copy of my files, which include case photographs such as the one below.

Garry Little (deceased) inspects an oat field at Bordertown, South Australia
In addition, the contents of my blog (all current 800 + blog posts, and all future posts) are being archived by the PANDORA Project of the National Library of Australia. Thus, my blog will be publicly available into the future, even if Blogger falls over. This is one of the reasons that I mainly publish all my research work on the blog.

What are you doing?

What are you, or your group, doing to ensure your UAP materials will continue to be available to others, after your passing, or your group dissolves?

I would urge individuals, or committees running groups, to take a serious look at your archives, and decide now, what should happen to them? Can you scan and digitise them now, and make copies available to others? If not, for individuals, look to insert a clause into your will, stating what your wishes are in respect of your UAP material. For groups, make certain that your constitution has a clause specifying what happens to material if the group dissolves.

Failure to do so, will probably result in your UAP collection heading for the rubbish tip; which would be a waste (in all senses of the word.)

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 t...