Sunday, October 31, 2010

More on Operation Crowflight

Further material:

For those interested, the Australian War Memorial website has an image labelled " East Sale, Vic-1961-05-02 Lockheed U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft of USAF preparing for take off from RAAF base East Sale during Operation "Crowflight."" Click here to see the image.

Terence Gallacher has a two piece story on Crowflight and how he filmed U-2s in Australia in December 1960. Click here to go to his blog.

Further searches:

To check for further possible Crowflight UFO reports I also checked:

* The UFO reports listed for 1960-1966 on the AUFORN website
* Various catalogues of specialised UFO reports which I have previously published
* The website of the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre (they have no lists for 1960-1965.)

I found no further UFO reports which had the characteristics of Crowflight aircraft.

HICAT:

Interestingly, I have now found that a single U-2 aircraft returned to Australia in 1966.

The HICAT program, investigating clear air turbulence, flew a U-2 between 19 July and 11 Aug 1966 over various parts of Australia.

It conducted 11 flights in all, based at RAAF Laverton, flying during daylight hours, up to 1200 miles from base, above 50,000 feet. Click here for a paper describing results.

I found no UFO reports in the RAAF UFO files which could be matched to this aircraft.

Cold case investigations - Operation crowflight

Introduction:

One of the areas of research which interests me, is examining UFO reports from the past. Looking at the data available on a case from yesteryear allows you the opportunity of doing so out of the media spotlight.

I recall that the exact opposite occurred with the 1988 Mundrabilla, Western Australia, car/ufo encounter. Here, as a member of UFO Research South Australia, I undertook interviews and investigations in the middle of a global "media circus" which demanded instant answers. There was no time for reflection or evaluation during those heady few days when each ring of the telephone heralded a call from an international media outlet. So, the opportunity to re-examine a UFO case away from this pandemonium is welcome.

In addition, sometimes the passage of time reveals additional information, relevant to a case, which was not available at the time. I became aware of its value, during the initial years of the Disclosure Australia project. This project undertook a comprehensive search for Australian Government UFO files.

Enter Crowflight:

Back in 2004 I was looking at a UFO report from Devenport, Tasmania dated 25 May 1961. At 8.35am a male witness saw a silver object in the sky "...shaped like a thermometer or a pencil..." There was no sound. It was visible to the NNW travelling in a straight line, and slowly lost to view behind bushes, indicating a small angular elevation at this point.

The man reported the observation to the RAAF, and on their official UFO report form, in a section completed by the RAAF itself, was a note "U2 aircraft over Great Lake at approximately 8.15am tracking in a northerly direction..." This simple note lead me to the discovery that the USAF was flying U2 aircraft over Australia, under an Operation named "Crowflight." I suggested to other researchers that a number of Australian UFO reports could have been caused by observations of U-2 aircraft.

A closer look:

Six years later, I decided to take a closer look at Crowflight to see if there were further insights to be gleaned. I went to the National Archives of Australia (NAA) website and using their RecordSearch function I located 13 files relating to Crowflight. These files, at the time of the Operation, were held by the Australian Government Departments of External Affairs; Defence; Air; Supply; Navy and Immigration.

The main file appeared to be 694/7/22. I had previously asked the NAA to digitise three parts of this file, so I was easily able to read these parts in detail. The file's title was "United States high altitude air sampling, 'Crowflight.' " The Operation in Australia was part of a world-wide sampling of radioactive material, and here in Australia mainly took place from aircraft flying between 40 and 45 degrees south latitude. It originally involved seven operational USAF aircraft, namely three U-2 and four JB-57, plus 175-200 personnel. The Operation flew out of the East Sale, Victoria RAAF base.

Further details:

The JB-57 aircraft were based with the 4950th Test Group, Kirkland AFB, New Mexico. Maximum speed was 500mph. Maximum altitude 35-40,000 feet.

The U-2 aircraft had a range of 3,000 miles. Maximum speed 475mph. Flight duration maximum was 7.5 hours. Maximum altitude was 70,000 feet.

From the papers on the files I was able to reconstruct the dates when Crowflight was operational in Australia. These were: 17 Oct 1960 to 15 Dec 1960; 22 Apr 1961 to 31 May 1961; 26 Oct 1961 to 27 Nov 1961; all based at East Sale.

The papers also revealed that there were three additional flights to 60 degrees south latitude on 31 Oct 1961; 16 Nov 1961 and 27 Nov 1961.

Permanent basing:

From 14 Sep 1962 Crowflight aircraft were permanently based in Australia. There were 19 U-2 flights and 25 RB-57 flights a month with two U-2 and four RB-57 aircraft based at Laverton, Victoria RAAF base, and the Department of Supply airfield at Avalon, Victoria.

There were also other Crowflights which did not travel south. There was one flight a month from Avalon/Laverton to Cooktown, north Queensland and at least one flight to Manus Island, near Papua New Guinea, mentioned on the files.

Withdrawal:

On 23 Feb 1965 the RB-57 aircraft were re-located back to RAAF East Sale.

On 1 Mar 1965 the U-2 aircraft were withdrawn, to be replaced by the RB-57F type plane.

A memo dated 12 Jan 1966 advised that the Crowflight Operation would finally cease by Feb 1966 with the final withdrawal of all Crowflight aircraft.

In summary:

Crowflight aircraft were based in Australia 17 Oct 1960 to 15 Dec 1960; 22 Apr 1961 to 31 May 1961; 26 Oct 1961 to 27 Nov 1961, and 14 Sep 1962 to Feb 1966.

UFOs?

Knowing the dates when Crowflight aircraft were in the country now allowed for a check against Australian UFO reports. I therefore started by searching the archives of UFO reports made to the RAAF in my Disclosure Australia files.

I found nine UFO reports which had the characteristics you might associate with observations of Crowflight aircraft. These were: description of a "pencil" or similar shape; no sound; North to South or the reverse trajectory; day time sighting; a straight line trajectory; an estimated speed around 500mph; silver or white in colour; and a location where it was known Crowflight aircraft would pass over.

After reading the relevant RAAF UFO questionnaire for each event, I narrowed possible Crowflight observations to three. There was the original 25 May 1961 Devenport, Tasmania case plus two others.

3 Nov 1962 Liffey, near Cressy, Tasmania

A witness briefly reported seeing a silver, "needle" shaped object overhead, heading soundlessly in a straight line, at 11.15am. It appeared very high up and was lost behind cumulus clouds. My conclusion is that this was possibly a Crowflight U-2 aircraft.

(Pre 9) Jan 1963 Penna, near Hobart, Tasmania

A witness saw "white vapour" at 45 degrees angular elevation due north. There was no sound as an object moved downwards in a straight line, at 11.50am. The RAAF UFO report form stated that at the time, a B-57 aircraft was at 29,000 feet climbing to 40,000 feet, over Hobart. My conclusion is that it was a Crowflight RB-57 aircraft.

I would therefore conclude that at least three known UFO reports in the RAAF UFO files were due to Crowflight aircraft, two by U-2 and one by an RB-57.

There are probably dozens more such Crowflight caused UFO reports buried in the archives of Australian UFO groups, especially the files held by the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre; and the Victorian UFO Research Society; possibly even that of UFO Research Queensland. I would urge researchers in these groups to take alook back through their files for the period 1960 to 1966.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sleep and abductions

Hi

Since the 1970's I have been interested in the boundary of being asleep and awake. This state gives rise to hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery, and gave me the idea for my first UFO book.

Like Pauline, I read a lot of science magazines and one of my favourites is "New Scientist." In the 10 October 2010 issue, number 2729 appeared an article by Laura Spinney which mentions the work of David Dinges, a Psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Dinges is looking at the sleep disorders which occur on the boundary of sleep and being awake. Disorders such as sleep paralysis, hypnagogic imagery, sleep walking, night terrors and narcolepsy, and interestingly for us, alien abductions!

"It is no coincidence he says that alien abductions almost always occur in the recumbent position, in the transition from wakefulness to sleep.'

My comment

From my research I can say that it is true that many abduction reports occur at this boundary. I can also say that from my own research working with abductees, that many episodes happen while the individual is lying on their back. I seem to recall that many sleep paralysis episodes are reported when a person is lying on their back, as opposed to lying on their side or stomach. However, much more research needs to be undertaken in this area. It would be helpful if sleep researchers would take the time to study abductions indepth.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Current research project - cold cases

One of the pieces of research which I am currently undertaking, is taking a fresh look at whether or not aircraft associated with the 1960's USAF "Operation Crowflight" generated Australian UFO reports. I will report back on this in a little while.

While reading some material on Crowflight, the question of whether or not balloon launches in Australia caused UFO reports, crossed my mind. Coincidentally, I came across the following article in "Australian Sky and Telescope" magazine, volume 6 number 8 dated Nov/Dec 2010 page 44.The article was written by Ravi Sood and titled "Astronomy in Australia with stratospheric balloons."The article described the use of massive balloons for x-ray and gamma ray astronomy.

By massive, the author is talking about balloons of 1.3 million cubic metres in size, weighing two tons, costing $300,000 each, with a flight train some 300 metres long when on the ground. The balloons float at a height of 30-40 kilometres.

History

In 1960, the US Atomic Energy Commission and the Australian Government used a facility at Mildura, Victoria to monitor nuclear test fallout material (same aim as Operation Crowflight which used aircraft flying up to 70,000 feet.)

Between 1960 and 1975 There were various launches.

1975. A balloon launching station was established in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

Back to the article

"Nearly 800 stratospheric balloon flights have taken place in Australia since 1960, with over 100 being conducted from Alice Springs. " (p.46.)

"The stratospheric winds are strong easterlies at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour from mid-November to March and strong westerlies from may to October. The period when they switch direction is called "turnaround" and during that time winds are light and variable and flight times of 3 days and more have been achieved." (p.46.)

Downrange stations have been established at Newman, Western Australia and Longreach, Queensland. These locations are on the same latitude as Alice Springs.

The SN1987A supernova, "... saw the most intensive stratospheric balloon campaign ever anywhere in the world take place in Alice Springs." (p.46.)

In 2010 three balloon flights were schedules - 16 April 2010 with the TIGRE payload, which terminated 70 km south of Longreach.

Research project

Once I have completed my Operation Crowflight research I'll take a look at whether or not any Australian UFO reports have been caused by stratospheric balloons.

Staying sane 8

8. Don't be afraid to respectfully disagree with other researchers, whoever they are

Part of the way in which scientific research progresses, is by informed debate on specific issues and areas of interest. The same should be true for the field of UFO research.

David Jacobs is a US researcher with some strong views on the UFO abduction phenomenon. I happen to disagree with some of his findings, and I have, in the past, debated particular points with him.

Likewise, back in the 1980's and 1990's I found much to disagree with, in the work of Whitley Strieber. I documented my observations in print, to allow discuss on my perspective. Some people agreed with my thoughts, others did not.

More recently, I was asked to comment by ABC radio (Australia) about statements made by former astronaut Ed Mitchell in relation to UFOs. I respectfully commented that I found the claims provided no verifiable sources from which the information came. My comments travelled across the blog sphere, and even ended up in a daily newspaper in Tehran, Iran!

In addition, I have, in various places, outlined my views on the inadequate research we have collectively undertaken into the UFO abduction phenomenon. Individuals who have collected vast numbers of cases often can't even provide simple statistics about abductions, e.g. male/female ratio; age distribution of first event; the time the event started etc. Many simply never provide access to their raw data.

So, by all means disagree with the views I put forward, but debate me using data of your own.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Fireballs and UFOs"

Hi again

My second post for the day also comes from "Australasian Science" magazine, Vol 31 No 7. Sep/Oct 2010.

I found an interesting article about the establishment of a Desert Fireball photographic network in Western Australia, which I had never known existed. The article is by Alex Bevon, Phillip Bland and Pavel Spurny. The network consists of four satellite monitored cameras on the Nullarbor Plain to photograph, triangulate the path of, and then try and physically recover bits of meteorites on the ground. Observations so far have resulted in the recovery of on site meteorites on the ground.

Comment

The thought came to mind that this would make an excellent detection system for tracking UFOs and predicting where they would land.

For more on the Network click here.

"Life on Mars"

Hi readers

A beautiful 22 degree Celsius Spring day here in Adelaide. I have a day off and have just been for a walk around my local wetland system. Lots of green grass, gum trees and bird life.

The discovery of life on another planet within our solar system would enhance the possibility of extraterrestrials, by showing that life arose somewhere else besides Earth.

The topic for today's post is "Life on Mars." I came across an article in "Australasian Science" magazine, Volume 31 Number 7. The Sep/Oct 2010 edition pp180-19. By Morris Jones.

In 1966 an Antarctic meteorite, labelled ALH84001 was shown to have gas bubbles in it, which "...matched Viking data on the Martian atmosphere, leading to few doubts about the origin of the meteorite." (p.18.)

Some NASA scientists sated that "...the meteorite contained evidence of fossilised microorganisms..." Debate raged on several lines of evidence cited by these scientists and the consensus was that the evidence was insufficient. Extensive study reduced the evidence "..to one line of evidence. That was the suggestion that the magnetite crystals might be biogenic."

Jones' article then goes on to report on two recent scientific papers by some of the 1996 study NASA scientists. He cites comments by Australian Professor Malcolm Walter, Director of the Australian centre for Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales. (For more on Walter click here.) Walter is an expert "...in the development of early microbial life on Earth..." Walter's views are that the two papers do not strengthen the magnetite line of evidence.

Despite his negative views on the meteorite, Walter says "I think it is probable that life was and still is on Mars."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Staying sane 7

More reflections across 40 years of research.

7. Publish your research

I find no value in coming up with some valuable insight or series of pieces of data, and then not telling anyone about it. Over the years, some of the publishing I have undertaken has included:

* A series of National newsletters documenting abstracts of several hundreds of UFO sightings from all over Australia. This helped others to look at patterns in the incoming data.

* A series of newsletters from the Australian centre for UFO Abduction Studies. These provided information for both experiencers, academics and health professionals interested in this topic.

* Two books.

* A series of 31 newsletters for the Disclosure Australia project. These described both the methodology of the project, and and the findings from examining Australian UFO Government files.

Publishing of this kind of material has distributed my ideas and data, to a range of people, for discussion and debate. This is the standard methodology in science, allowing for peer review of one's work.

Today, of course, there is electronic publishing, like this blog, which is open to anyone.

All in all, I would encourage you to conduct original research and then publish your data/findings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New book alert

Hi readers

In January 1974 there was an apparent crash of a UFO on Berwyn Mountain, in Wales. Click here for some information on the event.

Many wild stories did the rounds about this apparent "crash." Now there is a new book, by Andy Roberts, titled "UFO Down?" which takes a detailed look at what did and what did not happen on that night. Clicke here for a review of the book.

Recommended reading.

Staying sane 6

Further musings:

6. Take frequent breaks from research.

I've taken a number of breaks from researching UFOs. I think the longest was one of four years duration.

Breaks, particularly long ones, enabled me to escape the day to day tasks of investigating local UFO reports. The breaks also gave me time to reflect. I am a strong believer in allowing a thought or idea to sit in my mind for a while. I move on to other things, but eventually find I have achieved some insight into the original topic, even though I was not consciously thinking of it.

It was during a holiday in New Zealand that I read a book by an English psychologist, who mentioned, among other things, his knowledge of hypnagogic and hypnopompic imagery. I immediately saw its relevance to some UFO events where a witness who is on the boundary of sleep/awake, reports seeing something unusual in their bedroom. It appeared to me that some of these events were certainly hallucinatory in origin. I went on to write my first book around this idea. (Click here for details.)

Another holiday, this time in England, saw me visiting as museum in the city of Birmingham. One of the exhibits was the remains of a man, several hundred years old, who had a piece of metal in his head. This got me thinking about the topic of alien implants. Over the next 18 months I located in the UFO literature, numerous accounts of such implants and wrote a review article on the topic for the Journal of the J Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies. (Click here for JUFOS articles list.)

On the negative side, during my long interest, I have seen quite a few of my fellow researchers become too obsessed with the subject, burn out and leave the field forever.

So, I definitely recommend taking a break from UFO research form time to time, for the above reasons.





Friday, October 22, 2010

Australian crop formations

Hi readers

Well, Spring is in the air in Adelaide, and I have been taking a look at the net, for material dealing with Australian crop formations.

The best data I found was actually material gathered together by my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield. It can be found at http://www.project1947.com/kbcat/kbtrace0505.htm

It is a catalogue of over 100 Australian cases where physical traces were found. These traces range from disturbed plants, damaged trees, to circles in crops. The date range is between 1927 and 2004. The association with the UFO phenomenon varies between direct and implied.

It we look for events which are similar to the basic English crop "circle" we find entries such as:

Dec 1973 Bordertown SA (Latitude 36:18, Longitude 140:46)

Seven circular shaped, flattened swirled areas were found in an oat paddock. They ranged from 2.1-4.6m across and were of different ages. Oats had been swirled anti-clockwise. The police forensic squad were unable to explain the marks.
(UFORSA)

Nov 2001 Tandarra Vic

Mr Donald White was moving sheep when he discovered a number of circular marks in his wheat crop. James Kennedy of AUFORN visited the site and found that "The actual wheat was 'combed' in an anti-clockwise direction." The stems of the wheat had not snapped. "In the middle of the majority of circles there was differentiating amounts of untouched wheat growth." There were one group of three circles basically adjoined and another circle was very close to a fence line, and completely flattened. All the circles were at least 2m in diameter.
(Kennedy, J. 2001. "Tandarra Crop Circles. The Australasian UFOlogist. Vol 5 No 5 pp8-10.)

There is even a relatively large formation, found in Adelaide:

Dec 1994 Northfield, Adelaide, SA (34:56, 134:36)

A 15.3m diameter, swirled, flattened circle with run-offs at each end was found in a wheat paddock in suburban Adelaide. The stalks had been flattened in an anti-clockwise direction in the main circle. Information to hand suggests it was a hoax.
(1. M & K Maros.
2. K Basterfield personal investigation.
3. Adelaide Advertiser 15/12/94, 17/12/94, 22/12/94.)


However, looking through the entire listing, there is nothing remotely like the complex formations reported from the United Kingdom over the last 10-15 years. Nothing at all, which is very surprising given the vast quantity of land in Australia devoted to wheat production alone.

What could this lack of complex Australian crop formations tell us? Perhaps:

1. the crop formatiopn phenomenon avoids Australia for some reason, because the crop formation phenomenon is not really a global phenomenton?
2. That hoaxing crop formations is not in the Australian psyche?
3. some other reason that I cannot think of?

Dear readers, have you any ideas?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Staying sane 5

Hi

More musings.

5. Like Kylie Minogue or Madonna, periodically re-invent yourself

At various stages, over 40 years, of my interest I was:

* One of the two Co-ordinators of the Australian Centre for UFO Studies (ACUFOS), which was initiated at the request of Prof. J Allen Hynek in 1974

* Research Director for the group UFO Research (South Australia) (UFORSA) one of the first Australian UFO organisations to move away from the then norm for UFO groups to have large formal committees; large public meetings and magazines. All of which took many members of these groups away from the real work of researching the UFO phenomenon. UFORSA is still in existence today

* Founder of the Australian Centre for UFO Abduction Studies. I saw a need for a national centre which conducted serious, scientific research into the topic. I ran the Centre for three years and published a great deal of research findings

* Facilitator for the Secretariat (the Australian UFO Research Association) (AURA) for the Disclosure Australia Project. This was a very successful five year project locating, documenting and publishing material from Australian Government files relating to UFOs.

Each of these roles enabled me to focus, for a fixed period of time, on one specific aspect of the UFO phenomenon. it brought me into contact with different groups of individuals, including health professionals and academics. I accumulated a range of skills during this time.

I would strongly recommend that you do not spend all of your UFO related time, on the one aspect, e.g. abductions, physical trace cases.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Weapons of mass destruction"

Good morning from Adelaide, South Australia

This post will complete my reading of the latest issue of the English "Fortean Times" (FT) magazine.

In a post dated 16 August 2010, I alerted readers to a new book "Mirage Man" by Mark Pilkington. The September issue of FT carries an article by Mark, taking a look at the July 1952 Washington DC, USA, flap, from a different perspective than I have seen before.

Pilkington first sets the scene in 1952, describing "...the breakdown of relations between the US Air Force and the Navy..." and poses the question "Was the navy taunting its rivals with its superior technology?" Pilkington mentions here, the Navy's XF-5U flying flapjack. (Click here for more information on this aircraft.) It was at this time that the USAF issued JANAP 146 (b), an instruction to the armed forces to report 'unknown aircraft.' This order, was followed by the April 1952 issue of LIFE magazine's article "Have we visitors from space?", written by H B Darrach Jnr and Robert Ginna. The magazine article was pro-UFO, and painted the USAF as regarding some sightings as defying natural explanation.

It was then that the July 1952 radar and visual sightings erupted over Washington DC.

Introducing Leon Davidson

Pilkington next goes on to describe the thoughts of one Leon Davidson, who worked on the Manhattan Project and then at Los Alamos Laboratories, and who became deeply interested in the UFO subject.

"Davidson gradually came to believe that secret military tests lay behind these and most other UFO incidents." (page 35.) and he looked at the Washington flap from this perspective.

Davidson suggested that the Washington events involved USAF electronic counter measures (ECM) which had been used to generate false radar returns.

An aside

As an aside, some of Davidson's letters to the CIA are available on the CIA's Freedom of Information requests dealing with UFOs. There are also internal CIA documents relating to Davidson (click here for a sample.)

Who conducted this experiment?

Davidson suggested that "Since 1951, the CIA has caused or sponsored saucer sightings for its own purposes. By shrewd psychological manipulation, a series of "normal" events has been served up so as to appear as quite convincing evidence of extraterrestrial UFOs..." (page 36.)

Pilkington also takes a look at the claims in recent times by Milton Torres, that in 1957, when based in the United Kingdom, he pursued a UFO visible only on radar, and was ordered to fire rockets at it. neither Torres or the pilot of another aircraft, ever saw any visual object, it was only on radar. Pilkington's inference was that this event was really a case of "radar spoofing."

Palladium, is said to have been a project of the CIA and the NSA in the early 1960's which could create ghost aircraft which could be detected on Soviet radar, while the NSA monitors the enemy's responses. (Click here for a detailed article on Palladium.)

"So were the Washington UFOs an early attempt to put the galloping ghosts under human control?" (Page 36.)

What of the visual UFOs seen over Washington?

Davidson "...also wondered whether the bright lights seen on the nights in question were created by the 'Hell Roarer', a missile-bay-mounted magnesium lighting device that burned at 10 million candle power and had caused a flood of saucer reports when tested by the Air Force over Connecticut in October 1951." (Page 36.)(Click here for more on the hell Roarer system.)

While Davidson thought the CIA was behind the event, Pilkington favours it being the USAF.

Comment:

I found this piece an intriguing piece of writing. As you know, I have a deep interest in the involvement of intelligence agencies in the UFO phenomenon, and Pilkington's thoughts are reasonable speculation.

Certainly a thought provoking piece!

For more on Leon Davidson click here.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Staying sane 4

More from my 40 years ...

4. Don't separate research into UFOs from research into the paranormal

In my opinion, you shouldn't study the UFO phenomenon in isolation from other areas of knowledge. To me, UFOs are part of the topic of the paranormal. I believe that much is to be learnt by studying UFOs, together with the paranormal.

Why do I say this? For example, the after-effects of some UFO close encounters include a range of effects, otherwise labelled 'paranormal' if they took place without a UFO sightings. These effects include an increase in a witness' extra sensory perception (ESP); or the reporting of a "poltergeist.'

In addition, recent scientific studies on the topic of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are relevant to potential non-extra-terrestrial explanations for some UFo abduction accounts. Science has been able to create OBEs on demand, by electrically stimulating the human brain. There are UFO abduction accounts where experiencers relate that they found themselves floating above their physical bodies, just like in an OBE.

There have also been laboratory experiments in which it has been possible to demonstrate that one's sense of self can be transferred to a point outside the physical body.

"Life with the aliens"

Hi readers

My rainy day Fortean Times reading continued with the segment titled "the UFO files." In this issue, Jenny Randles commences a two part article headed "Life with the Aliens."

After revealing that a United Kingdom soap opera plans to feature one of its stars in a relationship with an "alien," Jenny delves into her casebook of encounter events.

In 1978 a woman, living near Lymm, Cheshire saw a silver glowing entity looking into her window.

Next, in 1942, during the Second World War, a woman living near Halifax in the UK, saw a blue sphere appear outside her window. Three, 1.5 metre tall figures emerged, wearing silver overalls and "gold fish bowls" on their heads. An unusual absence of sound was noted. Finally, the figures left though the wall.

These cases seemed to be isolated instances in the lives of the witnesses, but in other cases, the events are lifelong. Jenny's third example involved "Georgina" from South Wales.

In her early childhood, she saw "Strange people who entered and passed through my bedroom or stood there just watching me in the night."

She also found "...herself inexplicably outside, staring into the sky with a puzzling sense of longing." There were also episodes which could be sleep paralysis. Later in life, she had several 'time lapses.' Doctors diagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy.

Jenny closes part one of the article with "...I'll develop the theme of ongoing alien contact and find intriguing links with epilepsy, migraine and out-of-body experiences that offer fascinating clues about UFO reality."

Comment:

Note Jenny's comment about migraine, and then recall my previous post (28 August 2010) where I took a look at the possible relevance of migraine auras and prodromes to the UFO abduction phenomenon. I feel this is an unexplored area of research.

If you'd like to read the entire article by Jenny, then click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Staying sane 3

More of my thoughts on how to retain a long term interest in UFO research.

3. Read widely

I read a lot of different books and magazines, as well as frequently browse the Internet. My reading covers topics such as astronomy, biology, physics, the paranormal, UFOs, mathematics and biographies to name but a few genres I cover. Like Pauline mentioned in one of her previous posts, I too have a pile of books by my bedside. Some I read once, some I read several times.

I find this constant searching for new material keeps my mind active. When reading, I am always trying to think about how the content of the material might relate to the topic of UFOs.

For example, I once read a book on the topic of the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (click here for details). Hardly the type of thing which you would think would relate to UFOs. However, the author happened to be working in the intelligence area of the Australian Government's Department of Defence (DOD) at the time. A portion of a single page mentioned UFO research being pursued by a member of the DOD. I started up a two year correspondence with the Office for the Minister of Defence, which ultimately lead to the release of a formerly secret intelligence file on UFOs. This file ( click here for Archive details) is now available to anyone in the National Archives of Australia. If I hadn't read that book the file would never have become public knowledge. For the full correspondence between myself and the Minister's Office, click here.)

Crop formations

Dear readers

Adelaide's Spring weather pattern is traditionally a mix of warm days (we had a maximum of 28 degrees Celsius the other day) and cold, wet days (today's forecast maximum is just 15 degrees Celsius.)

So, I am spending one of my non-working days down at my local library. First stop was the latest issue of the English magazine, "Fortean Times"(FT.) Click here to go to the FT website.)

Of interest in this monthly issue, FT265, dated September 2010, is a piece on the 2010 "Crop circle" season in England. Whether you associate crop formations with the UFO phenomenon, or think they are all human-made works of art, they have been appearing now since the 1980's.

The article, illustrated with six photographs of formations, describes some of this "season's" complex glyph (as some call the formations) offerings.

Originally the UK's crop phenomenon started off as simple, singular or multiple plain circles. It then chronologically transformed into more and more complex formations, some of very large size.

The 2010 season featured circles within circles; a circle divided into 12 segments; and a large "keyhole" looking formation. The crops involved included oilseed rape and broad beans.

The interpretations of the meanings/causes of these complex formations are many. In the FT piece, Lucy Pringle, a founder of the Centre for Crop Circles said (of the 12 segmented circle) "...within each segment there are eight partly concentric rings. Each of these segments indicates a binary code based on 0 and 1. If you use an ASC11 table...the pattern transposes itself into a tantilising approximation of Euler's equation." (page 6.)

Comment

I must find out a bit more about the crop circle scene here in Australia; if there is/has been one. This country is one of the world's leading exporters of wheat, so if the crop formation phenomenon is indeed global, then we should have our fair share of formations here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Staying sane 2

Continuing a series of posts about how I have managed to retain a long term, 40 year, interest in the UFO phenomenon.

2. Tackle diverse research projects.

The range of research projects which I have conducted over the years, has included:

* An in depth examination of the possible application of the fantasy-prone personality (FPP) (Click here for one of my articles.) ; and hypnagogic imagery, to UFO abductions. I had thought that support for the FPP hypothesis had declined, but three out of seven studies conducted, have provided support for the idea.

* I asked the question "Could reports of 'angel hair' falls be simply spiders' web?" The research I conducted and published supports the strong possibility that almost all cases looked at by UFO researchers may be explained in just this way. (For my report click here.)

* I conducted the only comprehensive literature review ever undertaken into the subject of alien implants. This revealed that very little peer review research had been conducted into this topic. (Click here for a catalogue I developed.)

* I worked with academics at two Australian universities studying the personality characteristics of Australian abductees.

*I took a long hard look at the possible application of sleep paralysis to UFO abductions, and concluded that most UFO researchers have underestimated its relevance. (For an article by Susan Blackmore on this topic, click here.)

* After examining hundreds of raw UFO reports, I believe that 95% have mundane explanations; whereas many UFO researchers tell us 95% are UFOs!

All of these research projects developed my knowledge in many areas; made me question various approached undertaken by other people, and ended up with me publishing my results in the global UFO literature, for others to debate and discuss.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Staying sane 1

From time to time people have asked me how I have kept my interest alive across a 40 year time span of research.

I thought about this again recently and came up with a few ideas, which I'd like to share with you.

1. Have some guiding principles.

One of my main guiding principles has been to simply "follow the facts." If a UFO case turned out to have a mundane explanation, then I said so!

I believe that UFO investigators should weed out as many identified cases as possible, leaving only good quality "unknowns" to work with.

I have found this consistency of approach to be invaluable. It can, however, lead to differences of opinion with other UFO researchers who have a non-negotiable belief system.

One example of this occurred after I appeared on an ABC (Australia) television Health program. I suggested on the show that some UFO abductions have their roots in terms of 'sleep paralysis.' A well known Victorian (another Australian state to that where I live) UFO researcher took me to task for daring to suggest an alternative explanation to the Grays.

Another example, based on exhaustive research, was my suggestion that the 1988 Mundrabilla car/UFO encounter had a non-extraterrestrial cause. Some American researchers took a dim view of this, despite the fact they had not conducted any first hand research.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Have they always been here?

Dear readers

It's a Spring 28 degrees Celsius today, ahead of a cooler change coming through tomorrow. There are a number of sayings associated with Spring, one being "In spring every young man's thoughts, turn to love!" My Spring question is "Have they always been here?"

A number of UFO researchers argue that the UFO phenomenon started in 1947 with the Kenneth Arnold sighting in 1947.

Other researchers believe that the phenomenon has a slightly longer history, citing events such as the "foo fighters" of the Second World War.

Still others push it back to the late 19th century "airship" reports in the U.S. (Many today, say that these reports are not part of the true UFO phenomenon, being composed of hoaxes, tall stories and media "beat ups."

Back beyond this, a range of researchers have argued that the UFO phenomenon has always been with us, in one form or another.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I value highly the writings of Jacques Vallee. The other day I was pondering just what his views were on this topic? So, out came my copy of his book "Dimensions: A casebook of alien contact" published back in 1988 by Contemporary Books of Chicago. ISBN 0-8092-4586-8.

I'll quote from Vallee's work.

1. "All the traditions of mankind carefully preserve accounts of contact with other forms of life and intelligence beyond the animal realm..." (page 5.)

2. "In other accounts abductees of both sexes have described having intercourse with the aliens. Many researchers speculate that such accounts prove that intruders from space are experimenting with human genetics, but they fail to point out that these modern stories are consistent with perplexing accounts that come to us from earlier times, from the oldest records we have." (p9.)

3. "We have just established that a close parallel exists between modern claims of UFO contact and age-old traditions that involved alien spiritual entities." (p31.)

4. "I am also tempted to accept as a working hypothesis that in times remote contact occurred between human consciousness and another consciousness, variously described as demonic, angels or simply alien." (p37.)

5. Is the mechanism of UFO apparitions, then, an invariant in all cultures? Are we faced here with another reality that transcends our limited notions of space and time? I see no better hypothesis at this point of our knowledge of UFO phenomenon." (p42.)

6. "...we have a pattern of manifestations, opening the gates to a spiritual level, pointing a way to a different consciousness, and producing irrational, absurd events in their wake." (p42.)

7. "For the time being, let me simply state again that the modern, global belief in flying saucers and their occupants is identical to an earlier belief in the Good People. The entities described as the elves, sylphs and lutins of the Middle Ages." (p81.)

8. Superficially, the most appealing of the theories proposed is the extraterrestrial theory which would regard the UFOs as probes from another planet. Yet it falls short of explaining the phenomena in their historical development. Present day saucers cannot be evaluated without reference to the 1897 airships or to earlier sightings of similar objects. Then too, the theory of simple visitation must be compared with the assumption that the visitors know far more physics than we do...A second major flaw in all the theories proposed so far is found in the description of the entities and their behaviour. As we will see below, any theory can account for some of these reports, but only at the expense of arbitrary rejection of a much larger group." (p136.)

9. To put it bluntly, the UFO phenomenon does not give evidence of being extraterrestrial at all. Instead it appears to be inter-dimensional and to manipulate physical realities outside of our own space-time continuum. " (p136.)

10. "What we have here is a a complete theory of contact between our race and another race, non-human, different in physical nature, but biologically compatible with us. Angels, demons, fairies, creatures from Hell or Magonia; they inspire our strangest dreams, shape our destinies, steal our desires...But who are they?" (p149.)

11. "Is it reasonable to draw a parallel between religious apparitions, the fairy-faith, the reports of dwarf-like beings with supernatural powers, the airship tales in the United States in the last century and the present stories of UFO landings? I would strongly argue that it is - for one simple reason - the mechanisms that have generated the various beliefs are identical." (p158.)

12. "The phenomenon has stable, invariant features, some of which we have tried to identify and label clearly. But we have also had to note carefully the chameleon-like character of the secondary attributes of the sighting; the shapes of the objects, the appearance of the occupants and their reported statements vary as a function of the cultural environment into which they are projected." (p159.0

13. "The real question is, does the "spacecraft" hypothesis explain to our satisfaction the facts of the UFO phenomenon as we know them today? The answer is a definite and resounding no!" (pp256-257.)

Vallee's arguments are:

1. There are too many landings.
"The theory of random visitation does not explain it. Either the UFOs select their witness for psychological or sociological reasons, or they are something entirely different from space vehicles. In either case, their appearance is staged. " (p258.0

2. The super physics of the UFOs.
"It simply vanished on the spot, or it slowly faded away." (p259.)

3. The absurd humanoids.
"...visitors from outer space would not be human in shape..." (p260.)

"...we have a bewildering multitude of 'revelations' of the saucers' point of origin." (p264.)

4. Pitfalls in abduction data.
"The parallel between these modern claims and the medieval legend is closer than ever." (p267.)

Fairy tales are full of stories of stealing human babies; changelings, and abductions of male and females for procreation. Witches have scars, as do abductees.

"In my view, the interaction remembered by the witnesses, if it was a real occurrence, should be treated at the symbolic level. It does not tell us anything about the extraterrestrial origin of the bein gs and the idea that they must perform such experiments to enrich their race is merely another contribution to the absurd character of the entire phenomenon." (p269.0

My comments.

Vallee undertook a great deal of research in original source material written by earlier authorities. I see great parallels with the mythology uncovered. I particularly see the abduction phenomenon reports of scars, stolen foetuses, and sexual intercourse with "alien" entities, as paralleling the earlier accounts from "fairyland." Today alien abduction accounts have all but dried up, compared to the heady days of 1970-2000, perhaps a forty year time span. A brief period of time.

One wonders what form the phenomenon's next appearance will take? Will we perhaps recycle back to the "Good People?"

Readers, what do you think about this concept that they have always been here?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Abduction research

Keith Basterfield here.

I have long advocated for the detailed analysis of accounts given to us by abductees/contactees/experiencers (I will use the term experiencer from here on), in order to gain the maximum amount of details from these intriguing accounts.

I thought it might be useful to share with you, the methodology I have been using.

Initial interview

This is setting the scene. I explain my proposed methodology for a series of interviews. I then ask the experiencer to tell me their story in any way they wish. I record and make notes. Quite often their story will "tumble out" in no particular order. This is fine at this point. I ask any questions as they come to me, but do not like to interfere with the flow of their narrative.

After the initial interview

Once alone, I go through my recordings and notes and try and re-arrange their narrative in chronological order. I find this especially useful if there are numerous events which have occurred over their lifetime. I like to get a feel for the flow of these events. I take a note of any questions which come to mind, to ask at the second interview.

Second interview

I like to divide this into several parts. Firstly, I ask any questions of clarification of the narrative from the first interview. Then I ask their permission to take a family history; a medical history; ask questions about their sleep/dream patterns; and finish by asking about any other paranormal experiences which might have happened over the years.

After the second interview

I review all of the data gathered so far, and look to draw up a chronological history of their life which integrates the dates of UFO events with important dates from their family and medical history. I note again any questions of clarification I need to follow up on.

Third interview

I ask any questions I have thought about since interview two. Then I answer any questions which they may have about what we have spoken of up to that point. If they wish to, I discuss with them my thoughts I have as to any non-UFO interpretation of the information which they have supplied. Finally, I seek their permission to publish a case study from our discussions (I get them to proof a copy of the case study for factual errors) in the UFO literature.

Family history

Date and place of birth?
Where have they lived during their lifetime?
Schooling?
Employment?
Any siblings?
Has anyone else in their family experienced any UFO or paranormal events?
Is their anyone else in the family who might have knowledge of their occurrences?
If so, may I have permission to speak with them?
Any other points of general life history?

Medical/psychological history

Any major illnesses?
Any major accidents?
Any disabilities/long standing medical conditions?
Any hereditary familial conditions?
Any history of migraines -Auras -prodromes. If so, frequency, type etc?
Are they on any medications at the moment. If so, what?
Were they on any medications at the time of any UFO/paranormal experiences?

Sleep

How well do they sleep?
Have they ever suffered from insomnia -if so frequency, symptoms etc?
Have they ever woken paralysed during the night? If so, frequency, get a narrative
Have they ever walked in their sleep? At what age. Get examples.
Have they ever been told they talk in their sleep. If yes, frequency, content of speech
Have they ever experiences anything odd on the boundary between being awake and being asleep? If so, describe
Do they recall their dreams at all/a little/a lot? Any UFO related dreams?
Do they dream in colour, or black and white/mixture?
In their dreams do they have besides a sense of vision, a sense of taste, touch, smell, sound?
When dreaming do they ever become aware that they are dreaming? If so what happens once they become aware?
Have they even taken sleeping pills? If yes get a narrative of use

Altered states of consciousness

Have they ever had an experience where they believed their mind was separated from their body e.g. out of body experience or near death experience? If so, get a narrative
Have they ever had the sensation that they have had a period of 'missing time' for which they cannot account? If so get a narrative.
Have they ever had an occasion where they 'felt' they were not human? If so get a narrative
Do they ever 'see' music or 'hear' colours? If yes, get a narrative.

Analysis

In reviewing the answers to all of the above questions, I am looking at the relevance, if any, of the following areas:
Sleep paralysis
Fantasy proneness
Hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery
Migraine prodromes and auras
Mental illness.

In my view, a portion of the reported UFO experiencer narratives can be accounted for in the above medical/psychological areas.

My logic in doing so, is that if you can eliminate the above as cause(s) of the experiencers' accounts, then you can refine the data about accounts which cannot be so eliminated. You get left with better information about the "true" or "core" UFO experiencer phenomenon.

I hope this may assist other researchers in this area.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Australian spiral UFO

Hi readers

A rather warm Spring day in Adelaide today with a temperature of 25 degree C.

In early June of this year multiple observations were made of an unusual object in the sky. There was an outburst of media reports on the event, and the topic bounced around the world via the internet.

I have left it until now to take a look at these observations as I wanted to see if anyone did an in depth analysis of the sightings, and reached any definite conclusions.

ABC radio

On 6 June 2010 ABC radio reported that a "UFO was seen moving through the sky just before Saturday's sunrise in New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT."

"Some described it as a 'lollipop-type swirl.' Others say it hovered for a while before gradually moving in an eastern direction until it was out of sight. Those who saw the object say photos do not reflect how large it actually was."

Some witness observations were given:

1. Canberra ACT. James Butcher. "Strange spiral light in the sky. It had a distinct bright centre, much like a bright star, indicating an object shedding light trails, spiralling and flatterning out fomr it>" Duration 2-3 minutes. "Descending quickly out of view." Yellow colour.

2. Wollongong NSW. Eddie Wise. 6am. Yellow/green light with a light spiral around it. Moved around. Went behind a cloud.

Geoffrey Wyatt from the Sydney Observatory-thought it was a satellite, space junk or a rocket. While Doug Moffett of UFO Research NSW said the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket was at 18.45GMT 0445 EST. Flight was 9 minutes 38 seconds so this was full hour before the sightings so it could not be the Falcon 9.

More observations:

3. Sydney NSW. Robyn. Just before 6am. 2 mins. White light in sky like "huge revolving Moon." East.

4. Brisbane Qld. Linda 5.50am. Lollipop swirl came from the West and headed East.

5. Brisbane Qld. Peter lollipop-type swirl. Low and fast. Looked like a row of lights.

6. Pine Mountain Qld. Denise. Shortly before 6am From NW to SE. No noise.

(Source was http://www.abc.net/news/stories/2010/06/05/2919095.htm )

News com

Other observations and comments featured on News com.

Here it was revealed that the event had been seen from Qld, NSW and Victoria. An observation from Werribee South in Victoria was reported by Matt, who aid he had seen an unusual light in the sky, from there at about 5am.

Andrew Jacob, acting curator of the Sydney Observatory said that it was likely to have been the Falcon 9 rocket launch. "He said the timing was right for the Space X rocket to have travelled over the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and the Indian Ocean and be in skies over Australia about 6am.

(Source: http://www.new.com.au/national/ufo-spotted-in-queensland-new-south-wales-and-victoria/story-e6frkvr-1255875840556 )

Another witness report appeared in a blog courtesy of the MUFON UFO group in the USA. At 0550 hrs on 5 June 2010 from Brisbane Qld a person reported seeing an object with a bright light at the centre, but not spinning. It travelled across the sky and disappeared over the horizon after 2 minutes. The witness was facing south at the time and the object travelled from 210 degrees SSW.

(Source: http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/06/australian-spiral-ufo-sightings-falcon-9.html )

Definitive answer

An astronomy blog came up with the definitive answer. It advised that the Falcon 9 rocket was launched at 1845 UT which was 0445 hrs Sydney time. The blog also featured a ground track of the rocket's path over the Earth.

"Note how the path goes right over Eastern Australia! The timing is perfect too: about an hour later, the second stage would've been halfway around the world, matching the position and time of the UFO sightings."

"As it happens, the second stage of the Falcon 9 was rotating: this was not supposed to happen and the Space X engineers are looking in to it..."

(Source: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/05/oh-those-falcon-ufos )

Summary

From reading the above and numerous other sources, you can see that you get:

1. The unusual spread of observation timings. I have noted that wherever you get a large number of sightings the times vary plus or minus 10 minutes or so. This seems to be due to the fact that people's watches and clocks are set at different time.

2. Sometime completely contradictory directions of travel are given. I found sources saying the object was travelling West to East and others that it went East to West.

3. Little actual data can be found about azimuth and elevation of the object from various places. Thus, it is almost impossible to plot a ground path that accords with the multiple observations.

4. A lack of information of the actual area from which observations were made doesn't help either. The sources consulted said it was seen over a) Qld, NSW & Vic b) NSW, Qld, Act and C) NSW, Qld, Vic & SA. The larger an area an object is seen over, the more likely it is that the object is high above the ground, either in earth orbit or descending or ascending into orbit.

However, all the data is consistent with the cause being the Falcon 9 rocket launched from the USA.

What is really needed in these sort of cases is for a UFO researcher to have appealed for multiple observations, then followed each up to obtain accurate elevation and azimuth readings, thus allowing triangulation to be undertaken.

Westall - and James E McDonald's files

Background The late US researcher James E McDonald visited Australia in 1967. While here, he interviewed dozens of Australians about thei...