Thursday, April 27, 2017

The October 1967 Brisbane, Queensland, photographs

Recently, Vicente-Juan Ballester OImos, a Spanish researcher, asked me about a series of UAP photographs taken in 1967 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I didn't know much about this, so sought some original material to undertake some fact checking.

Thanks to another researcher, this time in the United Kingdom, I located a digital copy of issue number 12, (Nov/Dec 1967) of the Newsletter of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau (QFSRB.) This newsletter had a full account of the circumstances, the photographs, and an analysis. As few blog readers will have access to this Newsletter, I'll provide the full text of the informative article.

'The Brisbane photographs.

Last month a Brisbane man contacted the Bureau saying he had taken several photographs of a 'flying saucer' over the densely populated West End area of Brisbane.

The photographs were said to have been taken between 6.30 and 6.45 a.m. on Sunday, 22nd. October. Asked what he was doing at the time, he said he had gone outside to take a photograph of his girl-friend beside her new car, when the 'saucer' appeared in the viewfinder.

Source: SPACELINK, courtesy of Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Nine photographs or negatives were sighted by the Bureau: (1) the girl beside her car with the object in the top corner; (2) the girl shading her eyes, looking at object; (3) the girl pointing to object; (4) the girl taking a photo; (5) the object approaching - witnesses say here the object made 'fluttering' movement as it returned after having moved away after first approach; (6 &7) object closer; (8) object seemingly overhead - witnesses say here the object was starting to take up speed and that colour was seen for first time, 'red' and 'orange'; otherwise, object was silver-grey, metal colour; (9) object going away in distance - one witness says it was now blue colour. (No sound was reported.)

A local chemist told the Bureau that he had the film developed and that it contained photographs of the object being investigated. The film was collected on Monday afternoon (23rd. October) or Tuesday, (24th. October.)

The same day Mrs Sutton (Secretary) called on Mr Wallace and later that evening, Mr Russell (Public Relations Officer and Editor) visited his home and sighted the negatives.

Unfortunately, Mr Russell was not familiar with 35mm film and did not know that the frames were numbered, making it possible to check the actual sequence of the frames. Having sighted the negatives however, he advised Mr Wallace to put the negatives in a safe place (in a bank or with a solicitor) to avoid loss or damage before the Bureau could make a proper analysis of the film. At this point, Mr Wallace said two negatives were already lost or mislaid. One was found next day.

It should be stated that between the time he had collected the film from the chemist, which was handed back to him in a continuous roll or strip, and the time the film was sighted by the Bureau, Mr Wallace had cut the film into separate negatives or frames. It was one of these frames that remained lost. Asked why he had cut the film strip, Mr Wallace said he always did this when  he wanted particular frames enlarged or reprinted and he had wanted to have one or two of the negatives enlarged.

Mr Wallace agreed to have the negatives put in a safe place and to not make his photographs public until proper research had been completed concerning every aspect of his sighting. This was considered warranted because, at first glance, the photographs promised to be one of the best sets ever taken of a UFO. In half the set, the object is clearly seen, the shots generally included good sunlight, clouds, plenty of landmarks, houses, fences, trees, parked cars, the witnesses and so forth.

After closer research was completed, it was the abundant details that, in the end, made the photographs unacceptable to the Bureau.

A close up - courtesy Ballester Olmos
The first error in the witnesses' story was their stated time of sighting during which time the photographs were said to have been taken - 6.30 to 6.45 a.m. On Sunday 29th October, it was established by visiting the site and checking the shadows, that these photographs were taken much later than 6.30 a.m. The calculated estimate is approx, 9-9.15 a.m.

Having established the time of the photographs, a cold canvas of houses, block of flats and home units in the area was done. Except for one, five-year-old boy who said he saw the object, no witnesses were found.

To help find an independent witness, it was agreed to release some information to newspapers, asking people to report anything seen on this date. No UFO sightings were reported for this area of the city.

Source: Undated issue of Sun-Herald newspaper - courtesy of Ballester-Olmos
As anticipated, once the news was published, research could no longer, be carried out at a reasonable tempo. Overseas and interstate reporters wanted photographs and witnesses. Also, Mr Wallace and his friend had by now, attended a Bureau monthly meeting, showed the photographs to members and told the meeting what they had seen. Neither Mr Wallace or his friend are members of the Bureau.

On Tuesday, 7th. November, apart from the unsatisfactory conditions of the negatives, nothing concrete could be said about the whole affair. But on this day, Mr Stan Seers (The President) who was directing all technical investigations, came up with the findings from their shadow analysis; whereas the witnesses state that the duration of the sighting and taking of photographs was approx. 5-7 minutes; shadow movement on more  distant houses; discernible on larger photographs, showed clearly that the photographs must have been taken over a period of 75 minutes.

Bureau report - the negatives

When the Bureau several times requested the negatives for proper evaluation, Mr Wallace would not make definite arrangements. To the best of our knowledge, some negatives would be in the Bank and some would be at various photographers for the purpose of making enlargements for Mr Wallace. Four different photographic shops were involved in this investigation. But it was established that the film was developed through a local chemist whose testimony is acceptable on this count. The film was in fact, processed in D.H.A. premises as a routine job.

The negatives or frames themselves show no obvious discrepancies. But their sequence is very much open to suspicion. Only the last five negatives run in unbroken sequence, The numbers run 2A-3 then 4A-5, then 9A-10  right through to 14, being the last photograph. One badly cut negative is unplaceable and the missing negative is presumed to be of the girl pointing at the object.

The original photograph of the girl pointing was sighted by the Bureau but Mr Wallace had never afterwards produced either the negative or the photograph of this particular shot. Also, the missing negative- between 4A-5 (girl shading eyes) and 9A-10 (girl taking photograph) - leave a gap in  the film where the very discrepancies in the shadows were observed. The film, therefore, because of mutilations and missing negatives, is not acceptable to the Bureau.

(Re girl taking photograph of object: said to have been taken as 127 colour film. Only one negative said to have been used  which did not "show anything." Girl states she threw the negative away.)

The Shadow Analysis -

The following report is written by Mr Seers:-

Alleged UFO Photos, Brisbane, 22nd. October 1967

The method by which it was positively established that the photographs 1 to 5 (one to five) occupied a period of time of at least seventy-five minutes in the actual taking, as against the declared time, (see signed statement), of five to seven minutes, is well established and easy to follow.

Instructions, charts and a specially calibrated protractor are to be found in the text book: "Sunshine and Shade in Australasia." A study of the principles involved in finding the extent and direction of sunlight and shadow on buildings, together with a series of charts for different hours and seasons for the latitudes of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and the adjacent islands, by R.C. Phillips, B. Arch. A.R.A.I.A., crown copyright, Sydney, May 1948.

The complete characteristics of the shadow casts of the window awnings and other building structures are easily found for any hour of the day; given the aspects of the building and its geographical location. (In this case, Nth East, 0930, Brisbane, latitude: 27 1/2 degrees south, Plate 19.) This information is useful to architects, designers etc.

Conversely, local solar time of a photograph of a building can also be determined quite accurately from the charts. Hour and day is located on the appropriate chart, the protractor applied according to instructions, the rest being a matter of simple mathematics, which, in this instance, were worked out by a member of the academic staff from the University of Queensland.

The foregoing information may possibly help discourage some future would-be-hoaxers.'

Other sources of information listed by Ballester Olmos

1. Sydney Morning Herald, newspaper, 12 November 1967.
2. Hervey, M. 1975. 'UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere.' Robert Hale. pp 145-146.
3. SPACELINK, Volume 5, number 3, July 1968, p 20 & inside back cover.

SPACELINK - courtesy Ballester Olmos
4. Juan Carlos Victorio Uranga (2017.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cold case review report - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

In a previous post, I advised that Melbourne researcher Paul Dean and I  were undertaking a 'cold case' review of the 23 August 1953, Port Moresby, visual sighting and movie film.

Port Moresby in relation to northern Australia
At about noon on 23 August 1953, Mr T P Drury, his wife, and young son, observed an unusual object in the sky. Mr Drury used a movie camera to film the object. The film was sent to the USA, and it has been claimed that when it was returned, some of the footage of the object was missing.

Close up of the Port Moresby area
In the last month, we have gathered a large amount of information, drawn from a mass of documentation; some of it courtesy of overseas researchers, including Barry Greenwood, Jan Aldrich, Mary Castner, Fran Ridge and others.

Article in South Pacific Post
The documentation gathered together, covers numerous newspaper articles; items in early Australian UAP newsletters; the USAF Project Blue Book' s records on the case; several books, and more recent Australian UAP magazines. As always, we have adopted a 'follow the evidence' approach; going back to original source material to check our facts. Something that many of today's researchers fail to do.

Early editions of the APRO Bulletin carried accounts
Despite the fact that some quite vital data is lacking in this material, it has turned out, in our opinion, that the available evidence points in a number of directions which run counter to prevailing beliefs about the case.

Australian researcher Edgar Jarrold investigated the case
Paul and I believe:

* that it is possible, that there may be no 'missing' film; which goes against current thinking

* that the object could perhaps have been a daylight meteor. The main observer, Tom Drury always maintained that the object was a guided missile. Others of course have claimed it to be a UFO

Courtesy of Bill Chalker
* that US researcher James E McDonald did not interview Mr Drury, when he (McDonald) visited Australia in 1967.

Courtesy of Melbourne researcher John Stepkowski, blog readers may now read our cold case paper.

As always, with our work, we welcome peer-review comments.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

'Cold case' review underway - 23 August 1953 - Port Moresby

I have previously written about the value of conducting 'cold case' reviews of older Australian UFO cases. Sometimes, the outcome is that the review adds additional information, to what is already known. This new data, may suggest a mundane explanation for a sighting which was previously considered 'unidentified.' On the other hand, sometimes, it might strengthen the case for the unknown nature of the event.

At the present moment, Melbourne researcher, Paul Dean and I, are taking a fresh look at all the available documentation on the 23 August, 1953, Port Moresby visual sighting and 8mm film case, involving Mr Tom Drury.

NAA file series MP1279/1 c/s 99/1/478

We have enlisted the assistance of a number of overseas researchers, who have kindly provided us with copies of documents which we did not have access to.

USAF Project Blue Book document

We believe that we have brought together, in a chronology, all the know relevant first and second hand documents, including fresh newspaper articles located in the National Library of Australia's TROVE digitised newspaper collection.

Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia

From this mass of information, we will compile a paper, providing the text of, or at least a summary of, each document, and see if it is possible to come to a definitive conclusion as to the cause of the sighting, and hence the nature of object on the colour 8mm movie film.

We will publish our results in due course.

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...