Wednesday, February 11, 2015

By the UFO book … the Australian experience

(This is from an article I wrote some years ago which originally appeared in the Australian magazine UFOlogist)
Commercially published books on UFOs in Australia have appeared over the years with widely varied approaches in detail, focus and style.
Australia's first book on UFOs appeared in 1965.  "Flying Saucers over Australia" by James Holledge (or Stephen Holledge – the book carries both!), was a paperback billed as presenting "the startling indisputable evidence of Unidentified Flying Objects operating in our skies".  Holledge was a journalist who had churned out a number of books that were heavy on sensation and light on fact.  When you see some of his other titles, such as "Inside Soho", "Cult of the bosom", "What makes a call girl", "White slavery" and "Black Magic" then you realise not to expect much.  Surprisingly, despite being rather superficial, it did touch on a number of the key cases, including the 1965 Vaucluse Beach landing and the Charles Brew case.  Holledge did however take Adamski at face value and seemed sympathetic to some other contactee claims.
Australia's second UFO book, "Flying Saucers - Where do they come from?" emerged during 1967.  Its author, Sydney Sales Manager and former Royal Air Force photographer, Richard Tambling, had several UFO sightings of his own.  While it covered some of the better recent local sightings, it was Tambling's infatuation with contactee photos (particularly those of Dan Fry and Paul Villa) that set the tone and with hindsight revealed his calling.  As an Air Force photographer Tambling should have been a bit more critical, but subsequently all pretence was put aside.  Tambling was a full blown contactee, his space friends from Uranus no less. A slightly expanded edition of the book, still not mentioning Tambling’s personal contactee journey appeared in 1978.
 Prolific writer Michael Hervey's book, "UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere" was published in 1969.  It was widely publicised and sold well.  It was the most detailed compilation of Australian sightings to date, but unfortunately poor editing and research made it a rather uncritical mixture of low weight sightings and good cases.  A sightly revised edition was published in 1975 but little had improved.  For the period, however it was a handy reference for sightings. 
John Pinkney and Leonard Ryzman made a short lived splash in 1980 with their book “Alien Honeycomb – the first solid evidence for UFOs.” Not quite – prosaic sources rather than saucers were fitted the bill, but interspersed with the story of the “not so alien honeycomb” was coverage of Australian UFO sightings. Its focus on the disappearance of pilot Frederick Valentich was overshadowed by Kevin Killey and Gary Lester’s 1980 book “The Devil’s Meridian” which attempted to caste Bass Strait as our local answer to the Bermuda Triangle. 
In 1981 Keith Basterfield’s book, "UFOs: the Image Hypothesis - Close Encounters of an Australian Kind" tried to link hypnagogic and hypnapompic imagery (i.e. between the sleep/awake interface) as a possible explanation of UFO close encounter experiences.  The book had a catalogue of Australian cases. A revised and updated version of the book appeared in 1997 as “UFOs: A report on Australian Encounters.”
Veteran research Stan Seers had his memoir on the Australian UFO scene published in 1982 – “UFOs – The Case for Scientific Myopia”.  In the same year journalist Quentin Fogarty attempted to exorcise his Kaikoura UFO “demons” with his book “Let’s Hope They’re Friendly!” – a title that could have referred both to the UFOs and the researchers, media and skeptics that responded to the Kaikoura UFO enigma.  Murray Stott published his book “Aliens over Antipodes” in 1984.  It covered both Australian and New Zealand UFO events, sprinkled liberally with speculations and thoughts about the UFO subject.
Vladimir and Pony Godic edited a digital book on UFO research in Australia and New Zealand, which was published in 1992.   It brought together material published in Vladimir Godic's UFO Research Australia Newsletter (UFORAN) through the eighties.  

My book “The OZ Files – the Australian UFO Story” was released in 1996. It represented a detailed history of the Australian UFO controversy.  Kelly Cahill, who was central to the unravelling of an independently witnessed CE3 event with apparent “abduction” dimensions and compelling related physical evidence, had her own book on the first high profile abduction milieu in Australia, also published in 1996.  A regional survey, “The Gosford Files – UFOs over the NSW Central Coast” by Moira McGhee & Bryan Dickeson, appeared in 1997.
The Australian UFO book legacy continues …


Post a Comment

<< Home