Tuesday, September 14, 2021

"Redemption of the Damned" - the two volume collection

“Redemption of the Damned”, "A Centennial Re-evaluation of Charles Fort's ‘Book of the Damned’”by Martin Shough with Wim van Utrecht, in 2 volumes (A4 size) - "Vol.1: Aerial Phenomena"(402 pages) in 2019 and “Vol. 2: Sea and Space Phenomena”(235 pages) in 2021 - together are an outstanding contribution to fortean phenomena research and investigation, and specifically they are among the best books that provide excellent standards of study of UFO and UAP related phenomena. They should be studied intensely by anyone who investigate, research, or are interested in these fields. They are clearly products of great effort and labours of love. I loved reading them and highly recommend them. The utility of these volumes is greatly enhanced with indexes to both volumes being included in volume 2. The pleasures, education and entertainment found in deeply engaging with these publications from Anomalist Books are heightened with repeated immersions and their relevance to modern manifestations should be obvious. Indeed, the influx of people newly engaging with fortean and UFO/UAP mysteries will be richly rewarded if they read these impressive volumes. 

A century ago Fort began his provocative book with the memorable proclamation. “A procession of the damned. By the damned, I mean the excluded. We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.” Charles Fort was our first ufologist, in that he not only collected reports of strange aerial apparitions, lights in the sky, aerial phenomena and anything odd in the sky, and mysteries in the sea and space, he also speculated about what they were. His speculations about the aerial oddities and other mysteries he collected were often playful, often somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but he was more about stirring up conventional thinking, rather than trying to explain the reports. Hence we were exposed to wild ideas like armies of giant space vampires and “superconstructions” travelling between the planets. While Fort’s “aerial fodder” was mainly from the 19thcentury and American and Euro-centric, they anticipated the popularisation of “aerial phenomena” into “flying saucers” by 1947 and into the UFOs and UAPs of today. 

Scottish based research Martin Shough brings to Forts “procession of the damned” his wide eclectic knowledge and intense UFO/UAP research experience, seen admirably in his collaboration with Chris Aubeck in “Return to Magonia – Investigating UFOs in History” (2015). With “Redemption of the Damned” he is ably assisted by Belgian based researcher Wim Van Utrecht, best known for his CAELESTIA project, which sort to find explanations for anomalies, rather than promoting mysteries. 

The authors examined all 82 of the aerial mysteries described by Fort in his Book of the Damned in Volume 1.  They bring a huge amount of research to focus on these “damned” anomalies, focusing on a wide range of contextual material, modern day thinking and a vast amount of data. The result seems at first to be hardly the “redemption of the damned” of the book title, as they come up with convincing explanations for most and possible explanations for the balance that still frustrate certainty.  Some of their explanations might be a stretch, but it’s the detail, the process and the exploration that is laid out, that impresses. 

Thus we see a clear reflection of the UFO/UAP controversy that exists today and here lies the books greatest benefit.  It should be the focus of everybody that calls themselves UFO or UAP researchers and/or investigators to undertake such detailed investigations, with a focus to explain.  It’s the approach I have always used, namely that most “UFO or UAP reports” are probably explainable and those that are not become the focus of ongoing investigation to determine if they are consistently UFO or UAP material. That sort of approach ensures that what remains may probably be our best candidates for determining whether a consistently unexplained phenomenon or phenomena emerges.  

“Redemption of the Damned” reminded me most of Allen Hendry’s 1979 book “The UFO Handbook” in which the IFO (Identified Flying Object) becomes the central message. More appropriately they are an effective calibration of all the aerial and associated mysteries we focus on as researchers and investigators. There is much to fascinate, learn and enjoy in this wonderful study “Redemption of the Damned.”  

“Vol. 2 “Sea and Space Phenomena” from Fort’s Book of the Damned, released in 2021, expands the coverage “to two more categories of anomalous observations”, namely “those made by astronomers, of transient unexplained phenomena on other worlds, of phantom moons and planets and other strange bodies in space; and those made by ships’ crews of mysterious objects and lights seen in, entering, or leaving Earth’s oceans.”  While the volume 1 lent itself to detailed individual treatments and chronological listing of the 82 cases covered, in volume 2 the nature of the case material and the manner in which Fort addressed them, encouraged Martin Shough with Wim van Utrecht to also organise much of this “damned” material by categories.  

So we have in this volume a 5-part organisation: “Worlds that Never Were”, “Stigmata on the Sun & Moon”, “Transient Lunar & Martian Phenomena”, “Fire from the Deep” and “Plunging Fireballs”. Like the first volume, while the authors highlight “there is a residue of cases that not only fail to dissolve under the light of inquiry but even seem to harden,” again “Redemption of the Damned” seems a stretch. However, these is 2 excellent volumes, hugely validate the necessity of examining anomalies, that haunt us, in the past, the present and the future. 

Together both volumes achieve a coverage of the majority of “the most dramatic stories in The Book of the Damnedand all of those most closely associated with the 20th-century “flying saucer” mythology”, as Martin Shough highlights. “Redemption of the Damned” provides seasoned Forteans and new players a wonderful resource that resonates powerfully with contemporary manifestations of the “damned.”  Highly recommended. 


Saturday, August 28, 2021

North West Cape, Mount Butler and the Oz Twilight Zone

(This article is intended to draw attention to the fact that significant data may be present in older case data, perhaps in "high strangeness" events, from areas with ongoing propensities for UFO/UAP sightings and other events that seem far, far stranger - hence the homage to Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone")

Way back in August 1977 I had an article entitled “The Interstate Twilight Zone” published in a magazine called “Psychic Australian”.  “Psychic Australian” ran for a few years and provide a national newsstand outlet covering the weird beat.

In that article I described a bizarre story of alleged alien contact that occurred at North West Cape Western Australia in 1967. The event was described in an ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation) radio programme on March 24, 1976.  The programme “Investigations” was hosted by David Ellyard and the guests included Dr. J Allen Hynek and Dr. Don Herbison-Evans, both scientists who were involved in UFO research.  Allen Hynek was well known as an astronomer, as a former consultant to the US Air Force’s UFO programme Project Bluebook and author of the classic book “The UFO Experience – a scientific enquiry.” Herbison-Evans was an Australian computer scientist and a consultant for the Sydney based UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC), for which I was a co-coordinator at the time.  It was on this programme that a Mr. Campbell called in about “experiences of personal contact with UFOs.”

Here is my transcript of that conversion (D.E. – David Ellyard, C. – Mr. Campbell, A.H. –Allen Hynek, H.G. – Harry Griesberg) edited for clarity:

C: “I’ve had personal contact.  The first one was in Western Australia in 1967, at North West Cape, where the Americans have a very low frequency station there … (I had) a sighting at night, basically just watching these coloured lights going over the water.  I perceived it from a moving point in the entrance (sic?). It was a yellow star first off … came down over the water.  Then there was a pinkish-purple light shining to the water over the reef.  I suppose the craft was about 30 feet above the water as it flew over, sort of probing … and looking at the underwater growth and coral, I guess.  Then it proceeded over the horizon at a terrific bat … with a red-blue flickering light, which I suppose would be the rear of the craft … the shape would have been impossible to tell.”

Then Mr. Campbell’s story takes a full tilt turn into an Oz variant of the Twilight Zone.

“That evening (for about) two hours, I had a contact, in the form of a telepathic presence in the room, watching me.  I could feel this – couldn’t see anything visible … I was drawing some details of what I had seen (earlier in the evening) and noted the colour of the lights, and so forth.”

“This presence moved closer, and I looked around, and couldn’t see anything, but was very aware of something standing behind me, about 5 feet 6 inches tall.  So I thought, well the hell. So I looked around to about where the eye level would be of the person, and said, “G’day mate.”

(“G’day mate”, the classic Australian welcome – a contraction of Good day, whoever you are, but thinking you’re a “male person” – “bloke” or “mate.”)

“The being apparently must have thought he was visible, and some process started, which would possibly make him invisible, which was then the reverse… I started to see the shimmer of a form taking shape, very similar to how they did it in “Star Trek” in the science fiction show… The being immediately realising I had maybe caught him out, stopped this change, say into a physical form, and sent a mental telepathic message, saying … “Clever”, or something like that, just like as a concept, rather than a word.”

D.E.: “Here’s possibly a close encounter, as you were asking for earlier (referring to Allen Hynek’s earlier comments on the radio programme). Do you want to ask this listener any questions?”

A.H.: “It certainly is a close encounter of the third kind, which involves humanoids and we have … many people feel that these things are quite rare, but actually we have well over a thousand cases, reasonably well documented of these entities which do show up, and are associated with UFO craft.  The only question here, I’d like to ask is what size the entity was? Was the communication entirely telepathic? Were there any sounds connected with the entity?  How long did they stay around (for) … and what were their attitudes and reactions to him?”

C: “The first form was as a mental presence, or an impression on the mind – as an entity. The second incidence being the almost … the transmutation into a physical form.  There was no sound, but a feeling of coldness pervaded the room. The colour of the transmutation of energy, or whatever … was a bluey-yellow.  When that faded the being contacted me purely telepathically, but the sound was though someone was talking to me.  The one word was like a mental affirmation of being clever or smart, or something of that nature.  Now, this gentleman, it seemed as though he was a male, and the transmutation of energy appeared to be taking the form of around about, I’d say, a 5 foot 6 inches’ tall person, at the point when it stopped.”

                                                     Star Trek imagery of transporting
The original Star Trek series first appeared on Australian TV in July 1967.  In the US it first appeared in September 1966.  Whether the US presence at North West Cape facilitated an earlier showing I do not know, but Mr. Campbell’s reference to the “Star Trek” series suggests it had an influence on his perceptions. Some might suggest that the TV show might have been the genesis of his story.

There is more to Campbell’s account.  He said, “Going back to that transmutation of energy, I suppose that had been just a few seconds.  The gentleman was in my presence for maybe 5 minutes.” 

From the 1976 radio show:

C: “Later that evening, I had a visit from 3 other people.” He corrects himself, that the single “presence” was the first of what became a “series” of appearances and that later in the evening “2 other gentlemen came.” “Just these presences appeared in the bedroom of the house, where my wife was sleeping.  This woke her up. I was aware they were there.  One presence appeared at the foot of the bed virtually standing amid the wooden bedding and after a few mental conversations, like who are you, where do you come from, the answers I got were, something like: Hello, we’re just watching you; just as an observation – a clinical observation. My wife woke up at this point and said to me, “There is someone in the room.” I said, “Well fair enough, there is,” and mentally I suggested to this being that he “take off.”  With that he did, and there was a loud click as though there was a piece of wood knocked on another piece of wood, then I should image they would have been the cells in the timber taking back their normal shape.”

(The suggestion of “the person” “materialising” into and out of solid wood brings to my mind the intriguing reference in what has become known as “Slide 9”, from a Powerpoint slide presentation attributed to AATIP ostensibly given to senior US Department of Defence officials and located on the personal website of former Assistant Secretary of Defence Christopher Mellon. Describing a “DoD Threat Scenario (AATIP Sub-Focus Areas)”: “The science exists for an enemy of the United States to manipulate both physical and cognitive environments in order to penetrate U.S. facilities, influence decision makers, and compromise national security” one example cited was “Penetration of solid Surfaces”.  Well, wood could be described as a “solid surface” and Mr. Campbell’s alleged 1967 experience would have most likely been at Exmouth, the support town for the US Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt, generally referred to as North west Cape.  However, I’m sure “Slide 9” did not have this 1967 experience in mind.)

D.E.: “Harry Griesberg, you’d like to ask something?”

H.G.: “Yes.  Mr. Campbell, I wonder if you could give us a short description of exactly what this entity looked like.”

C: “I only saw the vague start of a transformation into physical energy, possibly going to be a body that I could view, around about 5’6” – striated horizontal bands of blue and yellow colour.  Now, this particular thing, was not too bad, but later in Scotland, in 1968, when I visited the Jodrell Bank telescope (Jodrell Bank is in northern England, not Scotland – B.C.) … I was going around the observation rooms there and they have got big blown-up 35 mm slides taken from satellites.  One in particular shows the North West Cape area of Western Australia, which I was interested in.  Others had the first pictures of Mars from one of the Mariner satellites.  Now as I looked at one of these pictures, I just knew it wasn’t Mars, and it was the moon dubbed in, and I couldn’t work this out, so, there was something wrong with the moon, yet it was portrayed as Mars. These were the first televised pictures of Mars.  The first few seconds I think.  With that, there were 2 beings that arrived each side of me, just as mental presence, and I just turned around and met them …Then there was just like a mental affirmation of: Right, so what? I felt another sort of mental beam or probe coming from outside the observation room at Jodrell Bank.  And there standing under the big dish … was a being I could see, in a spacesuit, the visor open, silvery grey colour, very much like the astronauts on the moon, rather “overally” looking, rather than a “Speed Gordon” spacesuit (did he mean “Flash Gordon” – B.C.).  This being, out there had a typical face, much the same as us, more bronze skinned maybe.  Just smiled, and disappeared.”

D.E.: “Well thank you Mr. Campbell, thank you very much.  It’s been most interesting.  Could I ask Allen Hynek, how does this particular sighting – and we’ve had quite a lot of detail about it, how does it fit in with the spectrum of these thousand odd such similar such sightings, that you have records of.”

Allen Hynek seemed to responded diplomatically, “Well, as incredible as the thing sounds, it is by no means unique.  It fits in very well actually … As General Samford once said: The UFO reports are incredible tales, and that’s a very good definition really …”

At the time I thought Dr Hynek was being polite. Mr. Campbell seemed like a “contactee” figure, even if his strange “visitors” seemed rather short on conversation and consensus physicality.    

North West Cape has had a lot of strange events reported over the years. A number are described in Australian investigative journalist Ross Coulthart’s new book “In Plain Sight – an investigation into UFOs and impossible science” (2021), which is also a good primer into the recent controversies mainstreaming UFOs/UAPs.
He includes the fascinating October 25 1973 event, which I have written about on numerous occasions, particularly:
1979, August, “The Royal Australia Air Force Investigations of UFOs”, ACOS Bulletin,  No.20, August, 1979

1985, March, “The UFO connection: Startling implications for North West Cape and Australia’s security”, Omega Science , March, 1985

Mark McLeod's fine art interpretation featured in my 1984 article
1986, January/February, “The North West Cape Incident: UFOs and nuclear alert in Australia”, IUR - International UFO Reporter, January/February, 1986, pas. 9-12.
1988 & 1989, “Working with the Government,” in “Phenomenon” edited by John Spencer & Hilary Evans, (UK) Futura 1988 & (USA) Avon Books 1989.
1996, “The OZ Files - the Australia UFO Story”, Duffy & Snellgrove, 1996
1996, “UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under”, circulated between 1997 & 1999, on       
https://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz1.htm since 1999.
2012, “DEFCON 3 to Top Secret UMBRA - A National Security Crisis with a UFO Connection in 1973” pgs. 402 - 404, in my chapter “The Australian Military and the Official Government Response”, in “UFOs and Government - a historical Inquiry” principal authors Michael Swords & Robert Powell, Anomalist Books, 2012. 
When I was co-coordinating the Sydney based UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) back in 1975-76, a group member had written to the Australian Department of Defence, on behalf of UFOIC requesting cases for “compiling a statistical and comparative survey of the nature and incidence of unidentified flying objects” “for the benefit of my colleagues.” The most interesting of the partially redacted reports was the October 1973 North West Cape event.

In my first article mentioning the event back in 1979, I described the general state of play of our knowledge on RAAF’s role in the Australian UFO story, and included the event as a case example of an “unknown” not listed in the official annual summaries of UAS reports, along with the bizarre Nebo road case, which I got directly from the RAAF with prints of photos taken by the RAAF. This 1979 status was a stepping stone to my heavy focus on the DOD/government data which led to my 4 visits between 1982 and 1984 to the Russell offices in Canberra, and despite my long shopping listing, things like NW Cape, Nebo, Westall, Burkes Flat, Balwyn and others were not found.  Plenty of other stuff of interest was.

The North West Cape case basic aspects:

At about 1915 hours, on Thursday, October 25th, 1973, Lt. Commander M (Note: maybe Myer - we only have Bill Lynn's handwriting reference to him.  Paul Dean recently pointed out that the Lynn family mention that Bill regularly had a hand writing flourish, particularly on the letter "M" that may give the impression of an "o" or an"e" following the letter "M" - hence the search for Moyer & Meyer) (USN) observed "a large black, airborne object" at a distance of approximately 8 kilometres to the west at an altitude estimated at 600 metres. Lt. Cmdr. M_____ was driving south from the naval communication station towards the support township of Exmouth, along Murat Road. The officer indicated in a written statement that, "After about 20-25 seconds the craft accelerated at unbelievable speed and disappearedto the north." 

The officer's account further states: "7. Hovering at first, then accelerating beyond belief." "9. No noise or exhaust.""11. Have never experienced anything like it." 

Australian Fire Captain at NW Cape (photo supplied by the Lynn family to Keith Basterfield) and his sketch & some details of the incident

At the base, Fire Captain (USN) Bill L____ (confirmed as Australian Bill Lynn) also saw the extraordinary craft. He provided the following statement: 

"At 1920 hrs, I was called by the POW to close the Officers club. I proceded towards the club in the Fire Dept. pick-up 488, when my attention was drawn to a large black object, which at first I took to bea small cloud formation, due west of Area 'B' (in the vicinity of Mount Athol - B.C.). Whilst travelling towards the Officers club I couldn't help but be attracted by this object's appearance. On alighting from pick-up 488, I stood for several minutes and watched this black sphere hovering. The sky was clear & pale green-blue. No clouds were about whatsoever. The object was completely stationary except for a halo around the centre, which appeared to be either revolving or pulsating. After watching it for approx. 4 minutes, it suddenly took off at tremendous speed & disappeared in a northerly direction, in a few seconds. I consider this object to have been approx. 10 metres in diameter, hovering at 300 metres over the hills due west of the base. It was black, maybe due to looking in the direction of the setting sun. No lights appeared on it at any time." 

This is an extraordinary incident. When I first saw the report on it back around 1975/76 I was surprised, due to its contents, that, firstly, it had been entered onto standard RAAF Department of Defence UAS sighting report forms, and, secondly, that it had been made available to a researcher then associated with UFOIC.

As highlighted in the 1985 article I wrote for Omega Science Digest it was Larry Fawcett and Barry Greenwood’s excellent book “Clear Intent” (1984) that made me focus on the NSA affidavit that had a 1973 SIGINT case reference.  I then recollected the 1973 NW Cape case file and made the SIGINT connection with NW Cape based on my knowledge of NW Cape’s activities via Desmond Ball’s “A Suitable Piece of real estate” (1980) and the date of the Defcon alert through Richard Hall’s “The Secret State” (1978, pg. 184).  

I felt that made the NW Cape case as a probable good fit with the NSA 1973 affidavit reference.  I had acquired Clear Intent on 31/7/84.  Barry Greenwood signed my copy on 24/7/84.  The date connection between the Defcon and the UFO sighting became clearer to me after I had acquired the book “Secrets of State” on 2/4/82, see pg. 12, where the connection between the date & NW Cape & Defcon was confirmed.  The penny dropped at that point and snowballed with the focus on the NSA affidavit date.  That’s why I then came out with the Omega article (March/April, 1984). I wrote another article for CUFOS (Allen Hynek’s organisation) the International UFO reporter “The North West Cape Incident: UFOs and nuclear alert in Australia”, January/February, 1986, pas. 9-12.

The connection with the antenna array at North West Cape in October 1973 and a focus Ross Coulthart made in his book (but initially revealed, in part, in the Wikileaks dump of John Podesta’s emails) to Bob Fish’s claim “that the US was actually tracking UAPs by tracing their unique electromagnetic signature” (pg. 102) is intriguing. Information has been swirling about on this issue for some time. I’ve even had a source of my own referring to this.

Here is an account, based on my own investigation that refers to another UFO event linked to a large antenna array, during the month of October 1973, from the other side of Australia:

Back in 1972 and 1973 I was based in Armidale undertaking a science degree at the University of New England.  September 15, 1972 turned out to be a special day. Returning from a chemistry practical class as twilight loomed I observed a “daylight disc.”  Earlier in the day I had been informed of a very strange apparitional “ghost” event that took place during the early hours of the same day on a farming property near Mount Butler just to the near west of Armidale. I was drawn into a striking UFO flap and paranormal milieu. Some university students were living on the property. One of them saw more UFOs than the rest.  He thought this was because he often was driving late at night to the property after either working at the local university radio station or working as a cleaner. I was able to interview him on December 3, 1973.

Graham started living at the property during 1973. He began to see some strange sights, particularly since he had started finishing late as a cleaner in town. During 1973 he had at least 8 UFO sightings.  I found his retelling convincing as he took me to each of the locations involved.  One, unknown to him, provided a sense of authentication for his experiences.   

Late in March, 1973, he was coming home from university, at about 1.30 am, after completing a radio program on the student radio network.  He drove out of town, along the Bundurra road, the turned to the left onto the road that eventually leads to the Mount Butler property.  Just as he passed the university ionosphere research receiver - a grid system of metal poles - he stopped to answer a call of nature: "I was just sort of looking at the sky, and I ... noticed that the sky was sort of shifting ... About 5 or 6 lights ... were just sort of moving slowly ... in a curve (formation)... like 5 lights in an arc ...They were sort of only fractionally moving.... they moved very slowly for about 5 minutes .... then all of a sudden, they just sort of all slide around out of the arc, into a straight line ... and they all just ... seemed to accelerate(towards the south)...."

The Sydney group UFO Research Projects of Australia (UFORPA), coordinated by Frankh Wilks, logged a report at Rozelle, NSW, between 1.00 and 1.30 am, on March 24th, 1973, of 5 flat yellow lights travelling in a loose V or "arc" formation moving quickly from south to north.  This report was not publicised and only became known to me through being listed in the short-lived and limited circulation UFO Network newsletter.  Graham certainly would not have been aware of this event.    

Graham also saw two other different types of UFOs on a number of occasions - "golden balls" and what he labelled green "plasmic balls".  Once he saw 3 of the “golden balls” jumping around on top of trees.  They appeared to zoom about each other for about a 10-minute period.  The green lights were often closer but seemed to be generally of short duration.  The first time he saw one of these was very vivid to him.  It seemed to be a spinning circular mass, apparently about 2 metres in diameter, which zoomed across the trees in front of him.  He smelt a “burnt air” smell (ozone?) and observed a sort of light trail. Graham thought the green “plasmic ball” – “a sort of green comet” – was only about a 100 metres away and about 10 metres in the air.  About 2 weeks later all the leaves along the side of the trees the “ball” passed went brown leaving a very clear effect which lasted for a few months. 

His most spectacular sighting occurred during early October, 1973.  Returning home after his cleaning job, he was on the dirt road just opposite the research station receiver again: "... right in the middle of the windscreen .... it just seemed to float up.... I stopped the car immediately ... this thing ... the best I could describe it, was like a cigar, or like a French loaf .... It was fairly regular in shape, except it was sort of tapered at the ends, and on each end of it, there seemed to be a type of yellow light, but one end was sort of greeny and one end was red, and the middle seemed to be the same yellow .... It didn't seem very far away.  There was no impression of movement or sound ... I watched it for about 10 to 15 seconds (positioned in an oblique orientation) and then it rotated itself 4 times...."  It then seemed to suddenly shoot off up at an oblique angle and disappear into the night.  

My photo of Graham at the site and my sketch adapted from our on site discussions & drawing. The aerial array installation was location on the road in the photo but I didn't take a photo of it.

On our way out to the sighting locations with Graham we passed the large aerial array.  It consisted of at least 12 large poles with wires criss-crossing between them. There was fencing right around the facility.  I did a rough drawing of the array intending to check out its purpose:

The students at Mount Butler initially thought it was a Defence thing, but then learnt it might be a university experimental transmission/receiving station.  I later confirmed that it was an atmospheric research receiver complex run by associate professor Morris of the UNE physics department, used for bouncing radio signals of the ionosphere and checking for delay and attenuation in the return signals.  There were accounts of cars losing power in the locality.  Whether this was due to poor car maintenance or frequencies of an unusual nature being used by parties known or unknown, local or from elsewhere I wasn’t able to determine.  Graham did not experience any unusual car stoppages in this area.

            A map of the localities involved with my 1973 annotations on it. 
So from the VLF frequency transmissions (operating most often at 22.3 kHz in a range of 14 to 28.5 kHz) of the massive aerial array at North West Cape in Western Australia to the much smaller array near Mount Butler outside of Armidale, in eastern Australia, apparently transmitting at radio frequencies bouncing off the ionosphere, we have much food for thought on what frequencies may have come into play with UFO/UAP encounters at both locations in October 1973 – perhaps an intriguing touchstone in the search for tracking frequencies unique to electromagnetic signatures of these things that haunt our skies. Perhaps Mr. Campbell was onto something in his strange Oz Twilight Zone contacts.  He may have designed large “Star Wars” flying craft models based on his experiences. I recollect seeing an article in an Australian magazine like Australasian Post or Pix/People.  That lays somewhere in my files, awaiting rediscovery.  Anybody who has had contact with Mr. Campbell or has information on any aspects of this story, please let me know… a despatch from the Oz Twilight Zone.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The UFOs of OZ with Brett Moffatt

Artist Brett Moffatt brings his talents to this new podcast series featuring a strong tilt towards the UFO/UAP mystery with an OZ focus - that is, the down under perspective, from Australia.
Check out the 4 interviews to date on Brett Moffat's excellent podcast site: "The UFOs of OZ" - Paul Dean, Ryan Sprague, Ross Coulthart and myself.  

I hope to do a lot more. This interview is an introduction - the "tip of the iceberg" journey into 
my own "OZ Files":

From Brett Moffatt's notes for his interview with me:
Bill Chalker's website: 
Bill Chalker’s “UFO SubRosa” document:
Bill Chalker is one of Australia's leading UFO researchers and has written extensively on the subject. He has a background in chemistry and mathematics.
He was a contributing editor for the International UFO Reporter and has been the Australian representative for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (1978 to 1986) and a New South Wales state representative for the Mutual UFO Network (1976 to 1993).
Bill has undertaken extensive research and published major papers on many topics including Australian physical evidence, historical Australian reports (pre-1947), the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and UFOs, Australian "missing time" events and UFO abduction experiences.
In 1982 Bill Chalker was the first civilian researcher to gain direct access to the previously classified RAAF UFO files during several visits to the Canberra headquarters of the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence.
He has contributed to such publications as Rolling Stone and Reader's Digest. Author of the “The OZ Files – The Australian UFO Story” (1996), “Hair of the Alien – DNA and Other Forensic Evidence for Alien Abductions” (2005), Australian chapter author of the UFO History Group’s major study “UFOs and Government” (2012) and Australian content author for all 3 editions of Jerome Clark’s “The UFO Encyclopedia” – the latest in 2 volumes (2018) and in a 7-part series (2021).

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Drones, UFOs, UAPs and the wonderful, whimsical world of Leunig

In recent decades one of the primary potential explanations of some UAP reports are UAS – Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) – or UAV – Unmanned aerial vehicles. The smorgasbord of abbreviations is getting confusing – such as UAP, UAV, UAS.  UAS is particularly confusing here in Australia, with it being historically preferred by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), then the main governmental examiner of UFO reports, which they called Unusual Aerial Sightings. The US Pentagon prefers UAP – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.  

The Drive team reports on the drone “wild west” in the US:


Drones, Drones, Drones everywhere.

I thought of Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig’s 2018 take on a new kind of crowded “Australian Sunrise”. Real Australian birds would be preferred.

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig



Leunig further comments in his own way:


All 3 images courtesy of Michael Leunig


On the “aliens are here” theme Leunig has some lovely takes:

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig


Given all the fuss lately about drones, UAPs & UFOs lately I reached out to Michael Leunig.


Hi Michael, always love your work; am a long time reader since the Nation Review days. I'm curious whether Vasco or Mr Curly have encountered UFOs, drones or UAPs to use the preferred Pentagon term. I note non-commercial use is ok and am planning to do a piece on my OZ Files blog re UAPs & drones, so I've zeroed in on your wonderful Drone Patrol Australian Sunrise. Best wishes, Bill Chalker, author of The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story (1996)

(For the uninformed Vasco Pyjama & Mr Curly are wonderful characters in Michael Leunig's cartoon world, whose travels and correspondence gives us a whimsical but deeply thoughtful perspective on our interesting & strange world. The book "The Curly Pyjama Letters", "Leunig Animated" produced by Bryan Brown and voiced by Sam Neill (some which you can find on that thing called the Internet) and many other treasures will give you an insight into the world of Leunig)


Dear Bill,

Yes indeed, Mr Curly and Vasco have often encountered UAP’s. In most cases, the mysterious objects turn out to be owls, eagles, parrots and finches. On one occasion they were mystified by an object which turned out to be a sock which had been lifted up from a clothes line by a willywilly and thrust into the higher atmosphere. In general terms however, they spend a lot of time looking into the sky which they regard as one big unidentified aerial phenomenon.

Make of it what you will.


With best wishes,

Michael Leunig.

“That device, the Sky”

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig

Image courtesy of Michael Leunig


Thank you indeed Michael for your feedback. That Mr Curly and Vasco see the sky as one big unidentified aerial phenomenon, had me thinking what the Ferret would think or would have done.  I can’t say my lifelong interest in UFOs or UAPs was due to to it, but for ages on my college dorm door at the University of New England, while I was doing science, I had the Ferret and “lean & nosey like a ferret” image on it, welcoming visitors.

Best wishes,

Bill Chalker


P.S. I’m sure Mr Curly and Vasco need not worry, But with “owls”?


Some brief cameos on the odd world of UAS, UAV, UAP, UFO etc:


Intel drones flocked over Sydney landmarks back in 2016





“Thor” knocking drone swarms out of the sky:



Life seems less complex when the world of Leunig, Mr Curly and Vasco Pyjama comes into our thoughts.

Monday, June 07, 2021

The UFO UAP Tipping point - US & China connections

A tipping point has occurred in the status of the UFO mystery.  We have seen an extraordinary awakening in mainstream media attention to the subject.  Particularly in the United States, we have had a procession of officials, former presidents, politicians, intelligence chiefs, and others coming out with intriguing statements about the reality of UFOs, usually citing the more neutral label of UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena.


John Ratcliffe, a former Director of National Intelligence, revealed on Fox News, revealed that US military pilots and satellites had recorded many sightings.  He stated, “Multiple sensors that are picking up these things. They’re unexplained phenomenon, and there’s actually quite a few more than have been made public,” elaborating they had been seen “all over the world.” “Frankly, there are a lot more sightings than have been made public.” He added, “Some of those have been declassified. And when we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by navy or air force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for.”


While the UAP Task Force report may significantly add to the controversy and focus of continuing research and study, much of it is skewed towards threat assessments. While domestic US technological breakthroughs may be made less likely, as an explanation, concerns are that adversarial foreign powers may have made huge leap-frog advances. The evidence for an alien presence or threat, while perhaps considered, will be not presented as proven.  Further research and investigation will be called for, and certainly more funding will be sought. Its time to get serious about UFO and UAP study, rather than ignoring the problem, keeping things secret, and continuing an ad hoc and myopic approach.


The 2004 Nimitz incident, particularly US Navy Commander Fravor’s encounter, viewed visually and confirmed through multiple sensor equipment and platforms, was a game-changer. As an excellent example of the stunning potential of serious scientific examination of UFO or UAP events, I recommend the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) report on the case: “A Forensic Analysis of Navy Carrier Strike Group Eleven’s Encounter with an Anomalous Aerial Vehicle” is authored by Robert Powell, Peter Reali, Tim Thompson, Morgan Beall, Doug Kimzey, Larry Cates, and Richard Hoffman.  



The 2004 Nimitz event was a primary stimulus for change, and yet it was hardly the first remarkable US military aircraft encounter that remains unexplained. One of the best is covered in another striking study is the “Investigation of UFO Events at Minot AFB on 24 October 1968” compiled by Thomas Tulien, which included a B-52 crew and preserved radar scope imagery. The event and evidence was striking, occurring in the immediate wake of the formal end of the USAF commissioned University of Colorado “scientific” UFO study. Had this case been properly revealed and studied by authorities, particularly the Condon Committee, it would have been impossible to sustain the controversial conclusions the Condon Report made, particularly that UFOs have no scientific merit. Yet another blatant lost opportunity, to be added to the long and sorry list of lost opportunities, brought about by the “taboo” status of the UFO mystery.  Now that “taboo” is under serious assault.


While China’s testing of adversarial nations resources and abilities, often through significant drone innovations, may be seen as a possible explanation for some of the events that the US UAP Task Force has examined, it is fascinating that China has had its own programme to study similar events, which are referred to as “unidentified air conditions.” 

Images from a Chinese promotion video of an advanced supersonic drone concept:

Some interesting and unusual plans and prototypes of the Chinese UFO like "Super Great White Shark attack helicopter":

Presstv.com reported on 5 June 2021, “A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) task force dedicated to the unknown objects increasingly relies on AI technology to analyze its data, according to a report by Wuhan-based researcher Chen Li from Chinese Air Force Early Warning Academy (presented at “a conference of senior information technology scientists” in Beijing in 2019) as cited Friday (4 June) by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post (SCMP). Chen states that human analysts have been overwhelmed in recent years by the rapidly mounting sighting reports from a wide range of military and civilian sources across the country.  (Chen) said that one advantage of AI is that it can “think outside the box” – checking crumbs of information scattered across many data sets created at different times and locations, and drawing links unseen by human eyes – to help determine whether sightings were caused by a hostile country, amateur aviation enthusiasts, nature, or “other reasons.”  With the help of AI, PLA headquarters assigns a “threat index” to each object based on its behavior, frequency of occurrence, aerodynamic design, radioactivity, possible make and materials, along with any other information.  The AI can pull together other information which may help determine an object’s purpose. For instance, if similar unknown objects have a tendency to appear during major political events or military exercises, they are considered more likely to be a man-made device deployed by another country to gather intelligence, according to the report.” 

Military delegates arrive for the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 3, 2019. ©  REUTERS/Aly Song
                        Chinese Air Force Early Warning Academy at Wuhan and its logo

“According to Chen and his colleagues, the PLA has a three-tier reporting system to handle unknown aerial objects. The base level, which includes military radar stations, air force pilots, police stations, weather stations, and Chinese Academy of Sciences observatories, is responsible for gathering as much raw data as possible.  The information is processed in mid-tier by the PLA’s regional military command which conducts preliminary analysis and transfers the data to a national database.” 


“Military researchers cited in the report explain that manual verification of these events usually takes time, but AI can quickly identify most natural causes by cross-checking various sources of information, such as weather satellite data.  The report also cites a radar scientist based in Xian, in the northwest province of Shaanxi, as saying that the increasing number of unknown objects in China’s air space was “more likely caused by humans than aliens.” Chinese authorities have gradually loosened control on flight activities in low altitudes over the past few years, while drones have also become relatively cheap and popular, he said.

Meanwhile, increased US military activities in the South China Sea and other sensitive waters near China could also account for the increased appearance of objects that cannot be immediately explained, said the researcher, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the topic.”


The Presstv.com report also described a case that could be classed as China’s “Nimitz” or “Minot” case.  It is a case I have been exploring for a long time.  The Presstv.com account suggests it was “China’s only officially confirmed sighting.” I’m not sure that is the case.  One of its witnesses was ironically the acknowledged father of China’s militarised drones, Zhao Xu.                                                    

(Three photos of Zhao Xu)

The event occurred over a military airbase at Cangzhou, in Hebei province, on October 19, 1998. The base commander Colonel Li denied his J-6 interceptor pilot’s request to fire on the UFO.  

An artist's representation (apparently of the case - unknown attribution)
My translator's rough drawing of the UFO deploying two strange beams of light

I was most fascinated by the commander’s statement, based on the observation of the J-6 crew, Hu Shaoheng and Liu Ming, about strange “light projections” from the “short-legged mushroom” shaped object: "Surprisingly these two light beams of light were not as we normally see light beams, as has been according to the distance and spread, but as two light-emitting entities, sticking out from the bottom of the UFO ending on a certain length. At least today we have not got control of this sort of light technology." Here was a striking example of what has been referred to as “solid light” – a recurring aspect of many cases worldwide, which would be an extraordinary scientific breakthrough if we could work it out.


Now, with current developments, we may see a development of a serious open UFO/UAP science, as both mainstream media and science begin to abandoned their myopic histories of neglect of this fascinating mystery.