Wednesday, March 06, 2013

WESTALL '66: the sleeper awakes Part 2

Continuing on from my previous post here I show the people associated withe the then Victorian Flying Saucer Research society (now known as the Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS).
The brief bios show Judy Magee, Peter Norris and Paul Norman, who apparently undertook some investigations at Westall in the days that followed the Westall school UFO incident of April 1966.  Each of this bios comes from contemporary copies of the VFSRS magazine - The Australian Flying Saucer Review (Victorian edition).  Some limited material that apparently emerged from their enquiries (of which little was ever published) is shown here in the form of a photo apparently taken by Judy Magee of one of alleged UFO landing sites.  The photo of the young girl - Joy - was also taken by VFRS investigators. The final photo shows Westall researcher Shane Ryan flanked by Paul & Judy, both of whom sadly passed away in 2012.  Peter Norris the president of the VFSRS group back in 1966 did have a cameo in the Rosie Jones documentary but was not able to contribute substantially much detail about the Westall case.  When I spoke with him back in about 1980 he also recollected little about the case and didn't think it must have been an important case.  Peter had strong connections with the Aerial Phenomena Research Organisation (APRO) based in Arizona USA run by Jim & Coral Lorenzen, and was often a source of Australian content in Coral Lorenzen's UFO books that appeared during the 1960s.  However Westall was not amongst that content.  Similarly Paul Norman had strong connections with the NICAP group, but in a bid to clarify if NICAP files any Westall data, I contacted Richard Hall.  This was one of the last things that Dick Hall and I communicated about.  However he too, despite his deep knowledge of NICAP and UFO history had to report that for him and NICAP the April 1966 case had not picked up on their radar.  His excellent study "Alien Invasion or Human Fantasy? The 1966-67 UFO wave" (a 146 page study) also missed the Westall case despite referencing my 1996 book "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO story" which devoted 6 pages to "The Westall School Sensation."  Judy Magee had connections with the British Flying Saucer Review (FSR) and passed on the Dandenong Journal account which was published in FSR Vol. 12 No.4 1966:
More to follow.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

WESTALL '66: the sleeper awakes

Back on July 11, 2012 I gave a lecture to the UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia (UFO-PRSA) in Campbelltown entitled WESTALL '66: the Sleeper Awakes.  In that presentation I focused on the investigations & research undertaken into the 1966 Westall school UFO case that proceded the more recent research of Shane Ryan which underpinned the impressive Rosie Jones "WESTALL '66: a suburban UFO mystery" documentary."
The 1966 Clayton Calendar school magazine story (above) and the contemporary newspaper clippings (below) were the key parts of the public side of the largely hidden story of the mass witnessed daylight UFO event centred over the Westall school area.
The following 4 photos show (clockwise from upper left) Shane Ryan, George Simpson and myself (Bill Chalker) at the Westall April 2006 renunion which brought together many witnesses to the original event, including Joy and Jeff - witnesses to the 1966 Westall UFO incident.  Jeff was the author of the student account in the Clayton Calendar.  At the reunion I met researcher/director Rosie Jones and producer Carmel McAloon who were just beginning work on their documentary.  The reunion led to a feature story in the Women's Day magazine: "We've Kept our UFO secret for 40 years."
The eventual documentary incorporated the inspired use of Lee Whitmore's charcoal animations which powerfully resonated with the prominent role of school children among the witnesses to the extraordinary events that played out on 6 April 1966. Two version of the DVD documentary were issued, the main public version with Shane Ryan on the label, and the other circulated by the SciFi channel airing of the documentary, which featured my "forensic" drawing based on my on-site interview/reconstruction with witness Victor Zakry.
I had a brief cameo in the 2010 "Westall '66" documentary discussing my 1982-1984 access to the Department of Defence RAAF UFO files in Canberra, with my "shopping list" which included the 2nd April 1966 Balwyn UFO photo case; the 4th April 1966 Burkes Flat encounter and the 6th April 1966 Westall event.  Three fascinating UFO events all happening in the Australian state of Victoria within a 4 day period. Here is the clear first generation print of the Balwyn photo:
The Sun newspaper story of April 12, 1966 gave a potent snapshot of an extraordinary event:
The documentary’s reconstruction; Ron Sullivan in the field in front of the depression; the event details per Ron Sullivan & Australian Flying Saucer Review (AFSR (VFSRS edition); close up photo of Burkes Flat depression:
I undertook a detailed retrospective investigation of the Burkes Flat incident.  The following imagery shows me on site pointing to the tree that Gary Taylor's car collided with, causing his death. VUFORS investigator Paul Norman recovered a headlight from Gary Taylor's car and passed it onto my friend & colleague Dr. Geoff Stevens, then working with the Australian Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights.  Geoff showed me the work he did, including tracing with chalk marks the directions of lines of magnetic force on the headlight.  The picture shows my hand on the headlight for size reference.  The relatively random directions of lines of magnetic force ruled out evidence for exposure to a strong magnetic field.  That would have caused all the lines to be running in the same direction. A contemporary photo, shown in the documentary, reveals the investigation undertaken by police and the coroner at the site of Gary Taylor's fatal car crash.  A photo from 1984 shows me interviewing Ron Sullivan, the witness to an extraordinary bending of car headlight beams at the same locality.
(Images copyright with original owners. Powerpoint presentation slides copyright Bill Chalker)
In further posts related to my 2012 lecture "WESTALL '66: the Sleeper Awakes" I will describe investigations of the Westall case between 1966 and 2005.