Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Old and the New

The Old and the New
Two striking aspects of the UFO mystery have been preoccupying me a lot lately. 

The Old – the 150th anniversary this year of the enduring mystery of the UFO vision of the “flying ark” that landed in Parramatta Park, Parramatta, on the night of 25-26th July 1868 – the wonderful vision of Frederick William Birmingham – which in some ways can be called the Parramatta Park Prophecy. This is a story that has haunted me since I first became aware of it during 1975.
On Sunday 29th July 2018, from 2 pm I will be undertaking a walk which will take in the main locations and elements of this historic "Oz File" (or "X-File"). If people are interested in joining me for this walk (which will begin outside Birmingham's home - now 1 Trott Street Parramatta and then take in  Lennox Bridge which he named, and Parramatta Park - the focus of his "UFO vision" and the "prophecy" it suggested - a focus of early aviation efforts in Australia - the location of Australia's first pilot Billy Hart's landing in Australia's first air race) I will provide a commentary, and for a donation of $20, a copy of a souvenir guide to the event, the experience and the walk.  People wishing to join me should register their interest via email to billozfiles@tpg.com.au and they must understand they undertake the walk at their own risk.
The New – the fascinating Port Jervis New York UFO encounter of 25 November 2009.  This case was initially reported as an intriguing example of a “car stop” case.  For me, it became even more intriguing when I learnt that it might be a remarkable example of a type of UFO phenomena that I had been studying for some time, namely “solid light.” This aspect was not evident in the initial public MUFON reporting of the case and became a contested part of the case when primary MUFON investigator Chuck Modlin described the event in the Canadian Close Encounters TV series during 2013.  In the show the episode dealing with the case – “Christmas Lights” – included me talking about the phenomenon of “solid lights” in a generic way. I had gone to Toronto to be filmed in a number of specific cases.  My linkage to the Port Jervis case was unknown to me until I saw the early drafts of the episode.  Up until then I merely knew the case to be a striking recent example of a “car-stop” case, often referred to a possible “EM” or “electromagnetic” car-stop case, the latter, because of the sense of a possible mechanism for the apparent stopping of a car.

The 1868 case was discussed in my UFO Truth column back in issue 5 (January/February 2014): “Frederick William Birmingham: 19th century Australian UFO witness & early aviation visionary.”  This case will be included in an entry I have written for the forthcoming 3rd edition of Jerome Clark’s book “The UFO Encyclopedia.”  My account in the early UFO Truth column did not include much detail on the July 1868 incident and was more of an overall case study investigation report into its historical verification.  Given that this column will come out about the time of the actual 150th anniversary – July 2018 – I have included here Birmingham's detailed account of his 1868 vision:
“A UFO VISION” IN 1868 “A Machine to go through the Air”
Is this a photo of Frederick William Birmingham?
Taken in 1868 by Henry Burgin. 
Birmingham in a Parramatta council meeting 
a few years earlier was responsible for naming Lennox Bridge.
The Memorandum book, A.D. 1873, attributed to the hand of one “Fred. Wm. Birmingham, C.E. & Lic. Surveyor, Parramatta, Australia,” gives an account of an "aerial machine”—“A machine to go through the air":
On the night of the 25th–26th July Anno Domino [original spelling] 1868, I had a wonderful dream—a vision . . . .
Birmingham described standing under the verandah of his rented cottage in Duck’s Lane, Parramatta, when he saw up in the sky, to the northeast, the passage of a bizarre apparitional procession of the faces of two prominent people of the state (that of the Lord Bishop of Sydney and the premier of the state), moving one after the other! The first “travelled to the east it dimmed—just as one loses his focus by quickly drawing in or out the slide of a telescope.” The second appeared twice, dimming like the first, then moved away in another direction.
Birmingham dropped his gaze to ponder the strange and confronting display. “After some considerable time I determined to look at the head or heads again. . .,” but they were gone.
I retraced the course the head had taken and just in the spot where I first saw the head I saw an “Ark” and while looking at it—moving along the same track as the head had taken—I said to myself aloud, “Well that is a beautiful vessel.” I had no sooner ended the sentence than I was made aware that I was not alone, for to my right hand and a little to the rear of my frontage a distinct voice said, slowly—“That’s a machine to go through the air.”
In a little time I replied—“It appears to me more like a vessel for going upon the water, but, at all events, it’s the loveliest thing I ever saw.”
I then felt that somehow or another the spirit and I were as it may have been spiritually on the highest part of the Parramatta Park."
By this time, “the machine” had moved through the air in a zigzag fashion, “then quite, stopped, the forward motion and descended some twenty feet or so as gently as a feather on the grass,” at a distance of about 20 yards from Birmingham and the “spirit.”
Birmingham described the ark in the following way:
. . . though a brown colour (rubber!) all over at a distance . . . its peculiar shapings are well impressioned upon my mind and the colour seemed to blend with faint, flitting shades of steel blue, below and appearing tremulous and like what one might term magnified scales on a large fish, the latter being as it were flying in the air, (the machine has not the shape of anything that has life).
The “spirit” was described by Birmingham as being “like a neutral tint shade [white?—B. C.] and the shape of a man in his usual frock dress.”
It said to him, “Have you a desire or do you wish to enter upon it?” Birmingham replied, “Yes.”
“Then come”—said the spirit, thereupon we were lifted off the grass and gently carried through the air and onto the upper part of the machine. . . .
On the machine, the spirit showed Birmingham two cylinders, located at the front and back of it, indicating their purpose, “by downward motion of hand.”
The spirit beckoned the surveyor to enter the “pilot house” [as Birmingham termed a part of the machine] saying, “Step in.” Birmingham described how he went down about three steep steps. They led into the pilot house room, which was about three and a half feet lower than the deck of the machine. The only feature of the room was a table, about five feet by three and a half feet and two and a half feet high covered with material like oilskin, “or perhaps iron covered with rubber cloth tightly.” About two feet separated the table and the walls of the room.  Birmingham referred to how, “everything appeared very strong, the sides I noticed were extremely thick, about six inches—and I [then] wondered why they were so strong in ‘a machine to go through the air.’”
Birmingham’s surprise is consistent with the contemporary conviction that flight would only be achieved with lighter-than-air “machines,” namely balloons, and later the “airships.” Jules Verne in his prophetic book, Robur the Conqueror (or The Clipper of the Clouds), published in 1886, not only pre-empted the American “airship” waves in 1896 and 1897, but anticipated the future of “heavier-than-air” aerial machines.
Standing alone at the rear end of the table, whereupon he rested one hand, Birmingham began to repent agreeing to “entering upon” the “ark.”
I felt miserably queer—just like one who undertaking a billet or post he knows nothing of. So I remained for some considerable time, when I was aroused as it were from my reverie by the voice of the spirit on my right hand, who said, “Here are some papers for your guidance.”
The hand of the spirit was resting on the table and within it were several printed papers. The first paper was covered with figures and formulae.
. . . Thinking the formulae and figures of other kinds might be too intricate for my comprehension I said to the spirit—"Oh! Will I want them?” The spirit replied slowly, but with marked emphasis, “It is absolutely necessary that you should know these things, but, you can study them as you go on.”
. . . I again cast down my eyes between my hands as it were on the table and considering silently the words of the holy spirit and when I looked about I found I was alone in the ark!
So I fell, I suppose, into my usual sleeping state, and waking next morning deeply impressed with that vision of the night. . . .
Birmingham pondered his “vision” occasionally but could only rationalize (to his own satisfaction at least) the first portion, namely that it reminded him “that I must serve God by conforming to the Christian doctrine and laws of his church [Christ’s Bride]. As to the second portion of the vision I could not conclude what it meant—at least in any satisfactory way (“a machine to go through the air”—or in other words, the ark mentioned in the Book of Revelations!)”
Birmingham also described a daylight UFO sighting he made in March 1873.  The 1868 and 1873 events inspired him to try to create a flying machine.  He even made a model and tried to interest parties in both Australia and the United States, but to no avail. 
From  Birmingham’s memorandum book:
1868: “The machine then, quite stopped, the forward motion and descended some twenty feet or so as gently as a feather onto the grass at P.P. (Parramatta Park).”
1873: “...I came down from the hill in the Parramatta Park firmly convinced that the vision was gradually unfolding itself and ‘the machine to go through the air’ was a thing (through God’s mercy) to be accomplished.”
Birmingham’s “vision” and its association with Parramatta Park had its prophetic aspect.  The holder of Australia’s first aerial pilot’s licence was William E. Hart, a Parramatta dentist.  He taught himself to fly a Bristol biplane well enough to qualify for the Royal Aero Club’s Aviator’s Certificate in November 1911. On June 29, 1912, Hart won Australia’s first air race.  He challenged the visiting American flier, “Wizard” Stone, to a 20-mile race for a stake of 250 pounds.  Stone lost his way, landing at Lakemba, but Hart, a much less experienced pilot, finished the flight in 23 minutes and landed as planned in Parramatta Park.
More than 4 decades earlier a Parramatta surveyor – Frederick William Birmingham - had contemplated the meaning of a different “machine to go through the air” - one with striking implications for a modern day mystery that has taken hold - the UFO mystery, the alien abduction experience and now Birmingham’s obsession has potent implications for the early history of aviation in Australia. One wonders what inspired Parramatta dentist William Hart to take up his flying obsession.  Birmingham died in 1892.  Billy Hart was born in Parramatta in 1885.  At a young age he would make objects out of wood and paper and glide them through the air for hours, according to a memoir by Phillip Hart-Johnson.  Billy Hart was his great uncle. He reported that Billy Hart had wanted to be “the Birdman of Parramatta.”  Perhaps Billy Hart had encountered Birmingham in his declining years, his ‘vision” and “obsessions” inspiring the young lad to become himself obsessed with flying.
The old story of Birmingham’s 1868 “UFO vision” continues to haunt.

The new story of the 2009 Port Jervis “car stop” case may even be connected with the breakout New York Times of December 2017 reporting on the secret Pentagon study. The AATIP programme and Robert Bigelow’s BAASS group were focusing on possible disruptive breakthrough technologies that may be involved with UFO or AAV (Advanced Aerial Vehicle) encounters.
The timing of the AATIP’s funded activities and Robert Bigelow’s involvement had me wondering. With MUFON’s James Carrion, Jan Harzan, Chuck Modlin & John Schuessler meeting with Bigelow in 2008, leading to the short lived BAASS/MUFON marriage and AATIP running from 2007 to 2012, at least in terms of funding, I'm wondering if this dynamic at all explains the big disconnect between the public MUFON version of the striking November 2009 Port Jervis close encounter event being a "EM" case and then to have a "hidden" aspect of the case - the possible "solid light" aspect emerge via Chuck Modlin with the Canadian Close Encounters series I was involved with.  I was pushing "solid light cases" with the film group but I was dismayed to have Port Jervis emerge with this aspect, given that up until then it was only viewed as a striking "EM" case.
I learnt that Bigelow was keen to buy the car involved, but I gather the witness did not want to part with it.  I learnt of some of the MUFON data on this case, but it didn't really give any detail on a "solid light" aspect.  Chuck Modlin pushed the “solid light” aspects, previously unknown, in the CE programme coverage of the incident. I was surprised to find myself being used in this episode as up until then I was not aware of the “solid light” aspects of the Port Jervis case.  Neither were my MUFON contacts.  So the question that needs to be asked is whether MUFON publically described a limited account of the case to their membership and to the UFO community, and a more detailed version, incorporating details about “solid light” was communicated to Mr. Bigelow’s organization.

I aired these speculations on my OZ Files blog back on 1 March, which drew a critique from a MUFON board member, but he has since accepted that there does indeed appear to be a “solid light” aspect to the Port Jervis case, particularly after I highlighted that I had contacted Chuck Modlin soon after the Close Encounter segment came to my attention, namely in December 2013.

I had written:
You may have seen the preliminary video without the CGI that had you and Richard Lang talking about the 2009 Port Jervis event.  In that piece I am also included but I am talking generally about "solid light" type cases. 
Robert Powell contacted me as I was included in that incomplete segment.  I told him that I was not speaking with any knowledge of the Port Jervis case.  Indeed up until I saw the preliminary video I saw it mainly as an excellent recent example of an "EM" style "car stop" case and was not aware of any "solid light" dimension to it.
It was not drawn to my attention while I was in Toronto so I assume it came up later.  I had focused through my coverage of a number of cases (1966 Burkes Flat Australia, 1972 Taize France & 1994 Plauen Germany) rather curious "light" aspects and got into "solid light" phenomena in Toronto.
As background, over the last few years, I have been increasing my focus on "solid light" cases worldwide and have received assistance and data from researchers around the world.  Part of my initial motivation was an early 1970s case at Kiama in Australia and a more recent Chinese military case from 1998 which had very striking "solid light" elements.
Here is a link to a piece I did recently which covers some of that background:
I have also included another similar piece (text only - with photos it's a big file) that was published in the new e-magazine "UFO Truth": "Solid light Descending."
Given this background, you will understand why I am interested in the focus of the "Close Encounter" segment on the Port Jervis event.  The Newroad video implies a discrete "solid light" beam coming down (in a telescope fashion?) impacting on the car in the locality where the high magnetic readings were recorded, as well as you referring to the witness saying the beam stopped 6" from the ground - truncation, another characteristic of solid light cases. 
The only reference I came across in the MUFON database was "When he looked at the lights they seemed very bright but they didn’t illuminate the ground; the witness said he can’t explain this aspect as it doesn’t make any sense to him."   
I have now seen part of the CGI "reconstruction" of the case in the Discovery teaser trailer just released.  It seems to have a very low altitude object and a "solid light" beam coming down onto the "windscreen area."  Is this accurate?
I would be extremely grateful if you are able to tell me as much as possible about this element in the case.  
Was the "solid light" aspect evident from the beginning of the investigation or did it come up later?  
Is there any interview - video/tape - in which the witness describes the detail of the "solid light element?"
As the CGI "recreation" has the beam "impacting" with the windscreen and the voiceover (?) referring to the high Trifield meter readings correlating with the "light beam" impact point - I'm assuming the recreation might not be accurate or incomplete or we haven't seen it all yet.  
How did the witness describe the "beam" appearance, progression", duration, apparent contact location(s) with the car? - was it the windscreen, the bonnet and/or elsewhere?
Was there an actual correlation? I gather the high readings were "full scale" readings, nothing quantitative? 
Was any video taken of the Tri-field meter readings of the car in question and the control vehicle?  I have seen some photos?
If any "beam" contact occurred with the windscreen I am wondering if there was any evaluation of optics/spectral changes in terms of transparency etc referenced with the control vehicle.
Many questions I know, but this "solid light" aspect fascinates me and I am looking for a precise account of it with any witness account of it.
I look forward to hearing from you on this most fascinating case.
Chuck Modlin did respond:
“I remember the event quite well; the beam touched the car from the doors forward. This part of the car became magnetized with the windshield and all parts that were illuminated by the beam. There were a number of strange effects noted; the windshield and the hood of the car seemed to have electrostatic field effect best way I can describe it, feeling like a repulsive field. I did tape the witness remembering what happened, he was going to exit the vehicle opening his door he saw the beam stop 6 inches above the ground. The other effect noted was my instruments which contained metal nickel hydride batteries were drained to zero in about 45 seconds, my Nikon D700 auto-winder pack and the primary battery. My other gauss meters rechargeable battery too. The only meter functioning was my Tri Field meter; it had a Duracell 9 volt battery.
“What was of concerned to me when I tested for an electrostatic field with the Tri Field indicated none present, (I attempted to discharge the vehicle NO effect) my instruments meter reading magnetics’ showed full scale deflection. “I then switched my instrument to read RF no movement of the meter it was indicating zero deflection; which indicated my analog meter movements function was working. Since this case I purchased a gauss meter which is an analog instrument similar to a compass measuring gauss, I also purchased a flat transparent screen with metal filings suspended in oil and a cube with oil and metal filings. These are intended to show a picture of the magnetic flux lines. If you saw the compass readings in the report no matter where we put the compass in the magnetic field it pointed North indicating a possible monopole magnetic, South only; Which is not possible with our current technologies. We can produce one in a lab for a few microseconds. 
“Here are some of my thoughts regarding this case. The video showing the part of the case with the beam going in the window is incorrect it actually illuminated the whole front section of the car to the door posts on both drivers and passenger’s doors. This was one of those cases where I wish I had about 3 more EE's and a like number of PHD physics people at my side trying to explain what we were seeing.
“I hope this gives you some insight to this case it had so much going on it was hard to gather all the facts. I asked the witness to go in and have his oil filter and oil changed at my cost he did not. It sure would have been nice to hand the oil filter to a lab and them explain a monopole oil filter. We have had some Orbs next to other cars which magnetized parts of the vehicles, we now ask to do an oil change and filter change our lab has noted strange changes in the oil chemistry. With changes to the particulates in the filter as well.”
Chuck Modlin has reconfirmed the “solid light” aspect more recently with the MUFON board member who had contacted me.  I am hopeful that an updated report will be issued by MUFON on this intriguing case, that will more fully reflect the “solid light” aspects.

The old and the new of UFO research continue to intrigue me in so many different ways.

(Text from my "OZ Files" column in "UFO Truth" magazine issue 31, May-June, 2018)