Sunday, March 10, 2019

A look back at a close encounter in Beaufort, Victoria, Australia, in 1969 - a formative year in my UFO research

UFO Close encounter at Beaufort Victoria in 1969
my artist impression drawn in 1971
of Tim Oliver's 1969 sighting 
1969, mid July (either Friday 11 or 18July) UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) report Close Encounter Beaufort, Victoria 
Report by Bill Chalker, UFOIC 
Bill Chalker was originally alerted to this incident via Greg Hardy, who had been a high school student with Bill at Grafton.  Both then went to the University of New England at Armidale, Greg doing Economics and Bill doing Science.  1971 was the first year of their university studies.  The primary witness to the encounter Tim Oliver (name originally (1971) not for publication, but Bill Chalker confirmed in 9/3/19 phone call that Tim was ok with his name being associated with the report in any publication) wrote a 15-page letter to Bill Chalker in the wake of his “UFOs and the solid Light Enigma” article appearing in the UFO special issue of New Dawn magazine (January/February, 2019). Bill spoke with the witness again (9/3/19) after relocating original source material on his investigations back in 1971 (48 years ago). Bill Chalker also spoke with Tim’s 92-year old mother who witnessed the event.  She confirmed Tim’s account provided initially to Bill back in 1971 and reconfirmed in 2019. 
(extracted from letter by Bill Chalker to Bill Moser UFOIC secretary dated 31/8/71.  Fortunately I had retained a carbon copy of my letter. I have not been able to locate the “full report” I referred to in the letter) 
“A 1styear Economics student (very studious and consistently trains) (Tim Oliver) told me that around 8.30, on a Friday night in middle July, 1969 (either 11thor 18th) he was training near a golf course, on the outskirts of Beaufort, Victoria, when he saw a red “star” over a hill about a mile away. On closer inspection it proved to be a hovering saucer. He quickly returned home, and by the time he returned with his mother in the family car, the saucer had been joined by another, the same in all respects. They were travelling slowly about 50 feet in the air, about 200 feet apart and approx. parallel to 3-tierred high powered tension lines (66,000 volts), at about 20 mph (miles per hour), heading eastwards, roughly in the direction of Ballarat (about 40 miles away).  As they drove the car up to the outside of the golf course, both UFOs appeared to respond to their presence by turning towards them, but they resumed their parallel course, once the car engine was turned off (i.e. EM effects – (2019 comment: well maybe.  Tim confirmed they had turned the car on and off at least twice getting this response each time.  He and his mother were becoming concerned, so they did not persist)). Tim got to within 50 feet of the object leading.  Each were about 30 feet in diameter, saucer-shaped, with an upper flat topped cupola, bearing about 24 square windows from which came the bright red lights.  They did not spin and they made absolutely no noise, and both he and his mother (who had watched from the golf course fence) watched as the UFOs disappeared in the direction of Ballarat, still flying parallel to the power lines.  This incident could be interpreted in the same way John G. Fuller considers in the famous Exeter sightings revealed in his book, “Incident at Exeter.”  By the way the witness requested that his name be withheld, and that of a friend, who had seen 2 or 3 UFOs, 3 weeks after his own sighting, just north of the Beaufort township.  I have made a full report on this sighting and I honestly believe that he and his mother had in fact seen 2 real metallic UFOs.” 
In his letter of 1/2/19 Tim Oliver describes his sighting from nearly 50 years before:
(he refers to August, 1969, but his mid July 1969 dating he supplied to me in 1971 would be more reliable):
“I’d like to present an “11thcase” of my own(he was referring to my top 10 list that was carried in an interview of me by Robbie Graham that was published in the early 2019 New Dawn Special Issue) on/in August 1969, while living in Victoria near Ballarat.
“Background- I was always into exercise & fitness & have run 4 miles/day most days since 1968. Ran in City-to-Surf, won lap of lake @ Ballarat, won cross-country’s @ University of New England, ran a 4-minute mile etc. (Armidale, 1974) was a student @ UNE(University of New England) in Economics & Accounting 1971-73.
“8.00 p.m. @ night. No sound from these craft & “red” port holes. They came closer & closer & revealed a “classic” grey saucer shape like 2 dinner plates, one inverted on the other to make a dome on the top with a shallow dish on the bottom.
“Both were tree height & moved intelligently, independent of each each other, just drifting along @ about 50 feet height (no sound), no props, no jets.
“I was 16 @ time, 1969, & studying Leaving Certificate (Form 5) Physics & Chemistry & heard of flying saucers but that’s all.
“Ran home, got my mother & we drove down to the Golf Club.
“The 2 Space ships were still “drifting” along following the 66,000 volt power lines towards Ballarat.
“The car generator? (In those days), no alternator & lights seemed to attract them, as they “responded” to the starting and stopping the motor, coming towards us each time we started engine.  We had an old 1958 Morris Marshal with no electronics, as it didn’t cut our lights or engine, as you hear in some cases.
“I stood right under both as they drifted east.  There was no wind – a cold clear night typical of Ballarat weather in Winter.
“Red Port holes” & Saucers the size of an airliner.  Many trees were in the golf course of 200 acres & whole the space craft dodged these in complete darkness at such low height was a miracle, especially with no apparent drive/noise system.
“After much time they accelerated east @ an “unbelievable” speed, far beyond helicopters or aircraft of that time.
“Sorry for poor writing as I’ve written this “off the cuff” in about 20 minutes after all theseyears past!  My mother Joan is 92 & still alive as a witness.  She could verify thison(phone number supplied – and indeed she does – see below).
“It was a “miracle” of my life @ 16 years, never seeing anything like it again.
“Many people see strange lights etc but this was the close up real thing, like seeing planes land @ an airport, only I was even closer. These craft were intelligently controlled!!
“The Golf course was basically a dairy farm for cows.  You should have seen the “bloodshot fear in their eyes & the “mooing,” their upset.  Even though the spaceships came over with no sound, the cows “knew” this wasn’t any normal aircraft.  They are basically placid creatures, as Dad had cows.  They were scared by the abnormal crafts!!” 
I contact Tim’s mother Joan, speaking with her on 10/3/19. She confirmed Tim’s account and went on to describe her take on the events. Tim had gone riding to check if anything was wrong with it. He had witnessed this strange light and had returned to get her to witness it as well.  They had stopped in the middle of the street to watch the strange lights.  They were in their car and the 2 lights approached them. His mother was scared and had wanted to run into nearby houses to get more witnesses. They flew away over pine plantations towards Ballarat. She told Tim that they should tell Bill, his father, but Tim not to as he’ll think you are mad. Indeed, that’s what Bill said when Joan told him. 
Joan told me they were round, apparently spinning and a greyish colour.  They had portholes and looked like what you see in classic flying saucer photos. They appeared bigger than cars.  
“it really did happen … I was scared.  I was there. It did happen,” Joan told me. 
Their sighting occurred in mid July 1969.  
Only a month later I had an intriguing experience.  I would not learn of the Beaufort sighting until 1971.  
My own experience at Grafton on 30 August 1969:
Mid afternoon on found me relaxing on a surfboard in the middle of the Clarence River.  My reverie was interrupted when I noticed streams of fine white filament coming down over the river.    I was immediately fascinated as this was a great opportunity to directly sample what I took to be a good example of a fascinating natural phenomenon.  I took the streams to be the floating web of migratory balloon spiders.  I also knew that in UFO lore exotic material of a similar appearance was occasionally linked to UFOs - namely "angel hair" - thought by some researchers to be a by product of whatever strange processes powered flying saucers.  So that afternoon I paddled over to the riverbank where large amounts of this "spider web" were coming down.   I thought that getting a good look at this stuff and keeping samples would be a handy resource or a calibration for the unlikely prospect of coming across alleged UFO related "angel hair" - an exotic item of UFO physical evidence.   
What I was not prepared for was the improbable.   There in my hands was material that did not quite fit into the migratory spider web category.  There were no tell-tale baby spiders.  As the baby spiders can quickly detach themselves from the web, the absence of spiders did not in itself intrigue me.  What followed did.   I began rolling up a copious amount of the material in my hands.  The filaments diminished in size (not too unusual given the viscous changes that can occur in those conditions, particularly with the possible addition of water from my hands), and then the material eventually dissipated into nothing visible and leaving no trace.  It gave the impression of rapid sublimation from solid to gas, but no vapours or odour was noticed.  The properties of spider’s web are well known, and apparently disappearing to touch is not one of them!   
With the realisation that that I may be dealing with something exotic I raced to a nearby friend’s residence to get some sample jars.  The fall of filaments had been quite profuse and much of it had come down along the riverbank.   When I returned a few minutes later there was none in evidence.  While only a very light breeze was apparent, the topography was such that spiders web should have been still in great profusion.  I even entered the water and investigated the riverbank for a considerable distance in the direction of apparent travel.   There was no trace of the filament fall.  The material did not seem to be spider’s web.   So called "angel hair" had the reported characteristic of quickly disappearing.   Was this the apocryphal "angel hair" - the "manna" of the saucers!  
I subsequently found out that at the same time, a number of Grafton people, including my own parents, had seen a possible UFO, described by some as an elongated white mass", traveling in a trajectory that would have passed over my river position but in a direction at right angles to the aerial flow of material I had witnessed.   Perhaps the "UFO" may have been a more compacted mass of the filaments I had seen traveling in a different direction?   I have since wondered if the “UFO” was even connected with what I saw at low height above the riverbank.  I did some checking and found that there may have been a HIBAL Ashcan high altitude balloon launched the day before from Wilcannia.  It may have also been seen at Kyogle, as reports were also made on the same day or the following day.  This may suggest that the “elongated white mass” could be explainable.  What I handled – the web like material that appeared to sublimate, cannot be as easily explained.  While tantalising the experience with this strange material was ultimately frustrating.  I had it right there in my own hands.
Earlier in 1969 the north coast of New South Wales (NSW) was the scene of widespread UFO reports and physical trace finds - "UFO nests". One of them was my primary entry point into the physical dimensions of the UFO phenomenon. 
I joined the curious throng that descended upon the strange crop damage site at Bungawalban, on the property of local parliamentarian Ian Robinson. The story became a nationwide media sensation. I would later learn of striking UFO encounters in the region such as at Harwood Island that seemed to involve levitation of the witness caught in the beam of light from a disc shaped craft.
  my sketch of the Harwood Island encounter

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