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.

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