Friday, August 26, 2022

The Great USO Show of OZ

“The Australian Government still refuses to acknowledge the Unidentified Aerospace-undersea Phenomenon at the precise moment the U.S. Government announced the ARRO / UAP-JPO.”

“As we now know, the period between June 21 and July 20, 2022, was quite historic for the global scientific acceptance of the Unidentified Aerospace-undersea Phenomena. The fact that “undersea” was added as a hyphenated word to maintain the new acronym was extraordinary …”

These 2 quotes come from Geoff Cruickshank’s excellent report on the 2022 ADSTAR Summit I attended (in part in person) with his kind support, “The Elephant in the room: How the UAP subject was (almost) completely ignored at the 2022 ADSTAR Summit on innovation and collaboration within the FIVE EYES nations”, which I adapted and added personal commentary in a 28 July 2022 post on my site “The OZ Files”

These developments may lead the way to major developments in our understanding of the UFO/UAP/USO mysteries. 


The USO term is variously attributed as “submarine”, “submersible”, “submerged” and “under-sea”. 


January 23rd, 1964, according to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) summaries of “Unidentified Aerial Sightings” (later morphing to “Unusual Aerial Sightings” - UAS), was the date of the first official “unknown”reportin their Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) files. For a list of “aerial sightings” it was unusual, for it was reported as located in water. The summary describes the report as follows: 

“Seen at sea by crew of a vessel NE Point of Groote Eylandt, WA. Large lights in water, made compass go ‘Haywire’. Shadow in centre of lights rotated clockwise, causing lights to pulsate.” 

Biologist, Ivan T. Sanderson, lists it in his book 1970 “Invisible Residents - A Disquisition upon Certain Matters Maritime, and the Possibility of Intelligent Life under the Waters of This Earth” in a listing of submarine “lightwheels”. Sanderson sourced his brief listing from a newspaper article. 

The Air Force Intelligence files hold a report of the unusual sighting made by the crew of the landing craft Loellen M. The incident was located between Cape Grey and the north east point of Groote Eylandt, a large island on the western side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory. The official summary incorrectly lists the incident as occurring in ‘WA” (Western Australia).The report mentions that the vessel encountered a number of submarine “light patches”

“C. W__ turned on the compass light and found the vessel approx 60° off course. The compass went ‘Haywire’. 

As soon as he had corrected the vessel as best he could, he switched off the compass 

light and found the un-natural light was about 6ft. on the Starboard side. The light was in the water. It was described as a ghostly white light, in the centre was a shadow which rotated in a clockwise direction causing the light to pulsate. The light appeared to draw away to the stern. It is estimated that it was miles across and a few hundred yards through... 

“The light on the water passed about 100 yds to port. As the barge began to return to course, another light was seen coming at the barge at an angle of about 45° which [sic? - with?] the Bow. It came to within inches of the starboard side and appeared to rebound at 45° with the stern and moved away. It disappeared in a few seconds.... 

“All lights were the same colour, with this strange rotating shadow, causing the lights to pulsate. The pulsations timed at 12 for 9 seconds, then completely irregular, then settled down to 12 for 9 seconds. 

“The compass swung out of control, but became worse as the light approached... 

This is a fascinating report but its origins may lie in some form of extraordinary bioluminescence. However, things are far from certain.  In an excellent review of “vast luminous wheels” of light in the seas of the world, Martin Shough and Wim van Utrecht in “Redemption of the Damned – Vol.2: Sea & Space Phenomena – A Centennial Re-evaluation of Charles Fort’s ‘Book of the Damned’” concluded, “All quite bizarre, and frustrating.  We have many apparently reliable eyewitness accounts, most of them clearly relating to the same phenomenon.  Yet after more than a century there is still no satisfying explanation. We are reminded of the will-o-the-wisps, so prominent in the records of pre-20thcentury naturalists.  They, too, departed from us, and took their secret with them into history.”  


In 1965 a strange letter appeared in the Australian Post magazine. A lady holidaying in Sydney described an extraordinary event.  From 5.30 to 6 pm she had been watching a strange pink cloud. At 7 pm she looked again and was amazed to see it moving towards the base of the cliff on which the house was.  As the cloud came forward she saw a snow white “flying saucer.”  The cloud was apparently formed from “steam” coming from vents in the outer edge of the object.  It emitted a noise like a well cared for engine.  As she watched, a shiny ladder was lowered from a hatchway, and a man came down and sat on a rung of the ladder.  He shone a strange beam of light into the sea.

Shortly after this a brilliant pink flare went up further out to sea, and the ladder with the man attached to it was retracted and the machine sped off in the direction of this flare.  In the moonlight the woman could see a long shape in the water, and when the machine reached this they both disappeared in a vivid pink flash.

The mention of a strange beam of light deployed by a man on the outside of a “flying saucer” brings to mind the following striking account from the Fijian islands during October of 1957. It was reported in the New Zealand Herald on 21 October 1957.   According to a report by the secretary of the Duanhas province the incident took place at 3 pm.  The witnesses, 4 Fijians, who lived in “a fairly isolated area, without access to comic books or other literature on flying saucers”, all agreed on the details of the experience. Their statement was obtained through R.O. Aveling, an official of a local Adventist Church, who had also seen an unusual light in the sky the night of the locals sighting. 

The four Fijians, two middle aged couples, reported seeing an object come down from the sky near the island of Mawaca, 8 miles from Naboulalu, southwest of Vanua Levu, while travelling in a punt with an outboard motor.  They first thought the object was an airplane in trouble and decided to go near it.

“As the Fijians came closer they found it hovering about 20 feet above the sea. It appeared to be revolving and they said they picked out what looked like the figure of a man standing on the outside of the object. This figure shone a very bright light on the boat, a light so powerful that they were dazzled and felt weak. When the boat was about 5 chains (100 yards) from the rotating object, the figure disappeared and the object then rose in a rapid vertical movement and was soon outof sight.”


The lady holidaying in Sydney back around 1965 did not specify which beach she was staying at. The following account from a senior Commonwealth officer (26 at the time) – describes a Sydney beachside sighting apparently witnessed by about 50 people at Long Reef on the evening of Thursday 24thMay 1973. The case was investigated by my old friend David Buching.


“At about 10 minutes past seven … I was proceeding towards Dee Why and as I did the cars that were on the road in front of me headed to the side of the road and on to the big bank going through to Long Reef just as you come down over the top.  I thought there must be a ship on fire out to sea because there were people standing on the side of the road looking in that general direction.  So I continued down until I found a break in the road and did a U turn and as I turned I looked up into the sky and when I looked into the sky there was an object there that looked like an Arnott’s Arrowroot biscuit that was illuminated around the edges. It was quite a large size. It was oval not round.  I was looking out of the windscreen and it went over the roof of the car and I couldn’t see any more.  So I pulled in as quickly as I could, dived out of the car to see it going further over towards French’s Forest way.  It wasn’t going straight, it was going at a slight angle, sort of a half curved …

Google Earth location image
Witness sketch of the Long Reef "thing" & David Buching's 1973 photo of the site of the incident - with Dee Why Lagoon (centre) and Long Reef peninsula (to the left)

“Then I got out of the car and was standing on the footpath.  There was a woman standing there and I said, ‘My God I’ve never seen anything like that, what was it?’”

What the woman said to him put a very strange spin on the event that evening.

“She said, ‘I don’t know what it was.  There have been a few strange things here lately.  There’s been a submarine parked just off Long Reef for about 2 days and it never seemed to move.’ And she said, ‘Tonight when I was preparing dinner, out in the ocean it looked as though the water was boiling. I called my husband across to it and he said that he thought it was this submarine manoeuvring in underneath the thing. The next thing I knew was tonight when I went out on the front porch I saw this thing coming and it looked as though it came out of the ocean.  So I ran down to the bottom of the drive and here I am.’ That was literally her story of what she had seen.”

“She said to me that was unusual for there to be a submarine. It never moved so she said… The entrance to the (Dee Why) lagoon. It was directly out from that. She said it just went away.  There was another too.  About three minutes or so, while I was talking to her there was a plane that came over right behind this thing.  So I feel that the pilot of the plane might even have seen it and the plane was unusually lit in itself because it seemed to have an extra wide wingspan, but it still had the green and the red light.  And that was only a few minutes behind the thing. 

“… it was definitely a bigger type plane and it was low and it was about the same height as the thing that went in front of it.

“(The thing) was oval and it looked as though it had three more oval items underneath it like oval eggs underneath this one big egg … It looked to be in the shape of a bell … but none of the top was illuminated.  It was just sort of round this very edge…. Well round the edge it was just like a fluorescent.”  

What was going on here? UFO or IFO? The data does not allow us certainty.

Back in 2006 I worked with the History Channel in the preparation of a programme on Unidentified Submarine Objects (USOs). I described a number of Australian examples, such as the January 1962 encounter between the HMAS Voyager and a large and deep USO that was tracked by sonar doing some 100 knots. The local camera man told me of his own experience while working for BBC TV on a programme on RAF Leuchars base in Scotland back in 1972. 

2006 - USOs, the camera man, me & the Sydney Opera House

There he saw a map with multiple recorded UFO sightings in the area. He was told by one of the fighter pilots that encounters with UFOs were common. In an informal moment a RAF pilot showed the camera man a photo of a UFO with what appeared to be an entity shape in what seemed to be a dome cupola. The pilot claimed he had taken the photo from his jet cockpit as the UFO flew along side his aircraft. This experience appears to have occurred back in the 1960s, which puts it in the same era as a USO incident that alleged to have taken place off the Scotland coast. In that case a USO was allegedly "flushed" off the sea bottom and rose at speed out of the ocean in sight of the crew of a number of RN ships. That story emerged in a UFOIC investigation I did with Robb Tilley and Dominic Kelly back in 1992 into a striking Nowra NSW area close encounter which featured RAN interest, alleged radar interference, and a possible attempt to retrieve a UFO/USO! I also described it in my 1996 book “The OZ Files – the Australian UFO Story.”


Elizabeth C. and her family regularly took their Christmas holidays on the South Coast of NSW.  One evening, Elizabeth stated she was driving an old Valiant car carrying 4 other people (her ill husband - who was asleep and under medication, and had no involvement in the incident; her two daughters, Jennifer (ca. 17) and Robyn (ca. 11 - 12); and Jennifer's boyfriend, Trevor G. (ca. 23, an off duty army officer) and a dog, on the Princes Highway, heading north.   The group was returning from an outing at Darris South, to their holiday spot at Shoalhaven Heads.

The date of the incident was originally estimated as the Christmas period of either 1972 or 1973.  Further information has confirmed the likely date as around early January, 1973.  The approximate time of the incident was 3.30 am. The duration of the event was approximately 15 minutes or more - the time it takes to drive at moderate speed along the Princes Highway, from the turn off to Sussex Inlet to just before the turnoff road to the Royal Australian Naval base, HMAS Albatross (Air Naval Station, Nowra) - a distance of approximately 24 kms.  This estimate is most likely understated as collectively the witnesses refer to durations between 15 to 30 minutes.

The encounter appears to have begun just as the group passed the turnoff to Sussex Inlet.  The seating arrangement in the car was as follows: Mrs. Elizabeth C. (r.h.s front - driver seat), Mr. C. (asleep in the l.h.s front), Mr. Trevor G. (l.h.s rear seat), Jennifer C. (middle rear), and Robyn C. (r.h.s rear).   The dog was on the floor in the rear.  Jennifer C. indicated that she remembers changing seats at various times with Trevor G.  Trevor was fairly certain that he had been located at the l.h.s rear window.

Mrs. C. drew the attention of the others to the presence of a light ahead.  To Elizabeth it appeared to look like the light from an approaching semi-trailer. Then it seemed to move to her left (the western side of the road) and approached the car, like an aircraft passing by.  It was as the object approached them on their left that the events took on an extraordinary turn.   The object, until then, largely perceived as a bright light source, appeared to reverse direction and take up a parallel flying position in the groups travelling direction.   This represented a 180ochange in direction for the UFO.  At this point the object appeared to be very large, at very low level (virtually at ground level) and quite close, off the road to their left. It maintained a parallel course with them for approximately the next 24 kms.

Mrs. C. described the object as large, with red lights under what looked appeared to be portholes.  The red lights looked like a thin ribbon of light.  Mrs. C. said the night was very dark.   At that point the UFO was apparent as a large disc-shaped object with possible “window” features along its length.  There appeared to be a distinct “searchlight” like beam effect that rotated around the bottom of the object.   At least one of the witnesses, Trevor, the army officer, who was in the best position to see the extraordinary display, was certain that there were figures that could be seen in the windows of the object.

At a point near the turnoff to HMAS Albatross Naval base, the object seemed to suddenly vanish.  It appeared to have instantly relocated to a high altitude and moved in a large arc around Nowra and then headed out to sea, where it was lost to sight.

Later that morning one of the group investigated a disturbance at their campsite at Shoalhaven Heads.  She joined a large number of holidaying campers at the ocean edge. The disturbance was apparently due to a number of helicopters passing low over the campsite, heading out to sea. The member of the group observed the helicopters over a fiery mass in the water.  It was alleged that this object was UFO related and that the helicopters were involved in an attempted retrieval!

Because of their earlier experience and the campsite events, 3 members of the group - Mrs. C., her daughter, Jennifer, and Trevor - went to HMAS Albatross to report their experience.  Instead of a light hearted or unwelcome reception the group were the subject of an apparent high level and detailed interview.  They were told they seemed to be the closest people to the UFO, which seemed to have had numerous witnesses.  The army officer was certain he was told that the base radar had been affected by the UFO during the incident. The Scottish USO incident came up in discussions.  Trevor also indicated that after he had returned to his army unit he was interviewed about the south coast experience by intelligence officers.

In company with Dominic Kelly and Robb Tilley, I interviewed Mrs. C. in detail at her residence during August, 1992.  We found her to be an impressive and compelling witness.  We were left in no doubt that she was describing what appeared to be an extraordinary experience to the best of her abilities.  I was subsequently able to interview Trevor G. and Jennifer C. and I was impressed with their testimony.  There seems little doubt that something extraordinary happened but to date official confirmation has alluded us.  Unfortunately, nothing substantial was confirmed in official enquiries.  


RAF Leuchars base in Scotland was close to the location of the alleged UFO incident (or secret man-made object) ostensibly recorded in the 1990 Calvin photos currently in the spotlight.


Ivan T. Anderson trawled this era in some detail in his 1970 book “Invisible Residents – A Disquisition upon Certain Matters Maritime, and the Possibility of Intelligent Life under the waters of This Earth.” It became the focus of Carl Feindt’s UFO research, first through his website and his subsequent book “UFOs and Water.” Paul Stonehill and Philip Mantle also published “Russia’s USO Secrets” in 2016.  Jan Aldrich of Project 1947 has produced a catalogue of UFOs/USOs reported by seagoing services.


The USO enigma is an enduring and potent part of the UFO/UAP phenomenon.