Sunday, November 05, 2023

CUFOS and the Australian connection

Celebrating their 50th anniversary of outstanding UFO research, investigation and commentary on the UFO controversy, the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) have updated the CUFOS website 

I recommend the CUFOS site to new players trying to get a focus on the UFO subject while tackling its current iteration of UAP (with its militarised and scientifically "safe" subsets) - unidentified aerial phenomena, but also to jaded long time players, as it provides some striking data, reference material and commentary on UFOs/UAP worthy of your attention.  In the interests of transparency I am listed as a friend of CUFOS and was a contributing editor of its publication IUR - the International UFO Reporter - from 1984 to 2012. Being able to access all the IUR issues and other CUFOS publications offers a great resource.

Here are some of my IUR contributions (each hyperlink takes you to the relevant issue):

“An Extraordinary UFO incident off Chile”

(A letter critical of my Chile article, pgs. 17-18)

(my follow-up letter re the Chilean case critique, pg. 20)

Further details on this particular case are included in Timothy Good's 2006 book "Need to Know - UFOs, the military and intelligence", pgs. 282-284.

“Northwest Cape Incident”

“The Australian connection” (my tribute to Allen Hynek, pg. 17)

“An Extraordinary Encounter in the Dandenong Foothills” (The Kelly Cahill case)

This should be followed up with my OZ Files "revisited" article

“Vladimir Godic (1926-1995): A tribute”

“The Australian Government and UFOs”

Also read my chapter in the book "UFOs and Government" (2012) available via Amazon.

“Tully Saucer Nests of 1966 – Part One”

“Tully Saucer Nests of 1966 – Part Two”

See my 2017 article "The 1966 TullyFlying Saucer Nest Revisted"

“Strange Evidence” (The Peter Khoury “alien hair” case)

My "alien DNA paradigm" site includes numerous updates and other material relevant to the case.  My 2005 book on the case "Hair of the Alien" is available via Amazon.

“Taken Down Under: The Australian Abduction Experience”

“Taken Down Under (Part 2): The Australian Abduction Experience”

“Aliens, Hair, and DNA” See also my article "Peter Khoury and "Hair of the Alien" 25th anniversary"

Allen Hynek, who had acted as astronomy consultant to the United States Air Force UFO study since 1948, came to Australia during 1973, to lecture on astronomy and UFOs and to promote his ground breaking book, "The UFO Experience - A Scientific Inquiry", published in the US in 1972. His visit was a watershed for both Australia and himself.  Dr. Hynek was in the best position to determine the scientific merits of the UFO phenomenon.  He had consulted for more than 20 years with the US Air Force and had moved from a sceptic to a scientist who was willing to actively promote the validity of the phenomenon.  He championed the need for serious research.  His 1972 book was his case for the scientific merit of the UFO phenomenon. It caused a lot of scientists to rethink their position on the subject.  By 1973, Dr. Hynek lacked an appropriate vehicle for his ongoing research. For years he had quietly encouraged and actively participated in his UFO "invisible college". 

(DAFI file record of discussion August 1973)

Via my good friend David Buching I had Allen Hynek on the phone to me about what had been playing out around Tryingham.  He had wanted to come to witness what was happening. As much as would have liked him to come I had to tell him that by then (August) the flap had largely died down and I reluctantly told him it probably wasn’t worth coming up to remote Tyringham. He returned to the US and was soon enveloped in the massive 1973 US UFO wave. Hynek would bring his UFO "invisible college" into the open and formed the Centre for UFO Studies (CUFOS) later in 1973.  

When I came to live in Sydney in 1975 I was asked to join the committee of the UFO Investigation Centre by its co-ordinator David Buching. Given my experience in “physical trace cases” and my university background in chemistry David passed onto me a publication that had recently come into their hands. It was the 1975 Center for UFO Studies publication compiled by Ted Phillips – “Physical Traces associated with UFO Sightings.”  It listed 561 cases.  Its Australian listings were limited and I set about focusing on cases of this type in Australia.  In 1979 I presented a study of 237 accounts of Australian “physical traces.”  I included that study and expanded on it for a world wide review of such data, which was published in a 15 paged chapter – “Physical Traces” – in the 1987 book “UFOs 1947 – 1987 The 40-year search for an explanation” compiled and edited by Hilary Evidence with John Spencer. 

With the publication of Mark O'Connell's 2017 biography "The Close Encounters Man" my review of it allowed me to expand my 1986 tribute to Allen Hynek.

Dr. Mark Rodeghier carried on Allen Hynek's CUFOS vision. His recent lecture at the Chicago Public Library provides an excellent overview of Allen Hynek and CUFOS. It was great to see him mention the Australian car interference case which was investigated through the UFOIC group via my friend David Reneke, who at the time was a car service manager. He found it a puzzling case that resisted easy explanation. From Mark's 1981 CUFOS publication "UFO Reports involving vehicle interference - a catalogue and data analysis" (which can be accessed in full on the CUFOS site): 17 September 1976 at 0330: "AUSTRALIA, Wingen, NeSouth WalesWhile enroute to broken-down truck, mechaninoticed his engine begin to lose poweand the headlightgo out. After he stoppeby thside of the road (bwhich time the engine had stopped completely), he got out tsee what was wrong. First hnoticed that thspeedometer was jumping from 0-40 kph even though the car waturned off. Hiflashlight wouldn'woreither, anthe magnet oitsidwouldn'hold thflashlight tthmetal. 

Hthesaw light approachinfrohis left. After two minutes, it appeared as verbright object moving istraighline. Ipasseonly 12 feet over thcar and moved intthdistancegiving off an intensblue glowThe enginthen ''turned over" a few times, but didn't completely start, evethougthignition keys were not in. Thheadlights anradio came back on anhe restartethcar. He had troublwith the calater and finally solit. His watch haalso stoppedurinthe sighting."

I have personally enjoyed revisiting the legacy of Allen Hynek and CUFOS.

Friday, November 03, 2023

On the steps of a "magnificent obsession" - UFOs, UAP and the Mitchell Library

Here on the steps of a wonderful "magnificent obsession" is this group of people, many of whom have their own "magnificent obsession" with the UFO (UAP) subject.  The steps are the north western steps of the  Mitchell Library in Sydney, located just to the right of the red arrow ("Mitchell Building entrance") on the State Library of NSW map. The date: Saturday 28 October 2023. In 2007 Brian Fletcher provide an excellent account of the story of the Mitchell Library, which was entitled "Magnificent Obsession."

The group assembled on the Mitchell steps, had been there with a full house for the booked out Close Encounters Australia sponsored lecture event with Ross Coulthart, author of "In Plain Sight - An Investigation into UFOs and impossible science", now in a revised and updated edition (2 new chapters - "Lock your doors!" and "The Biggest Story Ever ...").
Irene of Close Encounters Australia, and "the blue shirts" of her very helpful support team, were arranging to take us all to dinner.  Moira McGhee (with the pink shawl) had her collection of books (including "The Gosford Files" and her latest "UFOs & Aliens - The Good Old Days") gifted to Ross after his presentation - the results of her own "magnificent obsession." 
James Rigney brought his, along with insightful takes on the mystery, not the least his part in making the Wilson Davis document available.  Given his architectural background he was wishing he spent more time exploring the building.  Next time.  Grant Lavac brought his FOI obsession, a very productive exercise for all us researchers. The guy with the shades, Roger Stankovic, brings MUFON Australia, his medical mind and his "Kiama sirens" (he knows what I mean). Thats me in the red shirt.  I too bring my own "magnificent obsession" to those steps and that great place - the Mitchell State Library.
Of course there was Ross Coulthart, head above the gathering.  
Ross gave a good presentation, supporting the need to rely on data and evidence.  While he stated he respects and advocates scientific enquiry, Ross stressed he was an investigative journalist, and highlighted the significant difference in approach between science and journalism. He indicated, to science, witness evidence equalled no evidence (I wouldn't quite go that far). But, like the legal system (for which Ross has experience), for journalism consistent witness testimony is evidence, corroboration in a range of witness testimony is evidence.  
Science is after replication, which is not always easy to deliver.  While I have long argued that science needs to better engage with the UFO phenomenon, with so much credible evidence going untested or investigated by science, good things seem to be gathering apace.
I think eye witness testimony is important, but it certainly helps if there is compelling physical evidence to support a case. 
Ross Coulthart's lecture brought a lone protester to these same steps of the Mitchell, in the form of long time Australian Skeptic Ian Bryce.  Predictable message, but he was made welcome to the Q&A, asked his question and even lined up from an autographed copy of "In Plain Sight".  Here's hoping he will read it carefully. He and I had played the game on uncritical TV spots along with some of his skeptical comrades over the years.

My photo of Ian & his protest; James R.'s photo of Ross & Ian
Ian's presence made me reflect on my past interactions with Australian Skeptics.
Here are some of my "Skeptic" moments (according to the Australian Skeptic):
See my recent article "The Ultimate Secret and the Australian Experience" for my account of the "Alien Honeycomb" affair.

At the 1991 UFO conference then Australian Skeptic president Barry Williams came to my rescue, in a way, when a UFO conspiracy believer was accusing me of being CIA, MJ12 or something.  Barry "helpfully" said from the audience, (me paraphrasing) "Yes I know Bill, he is CIA, "Catering Institute of Australia" - Bill's a food chemist/scientist," blowing the paranoid wind out of my strange inquisitor's bizarre tilt from the conspiratorial windmill sails of his mind.
Things were not quite so jovial with my 1994 encounter with Barry Williams (not that you would guess that from Barry's own account of his Science Week lecture "I was abducted by Aliens") at the Sydney Powerhouse - "An Innocent Among the UFOnaunts".  During an error laden lecture heavy on ridicule and factual fantasies, he seemed alarmed when Peter Khoury, an abductee, who I would write about in my book "Hair of the Alien" (2005) forcefully called him out.  Bizarrely security was un-necessarily called, and after the event, when we "fell into conversation", I thought he had been over agitated by the "heat of the UFO kitchen".  I suggested his group had the wrong name. I suggested "Australian Debunkers" rather than "Australian Skeptics", because skeptics actually investigate and research carefully, something, in my opinion, was not evident in his Science Week lecture. 
(Barry Williams, 1994)

Ian Bryce's skeptical lone protest on the steps of the Mitchell seemed a pretty comical response, but he was treated well by the event organisers.
This most recent excellent UFO event at the Mitchell reminded me of past visits to the Mitchell and NSW State Library. Back in 1996 1954 Sea Fury pilot/UFO witness joined me and supported my book launch of "The OZ Files" on "a dark and stormy night" at the Metcalf Auditorium at the Mitchell/State Library - one of the worse storms to hit Sydney for a while - a wild launch indeed. While spending long hours in the Mitchell reading old newspapers and micro film searching for historical UFO/UAP reports, I met a fellow Fortean researcher Paul Cropper and we became friends from that point on.  I did a lot of research into the 1868 Parramatta "UFO vision" of Frederick William Birmingham after confirming at the Mitchell he was a real resident of historical Parramatta and they had some of his survey maps. There were many other UFO related threads and plus the hard copy availability of material on my first Australian ancestor William Chalker led me to the Mitchell/State Library. 
Many magnificent obsessions have been nourished at the Mitchell/State Library.