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Thursday 15 September 2011

My UFO Sightings

     In 1973, two eleven-year-old Californian boys went to a vacant allotment in the evening to play, when they came across a dark object the size of their living room planted in the open field, and resting about 18 inches off the ground. (Later, three holes were discovered where its supports had presumably stood.) After about five minutes, the bolder of the boys tapped it a few times with his torch. Suddenly, the top of the object lit up with a brilliant red light, the object rose three or four feet in the air, a row of green lights started flashing around the periphery, and the object began to rotate with a whooshing sound. As the object disappeared into the sky, the boys ran for their lives. (Coral and Jim Lorenzen, Encounters with UFO Occupants [1976], Berkeley Medallion, pp 31-32)
    Five years earlier, an Englishman was driving his truck at about 2.30 in the morning, when he saw an object like a green egg 15 feet across moving above the tree line. As it approached, his headlights and radio failed, and he watched as the object paused, and out of the bottom came a tube like a vacuum cleaner hose, at the end of which was a box from which issued four smaller hoses.  At that point, a Jaguar arrived from the opposite direction, its lights and engine failing in the presence of the UFO. As both of them watched, transfixed, the vacuum hose moved from one side of the road to the other, sucking up gravel, grass, and dead leaves while the main object gave a high-pitched whine. Then the hose was withdrawn into the UFO, which shot up into the air. (ibid. pp 16-17).
     Nothing as exciting as that has ever happened to me. I feel left out! Nevertheless, I have witnessed unidentified flying objects on three separate occasions. I won't call them flying saucers, let alone extraterrestrial space craft. However, they were never identified, they were definitely flying, and were presumably objects. And, because I am an inveterate diarist, I do not need to refer to my memory, because a full description was written up within a few minutes of each event.

Brisbane, Australia, 1968. It was Saturday evening, 7th December. I don't know why I was outside after dark, but it must have been about 7.45 pm, when I looked up and saw what appeared to be a paint smear on the sky. At first I thought it was a comet, and I called out to my parents and younger brother to see it. But this explanation soon proved false. The contrail - for such it almost certainly was - climbed higher and higher in the sky, moving west to east, until it extended across a third of the sky. By then my watch showed 7.55. At the vague front of the contrail was a point of light no brighter than the average star. Moving with it, but some distance behind, and to the side of the contrail, was another "star", without any contrail. My brother, Warren thought that he saw a third "star" near the front one.
     At first we supposed it might have been the Europa rocket fired from Woomera, but shortly afterwards a news bulletin reported that neither the defence forces nor civil aviation knew anything about it. (This was Australia, remember. We don't go much into testing top secret, edge-of-technology aircraft over capital cities - and certainly didn't 43 years ago.) The following day, The Sunday Mail told how hundreds of people had reported it, but none could identify it.
    The above was taken almost verbatim from my diary, and it is interesting to note that the details are different in many aspects from those of my conscious memory.

Borneo, 1981. It was Sunday 19 July, and I was travelling up the broad Mahakam River in Kalimantan, or Indonesian Borneo in a 17 metre houseboat. About 8.27 pm, I was standing on the skirting board of the boat, holding on to the rail on top, and gazing over the top to admire the multitude of stars - far more than could be seen in the city. (It was, perhaps, a foolhardy occupation; although the boat was chugging along leisurely, if I had fallen off, probably no-one would have noticed.) The moon had not yet risen, and everyone but my mother and the pilot were asleep. I noticed a faint star at an elevation of about 45o, and a slightly fainter star, a white point of light, at about the 5 o'clock position in relation to it, and about two moon widths away. For a moment it seemed a faint beam of light passed between the second and first stars, but this may have been an optical illusion. I remember thinking that it looked like a brief shooting star, except that the flash went up, not down.
     Suddenly, the second star began to blink and, still blinking, it moved in an arc to between the 2 and 3 o'clock position. Then it abruptly faded and went out. About two minutes later, while I was still dumbfounded, it appeared again in the 5 o'clock position, but a bit further out than originally. Again, blinking even more than before, it began moving in the same arc. At about the 3 o'clock position, it veered outwards fairly steeply, and again faded and went out. I stared at the spot, but that star was never seen again.
     I started writing the entry in my diary at 8.38. The moon rose at 8.43 from the direction in which I had been facing (port) ie probably from the southeast.

Southern Madagascar, 1991. Yes, I get around. This time I was with a camping tour of Madagascar, and on Friday 2nd August we had all settled down in a clearing off the road, about 35 km from Beloha, if you can find that on any map. It was around 7 pm, and we were gathered around the fire when we saw two lights in the northern sky. At first we thought they were satellites, for they were travelling rapidly on parallel paths, with the lower one in front. Suddenly the upper one exploded. It simply disappeared in a red puff. A second or two later, the second one simply vanished. No-one could give a reasonable explanation, although a "star wars" type of hunter-killer satellite was one suggestion. Maybe.

    As you can see, nothing here actually leaps out at you as a visitor from outer space. On the other hand, except possibly for the last case, neither does any mundane explanation. Any suggestions?

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