1. 12 April 1793 New South Wales - FINAL - Magonia Blog
“An extraordinary appearance in the sky was obferved by feveral people between five and six o'clock in the evening of Friday 12th of the month. It was noticed in the north-weft, and appeared as if a ray of forked lightning had been ftationary in that quarter of the sky for about fifteen minutes, which was the time it was vifible. It was not to be difcerned, however, after the fun had quitted the horizon.”
Source: Collins, David. 1798. “An account of the English Colony in New South Wales: with remarks on the Disposition, customs, manners, &c of the Native Inhabitants of that Country.” T. Cadell, Jun. & W. Davies. London. Page 285.
1. I viewed the original book at the Royal Geographical Society, Adelaide on 8 March 2011.
2. I also sighted the 1804 London edition (page 211), and the 1910 London edition (pages 181-182.)
3. David Collins was the late Judge Advocate and Secretary of the Colony which was founded in 1788.
4. Note the use of the letter ‘f’ in lieu of ‘s’ in some words.
2. 1828 Mount Wingen, New South Wales - Preliminary
“About six kilometers north of Wingen, an underground coal seam has been burning for possibly 5,000 years...Kisha, who wrote a psychic column for the Australasian Post, recorded a bizarre story of a strange flying object landing at Burning Mountain (or Mount Wingen.) She attributed the following text to a man called Ted.
“Grandad used to say that it was cigar shaped and had a funny silver colour. When it landed it set fire to all the vegetation and killed the cattle. The noise was dreadful and there was a series of loud bangs. Grandad also spoke of tall strangers appearing in town. They never said anything but always pointed to the things they wanted. Quite often people just disappeared and dogs and domesticated animals disappeared too.
“We always thought that grandad's stories were good but he knew they were true and never made light of them. Kisha did not indicate a date for the events in Ted's grandad's tale, but presumably its vintage would have to be at least contemporary with the first settlers of the Burning Mountain back in 1828.”
Source: Chalker, Bill.
Originally retrieved 27 November 2010, citing a “Psychic column” written by “Kisha” in the Australasian Post magazine dated 17 June 1989 citing a man called Ted.
Notes: Original article offline, but can be accessed via mirror page on web.archive.org
3. 25 July 1868 Parramatta, Sydney, New South Wales - Preliminary
Birmingham had what he described as a “...wonderful dream, a vision...” during which he saw a number of things in the sky, including the head of the Lord Bishop of Sydney and an “Ark.” A voice from an unknown source told him “That's a machine to go through the air.”
The ‘machine’ approached and landed on the grass. There was a ‘spirit’ following the ‘ark,’ described as ‘like the neutral tint shade and the shape of a man in his usual frock dress.’ Birmingham was invited to enter the ‘ark’ which he did. Inside he found a room with a table. The ‘spirit’ showed him some papers containing figures and formulas. Looking down and then back up he found the ‘spirit’ had gone. “So I fell, I suppose into my usual sleeping state, and waking next morning deeply impressed with that vision of the night.”
Source: Chalker, Bill 1996. The Oz files, Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. pp23-27. Citing a 15 page document titled “Copy from the Memorandum Book of Fred Wm Birmingham, the Engineer to the Council of Parramatta. A Machine to go through the air. A.D. 1873” located by Chalker in 1975. Its history was traced back through UFO researcher, T.V. Homan; a Mrs N. de Launt (early 1940's) to the family of a Wallace Haywood. Chalker confirmed that a Frederick William Birmingham did live in Parramatta between 1868 and 1873.
4. 1873 Sydney, New South Wales Sunset - Preliminary
Three small ‘clouds’ appeared, and from one of them extended two screw-like appendages. Between these ‘screws’ appeared a shape ‘like two flat necks on a turtle-shaped body.’ This assembly disappeared, reappeared and, and then ‘to my surprise the two big...screws folded up like the arms of a bear and lost their shape in the middle cloud.
Source: Chalker, Bill 1996. The Oz Files Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. p26. Citing a 15 page document titled “Copy from the Memorandum Book of Fred Wm Birmingham, the Engineer to the Council of Parramatta. A Machine to go through the air. A.D. 1873 located by Chalker in 1975.” Its history was traced back through UFO researcher, T.V. Homan; a Mrs N. de Launt (early 1940's) to the family of a Wallace Haywood. Chalker confirmed that a Frederick William Birmingham did live in Parramatta between 1868 and 1873.
5. October 1874 Beechworth, Victoria - Preliminary
“A farmer reported an object over his farm.”
Source: http://www.rense.com/ufi5/histoz.htm retrieved 24 January 2011. Information supplied by Diane Harrison/Robert Frola of Brisbane, Australia citing their source as the book Flying Saucers Over Australia.
“From their own research, Australian ufologists believe that the first published report of the sighting of an unidentified flying object in this country occurred as far back as October, 1874, at Beechworth in Victoria.”
Source: Holledge, Stephen. 1965. Flying Saucers over Australia. London/Melbourne/Sydney. Horwitz Publications Inc. p.26.
Notes: Tried National Library newspaper search but cannot locate anything.
6. March 1878 Goulburn, New South Wales - Preliminary
“Lately there has been much excitement amongst the superstitious, numbers of whom go off in parties, with guns, to the range above Stewart's Garden, where there is an unfinished stone house. Here an apparition is said to make its appearance in the form of a light, and to travel, sometimes very slowly, and frequently very quickly, from the river bank just below, up to, and around the house, then varying the performance by a run among the trees. This is said to be kept up from an early hour in the evening until about three in the morning; all endeavors to get near the light are said to prove futile. ”
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.27. Citing the Goulburn Herald 16 March 1878. Cited in Wyatt, Ransome. The History of Goulburn. Sydney. Lansdowne Press. 1972. p75.
A check of the book The History of Goulburn by Ransome T Wyatt, published by Lansdowne Press (NSW). Sydney. 1972. (First published in 1941 by The Municipality of Goulburn.) p.75 states:
Goulburn has not many claims to ghosts. One, in 1878, is said to have appeared in the range above Stewart's garden, where there is an unfinished house (? Leigh's Folly.) It used to appear early in the evening and flit about until three o'clock in the morning. Grunsell claimed to have disposed of it with a shot gun. Another mysterious appearance which was seen in the late afternoon and on one occasion was photographed was that of a ghostly apparition which manifested itself in the Bishop's Throne in St Saviour's Cathedral.
(References cited are Goulburn Herald 13/3/1876; 16/3/1878 and reminiscences of Mrs R Caspers.)
7. (Pre 5) June 1879 Western Australia - Preliminary
In 1879 Mr S Worsley Clifton, Collector of Customs, at Fremantle Western Australia, forwarded the following account of a 'remarkable meteor' to R J Elleig of the Melbourne Observatory. Elleig in turn passed it on to the science journal Nature, which published the following account of the apparition:
A small black cloud on a clear day appeared in the east, traveling not very swiftly towards the north-west. It burst into a ball of fire with an apparent disc the size of a full moon, blood red in colour. It left a train of black or dark-coloured vapour across the heavens which was visible for three-quarters of an hour. No sound was heard, sky perfectly clear, and the thermometer 100 degrees fahrenheit, in the shade.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.27. Citing “A remarkable meteor” Nature Volume 20. 121, 5 June 1879. Also cited in Fort, Charles, “The Complete books of Charles Fort.” New York. Dover. 1974. p 235.
Notes: Typed in “a remarkable meteor” 1879 Nature and got a hit. Tried National Library newspapers, nothing.
8. 11 June 1881 Between Melbourne and Sydney 0400hrs - Preliminary
“The two sons of the Prince of Wales, one of them the future King of England, saw a strange celestial object similar to a fully illuminated ship.”
Source: Vallee, J. 1965. Anatomy of a Phenomenon. London. Neville Spearman. p.12. Citing “The cruise of the Bacchante” by the two princes.
9. February 1885 Off East coast of Australia - Preliminary
In February 1885, the crew of a ship sailing the Pacific, believed to be not far off the east coast of Australia, saw a large fiery red ball in the sky. She hissed overhead and fell into the sea, triggering a series of huge waves.
Source: Killey, Kevin and Lester, Gary. 1980. The Devil's Meridian. Sydney. Lester-Townsend Publishing. P. 23.
10. 1893 Central New South Wales - Preliminary
An anecdote handed down within a farming family told of an extraordinary UFO story that was alleged to have happened in 1893 in Central New South Wales. A farmer claimed that a saucer-shaped object landed in a paddock on his property. As he approached the object, a man in strange clothing emerged from it. The farmer walked towards the being. The stranger shone some kind of beam at him, whereby the farmer was thrown to the ground, stunned. His hand where the beam had hit him was paralysed for life.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.28. Citing that the story was told to Dr Miran Lindtner, UFO Information Centre, Sydney in the 1960's.
Notes: Details similar to the 1919 Central NSW case and the 1913 Nuriootpa, SA case.
11. 20 November 1902 Adelaide, South Australia - FINAL - Magonia Blog
Sir Charles Todd stated that on Thursday morning, at 9.27 o’clock, a remarkable phenomenon was witnessed in the heavens by Messrs Griffiths (the Assistant Astronomer), Chettle and Dodwell of the Adelaide Observatory. The two last named were taking weather observations when they noticed a brilliant globular light having a planetary disc. It appeared in the south-south-east at an altitude of about 45 deg. It moved slowly northwards, passing within 15 or 20 degrees of the sun, and was brightly visible till 9.31 - four minutes in all.
Mr Griffiths, who observed it for a minute, says it moved over about 20 deg. of an arc in that time. The object appeared like Venus does when it is at its greatest brilliancy, soon after sunset.
Mr Griffiths lost sight of the meteoric object at an altitude of 45 deg. above the horizon. It therefore traveled at least 90 deg. and was lost sight of in the great glare of the sky.
Messrs Chettle and Dodwell state that when it was near to the prime vertical it became elongated, and took an elliptical form, the long axis lying south to north.
Source: The Register (Adelaide, SA:1901-1929), Friday 21 November 1902. Page 4.
Notes: 1909 check SMH 10 and 11 Aug 1909 and 5 Dec 09; Hobart Mercury 19 Aug 09
12. 5 August 1909 Goulburn, New South Wales - Preliminary
The first Australian reports of 1909 apparently came from Goulburn, New South Wales, on 5 August when three or four residents of north Goulburn reported seeing a bright, moving blue light in the sky...The reports at Goulburn continued for the next five nights. The mystery light was described as big as 'a motor car lamp.'
On 7 August four young men at the brick kilns near the north Goulburn railway station saw the light. 'It was pale blue in colour. The brightness of the light attracted the youths' attention. Only the light was seen, there being nothing to show the presence of a supporting body.' On 8 August 'the light made its appearance from the south traveling once again towards Governor's hill, inclining towards the east and returning back to the south.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.30-31 citing Sydney Morning Herald 10 Aug 1909. Daily Telegraph 11 Aug 1909. Also cited in Bill Chalker, “The Wave of 1909” in Clark, Jerome “The Emergence of a Phenomenon.” The UFO Encyclopedia Volume 2. Detroit, MI. Omnigraphics. 1992. pp333-336.
13. 13 August 1909 Glen Innes, New South Wales - Preliminary
Several responsible residents described an object like a balloon moving in a northerly direction. A night glass was obtained and the object was found to be shaped like an inverted top. The lower portion was lighted, and as the body revolved a light like a small flashlight kept turning on the land beneath. The upper portion was in darkness and the object kept drifting in a northerly direction.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.31.
14. 25 October 1909 Minderoo Station, near Onslow,
Western Australia - Preliminary
Mrs A J Roe, wife of the station manager, was the first to spot the object. She stated, 'It looked compact, like a dirigible balloon, but appeared to be squarer and more like an aeroplane. The sun shone on it, and flashes came from it, as though reflecting from something revolving, or from metal work.' Three station hands also saw the UFO.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files, Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.32.
Second source quotes same from “It looked compact.... three station hands also saw the” but then goes on “object which the newspapers of the day described as a mystery airship” and one of them made a sketch of it. The customs collector at Onslow, Mr L.O. Temporally, submitted a detailed report on the sighting to the minister. Mr Temporally thought that the object really was an airship: “the work” he suggested; “of an inventor who was experimenting, or perhaps from a foreign vessel anchored off the coast.”
Source: http://www.rense.com/ufi5/histoz.htm retrieved 24 January 2011. Information supplied by Diane Harrison/Robert Frola of Brisbane, Australia citing their source as Robin Northover.
15. August 1910 Adelaide, South Australia - FINAL - Magonia Blog
Captain Nelson of the coastal steamer Wookata, the second Engineer M Arnold and Helmsman G Rudd are at a complete loss to explain the meaning of curious lights which they witnessed when the vessel was passing Althorpe Island on her way to Port Adelaide early the other morning. 'Bright lights as distinct as masthead lights of a steamer but high up in the air,' were observed by the trio, and a strange thing was that they circled around the Wookata in a tantilising way. “It was about 8 o'clock,” says Captain Nelson today, “that the man at the wheel remarked, “Do you see these lights flying about?” I replied, “Yes there are a great many more lights about than I have ever seen here.” Just then I saw a mysterious light off Cape Spencer, which disappeared as suddenly as it came into view.
Presently the helmsman said “It is strange, but I have never seen lights on the port bow, then right ahead, then on the starboard side.”
“I stepped inside the wheelhouse, and on coming out again saw two lights just over the starboard side bow no distance away, but high up. They seemed to pass us. They were as bright as our masthead lights, and as far as I could judge they were from 200 to 300 yards distant. The lights appeared to be 10 yards apart, one a little above the other. I could not make it out. I said to the man at the wheel: “Did you see them?” He answered, “Yes they are like a German airship flying about.” I did not know what to think. I feel sure I saw something unusual -something which in my 45 years experience of the sea I have never observed before.” The second Engineer Arnold also declared that he the saw strange lights
Source: Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW: 1889-1915) Tue 9 Aug 1910 page 7.
16. 25 May 1911 Tallangatta, Victoria
“An extraordinary phenomenon occurred at Tallangatta. The atmosphere was full of millions of beautiful gossamer threads, so numerous as to cause inconvenience. They are attributed to balloon spiders.”
Source: Poverty Bay Herald, New Zealand Volume 38 issue 12464 page 5. 25 May 1911. Item received by telegraph from Melbourne.
17. Circa 1913 Nuriootpa, South Australia - Preliminary
A farmer discovered a landed object and was “zapped” by a humanoid which appeared from within it, leaving a lasting paralysis in the witness.
Source: Personal communication from Darryl Tiggeman of Adelaide to Keith Basterfield. 2004. Citing the source as a radio talk back show featuring Adelaide UFOlogist Colin Norris in cira 1984.
Notes: Note the similarity with the 1893 Central New South Wales event and the 1919 Central New South Wales case.
18. 1915 Wallacedale, Victoria - FINAL
“Mysterious lights at night” were investigated by the Intelligence section of the General Staff in 1915. A complaint was made by a Mrs E Osborne of Wallacedale, Victoria, to authorities. The complaint advised that Mrs Osborne and her family had reported “mysterious lights at night.” Mrs Osborne and other local residents were interviewed and told of moving night time lights “high up in the air in the direction of Mount Napier.” As documented on the file, investigation by the authorities revealed that the cause of these lights was “...trappers visiting their rabbit traps” and that “...being very hilly lights seen from Wallacedale at night time would appear to be higher than they really were, especially at a distance.”
Source: National Archives of Australia file, series MP16/1/0 control symbol 1915/3/1288.
19. 1919 Central, New South Wales - Preliminary
While traveling down a country road, a man came across an artifact resting near the roadside. He saw that a 'man' was apparently working on it, and went over to offer assistance. The stranger turned as if surprised and pointed something at the witness, who was knocked senseless. When he came to, the object and the man had gone. He found that his memory was never the same again.
Source: Basterfield, Keith. 1977. UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters. Reed Books. Kew. Victoria. p135. Citing “Australian Co-Ordination Section” (for the US based Center for UFO Studies) Bulletin Number 9 ,p11.
Note: Note the similarity with the 1893 Central New South Wales report and the Circa 1913 Nuriootpa event.
20. 1920 Bass Strait - Preliminary
The Navy submarine depot ship, the Platypus, was involved in the search for a missing schooner, the Amelia J., in Bass Strait. Mystery lights, thought at the time to be “evidently rockets,” were observed. Two aircraft left the flying training school and aircraft depot at Point Cook to join in the investigation. One was piloted by a Major Anderson and the other by Captain W. J. Stutt - an instructor for the NSW Government Aviation school at Richmond... Stutt and his mechanic, Seargent Dalzell,were last seen by Major Anderson flying into a large cloud. Their plane and the schooner were never found.
Source: Chalker, C. 1996. UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government role in the UFO controversy. Page 7. Retrieved 24 January 2011 from http://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz1.htm
21. September 1920 Sydney, New South Wales
A luminous visitor of astonishing brilliance was seen by thousands of Sydney people a few evenings ago. It suddenly appeared in the sky, and from one of the heights of the Eastern suburbs presented a startling spectacle, as fireballs or meteors usually do. So dazzling was the white light of the electrical phenomenon which lasted no longer than a couple of seconds, that it was impossible to say where it disappeared. It appeared high up in the southern sky, and contrary to the habit of many of these meteors, it did not explode. The light was of great illuminative power and as startling as an apparition. From the southern suburbs, the meteor apparently disappeared over the western suburbs, but observers in other localities said it went out to sea.
Source: Sydney Mail newspaper 15 September 102 - cited in Killey, K & Lester, G. 1980. The Devil's Meridian. Sydney. Lester-Townsend Publishing. pp30-31.
22. Spring 1921 Prospect, Adelaide, South Australia - Final
One evening, a man named Felix Jones saw a circular-like saucer. It was 12-15 feet across, and 3 feet deep. It was a lightish colour but reflecting green from within it. It had neither wings nor propeller, but did have rectangular windows. It was seen in the north-north-west, stationary from three minutes. It then moved off to the west, slowly, then quickly. When it moved it glowed at the back.
Source: Australian Saucer Record volume 2 number 4 1956 page 7. The item stated that the report was received 15 Oct 1956.
23. 1925 Moora, Western Australia - Preliminary
Two young men came across an object resting in a paddock. It was described as two saucers on edge, with oval shaped 'windows' and four 'legs.' The men beat a hasty retreat and didn't return for several days. When they did, they reportedly found the earth scuffed about.
Source: Basterfield, Keith. 1977. UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters. Reed Books. Kew. Victoria. p135. Citing “Australian Co-Ordination Section” (for the US based Center for UFO Studies) Bulletin Number 9 p12.
24. 1927 Fernvale, New South Wales - Preliminary
A range of unusual events were reported including “a dancing light in the sky” disturbed cattle; dead cows and injured pigs. “...one night the boy and his older brother were returning ...when they witnessed a brightly lit, flying object travel through the valley, light up the whole area, turn slightly to follow the valley contours, and finally come to rest on a hill...the boys investigated in the morning confirming the presence of a complete circle of scorched grass, about nine metres in diameter, where the object had been seen to land.” “...large, unfamiliar birds...” were seen in the area; a stranger in a white suit visited.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.32-34. Retrospective interview in 1985/1986 with a man who was 10 years of age at the time, and his sister. See also “Terror Down Under.” Chalker, W. Fate. Sep 1988. “UFOs in Australia & NZ through 1959” in Clark, Jerome The Emergence of a Phenomenon Volume 2. Detroit, MI. Omnigraphics. 1992. pp333-336. Oz Files pp32-24.
25. Circa 1930 Mandurah, Western Australia - Preliminary
A 67 year old woman recounted how at age fifteen she had seen a sixty-centimetre tall, pink creature. It had large ears, a slit mouth, big bulbous eyes and small hands. It was bald and shiny. She said her father wrapped the creature in a net and put it outside.
Source: Basterfield, Keith. 1997. UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters. Reed Books. Kew. Victoria. p136. Citing the Perth UFO Research Group (defunct.)
26. 1930 Warrnambool, Victoria - Preliminary
In 1930, an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) officer, Squadron Leader George Jones, was sent to Warnambool, Victoria to investigate reports of mystery aircraft flying over the coast. No explanation was found in this fisrt official RAAF UFO investigation. Further “mystery aircraft” reports were made in the near Pacific and Papua New Guinea in 1930, and in 1931 the RAAF was denying any of her planes were the explanation for “mystery planes” reported widely in Tasmania.
Source: Chalker, C. 1996. UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government role in the UFO controversy. Page 8. Retrieved 24 January 2011 from http://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz1.htm
27. 1930's - Preliminary
In about 1989 John's father-in-law, an Aboriginal man, told him that when he was a young man in the 1930s, camping with his tribe before the white man took them off their land, they saw a green light spinning around in the sky. It landed behind trees. Lots of little men shining with green light came. They walked around the tribe, looking at them, and then walked back to the UFO, which took off.
Source: Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.22.
Notes: The John mentioned is researcher John Kernott.
28. 10 June 1931 Tasman Sea - FINAL
Aviator Francis Chichester was undertaking the first solo flight between New Zealand and Australia when:
Suddenly, ahead and to the left, there were bright flashes in several places, like the dazzle of a heliograph. I saw a dull grey-white airship coming towards me. It seemed impossible, but I could have sworn it was an airship, nosing towards me like an oblong pearl. Except for a cloud or two there was nothing else in the sky. I looked around, sometimes catching a flash or a glint, and turning again to look at the airship. I found it had disappeared. I screwed up my eyes, unable to believe what I was seeing, and twisted the seaplane this way and that, thinking that the airship must be hidden by a blind spot. Dazzling flashes continued in four or five different places, but I could not pick out any planes. Then, out of some clouds, I saw another or the same airship advancing. I watched it intently, determined not to look away for a fraction of a second. I'd see what happened to this one, if I had to chase it. It drew steadily closer, until perhaps a mile away, when suddenly it vanished. Then it reappeared, close to where it had vanished. I watched with angry intentness. It drew closer, and I could see the dull gleam of light on its nose and back. It came on, but instead of increasing in size, it diminished as it approached. When quite near, it suddenly became its own ghost â€“ one second I could see through it, and the next it had vanished. I decided it could only be a diminutive cloud perfectly shaped like an airship and then dissolving, but it was uncanny that it should exactly resume the same shape after it once vanished. I turned towards the flashes, but those too had vanished. All of this was many years before anyone spoke of flying saucers. Whatever it was I saw, it seems to have been very much like what people have since claimed to be flying saucers.
Source: Chichester, Francis. 1967. The Lonely Sea and the Sky. London. Pan. p185.
29. Nov/Dec 1932 Mount Gambier, South Australia - Preliminary
Close to the horizon a “strange orange coloured light...from which floated vivid lightning...I was able to make out the shape of that which it emanated. It was like a blunt-nosed torpedo and the orange light was in the 'propellor' end, and thirdly, the speed at which the shape was traveling.”
Source: Letter from the observer, dated 29 Jul 1959 to the AFSRS-Victoria branch.
30. Circa Mar/Apr 1932 or 1933 Nambour, Queensland - Preliminary
A boy reported seeing a small UFO within a metre’s range, and afterwards that a whitish mist had appeared between him and the object. He felt a ‘tight feeling in the head’ and felt stunned. That night the boy developed large, white blisters on both hands and felt ‘out of sorts.’ The blisters burst during the night and the following day, secreting a clear watery fluid. The boy then felt better.
Source: Basterfield, Keith. 1977. UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters. Reed Books. Kew. Victoria. p136. Citing letter to “Contact” magazine no 53, Sep/Oct 1974.
31. 1933 Discovery Well, northern edge of the Great Sandy Desert,
Western Australia. - Preliminary
In Gilroy’s account, the Aboriginal woman claimed her tribe had been frightened off from Discovery Well when a ‘large shiny egg’ suddenly came down out of the sky. In broad daylight the strange object flew low over them. Several beings, described as strange, grey-skinned and man-like came out of the ‘egg.’ The woman said she was stunned by one of the beings and then carried aboard. Inside the ‘egg’ the interior was glowing. She was strapped to a shining table and apparently ‘experimented with.’
Source: Gilroy, Rex. 1995. Mysterious Australia. Mapelton. Nexus Publishing. p20. Cited in Chalker, Bill The Oz Files. Duffy & Snellgrove. Potts Point, NSW. 1996. p.20.
32. 10 October 1935 Newcastle, New South Wales - Preliminary
...an off duty military man took what was possibly Australia’s first UFO photograph at Nobby’s head near Newcastle, NSW. Although the photos are now apparently available, investigators who saw the photo during 1968-1969 reported it showed “a definite circular object with details seen well at enlargement.”
Source: Chalker, C. 1996. UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government Role in the UFO Controversy. Page 8. Retrieved 24 January 2011 from http://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz1.htm. Also “UFOIC Newsletter” No 21, Dec 1968
33. 1938 Darwin, Northern Territory - Preliminary
(A) “Ghost planes” over Darwin in 1938:
A number of flaps of “ghost planes,” “strange planes,” “Unidentified aircraft” or “dirigibles” have been documented in the UFO literature. These have occurred in such diverse places as Denmark in 1908; the United Kingdom in 1909; South Africa in 1914 and Scandinavia in the early 1930â€™s.
A Department of Defence Air Board file, recently uncovered by us, describes “ghost planes” and “unidentified aircraft” over the Northern Territory in 1938. File A705 control symbol 56/3/2, reveals at least seven instances between 3 Feb and 25 Mar that year. In one instance, on 8 Feb 1938, an aircraft engine noise was heard and the witness saw an orange coloured light in the sky for two minutes.
The official reaction was that no aircraft had made refuelling arrangements in the Territory, which made it “very improbable” that strange aircraft were about.
Source: Disclosure Australia Project Newsletter number 10 dated... Retrieved from http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org 25 January 2011.
Source: Disclosure Australia Newsletter Number 11 dated...retrieved from http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org on 25 January 2011.
34. 1940 - Preliminary
The next file from the year 1940 turned out to have a tantalising title “Report of sighting of strange object by master of Auxiliary Ketch ‘Jane Moorhead.’” However, the cause of the sighting may well have been an unidentified submarine periscope.
Source: Disclosure Australia Newsletter Number 11 dated... Retrieved from http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org on 25 January 2011.
35. Feb 1941 Wearyan River, Northern Territory - Preliminary
A nurse attended an injured man in a remote area. “Two men appeared” and performed an operation on the man.
Source: Basterfield’s entity catalogue citing the Australian Saucer Record 1(2):3.
Heathcock, Sister Ruth (MBE)
Sister Ruth was an Outback nurse and was married to Mounted Constable Ted Heathcock who was stationed at Roper Bar and Borroloola during the 1920s. She was one of the first white visitors to the “Hidden City” in Arnhem Land and was widely respected by the local Aboriginal people who called her “Pitjiri” (“the snake that will not sink”) (1). In 1936 at a remote outpost in the Northern Territory, nine Aboriginal Elders appeared before Sister Ruth, believing that she was a member of their tribe before the Dreaming (2) they allowed her the unique privilege of seeing secret rituals performed and become party to secret Aboriginal knowledge.
Sister Ruth was a pioneer in black-white relations and was also involved with legislation regarding the non-isolation of leprosy sufferers, but she is perhaps better known for her 1941 attempted rescue of Horace Foster at Manangoorah during which she said she was assisted by two silent “white doctor angels” and saw “golden hands” operating on the doomed Foster - it was for this effort that she was awarded an MBE although she always claimed that it was ‘the others’ who had done the real work. Sister Ruth later moved to Adelaide with her sister Marie, and she was involved with the establishment of an Aboriginal Heritage Centre; she was also a friend of Colin McCarthy’s. Sister Ruth was a “mystic” who strongly followed Rosicrucian teachings and she knew Doris Player from Clare; it was Ruth who first saw a rock feature called “the Chair” in a dream which led her to the formation where she inadvertently captured an apparent Jesus-like spiritual entity on film. Sister Ruth was also one of Peter Horne's closest friends during the last 20 years of her remarkable life, and her name is still respected widely in the Northern Territory to this day. (3)
(1) see http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/315324?view=synopsis
(2) see http://www.roninfilms.com.au/video/0/255/1832273.html
(3) Email from Peter Horne, May 2007.
(4) Interview with John Burford 2007.
36. 26 February 1942 Timor Sea north of Australia 1200hrs Witness Methorst.
Magonia ATS - FINAL
This case has appeared in numerous global UFO publications. However, I have located a copy (typed) version of the witness’ letter to the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS) in 1957, in the files of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF.)
1. I requested the National Archives of Australia to digitize file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 part 1, titled “Reports on Flying Saucers and other aerial objects” in order that I could read the full documentation.
2. Pages 87-88 of the digitized version are a letter dated 6 April 1957 from UFO researcher Peter Norris to the Secretary of Air, advising that Norris” society was running a radio segment on UFOs, and asking the Secretary if an officer of his agency could appear on the radio program. The letter stated that some good reports had come about because of the radio program, and as an example attached a types copy of a letter.
This letter was dated 20 March 1957 from one William Methorst, of 7 Eisenhower Street. East Reservoir, Victoria, addressed to the Victorian branch of the AFSRS.
The text of the letter read as follows:
After listening to your program on Flying Saucers on Wednesday evening, I thought I would write you and tell you of an experience I had while in the Timor Sea on Thursday, 26th February, 1942.
This happened while on watch for enemy aircraft just after noon.
I was scanning the skies with binoculars when suddenly I saw a large aluminum disc approaching at terrific speed at 4,000 or 5,000 feet above us. This proceeded to circle high above our ship, the cruiser “Tromp” of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
After reporting it to the officer on duty, he was unable to identify it as any known aircraft. After keeping track of this object for about three to four hours still flying in big circles and at the same height, it suddenly veered off in a tremendous speed (about 3,000 to 3,500 mph) and disappeared from sight.
I have an account of this in notes made the same day in a diary which I still have in my possession.
Hope you will find this of aid to your investigations.
3. On the question of “was the ship Tromp in that area at the time?”
I checked on the net for information on the “Tromp.” http://www.netherlandsnavy.nl/Tromp_his.htm was invaluable. The Tromp was a cruiser of the Royal Netherlands Navy, and on 20 February 1942 was in action in WW2 when it was damaged by Japanese destroyers. The Tromp went to Soerabaja. On 23 February 1942 the Tromp left Soerabaja, into the Indian Ocean via Madoera Strait and Bali Strait. It arrived in Fremantle, Western Australian on 27 February 1942.
The net showed Surabaya (formerly Soerabaja) is now Indonesia’s second largest city and is at latitude 7 deg 16min S, longitude 112deg 45min E.
It is therefore probable that on the 26 February 1942 the Tromp would have been in the vicinity of the Western Australian coast, steaming south to Fremantle.
4. On the question “was there a crew member by the name of William Methorst on board the Tromp on 26 February 1942?”
I have been unable to locate a crew list for the Tromp, on the net. I therefore sent an email to the contact person for the website http://www.netherlandsnavy.nl asking if they knew of any way to check a crew list for the tromp for 1942? I received a response from Jan Visser. Jan checked his files, but could find no-one of the surname Methorst who had been a commissioned officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy in WW2. However, that still left non-comissioned officers and enlisted men to check.
Jan suggested a number of net forums I could post a request for information on, which I did. I received one response from a Paul Joosten on 31 Jan 2011 who advised he had located an account of the event at http://wenewsit.com/tag/theory. (Now offline) This stated the witness was a William J Methorst.
5. Further research:
I located Peter Norris, the UFO researcher whom Methorst wrote to about the event. Peter recalled the event, but has no papers on the case in his possession.
On the National Archives of Australia name search I failed to find any records of any William Methorst or William J Methorst. However, a search of the NAA “Passenger Arrivals List” located a William J Methorst who had arrived in Australia on 1 May 1949 onboard the ship Maetsuycker at Fremantle, WA. NAA file series K269 control symbol Methorst, William J.
I located 12 persons named Methorst in the Australian Telstra electronic white pages, and sent each a letter seeking information on a William Methorst. I received one phone call from a Jan Methorst of Campbelltown, Tasmania, who advised that he was not aware of any William Methorst in his family line. Jan mentioned that he knew most of the Methorsts listed in the white pages.
I later received an email from an Andy J Methorst of Waverley, Tasmania, who advised that he was not aware of any William Methorst in his family background. He checked with his relatives in Holland and they were not aware of any William J Methorst. I also received letters from Valma Methorst of Davenport, Tasmania, who told me she had telephoned several of her family members here and overseas but no-one knew of a William Methorst. I received another letter from a Gloria Methorst, of Tasmania, who could not assist me with my enquiries.
1. It would appear that the “Tromp” would not have been in the Timor Sea to the north of Australia on the date indicated by Methorst, but off the coast of Western Australia.
2. I have not been able to confirm that there was a William Methorst on board the Tromp.
3. I did confirm that there was a William Jan Methorst (carpenter) and a Ruth Methorst (home duties) listed as living at 7 Eisenhower Street, Reservoir East, Melbourne in the 1959 Commonwealth of Australia, Division of Darebin, state of Victoria, electoral roll. The 1962 electoral roll shows the same details. Neither the 1963 nor 1964 rolls for Reservoir East list any Methorsts.
4. I have not been able to locate a living relative of William J Methorst, nor any signs of his diary.
37. February 1944, Bass Strait (an area of ocean between mainland Australia
and the Australian state of Tasmania) - FINAL - Magonia Blog ATS
(A) Sources for the account:
At about 2.30 am the plane gained a most unusual companion. A “dark shadow” appeared along side the plane and kept pace with it, at a distance of only some 100 to 150 feet. The Beaufort was traveling at about 235 miles an hour. The Object appeared to have a flickering light and flame belching from its rear end. Only about 15 feet of the rear end of the UFO was visible to the bomber crew, apparently due to “reflection of the light from the exhaust.” The strange object stayed with the bomber for some 18 to 20 minutes, during which time all radio and direction finding instruments refused to function. It finally accelerated away from the plane at approximately three times the speed of the bomber. Upon landing the pilot reported the incident to his base superiors, but he claimed he was only laughed at.
Source: Chalker, C. 1996. UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government role in the UFO controversy. Page 8. Retrieved 24 January 2011 from http://www.project1947.com/forum/bcoz1.htm
In a previous Newsletter, we noted a case recorded in the 1957 UFO magazine, Australian Saucer Review 3(1):16 from an original report form. The event was said to have happened in February 1944.
Mr T R H Royal was piloting a Beaufort bomber over Bass Strait when a dark “shadow” appeared alongside and kept pace for eighteen to twenty minutes. The object seemed to have a flickering light, and belched flames from its rear end. It maintained a distance of thirty to fifty metres from the aircraft before accelerating away. During the event all radio and direction-finding equipment is said to have malfunctioned.
The Project’s researcher in Canberra went to the National Archives and obtained permission to inspect Mr Royal’s personal service records. These records indicated that he was with No 1 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) in early February 1944. However, there was no record of his name in the Squadron Dairies or any indication that he had flown over Bass Strait. He was a Non Commissioned Officer Pilot.
The only mention of his name was when he was with No. 8 SQN in September 1945 where he flew his first sortie on the 30 September 1945 on an unarmed reconnaissance mission over the Sepic River area in Papua New Guinea. This information came from the RAAF Historical Records, Russell Offices in Canberra.
Source: Newsletter No 12 of the Disclosure Australia Project dated April 2004 available at http://disclosureaustralia.freewebpages.org
2. I went to the website of the National Archives of Australia to see if they held a record on a T R H Royal, to see if we can place him over Bass Strait in February 1944.
3. I located a Royal Australian Air Force record for one Thomas Richard Horace Royal. File series A9300 control symbol Royal, T R H. It shows Royal’s date of birth was 28 October 1915. He was born in Townsville, Queensland.
4. A digitised version of the file (37 pages) is available. This allowed me to ascertain that:
5. The research does indicate that there was an individual of that name in the RAAF in February 1944. However, neither the 2004 nor the 2011 research definitely places Royal as the pilot of an aircraft over Bass Strait in February 1944.
(C) Additional information:
At the turn of the year 1942 ... Rick Royal ... was flying a submarine reconnaissance and weather flight over Bass Strait ... There was a most savage weather front that night and every other aircraft previously airborne had either landed or crashed so that his aircraft was the only one in the area. As a matter of fact they were only just flying, pretty well lost and with one motor packing it in.
Suddenly, he saw a brilliant light below, showing through the hazy cloud in which he and his crew were flying. Abruptly the bright glow climbed to travel along with them, just off the starboard (right) wing tip. Little could he see except the rear portion of what was evidently a solid object, lit up by a brilliant, flaming tail, perhaps ten or more metres long. Every manoeuvre to get away from or closer to the thing was exactly matched, so that their distance did not vary. Ricky noticed very definite signs of a strong static field: the radio hissed continually while the hair on the back of the necks of the crew stood up ... only the gyro compass remaining unaffected. Suddenly the spurt of flame lengthened, and the object shot ahead leaving them rocking in its wake.
In strict confidence Ricky expressed the opinion that the almost miraculous return to base by his aircraft was somehow due to the presence of the strange object. He gave no indication of how they had been aided to stay airborne, but was sure that they would normally first have crashed.
To reduce the load on the remaining motor the crew had thrown out anything loose including the parachutes so they had no choice other than hope for a safe landing from a very nerve-wracking flight.
Source: Flitcroft, Keith. The Martian Factor. (Poseidon Books, 2005)
The crew of a Beaufort bomber flying at 4,500 feet over Bass Strait, during February, 1944, bore witness to what may have been Australia’s earliest “electromagnetic” (EM) case. At about 2.30 am the plane gained a most unusual companion. A “dark shadow” appeared along side the plane and kept pace with it, at a distance of only some 100 to 150 feet. The Beaufort was travelling at about 235 miles per hour. The object appeared to have a flickering light and flame belching from its rear end. Only about 15 feet of the rear end of the UFO was visible to the bomber crew, apparently due to “reflection of light from the exhaust.” The strange object stayed with the bomber for some 18 to 20 minutes, during which time all radio and direction finding instruments refused to function. It finally accelerated away from the plane at approximately three times the speed of the bomber. Upon landing, the pilot reported the incident to his base superiors, but he claimed he was only laughed at. Such a reaction seems extraordinary in retrospect since it turns out that Beauforts figured heavily in official RAAF list of planes that “went missing without trace” during World War Two in the Bass Strait area - an area that was not linked to any significant enemy activity. I have been told that the Beauforts had a mechanical problem that may have accounted for some of these losses...
The Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau came to the attention of ASIO (our domestic security and intelligence organisation) because the group had sought communication with Russian scientists about the idea that the 1908 Tunguska event was caused an alien spacecraft. An ASIO officer reviewed the activities of the group and the backgrounds of the committee members. The dubious inspiration for ASIO’s interest was largely deemed of little merit, but an ASIO report was written in August 1959. It described Ricky Royal, then the QFSRB’s Vice President and technical officer, as “an ex-Air Force Officer and radio technician. His interests in these matters stemmed from a sighting of an U.F.O. over Bass Strait during the last war. He is a fanatic in matters relating to U.F.Os. and all attempts to prove their validity and would resort to any means to obtain information concerning them.” As a technical officer for the group Royal had set up a “technical laboratory”, which led to a “light beam transmitter” being built. This was to be used to signal UFOs.
At a public lecture in Brisbane on September 1961 Royal apparently got “carried away” with the moment. A group history of QFSRB (now UFO Research (Qld) written by Annette Bramelt (or Brameld) reveals that Royal “had said, from the platform, that he had been in contact with UFO’s during his stint as a pilot with the RAAF during the war. He had witnesses and the incident was written into his log-book, but was ‘hushed up’ by the particular Department. No exception was taken to his statement at the time ...” The ASIO officer mentioned above had become a member. He told the QFSRB president that “it had been unwise for (Royal) to have made the statement, that the incident was unlikely to have been hushed up, and that the speaker would have trouble verifying the statement.” The President Stan Seers suggested the ASIO man should attend the next meeting and speak with Royal himself. This occurred but Royal resigned from the committee “with a strongly worded letter.” A letter was drafted “to convey to him (the group’s) regrets at his action and also (their) sincere thanks for all his valuable work; to assure him of (the group’s) undoubted belief in his sighting story; to offer assistance in tracing crew members or in any other way ... and to express the hope that he would soon be working with (them) again.”
Source: Chalker, Bill. UFO History Keys column: Australian newstand publication "Ufologist" September - October 2007 issue.
Note by Keith Basterfield
The ASIO reference to Ricki Royal above, may be read at page 40, on the digitized file in the National Archives of Australia file, series A6122 control symbol 2155 file title “Flying Saucer Research Bureau (Qld)” internal ASIO file number 3/2/979 Volume 1.
It is part of an ASIO report dated 4 August 1959 addressed to the Regional Director, Queensland, marked “Secret” subject “Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau.” Paragraph 8 of the report reads:
The Vice-President and Technical Officer, Ricki Royal is an ex-Air Force Officer and radio technician. His interests in these matters stemmed from a sighting of an U.F.O. over Bass Strait during the last war. He is a fanatic in matters relating to U.F.Os. and all attempts to prove their validity and would resort to any means to obtain information concerning them.
On the 7 August 1959, the report was forwarded to ASIO Headquarters for their information.
Source: Flitcroft, Keith. The Martian Factor. (Poseidon Books, 2005)
38. 5 Feb 1947 Port Augusta, South Australia 0900hrs - FINAL - Magonia Blog
(1) “Strange objects reported in sky.”
While working in the yard at the Commonwealth Railways workshop yesterday morning Mr Ron Ellis and two workmates claim to have seen five strange objects in formation pass across the sky from north to south.
The objects were white or light pink and shaped like an egg. Mr Ellis said that he could not give an accurate estimate of the size of the objects, but they were casting shadows and judging by his experience with aircraft in the RAAF during the war he considered they were about the size of a locomotive.
Although the objects kept on a direct course at a height of about 6000 feet they appeared to be quivering he said. Owing to their great speed they were out of sight within a few seconds.
Any question of the phenomenon being an optical illusion was dispelled by the fact that a few minutes later both Mr Ellis and his companion gave an identical description of what they had seen. Their description was verified by another member of the workshop who said he had also seen the objects.
Source: Adelaide Advertiser newspaper. Friday 7 February 1947. Front page. Copy originally provided by Darryl Tiggeman of Adelaide. Original viewed in the State Library, Adelaide on 27 January 2011.
(2) “Objects in sky not meteorites”
Commenting yesterday on a report from Port Augusta that several men working in the yard at the Commonwealth Railways Workshops at about 9am on Wednesday had seen five strange egg shaped objects in formation pass across the sky at a height of about 6000 feet, the Government Astronomer Mr G F Dodwell said that the phenomenon did not fit in with anything astronomical and was a complete mystery to him.
Mr Dodwell discounted the probability of the objects being meteorites. He said that meteorites being so small and travelling at such high speeds did not cast shadows whereas the report stated that the objects had cast shadows about the size of a locomotive. The presence of falling meteorites would have been accompanied by a deafening roar.
Source: Adelaide Advertiser newspaper. Saturday 8 February 1947. Front page. Copy originally provided by Darryl Tiggeman of Adelaide. Original viewed in the State Library, Adelaide on 27 January 2011.
1. I had known about these newspaper articles for several years, thanks to Darryl Tiggeman. I visited the State Library in Adelaide on 27 January 2011 to check a copy of the Adelaide Advertiser. I found that the Adelaide Advertiser did indeed carry these articles on the dates quoted.
2. I searched for additional information on the event in other South Australian newspapers. In total I checked the Adelaide Advertiser between 1 and 19 February 1947; the West Coast Sentinel (based at Streaky Bay, 320kms W of Port Augusta) between 5 and 19 February 1947; The Recorder (based at Port Pirie, 80kms S of Port Augusta) between 7 and 14 February 1947; Adelaide’s other daily newspaper The News between 5 and 11 February 1947; the Adelaide weekly The Mail for 8 February; The Quorn Mercury (based at Quorn 22 kms NE of Port Augusta) between 6 and 20 February 1947.
3. I found that The Quorn Mercury of 13 February, page 3, carried the exact same account as that of the Adelaide Advertiser dated 8 February 1947. However, more importantly The Quorn Mercury of 20 February 1947, page 3, also carried an additional report of a sighting.
Writing in the Advertiser, Mr F W Flavel of Lock, Eyre Peninsula states: “I saw objects in the sky between 7 and 8 o’clock the same day as you record a report from Port Augusta. I was walking in a north-westerly direction to the house after feeding the pigs.
“There were five of the strange objects and they seemed to be coming up out of the sea like a shadow with smoky grayish color around them. They were oblong with narrow points. I saw them quite plainly. They seemed to be floating in the air from north-west to south-east and caused a shadow.”
4. I then found a letter to the editor in the Adelaide Advertiser of 17 February 1947, page 2 from Mr Flavel. It read:
“Strange objects in the sky.”
I saw objects in the sky between 7 and 8 o’clock the same day as you record a report from Port Augusta. I was walking in a north-westerly direction to the house after feeding the pigs.
There were five of the strange objects and they seemed to be coming up out of the sea like a shadow with smoky grayish color around them. They were oblong with narrow points. I saw them quite plainly. They seemed to be floating in the air from north-west to south-east and caused a shadow.
I called the wife to have a look at them and she did so. It was a sight. I wish I had watched them longer as others had seen them and Port Augusta men did so an hour later. I have never seen anything like this before, and after reading what others saw I thought I would let you know that my wife and I both saw these objects.
4. I checked the weather forecast for Wednesday 5 February 1947. The state forecast was: “Unsettled, with scattered rain and thunderstorms. Cool on part of the coast,elsewhere warm to hot and sultry. SE to NE winds.” The weather map was shaded over Port Augusta indicating rain was expected.
Sunrise was 0539hrs. Moonrise 1925hrs. Full moon 6 February 1947.
Adelaide’s actual temperature (300kms S of Port Augusta) for 5 February 1947 was minimum 73.8F at 0545hrs; maximum 98.3F at 1245hrs.
5. Lock (latitude 33 deg 34 min S; longitude 135 deg 45 min E) is a small country town 225kms SW of Port Augusta, and is inland.
6. As the 7 February issue of the Adelaide Advertiser stated that Mr Ron Ellis has been in the RAAF during the war; I checked the National Archives of Australia service records for World War 2 looking for a Ron Ellis whose details might match the witness’s. I found there was a service file for a Ronald Ernest Ellis, born 5 November 1920; at Port Augusta, South Australia.
(C) Additional information:
(1) From the Adelaide Advertiser Thursday 10 July 1947 p2. It is an OCR translation.
Early in February, some queer egg-shaped objects, pink and slightly luminous, were seen to pass across the sky near Port Augusta, but this phenomenon was hardly so much as a nine day’s wonder, for a South Australian amateur astronomer was ready with a plausible theory about meteors, which most people promptly accepted. We now know that, in the slang of the moment, Port Augusta “started something.” The egg-shaped apparitions about which South Australia was mildly excited five months since, were plainly the harbingers of those “flying saucers” that have been creating such a sensation in America.
Our trans-Pacific cousins have seldom given their imaginations so much play. Multitudes of people have seen the new hosts of heaven flying across the sky in the likeness of saucers; and those who have seen nothing, have been ready to make amends by offering explanations of ever increasing fantasy. It was left to a Sydney physiologist to point out that “flying saucers” are likely to be nothing worse than red corpuscles in the eye of the observer, and several American and British scientists having hastened to agree that this is a valid theory, the greatest known epidemic of “seeing things” may fairly be supposed to be on the wane.
(2) From the Adelaide Advertiser Tuesday 25 February 1947 p2. Letters to the Editor.
Sir – Perhaps an amateur astronomer may be allowed to voice an opinion about the strange objects recently seen passing across the sky at Port Augusta. Usually, any meteor entering the atmosphere is traveling at the terrific velocity of forty miles per second. This compresses the atmosphere ahead of it and raises its temperature, as the piston of a diesel engine compresses and heats the gases in the cylinder, but whereas the diesel piston merely raises the temperature to ignition point, the tremendous pressure caused by the meteor raises the temperature thousands of degrees, and in this cap of incandescent gas the meteor is burned up in a matter of seconds.
At rare intervals, however, meteors enter the atmosphere at comparatively slow speeds. Some years ago a whole “procession” of such slow meteors was seen to pass across part of the USA, finally ending their flight in the waters of the South Atlantic. These slow meteors have a very different appearance from the swift blaze and trail of fire of the fast ones. Friction with the air does no more than heat them until they glow, as the giant V2 rocket is heated on its flight. As high-speed camera photographs of bullets in flight reveal, anything passing swiftly through the air creates both shock waves and turbulence which, by reflecting light rays passing through them, register distinctly on the photographic plate and, if the object is large enough, on the eye also.
It is this turbulence in the air which is seen when a slow meteor passes across the sky in daylight. The actual meteor may be quite small, weighing not more than fifty pounds in some cases, but the area of compressed and disturbed air is much larger, giving the impression that the object is of huge size and casting a visible shadow as it passes.
It also explains why many observers have described what they saw as “resembling a swimming fish” on account of the way in which the “tail” of the object seemed to wave to and fro. I suggest, therefore that the objects seen were meteors traveling at what is a slow speed for such visitors from the depths of space. If they were heading inland and we could obtain cross-bearings from observers to plot their course, it might be possible to find what is left of them, just as Sir Kerr Grant found the Karoonda meteorite a few years ago.”