Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Kettering Incident - fact and fiction in the service of intelligent drama?

"I went out to the hazel wood, 
Because a fire was in my head ...
And when white moths were on the wing, 
And moth-like stars were flickering out ...
It had become a glimmering girl ...
And faded through the brightening air ...
I will find out where she has gone ...
These quotes from W B Yeats 1899 poem inform the strange trajectory of Foxtel Showcase series "The Kettering Incident".
The poem is read by Dr. Anna Macy (compellingly played by Elizabeth Debicki) to her young patient Molly in a London hospital. Molly is running out of time, but Anna Macy own experience of time and place is heavily fractured. Her poem reading is interrupted by a nose bleed. She is victim to disturbing turmoil, perhaps post traumatic stress disorder or worse - perhaps madness, all relating to a disturbing experience she was a part of 15 years earlier. Anna and her younger companion Gillian Baxter disappear in the wake of an encounter with strange lights on Mother Sullivans Ridge. Anna turns up after being missing for an hour unable to shed light on what happened, but Gillian remains missing. This is the Kettering incident at the heart of this striking gothic like mystery thriller.
This review is based on my viewing of the first 2 episodes and if the rest of the 8 part series maintains the impact and quality of its strong and compelling opening, then you are in for a great show, irrespective of how the story plays out, whether its a UFO/alien abduction mystery, psychological thriller, crime drama or something else entirely. The show's creators/writers Victoria Madden and Vincent Sheehan deliver a story that provides striking gothic resonances with such shows as "Twin Peaks", "The X-Files", "Broadchurch", "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "Locusts and Wild Honey."
"The Kettering Incident" is of course fiction, fiction well delivered. "Locusts and Wild Honey" (1980) was heavily informed by the 1978 disappearance of Cessna pilot Frederick Valentich over Bass Strait - one of Australian's premier aviation mysteries and a striking UFO mystery. The Valentich mystery is a subtle touchstone for the Kettering Incident. 
My own 1996 book "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story" describes the Valentich story and in fact mentions a striking 1976 UFO landing event at the small Tasmanian town of Kettering. But this real Kettering event does not get any recognisable airing at least in the first 2 episodes. 
The TUFOIC investigation at Kettering
Instead what informs the narrative is a bizarre Fortean mix of things including disappearing people, dead birds (a feature in some real UFO narratives such as Warminster in England and even in our own Blue Mountains), strange lights, hints of alien abduction, or some sort of crime - murder perhaps. Brooding undercurrents and conflicts abound - fractured families, realities and rifts and timber cutting conflicts - are played out.
Its great to see, at least in the first 2 episodes, that the mantra of the crazy ufologist is not played out. Dominque Harrold is presented as a scientist trying to figure out what is going on using instrumented field monitoring and cautious discussions with what seems an ad hoc alien abduction support group. Here's hoping this more intelligent "ufologist" trope is maintained to the end.
"The Kettering Incident", based on my take of the first 2 episodes, appears to be delivering an intelligent, mature and well crafted drama that plays with high strangeness. Enjoy the ride and check it out.
"The Kettering Incident" debuts on Foxtel Showcase on July 4.
Some screen grabs from the first 2 episodes - including some interesting snow globes (I want one! ), conflicting "evidence" and a great cast of characters.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ALIEN INTRUSION AT WOOMERA? - a case of "Chinese Whispers"?

A very bizarre story surrounds the events of the beginning of the Blue Streak missile programme at the Woomera facility during the middle of 1964.  The UK project involved missiles that were assembled at what was the most advanced testing facility in Europe - the Ministry of Supply Rocket Establishment built at the Spadeadam Waste suite in Cumbria, England.  The missile would then be shipped to the remote Woomera site in Australia for final assemblage and test firing.
In the same Cumbrian region as the Spadeadam facility is the city of Carlisle.  From there former local fireman Jim Templeton and his wife took his two young daughters to spend Sunday, 24 May 1964, taking pictures at Burgh Marsh, an isolated location on the banks of the Solway Firth estuary.  He took a photo of his 5 year old daughter Elizabeth.  Apart from being a pleasant late spring day nothing seemed out of the ordinary except perhaps for the cows and sheep nearby which seemed to be behaving oddly, huddling together.  The only time he had noticed similar behaviour was immediately before a thunderstorm when the air seems heavy with static.
About a week later Jim Templeton was very puzzled when he learnt that his photo of Elizabeth had been spoilt by a “man in the background wearing a space suit.”  Examining the photo he could see that a man seemed to be standing behind Elizabeth’s head at odd angle that gave the impression that the man would not have been standing on the ground, but was seemingly situated in the air.  What was even odder was that Jim was absolutely certain that no one was anywhere near them in that isolated area and he would had noticed anyone anyway had they come into the shot as he was taking it. 
Jim sought the assistance from the police and it was through them that the picture got wider circulation through a story in the local paper “The Cumberland News.” Kodak got involved and despite extensive examination no one could solve the mystery.  Eventually the paper contacted the Ministry of Defence to request they look into it.  It was unclear whether the MOD did look into the matter at that point, but things soon took a decidedly odd turn. 
Following an initial phone call, two men turned up at the Templeton house in late June, driving a big black Jaguar car.  They were well dressed in black suits and seemed very officious, and sometimes a little off hand.  Oddly they referred to each other by numbers (Number 9 and Number 11) but cursorily flashed some identification saying they were from some government unit.
While this might for some represent a sinister resonance for an event that would horrify the world some 37 years later, it probably reflected the periods popularisation of number identifications in TV series such as the Prisoner or James Bond’s 007 title, as UK researcher Jenny Randles pointed out in her investigation of this 1964 mystery.
The strangeness of the situation escalated when the two men drove Jim out to the site of the photography.  They wanted to know the precise nature of the weather on the day the photograph was taken, how the wildlife and livestock behaved, whether he noticed any birds, any ambient sound and a similar litany of questions, but none about the camera or the film.  They then insisted on knowing where the man in the photo was standing.  When Jim responded he didn’t see a man at the time.  They seemed to get more confronting in their line of questioning seemingly trying to get him to admit to a hoax. 
When Jim insisted there was no man, they abruptly walked back to their car and left him there 5 miles from his home! A few weeks later Jim took another photo on the marsh area.  Upon development it showed “a streak of light climbing into the sky” (perhaps a lens flare?).  When the fire service asked him to give a talk on his experience, Jim returned to Burgh Marsh to take some more location shots to illustrate his lecture.  The developed slide film was returned but minus the Marsh shots.  Exasperated, Jim contacted the police, who subsequently intimated that the film had been appropriated for some sort of government enquiry and that was all they could say.  Pressing further Jim was told that at the time he took the photo of the man, some automatic cameras recording a rocket launch had captured “more or less the same thing” which led to the launch being aborted.  He could now understand why there was so much interest in his photograph.
It was also suggested that the Templeton photo had appeared in Australia media and Woomera test range staff in South Australia had seen it and the claim was made that a Blue Streak rocket launch had been aborted when two automatic survey camera had separately shown “two large figures in the firing area during the countdown phase.”  They were allegedly very similar to the “man” caught on Jim Templeton May 1964 photo. These suggestions appear to be attributed to the editor of the Cumberland News in conversation with Jim Templeton.  Whether it was a mangled cross reference or not Group Tom Dalton-Morgan, the officer in charge of the Woomera Range Operations between 1959 and 1963, was also attributed with saying, “that in 1964 they had aborted the launch of another test when a "white being" was seen on the automatic security cameras.” (From by Patrick Gross)
What can be confirmed is that Dalton-Morgan was the Officer in Charge of Range Operations at Woomera between 1959 and 1963. He had spoken about his own UFO experience at Woomera in about the late 1950s, shortly before the test firing of a Black Night rocket. He received a radio call from Percy Hawkins, the Recovery Officer, reporting an exceptional bright light at about 5000 feet traveling at high speed directly towards the test site.  Dalton-Morgan and his team, who were 80 to 90 miles SE of Hawkins position, were able to view the incoming light from their elevated control building position. They watched it fly in from the NW, then orbit around the range buildings some 5 miles to the south.  When the UFO was east of the control building, it seemed to accelerate and climb very steeply away to the NE.   Dalton-Morgan concluded, "I am unable to conceive of any object, plane or missile during my posting to Woomera that was able to perform the manoeuvers seen by my team.  Observers at the control tower and the launch site all agreed on the brilliant white-greenish light; the high degree of manoeuvrability, including rate and angle of climb; complete lack of sound; the lack of positive identification of the vehicle fuselage because it was a dark moonless night; and the exceptionally high speed of which it was capable." (See Ken Llewelyn’s 1991 book “Flight into the Ages” which described Australian military witness stories of the paranormal and UFO accounts.)
Jenny Randles’ investigation of the Templeton photo affair also highlighted that the UK government files. There is a letter in the Public Records Office in Kew, London dated 1964 December 29th referring to the Cumberland Spaceman by the MOD, with references by the Department of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) to an investigation into the events. There is also a letter of enquiry from a reporter dated June 15th 1964 enquiring about the aborted launch, which said that film of the Blue Streak launch effort shows an extraordinary object “impossible to miss” hovering nearby. The MOD responded suggesting the reporter contact them if he wishes to view the film.
There is confusion here because there was no Blue Streak launch on the scheduled day of May 25 due to various delays, including heavy cloud.  Obviously aliens or UFOs were not suggested in official launch records.  The launch did finally take place on June 5. (See “Fire across the Desert – Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project 1946-1980” by Peter Morton (1989), pgs. 458 – 463.)
It was this launch and film of it that was connected with possible UFO imagery, but lens flare was suggested as an explanation.  Aviation writer and ufologist Waveney Girvan claimed he saw film of the Blue Streak launch at a private screening during 1964.  According to Jenny Randles, “the colour original footage of the launch depicts the object very clearly, and the UFO seems to be on the ground right beside the missile before take off.”  Jenny Randles indicated that Girvan’s response to the suggestion of a lens flare was “the camera was protected with a hood to shield against the sun as this is always very strong in the Australian desert.  So the camera operators did not think the object was a lens flare.” See Jenny Randles, “MIB – Investigating the truth behind the Men in Black phenomenon” (1997), pgs. 75 – 88.
Of course the sun would not have been the only source of bright light during the launch – for example the rocket exhaust blast would be an obvious source, as well as other light sources closer to the camera. 
British Pathe in a piece of footage entitled “Blue Streak Two, One, Zero!” clearly shows a “disc-shaped UFO” which does not move with the Blue Streak take off.  It is clearly lens flare from a stationary light source.
In the end it is unlikely that aliens or UFOs intruded at the Woomera site during the Blue Streak programme on either the May 25 scheduled date or the June 5 actual launch date.  Woomera authorities nor the Australia department of Defence had any file details and the UK MOD files while not coming to any conclusions add evidence to the film showing only a prominent lens flare.  When you look at the original film it seems dismaying that the “saucer” shaped thing prominent in the launch was not recognised for what it is – a lens flare. 
The May 23 1964 Templeton photo still remains something of a mystery but various explanatory analyses seem to make sense. I wondered if parallax error and perspective had a hand in the shot.  While the 2 shots of the girl either side of the strange photo do not show the “spaceman” is it possible someone wandered by – a “bee keeper” or someone else, who wasn’t noticed by Mr. Templeton while he was intent on capturing his daughter on film.  Still it is an intriguing photo.  I have seen what seems a compelling argument for explaining the parallax perspective suggestion.  There is even an analysis that suggest that the figure is Mrs. Templeton.
In the absence of a “spaceman” photo from Woomera, the Woomera connection fades away and leaves only the Templeton photo.  Your choice as to whether you think there is an alien mystery here.  I suspect not. It seems it may have been a case of "Chinese Whispers" - facts, reality and mystery mangled on the retelling, hot on the trail of seeking mystery not facts. 

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Some interesting historical light reports - 1905 Penrith area, the travelling light 1909 and the Booambee Woolgoolga Road light mystery of 1929

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Star children" & "star seeds" - a "reality check" (DNA based) is needed

Keith Basterfield gives a interesting commentary on a recent "star seed" claim here in Australia:…/new-human-…

As I had devoted a chapter to this theme in my 2005 book "Hair of the Alien" I thought it was worthwhile to restate "the reality check" such claims require.
In the chapter - “An Early Abduction Odyssey” in my 2005 book “Hair of the Alien” – on the curious and fascinating story of Vicki Klein I discussed the complexity and validity of some abduction narratives and claims and closed the chapter with the following cautionary note. Given the recent publicity to recent “star child”, “star seed” claims I think it is useful to restate my views. Moreover claims of “hybrid DNA” should be validated with DNA testing. My book was focused on a case study – Peter Khoury’s 1992 experience which yielded a biological sample – a hair sample which was subject to detailed DNA analyses, headed by a leading DNA researcher Dr. Horace Drew (who worked at the CSIRO’s biochemical division as a senior research scientist). Claims of “hybrid DNA” should be examined in a more scientific way. My book was a template for such an approach, and given the techniques available today, belief in such claims is not enough. Techniques are available that take such claims beyond uncritical belief to greater certainty on whether they are the stuff of wild belief or something strange and worth investigation. If the numerous claimants and advocates continue to only described unsubstantiated claims, such experiences will remain just that – “claims”, “stories” from the wilder shores of UFO belief. A reality fix anchored in DNA studies and hard science is needed.
My 2005 comments:
“More uncertain and very much more provocative is the so-called “star children” phenomenon that has long been a part of the UFO abduction phenomenon. The belief argues that some “special children” with enhanced abilities, are the product of human/alien unions or other exotic means and they represent a transformational step in mankind’s artificially accelerated evolutionary path. Stories like those from Cynthia Appleton and Vicki Klein might suggest it, but these are far from the kind of proofs for the extraordinary implications that the “star children” saga implies. A somewhat uncritical fusion with new age perspectives has crept into the unravelling of such claims. While some of the advocates of the “star children” connection may mean well, and are perhaps only seeking to assist those people who have this sense of “alien origin” to realise what they perceive as their fuller potential, it is a veritable mind field for the uncritical and alienated within society. Such activities need to be rigorously linked with critical and objective assessments. As much of it centres around children such precautions are absolutely paramount. And yet the opposite seems to be happening. Parents of “special children” are often attracted to these belief systems, perhaps because to them it might somehow reconcile their sense of alienation. It is one thing for adults to embrace these things. It is entirely another thing for them to foist that belief system onto their children. Equally the researchers that advocate this “star children” belief need to tread extremely carefully before integrating children into this alien web. The soundness of their belief systems needs to be objectively tested. Advocates need to allow a critical assessment of their methodologies. If they don’t they will continue to wallow in the margins of the fringe belief systems from which it has emerge, and worse still run the risk of being seen as exploiting or endangering children.
“Numerous strands of reality and unreality run through the alien abduction story. Some either invigorate or endanger the serious investigation of alien abduction claims. Researchers and investigators in this controversial area of human experience need to tread carefully and purposefully, seeking frequent reality checks, as they try to work towards answers.”
In a footnote to those paragraphs in my book I elaborated:
"The “star children” belief has emerged from the “star people” concept popularised by writers such as Brad Steiger (see “The Star People” (1981) & “The Seed” (1983). Steiger dwelt on aspects of this milieu in his 1976 book “Gods of Aquarius – UFOs and the Transformation of Man”, specifically chapter 7 “The Star Maidens and the worldwide production of “little Uri Gellers”). Dr. Richard Boylan has emerged as a controversial advocate of “star children” (see “The Abduction Enigma” by Kevin Randle,, for some background on the controversy surrounding Richard Boylan). Jenny Randles provides intriguing material in her 1994 book “Star Children”. Whitley Strieber touches on this theme in some of his books, in particular “The Secret School – Preparation for contact” (1997). “Awakening – How Extraterrestrial contact can transform your life” (2002) by Mary Rodwell provides a somewhat uncritical and new age “bible” for experiencers. See in particular her Chapter 9 “Star Children – ‘Homo Noeticus’, The New Humans, or ‘New Kids on the block’. Colin Wilson in “Alien Dawn- an investigation into the contact experience” (1998) concludes with a similar focus. Some of the directions this belief system are leading to are described in such books as “From Elsewhere – Being E.T. in America” by Scott Mandelker, Ph.D (1996) and “Aliens Among us” by Ruth Montgomery (1985). An interesting journey through some of this territory can be found in “Soul Samples” by Leo Sprinkle Ph.D (1999). Researchers and travellers in this controversial area of “star children” claims would do well to take onboard the lessons of such books as “Hystories – Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Culture (1997) by Elaine Showalter and “Sleeping with Extra-terrestrials – The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety” (1999) by Wendy Kaminer. “In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space” by Douglas Curran (1985) provides a poignant “road trip” on this highway to the “alien-r-us” or the “alienated”."
In Keith Basterfield's commentary he refers to Mary Rodwell's book "Awakening" and the claims of 
Dr Berrenda Fox – amazing DNA cellular changes; some people developed new strands of DNA. (page 156). I actually highlighted years ago to Mary Rodwell that this claim was very dubious, as were many of Mary's "enhanced DNA" stories - none were validated in a scientific and documented way. This link highlighted the less than impressive background to "Dr. Fox's" story: 
While my journey through Vicki Klein's story and other complex cases I have examined cautions me not to dismiss these stories, it cautioned me to try available scientifically based techniques, such as DNA testing, to anchor such claims in fact or fancy.  I suggest the advocates of such claims try the same approach, otherwise they will be fodder for further marginalisation to "the wilder shores" of uncritical UFO belief.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

UFO High Impact - Westall and the amazing wave of 1966 - 50th anniversary

With the 50th anniversary of the UFO HIGH IMPACT year of 1966 here are some personal images that reflect my own engagement with that awesome year in Australian UFO history: 

being interviewed by the History Channel on Tully with Sydney Harbour bridge as backdrop; 

with Albert Pennisi, the owner of Horseshoe Lagoon - site of the famous daylight UFO incident in January 1966 - photo with Albert taken at UFO Research Qld's 2006 conference; 

the 3 "UFO amigos" at Westall in 2006 - Shane Ryan, George Simpson and me; at the Westall UFO theme park in 2015; 

at Westall school in 2005;

in the Department of Defence in 1982 taking over the DPR's desk examining the RAAF's UFO files;

at Burkes Flat in 1980 pointing at the tree that Ron Sullivan hit in 1966 when his car headlight beams bent in the presence of a UFO (Gary Taylor tragically died colliding with the same tree a few days later); 

with the 2 powerhouses behind the excellent documentary Westall '66 - a suburban UFO mystery - Carmel McAloon & Rosie Jones in 2006 at Westall; 

and my "forensic" drawing reconstruction of Victor Zackary's Westall experience in 1966.
1966 was an extraordinary year for high impact UFO events. Tully, Burkes Flat and Westall are the most prominent of these. There are other physical trace stories and events far stranger, such as apparent abduction events during that same year, long before such experience became a major part of the generally accepted UFO controversy. There is much more to be revealed about the extraordinary year of 1966.

Looks like I'll be on the Channel 10 TV next Wednesday April 6 2016 (about 10.30 am) coverage of the Westall anniversary.

I will be giving a lecture – “UFO High Impact - Westall and the amazing wave of 1966 revisited” at the Paracon 2016 event at Katoomba in late May 2016.
Time/Location: Sunday May 29th 2016 1030AM-1130AM in Blue Mountains Cultural Centre.
In the 50th anniversary year the extraordinary UFO wave of 1966, focusing on the striking Westall school case, the Tully UFO landing, the Burkes Flat "bent headlight beam" case, the Balwyn UFO photo, a Penrith close encounter and the Bankstown "saucer nest", is examined by UFO researcher, historian and author of "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story" and "Hair of the Alien - DNA and other Forensic Evidence of Alien Abductions Bill Chalker.
Note: There will be a screening of Westall 66 in The Blue Mountains Cultural Centre following this talk. (12PM-1PM) Check schedule for clarification.
I will also be interviewed on this theme by George Knapp on Coast to Coast radio on Monday, April 18, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm Sydney time as a way of covering the 50th anniversary of these extraordinary events – a time of UFO High Impact.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Kelly Cahill Case revisited - an extraordinary lost opportunity

In my latest column in Gary Heseltine's "UFO Truth" magazine there were some editorial typo issues which both Gary and I worked to fix.  As there might be some confusion I've included the corrected copy here:
"This is not a science fiction fantasy.  This is an Australian reality", states Kelly Cahill of her experiences and her odyssey into that vast milieu that is the UFO abduction phenomenon and the social phenomena that swells around it.
The first episode of the new limited season science fiction series of “The X Files”, aired in late January 2016, had FBI agent Fox Mulder testing the knowledge of a new possible asset by asking him about Kelly Cahill.  Here was “The X Files” utilising a real case.   That exposure in a fictional TV programme watched by millions put the Kelly Cahill case back into the spotlight. Kelly had long since retreated from the spotlight.  My last contact with her was when she sent me her personal files before moving overseas for a new life free of the attention that the UFO episode had drawn. 
Ultimately Kelly Cahill was the only witness to what may have been a multiple witnessed abduction milieu who emerged into the public eye.  The case showed great promise suggesting that on 8 August 1993 at a location known as Eumemmerring Creek, Belgrave, in the Dandenong region near Melbourne, Victoria 3 apparently independent groups of people may have witnessed a UFO at very close quarters, encountering strange entities and experiencing abduction like episodes with apparent physical effects on witnesses and the apparent UFO close encounter site – ground traces which appeared to include a magnetic anomaly, unusual soil chemical profiles and possible surface damage. In all it seemed 6 people were involved – Kelly and her husband “Andrew” (Car 1), Jill (or Glenda depending on which account you read), Jane and her husband Bill (Car 2 – Kelly apparently observed this car, but was only aware of 2 people), and a single male (Car 3). 
In attempting to deal with the unraveling nightmare, Kelly tried to contact universities and aviation authorities, albeit with unsatisfactory results. The aviation authority gave her 2 UFO contact numbers, one in Victoria and mine in Sydney, New South Wales as part of the UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC).  Kelly was very dissatisfied with her attempts to receive assistance from the Victorian group, which seemed keen to only get details of her experience into their publication, and then dwelling on how extensive their files were and criticising other researchers. She then contacted me on October 4th, 1993, seeking assistance in understanding a bizarre experience she had near the outer Melbourne suburban housing estate of Narre Warren North, in the foothills of the  Dandenongs, Victoria, between Belgrave and Fountain Gate, during the early hours of August 8th, 1993.
The importance of this event lies in the fact that when Kelly contacted me she mentioned that apart from her husband with her in their car, she was aware of another car further down hill from their position which contained at least two people, a man and a woman.  She paid little heed to them at the time as she and her husband's attention was taken up by a massive UFO that had apparently that had landed in the field opposite them. 
Because Kelly lived in Victoria and my preliminary assessment was that her experience warranted serious investigation from investigators and researchers closer to the locality than I was, I passed details of Kelly's experience onto John Auchettl of Phenomena Research Australia (PRA) and recommended Kelly contact him. 
PRA appeared to have conducted a detailed investigation of the incident which developed from a complex UFO close encounter, entity encounter and missing time milieu, to a incident that also involved other people unknown to Kelly and her husband. 
By November 17th, 1993, PRA's investigation managed to locate the man and woman apparently seen by Kelly that night.  The couple were also accompanied by a girl friend that night, and this separate group were apparently able to take John Auchettl back to the encounter site, to a spot consistent with Kelly's location of them.  The group's drawings of the UFO and entities also closely coincide with those of Kelly. 
It is extremely significant that this independent confirmation of a Close Encounter of the third kind (CE3) and "missing time" milieu has occurred as it possibly represents a first, in that two groups of people unknown to each other have witnessed the same UFO encounter, entities and also experienced missing time, and each group has been available to competent and serious investigators and researchers.  Perhaps for the first time independent witnesses have been able to provide information that enabled cross checking and correlations to reveal a striking degree of similar information, therefore possibly offering a compelling case for the reality of the strange events described.  The ontological status of the events is further strengthened by the reported discovery of a range of apparently related physical traces, including ground traces, a magnetic anomaly and effects on some of the witnesses.
Twenty years ago "The extraordinary abduction of Kelly Cahill" was the first chapter of my 1996 book "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story". "Rolling Stone" (Australian edition) ran that chapter as an excerpt in the magazine. Later in the year (1996) Kelly's own book "Encounter" was published. 
I described the case in my 2005 book "Hair of the alien" as a lesson well learnt - "Trust no one" (to play on an “X-Files” mantra) if you want it done right. The Kelly Cahill case and the strange dynamics with the PRA group in Melbourne ensured I would focus myself on the Peter Khoury case and not let another group run with it and seemingly bury their data, in a manner similar to what happened to Kelly herself.  Her persistence got her some limited case data from PRA (but far short of a detailed case file that gave context and detail).  Despite being the person who facilitated John Auchettl/PRA’s involvement in Kelly's case in the first place I never did see their promised case data and detailed report, which would have assisted in analysis and assessment.
Kelly Cahill's experience was an extraordinary lost opportunity. I came to regret my decision to involve PRA, but they were Victorian based and I was in New South Wales. PRA's decision to not make their data generally available was disappointing, but it was the dynamic that emerged in their investigation that disappointed me the most.
I am still impressed by the basics of Kelly Cahill’s experience.  I am frustrated by the investigation dynamic, mainly PRA's investigation, so much so I determined never to pass a case onto them again. It was frustrating that such a promising case was caught up in a situation where the group involved chose not to make their data available.  PRA specified witness problems and legal hassles as the key contributing factors that stopped their report emerging.  They claimed that forced changes made the proposed end document unworkable.
Maybe John Auchettl & PRA might now feel they can free up their case data on this intriguing case. Its only been 22 years? I've got no expectations nor do I wish to play their games again. Someone else's turn.  

In the absence of a detailed case file from PRA to examine I’ll summarise below various references that may help you navigate through this complex case.  This will help you then navigate through the various on-line Internet references which vary tremendously in quality. 
My own initial account of the complex episode was the first to appear.  It was published in the Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) publication International UFO Reporter, September/October, 1994, in “An Extraordinary Encounter in the Dandenong Foothills”
I had written in my original report:
“Kelly has gone on to write her own account of the experience and its difficult aftermath. In October 1994 John Auchettl and PRA, whose investigative thoroughness is to be commended, released a comprehensive report on the affair. In this emotionally explosive area it is easy for people to get caught up in less than satisfactory situations while they attempt to understand extraordinary experiences. I hope this event and the documentation that flows from it will be of some help to others in similar situations.
“The victims of these experiences must not be unrealistically encouraged by advocates of an alien presence; nor, at the other extreme, should they be ridiculed by the sceptical among us. They should be helped to deal with their experiences, whether those experiences turn out to be prosaic or profound in origin. The second part of this report will review the PRA report and examine in detail the accounts of the other group of witnesses. It will also consider the physical evidence and provide reflections on the nature and meaning of this event.” 
Here is a link to my original account which also includes a follow-up statement I posted in June 2002: 
“The Cahill case, PRA & openness:
“It should be noted that the above "comment" in the 1994 IUR report was prepared on the assumption that the "PRA comprehensive report on the affair" was about to be released. Despite nearly a decade passing, John Auchettl and PRA have not released their report other than a few fragments of information.
“As the researcher responsible for passing Kelly Cahill onto PRA in the first place, principally because I am NSW based and the incident occurred in Victoria, I have to say now that that decision was, in hindsight, a mistake.
“My comment in my 1994 IUR report: "John Auchettl and PRA, whose investigative thoroughness is to be commended", was based entirely on conversations with Auchettl and discussions with Kelly Cahill at the time (1993-1994), and in retrospect should have been qualified more accurately. While Auchettl & PRA may well have been thorough in their investigation, in reality there has been no way to absolutely verify this, because of their unwillingness to release their report and data on the case. PRA have offered some seemingly unusual and convoluted explanations for this lack of sharing.
“I have long encouraged openness and sharing in UFO research (my web site is in part an expression of my position on this matter). My attempts to encourage PRA in this direction, from my perspective, have been very disappointing, and have instead lead me to not to refer cases to John Auchettl and PRA. Unless PRA changes their apparent lack of transparency and openness, researchers and witnesses should carefully consider the wisdom of cooperating with Phenomena Research Australia (PRA).”
The “seemingly unusual and convoluted explanation” PRA provided for their report on the case revolved around 2 alleged versions of the report.  The first one was scheduled for October 1994.  John Auchettl was confidently advising of its imminent publication and that given I had facilitated his and PRA’s involvement in the case he had indicated I would be one of the first to receive the much anticipated report.  Hence I made reference at the end of my IUR report that their report was published (to align with the publishing schedule of IUR) and part 2 of my report would focus on my analysis of the PRA report.  Part 2 of my PRA never appeared because the PRA report was not released.  What happened? 
John Auchettl and PRA’s explanation was carried in their regular publication PRA Journal # 16 (December 1994) and indicated “THE EUMEMMERRING CREEK – CLOSE ENCOUNTER” report (on the case) “will be delayed for an unspecified time.” PRA spelt out it was due “an alleged NAME & LOCATION dispute with Group 1” (namely Kelly and her husband) and an “implied threat and possible unlawful act” allegedly directed at PRA.  PRA also added “On advise (sic – advice) from our Lawyers, we categorically state that at NO time have we compromised any confidential information, nor is there any information that would compromise any witness.” Helpfully John Auchettl/PRA added “see the IUR Sept/Oct 94 Edition as BILL CHALKER has produced an excellent brief for the IUR Journal.” (emphasis per John Auchettl) 
John Auchettl and PRA were not particularly transparent on what seemed just a temporary bump on the road to publication release, albeit with Group 1 information substantially revised. 
While John Auchettl and PRA insisted they had not created the “witness problems”, I found myself drawn into this dynamic by Kelly Cahill.  She rang me in a frantic state and agitated state begging me to contact John Auchettl to verify if her and her husband’s real names and location details were present in the PRA report about to be released.  She told me that she had not given permission for their real details to be used and her husband was extremely angry about this development.  Kelly had contacted John and found that this was apparently the case.  She was asking me to talk with John to see what had happen and what could be done.  I had an extended conversation with John in which it seemed very difficult to establish how John and PRA established they had permission to use Kelly and “Andrew’s” personal details in the report.  Eventually it seemed that “permission” seemed to revolved around Kelly inadvertently using her real name and address details on the back of a single envelope in an abductee questionnaire PRA helped Kelly undertake with a pool of apparent abductees.  
I put to John that this hardly constituted getting clear and unambiguous permission to use the witness’s personal details.  Apparently this led to PRA pulling the first version of the report.  It remained unclear to me the true nature of the investigator/witness dynamic in this case given John and PRA’s lack of transparency on the matter.  It seemed to me, correctly or incorrectly that things started to go downhill from there.  What seemed to be a very promising and impressive investigation and report seemed to disappear into “the PRA bunker” with only very limited data emerging. 
The PRA Journal # 17 (March 1994) had John Auchettl reporting on yet another major issue.  Allegedly the trio in Car 2 had signed a deal with German magazine interests who were now claiming copyright on all material related to their story.  PRA sought legal clarification but in the end version 2 of the PRA report did not appear.  As far as I can tell (as well as many other researchers also tried to determine) no German magazine ran any exclusive story on the experience of the occupants of Car 2. Nor did they come out with their own story.  So in the end we have only the fragments that Kelly gleaned from John Auchettl and PRA and others gathered as well, such as in my own conversations with John. 
Now if the problems described by John and PRA were accurately described they would certainly have been acutely frustrating, particularly the latter media intervention.  The witness issues could have been worked out I suspect without the need to gut the contents of the report, plus the reported physical data would have been independent of any of the witnesses and could have strongly supported the case, if they were allowed to have been fully reported in context. 
This was not to be and ultimately only John Auchettl and PRA can clarify that.  A promising case, indeed a very striking case, was adrift and largely only standing on the testimony of one very determined witness – Kelly Cahill – and any supportive data and information that could be gleaned.  These were largely anecdotal and only supported with some limited PRA physical data that lacked detailed context and documentation. 
I referred to the case in some detail in my 1996 book The OZ Files. Kelly Cahill wrote her own book about the experience – Encounter – which was published later in 1996.  See also UFOs: a Report on Australian Encounters by Keith Basterfield (1997), pgs. 123-128. Timothy Good provides a good summary in Unearthly Disclosure (2001), pgs. 51-66 based largely on Mark Birdsall’s interview with Kelly Cahill, which appeared as the article “The Red Dragon – The Abduction of Kelly Cahill”, UFO Magazine, March/April 1997.  This article also described the contents of a letter apparently written by the wife of the man in Car 3.  She mentioned I had failed to contact her after two messages were left. I found this particularly puzzling as my recordings of my answering service failed to reveal any calls that reflected that possibility. Needless to say if I had been aware that the wife of the Car 2 driver had actually called me I would have followed it as a very high priority.  I did actually follow up all calls I had receive from Victoria that had not panned out on initial call backs but nothing led to anything related to the case.  So that part of the letter was a big mystery to me. 
My summary “Kelly Cahill Abduction” appeared in The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters edited by Ronald Story (2001), pg. 291-293, also published as The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters in the UK (2002). 
Phenomena Research Australia (PRA) are yet to publish their account in the broader public UFO literature despite the passage of more than 2 decades! 
Along with Peter Khoury’s 1992 DNA case, Kelly Cahill’s case appears in The World’s Best UFO Cases compiled by MUFON UFO Journal editor Dwight Connelly (2004). Despite the lack of detailed PRA disclosure and his limited experience with them Connelly describes the PRA group as one of the most respected in the world, a claim I and many other researchers find very difficult to fathom. 
Here was an incident that might represent interesting evidence for a reality behind abduction reports.  While it might not represent extraordinary evidence, once you are familiar with the full extent of the case, it might give pause to the argument that such tales are more about the human condition than they are about UFOs.  Perhaps? Perhaps not? 
I found Kelly's account extraordinarily potent and compelling when I first heard it 2 months after it happened.  I still find her story compelling. I’m less sure of the stories attributed to the other 2 car occupants and I am uncertain about the physical data reported by PRA simply because there was no way to confirm further details without PRA’s cooperation.  
As a physical scientist I would have loved to have examined the full data and reviewed it with the analysts involved.  That was not possible as PRA did not allow those sorts of opportunities for peer review.  John Auchettl surprised me once when he told me that he could not share the contact details of the scientist or analyst in a particular case we were discussing. The discussion followed on from his comments that while PRA were able to get technical data they lacked the resources to get it properly analysed and evaluated.  I told him he was talking to a physical chemist – me, who could assist. He told me scientists don’t do that.  I was dismayed.   I replied scientists debate, argue and discuss data all the time – it's the core of peer review, the process that drives scientific dialogue and publication and research.  The Kelly Cahill case was a striking missed opportunity to do exactly that.  We are all the poorer for that. 
I am an advocate of careful, serious and thorough enquiry into such experiences.  Until such investigations and support become the norm rather than the exception, abduction experiences will continue to be the province of a marginalised fringe controversy.  Kelly and others like her deserve better than the polarised extremes we have now of uncritical belief and ignorant skepticism.
Alien abductions may yet prove to be remarkable testimony to the eccentricities of man - that is, these experiences may spring from the realm of the hoaxer, the deluded and the alienated of our society.  And yet the possibility that it may just be about something truly extraordinary demands we keep an open mind and keep the matter properly in question, until we have enough information to properly determine what is going on.  Fortunately the number of intelligent and qualified people now looking into the UFO abduction mystery is growing.
The victims of these experiences should not be unrealistically encouraged by advocates of alien presence, nor, at the other extreme, should they be ridiculed by the skeptical among us.  They should be helped to confront the reality of their experiences, whether or not it is eventually found to be prosaic, profound, or extraordinary.   Only time will tell, whether the search for answers will give us more insights into the human mind or into the UFO phenomenon.  Could it be that it will do both? 

The UFO abduction mystery more than any other part of the UFO mystery brings us into direct confrontation with the human dimensions of the UFO problems.  Here it is at its most intimate level with human beings.     However the evidence for a physical reality behind UFO abductions is not as compelling as the so called mainstream UFO phenomenon, and yet we have the extraordinary problem that it is the abduction phenomenon that is now defining the UFO phenomenon.  The UFO phenomenon itself has been abducted by the alien abduction phenomenon.   Until we have gained a much greater certainty with the abduction data, it should not define our central understanding of the UFO mystery.   We are a great deal more certain about the physical dimensions of the mainstream UFO phenomenon.  Let us not abandon the firm foundations developed over decades for the extraordinary uncertainties and fantastic claims that dominate the field today.  We need to learn from history.  If we don't we will be condemned to relieve it and the UFO phenomenon will be condemned to stay in the marginalised fringe shadow it is now struggling to emerge from.