Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The 1966 Burkes Flat "bent headlight beams" case revisited - followup

From my detailed retrospective investigation of the Burkes Flat incident. The above imagery collection shows a number of aspects of the case and its investigation. I am pictured on site at Burkes Flat pointing to the tree that Gary Taylor's car collided with, causing his death. VUFORS investigator Paul Norman recovered a headlight from Gary Taylor's car and passed it onto my friend & colleague Dr. Geoff Stevens, then working with the Australian Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights. Geoff showed me the work he did, including tracing with chalk marks the directions of lines of magnetic force on the headlight. The picture shows my hand on the headlight for size reference. The relatively random directions of lines of magnetic force ruled out evidence for exposure to a strong magnetic field. That would have caused all the lines to be running in the same direction. A contemporary photo, shown in the documentary, reveals the investigation undertaken by police and the coroner at the site of Gary Taylor's fatal car crash. A photo from 1984 shows me interviewing Ron Sullivan, the witness to an extraordinary bending of car headlight beams at the same locality.
In my 1984 research article "The Bent Headlight Beam case revisited" (published in the "UFO Research Newsletter" (UFORAN magazine) Volume 5 No. 3 May-June 1984, and republished later in the British magazine FSR - Flying Saucer Review) I wrote:
"Ever since I became deeply involved in investigating and researching UFO events in Australia, one remarkable event has held a particular fascination for me, namely the incident that became known as the "bent headlight beam case."  It took place on April 4, 1966, at Burkes Flat, Victoria."
You can have a look at some of my work on this extraordinary case at the following links:
CLASSIC "COLD CASE": 1966 Burkes Flat - the "bent headlight beams
The classic 1966 Burkes Flat case case on my OZ Files page

The "Close Encounters" series first aired early this year on Discovery Canada (and now airing on the US Science channel) included coverage of the Burkes Flat case, as per my Facebook page comments of 26 February, 2014:
I recently caught up with the double Australian case episode of the Discovery Canada series - Episode 11: "Saucerful of Secrets" (1966 - Tully) and "Lights Out" (1966- Burkes Flat) - in which Shane Ryan and myself are commenting on each case. Once again the "recreations" are dramatic and entertaining and hopefully will encourage enquiring minds to dig into the actual data about the case. As I have extensively researched and investigated both cases I have issues with the fidelity of the "dramatic recreations" with the facts of both events. In both cases I know I supplied extensive material which gave detailed illustrated and photographic evidence and data, so some of the "recreation" deviations from the actual facts of each case are puzzling to me. But given the entertainment format I am consoled by the likelihood that the shows may encourage interest in these striking cases.
For the uninitiated some of the more obvious "deviations" (i.e. thats not the way it happened) in each are:
"Saucerful of Secrets" (1966 Tully): George Pedley was driving a tractor, not a jeep; there seems a marked separation of viewing the UFO and the "saucer nest" - in this case an "under-dramatisation" of the facts. George first saw the UFO directly above the lagoon at a very low level, virtually at head height, rising up. In other words there was a direct visual correlation with the location of the nest and the UFO - a definite "close encounter" - In the "recreation" there is a disconnection; The "nest"! Well in the "recreation" it is virtually a floating, slowly spinning birds nest in appearance, which is far from its original appearance. Both George and Albert entered the water of the lagoon, not just George. I did to, years later, but got out pretty quickly when one of Albert Pennisi's sons, (Shane Pennisi told me he thought it was probably him in the early 1970s) told me about the taipan snakes. Probably more accurate to say I launched myself out of the lagoon, but didn't make it as high as George's UFO back in 1966. The dynamic between George and Albert wasn't too bad from my perspective.
"Lights Out" (1966 Burkes Flat): Not sure where the reference came from with regard to Ron Sullivan seeing something behind him just before the encounter. In the "recreation" he avoids colliding with the tree and come to a stop off the road and gets out of the car. That didn't happen according to what Ron told me. The direction and nature of the bend of the "headlight beams" was incorrect.
Ben Hurle and the VUFOA team will be shortly coming out with their retrospective doco on the case which will be an excellent description of the events along with new information. I mention their work in early postings.
Anyway enjoy the Close Encounters "takes" for what they are: creative takes and commentaries from two lads from down under about two extraordinary classic cases from Australia that deserve your deep attention, beyond the 22 minutes in total afforded to them. I've been exploring and researching both cases for decades and they are still mysteries to me - each are powerful examples of the UFO mystery.

As of 18 March 2014 with the release of "The Burkes Flat UFO Incident - The Tale of Two Men" Ben Hurle and the Victorian UFO Action team have done an excellent job in this fascinating documentary, which brings so many memories back to me.  I interviewed Ron Sullivan & Hugh Hunter back in 1980 and undertook a site investigation at Burkes Flat. I recommend this outstanding "cold case" investigation:

Here are some screen grabs from the excellent VUFOA documentary:

Ben Hurle interviewing Ron Sullivan

VUFOA recreation

Ron Sullivan explaining the sighting sequence

Ron Sullivan's drawings of the UFO sequence

Ben Hule interviewing Peter Vanrennan, who as a 
tennager was the first person in the group who found 
Gary Taylor at the car crash site after Taylor's friend
Lawrence Boyle sought their help.

A photo of the ground trace supplied by the Saints

Ben Hurle with Ron on site at Burkes Flat

Ben Hurle interviewing Sheryl Saint, owner of 
the paddock in which the UFO was seen.

VUFOA team member Ivan Rigoni attached a plaque 
at the site with Ben Hurle watching on

Lawrence Boyle recollecting his friend Gary Taylor

Ben Hurle interviewing Lawrence Boyle with my on site 
photo of the now missing impact tree at Burkes Flat

A wealth of information on an extraordinary event that needs to be remembered and better understood.  Something extraordinary occurred at Burkes Flat in April 1966, which sadly led to the death of a young man.  What did Ron Sullivan see? A UFO with a "solid light" display which interacted with our own light in a very striking way; did Ron encounter some sort of bizarre nocturnal mirage effect? Did he encounter an extraordinary Earth Light display?  Ron Sullivan's 1966 experience is a remarkable example of a UFO event with very striking interaction on its surroundings. Thank you Ron for your determination and courage in coming forward with your experience, which allows us to contemplate and research an incredible mystery, with profound implications for our understanding of reality.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Hair of the Alien" and "Ancient Aliens"

From the History channel (H2) programme "Ancient Aliens" (Season 6 Episode 19: "Alien Breeders") just aired in the US some frame grabs - "Hair of the Alien" & "Ancient Aliens" come together in some highly speculative discussions? From the "Ancient Aliens" web site: 
Premiere Date:March 14, 2014 - 09:00-10:00PM ET
Demonic seduction… hybrid offspring… and strange abductions. In cultures throughout the world, there are tales of intimate encounters with otherworldly beings. But could these stories be more than just mythology? Scientific deconstruction of human genetic makeup has revealed that our origins are not what we once believed. Biologists have determined that early humans mated with several other species of intelligent hominids. Neanderthals, Denisovans, and a third–as of yet unidentified–species may also be represented in our DNA. Is it possible that tales spanning from fallen angels to Greek gods, medieval incubus and succubus to today's extraterrestrial sexual encounters are all one in the same? And if so, is it all part of a greater agenda? Might examining these experiences provide not only evidence of extraterrestrial sexual intervention in the remote past, but also reveal the true nature of mankind's origins?

Monday, March 03, 2014

Science, Skeptics and UFOs - A reluctant scientist explores the world of UFOs

I'm reading this at the moment on Kindle. My initial quick read through suggests this book is well worth getting. There is much that recommends this book.  I was impressed enough to order the hardback version of the book - looks like a keeper, which will no doubt get looked at in considerable more detail.  

As a fellow physical chemist I admire his approach. He has much to say about the approach of science to the subject.  Most of what I have read so far I would agree with.  :
Science, Skeptics, and UFOs
A Reluctant Scientist Explores the World of UFO
By B. Timothy Pennington PhD

From B. Timothy Pennington's book:
"I have been saddened as I came to understand the irrational response of the scientific establishment to the UFO phenomena. I have come to understand the scientific establishment's UFO paradigm. The paradigm is belief driven ....""Never have I seen so many fallacies strung together as in the the scientific and skeptical responses to UFOs and other unexplained phenomena. It is the Emperor's New Clothes in reverse."
From the publishers:

On a farm in central Mississippi in the 1970s, the author and his family were surprised to find themselves in the middle of a hotbed of UFO activity. In 1977 the author, a scientist, turned to the book UFOs Explained by Philip J. Klass looking for answers, but found the explanations did not really fit. For years he drifted in indecision unable to fully come to grips with what he and his family had experienced. Knowing that UFOs were a taboo subject to most mainstream scientists, he was quite reluctant to come forward on the subject of UFOs during his career. Abandoning his concerns after retirement, the author takes the reader on a journey of full disclosure and discovery. During this journey, the author discovered that his family sightings and a number of well-known Mississippi sightings were clearly related phenomena. Further findings ultimately led the author to explore the wider world of UFOs and to discover some insights never brought to light before. B. Timothy Pennington was born in Jackson, Mississippi on September 2, 1948, the second of three children. He grew up in Polkville and Morton in central Mississippi and attended East Central Community College in Decatur before entering the University of Southern Mississippi where he went on to earn a Ph. D. in chemistry in 1974. He completed two years of postdoctoral research at the USDA Eastern Regional Research Center near Philadelphia, PA as a National Research Council Research Associate and one year as a Robert A. Welsh postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Arlington before accepting a teaching position at Navarro College in Corsicana, TX. After teaching and writing scripts for chemistry videotapes for two years as part of a National Science Foundation grant, he joined the chemical industry in the Lake Charles, LA area in 1979 and stayed in the industry for 30 years. A member of the American Chemical Society for over 35 years, he has seven publications in refereed scientific journals, two trade industry publications, and 21 US patents as inventor or co-inventor. In 1970, he married the former Esther Kennedy of Forest, MS and has three adult daughters.