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.
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.