Bill Gill was one of the most compelling and impressive UFO witnesses I had ever met. We corresponded and talked often about his remarkable experience. His experience witnessed by other members of the Boianai mission in Papua New Guinea in 1959 will be examined in Season 2 of Close Encounters on the Discovery Canada channel. I have tremendous respect for Bill Gill and I hope that the Close Encounters story accurately addresses his extraordinary experience - one of the best cases ever reported.
The image is from a video I took from Rev Gill's last UFO lecture, Brisbane, 14th June 2003.
Bill Gill's extraordinary journey from skeptic to believer needs to be carefully stated.
He was never a believer, but he simply stated that he saw what he saw
. (the video excerpt at this link is from "UFOs are Here (1977)") His whole life after the Boianai sightings was somewhat affected and why publicly he was patiently willing to consider all possible explanations the extremes of some skeptics and some ET believer apparently hurt the family. He supported serious attempts to analysis and investigate his sighting, even if they were skeptical or explanations that were not alien UFOs.
Bill Gill's letter to David Durie dated 25/6: I am almost convinced about the "visitation" theory. There have been quite a number of reports over the months, from reliable witnesses.
I do not doubt the existence of these "things" (indeed I cannot now that I have seen one for myself) but my simple mind still requires scientific evidence before I can accept the from-outer-space theory. I am inclined to believe that probably many UFO's are more likely some form of electric phenomena - or perhaps something brought about by the atom bomb explosions, etc.
At this stage Bill still left open in his mind the idea of "visitation" - visitation by aliens, the Americans or whatever.
Then with the 26th sighting he write the next day 27/6:
Now, less than 24 hours later I have changed my views somewhat. Last night we at Boianai experienced about 4 hours of UFO activity, and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are handled by beings of some kind. At times it was absolutely breathtaking.
He discussed with the native witnesses that night the theories about "flying saucers" some believe they were from other planets, some believe they were from leading nations on Earth, so he was still keeping an open mind and passing that perspective onto the native witnesses. So by 27/6 with the first nights experience, he was certain there had been visitation, but still doubt by what. With "Convinced Bill" he was only convinced he saw what he saw, and it was his "good natured sequel" to his initial skepticism. Theories -
he had none he was certain of. He mentioned that the object was manned by "beings of some kind" but was being somewhat "tongue-in-cheek" as he was only certain of what he saw, not what it was.
Ernie Evennett, a trader saw a UFO that same night (26/6) from across the bay. When he arrived at Boianai on 27/6 he was asked by natives, "Taubada (pigeon English for Sir), did you see the American Air Force last night? We did at Boianai."
So clearly Boianai natives and Gill were still entertaining "the American" visitation idea, but he was open to the ET idea, but still not totally certain.
With the night of 27/6 the "visitation" idea was verified in Gill's mind. He now no longer had any doubt of the "visitation" being real. He had his notes, he had his witnesses and plenty of others had seen things. He still wasn't prepared to say they were alien.
He was soon back in Australia and gave a lecture to the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society on October 28, 1959, of which I have a full transcript. He had also said similar things to the ABC TV: "I accept the possibility of life on other planets …. But I've no theory, merely because I haven't had time to think about it."
This was pretty much where he stood publicly for the rest of his life. He certainly believed in what he saw, it was real and it was a visitation by someone, of what he was never sure. His religious sensibilities harboured another possibility beyond ET, the Americans, and he kept this largely to himself. However this theory, and it was only a theory he would explore and think about a lot, it "came out" in his last lecture on 14th June 2003. I recorded his presentation. At the end he said, somewhat I thought in "tongue-in-check" but I suspect he was floating his idea that he had researched. What were they? He looked for something he had found. "This is the punchline" he said, what they might be. He then described the story of cosmonauts in space seeing "angels" - very large "men", glowing light, etc. So that was what he put forward as an idea. The evidence see this Pravda report, which described what had been rumoured and mentioned for years since it was alleged to have happened in 1985:
For Rev Gill I think while he couldn't prove it, so he did not present it forcefully, it was an explanation that did not seriously confront his religious thoughts. As far as I know this was the closest he came to saying this, that maybe the Boianai "visitants" were "angels", perhaps "angels" to him, "aliens" to others, but certainly real, certainly "visitants" - a term preserved by Randolph Stow in his novel "Visitants" - which opens with a prologue referring to the sightings.
So thats it, my understanding of the evolution of Bill Gill's thoughts on his sighting. Not really belief, but anchored in fact, and apparently privately mediated by his faith. But he put that out there as just an idea for thinking about. Perhaps the glowing "radiance" "sparking, etc that surround the "men" and the object led him privately in that direction. Publicly "aliens", "Americans" or "aliens", he did not know, but he was certain of what he saw.