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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
written in my original report:
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
is a link to my original account which also includes a follow-up statement I
posted in June 2002:
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
“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
“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
“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).”
“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?
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 3 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
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
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
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
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.