Wednesday, 10 December 2014

More Official Contradictions

          “I’ve just been advised that the first POC for UFO/UAE sightings at Airservices Australia is the NOC Supervisor....”

- Squadron Leader Jodie Hatch, Royal Australian Air Force

That’s weird. Firstly, myself, and others, have been repeatedly told, in official correspondence from both the Defence Department and Airservices Australia, that no one uses the term “UFO”. Secondly, no one in Defence or Aviation officialdom has ever mentioned the term “UAE”, despite repeated and reasonable enquiries into such terminology matters.

To further elaborate, on the 15th of July, 2013, I submitted a request for certain materials held by the Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS) under the Freedom of Information Act. It appears, despite my paying of search fees, plus assurances from the RAAF’s Director of Coordination, Group Captain Barbara Courtney, that this request was not handled with due diligence; but that is a topic for a later blogpost. In the handling of that FOI request, Defence produced a large number of internal emails and documents, some of held under the banner of a so-called ‘corporate file’. On the 8th of April, 2014, I requested that file, ironically, under the FOI Act. Essentially, I was doing an FOI request for the file which contained some of the documents created during an FOI request! That request was successful, and I obtained dozens of pages of internal emails and other documents regarding my earlier request. One of the many emails that stood out is a 22nd July, 2013 email from one Squadron Leader Jodie Hatch to the Director of the Defence FOI Branch which stated:

“I’ve just been advised that the first POC for UFO/UAE sightings at Airservices Australia is the NOC Supervisor XXXXXXXX”

The actual email is imaged below.

             That a RAAF Squadron Leader used the term “UFO/UAE” – whether it be in a Defence or Airservices Australia setting – is at complete odds with what I have been told in previous communications with both entities, as we shall see.

Firstly, in telephone correspondence on 12th April, 2013, I was told by an Airservices Australia’s public relations staffer that they do not have a specific terminology for UFO’s. Secondly, on the 6th of August, 2013, I sent a letter to the Chief of Air, RAAF, asking what “terms and terminology” for UFO’s were used to by Defence in any and all Defence settings. On the 15th of August, 2013 I received a letter from Group Captain Barbara Courtney, Director of Coordination, RAAF, on behalf of the Chief of Air (see my previous blog posts) The only term actually offered to me was the rather dry phrase “Violation of Controlled Airspace” – and that was only the term used in a technical setting when an unknown aircraft violated controlled airspace. In other words, Defence ignored my very reasonable questions.

            So, now, in regards to the above internal Defence email, we have a situation where a RAAF Squadron Leader is using the term “UFO/UAE”, which of course brings into question, to put it mildly, what I had been officially told by both Defence and Airservices over a year ago. The term “UFO” is clearly “Unidentified Flying Object”. The term “UAE”, I assume, is something along the lines of “Unknown” or “Unusual” “Aerial Event”. Either way, what I have been told before about UFO terminology is shown to be complete nonsense.

Furthermore, note the sentence in the email says:

“…first POC for UFO/UAE sightings at Airservices Australia is the NOC Supervisor XXXXXXXX”

Hold on.. This is new.. “POC” stands for “Point of Contact” and the “NOC” is the “National Operations Center”. Up until now none of this was known to UFO researchers, despite clear and fair enquiries in the past The notion that the “NOC Supervisor” handles UFO events is of great interest to me and my cohorts have already started investigating this matter. As for the “UFO/UAE” terminology issue, I judged by the fact that Squadron Leader Jodie Hatch was discussing Airservices Australia in her email that the terms were indeed Airservices Australia’s. I sent the Airservices Legal branch a letter on the 16 September, 2014, containing a copy of the Defence email as well as an explanation of the situation. I asked a number of questions, including the obvious one:

“Does the term “UFO/UAE” stand for “Unidentified Flying Object/Unknown Aerial Events” or “Unidentified Flying Object/Unusual Aerial Events” ?   The difference here is of course just one word: ‘Unknown’ or ‘Unusual’. I wish to learn which one is utilised.”

            On the 8th of October, 2014, I received the following correspondence:

“Your inquiry regarding UFO/UAE sightings was forwarded to Corporate and Industry Affairs for coordination of a response. Please find attached response to each of your questions. Information was obtained from both our National Operations Centre and from our Safety, Environment and Assurance business group.”

Attached was a copy of my questions, in PDF form, and finally, I thought, we may have an answer. In the attachment was a copy of my original questions, with answers below each. The key question was answered as below:

“Q1. Does the term “UFO/UAE” stand for “Unidentified Flying Object/Unknown Aerial Events” or “Unidentified Flying Object/Unusual Aerial Events”? The difference here is of course just one word: ‘Unknown’ or ‘Unusual’. I wish to learn which one is utilised."

“Answer: Airservices does not have a formal definition.”

        Thus, the entire matter is dismissed in one line. Taken at face value, this must mean that Squadron Leader Jodie Hatch was actually using internal Defence terminology in her email. I have written to the Melissa Davidson, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information, Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication Division to ask what, indeed, Defence was talking about in relation to “UFO/UAE” sightings. The fact that Defence has stated repeatedly, to me and other researchers, that they do not use the term “UFO”, one has to assume that someone, probably Defence, is not being entirely honest with us. This is not surprising. For seventy years we have been playing an endless game of hide-and-seek with authorities on this matter. And that game clearly continues today.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Extraordinary UFO/UAP Sighting: Final Report

An Investigation Report On An Unusual Event, South Coast NSW, 29 MAY 2014. Paul Dean, Keith Basterfield and Unnamed Associate, December 2014



           In my previous blog post I gave some preliminary details of a rather extraordinary case which landed in my lap last month. I enlisted the help of Keith Basterfield and a researcher who wishes to remain unknown at this time. At the request of the witnesses I cannot be more specific about the location, or, provide personal details about the witnesses. I spent several hours in email, telephone and in-person communication with both witnesses. I have no doubt that the witnesses have been open, and forthcoming with all details surrounding the event. They have been overwhelmingly responsive to my many questions, and they have been rather pleasantly surprised that someone would take them so seriously. They have supplied a map of the property and its surroundings to us; plus provided copies of ground level photographs of the locality. However, for transparency purposes in terms of this investigation report, we, the authors as listed above, need to advise readers that we have not been able to visit the property; nor conduct a door to door cold call to determine if there were any more observers of the event. In addition, we have not been able to contact local news media looking for additional witnesses. The account therefore stands on the verbal testimony of the witnesses, whom we have no reason to disbelieve. Here then, is a more detailed account of the event, than provided for in the preliminary report; plus investigation notes; discussion and analysis. What happened in the early hours of that night, Thursday 29 May 2014, when the witnesses were sitting outside watching the clear, moonless sky in a rural area of scattered dairy farms?

What happened?

There were several stages to the events and these will be listed below, in the order in which they occurred:

1. A hazy, white, foggy light became visible in the distance, to the west. "It was just over the hill so we could only see a misty glow at first, below the false horizon formed by the hill. It kind of looked like a house on fire, but less red/orange and more white...It's a hilly area and it was so dark (no Moon) so it's hard to be precise...It looked as though it was down in the valley but I could not see an actual source of the hazy light...To me it looked like the glow caused by a bright outside light belonging to a house, exaggerated by the mist that came with it."

2. This foggy light became larger/more obvious. "In the distance the haze grew from the size of my thumb nail, then eventually stretched to the size of my thumb...We were not looking at it consistently as we kept chatting, then each time we glanced over (about 3 times overall) it had changed significantly each time..."

3. The white hue became a red hue/fog. It seemed to "split." Instead of a vague fog, it became a row of about ten, red and blue circular lights lined up, with a bright white beam, at the front. Asked about this formation of lights, the response was "They started out in a row...then seemed to rally around a central, larger craft with a stronger white light on the front, like an eye. The smaller "escorts" had lights which were alternating between red and blue, like a slowly rotating police light but with with some occasional green thrown in...They seemed to compact together and surround/follow the white beam as it was scanning the hills/valley."

This "thing" then "...scanned the terrain of the hills and valley, just opposite to us, very low to the ground (around tree level) shining this incredible bright white light through the trees to the ground, as well as in front of itself. It was so bright it would have been able to see about 400 meters ahead. The red and blue lights were hovering around it. Whatever it was, it was looking for something...Also it made this weird oscillating sound that terrified us. It definitely was not a helicopter...It scanned in a grid pattern at what seemed to be a constant speed of around 80 km/hr.". This "scanning" light "At first, it looked like a bright motorbike light, as it came out of the scrub in the distance. When it was closer, or when it got more "active" it seemed brighter, more like a single train headlight. Quite a focused beam but definitely spreading and slightly conical...It had a back and forth motion, quite regular, like it was covering all the terrain as it ran through its "search pattern" through the valley. It never seemed more than 20 metres off the ground, except when it occasionally traversed over the tree tops."

4. "If that wasn't enough, at the same time this was happening, all around us was this foggy hazy light...this "fog" was coming from these 3 different rhombus shapes, 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 red. They had cross hatching effects/sort of laser light effects creating their shape and overlapping one another. I estimate it would have been about 10-20 metres above us. It was just hovering there above us, making no wind/breeze or anything. It was basically just this maelstrom of lights and terrifying noise. We're pretty sure the noise was coming from the scanning light and not the one above us, but can't be 100% as obviously they were "working" together.

The female witness paid more attention to the "thing" that appeared to be close and almost overhead of them. The male witness stated "That was definitely a different craft...I paid it very little attention due to my focus on the other objects. I do remember the fog which came with it and the way the lights cut through the layers of fog like lasers at a music festival...I don't think I looked up at it properly..."

5. "...the really bright light that was scanning the terrain was getting closer to us and its spotlight was scanning in our direction. By this point I was so scared I thought I was about to have a heart attack as it shone its light on us." The two witnesses decided to retreat into the nearby house.

6. They stayed inside the house for an estimated 40 minutes. During this time the noise went away. "The noise continued for maybe 5 minutes, may be longer with the odd random beam flicking past the window. It seemed to take 20 minutes to half an hour before the sound had faded into the distance and another 40 minutes for me to build up the guts to go back outside." Then, on going outside, "...there was still some light activity, going on on the other side of the valley/hill, except instead of the really bright light making noise/scanning, there was lots of little ones. We watched for a while, then they quickly joined together to make "one" and left the mountain and as it did so. all the dogs within a few kilometers started to howl."  That was the end of the event. 

In a piece of rather detailed sketching art, the female witness drew a picture of the event in a notepad, and I have been furnished with that imagery for everyone to ponder. Below is a copy of the drawing.

What did the witnesses think it was at the time?

1. Regarding the initial haze/fog. "1) It's the neighbours back sensor light (over the hill behind us). 2) It's a car headlights coming around the road."

2. Regarding the circular lights. "It must be a milk truck/cattle truck (it's dairy country)..."

3. Once the lights compacted. "It must be a farmer on his quad bike..."

4. On the end lights. "...we rationally thought that maybe there were a whole bunch of farmers running around with flashlights..."


How does one go about investigating such an account, where you do not have on-site access, or the ability to conduct on-site checks with the neighbours, or through the media? In the end, it boils down to checking the information provided by the witnesses, against potentially mundane explanations, to try and eliminate these as a source of the observations. A check of the lunar cycle revealed that there was a new Moon on 29 May 2014, so there would be no Moon in the sky in the early hours of that night. A check of the weather for the nearest Bureau of Meteorology site, which was 24 kilometers away, showed that the cloud cover was most likely 1/8th at that time. Winds were light. At 3pm on 28 May, 19km/hr from the NNE and at 9am on 29 May, 20 km/hr from the SW. Thus the best estimate from this data would be relatively clear skies at 2am on the 29 May. There is no radar coverage available of this area, so there was not an opportunity to obtain this via an FOI request.

Discussion and Analysis

One of the authors, Keith, commented as follows:

1. The usual suspects, such as stars, planets, meteors, aircraft etc. seem not to apply here, due to the direction, movement and description of the phenomenon.

2. The report initially came to us via a Facebook account. The witnesses responded to an email inquiry, and then followed up with detailed descriptions via email, telephone and in person.

3. Keith notes that the detailed accounts supplied include what J Allen Hynek used to call an escalation of hypotheses. That is, at several points during the event, the witnesses tried to provide themselves with rational, non UAP explanations for what they were seeing. The witnesses now believe that they have ruled out any conventional explanations.

4. We can suggest only one conventional explanation which sceptics will put forward. This covers only some of the data points and would of necessity involve misperception by the witnesses. Could it be that they did indeed misperceive an "official search operation" of some kind? The fact that there were no roads in the area where the light was scanning, would not preclude a ground search, perhaps supported by a helicopter. The male witness at one stage in his account told one of the authors (PD) that "We quizzed a local farmer...he'd woken up to the sound of a helicopter at around 2am on the night in question." The male witness also stated, about the end of the event. "There seemed to be smaller lights amongst the distant scrub for 10 or 15 minutes, moving around randomly like men with torches."

Against this generalised explanation, one needs to match the witnesses' detailed description of the number and movements of the light sources, particularly the female witness' account of the close, nearly overhead extended angular diameter "object". All in all, on the supplied data, I'd be inclined to assign a low possibility (though not negligible) to this search operation hypothesis.

I checked with both NSW Police and an person in a current Army Aviation role, and found that helicopters are required to have the standard red and green navigational lights showing, and do not use blue lights. In addition, as the witnesses were outside for some time before the event began, where would a fully crewed helicopter suddenly come from? Overall, the witnesses dismiss the idea of a search operation and any involvement of a helicopter.

5. Another thought by one of the authors, Keith, regarding the close, almost overhead light display (reported in detail by one of the witnesses) was the possibility that could it have been a display of the Aurora Australis? These displays feature red and green, laser like rays, and are seen to the south (the light display was to their south). It also had an extended angular size of perhaps 5-10 degrees (as do Aurora.) The Aurora prediction service issued a bulletin dated 29 May 2014 alerting observers to the fact that auroral displays were to be expected in coming months. One of the authors (PD) put this hypothesis to the female witness, who said no, it was not an aurora.


We studied this case from quite a few angles. I, along with Keith and the other researcher who wishes to remain unknown by name for now, all agree with me that this event is very hard to explain in terms of the mundane or man-made. Thus, this case should be considered as an example of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP.)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Extraordinary UFO/UAP Sighting and Beginning Of Investigations

             As part of any serious study of the UFO/UAP matter, sooner or later an undertaking of in-depth case investigation is obviously essential. As a member of Victorian UFO Action (VUFOA), as well as an instigator of a new national sightings database with colleague Keith Basterfield, I have recently spent much time studying a number of cases, both old and new, many of which I will be publishing either by myself, or with Keith, or with VUFOA. I have spent considerable time working on such cases as the North West Cape US Navy sighting of 1973, right through to the 2014 “near miss” between a passenger plane and an “unknown object” over Perth - “unknown object” being the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s terminology - not mine.

            I have recently worked on one of the most unusual cases I’ve ever heard from Australia, or certainly one of the most unusual in recent times. In mid-2014, on the south-east coast of NSW, two people were into well into a long-term house-sitting stint on large rural property. On the 29th of May, around 2am, whilst talking and watching the sky for meteors, planets, etc the woman first noticed a hazy, white, foggy light in the distance. She drew her partner’s attention to it, and over the next two minutes it became larger in size. At this point, they considered the possibility that it might be the neighbour’s backyard sensor light or a small fire. After four minutes it was still growing in size. They then considered whether or not it might be car headlights. At this point, suddenly the white hue became a red hue/fog. At the same time it seemed to split.

It became a row of about ten red and blue, circular lights lined up, with a bright white beam at the front. As they were new to the area they continued to look for a logical explanation. Then the row of white, blue and red lights suddenly compacted itself whilst an incredibly loud noise commenced. The witnesses’ best guesstimate as to the distance to the object, was 900 metres. In the witness’ own words “It then scanned the terrain of the hills and the valley just opposite us, very low to the ground (around tree level) shining this incredibly bright white light through the trees to the ground, as well as in front of itself.” The red and blue lights hovered around it. By this time both witnesses were terrified by the weird, oscillating sound and the foggy, hazy light, all around them.

So, there was the row of lights some distance away, plus all around them was a foggy, hazy light. This fog, quite a distinct phenomenon from the first event, was coming from “...three different rhombus shapes, 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 red. They had  cross hatching effects, sort of laser light effects creating their shape and overlapping one another. I estimate it would have been 10-20 metres above us.” There was no air turbulence felt. “We’re pretty sure the noise was coming from the scanning light and not the one above us...” At this point, the scanning light came closer to them and they ran into the house and did not look out for 40 minutes, even after the noise ceased. They then noted some light activity still going on on the other side of the valley; little lights joined together and left the area. Suddenly all the dogs in the area began to howl. The area surrounding the house has some paddocks, but is mostly bushland.

Working with the witnesses, we are now looking at all possibilities, but initial investigations indicate a very real and very tangible event did occur. I have already mounted investigations with some government agencies and a study of the geographical area in question. The witnesses wish to remain anonymous. Privacy is essential for a number of reasons.  A full report will be published soon.