By Michael Jordan,
President of UFORUM (Perth, Western Australia).
These sightings are termed ‘classic’ because of the volume of detail available and the fact that they cannot be acounted for in conventional terms, or for that matter by the implausible concoctions that some imaginative skeptics are able to conjure up.
One remarkable series of sightings which occured in Australian administered territory happened at Boainai Mission on the north-east coast of Papua in June, 1959. The whole case is well worth recalling as some readers may not be familiar with, or perhaps have long forgotten, the amazing sequence of events.
Stephen Moi, a mission school teacher, and other locals, described for the Rev. Father William Gill, a Church of England clergyman stationed at Boainai Mission, their observation of a very brightly lit object that hovered over the sea, gradually decreasing in brilliance and taking the shape of a saucer. At the time Father Gill, although personally strongly skeptical, wrote out a formal report on the sighting and sent it to Rev. D. Druiry in Australia. By way of postscript Father Gill wrote, "My simple mind still requires scientific evidence before I can accept the ‘from out of Space’ theory. * I am inclined to think that many unidentified objects are more likely to be some kind of electrical phenomenon. I prefer to wait for some bright boy to catch one and exhibit it in Martin Place".
Subsequent events caused Father Gill to change his point of view. On June 26, 1959, at 6.45 pm, standing in front of the mission house looking out to sea, he saw a brilliant light which began to descend towards him. Joined by two of the mission teachers at this point, he began to take notes of the events, as the light approached and then receded. Suddenly the object came to within about three hundred feet of the watchers and remained still for some time. They noted that it was circular, had a wide base and a narrower upper structure and appeared to have two sets of protruding legs on the base. At periodic intervals a shaft of blue light emanated from the centre of the craft.
What happened next astounded the small group of observers. A human-like figure appeared on top of the UFO, soon to be joined by three others. Father Gill was later to write in his documentary of events, "As we watched it ‘men’ came out from the object and appeared on what seemed to be a deck on top of the huge disc. There were four figures in all, but only occasionally were all on view at once."
The group watched the UFO until 7.20 pm when the figures disappeared and it moved into cloud. At. 8.29 another smaller craft was seen over the sea and at 8.35 still another was sighted over Wadobuna village. The large craft reappeared at 8.50 and was stationary until 9.20 pm. Meanwhile the other two UFOs kept coming and going, reflecting light from their surfaces and could be seen clearly by the watching party.
The next day Father Gill questioned the locals and thirty-eight people besides himself signed a document testifying to their sightings. At about 6pm on the next evening (27th June) what looked like the original craft returned to the same spot. In very good light, the witnesses were able to see four figures appearing to be involved in some work on the upper deck. Father Gill wrote, “one figure seemed to be standing looking down at us. I stretched my hand above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same”.
In an effort to persuade them to land, one of the teachers flashed a torchlight at the UFO crew. In response "it swung like a pendulum", Father Gill wrote, "presumably in recognition..... it hovered, came quite close towards the ground.... and we actually thought it was going to land, but it did not. We were very disappointed about that."
On the next day, Sunday 28th June, the UFOs were back for four hours, eight craft being seen at the same time appearing to shimmer and give off silvery light. There is no doubt that these sightings, clear and detailed, seen over prolonged periods of time, multiple-witnessed, cannot be explained away as objects from within our normal spectrum of reality.
1. Saucer Concentration
Over Papua, by Rev. Norman E.G. Crutwell, In FSR V/5 (Sept/Oct., 1959)
2. Late News: Saucers over Papua By Rev. Father (later Canon) W.B. Gill. Also in FSR V/5 (rear cover).
3. Saucer Men Seen in Flight By Rev. Norman E.G. Crutwell. In FSR V/6 (Nov/Dec. 1959) With sketch of craft.
4. What Happened in Papua? By Rev. Norman E.G. Crutwell. In FSR VI/6 (Nov/Dec. 1960).
*NOTE BY EDITOR, FSR
But the "out of Space" theory is not the only theory now being entertained, and probably few folk believe in it today. Moreover, our two clergymen seem to have been convinced for some reason or other that the entities seen on the craft in Papua simply had to be "friendly to man". However nobody has ever produced the slightest evidence to support this. It is true that one of the entities allegedly "waved back". But what does such a gesture prove? Incidentally, we now know that "strange lights" were often seen in the night skies over Papua even before 1914.
© Flying Saucer Review Library of Congress copyright FSR Publications, Ltd. 1981.
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