I generally try to not say anything about UFO sightings because the vast majority is characterized as a light in the sky. In fact, they appear to be phenomena that are self emitting which makes visualization tricky at best. It is like looking at a light bulb and trying to see any detail. There are thousands of such reports recorded to date yet I have already told you all that there is to know for most.
This report is much different. It is fifty years old and it was well handled by a large group of observers. Most importantly, it was close and ample detail became visible, to say nothing about the observation of working individuals on the craft. It behaved just like a visiting ship coming up to a tropical island, yet standing offshore while they did their business.
Far more important, is that the operators made no attempt whatsoever to hide their presence from observers. The elusiveness of most UFO events had left me with the distinct impression that they prefer to avoid disturbing us. This situation is telling us quite the opposite. It makes it pretty clear that the operators have no such general avoidance rule or this clear interaction would have been very different even if their presence at the time was necessary.
It is worth knowing that the numbers of UFO sightings consisting primarily of a light in the sky, presently are in the tens of thousands. Their limitation has always been the fact that their luminescence wiped out any fine detail. In short a hundred thousand reports of a light in the sky left you holding the evidence bag.
On the other hand, when we review data from the ten thousand Sasquatch sightings, we get plenty of comparable detail and predictable behavior with confirmation. And if you get close and downwind, you get the appropriate body odor.
This particular report goes a long way to ending that difficulty. In fact, if this were the only UFO report in existence, its natural credence would establish the phenomena clearly. We can relate to an alien exploration vessel sailing in and looking us over. Our problem has been the fact that they practically ignore us.
I leave purported interaction reports alone because they pass through a shocked observer and become profoundly interpretive, in the same way that an illuminated device obscures itself. It is difficult to establish certainty.
Yet with an observation such as this one, the observers and the observed have stood off and inspected each other in broad daylight with ample witnesses. It could not have been more ideal. Even more importantly the occupants made themselves visible so that no mystery remained regarding their nature. Tellingly, they were interpreted as human. This means that their movements were human bipedal just as are the movements of the Sasquatch. Again this broadly conforms to my conjecture regarding the presence of space adapted humanity in space habitats.
There are other equally strong UFO reports, but this is the one that confirms that they are not much bothered by us seeing them, although they would obviously avoid disturbance as much as possible as normal operating procedure, particularly since they do not wish to directly communicate.
No simple flight of fancy
January 01, 2010 12:00AM
IT is now 50 years since a 31-year-old Australian Anglican missionary in
, William Gill, and 37 parishioners and staff made the best attested and least explained sighting of unidentified flying objects in the long, otherwise kooky history of the genre. Papua New Guinea
The day before the celebrated encounter of a mystifying kind, Gill had written a letter to David Durie, acting principal of St Aidan's College, which trained teacher-evangelists at Dogura, then the headquarters of the church in PNG.
Gill, who was priest in charge at Boianai, a large village on the mountainous north coast of Milne Bay province, about 25km west of Dogura, told Durie of a UFO sighting by Stephen Moi, then an assistant teacher.
He wrote: "There have been quite a number of reports over the months from reliable witnesses.
"The peculiar thing about these most recent reports is that the UFOs seem to be stationary at Boanai or to travel from Boianai," a beautiful location brilliantly captured by pioneer Australian photographer Frank Hurley in 1921. "I myself saw a stationary white light twice on the same night on April 9 . . . the assistant district officer, Bob Smith, and Mr Glover have seen it. I do not doubt the existence of these things, 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 UFOs are more likely some form of electric phenomena or perhaps something brought about by the atom bomb explosions etc.
"That Stephen should actually make out a saucer could be the work of the unconscious mind, as it is very likely that at some time he has seen illustrations of some kind in a magazine.
"It is all too difficult to understand for me; I prefer to wait for some bright boy to catch one to be exhibited in
"Yours, Doubting William."
The following day, he wrote again: "Dear David, life is strange, isn't it? Yesterday I wrote you a letter, expressing opinions re the UFOs. Now, less than 24 hours later I have changed my views somewhat.
"Last night we at Boianai experienced about four 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. Here is the report.
"Cheers, Convinced Bill.
"P.S. Do you think P. Moresby should know about this? If people think it worthwhile, I will stand the cost of a radio conversation if you care to make out a comprehensive report from the material on my behalf!!"
What had Gill and his parishioners seen?
The notes he made following his encounter describe a bright white light appearing in the northwestern sky, approaching the mission station, then hovering about 100m in the air.
Gill, Moi, another teacher, Ananias Rarata, and 35 other people who all later signed a confirming document, watched what they described as a large, disc-shaped, solidly constructed object, with a wide base tapering up to a higher deck, and with what appeared to be four legs beneath, and four brightly lit panels in the side.
It occasionally emitted a shaft of blue light at a 45 degree angle.
Then what they described as men emerged on to a deck on the top, four at most, but in various configurations. Clouds, which were at about 600m, then eventually obscured the vessel as it drifted higher.
It had been stationary through most of the 25 minutes of this encounter.
Gill then wrote his letter to Durie. That evening, the visitation returned in an extraordinary manner. He first saw it at 6.02pm, as the sun was setting.
Gill's account states: "We watched figures appear on top - four of them - no doubt that they are human.
"Two smaller UFOs were seen at the same time, stationary. One above the hills west, another overhead.
"On the large one, two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the centre of the deck . . . were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or setting up something (not visible).
"One figure seemed to be standing looking down at us (a group of about a dozen). I stretched my arm above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same.
"Ananias waved both arms over his head then the two outside figures did the same.
"Ananias and self began waving our arms and all four now seemed to wave back. There seemed to be no doubt that our movements were answered. All mission boys made audible gasps (of either joy or surprise, perhaps both).
"As dark was beginning to close in, I sent Eric Kodawara for a torch and directed a series of long dashes towards the UFO. After a minute or two of this, the UFO apparently acknowledged by making several wavering motions back and forth.
"Waving by us was repeated and this followed by more flashes of torch, then the UFO began slowly to become bigger, apparently coming in our direction. It ceased after perhaps half a minute and came no further.
"After a further two or three minutes the figures apparently lost interest in us for they disappeared below deck. At 6.25pm two figures reappeared to carry on with whatever they were doing before the interruption. The blue spotlight came on for a few seconds twice in succession."
The situation remained unchanged, so Gill returned to his regular routine and went to have his dinner at 6.30.
By 7pm, the main object had moved slightly away and the observers went into the village church for evensong, as usual.
By the time they emerged, at 7.45pm, visibility had become very limited with the sky covered in cloud. At 10.40 pm, Gill wrote, an "earsplitting" explosion woke up the mission-station inhabitants. Gill said it did not feel like a thunderclap.
Later, Gill said, he was always asked why he had reverted to his usual routine when there was a flying saucer apparently hovering overhead. This was partly because, he said, "there was nothing eerie or other-worldly about any of this. It was all so ordinary, as ordinary as a Ford car.
"It looked a perfectly normal sort of object, an Earth-made object. I realised, of course, that some people might think of this as a flying saucer, but I took it to be some kind of hovercraft the Americans or even the Australians had built. The figures inside looked perfectly human."
Gill's report caused quite a sensation at the time, when PNG was an Australian colony. A Liberal federal MP from
, E. D. Cash, asked the then air minister questions in parliament, without receiving a substantive answer. Western Australia
The Defence Ministry deployed two RAAF officers to investigate. Although they found Gill "a reliable observer", they attributed the sightings to "natural phenomena", the result of cloudy, thunder-prone weather and light refraction from Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
Gill was educated at
Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne, then studied theology at St Francis College, Brisbane, and education at the . He was ordained as a priest in 1950, then worked in PNG in parish work and as a teacher and education administrator. In University of Queensland , he also did some radio broadcasting. Port Moresby
After returning from PNG, he taught at Essendon Grammar, Camberwell Grammar and St Michael's Grammar, all in
Melbourne, and undertook sociological research at La . He died at age 79 in 2007. Trobe University
Gill appears an exceptionally unlikely figure to have been readily caught up in the flying saucer craze, at its most intense in the 1950s. Few phenomena would have appeared more remote to high-church Anglican missionaries in PNG, many with considerable educational attainments.
Among those most intensely interested in the sightings was Englishman Norman Cruttwell, an outstanding exemplar of the long tradition of priest-botanists, who discovered and named - after his mother Christian - a rhododendron in PNG and had an orchid named after him in tribute.
Gill wrote to Cruttwell, who was also running a parish in northern
: "Here is a lot of material the kind you have been waiting for, no doubt; but I am in some ways sorry that it has to be me who supplies it. Attitudes at Dogura in respect of my sanity vary greatly, and like all mad men, I myself think my grey cells are OK." Milne Bay
Among the hypotheses later considered to explain Gill's sightings was that he was pulling Cruttwell's leg. But, if so, when Cruttwell became excited, and helped inform the world about the events, Gill might then have been expected to stay quiet and wait for the embarrassment to pass. Instead, Gill accepted invitations to speak widely about what he had seen, with no apparent reluctance.
Australian author Randolph Stow, who worked at an Anglican mission station for Aborigines in northwestern Australia, then as assistant to the government anthropologist in PNG, where he was based in Milne Bay, framed an acclaimed novel in 1979, Visitants, around the Boianai sightings.
"Be not afeard,"
cites from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "The isle is full of noises . . ." Stow
The writer knew both Cruttwell and Moi - by then a priest - when he worked in PNG.
Cruttwell famously missed out on a sighting of bright lights over his own mission station because he was ensconced in the "smallhaus". The following day, he had the roof replaced with a clear glass panel, just in case . . .
I add here another report opn the same sighting.
Papua New Guinea was still a territory of . June of that year saw the spectacular "entity" sightings of Reverend Gill and members of his Boainai mission. Australia
Reverend Gill made notes about the experience and sent a copy of his own report - 8 closely typed foolscap pages - to Rev. Crutwell at Menapi Mission, who in turn sent a copy to Mr. D. H. Judge, a Brisbane member of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau. The report was released to the media and accounts appeared in the media during mid August, 1959, causing a sensation.
I was privileged to have had two extended opportunities to interview Reverend Gill and discuss the events at Boianai. I was impressed with his quiet and certain manner in relating the events.
To maintain the integrity of the original events I have quoted from the Reverend William Gills own account. Only the day before he had composed a letter to the Reverend David Durie, Acting Principal of St. Aidan's College, Dogura, to accompany a report and statement regarding a UFO sighting made by Stephen Moi, an assistant teacher at the mission on June 21st, 1959:
Have a look at this extraordinary data. I am almost convinced about the "visitation" theory. There have been quite a number of reports over the months, from reliable witnesses. The peculiar thing about these most recent reports is that the UFO's seem to be stationary at Boianai or to travel from Boianai. The
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 for of electric phenomena - or perhaps something brought about by the atom bomb explosions, etc. That Stephen should actually make out a saucer could be the work of the unconscious mind as it is very likely that at some time he has seen illustrations of some kind in a magazine, or it is very possible that saucers do exist, but it is only a 50/50 chance that they are not earth made, still less that they should carry men (more likely radio controlled), and it is still unproven that they are solids.
It is all too difficult to understand for me; I prefer to wait for some bright boy to catch one to be exhibited in
Please return this report as I have no copy and I want Nor. [Rev. Norman Crutwell - B.C.] to have it.
Life is strange, isn't it? Yesterday I wrote you a letter, (which I still intend sending you) expressing opinions re the UFO's - 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. Here is the report. Please pass it round, but great care must be taken as I have no other, and this, like the one I made out re Stephen, will be sent to Nor. I would appreciate it if you could send the lot back as soon as poss.
P.S. Do you think P. Moresby should know about this? (N. Cruttwell is at present in the Daga country and will not be returning home until 16th July at earliest.) If people think it worth while, I will stand the cost of a radio conversation if you care to make out a comprehensive report from the material on my behalf!! It's interesting Territory news if nothing else.
Time (p. m.)
Patches of low cloud; clear over Dogura and Menapi
Sighted bright white light from front direction N.W.
Call Stephen and Eric - Langford
Stephen arrives. Confirms not star like other night. Coming closer, not so bright. Coming down 500 ft?, orange?, deep yellow?
Send Eric to call people. One object on top, move - man? Now three men - moving, glowing, doing something on deck. Gone.
Men 1 & 2 again.
Cloud ceiling covered sky c. 2000'
Man 1, 3, 4, 2 (appeared in that order.) Thin elct. blue spot light. Men gone, spot light still there.
Men 1 & 2 appeared - blue light.
Spot light off, men go.
UFO goes through cloud.
Clear sky here, heavy cloud over Dogura
UFO seen by me overhead. Call station people. Appeared to descend, get bigger. Not so big, but seemed nearer than before.
Second seen over sea - hovering at times.
Clouds forming again
Another over Wadobuna village.
Another to the east.
Big one stationary and larger - the original (?) Others coming and going through clouds. As they descend through cloud, light reflected like large halo onto cloud - no more than 2000', probably less. All UFO's very clear - satellites? "Mother" ship still large, clear, stationary.
Nos. 2, 3, 4 gone
"Mother" ship gone - giving red light. No. 1 gone (overhead) into cloud.
"Mother" gone across sea towards Giwa - white, red, blue, gone.
Overhead U.F.O. re-appears, is hovering.
Still there, stationary
Hovering, gone behind cloud.
Very high, hovering in clear patch of sky between clouds.
Very overcast, no sign of U.F.O.
1 Q A. !!!
Data sheet of observation of U.F.O.'s
6.45 - 11.4 p.m.
(Sgd.) William B. Gill
As indicated by his notes made at the time and in numerous interviews, Rev. Gill saw a bright white light in the north western sky. It appeared to be approaching the mission. The object appeared to be hovering between three and four hundred feet up. Eventually 38 people, including Rev. Gill, Steven Gill Moi (a teacher), Ananias Rarata (a teacher) and Mrs. Nessie Moi, gathered to watch the main UFO, which looked like a large, disc-shaped object. It was apparently solid and circular with a wide base and narrower upper deck. The object appeared to have 4 "legs" underneath it. There also appeared to be about 4 "panels" or "portholes" on the side of the object, which seemed to glow a little brighter than the rest. At a number of intervals the object produced a shaft of blue light which shone upwards into the sky at an angle of about 45 degrees.
What looked like "men" came out of the object, onto what seemed to be a deck on top of the object. There were 4 men in all, occassionally 2, then one, then 3, then 4. The shaft of blue light and the "men" disappeared. The object then moved through some clouds. There were other UFO sightings during the night.
Rev. Gill described the weather at variable sky - scattered clouds to clear at first, becoming overcast after 10.10 pm. He estimated the height of the clouds at about 2,000 feet. The first sighting over the sea, according to Rev. Gill, seemed no more than 500 feet above the water at times. When the main UFO was at its closest point, Rev. Gill determined that the relative size at arms length was a full hand span or about 8 inches. He modified that estimate to 5 inches. It was clearly visible and seemed mostly stationary during 25 minutes of observation.
Astonishingly the aerial visitor put in a repeat performance the following night, June 27th. Rev. Gill prepared a statement:
Large U.F.O. first sighted by Annie Laurie at 6 p.m. in apparently same position as last night (26/6/59) only seemed a little smaller, when W.B.G. saw it at 6.02 p.m. I called Ananias and several others and we stood in the open to watch it. Although the sun had set it was still quite light for the following 15 minutes. We watched figures appear on top - four of them - no doubt that they are human. Possibly the same object that I took to be the "Mother" ship last night. Two smaller U.F.O's were seen at the same time, stationary. One above the hills west, another overhead. On the large one two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the centre of the deck - were occassionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or "setting up" something (not visible). One figure seemed to be standing looking down at us (a group of about a dozen). I stretched my arm above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same. Ananias waved both arms over his head then the two outside figures did the same. Ananias and self began waving our arms and all four now seemed to wave back. There seemed to be no doubt that our movements were answered. All mission boys made audible gasps (of either joy or surprise, perhaps both).
As dark was beginning to close in, I sent Eric Kodawara for a torch and directed a series of long dashes towards the U.F.O. After a minute or two of this, the U.F.O. apparently acknowledged by making several wavering motions back and forth. Waving by us was repeated and this followed by more flashes of torch, then the U.F.O. began slowly to become bigger, apparently coming in our direction. It ceased after perhaps half a minute and came no further. After a further two or three minutes the figures apparently lost interest in us for they disappeared "below" deck. At 6.25 p.m. two figures re-appeared to carry on with whatever they were doing before the interruption (?). The blue spot light came on for a few seconds twice in succession."
Reverend Gill has described how he and the mission people called out to the men, even shouting at them, and beckoned them to descend, but there was no response beyond what has already been noted. Two smaller "UFOs" higher up remained stationary. By 6.30 p.m. the scene had remained largely unchanged. Rev. Gill records that he went to dinner. At 7.00 pm, the "No.1 UFO" was still present "but appeared somewhat smaller". The group of observers went to Church for Evensong. After Evensong (about 7.45 pm) visibility was very limited with the sky covered in cloud. Nothing else was seen that evening. At 10.40 pm, a very penetrating "earsplitting" terrific explosion woke up people on the station. It sounded like it had come from just outside the window of the mission house. Rev. Gill felt it did not sound like a thunderclap. Nothing had been seen, but the whole sky was overcast. Other less compelling activity occurred the following night. Then it seemed the Boianai visitants had gone. The controversy had just begun.
Reverend Gill was at the time of his sightings already scheduled to return to
. This presented civilian groups with an excellent opportunity to assess the bonafides of the reports. All investigators found Gill to be very impressive. His credibility was enormous. This lead one of the leading civilian groups, the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society, to view the Gill reports as constituting the most remarkable testimony of intensive UFO activity ever reported to civilian investigators in the entire history of UFO research. VFSRS indicated that they were unique because for the first time, credible witnesses had reported the presence of humanoid beings associated with UFOs. The VFSRS report concluded that the Boianai UFOs were advanced craft, manned by humanoid beings, capable of a fantastic aerodynamic performance. VFSRS now felt that UFO researchers no longer needed to enquire as to the nature of UFOs, now only their origin was to be determined. Australia
The major civilian groups of the day, in a spirit of new found cooperation inspired by the significance of the Boianai observations, distributed copies of Reverend Gill's own sighting report to all members of the House of Representatives of Australia's federal parliament. A circular letter accompanied the report, signed by the presidents of the participating civilian UFO groups, urging members of parliament to press the Minister for Air for a statement about the attitude Air Force Intelligence had of the
reports. New Guinea
On November 24th, 1959, in federal parliament, Mr. E.D. Cash, a Liberal politician from
Western Australia asked the Minister for Air, Mr. F.M. Osborne, whether his department (specifically Air Force Intelligence) had investigated "reports of recent sightings of mysterious objects in the skies over Papua and ." The Minister's reply did not address this question, but instead he focused on the general situation indicating that most sightings were explained and "that only a very small percentage -- something like 3 percent -- of reported sightings of flying objects cannot be explained". New Guinea
Peter Norris, VFSRS president, was advised by the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence that the Department was awaiting "depth of evidence" on the
sightings. However the department hadn't even interviewed Father Gill. Given the growing political fallout, the Minister for Defence requested a report on "the alleged sightings of UFOs in the Boianai area of NG by Rev. W.B. Gill." The RAAF finally visited Rev. Gill on December 29th, 1959. Rev. Gill's recollections of the visit were that the 2 RAAF officers from New Guinea talked about stars and planets and then left. He indicates that he heard no more from them. The interviewing officer, Squadron Leader F.A. Lang, AI1 DAFI, concluded after what could have only been best described as a cursory investigation that: Canberra
"Although the Reverend Gill could be regarded as a reliable observer, it is felt that the June/July incidents could have been nothing more than natural phenomena coloured by past events and subconscious influences of UFO enthusiasts. During the period of the report the weather was cloudy and unsettled with light thunder storm. Although it is not possible to draw firm conclusions, an analysis of rough bearings and angles above the horizon does suggest that at least some of the lights observed were the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Light refraction, the changing position of the planets relative to the observer and cloud movement would give the impression of size and rapid movement. In addition varying cloud densities could account for the human shapes and their sudden appearance and disappearance".
A close analysis of the reports argues powerfully that the RAAF "explanation" of "either known planets seen through fast moving cloud, or natural phenomena" was unsatisfactory.
Over the years there have been a number of attempts to explain the Boianai sightings, including astronomical misidentifications, hoax, cargo cult effects, and that Rev. Gill had myopia and astigmatism (Rev. Gill was wearing correctly prescribed glasses). None of these explanations have satisfactorily addressed the evidence. Astronomer and former
Air Force consultant, Dr. Allen Hynek, and his Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), went to great lengths to investigate and research the affair. Dr. Hynek and Allen Hendry, the then chief CUFOS investigator, concluded the "lesser UFOs' are attributable to bright stars and planets, but not the primary object." Its size and absence of movement over three hours ruled out an astronomical explanation. My own discussions with Rev. Gill led me to the same conclusion. Most recently there was an attempt at explaining the whole affair away as Rev. Gill and the other witnesses being confused by a false horizon, and that all they had been watching was a brightly lit squid-boat and crew too busy to do more than just wave at the people on shore. This idea is not tenable when one realises that Rev. Gill was certain that the object he saw was at a 30° elevation in the sky. Only a massive tidal wave might have elevated the horizon ocean line to have a boat high enough to fit that viewing perspective. I suspect Rev. Gill and the Papuans may have noticed that! A mirage is also not tenable given the circumstances of the event. US
The Boianai visitations are even enshrined in a classic piece of Australian fiction. Award winning Australian novelist Randolph Stow's 1979 book Visitants, which has the Boianai visitations as a backdrop to a striking story of confrontation and disintergration, emerged from Stow's experience as a cadet patrol-officer in Papua-New Guinea. He was an assistant to the Government Anthropologist. His novel opens with this sentence: "On 26 June 1959, at Boianai in Papua, visitants appeared to the Reverend William Booth Gill, himself a visitant of thirteen years standing, and to thirty-seven witnesses of another colour."
The Boianai "visitants" still stand as remarkable evidence for an impressive aerial anomaly and are regarded as some of the best entity reports on record. At the time of writing I spoke again with Rev. Gill. He still remains puzzled by what he saw and was pleased that an authority like Dr. Hynek had independently interviewed him and some of the other witnesses and travelled to the site. While he accepts that the sightings remain unexplained, Rev. Gill questioned my characterisation of some attempts to explain them as "silly". He felt that these "explanations" were serious attempts to bring understanding to the events. I think that attitude encapsulates the integrity of Rev. Gill and the reality of the affair.