The Australian UFO Research Network

by Diane Harrison

“Barry Chamish, The Min Min Light and the greatest find this Century”

Hi again

Well another eight weeks has gone by and the world is in turmoil with the war in Iraq. Though with all that is going on UFOs are continually being seen around world and dare I say, some people are in hope the ETs will come down and sort this awful mess out. “one can hope”.

So what has been happening in this mysterious field of ufology, many things and it is always interesting to read that scientists are taking an interest in an area that they once said was driven by ones wild imagination. In some case they do come up with some interesting finds and one of these are the Min Mim Light explanation, so keep reading.

While I'm surrounded with information coming in via the internet and magazines I do sometimes voyage out on my own personal search of greater knowledge in hope of a better understanding of the UFO subject. I go to lengths to find Gems that might have be hidden away for many years just waiting for an eager eye like mine to discover it all over again. “Yes” I like Bill Chalker prowl the second hand book world in search of lost treasure, searching through piles of books stacked in up some shops like the Pyramids of Egypt and one wrong move your burred for ever.

On one of my expeditions to my favorite book shop in Mapelton Qld I found a little piece of treasure a First addition 1956 book called “FLYING SAUCERS UNCENSORED” by Harold T Wilkins. The reason this book is so special, it was from the ship library of H.M.A.S VOYAGER and for those not familiar with the story of H.M.A.S VOYAGER: At 2056hrs on the night of February 10th 1964 the Australian Daring Class Destroyer, H.M.A.S Voyager, tragically crossed the bows of Australia’s Flagship, Aircraft Carrier, H.M.A.S Melbourne. Voyager was operating as ‘Plane Guard’ for H.M.A.S Melbourne in excersies (night flying operations) off the East Australian coast, just south of Sydney, and was sliced in two by the impact. Within a few minutes the bow section sank and 82 sailors went to a watery grave.

What makes this an important find for me is the stamp “R.A.N. Education Service Ship’s Library, section “B” (non - Fiction).” a non-fiction classification placed on a book owned by the Royal Australian Navy and all about Unidentified Flying Saucers, to me this raises quite a few questions.

Abstract: Harold T Wilkins

While this book is going to press, the censorship clamps on tighter. Correspondents tell me that their reports are ignored by defense authorities and by the press, apparently on an understanding from these authorities. Nevertheless, reports continue to reach me from all over the world - an average of 200 reports each month. They prove one thing beyond any shadow of doubt:

“The Truth of the Existence of Flying Saucers Cannot Be Censored”

UFO Lectures
I had the pleasure of meeting Barry Chamish a ufologist journalist from Israel , Barry’s lecture was interesting and it is always interesting to hear from other ufologist from around the world. Barry lecture gave an overview of UFOs and cattle mutilations in Israel. The video he presented caused quite a stir with well researched investigators which lead them to ask many questions about the techniques Barry used to do his investigations.

Like most audiences there were some that thought the evidence presented in the video was great and some that thought there could have been a number of explanations which would identify most of the objects. Barry as now finished his tour of Australia and is on his way to China followed by a stop in the US then back home to Israel.

Review of an article in Psychology Today April 2003
by Bill Chalker
Harvard X-Files”
by Kaja Perina

The current issue of Psychology Today - April, 2003 - features an article entitled “Cracking the Harvard X-Files” by Kaja Perina. I got my copy from Borders bookshop.

This could be called Round 2 in a protracted “battle” in Harvard circles re abduction stories. The main protagonists are John Mack, pushing the “nonrational”, “nonscientific” approach (that is that abductions cannot be properly studied by science), and Richard McNally & Susan Clancy who argue that such events are simply the produc of maleable memories and known psychological experiences, such as sleep paralysis.

John Mack has largely moved on from the specifics of the abduction ontological status debate and is focusing more broadly on the clash between “scientific materialism and a nonrational point of view” in a new book he is currently working on, in which abductions will probably be just one type of anomalous experience. The April 2003 Psychology article is worth reading if only for seeing where the battle lines are being drawn. The mainstream psych article leading the “assault” is the following:

Journal of Abnormal Psychology Volume 111(3) August 2002 p 455-461. Memory Distortion in People Reporting Abduction by Aliens Clancy, Susan A; McNally, Richard;Schacter, Daniel; Lenzenweger, Mark; Pitman.

Having examined this article I’m amazed it has received such prominence given the conclusions are extrapolated from a very small sample size, which is less than traditional psych study sample sizes. At best its an interesting study but its “substance” should be reconciled with the fact it is based on a very thin sample size.

Regards, Bill Chalker

For those interested in Min Min lights

Friday, 28 March 2003 passed on to me via AUFORNs e-mail list

An Australian neuroscientist claims he can conjure up the mysterious Australian outback phenomenon of the Min Min lights, now that he has worked out what causes them.

Professor Jack Pettigrew, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane claims the lights are actually an inverted mirage of light sources which are, in some cases, hundreds of kilometres away over the horizon. The work was published in the current issue of Clinical and Experimental Optometry.

Pettigrew studied the phenomenon in the Channel Country, Western Queensland, where he said it has been disturbing the locals for many years. “I talked to old timers out there who had seen it and they were terrified by it,” he told ABC Science Online. “It’s a bit embarrassing for them because hardened outback men can be brought to tears by this thing. It really is quite alarming.” “Just imagine you were sitting in your living room and a light appeared hovering in the middle of the room and as you moved your head to try and see the cause of the light, the light moved with you.”

When Pettigrew first encountered the Min Min he thought it was the planet Venus: “But it didn’t set. It went down to the horizon and then sat on the horizon for some time.” On a later occasion while driving with colleagues, the three saw what they thought was the eyeshine of a cat about 50 metres in front of their vehicle. However when they stopped and turned out the headlights, it was still there, bobbing around as if it had a life of its own.

“We had a big argument – no one could agree what it was and how far away it was.” Pettigrew and his two companions drove across the plains and used a car compass to work out how far away the light was, but had to drive five kilometres before there was any change in the direction of the compass.

“We calculated it was over 300 km away which was over the horizon,” Pettigrew said. They later found out there had been a car driving straight towards them at the time they had seen the light.

Fata Morgana

Pettigrew - who been reading about the Fata Morgana in which landforms that are beyond the horizon appear to float above it in an inverted form - thought this might help explain the Min Min lights.

Such mirages are caused by a temperature inversion, where cold dense air is trapped next to the ground under a layer of warmer air. A certain shape of temperature inversion will mean that light near the ground will be refracted in such a way that it travels in a curved path around the globe.

“It’s like the way light travels in a fibre optic, no matter which way you bend the fibre,” he said. “The light is being carried hundreds of kilometres by this layer of air that traps the light and stops it from being dispersed.” To test his theory that Min Min lights were actually a night-time phenomenon caused by the same factors that cause by the same factors that cause Fata Morgana, Pettigrew then set out to demonstrate he could produce one.

“I actually created a Min Min,” he said.

First he chose a night which had the right weather conditions: a cool evening following a hot day with little wind. He then drove 10 kilometres away over a slight rise into a watercourse, below the normal line of site of such a distant light. Six observers witnessed the light of the car float above the horizon, Pettigrew reports.

In the light of the morning after the demonstration, Pettigrew said there was a spectacular Fata Morgana of a distant mountain range, which supported the idea that the Min Min had been due to the specific atmospheric conditions at the time.

“A mountain range that was normally not visible [because it was over the horizon] floated up off the horizon and gradually got dissected by fingers of blue sky, which finally sunk below the horizon as the sun warmed the air.”

The chances of seeing Min Min and Fata Morgana are higher in the Channel Country because it is flat with gentle hollows, where cold air is particularly likely to get trapped, and because there is usually a clear view of the horizon.

Anna Salleh - ABC Science Online
To add explanation of Fata Morgana:

The fata morgana is a mirage produced by reflections of light from strong, low level temperature inversions in the atmosphere. An inversion is the interface between two layers of air differing in temperature, with the cooler layer lying beneath the warmer one. Under conditions of weak winds and clear skies, fata morgana producing inversions tend to form over Arctic oceans. Rays of light approaching the inversion from below at small angles are reflected back down, thus to an observer several miles away objects on the surface seem to float in the air.