Father Gill Sighting
CE-III, 25 Witnesses
New Guinea
June 26-27, 1959


William B. Gill, an Anglican priest with a mission in Bosinai, Papas New Guinea, observed craft-like UFOs -- one with Humanoid figures on top -- on two consecutive evenings, June 26-27, 1959. About twenty-five natives, including teachers and medical technicians, also observed the phenomena.  They "signaled" the humanoids and received an apparent response.  This was one of sixty UFO sightings within a few weeks in the New Guinea area.

An approximate chronology of the complex series of sightings follows (based on Father Gill's log of events and a summary report by his colleague, the Reverend Norman Cruttwell):

June 26--6:45 P.M. Large sparkling light seen by Father Gill in western sky.  Called natives who also saw it.

6:55--7:04 P.M.  Up to four illuminated humanoid figures seen on top of object off and on.

7:10--7:20 P.M.  Sky now overcast at about 2,000 feet. Humanoid figures seen again, and a "thin electric blue spotlight" upward from the UFO, hovering below the overcast.  UFO disappears in clouds.

8 :28--8:35 P.M.   Skies clear again; UFO visible, appearing to descend and increase in size.  Second object seen over sea, "hovering at  times," and another over village.

8:50--9:30 P.M.  Clouds forming again.  Large UFO stationary, others (about three) like disks coming and going through clouds, casting a light halo on the clouds.   Large UFO moves away rapidly across sea toward Giwa.

9:46--10:30 P.M.  UFO reappears overhead. Hovering.

10:50--P.M.  Heavy overcast; no sign of UFO.

11:04 P.M.  Heavy rain.

June 27--6-7 P.M.  Large UFO seen again.  First sighted by medical technician at hospital, before dark.  Closest sighting yet: seen clearly, bright and sparkling. Humanoid figures seen on top. Father Gill and about twelve others in group waved at humanoids and one of figures appeared to wave back.  One member of the group waved both arms, and figures apparently responded by waving both arms.  Two smaller objects remained visible, stationary at a higher altitude.

7:45 P.M.  Sky overcast; no UFOs visible.

On the first night, Father Gill stepped out the front door of the mission house after dinner, about 6:45 P.M., and glanced at the western sky looking for Venus, which was conspicuous at the time. "I saw Venus," he said. "but I also saw this sparkling object, which to me was peculiar because it sparkled and because it was very, very bright. and it was above Venus and so that caused me to watch it for a while, then I saw it descend towards us.''

Father Gill estimated the object's angular diameter as about five inches at arm's Length.  Stephen Gill Moi. a teacher, who joined Father GilI a few minutes latter, said that if he put his hand out closed, it would cover about half of the object.

In a signed statement, the witnesses agreed that the object was circular, had a wide base and a narrower upper "deck," had something like legs beneath it, at times produced a shaft of blue light which shone upward into the sky at an angle of about 45 degrees, an that four humanoid figures appeared on top.  Some of the witnesses described seeing about four portholes or windows on the side.   Father Gill saw what appeared to be bright panels on the side but did not interpret them as portholes.

"As we watched it," Father Gill said, "men came out from this object and appeared on top of it, on what seemed to be a deck on top of the huge disk.  There were four men in all, occasionally two, then one, then three, then four; we noted the various times the men appeared . . . .

"Another peculiar thing was this shaft of blue light. which emanated from what appeared to be the center of the deck.  The men appeared to be illuminated not only by this light reflected on them, but also by a sort of glow which completely surrounded them as well as the craft.  The glow did not touch them, but there appeared to be a little space between their outline and the light.. . . ''

Father Gill described the movements of the objects, especially the smaller disks, as very erratic.  They sometimes moved rapidly, sometimes slowly, approaching and receding, changing direction, and at times swinging back and forth like a pendulum.  One object moved away and appeared to descend toward Wadobuna village, and everyone thought it was going to land.  The Papuana ran down on the beach, but the object swooped up and away over the mountains, turning red as it disappeared.

When the large object disappeared at 9:30 P.M., Father Gill said it made a slight wavering motion, then suddenly shot away at tremendous speed, changing color to red and blue-green, and disappeared across the bay, vanishing.  No sound was heard throughout.

The next evening, about 6 P.M., the same or a similar object reappeared while the sky was still bright, first seen by Annie Laura Borews, a Papuan medical assistant at the hospital.  She called Father Gill, who in turn called Ananias and several other to watch.  "We watched figures appear on top.'' Father Gill said. "Four of them. There is no doubt that they were human. This is possibly the same object that I took to be the 'mother ship' last night. Two smaller UFOs were seen at the same time, stationary, one above the hills, west, and another overhead."

Two of the figures seemed to be doing something, occasionally bending over and raising their arm as if "adjusting or setting up something [not visible].  One figure seemed to be standing, looking down on us (a group of about a dozen).''  This figure, he explained later, was standing with his hands on the "rail" looking over, "just as one will look over the rails of a ship."

"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 seemed to wave back.  There seemed to be no doubt that our movements wee answered.  All the Mission boys made audible gasps (of either joy or surprise, perhaps both)."

As darkness began to settle in, Father Gill sent one of the natives for a flashlight and directed a series of signals (''long dashes") toward the UFO. After a minute or two, the UFO wavered back and forth like a pendulum, in apparent acknowledgment.  They waved and flashed signals again, and the UFO appeared to Descend toward them, but stopped and came no closer. After two or three more minutes, the figures disappeared. Then, at 6:45 P.M., two figures resumed their activity, and the blue spotlight came on for a few seconds twice in succession. By 7:45 P.M. the sky was totally overcast and no UFOs were visible.  Thus ended the sightings.

In his evaluation of the incidents, Dr. Donald H. MENZEL, a Harvard University astronomer who wrote three UFO debunking books, refers to the natives as 'uneducated" and to Father Grill as being their "great leader,'' to them "a holy man'' (implying that they were influenced in their testimony).  He attributed the sightings to the plant Venus viewed myopically by Father Gill. Venus, he noted, was very conspicuous in the west setting about three hours after the sun.  "I think it significant that, despite the brilliance of Venus, none of the sightings by Father Gill and the mission group refers to that planet."

Menzel then openly assumed that Father Gill was myopic and without glasses at the time, that he ''probably" had appreciable astigmatism as well (causing him to see a distorted image of Venus), plus blood cells on the retina producing illusory motion.  He concluded.  "Since a very simple hypothesis accounts, without any strain, for the reported observations. I shall henceforth consider the Father Gill case as solved.  Moreover, 1 feel the same phenomena are responsible for some of the more spectacular unsolved cases in the Air Force files."  (See HYNEK, J. A., The UFO experience, 1972.)

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the former Air Force UFO consultant, notes in rebuttal that Father Gill was wearing properly corrected glasses at the time and that "Venus was pointed out separately by Gill."

Although any prolonged series of UFO sightings with excited witnesses may be "contaminated'' by coincidental sightings of aircraft, meteors, or stars and planets glimpsed through  moving cloud, the report of a large structured object (with humanoid figures) below a low overcast is not easily explainable.

Richard Hall

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