Chapter 3

Recent Sightings in the Pacific 

            A notable characteristic of UFO activity is the tendency for appearances to concentrate in particular areas or regions on the earth at different times. It is as though our so-called visitors from outer space have been from time to time over the past dozen years making soundings or surveys of selected areas on this terrestrial globe. This activity may or may not signify a long range exploration or study by a single group of intelligent beings. If undertaken by a group from a single outer space source, it could suggest a program of mapping and study of a somewhat thorough and exhaustive character. If undertaken by groups from various different localities in outer space, it could manifest momentary interests of probably diverse character. Whatever it might signify, it does seem to portend something of future terrestrial happenings which could conceivably concern all of humanity. If such should be the case, the scientists, scholars, and statesmen of the world should by all means become alert to the reality of these phenomena and immediately take steps to organize in cooperative effort to study and try to analyze what this is all about.

            Probably the most recent of these concentrations concerning which rather complete information is presently available, is located in what might be described as the Pacific area, the events taking place in the months of June, July, and August of 1959. 


            One of the best authenticated cases and one which received nationwide publicity in the newspapers of the United States is the sighting witnessed and confirmed by six different airline crews some nine hundred miles northeast of Honolulu in the early hours of July 11, 1959. The fact that the captains of these airliners and their crews, expert and experienced aviators all  


of them, testified as to having witnessed the sighting of unidentifiable navigated objects in the sky can leave no doubt in the mind of any reasonable thinking person as to the reality of the incident. The six aircraft within the region of the sighting included three Pan American Airways planes, an Air Force B-50, a Canadian Pacific airliner, and a Slick Airways Cargo plane. Captain W. B. Nash, a PAA pilot, a NICAP special advisor, secured extra details of this sighting, in line with the policy of NICAP to explore all available evidences of significant sightings. (It will be remembered that Captains Nash and Fortenberry witnessed one of the most dramatic maneuvers of the UFO's ever recorded, when they observed a fleet of large disc­-shaped objects perform aerial gyrations in the sky above the neighborhood of Newport News, Virginia on the night of July 14, 1952.)

            The objects were observed in a clear sky. "A large and very bright object"--"flanked by three or four smaller lower magnitude lights in a line below" were observed to be travelling at terrific speed, estimated by Captain George Wilson at "thousands of miles per hour." Captain Wilson stated that the formation hurtled across the sky toward the airliner he was piloting, when suddenly it "made an abrupt right turn and disappeared to the south." Captain George Wilson with co-pilot Richard Lorenzen and crew member Bob Scott were flying a Boeing strato-cruiser of the Pan American Airways. In his report to NICAP Captain Wilson said that the object was so bright it was "like looking at a piece of the sun." He told Honolulu newsmen: "It was faster than anything I've ever seen. It may have been one very large object with brilliant center lights and surrounding lights of lesser magnitude, or separate objects. The smaller lights were either part of the mysterious object or this was an example of darn good formation flying. "

            In a report to NICAP member Paul Cerny, First Officer Lorenzen stated: "The rate of closure with us was much greater than any I had ever experienced before. It was not until the object turned that I was able to distinguish the smaller lights associated with it."

            It is to be noted that although details of this sighting had received publicity in newspapers everywhere, qualified NICAP investigators were on the job at once, so to speak, to secure independently, first hand, reliable data on the sighting. It was revealed by Paul Cerny that two Air 


Force majors had interviewed Captain Wilson's crew soon after they had landed, but interestingly enough, the usual attempts by Air Force authorities to debunk such UFO sightings have been plainly lacking on this occasion. Surely the combined evidences, testimonies as to the reality of this occurrence by six experienced air line crews, combined with the detailed checking and verification of facts by qualified NICAP personnel would have made debunking claims of Air Force authorities seem absurd.

            Thus here we witness an embarrassing silence on the part of the would-be debunkers, whoever they might be, who seem to determine what Air Force personnel must say on such occasions.*

            Great expanses of ocean separate the islands of the Pacific, but of the scattered land areas here and there one finds various types of observers who become known when UFOs happen to appear in their vicinities. Detailed reports of UFO phenomena observed in places where communication with the outside world is relatively meager require time to reach the main news arteries of the world. The Reverend Father William Booth Gill, a Church of England clergyman, missionary in Papua and New Guinea, recently returned to Melbourne, Australia with his family. The full report of his personally observed Papuan sightings is given in the September 1959 issue of "Light," a periodical of the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau. Included also are reports of other sightings in this vicinity observed from February 1958 through July 1959.

            The most dramatic series of these sightings was written up as a feature article in the Australasian Post of October 15, 1959. This series of sightings occurring on the nights of June 21, 26, 27, 28, and 29 is the subject also of a special report recently published with editorial evaluation and comment by the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society of Melbourne, Australia.

            Before going into the details of these Father Gill sightings, description and some analysis of another series of well-authenticated sightings will be given. These happenings occurring a little south of the region of Father Gill's experiences, in what is known as the Gulf Country of Northern Australia constitute supporting evidence of the concentration of UFO activity in this Part of the world. Details concerning the Gulf Country sightings are given in the Queensland Society publication "Light" already referred to.


* The Air Force has since labeled this object a "fireball" in spite of the reported maneuvers



            Four prominent Australians reported having seen an unidentified aerial object on July 8, 1959. These men include Mr. J. H. Horn, a director of General Motors-Holden's; Mr. W. A. Green, Managing-Director of Eagers Holding Ltd; Dr. Athol Quale, a Wickham Terrace specialist; and Dr. C. A. Renan, a Melbourne surgeon. The object was seen at 6:37 P.M. local time when the men were getting ready to shoot crocodiles twenty miles up the Norman River from the town of Karumba. They saw a "round patch about half the size of a full moon, a mixture of yellow, red, and green iridescent light travelling twice the speed of a Canberra jet bomber." The object stayed in the sky five to eight seconds before disappearing.

            In reporting the incident Mr. Green said: "There's no shenanigans about this. It was something none of us had ever seen before. What impressed us most was that the object travelled parallel to the ground. It did not move up or down, as you would expect with something natural. And the thing was dead silent."

            According to Mr. Green the object was ten to twelve degrees above the horizon. It travelled northwest, and appeared to be only two or three miles from the hunting party, and about two thousand feet from the ground. An object half the diameter of the full moon viewed at a distance of two-and-a-half miles figures out in size, sixty feet in diameter.

            Several other persons reported having seen a "strange flying object" over northwest Queensland on July 8. These include four men from the state of Victoria, Mr. W. McDonald, retired farmer of Ballarat; Mr. E. Stone, retired farmer; Mr. L Afford, grazier, of Hopetown; and Mr. J. A. Watson, a fifty-nine-year-old retired traveler. These men with their wives were on a caravan holiday when they saw the "object" about dusk. The party of eight persons was camped near a tree-lined creek, forty miles east of the town of Cloncurry, a few miles south from the crocodile hunting party.

            Mr. Watson of the group reported the incident as follows: "The women were getting supper, and we men were standing about talking when Lionel Afford called out "Look!" I swung around to the north and saw something in the sky--a short yellow streak--disappearing between the trees on the creek bank. I could see it flashing through the trees. It seemed about twelve to twenty feet from the ground and was descending at a slight angle like an aircraft coming in to land. 


            "It had three lights--a red, a yellow, and a yellow-green. We could see no more detail; it looked about as far away as the horizon. "

            These two groups of people apparently observed the same phenomenon. The time reported by the hunters, 6:37P.M. July 8, corresponds to the time reported by the campers, "about dusks' July 8. The colors of the object reported by both groups correspond. The hunters described "a mixture of yellow, red, and green iridescent light;" the campers referred to "three lights — a red, a yellow, and a yellow-green." The position and motion of the UFO as observed by both groups correspond to their respective positions, the camper group located some miles south of the hunters. The hunters told of the object as having "traveled northwest," "parallel to the ground," "about ten or twelve degrees above the horizon." The campers told of looking "to the north," the object "disappearing between the trees, " observed as "twelve to twenty feet from the ground, " "descending at a slight angle, " and at such a distance that it "looked about as far away as the horizon. " The object viewed was north of both groups of observers; its path was approximately parallel to the ground; to the party farther north the object was ten to twelve degrees above the horizon; to the party farther south the object looked close to the horizon.

            Reports indicate that still other persons saw the same object. A railway surveyor, Mr. Thomas George Cliff had reported having seen a strange aerial object near Cloncurry in approximately the same neighborhood during the same night, July 8.

            A fisherman, Ray Nicholson, on a twenty-eight-foot boat, the Jindivik, six miles north of the mouth of the Cockatoo River, forty-five miles north of Mapoon Mission (about seven hundred miles north of the campers) witnessed a UFO " a few minutes after sundown" on July 8. Also Mrs. Ray Nicholson and Mr. Ron Brandt, on board the vessel Sea Fury, six miles south of the Jindivik, saw the same object.

            Farther north the same night, July 8, a huge, glowing, red object "landed" on top of a hill on Prince of Wales Island, ten miles off Cape York Peninsula. This report came from a native woman, Mrs. Napan Abednego, of Thursday Island, Mrs. Abednego, her husband Koko, and their three children witnessed the phenomenon. The Abednego’s had been on a visit to the lonely Prince of Wales Island where they own a small orchard.  


Natives on the island where the UFO landed were terrified and refused to go near the landing place. Mrs. Abednego said the strange object was on top of a hill at Port Lihou, on the southern tip of Thursday Island.

            If we assume that these reports all refer to the same UFO, and from the detailed facts in the case, this is a reasonable assumption, a total of seventeen persons besides an undetermined number of frightened natives on Prince of Wales Island witnessed the phenomenon. When one plots the localities of these sightings on July 8 on a map, from the camping site of the Victorians to the Prince of Wales Island, it can be seen that all of the reported sightings in this region on that evening lie along a straight line running almost due north for a distance of seven hundred and fifty miles. 


            I am greatly indebted to Mr. Peter E. Norris, LL. B., President of the "Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society" of Melbourne, Australia for material and data on the sightings in Australia and New Guinea. Concerning the Gill sightings I quote from a letter received recently from Mr. Norris:

            "The most significant report is the 'UFO's with Men' sighted in New Guinea by Father William Gill and thirty-eight others. Gill is now living in Melbourne and we have had a good chance to gain an impression of his character. The conclusion is inevitable that this is the most dramatic and among the most authentic in sightings in the history of ufology. At last we have a 'near contactee' who is able to emerge unscathed from the most searching examination. "

            The Reverend William Booth Gill, a graduate of Brisbane University, a young Anglican clergyman, has spent over eight years on mission work in Papua and New Guinea. He and his family recently returned to Australia on account of his two children. He presently resides in Melbourne and expects to accept a teaching position in one of the Church of England's schools.

            The reported sightings following were made between the dates of June 21 and June 29, 1959, at the site of his mission station at Boianai on the north coast of Papua, near the southeastern tip of the island of New Guinea.

            Early Sunday, 1:00 A.M., June 21, 1959, Mr. Stephen Gill Moi, a Papuan teacher at the mission, saw a very bright object about a quarter of a mile out to sea descending from a great height. 


The object stopped at an estimated height of three hundred feet where it gradually decreased in brilliance until its shape could be discerned as that of an inverted saucer. The movement of the object occupied about three minutes, and then it hovered stationary at an altitude of three hundred feet about one fourth of a mile away, for about one half a minute. The saucer-shaped object was tilted slightly backwards so that part of its base was visible. The object then moved upwards and disappeared from view into the clouds. The underside of the object displayed "about four round, black spots."

            Rev. Gill's reaction to this report by his teaching assistant is revealed in his interview with representatives of the Australasian Post. Rev. Gill immediately after the June 21 incident wrote to a friend, concerning this incident, the Rev. David Durie, Acting Principal of St. Aidan's College, Dogura:

            "My simple mind still requires scientific evidence before I can accept the 'from outer-space' theory.

            "I am inclined to agree that many unidentified flying objects are more likely to be some kind of electric phenomena.

            "I prefer to wait for some bright boy to catch one and exhibit it in Martin Place." 

Signed "Doubting William."  

            Just a few days later on June 26, he saw a UFO close up with persons on board. On June 27 UFO's again appeared and human­like persons aboard waved their arms at him in answer to his similar greetings to them!

            Then the Rev. William Gill wrote again to Rev. D. Durie:

            "I have changed my views somewhat. Last night we at Boianai experienced about four hours of unidentified flying object activity.

            "There is no doubt whatever these things are handled by beings of some kind.

            "At times the whole affair was absolutely breathtaking. . . ."

            At 6:45 P. M. the evening of June 26 a bright light was sighted in the northwest sky from the mission front door. Excitement was stirred up in the mission community and as the UFO approached many people gathered to observe the phenomenon. Rev. Gill's detailed notes describe the sighting of one very large UFO and some smaller ones, their various maneuverings extending from 6:45 P. M. until 10:30 P. M. Below a cloud-covered ceiling a large "Mother" ship came close enough at times and hovered probably two thousand feet or less above the ocean  


so that details could be discerned. As many as four different light-colored human figures appeared at times on the deck. This was witnessed by thirty-eight persons. As a ship descended through the clouds it reflected light like a large halo on the underside of the cloud. The larger "mother ship" gave off changing colors from time to time, white, red, and blue. At 10:50 the sky was very overcast, the ships having disappeared upward in the clouds.

            The apparent size of the large UFO "Mother ship" was described as a full hand span, five inches, at arm's length. This corresponds to about twenty times the apparent diameter of the full moon. Four rod-like projections were observed on the underside of the craft. A shaft of blue light at an elevation angle of about forty-five degrees shone on top of the craft. The color of the ship was a dull yellow or pale orange, except when moving. When it finally moved away at great speed at 9:30 P.M., the color changed from thin white to deep red and then to blue-green.

            Besides the large "Mother ship A," four other craft were observed. The largest of these smaller craft designated as "B" appeared to be one inch across at arm's length. This corresponds to a diameter of four times that of the full moon. Ship "B" had five panels of light windows.

            UFO's were also observed Saturday night, Sunday night, and Monday night, June 27, 28, and 29.

            On Saturday night Rev. Gill and his mission boys exchanged hand signals with four occupants of the "Mother ship." Rev. Gill made some calculations assuming the ship occupants were the same size as earth people. The top disc of the "Mother ship" figures twenty feet in diameter, the bottom disc roughly thirty-five feet. The altitude of the ship varied between twenty five hundred feet down to four hundred fifty feet.

            In describing the exchange of greetings taking place Saturday night between the mission group and the space men, Rev. Gill writes as follows:

            "We watched figures appear on top--four of them--no doubt that they were human. On the large one (ship) two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the center of the disc-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 (a native) 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. "

            Rev. Gill reports that on Saturday night at 10:40 a terrific explosion was heard just outside the Mission House. Nothing was seen. He thinks it could have been an electrical atmospheric explosion as the whole sky was overcast. At 11:05 a few drops of rain fell. The explosion seemed to be just outside the window--not an Ordinary thunderclap--but a penetrating "ear splitting" explosion. It woke up people on the station.

            On Sunday night eight UFO's were seen at one time. There was no activity on board any of the craft. At 11:20 P.M. a sharp metallic and loud bang on the Mission House roof was heard as though a piece of metal dropped from a great height. Outside, four UFO's were in a circle over the station.

            On Monday night UFO's were again in evidence. On each of the four nights a large craft and smaller ones were observed. The Mission roof was examined but no apparent sign of mark or dent was found there. 


            Another sighting of a fantastic character was witnessed by Mrs. Frederick Moreland of Old Renwick Road, Blenheim, New Zealand, on the early morning of July 13, 1959. Mrs. Moreland lives with her husband, an employee of the Woodbourne station of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, with their five children on a small farm outside of Blenheim, near the northeast tip of South Island.

            The story of Mrs. Moreland's unusual experience is related somewhat in detail in the July 22 issue of the Nelson Evening Mail. Mrs. Moreland's account in part as given to the Mail reporter reads as follows:

            "At 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 13, I went across the paddock to milk the cows. I noticed a green glow in the clouds. As there was no moon I wondered what it was. When I was half way  


across the paddock two large green things, like eyes or big lamps, appeared above me and dropped towards the ground.

            "I noticed that I was bathed in green light and that all the paddock was green, too. It was a horrid sort of colour. My first thought was, I shouldn't be here, and I made a dive for the trees (a stand of pines on the other side of the three-acre paddock). I stood and watched.

            "A saucer-shaped glow with two indented green lights in the bottom descended. The air became very warm. Two rows of jets around the middle shot out orange-coloured flames. They appeared to revolve in opposite directions. The thing was about 20 to 30 feet in diameter. It hovered at about roof height.

            "The jets stopped and a light was switched on in what appeared to be a perspex or glass roof or dome, which glowed. The bottom appeared to be of a greyish colour. There was a faint hum in the air as it hovered.

            "There were two men in it, dressed in fairly close-fitting suits of shiny material. The only thing I can think of to describe it is aluminum foil. Opaque helmets rose from their shoulders. I could not see their faces.

            "One of the two men stood up and put two hands in front of him as if leaning over to look downwards He then sat down and, after a minute or two, the jets started off again and, tilting slightly at first, the thing shot up vertically at great speed and disappeared into the clouds. When it did this it made a soft but high pitched sound.

            "I was so dumbfounded that I stood in the trees for a moment not knowing what to do. There was a smell of something which resembled pepper in the air. At last I decided to continue getting in and milking the cows. ..."

            The Nelson Evening Mail of August 6 told of two other persons in a locality not far from the home of Mrs. Moreland who witnessed unusual aerial phenomena at about the same time. Mr. Roy Holdaway, a farmer at Dillon's Point, rises at 4:30 a. m. every morning. He told of seeing a sky object of "greeny colour --travelling from east to west towards Blenheim." A neighbor's wife reported seeing a "very bright light in the eastern sky travelling in a horizontal position from north to south" early that same morning.

            The incident was investigated by a number of authorities including the Blenheim police, the authorities of the New Zealand 


Air Force, Captain W. T. Rainbow of the National Airways Cor­poration, and Mr. Harold H. Fulton, Director of Civilian Saucer Investigation of New Zealand. Mr. Fulton comments: "I learned that the police vouched for the witness in whom they had confidence; none of the interviewing officers could detect any sign of fabrication and all were impressed."

            It is noted that this New Zealand sighting is not nearly so well substantiated as innumerable other less spectacular reports. If this account is fiction, one must credit Mrs. Moreland either with a most vivid imagination or else a rather exhaustive acquaintance with sightings of UFO's over the past thirteen years. If this particular sighting is real, one must credit Mrs. Moreland with a most alert capacity for noting details. For among the numerous details descriptive of this incident are several that have been noted in connection with other instances of UFO sightings. Among these are the following (quoted from the fore­going account): 

1.      "saucer-shaped glow"

2.      "air became very warm"

3.      "middle ... appeared to revolve"

4.      "about 20 to 30 feet in diameter"

5.      "hovered at about roof height"

6.      "glass roof or dome"

7.      "faint hum in the air"

8.      "close-fitting suits of shiny material... helmets"

9.      "tilting slightly at first"

10.  "shot up vertically at great speed"

11.  "soft but high-pitched sound"

12.  "smell which resembled pepper" 

Upon the basis of the above descriptive details noted by Mrs. Moreland, the evidence appears to be very strong that her experience was real. 


C. A. M.