October 19, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
A mysterious explosion took place in the skies above eastern Australia on Saturday, October 11, 1997. Nearly three million Australians living in a 400-mile (640-kilometer) zone stretching from Tamworth to Batemans Bay in New South Wales (N.S.W.) heard the explosion.
According to the ITAR-TASS report, "residents of the eastern coast of Australia" saw "a bright, greenish-silvery object" floating in the sky for a few minutes before it "fell apart in sparkles that rained on the earth."
"Australian military experts and scientists at the New South Wales observatory are in hypothesis-making while news media have come up with the explanation that the enigmatic sparkling affair was space junk from the Russian orbiting space station Mir."
However, Australia's National 24-Hour UFO Hotline received "hundreds of calls" from witnesses ranging from Cooma, N.S. W., 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Sydney, to Bribie Island in Queensland.
According to Hotline director Ross Dowe, the blast was estimated to have taken place "within a 15-kilometer radius of Boggabi" in New South Wales, adding, "Local farmers state that they never had a blast like it before, the reverberating blasting sound remained in the area for a good five minutes." (Many thanks to Vitor Ribeiro for forwarding this report.)
On Wednesday, October 8, 1997, two men, Alejandro Alvarez and Rafael Urbino, spotted a spherical red UFO "with one small white star" flying over Urbana Terrazas del Avila, a suburb just north of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela.
The UFO first appeared in the east, over the suburb of Barrio de Petare, and, after making a northward turn, "skimmed over Urb. Terrazas del Avila and flew behind Cerro del Avila (mountain), disappearing into the clouds," Alvarez said.
"We sighted the object crossing overhead and flying (north) toward the Caribbean Sea," he added, (Muchas gracias a Alberto Guerrero de UFO Argentina y tambien a Pedro Cunha para esas noticias.)
On Friday, October 10, 1997, talk show host Tony Newman of Red Rose Radio at 999MW received over 30 calls from listeners, who claimed to have seen UFOs flying over Lancashire the previous night.
Two calls came from men identifying themselves as sailors aboard the HMS Shetland (P298), which was on a cruise in the Irish Sea west of Lancashire. The men reported that "a bright light was approaching the ship." The UFO paced the 60-meter (198-foot) vessel for a few minutes before flying away.
Tim Matthews of the Lancashire UFO Society (LUFOS) stated that his group had contacted the UK Ministry of Defence, and a spokeswoman confirmed that HMS Shetland had been offshore at that time.
Other callers to the Newman show reported "anomalous lights and spinning discs" over Burnley, Blackpool, Crosby, Southport and Bamber Bridge.
Currently investigating the incident are Tim Matthews, Gloria Dixon of BUFORA, Eric Morris and Rory Lushman. (Many thanks to John Hayes for forwarding this report.)
Two anomalous lights were spotted by motorists on the Hume Highway in Australia's Victoria state, about a 20-to-30 minute drive south of Gundagai.
According to Ross Dowe of Australia's National 24-Hour UFO Hotline, "two bright white illuminations were sighted one to two miles (1.6 to 3.2 kilometers) away in the eastern sky near Gundagai. The illuminations were about 30 degrees up (above the horizon) in angle," and were first seen in late daylight at 6:20 p.m. (Note: Right now it's spring in Australia and the other countries of the southern hemisphere--J.T.)
Witnesses "took a few photos" of the lights, which retained the same brightness after dusk fell.
At 7 p.m., "a large flame" shot out of the stern of one UFO. "The larger of the two turned out to be a dark brown or black triangular object while the other was a small ball with a halo around it. The triangular object suddenly shot off to the north" at a speed "much faster" than any jet interceptor. The spherical UFO hovered "for a few minutes" and then "sped off and dropped to the south, all without any sound." (Credit goes to Ross Dowe of Australia's National 24-Hour UFO Hotline for this report. Many thanks to Errol Bruce-Knapp for forwarding it.)
On Sunday, October 12, 1997, at 1 a.m., two residents of Montreal in Quebec, Canada spotted some unusual lights at 10,000 feet (3,030 meters) in the overcast clouds.
"We noticed an unusual light in the cloud cover," Francois W. reported. "At first, it seemed to be a reflection of lights that were crossing the clouds. The lights were white. We counted five of them--a central light and four smaller lights surrounding it. The lights on the outside rim were rotating."
Francois and his companion kept the UFO in view for several minutes. "I am truly certain that this was an OVNI (French acronym for UFO)." (Email Interview)
East Fork Lake, about 15 miles east of Cincinnati, the site of a UFO incident last month, reported another sighting this week.
On Tuesday, October 14, 1997, at 8 p.m., three people on Alexander Lane in Afton, Ohio, located on Highway 133 about 10 miles east of Cincinnati, spotted a UFO that "hovered in the southwest sky about 65 degrees above the horizon."
The witnesses--Susan, age 36; her daughter, Chrissy, age 19; and Mike--described the UFO as "a large, brilliant white light" that descended towards East Fork Lake.
This was the trio's second encounter this year with a UFO. They saw a similar object in the woods near the lake on September 24.
According to Kenneth Young of Tri-States Advocates of Scientific Knowledge, one of the trio grabbed a videocamera and attempted to shoot an image of the UFO. "The videotape shows fleeting glimpses of an object which appears for a few seconds at a time, as the camera is shaking due to its handheld operation."
The witnesses also reported seeing four to eight jet planes circling the UFO, which "dropped from sight behind a treeline."
This was the third UFO incident in Ohio since the beginning of October, Young reported.
On October 8, 1997, in Hillsboro (population 6,356), a city on Highway 50 north of Cincinnati, a resident "spotted a large triangular-shaped craft surrounded by approximately 13 jets. As the jets continued to fly around the object, it suddenly rose straight up and disappeared from sight."
On October 10, 1997, in Middletown, Ohio (population 43,719), a city on Interstate Highway 75 approximately 35 miles north of Cincinnati, residents spied "a large, bright white illumination" similar to the East Fork Lake UFO, which flew away to the southwest. (Many thanks to Kenneth Young, public relations director of T.A.S.K. for these reports.)
On Sunday, October 12, 1997, at 1:45 p.m., Ross M. was at work in his hometown of Santa Maria, California (population 68,000), located on Highway 101 approximately 187 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
"I looked up and saw the jets," Ross reported. "Then I watched something higher than the jets. At first the objects looked like two stars. I thought it strange to be able to see them during the day. Then I noticed they were going west. They were moving rather slow. They traveled together for a short time. Then one of the objects turned south, and the other continued west."
"As I watched the one (that) traveled south, it joined with yet another object. The new object seemed to be flashing brilliantly. They both contined south until I lost sight of them. This happened at 1:45 p.m." (Many thanks to Tim Hagemeister of NACOMM for this report.)
On Wednesday, October 15, 1997, at 9 p.m., Ryan R. spotted a formation of strange lights flying over Utah's Great Salt Lake.
"I spotted 14 lights in the sky above the Great Salt Lake around the Clearfield-Sunset area," he reported. "At first I thought they were airplanes. The more I looked at them, I could tell they were not airplanes. I'm just wondering if anyone else saw these strange lights." (Email Interview)
Clearfield (population 17,982) and its northern neighbor Sunset (population 5,733) are just off Interstate Highway 15, about 27 miles north of Salt Lake City.
On Sunday, October 12, 1997, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California raised the lowest point of the Mars Global Surveyor's orbit, effectively putting a temporary end to low-altitude photography of the Red Planet.
Surveyor's 35-hour orbit around Mars was slated to fly at an altitude of 75 miles (121 kilometers). The spacecraft will now be "doing most of its closest passes over the planet" at 105 miles (170 kilometers).
According to NASA press release 97-232, NASA decided to raise the orbit after "only one of the space- craft's two solar panels, which had not fully deployed, exhibited unexpected motion during a recent dip into the upper Martian atmosphere."
The release quoted Surveyor project manager Glenn E. Cunningham as saying, "We're taking a hiatus from aerobraking for the next few weeks while we study data to try to model and understand the deflection of the solar panel that never fully deployed and latched after launch." (USENET Item)
On Wednesday, October 15, 1997, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena attempted to send a series of commands to the Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars.
The commands were uploaded via the Deep Space Network's 100-kilowatt transmitter in Madrid, Spain. The site has two 26-meter steerable antennae and a steerable dish antenna 64 meters in diameter.
"In both cases, they had not received a 'transmitter on' signal on the ground, indicating that the commands had been received by the spacecraft."
The last successful contact with Pathfinder took place on October 7. A JPL spokesman said, "We fear the signal is falling on deaf ears." (Many thanks to the gang at In Search Of for this report.)
(Editor's Comment: Aren't twelve days of "lost contact" with Pathfinder newsworthy enough for a mention in your local newspaper? I haven't yet seen it in any of the half-dozen New England papers I read daily.)
On Wednesday, October 15, 1997, at 4:13 a.m., the Atlas-Centaur rocket carrying the two-story Cassini spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The "flawless" launch sent Cassini and its onboard probe, Huygens, on the first leg of a 2.2-billion-mile (3.5-billion-kilometer) trip to Saturn. "Once there, Cassini will spend four years exploring Saturn, its rings and its icy moons, especially the biggest--Titan... Cassini is the biggest, most complex interplanetary probe and the most expensive, too--$3.4 billion for the whole mission." (See the Boston, Mass. Herald for October 16, 1997, page 4.)
Cassini is now on its way to Venus for the first stretch of its marathon four-year voyage.
October 15 was the fortieth anniversary of the abduction of Antonio Villas Boas, then aged 23, from his farm on the outskirts of Sao Francisco de Sales, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
It began in early October 1957 when Antonio and his brother were awakened at 3 a.m. by an intense white light streaming through their bedroom window.
Then, the night of October 14, while they were plowing their field, they "saw a ball of red light hovering 300 feet (92 meters) above the field." As Antonio approached the UFO, "it evaded him at high speed. Villas Boas chased it across the field. He gave up after 20 attempts" to reach the object.
The same UFO appeared again the following night, October 15, 1957. "Villas Boas lost his enthusiasm of the previous night to catch up with the object and considered making a getaway in his tractor. He was not successful."
"The object landed some 40 feet (12 meters) in front of him on three metallic legs; it was an egg-shaped craft with a rotating dome."
Fleeing the tractor, Antonio was chased and caught "by five entities" who "carried him aboard. The entities wore grey tight-fitting suits and helmets which revealed only their small blue eyes. From the helmets, tubes ran into their clothes at the back and neck."
Confined in a small compartment on the UFO, Antonio was forcibly stripped of his clothes, and a blood sample was taken from him. For an hour, he sat in the room, as pipes wafted a sour-smelling "smoke" which "made him feel sick."
Suddenly, the door zipped open, and there stood an alien humanoid female with "blonde hair, pale skin, large blue slanted eyes, reduced lips, nose, ears and high flat cheekbones that gave the impression of a sharply pointed chin." He reported, "She was looking at me all the while as if she wanted something from me." Which turned out to be the mother of all understatements.
Following two sexual events, the alien female departed, and the other occupants took a sperm sample from Antonio. He was then dropped from the UFO in a deserted field not far from Sao Francisco de Sales. (Editor's Comment: They could have just as easily dropped him off in his birthday suit in the middle of the Praca Tiradentes in Ouro Preto!)
"Later, medical examination revealed a scar where the blood sample had been taken and what may have been radioactive burning on parts of his skin."
Antonio Villas Boas was the first abductee of modern times to report a sexual event as part of his experience. (See WORLD ATLAS OF UFOs, by John Spencer, Smithmark Publishers, Inc., New York City, 1992, pages 181-184.)
That's it for this week. Join us next Sunday for more saucer news from all over the world. Till then, here's wishing you all a safe and happy week from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP."
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites and in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.