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UFO: A close encounter of the flashing light kind

There has not been much interest in UFOs lately – at least not around here. There seemed to be a lot more interest back in the ‘70s. Our school book club even had an Usborne book on UFOs for sale that I loved. There was also a TV series called Project UFO which was based on the Air Force Project Blue Book that investigated UFO reports between 1947 and 1969. My friend and I tried taking our own fake UFO photographs – not to fool people, but just for fun. All the best photos in books were fuzzy and out of focus and that was something we could duplicate.

Not a UFO hovering over nearby houses

Not a UFO. It’s just a part of an egg cooker stuck to a window. The fuzzy effects are not due to instagram. This was how all my photos turned out.

A close encounter

In the late ‘70s when I was a teenager I was a passenger in the back of our family car returning home one Sunday night along the New England Highway with my parents. Even though the road is a highway it is not a particular busy one and there were just the usual few cars about that night. It was a dark night and there was a lot of cloud about. There were a few cars in front of us travelling behind a truck that was bout 500m in front of us and a few more cars behind us. We noticed a bright blue flashing light coming towards us and it seemed to hover just above the truck. The truck and all the cars behind pulled off the side of the road. We continued up to it and pulled in behind. Everyone stayed in their cars and watched the flashing light move up into the clouds. The flashing lit up the clouds and then it travelled east out of sight. Everyone started their cars and drove off.

A view along the highway where the incident occured

The stretch of road where the incident occurred. The group of trees on the right mark the entrance to the CSIRO government research centre.

I don’t claim it was a UFO. It could have been a plane as there is an airport about 10km further ahead. It was odd that the only light was white. Normally planes have red and green lights as well. Also we did not hear a noise. All aircraft using that airport in those days were propeller aircraft and normally the drone of an engine could be heard. Nearby is a CSIRO government research facility, but as they were only doing research on farming and land care I doubt if it was involved.

What impresses me most now is that a line of cars that all stopped to watch it, which indicates that it must have been unusual enough for the drivers to stop.

I have difficulty believing UFOs exist, but I do love the idea that they could; that there is another life form that drops in every now and then to see what we are up to.

A detector

I remained interested in UFOs and one day I found a magazine in our school library that contained plans to build a UFO detector, called the “Official UFO Model BJ UFO Detector”. The plans were fascinating. It seems the detector was based on the premise that UFOs create magnetic interference. Apparently many people that have witnessed UFO sightings have noticed compasses spinning and that sort of thing. I never built it as it was beyond my abilities and used components that were not easy to source in Australia.

Years later I built a detector based on a compass to give a warning when the compass needle moved. I wasn’t really expecting to detect a UFO, rather I was interested to see if a compass needle ever deviates and what may cause it. So far I have not detected anything unusual. That project will be the subject of a later post.