March 1, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
A very large UFO landed at a remote railroad crossing in northern Australia in late December 1997 and was seen by the crew aboard a freight train.
The sighting took place at Kajabbi, Queensland (Qnld.), also known as the Milk Stop. Kajabbi is at the end of a spur line out of Cloncurry, which is located on the main line between Brisbane and Mount Isa. (Editor's Note: A passenger train, the Sundowner, makes two trips each week from Brisbane to Mount Isa.)
Kajabbi is located 1,210 miles (1,936 kilometers) northwest of Brisbane.
As the freight train rolled into Kajabbi, the crew spied what looked like "a large building" beside the track. One witness remarked, "When did that go up?"
The object was described as "a large, almost transparent, rusty brown building large enough to accomodate a line of trains," i.e. probably in excess of 1,000 feet (300 meters).
The UFO "was seen to lift off the ground and take off straight up into the sky" as the train approached the siding. The crewmen were reportedly rattled by the sight, and a few "have said they will never go to that area again."
Elsewhere in northern Queensland, aboriginal people "have reported sighting many Min Min lights."
(Many thanks to Ross Dowe and the Australia/New Zealand National UFO Hotline for this report.)
Two groups of witnesses reported sighting a UFO in Toms River, New Jersey (population 7,524) on Thursday, February 19, 1998. And one group also reported an episode of "missing time."
Toms River is located on the Garden State Parkway, a.k.a. New Jersey Route 9, approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of New York City and 52 miles (83 kilometers) east of Philadelphia.
On February 19, at 10 p.m., firefighter Bob M. and his friend, George P., "drove off the Garden State Parkway heading west on Route 37 when they entered an area of large pine trees. They decided to make a U-turn to return to the Parkway."
"As they swung the car off the road, George suddenly stepped on the brakes to avoid hitting a large object. Just off the road in a small clearing was a saucer-shaped vehicle with three legs extended. It was only 25 feet away as they skidded to a stop. They were both staring at the object for maybe a minute."
Bob said, "Do you see what I see?"
George replied, "If you see a flying saucer, that's what I see."
Then they exclaimed in unison, "Let's get the hell out of here!"
George stepped down hard on the gas pedal. Tires spitting sand and gravel, their car fishtailed back onto the asphalt and roared away.
"Bob wanted to go back, but George refused. They drove directly home 'in about an hour' but could not believe that the sun was rising (that it was 6:15 a.m.--J.T.) They thought it was no later than midnight."
The men's "last clear detailed memory" was of "the saucer with its legs extended and a small staircase that led to the ground. There were no markings on the saucer and it appeared to be made of dull aluminum."
However, Bob and George have no memory of what transpired between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Those six hours are a complete blank. (See Filer's Files #8 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON for this report.)
Earlier that day, at 4:30 p.m., Ellis Smith, his nine-year- old son and his five-year-old daughter watched a UFO perform aerobatics over Toms River.
"We were driving home from the theater in Toms River," Smith reported, "when I noticed about 20 miles to the southwest, 40-45 degrees (above the horizon) what appeared to be an instant contrail" behind "a very bright white light. The sky was clear and I couldn't see where this thing came from."
At first the Smith family thought it was a private plane, but while watching it, they "started thinking it looked more like an incoming missile, but then it stopped and very, very slowly began to level out."
"It took about three minutes for it to complete what appeared to be a J, then glowed very brightly, changing sizes, and then appeared to change into a very large, bright, solid object with a mist-like substance surrounding it."
The UFO repeated the maneuvers six times. Each formation of the J took about four minutes, Smith reported. "The first event...lasted nearly two minutes. whereas toward the last one, it was barely 30 seconds." At the end, "it looked to us like the saucer slowed down, then turned into a ball, then hazed up" before vanishing. (Email Interview)
On Saturday, February 21, 1998, at about 9 p.m., Adam T. and his dog, Kala, stepped outside of his home near Third and Terry Streets in Longmont, Colorado (population 51,555) and had a strange sighting.
"I was taking my dog outside so she could 'take care of business,'" Adam reported. "I walked down the back steps and onto the grass. I turned and noticed my dog Kala was not coming out onto the lawn. Instead she sat there whimpering, looking at the sky. That struck me as a little curious as dogs rarely look up. I turned my gaze toward the lawn and saw five or six burnt orange lights hovering over my house. Within a split second they shot off almost like shooting stars. They traveled in a loose (wide) V formation."
"I was so excited I rushed into the house to get my wife. But at that point they were, of course, gone. Last night (February 22), just for fun, I set up my video camera and I'm going to record it..."
"My sighting lasted three to four seconds. The (orange) lights did not blink. I don't know if what I saw were separate lights or if it was many lights on one craft...The craft was just below the clouds, maybe 8,000 to 10,000 feet...I'm not sure what I saw, but, like I said, it was like nothing I've ever seen before." (Email Interview)
On Sunday, February 1, 1998, at about 2:30 a.m., Rowena Judd was asleep at her home in Fremantle, Western Australia (W.A.) Waking up suddenly,she saw "a visitor suddenly appear at the bedroom door." She described the humanoid as "seemed to be dark in colour and had a shining light around it" but "could not see any face."
Two weeks later, on February 15, 1998, "a beam of light...came out of the sky 'after a loud zipping noise'" and illuminated the Judd house.
Fremantle is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Perth, the state capital.
On Sunday, February 22, 1998, at 12:25 a.m., residents of Karangi, W.A. near Perth reported "sighting three bright orange illuminations heading to the southwest of Perth" toward the Garden Island Naval Dockyards. "The illuminations slowly traveled overhead in a triangular formation...at one point, they appeared to turn upright and form a vertical line. They all kept at the same distance apart during the whole sighting period. At one point, a white light came out of one of the orange illuminations and fell directly toward the ground."
(Editor's Note: A UFO was videotaped doing the same thing in Gulf Breeze, Florida in 1992.)
"The orange illuminations appeared to be about one kilometer (0.6 miles) away. There was no flickering and these lights were a constant source of fiery-colour orange lights." (Many thanks to Ross Dowe and Australia/New Zealand National UFO Hotline for this report.)
On Wednesday, February 18, 1998, a U.S. Navy UH-1D helicopter "on a search and rescue training mission" crashed in the Sequoia National Forest near Johnsondale, California. All five crewmen aboard were killed.
"Sheriff's Lt. Mike Gutsch said the Huey from the China Lake Naval Weapons Center burst into flames after crashing shortly after noon Wednesday near the Kern River in the Sequoia National Forest."
"All the victims were Navy personnel from China Lake, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east across the Mojave Desert from the crash site. Their names were not released."
According to the Fresno Bee, their South Valley Bureau stated that "there were 'many' people who reported a bright object in the Kern (River) Canyon at 11 p.m. on February 18," nearly a dozen hours after the helicopter crash.
The news bureau also stated that "Deputy Ernest Cowan acknowledged that the bright light caused some concerns. Cowan said the object wasn't a flare but was most likely a shooting star (meteor) or possible 'space trash' from a satellite launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base."
But witnesses claimed the mysterious object "exhibited a strange 'arcing motion'" that is not a characteristic of a 'shooting star." (See the newspapers Attleboro, Mass. Sun-Chronicle and the Fresno, Cal. Bee for February 19, 1998. Many thanks to Kenneth Young, public information director of Tri-States Advocates for Scientific Knowledge, T.A.S.K., for forwarding the Bee article.)
Two UFOs hovered over Leeds, a large city in the UK 140 miles (224 kilometers) north of London, and were videotaped by a local resident George Hickinson.
The sighting took place on Monday, February 2, 1998. Hickinson reported, "At about 5:35 p.m., I noticed a pair of bright white lights that were stationary in the west, while positioning together at 10 and 4 o'clock respectively. My initial thought was a banking plane with a light on each wing, and I watched them until three or four minutes later, when I decided that it was very strange the lights appeared at the same altitude as my first observation."
Hickinson went to get his video camcorder and then shot footage of the two lights until 5:40 p.m., when "they disappeared out towards York."
Hickinson's video was broadcast on the BBC program Look North on February 12, 1998.
(See the Yorkshire Evening Post for February 11, 1998 and the London Daily Telegraph for February 24, 1998. Many thanks to George Hickinson for this story.)
Elsewhere in the UK, on Sunday, February 15, 1998, at 7:10 p.m., a family driving on motorway (highway) A37 from Doncaster to Yeovil "saw a large bright light come from behind us and our car in the sky." The UFO veered off to the left and disappeared. Witnesses described the object as having "a red/green glow and a tail."
Doncaster is 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Leeds. (Many thanks to John Thompson of ISUR and George A. Filer for this report.)
More UFOs were reported throughout Australia during late February.
On Tuesday, February 17, 1998, at 6:20 p.m., witnesses in Sumerville, a town on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria (Vic.) state, reported "a blue- white flame illumination. It flew overhead from the western sky heading for the east." The UFO was in view for ten seconds.
At the same moment, in King Island, Tasmania, across the Bass Strait, people spied "a blue-green illumination in the eastern sky, heading north... no sound heard."
On Thursday, February 19, 1998, at 4:15 a.m., residents of Tarragindi, Qnld., a suburb of Brisbane, saw "a huge bright pulsing orange illumination with white-colored lights" flying from the northeast to the southwest. They had it in view for 15 minutes.
On Saturday, February 21, 1998, at 9:30 p.m., people in Richmond, South Australia "saw two large orange illuminations heading away from the area. One illumination was heading west while the other was heading north. The UFO heading west seemed to be stopping and starting as it traveled." The other one "seemed to be going around in circles as it traveled away."
On Sunday, February 22, 1998, witnesses in Campbelltown, S.A. "sighted a bright orange illumination heading to the north-northeast. The resident said the bright orange object was 'brighter than anything else in the sky.' It was brighter than a helicopter or an aircraft light crossing the night sky." The UFO was seen to be "30-40 degrees from the ground."
On Monday, February 23, 1998, a man in Tullamarine, Vic., near Melbourne, "reported sighting a while illumination" near the constellation known as the Saucepan, 85 degrees above the northeast horizon. "It then traveled quickly to the east-southeast. There was no trail, and the witness didn't think it was a meteorite."
Also that night, at 8:45 p.m., people in Doncaster, Vic., near Melbourne, "sighted a fast-moving illumination crossing the sky from east to west. The illumination stopped and made a number of turns and then disappeared. When it reappeared, it quickly went off to the west and vanished." (Many thanks to Ross Dowe and Australia/New Zealand National UFO Hotline for these reports.)
(Editor's Comment: Hmmmm, one sighting in Doncaster, Yorks., UK--another in Doncaster, Vic., Australia. There's a UFO clue in there somewhere.)
On Wednesday, February 11, 1998, at 6:30 p.m., a UFO described as "a ball of light of a yellow-greenish color with a long bright blue tail" crossed the sky in a descending trajectory over Lombardia province.
The UFO was seen by hundreds of people in the cities of Bergamo, Brescia, Asola, Parma and Mantova before disappearing over Lazio.
Italian scientists dismissed the object as "an unusually bright bolide."
Exactly one week later, on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, "the phenomenon repeated itself," and again the luminous yellow-green UFO with the blue tail flew over Lombardia "in an oblique descending trajectory" and "was seen by hundreds of people."
Now everyone in north-central Italy is talking about 'il bolide del mercoledi (the meteor of Wednesday) and looking for a repeat appearance. (See the Italian newspapers Il Messagero, Gazzeta di Parma and Gazzeta di Mantova for February 19, 1998. Grazie a Renzo Cabassi, Carlo Cruciani, Roberto Labanti e Edoardo Russo per questo rapporto.)
As William Corliss points out in his newsletter, Science Frontiers, "Anomalies crop up in out-of-the-way places and unusual publications."
"A radio amateur (Dave, call sign K1WH8) noticed that his 432-MHz beam was higher than normal. Checking his tall antenna, he saw something dangling from the horizontal elements (tines). It turned out to be a good-sized, dessicated catfish. Dave's antenna is 60 feet high and miles from any lake or stream."
(See Science Frontiers No. 118, March-April 1998, page 4. Also the February 1998 issue of QST magazine, page 21.)
(Editor's Comment: Ah, yes, another item Charles Fort would have loved. Obviously this particular catfish is native to the Super-Sargasso Sea.)
On March 8, 1957, PanAmerican Airways Flight 257 took off from Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport--J.T.) in Queens, N.Y. Leaving the runway at around 11:30 p.m., the four-engine DC-6 airliner banked to the southeast and began its long flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As the propellor-engine DC-6 neared Bermuda, Captain Matthew Van Winkle received a storm warning over the radio. He advised Hamilton Tower that he was adjusting his course, turning west on a new heading that would take him closer to Florida.
At 3:30 a.m., on March 9, 1957, Flight 257 was about 150 miles (240 kilometers) east of Jacksonville, Florida, flying at 20,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean.
Suddenly, Captain Van Winkle "was startled by an intensely brilliant beam of light from his right and below his plane. The object carrying the light had a defined edge which Van Winkle saw in the split- second..."
Van Winkle described the UFO as "a big fireball advancing with tremendous speed with a roaring sound."
Instantly the pilot "did what comes naturally," pushing all the engine throttles forward and pulling the yoke all the way back. Engines howled as "he yanked the big plane up into a zooming climb to avoid a collision."
In the DC-6's cabin, "Passengers, diaper bags, suitcases, the inevitable stale magazines, lunch boxes, stewardesses (flight attendants--J.T.) and the co-pilot (who was in the cabin at the time)--all mingled in mid-air as Van Winkle fought to bring the plane under control."
"A stewardess and woman passenger were hurt and later hospitalized, and three other passengers were shaken up."
PanAm Flight 257 landed safetly in San Juan, and an investigation ensued. "Four other plane crews in the same general area had seen the same or a similar object within a few minutes" of 3:30 a.m. "They all described it as a glowing thing with a brilliant light on the front and a reddish glow or exhaust on the rear."
Despite the testimony of the other crews, however, the official explanation of the oncoming object was "a meteor." (See FLYING SAUCERS-- SERIOUS BUSINESS by Frank Edwards, Bantam Books, New York, NY 1966, page 38. Also MYSTERIOUS FIRES AND LIGHTS by Vincent H. Gaddis, Dell Books, New York, NY 1967, page 71.)
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On this date, March 1, 1692, a woman named Tituba, a slave of African and Taino ancestry born on the island of Barbados, was convicted of witchcraft at the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Salem, Massachusetts. Her conviction came after Judge Hawthorne ruled "spectral evidence," i.e. hearsay, admissible in court.
Tituba was hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem, the first of nineteen Massachusetts residents executed for witchcraft that year.
(Editor's Comment: Of course, such horrors as the Salem witchcraft trials could never happen in this enlightened era of 1998. But I'm sure John Ford and Heide Fittkau-Garthe would give me an argument about that.)
We'll be back next Sunday with more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites or 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.