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THE ABDUCTION PHENOMENON IN AUSTRALIA
Keith Basterfield, Vladimir Godic and Pony Godic
UFO Research Australia
P.O. Box 229
South Australia 5082
In July/August 1988 issue of IUR Budd Hopkins, referring to the
testable fantasy-prone hypotheses advanced by Keith Basterfield and
Bob Bartholomew, wrote that his advice was "to put their theory on the
back burner and to look into any possible abductions that come their
way." Unfortunately, within Australia this is easier said than done.
There has been an apparent lack of well-documented abduction cases in
this country. The authors therefore decided to review the situation
on two fronts. First, they undertook an intensive examination of the
Australian UFO literature. Second, they undertook to uncover any
previously unreported cases. This article documents our findings to
In 1976 Keith Basterfield co-authored a work titled "An Australian
Catalogue of Close Encounter Type Three Reports". In this work an
attempt was made to collect and document all Australian CE3 cases that
were known as of that date. The result was a collection of some 36
cases. But none of these could be classed as possessing and
characteristics associated with the abduction event.
The following year Bill Chalker of Sydney presented a paper at the
national UFOCON 3 at Surfers Paradise and wrote, concerning Australia,
"Upon first inspection, we appear to have a complete absence of "time
loss", "abduction" and contact cases." Within two years though,
Chalker was on the trail of stories along the lines of "interrupted
journeys." Three Australian events came to light.
In 1971, a Finnish couple, Ben and Helen K., left Gladstone,
Queensland, at about 11:35 p.m. and upon arrival in Rockhampton found
that only 40 minutes had passed on the trip that would normally take
much longer. In addition to the rapid trip they could not recall
passing through intervening places although they recall seeing an
unusual green light at one stage. Their 1971 Valiant sedan was
reportedly covered with a thin film of odorless oil, and unusual marks
were noted on the car's hood. Attempts at hypnotizing the couple
The second account told of an event dated January 10, 1978, at a place
called the Balers Creek Falls, New South Wales. Gary P. had been
diving alone in the early hours of the morning when he found himself
unaccountably stationary on the side of the road at 5:00 a.m. He was
unable to clearly remember the previous 160 km. While stationary he
noted a really bright light hovering some distance away. Although he
tried to get close to it, he could not.
A researcher in Western Australia, Jeff Bell, came across the story of
a truck driver. The incident took place near Baladonia in that state
in February 1978. A memory lapse of three to 3 1/2 hours is said to
have been associated with the observation of two unusual lights.
During this time the driver says he recalls "talking to somebody about
inventing something ... Also I remember speaking with two voices ..."
Investigators have been unable to learn anything more about this
The Frederick Valentich case burst on the scene in 1978 and in some
quarters it was suggested he had in fact been abducted. The story is
well known, but in condensed form, 20 year old Frederick Valentich
disappeared over Bass Strait while flying a Cessna aircraft between
Melbourne and King Island. Some think he was abducted by the
occupants of the object which he reported observing just before radio
contact was lost with his aircraft.
In 1980 Keith Basterfield produced a more definitive study of local
CE3 events and broadened the catchment area to include New Zealand as
well as Australia. By this date 104 such events had come to light.
There were five more cases which relate to todays abduction accounts.
The first one uncovered came via an article in the English "Flying
Saucer Review" and it is said to have occurred in Adelaide, South
Australia, in 1955. A 10 year-old girl, Janet X, was being treated
for a slight nervous disorder. While under hypnosis for this
condition she recounted a story of her interaction with aliens and a
flying saucer. She spoke of being in the saucer with three "men" and
of visiting a planet with and advanced society. Pony Godic of UFORA
spoke with one of the case's original investigators in 1989, but
despite this we have not been able to relocate Janet X to reinterview
Two American paperbacks led us to an abduction report more typical of
today; yet it is dated August 11, 1966. A Marlene Travers, of
Melbourne, is reported to have observed a large silver disc land near
her. She was abducted and raped by and alien wearing a loose fitting
metallic green tunic. The above books referenced the original source
as the "New York Chronicle" of November 21, 1966. A search by Pony
Godic using the U.S. Library of Congress and the South Australian
State Reference Library found a small college newspaper of that name
in Hempstead, New York. No reply has yet been received to the
inquiry directed to that paper. Any light American researchers could
throw on this account would be appreciated.
An interesting case occurred in 1972 and was ably investigated by Gary
Little and Bill Stapleton of Melbourne. The significance of it was
not understood at the time until it was reexamined for the 1980
catalogue. In early 1972 Maureen Puddy reported observing a disc-
shaped object in the sky. Later in July she related that her car
stopped itself as the same object hovered overheard. Several months
later she recounted being abducted into a room and observing an
entity there. This latter event occurred while two other persons
were physically present with Mrs. Puddy but they reported only that
Mrs. Puddy lapsed into unconsciousness. On a later occasion she said
the entity again appeared to her when she was driving the car. The
"mental" abduction has led some researchers to support an altered-
state-of-consciousness approach to the abduction phenomenon.
The fourth event, unfortunately could not be documented properly, came
from Springwood, New South Wales, in 1973. One night two men were
asleep in a caravan on a remote building site, when one was awakened
by a blue light projecting from a hovering aerial disc. A time lapse
of some two hours occurred. He felt some "beings, Caucasian types,"
were somehow involved.
The fifth case was uncovered by Bill Chalker. In 1974 two young
women from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, felt compelled to
get into their car which allegedly drove itself to a remote spot.
They were escorted by a brilliant white light source. Vague human
shapes were seen and strange noises heard. There was an episode of
Two additional cases came to light at about this time. An old man is
said to have been abducted near Elliot, Northern Territory, in 1976,
after a bright object landed near him. Beings alighted and took him
aboard. He said they asked him some questions about life on earth
before they returned him unarmed to the pick-up point.
Investigations were unable to verify the account even though Pony
Godic spent some time in 1989 corresponding with residents of Elliot
in an attempt to uncover some leads. The other story emerged from
Hobart, Tasmania, on the other side of Australia, again in 1976. A
man and his wife had gone to bed. She fell asleep, leaving him
awake. Suddenly through the closed door came three figures. One
tried to put a bag over the man's legs in an apparent abduction
attempt. He tried to awaked his wife, whereupon the figures departed
through the window.
The frustrations of being unable to investigate a fascinating report
came to the surface in the next case. At about 9:00 p.m. on February
5, 1979, an intense white light lit up the hood of a car driven by a
young man, near Lawitta, Tasmania. The car engine stopped, the radio
went dead and the lights went out. Later that evening the man was
picked up by the police in Hobart for driving the car without lights.
They found him to be in a dazed condition and he did not know where he
was. He was taken to a hospital apparently suffering from shock.
The man, apparently suffering from shock, wished no further
investigation of the matter.
INTO THE 1980'S
In 1982 what had all the hallmarks of a classic multiple-witness
abduction case happened. Keith Basterfield produced a short report
in "UFO Research Australia Newsletter" describing "Australia's first
abduction case?" But despite a promising start to investigations
neither of the two witnesses wished to cooperate with inquiries and so
the case languished in our files.
The details are as follows: Two young men were traveling in a car
near Port Lincoln, South Australia, on October 24, 1981 when they
encountered a "white endless space" where a time loss of several hours
is said to have occurred. During this loss time they have vague
memories of a "being" and recalled "walking into a big room." Just
prior to the "space" they had been watching a mysterious light in the
sky. Arrangements to have the men undergo a full investigation
including hypnotic regression was unsuccessful.
Two years later, while documenting cases of near-death experiences
(NDE's), Melbourne researcher Gary Little came across a case that
contained aspects of both an NDE and a bedroom abduction. In 1979 a
man named Mark retired to bed one night in Melbourne, Victoria, at
about 11:00 p.m. Shortly after closing his eyes he lost all sense of
sound and feeling and he found himself traveling in a tunnel through
space. Looking forward, he noted a light at the end of the tunnel.
His next awareness was of lying on a table in a "craft." He was
medically examined by three beings, after which he panicked and then
awoke in his own bed. The percipient didn't wish to take the matter
At about the same time (1983) Pony Godic and Keith Basterfield were
investigating another case from the Northern Territory. A 17 year
old youth, Simon, reported a series of events which included a
nightmare close encounter, a number of dreams and also observations of
entities about the house. Investigation, however, led to the
conclusion that the stories originated from reading Raymond Fowler's
"Andreasson Affair". The sketches Simon drew of his "aliens" were
carbon copies of drawings from the book. Eventually he admitted
he had indeed read the book whose story obsessed him to the point
where his school grades suffered.
Finally a well-investigated apparent abduction event emerged and was
ably looked into and reported upon by Mark Moravec of Sydney. Two
young men, out hunting near Jindabyne, New South Wales, in September
1978, reported seeing a bright spherical light on the ground some
little distance away. Next night it was seen again. In 1983 one of
the men began to recall memories of a two-hour time lapse on one of
those two nights. One memory was of the two men's being floated into
a room where they were placed on a table and examined by tall, white-
colored beings. Moravec wrote "there is at present no evidence to
confirm the 'abduction' experience occurred as a real physical event."
Thomas E. Bullard's 1987 compilation of global abduction cases, "UFO
Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery", contains 14 entries for
Australia. This article presents brief details of 11 out of 14.
One of Bullard's cases, case 16, doesn't seen to describe "missing
time" and another, case 214, occurred in 1868, and the third, case 26,
is spurious. This last event, dated March 28, 1982, was almost
certainly explainable by the sighting, by a fatigued driver and
passenger, of the planet Venus rising. No missing time or abduction
scenario emerged, other than in speculation in the media generated by
over enthusiastic UFO researchers involved in the case.
By 1988, with the upsurge of the discovery of abduction cases in other
countries, UFORA believed it was time to explore the dimension of
events in this country. Therefore in November 1988 we circulated a
carefully worded "Letter to the Editor" to 20 metropolitan daily
newspapers requesting potential abductees to contact us. It was
published in papers in four different Australian states. Although we
received 20 replies to this letter, none was of the nature of an
Early 1989 brought five new cases to attention for review. One case
(Nildottie) was poorly investigated and reported so far only in a
national mass-circulation magazine. Three other cases in New South
Wales are currently under investigation by Chalker, and two cases
under investigation by Ray Brooke and Basterfield in South Australia.
Here are brief details of the three New South Wales events: A Sydney
woman recalls as a young girl, aged four or five years, she saw a
small being with large eyes in her bedroom during daytime. She had
little conscious recall of the details other than that she felt she
went "somewhere else." Another Sydney woman woke up feeling
agitated and heard a voice. Figures appeared and said to come with
them. She went through a doorway into a room where she watched a
scene on a screen. This screen showed pictures of her future life,
and the events depicted later came true. The case is currently under
active investigation and stretches over the time frame of 1979 - 1982.
Finally, in 1976, a 31 year old woman was overcome be a feeling of
sickness while vacuuming her house. Three strange figures were seen
in front of her. There was apparently telepathic communication and
advice that she had to go with them. The next thing she remembers,
it was five hours later and her boy friend had arrived home. It is
interesting to note that no events post 1982 were located.
Meanwhile in 1979, in South Australia at a small country town called
Nildottie, two men, Don and Jack, recounted an abduction experience
which is alleged to have occurred near the River Murray. They were
preparing for dinner when beings entered their house. They
experienced a time lapse and found themselves standing by a silver
craft. They were subjected to psychological testing for several
hours before realizing they were back at their kitchen table. A more
recent case from Adelaide in 1988 is one in which a man reports that
he is in two-way communication with aliens via an implant in his ear.
During investigation he revealed that he had undergone two apparent
out-of-body experiences in which he was "sucked-out" of his body. He
indicated that during these experiences he had been taken on board a
To determine the extent of the abduction phenomenon, and in the light
of the availability of books by Randles, Hopkins, Klass and Strieber
in Australia, we carried out another exercise in June 1989. We
forwarded neutrally-worded "Letter to the Editor" to 51 regional
newspapers scattered all over the country. Shortly thereafter we
forwarded a media release and background briefing paper to selected
metropolitan daily newspapers and radio stations because we had no
visual material to present. The net result was coverage on two TV
shows, items in five major metropolitan newspapers, items in an
unknown number of country papers, and 31 interviews on 31 radio
stations, all in one week. This was the most intense media exposure
ever given to the subject of abductions to date in Australia.
Several previously unknown cases are being investigated.
Unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, abduction accounts
have never made front-page headlines or featured heavily in the
electronic media within Australia. The only exception to this rule
was the case of the missing pilot Frederick Valentich; that one made
headlines throughout the world. All of the rest of the reports
documented here have come to the attention either of UFO research
organisations or through low-key press articles. This has meant that
to date researchers have been able to pursue cases out of the media
spotlight. On the other hand, with little mass publicity abduction
cases may lie undiscovered, with potential abductees being unaware
that there are responsible organisations to which they could take
their stories. The recent UFORA publicity suggests there are indeed
a few cases waiting attention. But a balance needs to be maintained
between too much media exposure with the inherent risk of exposing
people to the intimate details of previous events, and not enough
publicity which would keep reports flowing to us.
What then have we leaned about abduction experience in Australia? We
have learned that there are cases that parallel those in other
countries. Researchers have not been able to pursue and fully
document many of these cases. Reasons for this include the sheer
vastness of the Australian land mass and distances to percipients; the
small number of serious researchers; the attitudes of some UFO
investigators; and the unwillingness of percipients to be involved
with full investigations.
Are there yet more cases to uncover? UFORA's carefully measured appeal
for cases has shown that it is possible to tread the line between too
little and too much publicity. With limited resources available to
Australian researchers a qualitative rather than quantitative approach
seems the best way to proceed. As the recently uncovered cases are
investigated, details will be published for the benefit of the broader
global UFO research community.