By John Burney

Reproduced courtesy of the Sunday Mail (1987, September 27)

(Investigator #9, November 1989)

In late October 1957, a Royal Air Force corporal on duty at the British nuclear test site in Maralinga, SA. saw an alien object hovering over the air-field.

It also was seen by an air traffic control officer who immediately checked Alice Springs and Edinburgh airfields.

They revealed that there were no aircraft in the vicinity at the time.

The corporal later described the object to top British UFO researcher Jenny Randles as "A magnificent sight. A craft of silver blue with a metallic lustre that had a line of windows or portholes along its edge."

Both men saw it so distinctly that metallic plating could be made out on its surface. "I swear to you as practicing Christian that this was no dream, no illusion, no fairy story," said the corporal. "It was a solid craft of metallic construction."

Nothing was officially said about the sighting, and it could be claimed that the secrecy stemmed from the sensitive nature of the Maralinga base at that time.

It was one of a chain of hush-hush Australian investigations into unidentified flying objects which go back as far as 1920 when the ship SS Amelia J. disappeared at a time when strange, unexplained lights were being reported around the entrance to Bass Strait.

A search aircraft sent to investigate the lights also disappeared, and Bass Strait has since featured in a number of mysterious cases.

But like thousands of other close encounters involving UFOs around the world, the Maralinga case, so many years down the track, poses the question: "What have we got to hide?"

Is there in fact an international conspiracy of silence among governments to withhold evidence, or even proof, that UFOs exist, and that we have been visited by extraterrestrial objects and beings.

World UFO authority Timothy Good has no doubt that there is a sinister cover-up and that there exists a silent artery of communications above Top Secret to which this extremely delicate information is confined.

The most amazing revelation is that a top secret document, obtained by a British researcher, shows that bodies of four aliens from a crashed UFO were recovered and examined by a special U.S. government team 40 years ago.

It has sparked a fierce debate among UFO experts about the existence of a mysterious committee code-named Majestic-12 which is reported to have examined the aliens.

The document purports to be a briefing for President-elect Eisenhower on Operation Majestic-12, also known as MJ-12.

A highly classified briefing paper, it claims that CIA head, Admiral Roscoe HillenKoetter, reported that: "Although these creatures are human-like in appearance, the biological and evolutionary processes responsible for their development have apparently been quite different from those observed or postulated in homo sapiens."

Mr Good claims that MJ-12 was a committee of senior U.S. officials which investigated and then covered up news of flying saucer crashes, although other UFO experts say it could be a fake "plant" in the files of Air Force intelligence.

The Eisenhower briefing paper, dated November 18, 1952, says the MJ-12 committee had been set up by his predecessor, President Truman, on September 24, 1947, as a "top secret research and development intelligence operation responsible directly and only to the President of the U.S."

It reports that on June 24, 1947, disc-shaped aircraft were sighted in the U.S. A local rancher reported that one had crashed in a remote region of New Mexico about 120km north-west of Roswell army air base.

On July 7, a secret operation was begun to recover the wreckage for scientific studies. During this operation, aerial reconnaissance discovered that four small human-like beings had apparently ejected from the craft before it exploded. They had fallen to earth about 3km east of the wreckage.

Their bodies were badly damaged due to predators and exposure.

The paper concludes: "A covert analytical effort resulted in a preliminary consensus (September 19, 1947) that the disc was most likely a short-range reconnaissance craft.

"The Majestic-12 group remains of the unanimous opinion that imposition of the strictest security precautions should continue without interruption into the new administration."

If authentic, the briefing provides the most damning evidence for Good's theory that there is a world-wide UFO cover-up. In any event, new evidence from the files of U.S. intelligence confirms that a secret group called MJ-12 did exist, although U.S. authorities are still tight-lipped about its function.

There have been many charges of governments suppressing information on UFOs and cloak and dagger attempts to infiltrate or even discredit civilian bodies.

Responsibility for monitoring Unidentified or Unusual Aerial Sightings in Australia rests with the RAAF, but following the Maralinga case, a strange series of events overtook the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau in 1959. Mr Stan Seers, then president, received a call from a man requesting a meeting in Brisbane. The stranger introduced himself as D.D. of Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and produced an identity card.

He offered a deal in which ASIO would cooperate with QFSRB if they would make all information they received from people on UFOs available on a reciprocal basis and refrain from attracting publicity.

Mr Seers agreed and in the weeks that followed, Mr D personally interviewed 12 members of the QFSRB and remained in close but shadowy contact with the group (now UFO Research Queensland) for 11 years.

Mr Seers claimed to have evidence from members of at least one other State UFO group that similar surveillance and even attempts at destabilization by ASIO had been carried out.

Be that as it may, the incidence of sightings and strange occurrences have continued unabated throughout Australia, although in many cases without official interpretation or explanation.

Of all the sightings, none generated so much world-wide attention and concern than that of Frederick Valentich, a 20-year-old flying instructor who disappeared in his Cessna 182 soon after reporting a UFO sighting over Bass Strait while on a flight from Moorabbin in Victoria to King Island, Tasmania, on October 21, 1978.

Just 47 minutes after, taking off from Moorabbin at 6.19pm, Valentich reported seeing an unidentified aircraft to the Melbourne Flight Service unit controller, Steve Robey.

Object played games with him

Despite careful study of the transcript of the conversation between the two men, no satisfactory answer has been advanced for what subsequently happened. At 1906 Valentich, using the call sign Delta Sierra Juliet, asked if there was any known traffic below 5000ft. Robey replied that there was none.

Valentich then said "there seems to be a large aircraft below 5000."

As the conversation continued Valentich told Robey the object seemed to be playing games with him, flying over the top of him at speeds he couldn't identify.

He said later that it was sometimes stationary and then orbited close over the top of him. It was metallic, shiny on the outside and had a green light.

His last message was that the object was still with him and he intended to go to King Island and land there.

"That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again," he said.

There was no further transmission from Valentich and he and his aeroplane vanished. Despite a massive sea and land search which continued until October 25, no trace has been found of Valentich. Robey was convinced that Valentich was not perpetrating a hoax.

A Bureau of Air Safety investigation reported that the location of the occurrence was not known, the time not known, the degree of injury presumed fatal, and the opinion as to the cause, not determined. Similar bizarre encounters have occurred in many parts of the world.

In 1961, an Antonov AN-2P mail plane left Sverdlovsk, bound for Kurgan in the Soviet Union with seven people on board. Some 129km from Sverdlovsk, just after the pilot had communicated with ground control, the aircraft disappeared from the radar screen.

A search was launched and the plane was quickly found. It was in a small clearing in a dense forest, completely intact. There was no way it could possibly have landed there and it looked as though the plane had been set down gently from above.

Most puzzling of all was the fact that there was no sign of anyone on board.

All the mail was intact, and when the engine was tested it started first time.

No official explanation from Russian authorities was forthcoming, and they are most reluctant to discuss any matter relating to aerial phenomena.

In Britain, the same veil of silence cloaks investigation. In April, 1955, the Air Ministry announced the results of a five-year prove into flying saucers by the RAF had been submitted to high-ranking officers, but that it was never to be revealed to the public for security reasons.

It was reported that the Air Ministry conducted top secret research into UFOs from Room 801, an office hidden away on the ninth floor of what was the former Hotel Metropole in London.

The interior of room 801 had never been seen by anyone other than a tight clique of the highest security cleared Air Ministry investigators.

They certainly have plenty of inexplicable contacts over British air space to occupy their minds.

On September 11, 1981, Denise Bishop was returning to her home in Weston Mill, Plymouth at 3am when she saw an enormous UFO hovering above houses on top of a hill.

She said: "I was very frightened, although the UFO was a fantastic sight. It was metallic grey and six or seven shafts of light were coming from beneath it. I put my hand on the handle of the house door and, from the unlit side of the object, a lime green pencil beam of light came down and hit the back of my hand."

When the UFO lifted away, the beam went out and Denise was later found to have a burn mark on the hand with spots of blood and severe bruising.

The landing on Lord Louis Mountbatten's estate at Broadlands, near Romsey in Hampshire, is one of the most significant British encounters since it involved a trusted worker and was investigated personally by Lord Mountbatten.

Early on February 23, 1955, bricklayer Frederick Briggs was cycling to work on the estate when he saw something resembling a child's huge humming top. Its color was dull aluminium.

A bright bluish light shone from one of the portholes and although not directed straight at Briggs, he felt the power which knocked him from his bicycle and left him lying helpless.

Lord Mountbatten quizzed his worker, and concluded: "Briggs was still dazed when I first saw him and he was worried that no one would believe his story. He did not give me the impression of being the sort of man who would be subject to hallucinations or invent such a story.

Of a conspiracy of silence, Lord Hill-Norton, GCB chief of the Defence Staff from 1971 to 1973, has only this to say:

"There have been major investigations lasting 30 or 40 years by the governments of the U.S., Russia and France for certain, and probably Britain and other countries.

"We have had no hard official information to weigh against some hundreds of books on the subject by private individuals or groups of individuals.

"I claim that the charge that there is a cover-up is thereby proved.

Excerpt from ABOVE TOP SECRET, by Timothy Good; published by Sidgewick & Jackson and distributed in Australia by Macmmillan.