However, in the late 1970s I was lucky enough to acquire a copy of the original report in Fr. Gill's own words. It is included in a 45-page document entitled:
Flying Saucers Over Papua
A Report on Papuan Unidentified Flying Objects
by the Rev. Norman E. G. Cruttwell, M.A. Oxon., of the Anglican Mission, Menapi, Papua, New Guinea.
(dated) March, 1960.
He got involved in collecting the reports after a sighting of his own the previous December, when he wrote to Flying Saucer Review, and was asked to be their local investigator. I presume, therefore, that at least part of this story was originally published in that journal. In any case, this is the full account.
The document had been updated slightly. There is a reference to a 1965 magazine article, along with a short 1976 addendum by the Vice President of the Queensland UFO Research Bureau, which presumably "published" the report. In fact, it is simply a mimeographed typescript, with the addition of a few drawings obviously traced from the originals. In other words, it is inaccessible to the vast majority of people. You would have better luck getting a close encounter of your own! For this reason, I wish to share it with you.
3. “Tilley Lamp” 'on' the Mountain?
The scene now shifts to Boiani, later to become famous for the most amazing sighting of all. Boiani is a village on a small tongue of land made by the Mase River where it flows out of a deep gorge of the Owen Stanleys. It is on the south side of Goodenough Bay, some 20 miles across from Menapi. About 4 miles behind it the mountains rise sheer to culminate in two peaks which overhang the gorge on either side, Mount Nuanua and Mount Pudi. They are about 4,000 feet high. Behind them rise ridge upon ridge up to Mount Simpson, nearly 10,000 feet, which caps the range.
Right on the beach is the Mission Station of All Saints, Boiani, with a coral cement church and various Mission buildings. It faces northwards, the beach running north-west to south-east. It looks across to the low hills of Giwa and Menapi on the Cape Vogel Peninsula.
The missionary in charge, the Rev. William Booth Gill, is an old friend of mine. He came out to Papua with me in 1946, and I know him very well. On the 9th. of April, he was on his little 16 ft. launch about a mile off shore, coming home from visiting an outstation. It was 6.50 p.m., and just about dark. The weather was clear overhead, but there were clouds and rain squalls about. The mountains were a dark silhouette against the still glowing sky.
He suddenly noticed a bright white light 'like a Tilley Lamp' [a pressure kerosene lamp, which is very bright], apparently high up on the flank of Mt. Pudi, not far from the summit. He estimates that the light was about 500 feet from the top. It was quite stationary, and he immediately thought: “Oh, there must be someone up there with a Tilley Lamp”. The Papuans with him all noticed the light. He was puzzled about the light, but not unduly so, and looked away, continuing to read his book. Five minutes later he looked up again, but the mountain was in darkness. The light had disappeared. This again seemed odd, but he took no notice, and went on reading. After another five minutes he was aware of the light again, shining out from the mountain side, but to his surprise it was shining from a completely new position on the opposite side of the mountain. It had moved quite a mile to the east, quite impossible, if a man had been carrying it.
However, Fr. Gill still did not realise the significance of what he had seen, and looked away again. Next time he looked back, the light had gone, and did not reappear. The next morning he examined the mountain by daylight, and realised that there was no house or village or even any track up there, but only the precipitous mountain-side. It was only when he got a letter from me about the later sighting from Giwa that it occurred to him that it might have been a U.F.O.
As it was quite impossible for it to have been actual Tilley Lamp for the reasons given above, in addition to the fact that very few people, apart from the Mission staff, possess Tilley Lamps anyway, it seems likely that it was another appearance of the objects 'like Tilley Lamps' which were being seen all over the place. If so, the object could not have been actually 'on' the mountain, but was probably hovering between the mountain and Fr. Gill's launch, a distance of three or four miles. As it 'appeared' at a height of 3,500 ft., when seen against the mountain, its actual height could not have exceeded that altitude, but may have been considerably less. The object therefore, could not have been astronomical, but appears to be some kind of craft hovering at aircraft height.
This sighting was therefore of great importance to us at the time, suggesting that some mysterious, apparently controlled, craft were flying about over Papua at night. This was amply confirmed by subsequent sightings.
From here we move forward 2½ months to the famous sightings.
When I returned from the mountains I heard the fascinating rumours. It was said that many flying saucers had been visiting Boiani, and that human beings had been seen on them, and waved to Father Gill. I could not believe they were true, and dismissed them as the sort of wild tales which often get around by 'bush telegraph', and in which there is often little or no substance of truth. However, the next call of the Mission launch brought me a fat envelope of typescript with a covering letter from Father Gill himself. His letter read as follows:-
Anglican Mission, Menapi.
Here is a lot of material – the kind you have been waiting for, no doubt; but I am in some ways sorry that it has to be me who supplies it. Attitudes at Dogura in respect to my sanity vary greatly, and like all mad men, I myself think my grey cells are O.K. I am sorry you were not here with your telescope – the naked eye can be a hindrance when detail is essential.
This is the original data. Please take whatever copies or photographs you like, but please send it back to me by return 'Maclaren King' [presumably the Mission launch] if possible, as I regard it with a sense of value which no copies could have.
There has been no activity recently over here, but one report has come from Vidia (and others from Dogura, as you will see).
Hope you had a pleasant walkabout,
After some preliminary discussion of the evidence and describing the method by which he compiled his report, he describes the sighting of the first of the visiting craft by his Papuan Teacher Evangelist, Stephen Gill Moi. This craft was not seen by Fr. Gill himself, though it is obviously similar to the craft which he saw later. Stephen Moi's report is as follows :-
'On coming out of the house at one o'clock on Sunday morning, 21st. June, I saw a bright white light silently coming our of the sky from a point about a quarter of a mile out to sea, slightly west of Boiani Mission Station. It descended from what seemed to be a great height, and I thought at first that it was a 'falling star' (meteor). I watched it for the space of about three minutes, moving and descending eastwards and parallel to the coast. It stopped at a point a little to the east of the station, and at a height of perhaps three hundred feet. There it remained stationary for perhaps half a minute, and gradually decreased in brilliance until the shape of an inverted saucer could be discerned, which was tilted backwards with part of the base visible. The object then moved upwards and disappeared from view into the clouds.
When first sighted (presumably after the falling star stage, when he realised how slow it was moving) 'I thought it was a light similar to those dropped by plane during the war'.
P.S. Underneath the saucer I saw about four round black spots.
“All this information was volunteered without any knowledge of previous sightings of U.F.O.'s by Stephen, and when questioned afterwards, Stephen Moi claimed never to have heard of 'Flying Saucers'. I asked him if he was quite sure the shape of the object was like a saucer, and was not, for instance, the shape of a plate, or like a 'sixpence' or 'like a ball'. He was quite certain in his mind that it was more like a saucer than anything else.
I too, have questioned Stephen about this and other sightings, and he confirmed this appearance and the four dots, though he is not quite sure whether they were actually on the upper or under surface of the machine. This, it will readily be seen, is a matter or perspective. Either the object must have been considerably smaller than those seen a week later, or his estimate of height must have been too small. There seems little doubt that this was the same type of machine which returned later, and was probably doing a preliminary reconnaissance.
The following diagram was added to the report: -
Five days later, on Friday 26th., the visitors returned in force. The astounding events of that night caused Fr. Gill to write the following letter to the Rev. David Durie, Principle of St. Aidan's College, Fr. Gill's confidant and friend, who had helped him to study for his Diploma of Education.
Anglican Mission, Boiani,
To the Rev. D. Durie,
St. Aidan's College,
Life is strange, isn't it? Yesterday I wrote you a letter (which I still intend sending you) expressing opinion of U.F.O.'s. Not less than 24 hours later I have changed my views somewhat. Last night we at Boiani experienced about four hours of U.F.O. activity, and there is no doubt whatever that they are handled by beings of some kind. Please pass it round, but great care must be taken, as I have no other, and this, like the one I made out re Stephen, will be sent to Nor. I would appreciate it if you could send the lot back as soon as poss.
P.S. Do you think P. Moresby should know about this? (N. Cruttwell is at present in the Daga country, and will not be returning home until July 16th. at the earliest). If people think it worthwhile, I will stand cost of radio conversation if you care to make out a comprehensive report from the material on my behalf! It's interesting Territory news if nothing else.
Then follows the report of the events of June 26th. exactly as jotted down at the time in pencil. I reproduce the notes verbatim:-
26/6/59 U.F.O. BOIANI
Patches of low cloud
Sighted bright white light from front door. Direction N.W.
Clear over Dogura and Menapi
Call Stephen and Eric Langford
Stephen arrives. Confirms not star – like the other
night. Coming closer, not so bright. Coming down. (500' ?) Orange?
Send Eric to call people. One object on top, move – man?
Now 3 men – moving, glowing, doing something on deck.
Men 1 and 2 again.
Cloud ceiling covered sky c. 2000 ft.
Men 1, 3, 4, 2 (appeared in that order)
Thin electric blue spotlight. Men gone.
Spotlight still there.
Men 1 and 2 appeared – blue light.
U.F.O. goes through cloud.
Clear sky here heavy cloud over Dogura
U.F.O. seen by me overhead.
Call station people.
Appeared to descend, get bigger
Not so big, but seemed nearer than before.
Second U.F.O. seen over sea, hovering at times.
Cloud forming again.
Another one over Wadobuna village.
Another to the east
Big one stationary and larger – the original?
Others coming and going through the clouds. As they descend
through clouds, light reflected like large halo on the ground –
no more than 2000', probably less. All U.F.O.'s very clear –
“Mother ship” still large, clear, stationary.
Nos. 2, 3, 4 gone.
Mother ship gone – giving red light.
No. 1 gone (overhead) into cloud.
“Mother” gone across sea to Giwa – white,
red, blue, gone.
Overhead U.F.O. reappears, is hovering.
Still there, stationary.
Hovering, gone behind cloud.
Very high, hovering in clear patch of sky between clouds.
Very overcast, no sign of U.F.O.
Heavy rain. IQA!!! (Wedau language! Finished.)
- Our Past President, Mr. Stan Seers, said that in his discussion with Rev. Gill the blue beam of light was described as a pencil thin beam of light (i.e. a parallel beam). The diagram which shows a craft with a diverging beam of light was a sketch by a newspaper artist. In 1959 the laser beam was a new invention. The diffraction grating kits which are now made by Dr. Herbison-Evans could be used to identify laser beams.
- It was about 1968 when Rev. (now Canon) Cruttwell reported that a strange underwater craft was seen by fishermen. It was about 80 ft. (24 metres) long with no conning tower and it surfaced beside a fishing boat. The fishing boat took evasive action but was followed closely for some distance.
4. The Night They Waved.
No sign of U.F.O.
Only 1 U.F.O. practically overhead. Slightly north. Very high, but clearly distinguishable, due to hovering. (Fr. Gill uses the word 'hover' in the sense of wavering movement in a small area).
Same U.F.O. - moved to southern position, but still more or less overhead.
3 U.F.O.'s in almost straight line – all high, sky clear.
8 U.F.O.'s. This is the greatest number seen at one time, one fairly low, but except for occasional 'hover', no activity seen on board.
A sharp metallic and loud bang on Mission roof, as though a piece of metal had dropped from a great height. No roll of 'object' down roof slope afterwards. Outside, 4 UFO's in a circle round station. All high.
To bed, and UFOs still there.
Roof examined. No apparent sign or mark or dent, which one might expect from last night's noise.
In any case, on the very same nights that these activities were taking place over Boiani, a lot of less dramatic UFO appearances were occurring over the nearby villages and towns. These were described in the Chapter VI of Fr. Cruttwell's report, and will be the subject of my next post. So stay tuned.