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“These lights whirled like the propellers of ships, slowed down, dipped, and rose again, as if they were beating up in a zig-zag course against the wind.”

A 1909 newspaper article reporting a UFO encounter has been unearthed at the State Library of Victoria recently. The article quotes witness Reverend B. Cozens, who was staying on a farm at Kangaroo Ground with his wife, and several neighbours who saw “beautiful revolving lights” half a mile above the hills and about six miles apart.

The encounter happened in August 1909, around 10 o’clock. The lights “changed from white to red and then to blue, as if they were revolving beacons with three-coloured slides. After going back to bed, the Reverend woke up again at 2am and saw the lights were still there. “The whole impression of their movements was that of machinery.”

Skeptics suggest the Reverend merely saw the Southern Lights, Aurora Australis. A poem by HS Kilpatrick was published in Western Australia’s Southern Times newspaper in October 1909, suggesting the Aurora Australis was very active that year. “Nineteen nought nine shall forever for us hold, remembrance of thy rich phenomenon.”

However, Perth is over 3000km away from Melbourne, and the Southern Lights don’t match the description of white, red and blue. The 1909 article also doesn’t state which direction the Reverend saw the lights, which would have been to the south. Kangaroo Ground is smack bang in the middle of the Dandenong Ranges, where the Reverend had a “splendid view.”

Interestingly, this is the same area where the Kelly Cahill UFO abduction took place. I got quite a buzz when watching the new season premiere of The X-Files, when Agent Mulder mentioned my neck of the woods. I actually had to rewind and double-check he said what I thought he said. Victoria, Australia. “Hey, that’s where I live!” I said out loud, not unlike Jiji in Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’m personally skeptical of this case, it’s just a bit too Whitley Strieber, and Bill Chalker had difficulties obtaining reports by the original investigators.

Forget Area 51, Australia is the real home of paranormal shenanigans. Drop-bears, bunyips, Daily Grail admin, UFOs… there’s something in the water here. There’s the 1978 disappearance of pilot Fred Valentich, the 1966 UFO landing at Westall, and my own 1984 encounter in Gippsland that happened before I started to worship like cats.

The Truth is Down Under.

Previously, on The Daily Grail:

  • ‘New’ Insights Into Two Classic Australian UFO Mysteries
  • Spiral UFO Seen Down Under
  • UFO Documentary, Westall ’66