Tuesday, 19 July 2016

50 Years On...

The 2nd April 1966 Balwyn, Australia Photograph - Revisited


Stage Two Report on the 2nd April 1966, Observation and Photograph, by witness James Johnson Kibel, in Melbourne, Australia

Compiled by Keith Basterfield and Paul Dean.

1. Introduction

The purpose of our stage one report was to bring together as much of the primary and secondary source, material as we have been able to gather, on the visual sighting and photograph of 2 April 1966.

This stage two report aims to provide as much detail as the authors have been able to obtain, after the passage of 50 years, about the analyses which were conducted on the Polaroid photograph, and other related matters.

The reader will then be in a better position to decide whether or not, this visual and photographic report fits into the UFO phenomenon.


The authors are aware of four different analyses of this photograph. These are:

1. APRO (USA).
2. Ground Saucer Watch (USA).
4. VFSRS (Australia).
In addition to the above, the late US based Professor James E McDonald expressed some concerns about the photograph, which will be noted, later in this report.

1. Aerial Phenomena Research organization (APRO).

1.1 Recent references:

More recent references to this analysis are found in:

a. ‘The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters’ by Ronald Story (Robinson Publishing. 2002.) The relevant extract reads:

‘However, when the photograph was examined by Aerial Phenomena Research Organization consultant Dr B Roy Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, he found that the chimney in the lower part of the photo was more blurred than the alleged UFO which prompted him to examine the photo more closely. He then found a jagged line of discontinuity running across the center of the phot, through a cloud field, which suggested that there are actually two separate photos joined together and rephotographed to make the one.’

b. Bill Chalker’s Ozfiles blog, dated 19 January 2009 states, in part:

‘The US organization APRO had their photo consultant examine the photo. Dr B R Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, reported finding a jagged line of discontinuity running across the center of the phot, through the cloud field, which suggests that there were actually 2 separate photos joined together and rephotographed to make the one. APRO therefore regarded the photo as a possible hoax.’

1.2 Earlier references in APRO material:

 Looking further back in time, the authors consulted copies of the ‘APRO Bulletin’ and books written by the Lorenzens. Neither of the two issues of the 1966 ‘APRO Bulletin’ which covered the case, mentioned an APRO analysis.

In addition, a search of books authored by the Lorenzen’s, APRO’s leadership, found only one reference to the Balwyn photograph. This was in Lorenzen, C.E. 1966. ‘Flying Saucers: The Startling Evidence of an Invasion from Outer Space.’ Signet. New York. Plate 7 and pages 251- 252. A black and white image of the full Polaroid picture is reproduced as plate 7. The accompanying text reads:

‘Photograph of a typical bell-shaped Unidentified Flying Object taken on April 2, 1966 in Melbourne, Australia by an Australian engineer who asked that his name not be used. The photo was turned over to Peter Norris, president of the Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organization. The object is seen hovering over a house whose pink roof its lower edge apparently reflects. (This was seen more clearly in the color version of the photograph.) The object is apparently made of highly polished metal and is similar (or identical) to objects seen all over the world.’

Pages 251-252 read:

‘On April 2, 1966 a well-known Melbourne businessman (who refuses to be identified but is known to APRO’s representative there, Attorney Peter Norris), snapped a photo of a bell-shaped object which was suspended on edge over Balwyn, a Melbourne suburb (see plate 7). Using a polaroid camera, he got a clear color photograph of the polished metallic object, which was reflecting the pink roof of a building below. All the Melbourne papers included the story because of the qualifications of the observers.’

1.3 APRO consultant:

A 2016 search of the Internet located the following 2012 “thread” about Balwyn, and a Doctor Roy B Frieden. It was on the ‘Above Top Secret’ website.

“Elevenaugust 5/5/2012

Reports that APRO consultant Dr B Roy Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona ‘Jagged line of discontinuity across the centre of the photo, through the cloud field, which suggests there are actually two separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make one.’ 

Gortex 5/5/2012

‘VFSRS issued a report on the photo which indicated that the Polaroid photograph and the enlarged copy showed no evidence of a multiple exposure, montage or other form of tampering. The US organization, APRO, had their photo consultant examine the photo. Dr B R Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, reported finding “a jagged line of discontinuity, through the cloud field, which suggests that there are actually 2 separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make the one.” APRO therefore regards the photo as a possible hoax. The photo also apparently “failed” the GSW (Ground Saucer Watch) computer enhancement technique.’

Aussiebloke2 12/2/2013

‘…I contacted Dr B R Frieden by email some years ago, he replied which was a nice surprise but what was a bigger surprise was he just did a copy and paste of the same material that is already out there on the net which is the very reason I was contacting him hoping he would elaborate on it further.’

1.4 1971 APRO Symposium:

The authors wished to locate the earliest mention of Dr Frieden and his views on the Balwyn photograph. APRO held a UFO symposium at the University of Arizona on 22 and 23 November 1971. The November-December 1971 issue of the APRO Bulletin provides a report on the symposium. On page 4 is the following.

‘Dr Frieden a professor at the University of Arizona’s new Optical Sciences Center reviewed the better UFO photographs in APRO files and offered possible explanations for some of them. He divided UFO photo types into three basic categories: McMinville, Trindade and Balwyn, the latter being the rarest.

In his studies of possible explanations involving hoaxes he searched for double-exposures (accidental or deliberate), montages and models. The data studied involved: “Position and density of shadows;” “blur uniformity;” “contrast lost consistent with distance;” “double exposure clues;” and “geometrical distortion of UFOs.”.

As a result of Dr Frieden’s analyzing, several UFO photo cases in APRO files have either been proven to be clever fakes or serious doubt has been cast on their authenticity…strong doubt was cast on the Balwyn photo when Dr Frieden pointed out that a blurring effect on the chimney was not apparent on the object. Furthermore, various straight and unnatural looking lines through the clouds were found, indicating a possible montage…’

1.5 2016 correspondence:

One of the authors (KB) located Dr B Roy Frieden; still at the University of Arizona, and provided him with the clearest colour copy of the Polaroid Balwyn picture, as supplied by Jim Kibel to researcher Bill Chalker, and asked for his opinion.

He was first asked him if he was an APRO consultant in 1966? He said he was. He was then asked if he had examined the Kibel photograph? He responded that he didn’t recall it by that name but offered his opinion on the photo forwarded to him. He was unable to say whether or not this photo was the one he had commented on about a jagged line of discontinuity. However, he did confirm that about 50 years ago he had commented on some photo about finding a jagged line of discontinuity.

So, now to his thoughts as to the Kibel photographed we sent him.

All the points on the rooftop are vertically blurred, but that the object in the picture’s points are less blurred and equal in all directions. This to him violates a basic property of optics, namely, the point spread function. This leads him to conclude that there were two superimposed photographs, one containing the object and another the rooftop.

He added that he recalled commenting on some photograph he saw about 50 years ago, where there was an apparent jagged line of discontinuity between upper and lower clouds.

Frieden advised that he had undertaking the task of examining this 50-year-old photograph at the request of his friend Richard Greenwell, who recently passed away.

Copies of the APRO Bulletin, were again reviewed and it was found that Dr Frieden was not listed in the 1967 or 1968 issues as an APRO consultant. However, he was listed as such, in the May 1969 issue and following issues, as a consultant in optics.

1.6. In summary:

‘… strong doubt was cast on the Balwyn photo when Dr Frieden pointed out that a blurring effect on the chimney was not apparent on the object. Furthermore, various straight and unnatural looking lines through the clouds were found, indicating a possible montage…’

1.7 A note of caution:

It should be noted that this analysis did not include examining the original Polaroid photograph.

2. Ground Saucer Watch (USA).

2.1. The 19 January 2009 post on Australian researcher Bill Chalker’s Ozfiles blog, in part reads:

‘The photo also apparently “failed” the GSW (Ground Saucer Watch) computer enhancement technique. Although aware of these results, Brown (pseudonym given to Kibel in 1966 -authors) still maintains the photo is a genuine one. Given what I have learnt with regard to the circumstances of the photo incident, how it was witnessed, that it was a polaroid photo, and that the GSW analysis technique had been criticized as sometimes being unreliable itself through questionable application and poor methodology, there is considerable evidence that the Balwyn photo may indeed be legitimate.’

2.2. When one of the authors (KB) was discussing Bill Chalker’s text of his 2009 blog post with him., Bill mentioned that his source for his statement, about GSW, was former US researcher Allan Hendry.

A check of Hendry, A. 1979, ‘The UFO Handbook.’ Doubleday. New York, pages 206-209 found a reference GSW and their photographic analysis work.

‘In 1974 Fred Adrian and William Spaulding of a UFO organization called Ground Saucer Watch, Inc., tried applying a computer-linked TV monitoring system to significantly increase the sophistication of UFO photo analysis…GSW states that the system does its best job spotting fakes quickly, indeed after examining over 600 hundred UFO photos, only thirty or 5 per cent of them remained as bona fide…’

Page 208 features a number of photographs after the heading ‘These photos passed GSW’s test:’ On page 209 there are a number of photographs after the heading ‘But a great many more failed.’ One of these “failed” photographs is the Balwyn image, with the caption ‘Melbourne, Australia 1966.’

2.3. Looking to go further back in time, via US researcher Barry Greenwood, the authors received a digital copy of the ‘GSW Summer News Bulletin’ dated August 1976. In this Bulletin, there is an article by William Spaulding titled ‘August Summer News Bulletin Results of Computer Photo Analysis.’ In part it reads:

‘Since last August, GSW has been actively evaluating hundreds of UFO photographs to determine the exact origin of the image on the film…For years the print media and UFO organizations have published numerous photographs, stating (or implying) that these pictures represent genuine unidentified flying objects. The following list of photographs represent both crude and grandiose hoaxes or photographic anomalies and should not be considered evidence of UFO existence.

1. Rex Heflin/Santa Ana, CA 1965
2. Melbourne, Australia 1966…’

In summary, the GSW analysis was conducted between August 1975 and August 1976, and if their “Melbourne, Australia 1966” photograph is the 2 April 1966 Balwyn photograph, then GSW believe it does not show a genuine UFO.

2.4. The authors asked members of their networks, if anyone had any more original material authored by GSW about the Balwyn photograph. Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos of Spain responded that he was in possession of GSW material and supplied the authors with a copy of a scanned article from 1977. The article is Hewes, H C & Spaulding, W. ‘How to Evaluate Flying Saucer Photography.’ ARGOSY Magazine Special Annual Edition 1977, pages 27-29.

Part of the text of this article reads:

‘Let us examine two typical UFO hoax photos.

Our first case is a photograph of a daylight disc, reportedly taken in Melbourne, Australia, on April 2, 1966. Details concerning the circumstances under which it was taken and the background of the photographer are sketchy; the photographer is identified only as a business executive, and the location is given as the Balwyn section of Melbourne.

This photograph seen here as illustration G, is a hoax. Look especially at the edge enhancement mode, our illustration H. Not only are the edges fuzzy, or even missing 11 o’clock position, but what is even more apparent, is that almost a third of the object has no density at all. One of the authors showed these enhancements to a colleague, another long-time UFO researcher, and he said the pictures reminded him of the new maps of Greenland, with about a third of the “traditional” island revealed not to be solid land at all.

The photograph is a montage – a photographic superimposition of the “saucer” on a background. Illustration I, the color contouring output, shows the “reflected sunlight” portion of the “object”” to have essentially no density (that is, no density of the background), and it shows a wide and irregular difference in the density values of the right and left sides of the object. Contrast this with the very high degree of density consistency in illustration C, the Mayher object, and illustration F.’

2.5 Notes of caution:

a. It should be noted that GSW’s computer techniques have been questioned by some researchers in the past. One test conducted on GSW was the submission of two Canadian photographs of the same object taken one after the other. GSW’s opinion was that one of these was fake and the other genuine.

b. It should also be noted that this analysis did not include examining the original Polaroid photograph.

c. While the above article has been very helpful, GSW’s actual report on the Balwyn photograph, however, is yet to surface.


3.1 How did NICAP become involved?

Part of a 9 May 1966 letter from Kibel to a Mrs June Larson of Washington State in the USA states:

‘I have a report from Kodak Limited regarding the analysis of the UFO photograph…The colour material should be ready within the next day or so and I will forward you enlargements and negatives for submission to NICAP.’

It is reasonable therefore to presume that Kibel himself sent his material to June Larsen who then sent it to NICAP headquarters.

3.2 NICAP photographic analyst:

A letter dated 21 Sep 1966 from Ralph Rankow, a NICAP photographic consultant, (to whom is unknown) is amongst the NICAP material kindly sent to us by US researcher Barry Greenwood. Rankow’s letterhead includes the words “Photographic illustrations.” In part it states:

‘I am enclosing two prints of the bell (mushroom) UFO as you requested, also the negatives which were loaned to us. There were several duplicates of these negatives, so I am holding on to two of them in case we ever need more prints.’

In a letter from Rankow to Richard Hall of NICAP dated 28 September 1966, Rankow refers to two earlier letters to Hall dated 25 May and 6 July (not on Greenwood’s file). Part reads:

‘In any event, there is nothing definite that I can establish from the picture, except that “something” in the air was photographed…. I can’t prove that it was a real UFO, and I can’t prove it was a hoax…A NICAP member who said he knew June Larson, phoned me to ask if it was a hoax…and told him that I could make no definite conclusion upon the facts which I had…he said that June Larson wrote to him and said that this is what Coral Lorenzen had told her.’

Rankow eventually tracked the source of the hoax story down to a well-known journalist and UFO author, John keel.

3.3 One of the authors (KB) of this paper, looked through issues of the NICAP ‘UFO Investigator’ and failed to find any article about the Balwyn photograph.

3.4 In summary:

NICAP’s photographic analyst stated:

‘I can’t prove that it was a real UFO, and I can’t prove it was a hoax…’

3.5 A note of caution:

It should be noted that this analysis did not include examining the original polaroid photograph.


4.1 This analysis appeared in the ‘Australian Flying Saucer Review (Victorian edition)’ dated December 1966 pp 11-12. No author is listed at the start of the article.

‘Report on UFO photographed at Balwyn.

A. Data

1. The Polaroid photograph with chimney visible in left bottom will be referred to as photo I in what follows. Enlarged photo showing the UFO only will be referred to as photo II.

2. The UFO was sighted on 2nd April 1966, and photographed at 14:21 EST on that day.
Focal length of camera at infinity 6 ins.
Distance from point at which photograph was taken to peak of chimney (see as on photo I): 81 ft.
Height of chimney from ground level to peak: 26ft 6ins.
Distance of chimney from curb side of road: 56 ft.
Distance from point at which photograph was taken to curb side of road: 54feet
(These data were supplied by the photographer.)

B. Authenticity of the Polaroid photograph.

The polaroid photograph and its enlarged copies show no sign of multiple exposure, montage or any other tampering. No statement can be made, on the basis of clarity, or lack thereof (see photo II), about movement of the object in the sky, because immovable objects in photo I show signs of movement, ie the picture gives evidence of camera movement.

C. Evaluation of height and size of object in the sky.

1. Data deduced directly from photo I: -

Large (apparent) diameter of UFO: 7mm.
Small diameter: 4mm.
Width of chimney: 4.9mm corresponding to an actual width of 1 foot 6 inches.

2. Calculated from the data in A2: -

Distance from sub point of chimney at ground level to camera: 76ft 6 ins.

3. Evaluation from attached serial photographs and data in A.2 and C.1, 2: -

Azimuth of line projected to curbside of property
a=121 deg (clockwise from due north)

Azimuth of vertical plane through camera and chimney top

a=121 deg 41 mins (see the diagram)

Probable error of latter azimuth +/-2 deg.

The ground projection of the cone in which the UFO is located is shown as two red lines in the serial photographs.

4. Elevation angle of UFO: 28 deg 36mins. This has been calculated from the true height of the chimney top, its apparent position in photo I, the relative apparent height of the UFO above the chimney top, and the horizontal distance between sub point of chimney at ground level to camera, ie 76’ 6” (see C.2 above.)

5. On the basis of item C.4 the height of the UFO could be determined for an assumed horizontal distance of its sub point from the camera. Various heights corresponding to various assumed distances are listed in the 2nd column of the table.

Horizontal assumed distance
Height (feet)
Calculated large diameter (metres)
Small diameter

6. The large and small (actual) diameters of the object could be determined from the assumed distances, the focal length of the camera (see A.2), the apparent diameters on photo I (see C.1), and the angle of elevation (see C.4). Diameters are given in the third and fourth column of the table.

7. At the time the photograph was taken, the UFO appeared to have been near the school and or even closer, not further than the southern portion of the public park southeast 400 feet. Assuming a circular cross section, the circumference of the UFO at its widest cross section would have been at least 10m but possibly as large as 35m (33 to 115 feet).

D. Remarks on light reflections from the surface of the UFO.

On 2nd April, 1966, the altitude of the sun at 14hr 21mins was 46deg 45 mins and the azimuth 45 deg 59min west of north when observed from Box Hill. This information was supplied by D F Marshall, lecturer at the Observatory, Institute of Applied Science of Victoria.

In the here adopted notation, the azimuth of the sun was therefore 314deg11mins (clockwise from north) and its elevation about 18deg higher than that of the UFO. Providing the sun at the instant of taking the photograph was not obscured by cloud (and from the photograph it appears that there was sunshine at that instant), it would follow that (1) the UFO exposed to the camera, ie not at an angle of 90 deg but at an angle of 75 deg in the plane of viewing; (2) that the light came slightly from above, relative to viewing from the camera position.

The effect mentioned in item (1) is not substantiated by any indication of consistent shadows on photos I or II.

Footnote: The names and addresses of the authors of statements B, C and D may be supplied on request.’
A photograph accompanied the text, plus a diagram of relative distances and angles.

4.2 In summary:

The VFRSR analysis stated:

‘The polaroid photograph and its enlarged copies show no sign of multiple exposure, montage or any other tampering.’

4.3 Further information:

4.3.1. In a Facebook post, dated 3 April 2016, Victorian researcher George Simpson, in speaking of ex-Kodak employee named Bob Laidlaw, said that he had heard directly from Bob about the Kodak analysis. In part the post stated:

‘The photo was a chemical original with no emulsion issues or aberrations. They were convinced, after inspecting the photo using a microscope that the picture was genuine.’

Another part of the same post stated:

‘Under the close up view afforded by the microscope they could see the terra cotta tiles of an adjacent house in the reflection on the shiny surface of the object.

Unfortunately, George Simpson advised that he was not able to produce any written document which could confirm his personal recollections. No other person has been located who can verify the above statements.

4.3.2 The name Malcolm Bradley “The Kodak guy” came up in an email from NSW researcher Bill Chalker, to one of the authors (KB) dated 3 February 2016. Bill retains summary notes and taped interview with Bradley conducted on 19 January 1991. The interview came about through Bob Laidlaw.

From Bill’s journal:

‘Malcolm is a retired Kodak engineer according to Bob, he did VUFORS analytical work on the Kibel/Balwyn photo. According to my notes of the interview with Peter Norris, Malcolm was a member of the old, 1953-1955 group AFSIC (or VFSIC).
Definitely an interview must!!
Also enquiry of Malcolm re the old ASIO/Kodak “rumour” re UFO photos.’

‘I interviewed Malcolm Bradley on 19/1/91 re Balwyn photo & his involvement with the earlier Victorian UFO group – Malcolm was 85 at the time of my interview.

Ex Malcolm – assistant works manager – Stan Watkins in charge of developing of photos with Kodak 40’s to the 60’s.

Edgar Rouse – chairman/Director Kodak – close to Americans – 40’s (now dead) military connections.

Now Bradley is the only surviving person re Kodak. Bradley retired in 1970.

Ernie Lord (author of Gardening Book) got Malcolm Bradley along to the VFSRS group to meet Peter Norris.

Bob Laidlaw was an efficiency production manager with Malcolm Bradley at Kodak.’

‘…this flow sequence re handling the Balwyn photo was on the same page (again my notes)’

‘Balwyn photo: Kibel >Norris>VFSRS>Bob Laidlaw>Malcolm Bradley (he seemed impressed with the photo.)’

4.3.3. Other references to a report, upon which the VFSRS article is based:

a. The ‘APRO Bulletin’ dated September-October 1966 page 1, says, in part:

‘A complete photo analysis of the photograph of a bell-shaped object hovering over a residential section of Balwyn (Melbourne suburb) Australia has arrived at headquarters.’

However, is this a reference to the actual Kodak analysis report, or the VFSRS report on Balwyn which was published in the December 1966 Volume 6, AFSRS (Vic ed.) pp11-12? No one knows. APRO’s files disappeared from public view following the death of both Lorenzens, and their current location is unknown.

b. Was there ever a “Kodak” report?

Did Jim Kibel had a copy of the Kodak report? Part of a 9 May 1966 letter from Kibel to Mrs June Larson of Washington State in the USA states:

‘I have a report from Kodak Limited regarding the analysis of the UFO photograph…The colour material should be ready within the next day or so and I will forward you enlargements and negatives for submission to NICAP.’

So, the question remains. Was there ever a report by Kodak, or personnel employed by Kodak, separate to the article in the December 1966 AFSRS (Vic edition) magazine? The authors have not been able to locate such a report, if indeed, one was prepared in 1966.

5. Summary of the four analyses:

5.1 VFSRS – an Australian UFO group

‘The polaroid photograph and its enlarged copies show no sign of multiple exposure, montage or any other tampering.’

5.2. GSW – a US UFO research group

‘The photograph is a montage – a photographic superimposition of the “saucer” on a background.’

5.3 APRO – a large US UFO research group

‘…there were two superimposed photographs, one containing the object and another the rooftop.’

‘…strong doubt was cast on the Balwyn photo when Dr Frieden pointed out that a blurring effect on the chimney was not apparent on the object. Furthermore, various straight and unnatural looking lines through the clouds were found, indicating a possible montage…’

5.4. NICAP – a large US UFO research group

‘I can’t prove that it was a real UFO, and I can’t prove it was a hoax…’

6. Professor James E McDonald:

One of the best qualified scientific researchers of the UFO phenomenon was Professor James E McDonald, a well-respected, and well credentialed atmospheric researcher. He had a deep interest in the UFO phenomenon and made a trip to Australia in 1967. He interviewed Jim Kibel on 28 June 1967 in Melbourne. The authors obtained a copy of the audio recording between Kibel and McDonald.

In this interview, McDonald questioned some aspects of the photograph, specifically what appears to be a reflection on the object’s surface. The relevant portion of the recording follows:

‘Mc. So, times, motions, colours. Did, did Paul ever mention to you a feature of the shadow on the object that. Didn’t bother me, it’s odd I thought. Did he ever discuss with you?

K No, I have never discussed it with him.

Mc. He had large prints that you.

K. Yes I have got some as well.

Mc. And see it on a magnifier on this but it’s just that the, let me refresh my memory. Here we nominally have a surface of revolution.

K. Yes, yes, I know what you mean.

Mc. And we have views of the upper and lower edges, which if it is a surface of revolution (…) define the shape.

K. Yes, that’s right.

Mc. Then the question arises, the shadowing on it (…) in fact in the middle of the shadow, sketch this here, from this, shadow, has a cusp, a (…) cusp which I am going to exaggerate.

K. yes I know, you can see that on my (…)

Mc. I wonder, if it is a surface of revolution, then why should the shadow, should be the shadowing not be some kind of continuous curve. Do you rationalize that, anyway or thought about it? What could have produced that cusp? A notch?
K. Frankly I don’t know. Because, there could be; on the enlargement you could probably see it better. There seems to be reversed curves and all manner of things up near the top of this thing, which I call the top, that’s the part with the point on it. And arr, such a curve round the lower edge, the edge nearest the stalk could possibly produce that (…) effect.

Mc. If there, if there is a, an irregularity on the surface, and if it is a surface of revolution then the upper and lower limbs must show that. This end and this end.

K. I see yes.

Mc. It may not be a surface of revolution, but that poses a question. Did you think at any time that it was anything other than a revolute?

K. No I didn’t. (...)

Mc. Left with the impression.

K. I was left with the impression that that was a (…)

Mc. (…) easier to ponder if we had a blown up version.

K. I should have brought that with me. I can perhaps mm. We can have a look at that next week.

Mc. We probably should. I don’t have any bright ideas as to anything that would be in the neighborhood that would do it. But that may be. This may be a highly distorted curved
 mirror type reflection of a building, and it may in fact be identifiable as a building. We should give that some thought…… Sit there and think about the angles. Do you have anything in the way of surveying gear that we can reconstruct the (…) or already been there (…)

K. We already measured it all up, I’ve got the details of that, anyway.

Mc. We might see if we can think back to what, what object is behind you. Would. Presumably. It looks like it is above the mid-section.

K. Yes.

Mc. of it. That’s kind of bad, because your line of sight, then would, be reflected up into the sky. So it’s got to be some very tall building if it’s going to do that. It’s probably not (…)

K. (…) because there’s only houses sort of on this side, there’s a fence, sort of there, then there’s houses, a house, a big house.

Mc. Not particularly tall.

K. No. would it be. If it had been over the house further that way. Could it possibly have been a reflection of a tree here, although it couldn’t be because it would mean.

Mc. Well, no, because if it’s a revolute, and this is above the mid-section, then and it appears to be, then the specular reflection is of the sky up here.

K. That’s right yes.

Mc. It really does look like its well above the middle section.

K. I’m very puzzled with those reflections because I couldn’t, also couldn’t see how it could be the reflection of the roof of the house. I just couldn’t see this. It’s this, this interpretation which has been put on it by Peter and his society. I don’t think there’s enough, you can’t get sort of enough information from this photograph to indicate what is being reflected, you know.

Mc. You are looking here, you are looking to the east, right?

K. That’s right, almost due east.

Mc. Sun in the north?

K. The Sun was behind me. Ummm. It was just, just above and behind. I think Dr Berson had the, the altitude and everything of the Sun.

Mc. Well, when we have a large photo, then standing out there, let’s try to go over that again. That’s an interesting point. It may simply be that when you look more carefully at all the
 angles involved that it I simply the difference between the Sun illuminated part, and the non-illuminated part. It may be that. Is there any possibility of getting print of that? Are there black and white. Do you have any black and white?”

In addition, there is a little known fact, that Kibel says he didn’t see the pink reflection on the surface of the object at the time of the observation. Again, from the recording:

Mc. Were you conscious at the time of any of this pink reflection of that?

K. No, not until I looked at the photos. I didn’t; I wasn’t conscious of this at all.’


The authors believe it would be useful to place the Balwyn visual observation and photograph into a broader context of other sightings reported by members of the Kibel family.

The following sightings details have been extracted from little heard audio recordings made by the late professor James E McDonald on 28 June 1967, at the Anderson home in Melbourne. Present were both Jim Kibel and his brother, Brian Kibel.

1954 August (?) 1700hrs 1 Palm Grove, Balwyn, Melbourne

Jim Kibel was about 15 at the time, and living at home with his parents. One day his mother called out to him and told him she had seen a disk shaped object in the eastern sky. It appeared to be flipping over from side to side. It had a bright white/silver side, and a dull grey/black side. These two sides alternated. It disappeared behind tall trees in the garden. The point of observation was the eastern side of the house. It was late afternoon about 5pm, late in winter, possibly August. His mother contacted a newspaper but they asked her what she had been drinking and didn’t take the report seriously at all. Its angular size was estimated as half that of a 10 cent coin at arm’s length. It was thin, as it turned from side to side, it disappeared from view. Jim Kible only saw it briefly. They didn’t ask the neighbours if they had seen it.

About 1956 (although it could have been 1953) Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

Brian Kibel was in a remote area near Kanangra Walls, near Oberon, New South Wales. It was plateau country, where a road runs to an escarpment with a 1000-foot cliff descending to a valley floor.

It was a cold, overcast day, with a low cloud ceiling only 90-100 feet above his head. He walked out to the edge of the escarpment and looked down to the valley floor. Straight down there was what appeared to be a silver water tank in inaccessible valley floor. There was no road, with sparse trees. There were 2-3 moving objects seen from above. They were moving around the tank. “Dots” moving around.

He walked back from the cliff edge a distance of about 150 feet. Then he heard a slight humming sound, like a dynamo, medium pitch. As he turned around to face the cliff edge again he saw an object rising up above the edge of the cliff from the valley. It seemed only 20 feet out from the edge. Some 170 feet from where he was. It was rising at a speed he estimated as 15-20 mph. It looked like it had a satin finished stainless steel surface. In appearance it looked like a squashed upside down light bulb – base down.

It was inclined at a slight angle to him. It had vertical slots in a collar around its base. It came directly at him so he ran. It passed over him at about 40 feet altitude and so he got a good look at it.

By then he was running for his life. He went into a bush to hide. He saw the bottom of the object as it passed over him. He looked up into a hollow collar. In this hollow tube like structure, he saw what looked like an inverted cup.

The object went on climbing until, when it was about 200-300 feet away it went into the cloud cover. The humming noise then diminished. When it passed over him there was no downdraft effect. He also noticed that there were three balls on the bottom of the object. He drew it for McDonald at their interview. He estimated its size as 40-50 feet by 25 feet. Other features that he noticed were:

There was a slight bump on top, metallic in appearance
There was a visible line across it at one point though the whole thing looked seamless
There were two vertical lines around the base.

Later, in about 1962, Peter Norris did a taped interview with Brian Kibel. Brian had been about 17-18 at the time of the sighting. Jim thought it was Brian’s first interstate trip in a green MG car. Brian’s address at the time was flat 1, 115 New South Head Road, Vaucluse, Sydney, New South Wales.

There were four other persons present who also saw it, a clergymen and three ladies from Sydney. They told Brian that they had seen it rise from the valley floor from their position. They had been about a couple of hundred yards from him. Brian did not get the names etc of the other witnesses. All sketched it.

The total duration of the event had been about 45 seconds. The object had been going into the wind, and the wind had been blowing in his face.

About 19 November 1958 1215hrs Palm Grove, Balwyn, Melbourne

Jim Kibel, his mother and Jim’s then fiancée were sitting in the garden on the eastern side of the house, sunbathing on a cloudless hot day. He was lying on his back with dark glasses on He noticed a light about 15-20 degrees away from the Sun. He thought that it was unusual, but that perhaps it was the planet Venus as he knew you could see Venus during the day. Jim pointed it out to his mother and fiancée.

Jim went inside and fetched some 7 x 50 field glasses. It appeared to grow bigger. It was definitely dome shaped, mushroom shaped. In colour it was a bright iridescent pink.

He thought it was odd that it was by the Sun but they could still see it. Then it moved away from the Sun towards the east. Then it was directly above them. It was a stationary pink dome. It stayed there for 25 minutes, still bright pink, then it became intensely bright. On the bottom there was an intense white light. It appeared like a ball of white light with a pink cap. Its angular diameter was about 2-3 minutes. They all remarked on it.

The whole thing then turned into a bright white light, the same brightness as the Sun. It had a “fuzz” around it. They thought it was remarkable. Then it started to move. It came down with a “falling leaf” side to side motion in the wind, and fell to the horizon where it was lost to view. He reported it to Peter Norris. The sighting was never publicized


1. Questions.

In analyzing portions of the visual and photographic sighting of 2 April 1966, the authors posed themselves a number of questions and attempted to answer them, for the record.

Q1. On the question of where was the location from which the photograph was taken?

Was it 22 Austin Street, Balwyn?

1.1. The original handwritten NICAP report form, dated 19 April 1966 records an address of 22 Austin Street, Balwyn, E8, Melbourne. To the question ‘Locality of observation’ Kibel wrote ‘Garden of house Balwyn.’ He did not say garden of 22 Austin Street, or indeed garden of any other house.

1.2. The May 1966 APRO Bulletin, in an article which has no author’s name, on information provided by APRO’s Australian representative Peter E Norris, states ‘..the man was in his garden.’

1.3. The AFSRS, July 1966 article which does not say who wrote it says, ‘The photograph was obtained in Balwyn.’

1.4. The English ‘Flying Saucer Review’ dated July/Aug 1966, in an article written by Peter Norris, states ‘…taken by him in the Melbourne suburb of Balwyn.’

1.5. The ‘APRO Bulletin’ of Sep/Oct 1966, which also does not say who wrote it, says ‘Mr X was in the garden of his home.’

1.6. The AFSRS, magazine, dated Dec 1966 which carries an analysis by unknown authors is titled ‘Report on UFO photographed at Balwyn.’

1.7. One of the authors (KB) checked the Victorian electoral rolls for 1966 and found that a registered voter at 22 Austin Street, Balwyn was one James Johnson Kibel.

In our opinion, all of the above information, could lead a reasonable person to come to the conclusion, that the photograph was taken from 22 Austin Street, Balwyn.

On this basis, one of the authors (PD) visited 22 Austin Street, in early 2016 but found that the house on that block was in the process of being demolished.

Was it 5 Palm Grove, Deepdene?

1.8. A Facebook discussion in early 2016 between a number of individuals led one of the authors (KB) to ask them where they believed the photograph was taken. Their offline answer was that they believed that the photograph was taken at 5 Palm Grove, Deepdene based on one individual’s research. In a Facebook message, that individual stated

‘I have researched three abodes Austin being one of them. I don’t think it was used as a dwelling more of a business address, the other is of no concern leaving Deepdene. I contacted the Council, the Council gave me the names of the occupants there in 66 and were indeed the parents of Jim.’

1.9. How does 5 Palm Grove, Deepdene fit in? Another check was conducted of the Victorian electoral rolls. This shows that James Johnson Kibel was a registered voter at 22 Austin Street, Balwyn in the 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970 electoral rolls. However, the 1971, 1974 and 1977 electoral rolls show that he was a registered voter at 5 Palm Grove, Deepdene. Thus he did live there between roughly 1971 and at least 1977.

Was it 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene?

1.10. What other evidence is available to indicate which house was involved?

a. Professor James E McDonald interviewed James Johnson Kibel in 1967 during McDonald’s visit to Australia. The authors have a copy of McDonald’s handwritten notes of his interview with Kibel. Can these notes assist us? Yes, they can. In part they read ‘Balwyn eastern suburb. Mother”s home. (1 Palm Grove, Deepdene.)’

b. There is also a statement by one David English, whom Kibel says was present at the time Kibel took his photograph. David English’s statement, in part, reads ‘I was working inside the house at Balwyn owned by Mr Kibel senior.’

c. A check of the 1966 electoral rolls indicates that there is only one other male Kibel listed in the electoral district of Kooyong, and that is a Mark Alex Kibel of 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene.

d. A check of the electoral rolls indicates that in 1966 there were two registered voters at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene and they were Mark Alex Kibel and Mary Turnbull J Kibel.

e. McDonald’s notes state that apart from interviewing James Johnson Kibel, he also interviewed a Mary Kibel about her own sightings.

All this information tends to suggest that the photograph was taken at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene.

1.11. The authors next turned to an expert on Ancestry.com resources. In summary, they found out the following:

Mary Turnbull J Kibel was born in 1911. Her parents were James Johnson and Thomasons Harvey. Mary and Mark Alex Kibel were married in 1932 in Northumberland, UK. Mark Alex was born in 1908 and his occupation is listed as director, the same as in the electoral rolls. Mary travelled to Australia on the ship “Port Melbourne” 13 July 1940, and had with her, James Johnson Kibel, who was then four months old and his brother Brian Johnson Kibel.

All this information confirms that the parents of James Johnson Kibel were Mark Alex Kibel and Mary Turnbull J Kibel, who lived at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene in 1966 when the photograph was taken.

As an aside the authors also checked the residential details provided by David English in his 1966 statement. He said he lived at 12 Threadneedle Street, Balwyn E8. The 1966 electoral roll shows he was indeed, a registered voter at that address.

1.12. One of the authors (PD) independently from the other author (KB) examined McDonald’s hand written notes and deduced that the address where the photograph was taken from, was 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene. He therefore, visited 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene on 1 February 2016 for the purposes of taking ground level photographs. In the company of the present owner of the house, he was able to view the garden. This author (PD) is a painter and decorator by trade and is professionally familiar with similar houses in Balwyn. After viewing 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene and looking at the chimneys present today, which in his opinion would most likely be original, and therefore there in 1966, he believes 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene is probably the house we are looking for.


1.13 In the opinion of the authors, based on the above information, the 2 April 1966 photograph was taken at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene.

The question of at what address was the photograph taken from, was then put by email to Jim Kibel himself, by one of the authors (KB). Kibel replied that it was taken at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene, Melbourne. (Note, the address is shown as 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene, in today’s real estate websites and on Google Earth.) There is only one original house on this large block. Next door is 5 Palm Grove, Deepdene. Jim Kibel confirmed to me by email that he did own and live at number 5 for some years.

Q2. On the question of where, on the property, the photograph was taken from?

1.14 There are a number of sketches which were drawn by Jim Kibel. These are:

a. On the NICAP report form page 1.

b. On a separate sheet of paper found in VFSRS papers.

c. Attached to a letter sent to Mrs J Larson on the 9 May 1966.

d. In with McDonald’s “Kibel” papers, one version has the word “chimney” on it and an x marking the position of Mr English. It is possible this was drawn during McDonald’s visit to Australia in 1967 as there is a handwritten date of 3 July 1967 present.

1.15 It can be seen that all these are, all four slightly different versions of a basic plan of the house and garden drawn as if viewed from above.

1.16 One observation to make that in all four versions, if one projects a line from the position in the garden where Jim Kibel marks as where he was standing, through the chimney and towards the UFO, then from Kibel’s position the UFO would be to the left of the western most chimney (the one Kibel indicates is the chimney in the photograph) and not to the right of the chimney as the Polaroid photograph shows. How much importance should be placed on this apparent anomaly is unknown. If the sketch is meant to accurately portray the position of the UFO relative to the western most chimney, then there is an issue. If the sketch was meant to be just that, a sketch then the issue us more minor.

Q3 Where is the original Polaroid picture today?

1.17 In April 2016, Jim Kibel was interviewed by the Australian Channel 10 television network. During the televised program, the individual reporter who interviewed Kibel, states that Kibel’s house was broken in to and that the Polaroid picture was the only item taken. One of the authors confirmed this, during an interview with Kibel in July 2016. In short, the original Polaroid picture is not available today for re-evaluation.

Q4 Was it possible to take a double exposure photograph with an early model Polaroid camera?

1.18 A question arises as to whether or not, it was even technically possible to take a double exposure photograph with an early model Polaroid camera?

The authors are grateful to Canadian researcher Francois Beaulieu, who has considerable knowledge of, and experience using, early model Polaroid cameras, who came forward with the following information.

Francois advised that ‘Polaroid cameras of that period were well-known for their ability to record multiple exposures on the same print. This was due to the fact that, in those days, Polaroid prints were not automatically ejected from the camera the way that they were in later models introduced in the seventies. It was thus possible to re-cock the shutter and take another picture on the same print.’

Francois provided the authors with information on “cut-out lens caps” of that era, and an information sheet advising the photographer how to produce multiple exposure shots. Such as kit was specifically manufactured for early Polaroid cameras and was called the “Multisnap adapter.”

2. Networks.

2.1 The authors contacted members of their respective networks and secured copies of various documents used in compiling this report.

3. A 2016 visit to 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene.  

3.1 One of the authors (PD) visited 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene, in 2016. Here is his report.

‘As part of a “cold case” analysis of the “Balwyn” UFO photographic case, by Keith Basterfield and myself, I (Paul Dean) travelled to Palm Grove, Deepdene, in Melbourne.

I proceeded to assess both 1-3 Palm Grove, and 5 Palm Grove as the location from where the photograph was taken. The time was 10:40am, 2 February 2016, and the weather was nearly cloudless.I was able to verify that, on 1-3 Palm Grove, that the tallest and “closest” chimney to the garage was most likely the one in the Balwyn photograph.

1. The yellow arrows indicate the location of the house’s three chimneys.
2. The red parallel lines indicate where Kibel said he stood to take the photograph.
3. The red arrow indicates the location of the only chimney which can be seen if you stand where Kibel said he stood.

I stood outside one of two gates that access the front of the expansive home, and took four photographs using my street directory for guidance. I took a photo looking north, then east, then south, then west These are marked on my visual google earth display image.

I then proceeded to walk into the open gate of the home and have a closer look at the roof, chimneys and trees.

Noticing someone was home, I decided to knock on the door. The current resident, Emily, answered and was open to me discussing my work. She looked at the drawing which Kibel drew, and confirmed it all added up to being her residence of 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene.

She accompanied me outside and explained that the home’s garage used to be very small, and was extended a long time ago. (I suspect in the 1980’s.) Thus, where the photo was taken from is nearly overbuilt by the extended garage.


1. The pink circle indicates where Kibel said he stood, and where I actually stood.
2. The yellow square indicates the location of the new garage, perhaps built in the early 80’s.
3. The red rectangle shows where the old garage was which is now an extra room.
4. The blue marking indicates the extensions to the original house.

However, going right to the side edge fence of the property, and avoiding tree branches, I did take two photos which match very well to the Kibel photo. They are located on the map below as “1.” and “2”.

Image 1 is a shot of the roof line and the only chimney which can be seen from the closest you can get today to where Kibel said he stood. An extension in the form of a garage, plus building materials prevents taking an absolutely identical photo. I would have been within a meter of Kibel’s location.

Image 2 is, again, a shot of roof line and the same chimney from the border of the property and street. This also appears to be extremely close to where Kibel took his photo.

I then discussed with the resident how long she had lived there. She said over two years, she said; which matches real estate transfer records. I discussed with her the possibility of me taking further photographs at a later date. She gave me her email address.

I then left, and took one photo from “down the road further” which gets a better view of the front of the house with obstructing hedge, fencing etc.

I took a photo, also, of 5 Palm Grove and decided its chimneys and location had nothing to do with the photo Kibel took.

I am sure that the Kibel photograph and the 1-3 Balwyn address as it currently is, has the same chimney. The current chimney is extremely old and nothing else has changed except the extensions. I also noted how old the brickwork and roof lining was. I then left the property.’

4. April 1966 aerial photograph.

4.1 One of the authors (PD) obtained an extremely high definition aerial photograph of the location, taken on 12 April 1966 as part of Melbourne wide surveying and aerial imagery efforts in 1966. The photo was supplied by Photomapping Services, North Melbourne, Victoria for $130. An examination of the image of the house at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene, revealed the location of the three chimneys on 12 April 1966, was exactly as stated by Jim Kibel in 1966.

5. 2016 contact with Jim Kibel.

5.1 One of the authors (KB) has had extensive email correspondence with Jim Kibel in 2016. Kibel answered the several dozen questions posed to him. Later, KB visited Kibel in Melbourne and spoke to him in person.

6. Views of other UFO researchers.

The authors sought the views of other researchers, and received the following responses:

a. Jan Aldrich (USA).

Jan is a long term researcher and exchanged correspondence with Jim Kibel in the 1960’s, including shortly after the 2 April 1966 event was reported. The authors asked for, and received, Jan’s permission to use the following quote from an email from Jan to Paul Dean dated 24 March 2016.

‘Kibel had a serious attitude toward ufology and had no time for nonsense, I was surprised when I got the picture. Then, as now, I find photos mostly not very convincing.’

b. Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos (Spain).

Vicente-Juan is a long term researcher, who among other things, specialises in collecting and analyzing UFO photographs. After reviewing a draft of this paper, he offered the following quote for publication (source email from Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos to Keith Basterfield dated 10 April 2016).

‘My impression is that it is a crude fake, either an object thrown at the air or a montage. The photo is cropped and it makes difficult an analysis. If the photographer prevents an access to the original for study, in my view this is a clear indication of hoaxing.’

c. Barry Greenwood (USA).

Barry is another long term researcher, with extensive knowledge of UFOlogy. The authors asked for and received, Barry’s permission to use the following quote from an email from Barry Greenwood to Paul Dean dated 5 April 2016.

‘With Balwyn, or any single shot for that matter, such pictures bother me if such a plainly visible weird object in broad daylight over a populated area goes unreported by others. It implies that something appeared only in the immediate vicinity of the photographer.’

d.  Bill Chalker (Australia).

Bill has had extensive contact with Jim Kibel over the years, and has written about the Balwyn photograph on a number of occasions. In an Ozfiles blog post, dated 19 January 2009, Bill, in part, wrote:

‘Given what I have learnt with regard to the circumstances of the photo incident, how it was witnessed, that it was a polaroid photo, and that the GSW analysis technique has been criticized as sometimes being unreliable itself through questionable application and poor methodology, there is considerable evidence that the Balwyn photo may indeed be legitimate.’

In recent discussions between Bill and one of the authors (KB) it was determined that this is still Bill’s position, in 2016.

e. An Australian researcher who wishes to remain anonymous.

This individual commented about the view that a line of discontinuity was visible in the picture. He selected portions of the image to examine more closely.
‘I think a colour difference is evident, and even in some the impression of a line if you glance at them, but can you mark out non-arbitrarily where the straight line runs through them? I would argue that the closer you look, either the more crooked the line becomes, or the more difficult it is to see anything other than a gradual shading from one tone to the other. All the images were taken from one section of the line and were in close proximity - they are not selected points where the lines is least clear.’

‘I think the “jagged line” is a basic “completion illusion”, and if these lines were suitably arranged, they too would give the impression of a significant line of demarcation. As evident in the images below, lines will appear to be continuous if their contours are sufficiently suggested, and differences in tone at either side of such illusory “lines” can also be apparent.

‘The “jagged line” in the photo can also be made to appear far less remarkable if the cloud formations surrounding it are marked out, indicating how the edges of these perfectly natural appearing formations align to suggest a significant “line” within the image.

f. Long time US based researcher Brad Sparks, however, does believe the apparent “jagged line” is a major issue.

‘I simply did a maximum color saturation on the best color-reproduction least-cropped version’

‘As you can see now, Kibel crudely cut the photo(s), they’re not straight-line cuts but almost torn edges, or done with blunt scissors that ripped the edges.’

‘It is highly suspicious that Kibel is a 4-time UFO repeater and an MIB-threatened-me and later-my-pic-was-stolen claimant.  How convenient the pic was “stolen” just as new investigations were under way.’

6.  Other relevant material.

6.1. One item appeared in Bill Chalker’s Ozfiles blog, dated 19 January 2009. An extract from this blog appears below. Bill uses the pseudonym “Brown” for Kibel.

‘Brown claims that while there was no public official interest in his photo when it became public, there was intense clandestine interest, he indicated that interest was directly attributed to the fact that his photo showed an object that was ostensibly identical to the Westall object observed four days later. Brown described how all hell broke loose when the photo was released to the media without his permission. He claims he came under intense scrutiny by the military and intelligence agents.

He alleged that helicopters surveyed the area repeatedly and that he was interrogated by military, intelligence and CSIRO officials on numerous occasions. Brown claims he was taken to a clandestine meeting attended by military, intelligence and CSIRO representatives and at least two individuals noted for their high public profile on the UFO phenomenon as advocates and witnesses. It was at this meeting he claims to have been told about an extraordinary film event at Dry Creek Tracking Station and Woomera during 1963.

Brown also told this story to Leonard Stringfield. Allegedly a low level, football shaped UFO apparently caused an electrical outage and radar blot-out at the station and at the Woomera rocket range. The UFO was allegedly witnessed by Australian scientists. Cameramen took 16,000 feet of colour movie film of the UFO, which was ostensibly passed onto Washington, D.C. for further evaluation. While intriguing, none of the information could be substantiated.’

6.2 In following up on Bill’s comments, the authors located a piece by US researcher, James Oberg, titled “In search of Gordon Cooper’s UFOs” (Source:

It read:

‘In 1977, Leonald Stringfield”s book “Situation Red-The UFO Siege!” (Fawcett Crest) reported further details”

‘According to a reliable and well-informed Australian businessman who visited my home in October 1975, a luminous green UFO with a red tail, witnessed by hundreds of Australian, flew in the opposite direction to Copper’s flight. During the UFO’s overflight, he learned from a military source that it caused an electrical outage at the Dry Creek Tracking Station and at the rocket range in Woomera, including a blotting out of radar. The low-level, football shaped UFO was also witnessed by Australian scientists and cameramen took sixteen thousand feet of color movie film of the object. My informant told me that he had learned from a military source that the film was sent to Washington D.C. for evaluation. No jet interceptors were scrambled, because the military feared they might be affected by the powerful force field created by the UFO.’

The above accounts all refer to NASA astronaut Gordon Copper’s Mercury 9 flight in May 1963.

6.3. In a letter dated 13 May 1968, on Victorian UFO Research Society letterhead, from Peter Norris to James E McDonald, Kibel is mentioned as follows:

‘However, I thought I should advise you about a rather intriguing experience Jim Kibel claims to have had.

As you know Jim was in the US recently and toured widely visiting such U.F.O. personalities as Jim Springfield. When he got back he let it be known quite widely that he intended writing a book investigating some theories drawn from his vast sighting records, some of which I believe…

Not long after, he was staying on his own at his beach house on the Mornington Peninsula when he received two late night visitors who produced cards which purported to identify them as Commonwealth Security policemen. Jim had had some contact with security through his engineering business and says that the identification was legitimate.

The men then commence haranguing Jim about his book, using phrases like “Co-operation like a loyal Australian” and indicated that while U.F.O. thinkers were tolerated, perhaps even encouraged, those who disseminated their ideas to the public were unwelcome (“unpatriotic”). An argument ensued and at one time Jim feared he would be assaulted. Finally, the men left with words to the effect that if he didn’t willingly co-operate, the “necessary action” to make him do so would be taken.

Kibel later enquired after the two men at security Headquarters, and was told that there was no one of their name on the payroll. Jim told me the story some days after the event happened and he appeared genuinely worried, less for himself then for his family…I find it hard to disbelieve Jim Kibel!’

7. The weather on 2 April 1966.

A request (reference number G4AC573446) was submitted to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for any available weather data that day from the nearest weather station open in 1966.

The following information was provided for the Melbourne regional office, located at Latrobe Street, Melbourne CBD.

Station number
Melb RO
Melb RO
Melb RO
Precipitation in mm
Air temp deg C
Relative humidity %
Wind speed km/hr
Wind direction
Present weather
Total cloud in eighths

How does this weather information compare with the information supplied by Jim Kibel?

Kibel at 1421 hrs
Bureau at 1500 hrs
Wind direction
Around 81 F
81 F
Wind speed
Around 20-25 mph
Light cloud
3/8 cloud

8. Audio recording of on-site interview conducted by James E McDonald.

In addition to the above sightings, one of the authors (KB) was able to listen to an audio recording made by James E McDonald of himself and Jim Kibel, talking in 1967, in the garden at 1-3 Palm Grove, Deepdene. The following is a summary of that recording.

Kibel opens by stating that he had been in the garden to take pictures of the flowers, and garden in general. There was a terrific flash of light ‘across here’” There was a thing ‘up there.’ It was behind the chimney. He raised the camera, and took a photograph. He hit his nose in the process. He then dropped the camera down to waist level. At that date the trees in the garden had been full of foliage.

He then went to see a workman ion the property, D English. English said he hadn’t seen anything. Kibel took the photo out of the camera and they both saw the image. Then there had been a loud bang which seemed to come from the north-east. The willow tree, visible to McDonald had been three times the since back in April 1966.

McDonald asked about the red reflection seen on the surface of the “UFO” image. Kibel said there was a two storey house belonging to a solicitor next door. Then, that another house in the area had a grey roof.

Then McDonald referred to a sketch which he had of the house and garden, which also indicated the position of the UFO. Kibel stated that the sketch had been drawn by himself and Peter Norris, and Kibel’s mother. Kibel stated that the UFO may have been much further away than the position shown on the sketch. He pointed out to McDonald that English “was here”. Kibel stated that the sketch had been done hurriedly about a month after the incident. The chimney in the phot was the one by the garage.

McDonald then asked Kibel for his estimate of the size of the object. Kibel replied 15-20 feet diameter. McDonald asked about height above the ground. Kibel responded 100 or so feet. Kibel then said the total duration of the event had been about 6 seconds and part of this time he was messing with the camera. They checked the model of the camera – it was a Polaroid 800, focal length of lens not shown on camera. They then again discussed how could the red reflection on the image be a roof.


The ultimate question, is, is the photograph genuine, or a hoax? As the original Polaroid picture is not available for the authors to view and attempt to reanalyze with today’s tools; they have not been able to definitively answer this question. The reader, then, is left to make up their own minds based on the material which appears in this report.


The authors wish to thank the following individuals for comments, and assistance in locating hard to obtain documents.

Jan Aldrich.
Francois Beaulieu.
Bill Chalker.
Barry Greenwood.
James Johnson Kibel.
Leslie Medew.
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos.
Shane Ryan.