The truth is out there Ritchie Crick Sunday Herald Sun September 26, 2010
MATTHEW Jones was totally unprepared for what he saw as he stood in his garage in suburban Canberra in October last year. Packing boxes for a house move, he was confronted by a stocky, hairy monster standing in the corner of the garage staring at him.The creature, according to James, was a juvenile covered in hair, with long arms that almost touched the ground."It was inquisitive about what I was doing," he said. "It was definitely trying to communicate with me."At the time, James had no idea what the creature could be. A friend later told him it could be a yowie - the creature described in the newly-published Something Is Out There as "the big daddy of all Australian mystery monsters".It is, according to the book about the paranormal, the Aussie cousin of North America's Bigfoot, the Himalayan Yeti and the Abominable Snowman.The Aussie monster is as elusive as he is controversial, often seen but never photographed, according to the book's authors Julie Miller and Grant Osborn. They claim the yowie is an important part of folklore, making numerous appearances in the Dreamtime legends.The yowie is most often described as a solitary, nocturnal creature with a frightful growl.If you are chased, the best thing to do is jump into a waterhole, because they cannot wet their feet.The book claims that there have been almost 10,000 reported yowie sightings during the past 200 years.Something Is Out There also lists other Aussie monsters, including a mega shark, giant lizards, panthers on the prowl and phantom kangaroos.The authors have divided their book into three parts: UFOlogy, cryptozoology (the search for bizarre creatures) and the general supernatural.As they admit, the paranormal is "generally viewed through the prism of pseudoscience". It lurks in the murky corners on the borderline of accepted knowledge."Whereas established science, rigid and rigorous by definition, might bow to accept a new discovery only when laden with suitable proof, pseudoscience is more than happy to plough straight ahead and make spectacular flights of logic from conjecture to hypothesis to theory on the wings of nothing but sheer imagination alone".Nevertheless, these sceptical souls admit that they have seen things during the writing of the book that they cannot explain.They have been chased down a dark highway by strange lights, watched doors in supposedly haunted houses open of their own accord and felt "the physical presence of invisible forces".The authors travelled to the sites of infamous ghost sightings, houses, towns and prisons, including the Old Melbourne Jail.From 1842 until its closure in 1924, 136 people were executed at the jail in Russell St, some of whom, according to legend, still haunt the site.The ghost of Ned Kelly, the most famous victim, is noticeably absent from the prison's corridors.The authors also visited the Princess Theatre, where the ghost of actor Frederick Baker is said by some to still roam.Baker - known as Federici - died during a performance and may still be performing, even outside the theatre.The book reveals that in 1972, during filming of a documentary on Federici at his gravesite in Melbourne Cemetery, photographs showed a man dressed in stage costume lingering beside the camera crew. The book also investigates the many local sightings of UFOs. One in three Australians believe in UFOs. In the Northern territory the figure soars to 60 per cent and 16 per cent of Territorians claim to have seen a UFO.The authors' chase for UFOs led them from the suburbs of Melbourne to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney and to a small spot in the Red Centre known as the UFO capital of Australia.But the most amazing possibility of UFO action occurred not far outside Melbourne.At 6.19pm on October 21, 1978, Frederick Valentich, a 20-year-old pilot, took off from Moorabbin Airport aboard a Cessna aircraft. His destination was King Island, in the middle of Bass Strait.The conditions were fine - light winds with good visibility.But about 45 minutes into what should have been an 80-minute flight, Valentich reported seeing a big unidentified craft passing above him at high speed.
The pilot had told an air traffic controller that the unidentified craft had been "playing some sort of game". He said the aircraft was "sort of metallic like" and "shiny on the outside" with a green light. Then he reported that the aircraft had just vanished and then reappeared. Valentich's last words were these: "That strange aircraft is hovering over the top of me again...it is hovering...and it's not an aircraft."Five minutes after he reported the strange craft, radio transmissions from Valentich stopped.Sea and air searched found no trace of the pilot or his plane. Valentich seemingly disappeared into thin air.What happened to Valentich and his Cessna?The authors of Something Is Out There suggest a close call with an alien vessel may have caused Valentich's plane to stall. No debris was found, perhaps suggesting Valentich and his plane were abducted.The book's authors said the number of UFO reports from across the southern coast of Victoria on the night of Valentich's disappearance is "astounding" - with some sources claiming up to 50.More than a dozen reports referred to "an erratically moving green light in the sky".Amateur photographer Roy Manifold was taking sunset photos at Cape Otway about 20 minutes before Valentich first reported the UFO.Manifold's prints revealed a mystery aerial object. The RAAF said one photo showed the object photographed by Manifold was simply a dissipating cloud.So what happened to Frederick Valentich? No one really knows.Coincidentally, a memorial erected in 1998 by the Valentich family at Cape Otway, overlooking the strait where he vanished, has also disappeared.