PAPUA — It is now 50 years since a 31-year-old Australian Anglican missionary William Gill, and 37 parishioners and staff made the best attested and least explained UFO sighting. Gill, who was priest in charge at Boianai, a large village on the mountainous north coast of Milne Bay province wrote “There had been quite a number of reports over the months from reliable witnesses.”
(credit: Brookesmith And )
The peculiar thing about these most recent reports is that the UFOs seem to be stationary at beautiful Boanai or to travel from Boianai.” “I myself saw a stationary white light twice on the same night.” Gill wrote, “Then the following night, on April 10, 1960, we at Boianai experienced about four hours of UFO activity, and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are handled by beings of some kind.” “At times it was absolutely breathtaking. We saw a bright white light appearing in the northwestern sky, approaching the mission station, then hovering about 100 meters in the air.
Gill, Moi, another teacher, Ananias Rarata, and 35 other people who all later signed a confirming document, watched what they described as a large, disc-shaped, solidly constructed object, with a wide base tapering up to a higher deck, and with what appeared to be four legs beneath, and four brightly lit panels in the side. It occasionally emitted a shaft of blue light at a 45 degree angle. Then what they described as men emerged on to a deck on the top, four at most, but in various configurations. Artist’s impression of the encounter by Australian missionary Father Gill. Clouds, which were at about 600m, then eventually, obscured the vessel as it drifted higher. It had been stationary through most of the 25 minutes of this encounter. Gill then wrote his letter to Durie. That evening, the visitation returned in an extraordinary manner. He first saw it at 6.02 pm, as the sun was setting. Gill’s account states: “We watched figures appear on top — four of them — no doubt that they are human.“Two smaller UFOs were seen at the same time, stationary; one above the hills west, another overhead.“On the large one, two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the centre of the deck … were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or setting up something.“One figure seemed to be standing looking down at us (a group of about a dozen). I stretched my arm above my head and waved. To our surprise the figure did the same.
“Ananias waved both arms over his head then the two outside figures did the same.“Ananias and self began waving our arms and all four now seemed to wave back. There seemed to be no doubt that our movements were answered. All mission boys made audible gasps (of either joy or surprise, perhaps both).
“As dark was beginning to close in, I sent Eric Kodawara for a torch and directed a series of long dashes towards the UFO. After a minute or two of this, the UFOapparently acknowledged by making several wavering motions back and forth.
“Waving by us was repeated and this followed by more flashes of torch, then the UFO began slowly to become bigger, apparently coming in our direction. It ceased after perhaps half a minute and came no further.
“After several minutes the figures apparently lost interest in us for they disappeared below deck. At 6.25pm two figures reappeared to carry on with whatever they were doing before the interruption. The blue spotlight came on for a few seconds twice in succession.“The situation remained unchanged, so Gill returned to his regular routine and went to have his dinner at 6.30. By 7pm, the main object had moved slightly away and the observers went into the village church for evensong, as usual. By the time they emerged, at 7.45pm, visibility had become very limited with the sky covered in cloud. At 10.40 pm, Gill wrote, an “earsplitting” explosion woke up the mission-station inhabitants. Gill said it did not feel like a thunderclap.
Later, Gill said, he was always asked why he had reverted to his usual routine when there was a flying saucer apparently hovering overhead. This was partly because, he said, “There was nothing eerie or other-worldly about any of this. It was all so ordinary, as ordinary as a Ford car.“It looked a perfectly normal sort of object, an Earth-made object. I realized, of course, that some people might think of this as a flying saucer, but I took it to be some kind of hovercraft the Americans or even the Australians had built. The figures inside looked perfectly human.”
Gill’s report caused quite a sensation at the time. The Defence Ministry deployed two RAAF officers to investigate. Although they found Gill “a reliable observer”, they attributed the sightings to “natural phenomena”. Thanks to Bob Chapman, Rowan Callick and The Australian Newspaper: