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Unusual Unsolved Cases. The Nullarbor Plain UFO attack

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posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 12:32 AM

Most Australians will be familiar with the Nullarbor Plain, a very flat and treeless area occupying an area of about 200 000 square kilometres located on the Great Australian Bight in Western and South Australia.

The name comes from the Latin Nullus Arbor, which simply means no trees. I have driven across the Nullarbor myself a number of times, and it is a long and lonely road. It’s easy to become fatigued when driving this road, and the remoteness is palpable.

In 1988 a family travelling across the Nullarbor may have have had one of Australia’s weirdest UFO experiences. It’s a strange tale, with a strange aftermath, and it leaves one wondering what actually happened to this family.

On the 20th of January, Faye Knowles, her three adult sons Patrick, Wayne, and Sean, and the two family dogs were driving from Perth to Melbourne with the hope of finding new jobs. While Sean was driving, he saw a bright light ahead of them on the road.

The family noticed that the light continually grew brighter the closer they got. They later described the object simply as a blinding light.
At one point, Sean decided to speed up in an effort to see what it was. To their surprise, when they got closer, they discovered the light was egg-shaped. Some reports state the family described the object as resembling an egg resting in an egg cup with a yellow center.

As if seeing this wasn’t strange enough, things soon took an even stranger turn.

As Sean continued to drive toward the UFO, it suddenly emitted an angular white light about three feet wide. When the beam moved about the road just in front of the car, the family panicked and Sean swerved to avoid the light. Their car was now traveling in the opposite lane and directly in the path of an oncoming station wagon.

According to the Knowles, the driver of the station wagon swerved to miss them and Sean managed to steer the car back into his lane. As though having lost interest in the Knowles, the UFO gave chase to the station wagon.

Sean was worried about the occupants of the station wagon, so he made a U-turn to catch up with the UFO and other vehicle. Personally, I think perhaps chasing a UFO may have been the last thing in the world I would like to do, but obviously Sean felt differently. At this point the tale becomes more terrifying. A very vivid account can be found here.

The Knowles family were horrified when they heard a heavy clunking noise, as if something had landed on the roof of the car. The terrified family were later very confused as to the exact sequence of events, from the time they believed the craft landed on their roof. Mrs Knowles wound down her window and placed her hand on the roof of the car. She touched something warm, rubbery and spongy, and immediately retracted her hand, which felt hot and was covered in black dust. A grey-black mist invaded the car through the open window. The mist had a foul stench, which reminded them of dead bodies. They then heard a peculiar, high-pitched sound which made the dogs very agitated. The whole family suffered complete disorientation and claimed that their voices lowered in pitch and their speech slowed down.

At this point, they descended into total hysteria, believing they were about to die. They were also convinced that the object lifted the car into the air and carried it for a short time. As this happened, Patrick stated he felt as if his ‘brain was being sucked out’. Mrs Knowles said it was like something ‘going into our heads’. Shortly afterwards, the car was apparently hurled down onto the road. The rear right tyre exploded on impact. Sean braked hard and briefly blacked out. When he recovered, they baled out of the car, sped into some nearby bushes and hid.

The object hovered around their car for a short while, before departing. They hid for around 15 minutes or so, before changing the tyre in record time, and speeding off to a hotel in the nearby town of Mundrabilla.

Of interest is that the Knowles family were not the only people to see this UFO. In the nearby town of Mundrabilla they met a truck driver who had also seen an object in his rear view mirror.

At least seven witnesses stated they had seen an anomalous object of some kind. The occupants of the car towing the caravan must have seen it, too.

Of interest is that some tuna fishermen came forth some 50 kilometres away in the Great Australian Bight, claiming they too were buzzed by a UFO. They too claimed to suffer a voice distortion not dissimilar to the Knowles family.

"We were a little bit skeptical at first, but after investigating we are treating the reports very seriously," said police sergeant Jim Furnell, of Ceduna, South Australia. He described the Knowles family as very distraught, stating “they were physically upset as if someone close had died. They were convinced it was a UFO.” Apparently, Faye Knowles made no mention of placing her hand outside the car, or of touching anything.

Aware of the experience of the tuna fishermen, Sgt. Furnell stressed that there was no way for the fishermen to know about the Knowles family's encounter, half an hour earlier, and some fifty miles away. The Royal Australian Air Force at Edinburgh, South Australia, was adamant that it had no aircraft in the region at the time, to account for the sightings.

This was not the end of the story.

Unfortunately for the Knowles', the whole affair quickly became a media circus. They were intercepted by a television crew from Channel 7, who demanded exclusive access to their story, in return for a fee. The television crew made it very difficult for researchers in the field of ufology, to get close to the Knowles'. Initially eager to co-operate and tell their story, the family quickly became disillusioned and distraught by the media attention, called an end to all interviews, and sought refuge with friends or family in the Melbourne area.

Samples were collected from the car which were tested, but it seems that nothing out of the ordinary was detected. More about the analysis can be found in greater detail here.

So what really happened to this family, and what was it that they and others saw on this strange and eventful night? Multiple witnesses indicate something out of the ordinary did occur, but it’s difficult to draw any conclusions. Over at there is a very thorough analysis of this tale, which I recommend for additional reading material.

Colin Norris of the Australian International Information Centre for UFOs was convinced the Knowles had had an encounter with a research vehicle from an extra-terrestrial mother ship. “They were probably doing scientific tests. I believe their experience is very authentic.”

edit on 8-7-2016 by cuckooold because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 12:32 AM

As for non-UFO related hypotheses.

The obvious first reaction was that the Knowles had seen the sun rising in the east, and through some sort of optical illusion (or simple misunderstanding) thought it was something else. Alternatively, St Elmo’s Fire and temperature inversions were suggested as the source of the light.

This does not explain the voice distortion, the car seemingly being picked up, but it may offer some explanation for the multitude of witness reports.

Other more exotic theories were put forward. Glen Moore, lecturer in physics at the University of Wollongong, suggested a carbonaceous meteorite landing in the vicinity, accounting tor the glow and the smell (although that can more simply be accounted for by the burning tyre and brakes) and would be surprising enough to cause great trauma in the family. Prof Peter Schwerdttergger, head of meteorology at Flinders University, suggested a dry thunderstorm in which charged dust particles create a pall of lightning. The tine ash covering the car could be a product of the lightning (again, this explanation is no longer necessary) and the violent shaking of the vehicle the result ot the storm. “No doubt it you are in the middle of a fairly intense electric field, you’re going to feel very strange,” he said.

Other suggestions included willy-willies lifting the car off the road and undulations on the Eyre Highway which can cause a car to ‘take-off’ at high speed.

All of these theories are interesting, but none of them cover the event in its totality. go on to say

All of the rest is the unsubstantiated claims of the Knowles’ conjecture and misunderstanding ( in some cases, fabrication). That this constitutes one of the most important encounters with a UFO, as claimed by some UFO researchers, says more about the proponents of UFOs than of the possible existence of such phenomena.

Nothing has been said in this report about the possibility of a hoax. Most of those concerned, both proUFO and sceptical, have felt that the Knowles are not faking their claim, and that something did happen to them, although not necessarily an encounter with a UFO. However, with such little independent factual support for their claim, a hoax cannot be ruled out, however unlikely it may seem.

As one who is usually quite sceptical myself, this tale fascinates me. I don’t necessarily agree with take on this as I think there are too many corroborating factors that suggest something really did occur.

There is some video footage discussing this event.

Is it possible that the Knowles’ family encountered some strange military vehicle? Is it even possible that they had a real encounter with a bona fide UFO? In this weird instance, I think nothing can be ruled out. Many UFO encounters I once considered sacrosanct have become less impressive with age and the incredible debunking powers afforded by access to the hive mind of the internet.

Not for me with this case, not yet anyway.

edit on 8-7-2016 by cuckooold because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 12:56 AM
I'd never heard of this encounter, so thank you for posting. This OP is very informative and very well put together so S&F for you. Strange things happen in the Australian outback!

Unfortunately all interest at the moment is on a coordinated sniper attack at a rally in Dallas where multiple police have been shot. I'm sure others will join in to add their comments soon.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 01:38 AM
Now that's good ATS!

Sounds like we're just missing the abduction part of the story.

Too bad the ufologists didn't get the access they needed.


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 02:28 AM
a reply to: cuckooold

Related to this matter is a thing called the "Nullarbor Lights'

These have been seen by truckies off and on for decades. Many truckies and other drives have had experience of bright lights coming up behind them and seemingly sit right above them.

The lights just seem to appear out of nowhere and skim across the plain just above the bush.

My mother was a child when she came over to WA from NSW in the early 1920''s and she saw those lights as did the rest of the people in that convoy. (people traveled in convoys in those days because there were no roads, only bush tracks for a 1000 odd miles.

The local aboriginal people who lived on the Nullarbor told them the lights have "always been there" which could mean they have been there for as long the aboriginal people themselves have been there.

The purpose of relating this information, shows the kinds of experiences the OP is about, while not common they are not rare either and many people have had similar experiences over the years from the time of the first settlers coming over to the west from the east, up to the present day.

This indicates that the events in the OP are consistent with the history of the Nullarbor plain and are credible despite any 'debunker' supposedly debunking such events.
edit on 8-7-2016 by Azureblue because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 02:36 AM
a reply to: cuckooold

Totally off topic here... sorry

But is that a camel crossing sign?

Or like... stegosaurus crossing...

Theres Camels in Austrailla?

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 03:40 AM
a reply to: Akragon

Yes, indeed there are.

Yes, camels. The Nullarbor is the last place left on Earth that has truly wild camels — up to 100,000 — abandoned after their use in building inland railroads long ago by people who figured they would eventually die off.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:18 AM
a reply to: Akragon

Yes, there are more camels in Australia nowadays than Saudi Arabia. I have personally seen evidence of this in Central Australia and on occasions have had to stop on an outback road to let, hundreds, cross the road. On another occasion with my wife and kids we drove through a mob that stretched from horizon to horizon.

That was in 2004. Goodness knows how many are out there now. I never knew camels grew so big. Twice the size of my Toyota truck. The area where I worked was on the border between Northern Territory and Western Australia. (Walungurru) (Kintore).

The local Aboriginals hated the fact that the beasts ruined waterholes. I also saw evidence of this. Once pristine water was turned green and smelly. I figure them to be a pest. They have no natural predators other than man.

Many I saw had caught themselves in 'Cattle Grids'. Steel lines earth height able to be driven across to prevent cattle wandering outside their stock stations. Camels just step into them and of course snap their legs. They have to be euthanased and cut out. Dragged to the side of the road where they will rot and smell for months.

I took pics and if I locate them I will post them.

On topic, I lived in areas not unlike the Nullarbor. While no up close and personal experiences happened I did see the flying lights in the distance. I subscribe to this because a large part of my employment was being in remote areas on the roadway looking for headlights where illicit substances were being transported in the wee morning hours through the desert.

The best nights were without moon. Through the binoculars at elevated locations we would see the lights moving at speed across areas that could not be traversed by motor vehicles. Some actually shot into the sky and weaved to and fro. Any colour from red, green, blue etc.

My gosh, why am I saying this now. We never reported such in our diaries due to what I would describe as potentially harmful to our occupations. I and others saw and experienced many a weird thing in the outback. Difficult to put to script for me.

In the meantime we stuck to our job on those nights.

I have spoken to several other colleagues in their respective locations who describe similar. But nothing was mentioned on paper. Crazy stuff. There is nothing out there other than straight roads and those crossing the expanses for hundreds of kilometres.

I can see I may be lining myself up for the skeptics but hell this is only ATS.

My kindest regards,


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:22 AM
a reply to: cuckooold


Theres Packs or wild camels roaming the outback?

Ye ever seen this?


edit on 8-7-2016 by Akragon because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:34 AM
a reply to: Akragon

Yeah. Haven't seen anything like that but camels have the ability to kick sideways from their body hence never drive up close to them.


Kind regards,


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:42 AM
The Knowles experience has been well known in UFO circles for years..If I remember correctly there were marks and black dust on their roof and a caravan had scorch marks..The media hounded them relentlessly for weeks until they dissapeared to hide in obscurity..Nullabor lights also have parallels to Minn Minn lights of Arnhem land in the top end..Seeing the Australian interior is 85% semi arid desert there are huge expanses of nothingness.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:43 AM
Again im sorry for the off topicness...

Back to the attacking UFo case

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 04:44 AM
a reply to: cuckooold

I remember this case (I'm older) and sadly the interviewer treated the family pretty poorly (Typical of the Willesee family members of news reporting).

No wonder there's never been a followup after that exposay.

Only thing I find hard to believe is that they were travelling at 200klm/h. (About 167 mp/h if I have my conversion correct) Not impossible on a straight flat sealed road but their vehicle perhaps would not have been capable of it.

I've had a blowout at 160 klm/h on the Stuart Highway. Totally wrecked the rim (4wd vehicle) and caused considerable damage not to mention damage to the bitumen and extreme difficulty in keeping the vehicle from overturning.

200 klm/h and surviving that would be miraculous. Perhaps the young man had the foot flat to the floor at high revs and simply wound it off the clock.

Otherwise was a good report in those days.

Kind regards,


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 06:00 AM
a reply to: bally001

Hi Bally, I too remember this report, I was just out of high school, and I also clearly remember them being treated poorly by the media.

Do you think the Knowles experienced a genuine UFO attack, or something else? Do you think what you saw was military or other? Any relation to the Min Min lights?

I'm fascinated by this tale, and I have no idea what to think, it's a real head-scratcher. They definitely experienced something weird, and perhaps it is exactly as they explained it. The appearance of other witnesses only adds credibility to this case as far as I'm concerned.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 06:46 AM
a reply to: cuckooold

Yeah, I can appreciate your fascination. Sadly for the Knowles they are just plain people on a trip and tragically they were treated with disrespect as the interview shows. Hence you don't hear anymore and I can't blame them.

Whatever they experienced was outside their comprehension and they tried to explain it as best they could. I couldn't detect any scripting amongst the family other than that from the interviewer directing questions.

In these circumstances most will have similar but different views due to their personal perception of the experience.

They appear to have experienced an unusual and unidentified encounter.

Military..No...Can't see that. Why would military risk an encounter such as this even experimentally. In retrospect the event could've caused serious injury or death.

As for min min lights. I believe these have been explained of recent but I find the explanation hard to swallow due to experience of lights in the desert. Always in the distance but moving with speed over distance and heights that don't appear to be natural. Particularly in the remoteness.

Dreamtime where I was located in N.T. tells of a mysterious object crashing near well known creek/watersource perhaps about 80 to 90 years ago. The story was then used in songs. Relates to an alien being found by the locals/aboriginals (Warlpiri). They attempted to help but the being died.

I discovered this when my daughter (5 years old at the time) went to a community school. They were taught a counting song relating to this story. The song counts in numbers in both Warlpiri and English regarding eyes, nose, mouth, limbs etc. When my daughter left this school 15 years ago they presented her with a picture poster drawn by her aboriginal teacher. The full song outlines the story in both Warlpiri and English and shows an alien being.

The locals were adamant the story was true - "Down at Mission Creek where the Tjakargerries grow" (Tjakargerries pronounced 'Yakajerries' - [English] are a bush fruit tasting like grape/sultanas where the locals would gather them in season). It's here they say they found the crashed craft and the dying occupant.

The song ends with the beings death and the english translated words "poor thing".

Anyway I digress suffice to say if this were true then perhaps min min could be explained more readily.

The story, like the Knowles experience in modern times is generally ridiculed and laughed at. But I've been to Mission Creek and spoken to the elders in the nearby community. Do I believe them ? Do I believe the Knowles ? I have no tangible proof to others other than what I've seen and experienced. The old saying on ATS - Pics or it didn't happen. Even pics or video could be produced but those would be slammed.

It's a rich environment for different experiences in Central Aust but you have to stay long enough to gain a good perspective.

Poor Knowles family. The story was not clearly or expertly investigated and I would say this is all we'll hear from them which is sketchy to say the least.

Kind regards,


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 07:24 AM
a reply to: bally001

200 kph is approx 120 mph.

The car in the pic. fully laden would be pressed to do 160kph. even then it would likely overheat.

On topic ... a great account Cuckooold !
I have seen weird things on the Hay Plains as well.

Maybe it is a form of white line fever coupled with the fact that the landscape is so flat and vast,
anything seen against the horizon appears closer and larger than is reasonable.

Also a great place to test black projects.


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 08:14 AM
This is one of those really bizarre UFO stories that doesn't sound like intelligent interstellar beings in some kind of nuts and bolts craft being curious about humans. There's no way this is a case of mistaken identity. You either have to believe their story or call them liars. I don't think there's an in-between. I don't know if I personally believe the story or not, but cases like this fascinate me. They make me consider the possibility that some (many) UFO sightings and encounters could indeed be some type of unknown plasma or energy-based life form that lives high in our atmosphere and for whatever reason sometimes ends up in the lower altitude where it can be seen by and interact with people. There are so many reports of these strange orbs and balls of light that seem to act as if they are under intelligent control and do some very bizarre things.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 08:59 AM
a reply to: Charizard

This is off-topic. But I personally can't think of a single "close encounter type UFO case" where it is reasonable to think that there are aliens in nuts and bolts craft involved. In my experience anyway, if you can dig deep enough, you will always find the tell-tale signs that the case is either mis-identification, purposeful military fraud, or high strangeness crypto-energetic (plasma/energy beings native to Earth). And all three at once is not unusual either.


posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 12:08 PM

originally posted by: KellyPrettyBear
a reply to: Charizard

This is off-topic. But I personally can't think of a single "close encounter type UFO case" where it is reasonable to think that there are aliens in nuts and bolts craft involved.

Well, Kumburgaz for example. I do agree that Occams razor dictates that they are from this planet, either subterranean or indeed plasma or similar. Some may come from our moon (they live inside the moon) etc.

posted on Jul, 8 2016 @ 02:47 PM
Ocam razor is the dumbest thing ever.

a reply to: bally001

Can you maybe take a video camera and binoculars and film some of these lights?
Also since night vision is legal to own in Australia, then have a look at Google for h 8079hp tubes. They're cheap as dirt and only gen 1 but actually 3 gen 1 tubes stacked... so like 100 bucks on eBay or other sites and gives same light amplification as gen 3.
There's a few topics in YouTube and other websites with people using these tubes+camera lens to film UFOs and stuff. The tube is 6v powered, but extremely sensitive so never to be powered in anything except pitch dark. Is for 100k times amplification of in his used condition.. It's obsolete, like 20+ year model.
Anyway.. Given the Australia outback if recommend a telephoto lens like 70-200mm plus minus.

Maybe ask the Warlpiri people for the location of the berry bushes they were harvesting and the exact UFO crash site and look for metal or other traces, burial place omg!
And use your phone to get some GPS coordinates (it might take a few minutes for gps-only [no network signal or wifi] to get a gps lock but it will after a few minutes of you've got any decent Android phone or iPhone., there's tons of apps in the app store for both like gpsinfo and similar).
Then last the GPS info here and we can all have a look at the location using various maps websites with satellite pics to see if there's any visual traces of a crash.
Also there's an app for Android like andtosensor and others which will use all the phones sensor (temp, GPS, magnetometer, humidity, acceleration, compass, atmospheric pressure, gravity, gyroscope,etc if you've got like a Samsung note 3/galaxy s4/5/6).
You can use the app to go a bit of probing of the area to see if there's any weird readings.
Androsensor has a button with tiny graphs red/blue/green which will make the readings she on a linear graph... So you can walk around and see the change in say magnetic field.
Come on... You can do it

If the Warlpiri people aren't too far away from your house, buy given its Australia, that might be a problem.
But if you wanna do some investigating for everyone else here... Maybe start a topic on it.

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