The 1966 Westall UFO Incident - 200 Witnesses, No Explanation
On April 6th 1966, around 200 school students and teachers were witness to a strange object in the skies above their school in Westall near Melbourne, Australia. Almost 50 years later and there is still no explanation as to what it was these people saw, and with evidence limited to the varying testimonies of the witnesses, it remains unlikely that one will ever arise.
It all started as a late morning sports session was wrapping up on the school's cricket oval. As the children and teachers prepared to head back in, murmurings of a strange object in the sky began to turn heads.
"We were out on the oval playing sports," said witness Terry Peck in a TV documentary. "One of the kids yelled out 'Look, look up in the sky, a flying saucer', and I remember we all looked up and, it really was a flying saucer." Peck continues "It was a round silver disc, it seemed to be very low over the school and I remember kids screaming and running inside."
But it wasn't just the children that witnessed the object. The massive panic spread through the school like a wave, and many teacher both inside and outside the building were witness to the events unfolding on the oval. Verbal reports from teachers are unfortunately lacking, however of those that do exist, be they from adults or children, almost all of the reports agree that the object was able to move at an alarming speed, something it demonstrated after its initial hovering above the school.
After the initial disc-shaped object was spotted, some witnesses reported seeing a collection of five smaller objects circling and following it. Initial explanations that these objects were small Cessna-like aircraft seemed thwarted when local air traffic control and military authorities both confirmed there was no air traffic in the area at the time. However, this lack of record should not rule out the possibility that civilian or military aircraft were present at the time. Whatever these objects were though, their appearance almost immediately led to the disappearance of the silver disc, which swiftly made for a nearby pasture known as 'The Grange'. The school children, or at least the ones who weren't too terrified, set off in pursuit of the object.
According to her friends, a girl by the name of Tanya was the first to reach the site. What happened when she got there will never be known because by the time the rest of the group arrived, Tanya, according to some witnesses, was found passed-out on the grass. What caused this momentary lapse of consciousness remains a mystery, but the consensus among her companions was that Tanya had touched the object as it lay seemingly dormant in The Grange. However, one of her friends remembers it differently...
"Tanya had gone back to school and had basically gone to pieces," said Tanya's friend, Jacqueline Argent. "There was definitely an ambulance on the oval and I was told she had been taken away in the ambulance. And that was the last time I ever saw her."
Whether Tanya had made it back to school or not, the ending seems to be the same.
With the school abuzz following the exciting events of the morning, the school's Principal called an emergency assembly of the school's student body and faculty. There, he told the school's population that what they saw wasn't real, it didn't happen and they should absolutely not discuss it any further. The Principals words were added to by a group of suited officials who advised the children that what they saw was nothing but an experimental craft. The children were once again warned that they should not speak of the incident ever again.
Despite this enforced silence, journalists soon caught wind of the story and they came to the school in their droves. But when they started to conduct interviews with the witnesses, the local police force intervened and ordered them to stop what they were doing and leave school grounds with immediate effect. So jumbled are reports about what happened that day, many teachers are reported to have claimed that there was no object and it was, in fact, a case of mass hysteria. But for many of the child witnesses this explanation goes against everything they believe they witnessed.
The reports by some children that mysterious officials mentioned experimental aircraft would seem to bolster the common theory with cases like this, that the object was military in origin. But when investigators have requested information from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), they have been met with silence. Stranger still, when freedom of information requests were made and RAAF files turned over, not a single file mentioned the events of April 6th 1966. This silence and mystery is echoed in almost all avenues of investigation, written reports are few and far between and requests for information from local police and air traffic authorities return nothing of value.
In fact, the only documented explanation for the events was provided when a local newspaper revealed that a weather balloon was released earlier that morning. The wind that balloon was released into may well have taken it on a path over Westall, but you try and tell the witnesses that what they saw was a weather balloon and you would be met with nothing but raised eyebrows.
Is there a case that this could have simply been a weather balloon sparking chaos and panic among a young school populace? Of course. The fact that witness accounts are so varying would certainly add credence to such an explanation, but even if it were a weather balloon, there a number of questions that witnesses would surely like answered. How and why were these mysterious military representatives on the scene so quickly? If it was a weather balloon, why was silence urged by them and the principal? Conversely, if it was a secret craft, does it really need to stay secret today, almost 50 years since the incident occurred? All of these questions, and more, are ones that witnesses to the Westall UFO incident want answers to.