Reverend Gill 26/27 June 1959 UFO / CE3 - a Brocken Spectre-type illusion?

Topbunk 2.0

Member
Was the Reverend Gill UFO / CE3 encounter some kind of Brocken Spectre-type illusion?

Brocken_Spectre_reflection.jpg
"Suddenly, in the opposite direction to where the sun was rising, "each of the travellers beheld, at about seventy feet from where he was standing, his own image reflected in the air as in a mirror."
Source: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/15884/15884-h/15884-h.htm #

Ref: Read the account in Hynek's The UFO Experience (1972). Available here: https://archive.org/details/ufoexperiencesci0000hyne/page/148/mode/2up?q="we+were+a+bit"

Would it account for the seemingly instantaneous waving back?
“And so we waved, like that, - Hello - and we were a bit surprised now, and the thing waved back. And then Eric, who was with me, my constant companion, waved his two arms, along with another lad, and then the figures waved two arms back.” .p148

The Boainai Mission is in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.
Boainai Mission: -9.755158053170295, 149.64503442883907

Screenshot 2022-11-03 at 23.28.30.png
Screenshot 2022-11-03 at 23.30.21.png

Venus was prominent in the West, which is the direction Gill describes looking at around 6:45pm on June 26th and 27th 1959.

Screenshot 2022-11-03 at 23.54.48.png

What conditions would need to be met to recreate the illusion over two nights as was reported?

See also previous discussion about a Squid Boat #1
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Rising sun behind them throws their shadow onto clouds/fog-bank, looks like.

Like the textual description quoted, yes, but certainly not like the image included before that. To project a large image requires a close light source, and the sun ain't that.

From: https://science.howstuffworks.com/n...eric/pilots-glory-rainbow-airplane-shadow.htm

As the shadow is further away than we are to any person closer to the sun than us, so it appears smaller, compounded by the penumbra softening its edges.
 

Topbunk 2.0

Member
Here's the fuller description quoted in the Hynek book referenced in #1
June 26th 1959
“Time 6:45 p.m. sky: patches of low clouds. Sighted bright white light, direction northwest. 6:50 called Steven and Eric. 6:52 Steven arrived confirms, not star. 6:55 send Eric to call people. One object on top moving — man? Now three men — moving, glowing, doing something on deck. Gone. 7:00 men 1 and 2 again. 7:04 gone again. 7:10 sky cloud ceiling covered sky height about 2,000 feet. Man 1, 3, 4, 2, (appeared in that order) thin electric blue spotlight. Men gone, spotlight still there. 7:12 men | and 2 appeared blue light. 7:20 spotlight off, men go. 7:20 UFO goes through cloud. 8:28 clear sky here, heavy cloud over Dogura. UFO seen by me overhead. Called station people. Appeared to descend, get bigger. 8:29 second UFO seen over sea — hovering at times. 8:35 another over Wadobuna V illage. 8:50 clouds forming again. Big one stationary and larger. Others coming and going through clouds. As they descend through cloud, light reflected like large halo onto cloud — no more than 2,000 feet, probably less. All UFOs very clear. “Mother” ship still large, clear, stationary. 9:05 clouds patchy, numbers 2, 3, 4 gone. 9:10 number | gone overhead into cloud. 9:20 “Mother” back. 9:30 “Mother” gone, gone across sea toward Giwa. 9:46 overhead UFO reappears, is hovering. 10:00 still there stationary. 10:10 hovering, gone behind cloud. 10:30 very high hovering in clear patch of sky between clouds. 10:50 very overcast, no sign of UFO. 11:04 heavy rain. Data sheet of observation of UFOs 6:45-11:04 p.m.”
June 27 1959
“Then came the next night, and this was the interesting one. A large UFO was first sighted by one of the nurses at the hospital at 6:00 p.m... . It happened this way: we were walking, and this thing came down to what we estimated as the closest we had seen it, and it was practically the closest we were ever to see it. Somewhere between 300 and 500 feet it dropped down. It was not dark, and we could see it quite clearly. It was still bright and sparkling, but it seemed very near and clear. And - there was this figure again on the decking, as I called it, at the top. And it was the teacher who said, “I wonder if it is going to land on the playing field.” I said, “Why not?” And so we waved, like that, — Hello — and we were a bit surprised now, and the thing waved back. And then Eric, who was with me, my constant companion, waved his two arms, along with another lad, and then the figures waved two arms back.”
p.148-149
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
To project a large image requires a close light source, and the sun ain't that.
If you have a close projection surface (like a fog bank), but assume the figure is actually farther away, it will seem larger to the observer (false perspective illusion).
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
If you have a close projection surface (like a fog bank), but assume the figure is actually farther away, it will seem larger to the observer (false perspective illusion).
True, but that "larger image" is just in that fanciful image, not in Gill's description.
Although the sun had set it was still quite light for the following fifteen minutes. We watched figures appear on top four of them, no doubt that they are human.
Content from External Source
https://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/father-gill-1959-papua-new-guinea-ufo-sighting/


Several times he describes them as humans, but not giant humans.
(edit to add) From the same source:

The figures inside looked perfectly human. In fact, I thought they were human, that if we got them to land we would find the pilots to be ordinary earth men in military uniforms and we would have dinner with them.
Content from External Source
 
Last edited:

Ann K

Senior Member.
The question is really about what known atmospheric phenomenon could explain the waving response to the observers? And be repeatable over many hours over two evenings. Perhaps a light source from the camp was enough to create an effect in the sky?

Brocken Spectre created using car headlights.
From Gill's description:
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.
Content from External Source
https://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/father-gill-1959-papua-new-guinea-ufo-sighting/
I like your comment about car headlights. Gill describes two people waving and four "people" visibly responding, so if he is correct about that a double light source might be implied. He describes seeing from one to four people at various times, which might be due to the variable cloud cover.
 
Top