Down Under UFOs

Keith Basterfield. Close Encounters of the Australian Kind: UFOs the Image Hypothesis, Including a Full Catalogue of Sightings. Reed (Sydney) 1981.
Basically an expansion of the author's articles on the image hypothesis (published in MUFOB under the title Strange Awakenings), this book is a useful brief introduction to some of the ideas which influence the ' new ufology'. The editors of Magonia had been speculating along these lines for some time, and were pleased to see how Keith Basterfield had come to similar conclusions by a totally separate route.

The early chapters give a history of Basterfield's involvement with ufology, and the ease with which the 'best evidence' can fall apart. He is clearly sceptical about 'physical evidence' and such matters as the New Zealand film. The refusal of reputable Australian ufologists to take some of the claims for this film at face value is significant in itself - perhaps they know a thing or two!
The whole field of imagery and hallucination is sadly neglected. Despite the evidence of the commonness of these experiences, some academic psychologists still wish to regard anyone who has had an hallucination as 'mad ', and many laboratory trained psychologists are still too busy giving electric shocks to rats to have much time to devote to subjective human experience. There is a useful catalogue of Australian sightings. My main complaint about this book is that it is far too short and hurried to do justice to the theme. A book about three times the length of this one is called for. – Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 9, 1983.

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