Sunday, 1 June 2014

UFO near miss with Aussie plane - a case of the Oz factor?

In a case that bears some similarity to one I referred to in my article at the start of the year - New Year, New Close Encounters? - in March an Australian plane en route to Perth Airport apparently narrowly avoided a collision with a UFO. This incident has only just started getting net coverage given that the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) released a report this week on the investigation into the incident which, thus far, has not identified the object in question.

The West Australian newspaper briefly summarises this incident but the Open Minds article expands on this a little more, in particular on the point that if what the plane encountered was an 'unmanned aerial vehicle' or UAV (in other words a drone - either military or recreational) then it was operating in restricted airspace without the apparent knowledge of either civil or military aviation authorities.

Now I couldn't resist the use of the pun in the title of this post but there's a point to be made here in the context of Ufology in general. For those unfamiliar with the expression, the 'Oz factor' was first coined by our very own (by which I mean the UK's) Jenny Randles formerly of BUFORA.

The Wikipedia entry for Ms. Randles refers to the 'Oz factor' as:-

"...a term invented by Randles in 1983 to describe the strange, seemingly altered state of consciousness commonly claimed by some witnesses of unidentified flying objects and other similar paranormal events. Randles has noted the strange calmness and lack of panic described by the witnesses, relative to the bizarre circumstances that they described and says that they described and defined the Oz factor as "the sensation of being isolated, or transported from the real world into a different environmental framework...where reality is but slightly different, [as in] the fairy tale land of Oz." She has further noted that "the Oz factor certainly points to consciousness as the focal point of the UFO encounter..."

Now it would be supremely arrogant to say that all currently inexplicable UFO encounters might have a psychological explanation or be put down to an altered state of consciousness on the part of an observer or observers. In fact it would be quite a disturbing stretch to state this was the case for any given aerial encounter - as that would suggest psychological issues on the part of aviation personnel involved - including the pilots.

It could however be one explanation for some ground based 'abduction' or 'contact' cases allegedly involving extraterrestrials - a facet of the UFO subject I am still completely circumspect about.

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