Podcast 43: A Suburban UFO Mystery: WESTALL ’66

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

In 1966, hundreds of students, teachers, and local residents witnessed a flying saucer hover overhead, land, and take off again at incredible speed. What was it? Extraterrestrial visitation? Top secret experimental aircraft? Weather balloon?

WESTALL ’66 is an intriguing documentary that tells the story of the largest and most impressive mass UFO sighting in Australian history. This is the Australian Roswell, and it amazes us that we (here in the States) haven’t heard more about it. While there is little physical evidence for the reality of this encounter – much less for the extraterrestrial hypothesis – there is palpable truth in the personal stories of the witnesses.

The film was directed by Rosie Jones, and features researcher Shane Ryan on the trail of the Westall Incident, sleuthing for evidence and digging for eyewitness testimonial.

WHAT DO WE THINK?

As with GHOST ROCKETS, we appreciate the film’s emphasis on personal stories to bring home the reality of the incident. Its minimal use of music and judicious use of forensic sketches bring the story to vivid life – far more effectively than any overly dramatic reenactments might have done.

Our biggest problem with the film is that investigator Ryan seems a little too eager to dismiss terrestrial solutions to the mystery. Many of the story’s details suggest either an elaborate PSYOP campaign, or an experimental aircraft test gone awry.

Regardless, the film is well-produced, thoughtful, and evocative. Recommended.

3.5/5

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