John Middleton & the unique Karkar experience
Before me PNG was hijacked, says O’Neill

Papua or bust … the Boianai UFO sightings


Boianai Sighting 1959 
I DON'T KNOW what you think of unidentified flying objects – UFOs - but in 1959, Papua was the location of one of the best observed and witnessed UFO encounters on record.

The veracity of Father Gill's testimony has never been questioned and to this day the Boianai sightings are one of the strangest episodes in the annals of UFOlogy.

On 5 April 1959, at the Anglican mission village at Boianai, Papua, one of the most well-documented cases of alien visitation began. The Anglican Church had sent Father William Booth Gill to lead the mission. He would be the main subject of an amazing series of UFO sightings with alien beings.

During the summer of 1959, Gill's assistant Stephen Moi reported to him that he had observed an "inverted saucer-shaped object" which was hovering above the mission. Gill thought nothing of it at the time.

On 26 June, Father Gill again saw a bright light to his northwest. Evidently, rumours of the previous sighting by Moi had spread among the villagers, and soon they were beside Gill, watching the light above.

Gill Sketch Sworn statements of this event listed 38 individual witnesses who saw a disc-shaped UFO the size of 5 full moons strung together. The UFO had four legs, like landing gear, but was high in the sky.

An enormous object was hovering over the mission. Soon, four beings, similar to humans, emerged from the object. They appeared to be working on something on their ship. The beings would go inside the object, and then soon return, as if fetching tools. At regular intervals, a blue light shone up above the UFO. This craft was visible for 45 minutes, vanishing at 7:30 pm.

Forty-five minutes later, many of the witnesses remained, still pondering the sight they had seen. Soon, several objects smaller than the previous UFO appeared in the sky.

About 20 minutes afterward, the first UFO was back in view. The sighting of the larger UFO would last four hours, as witnesses would come and go. Twenty-five witnesses signed their testimony to the sighting. A heavy cloud cover ended the event.

Incredibly, the next night the giant disc-shaped UFO returned at 6 pm. Two of the smaller objects flanked it. Father Gill, with many of the witnesses from the night before, watched the unbelievable sight.


“On the large one, two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the centre of the deck,” said Father Gill. “They were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or setting up something. One figure seemed to be standing, looking down at us."

Gill then waved at one of the creatures. "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 myself began waving our arms, and all four seemed to wave back. There seemed no doubt that our movements were answered... "

This series of alien contacts in Papua seem like something from a science fiction movie. However, the reputation of Father Gill cannot be overlooked, and there is no reason to think he and the other witnesses were lying or hallucinating.

Veteran UFO expert Dr J Allen Hynek thoroughly investigated the Papua events, and concluded that they were genuine. No alternate explanation has been offered to explain what happened, except perhaps to say that UFOs and alien beings visited Papua in 1959.

At the time Father Gill’s UFO story was taken very seriously - questions were raised in Parliament and the RAAF launched a formal investigation.

On 24 November 1959, ED Cash, who was a Liberal member of Parliament, asked the Minister for Air, FM Osborne, if the government had investigated the sightings in Papua. Osborne's response was that they were still waiting for more evidence before making an "official" report.

In his words: "Most sightings of UFOs are explained and only a very small percentage-something like three percent-of reported sightings of flying objects cannot be explained."

The RAAF finally interviewed Father Gill in December 1959, some six months after the sightings. Gill related that the interview consisted of two officers who talked about stars and planets, and then left. He heard no more from the two.

“Although the Reverend Gill could be regarded as a reliable observer,” Squadron Leader FA. Lang stated, “it is felt that the June-July incidents could have been nothing more than natural phenomena coloured by past events and subconscious influences of UFO enthusiasts.

“During the period of the report the weather was cloudy and unsettled with light thunder storm. Although it is not possible to draw firm conclusions, an analysis of rough bearings and angles above the horizon does suggest that at least some of the lights observed were the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.”

More details here -


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Russell Barba

I myself haven't seen it but from what I've experienced.
I would like to share and know if this is also a UFO or something else.
One night at around 0100 to 0200 am 15 years ago, I heard a loud noise (like a very sharp whistling sound) and a very white bright light like its kind of hard to describe but something that could cause blindness I guess if directly contact with human eyes.
It just passed within a split second of time, no chance of sighting it. Then the whole village becomes total dark as it was before or usual.
So just need your assistance to help and explain.

Paul V Young

To Peter Kranz and Keith Jackson, our November issue is now online, with Peter's article and can be viewed at

Thanks once again for your cooperation.

Paul V Young

Thank you Peter for your permission and Keith for your assistance. I will send you the link to the November Issue when it is published in a few days' time.

Peter Kranz

OK that's fine by me Paul.

Paul V Young

I would like to reproduce this article in the November 2017 issue of my online magazine: - seeking permission from the author Peter Kranz.

I have contacted Peter to draw his attention to your request, Paul - KJ

Peter Kranz

I don't know what to think about this.

Gill and the local witness's accounts seems credible, and the RAAF couldn't really find any evidence to discount them.

Even the Australian Parliament was phased, at the height of the cold war, and PNG's struggle with the emerging threat or promise of independence.

But the real truth of this encounter is maybe found in Stow's novel.

As the great Carl Jung suggests -

"Our primary concern in Flying Saucers is not with the reality or unreality of UFOs but with their psychic aspect.

"Rather than speculate about their possible nature and extraterrestrial origin as alleged spacecraft, I ask what it may signify that these phenomena, whether real or imagined, are seen in such numbers just at a time when humankind is menaced as never before in history."

The UFOs represent, in Jung's phrase, "a modern myth."

And are no the less powerful for this.

Peter Kranz

Dan - Stow was one of the greatest Australian writers, but not known much to the public. He is on the same level as White, Kenneally and Carey. He also wrote librettos for some of Peter Maxwell-Davis's operas.

His story 'Visitants' treats the Gill UFO sightings as an allegory of the appearance of white men in PNG. Who are the visitors and who are the originals? Who has the greatest wisdom? What are the consequences of such visitations?

Remarkably percipient.

To quote from the dustjacket blurb -

"The setting of Randolph Stow's stunning new novel is Papua in 1969. On a remote island strange disturbances have occurred: the inhabitants have taken to destroying their villages and crops, there have been disappearances and murders, a cargo cult is celebrated.

"There is talk of UFOs and visitors from stars. The culmination has been the hideous suicide of a Patrol Officer, sent to the island to conduct a census.

"An enquiry is now being held, and it is the narrations of the five chief witnesses, two white and three black, of which the novel is composed.

"As the statements of the witnesses interweave, a powerful picture emerges of the confrontation between two very different cultures, and the victor is not necessarily that which considers itself the more advanced. Mysterious, allusive and haunting, Visitants is a triumph."

Dan Claasen

An interesting item. I was motivated enough to search Amazon to see if the book "Visitants" by Stow was still available. It is.

Surprisingly, there were three paperback copies available for around US$113 even though many hard copies could be obtained for around $10 or so.

In the word of Manuel from "Fawlty Towers", Que?

Peter Kranz

A footnote. Award winning Australian author Randolph Stow, who died in England last year, was deeply impressed by the Father Gill story.

His 1979 book 'Visitants', which has the Boianai visitations as a backdrop to a striking story of confrontation and disintegration, emerged from Stow's experience as a cadet patrol officer in Papua New Guinea (where he sadly suffered a breakdown).

He was an assistant to the Government Anthropologist.

His novel opens with this sentence: "On 26 June 1959, at Boianai in Papua, visitants appeared to the Reverend William Booth Gill, himself a visitant of thirteen years standing, and to thirty-seven witnesses of another colour."

Stow's novel 'To the Islands' won the Miles Franklin Award in 1958. He was also awarded the Patrick White Award in 1979.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)