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extracts from
Mystery lights have Victorians asking ...
WHAT IS OUT THERE ?
by Mark Dunn
(Melbourne Herald Sun, June 27, 2002)


Unexplained lights in the sky have a Victorian community in a stir.

Almost nightly for the past year in a Grampains valley in the state's west near Stawell, locals have watched in awe as mysterious lights pulse and hover.

They report that up to 30 lights - mostly white, but some red or yellow - float through the uninhabited valley and silently congregate above the plains.

Australia UFO researchers have sent video footage of the phenomenon to overseas experts. They have invited a Norwegian UFO expert, who observed similar lights in his own country for three years without finding an answer, to visit the remote valley.

The Herald Sun this week visited the valley and photographed a display of several lights.

Cynics will point to weather balloons, fireflies, stars, atmospheric anomalies or hoaxes. But those are impossible explanations, according to veteran UFO researcher Paul Norman, regarded by enthusiasts as a methodical investigator of strange events.

The weather bureau doesn't use weather balloons in the area and the lights are too low to be stars. Mr. Norman said they were too big and bright to radiate from animals or insects. And atmospheric anomalies or hoaxes are not high on the list because nightly sightings have been reported for a year - regardless of weather conditions or the seasons.

If they are hoaxes, those responsible are persistent.

Mr. Norman says the only similar activity to the Grampians mystery is in Norway, where Professor Erling Strang heads the Hessdalen UFO research project.

For more than 3 years Professor Strand, defence experts, and sciencists observed lights in the skies above Hessdalen but failed to find the cause.

The lights in the Grampains appear to glow and then pulse in concert.

Stawell abattoir worker Stephen Swanwick, 46, said he had visited the site almost every night since June last year after claiming to have seen two large egg-shaped lights floating above the gorge. He has taken dumb-founded workmates to the ridge to view the spectacle and has reams of video footage. The burly meatworker also claims to have seen silver disks during the day.

"They light up and you can see their core. They can turn orange, a strong pale yellow or red."

Local bed-and-breakfast operator Barry Fryar has also seen the lights on four or five occasions since December. "It looks like they are coming towards you and then they just shoot away. I have no idea what they are." Mr. Fryar said.

Armed with a healthy degree of scepticism, Herald Sun photographer Paul Trezise and I went to the Grampains earlier this week to see for ourselves.

We watched through binoculars and a high-powered camera lens for almost two hours as the mainly white lights moved across the sky and hovered above the tree line of the ranges. At one stage, a small red light flew towards a larger companion and disappeared.

We left the Grampians with no understanding of what we had seen.

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