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UFO Case Report:

Tractor driver approached and 'scrutinized' by ball of light

Date: December 16, 1972
Location: Garah, Australia

Greg Hardy, a New England University Economics student was working on a friend's farm, when he heard a noise and saw an object that appeared to land. Then, a smaller object flew towards the witness. It did not appear to be solid, but the centre appeared to be more concentrated than the rest of the white ball of light.

Classification & Features

Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: CE1

Full Report / Article

Source: Bill Chalker, FSR Vol. 19 No. 5

A young man's unnerving close encounter, near Garah, New South Wales

by W C. Chalker
(Our contributor is Field Investigator and Liaison Officer of the UFO Investigation Centre, Sydney, Australia.)

TOURING his 1972 summer vacation, Greg Hardy, a New England University Economics student (from Grafton, N.S.W.) was working on a friend's farm. The farm, operated by a Mr. Cook, is situated roughly 13-14 miles from Garah and exactly 50 miles north-west of Moree, some 20 miles from the NSW-Queensland border. The surrounding country is typical of western NSW: flat, the monotony of the landscape being broken only by bushland, which is fairly heavy in parts.

On the night of December 15/16, Hardy was ploughing in weeds in a paddock. The sky was clear with no visible cloud cover. The moon was at about three-quarters phase and the stars were clearly seen. Visibility was described as being "perfect."

The incident

At about 1.30 a.m. (December 16) Hardy stopped the tractor near the access gate for a "smoke." He then heard the noise of a high powered engine, sounding something like a low flying plane, or a semitrailer cruising nearby. His curiosity made him turn to investigate the source of the noise, but nowhere could he make out any light. All he could determine was that something was passing by at low altitude. At first the noise appeared to be approaching from the direction of the Cook farm house. It appeared to approach the road and follow it on the opposite side towards Garah, roughly in a south-easterly direction, and parallel to the powerlines running on each side of the road.

Some 500 yards down the road the noise of the "motor" cut out, de-accelerating, and dying gradually as it went further away. Hardy stared up into the sky following the direction of the sound, but nothing was to be seen. He expected at least to see some black object pass by. In this respect he was adamant that if the noise had come from a truck without its lights on, then he would still have been able to see it in the clear moonlight. However, it appeared to be passing by at some height, and of course, invisible flying trucks arc quite rare.

The "noise" (which Hardy later stated that he took to come from a "mothership"), then appeared to land in an area obscured from his sight by some fairly heavy bush about two miles down the road on the left hand side.

Hardy thought little of the incident and began ploughing again. Some five minutes later he had reached a spot roughly opposite the gate where he had heard the noise. It was here that he first noticed a light approaching the tractor.

Stopping the tractor (but leaving the motor running), he watched the object as it came towards him. He first saw it in the paddock across the road, heading directly towards the tractor in a straight line. He compared the light to a car's headlight, but dismissed this knowing that there was no road where it appeared to be, and since the ground had been ploughed and was rather rough to drive over, the light should have been bobbing up and down. Instead it was moving towards him at a steady height of about ten feet, not hugging the terrain; the speed was about 30-40 mph.

As it neared, crossing the road, passing between the trees and entering the paddock, he was able to discern that the light came from a small circular object which had what seemed to be a smaller concentrated light centre. The bright light, which illuminated a wide area, appeared to be radiating from the surface of the circular object and not from the central mass.

When the object was fifty yards away, it made a smooth turn, heading now west-south-west. When it was just twenty yards away from the witness it stopped and hovered, still about ten feet from the ground. It did not appear to be solid, but the centre appeared to be more concentrated than the rest of the white ball of light. The "shape" of the sphere "was traced out by three (or four) ill-defined lines on the outside of the object". These "circles" or "ribs" of relatively well-defined light, were geometrically spaced apart at 120° to each other. All were vertical and met at the top and the bottom of the object. The total diameter was three feet, and the concentrated light centre, enclosed by the "cage" of circles was between eight and nine inches in diameter. Overall, the light appeared to be constant, but the ground illumination appeared to be flickering (this effect was hardly noticable and may have been due to an optical aberration). The eye level of the witness, sitting on the tractor, was about seven feet from the ground, and the object was two or three feet above his eye level, i.e. about ten feet from the ground.

From the time the object entered the field, Hardy realised that it was nothing natural. Alarm, mixed with curiosity, rooted him to the spot. He said he had the feeling that the object was coldly analysing and gathering information about him.

It hovered for about five seconds, then suddenly vanished. The witness whirled about on the tractor seat, and saw it reappear, further behind him and to ihe right, just outside the paddock fence, still hovering at ten feet. It continued moving away in the same direction, finally disappearing in the distance.


Hardy was extremely shaken by the incident. He swiftly disconnected the plough and hastened back to the farmhouse, where he was met by the barking of dogs. Banging on the door he roused his bewildered colleague, Mr. Rowan Hickson (whose shift he had taken over as Hickson had had little sleep). The first thing the witness said was: "Where's the shot gun?" Hickson noticed that Hardy looked white in the face.

The two returned to the scene of the sighting and by now Hickson was a bit nervous. Nothing unusual was noticed, save the silence of the place. During the previous night the winds had been quite gusty, but that night conditions were absolutely calm and clear. Once the area had been investigated, Hickson returned to his sleep, while Hardy continued ploughing - this time armed with a shot gun.

Earlier he had noticed that there were sheep at the other end of the paddock. By the time he reached that end, everything appeared quite normal. The sheep merely shuffled out of the way of the approaching tractor. About five miles to the south he had noticed a house light earlier in the night, but he didn't notice whether it had been on during the sighting.


The fact that the "noise" appeared to follow the telephone wires which ran parallel to the left hand side of the road is interesting. Another possible relationship between UFOs and power lines was also revealed in a case I investigated on the outskirts of Beaufort, Victoria in July, 1969. A young man and his mother saw two circular objects, apparently metallic, with visible portholes, giving off a reddish glow. They flew parallel to some three-tiered high tension powerlines, carrying 66,000 volts, only deviating from this parallel line of flight when the witness's car approached. Both objects turned towards the car, but when the engine was switched off, immediately resumed their flight parallel to the powerlines. John G. Fuller also noticed this perhaps tenuous interest in powerlines displayed by UFOs during his investigations for his book, Incident at Exeter. Physical evidence for a direct relationship is insufficient, but merits further investigation, particularly when one considers the numerous so-called electro-magnetic (EM) effects on vehicles, such as those reported in France early in 1972.


Hardy had started ploughing at about 11.00 p.m. on the Friday night, and stresses that by 1.30 a.m., he was not showing signs of excess fatigue. He admits that he was a little tired but not to such an extent that his faculties were imparied. Another important point is that the witness is partially colour-blind (to bright surfaces in particular). He would have been able to distinguish between red and white, but the colour green would have been difficult for him to recognise. With this in mind, he describes the object as being a "white ball of light."

The sighting couldn't conceivably be explained away as either ball-lightning or swamp gas. Conditions were just not present to give rise to them. Furthermore, the object was well defined in shape and its movements certainly not erratic. There was no body of stagnant water nearby; all the dams are usually fit for drinking and the numerous irrigation ditches arc in constant use.

Some time later, the witness happened to be ploughing in the area where he thought the "noise" had landed. He made a casual inspection, but found nothing unusual.

Hardy has not seen UFOs on any previous occasion and his only familiarity with the subject comes from reading Von D'anikcn's books and various newspaper articles. He did not report the incident to any authority, but mentioned it to a friend, who pointed out that he and someone else had seen an identical object sometime during November, 1972, about a month before his sighting. The local newspaper, The Moree Champion, records that on the same night a local farmer saw an identical object while driving in the area, some time before Hardy had his encounter.

I know the witness personally and feel that his observations are accurate in most respects, consideration being made for his colour-blindness. To add support to his evidence, similar sightings in the area during November, 1972 have been confirmed. A truck driver also claimed to have seen the object early on that Saturday night.

Similar sightings include:

November 26, 1968, 9.40 p.m. Mr. J.A. Wyatt and" Christopher Bolton were followed by a circular light while driving between Maitland and Port Victoria, Yorke Peninsular, South Australia. The UFO travelled parallel to them, in a south-westerly direction, for about 9 miles, when the UFO made a sudden half-circle-turn in front of their car. According to the witnesses, "It came down at a very slight angle towards us at a very fast rate. It got larger and larger and changed colour from bright white to orange-red." It came within 200-300 yards of the car and travelled parallel to it. It sped off when the witnesses arrived at Port Victoria where they contacted Constable D. Guerin, but it returned, remaining in the sky for about 4 minutes.

January 5, 1972. For 13 miles, between Penrith and Windsor (suburbs of Sydney), a Wahronga man driving home from work was pursued by a blinding light, some 3 feet in diameter. The object's distance from the car varied between a few feet off its back bumper bar, to trailing about a quarter of a mile behind. The man brought his car to a half just outside Windsor, hopped out and stood ready with his car spotlight to meet the object. But the UFO suddenly disappeared.

Case ID: 596 edit: 596

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