By Bellinda KontominasSTANDING in the darkness on Long Reef peninsula, seeing anything - let alone alien aircraft - is proving difficult. That is the challenge for members of the UFO Society of Western Sydney, who are on one of their regular UFO expeditions.
The northern beaches is a "hot spot" for unidentified flying objects, according to the Campbelltown-based group, which says it has received hundreds of "genuine UFO sightings" since its inception in 2000.
However, the only sightings this evening are aircraft, which - with a long stretch of the imagination - look vaguely like spaceships as their lights emerge from the clouds. Another "sighting" occurs when a glowing orange light whizzes past the group. "Did you see that?" asks Attila Kaldy, president of the group. But this is no flying saucer, just a flying cigarette ember.
"Most people would think we're crazy coming out here," Mr Kaldy says, as the wind howls and the second downpour of the evening hits.
UFO-spotting is not just a hobby for this group with six researchers and about 20 fee-paying members, who also conduct night watches in the Blue Mountains and the Macarthur region.
Many say they have seen things they cannot explain, including aircraft that submerge into water and aliens in silhouette. One claims to have been abducted.
It was on June 5, 1999, that Laszlo Novak says he first encountered a UFO, three orange "doughnut-shaped objects" in the sky above his home in Minto. After another sighting that night they appeared again, this time directly above the Hungarian-born retiree. "It was beautiful, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
Realising he could not account for more than an hour that night, Mr Novak underwent hypnotherapy and recounted what he believes was an abduction. "I saw a light. I was lying down on a table and could see a shadowy figure on another table next to me in jeans and a white blouse and I saw a shadowy face in front of me.
"It has made me very emotional. It's very hard to talk about, but that's why we come to this group - to talk about it."
The UFO Society of Western Sydney meets monthly at Campbelltown City Library to report on sightings and discuss the paranormal. The group will host this year's national UFO conference at Campbelltown Catholic Club on May 6.
Most people are willing to consider there may be life on other planets, Mr Kaldy says, although he admits there are sceptics. "People have a problem accepting the unknown because it's out of the ordinary realms of our lives and out of our comfort zones."
More . . .
See Also: Australia: UFO Files Opened