Looking At The Knowles Family UFO Encounter

Towards the end of December 2019, Living Life in Full Spectrum blogger and my Supernatural Synchronicity co-author, Sarah Chumacero posted about an Australian UFO case that I was not previously aware about. This was the Knowles family UFO encounter on the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia, which occurred in 1988.

This UFO encounter case is centered around the Knowles family as they travelled from Perth to Melbourne on the 20th January 1988. It was during the early hours as the family drove through the Nullarbor Plain that they say a UFO was engaged with their car for around ninety minutes.

The occupants of the vehicle during this event were Faye Knowles (driving at the time) and her three son’s Sean, Patrick and Wayne. All of them were of an age to be considered by the media in their reports as being adults.

The four family members claim that initially the UFO appeared as a small ball of light that suddenly grew in size. It chased the car and also connected with the roof of the Ford Telstar, lifting it into the air, shaking it violently and then returning it to the road with such force that one of the tyres was burst.

Faye also told the media that; ‘smoke stuff’ filled the car and it was covered in ‘black stuff.’ Interestingly looking at a few of the points in Sarah’s post on this case, more of the elaborate theories pertaining to the involvement of an actual UFO does appear to be media driven. As Sarah states, ‘it becomes distorted once the media get involved.’

Often with cases such as these, the fact we have four adults presenting the same information should add validity to the witness statement. However, this is not necessarily the case, especially as they are family and could potentially all benefit from the story. That said, what would be the motive for such a hoax? Also, if it was a potential hoax then we might assume that details consistent with classical historical UFO cases would have been presented. Equally so, more verifiable evidence – rather than the particles of salt and clay, which are consistent with the sand-laden Nullarbor Plain. So, from the little information available I do not believe this to be a pre-meditated hoax.

That said though, the Knowles perception of events could have brought them to the conclusion that they all experienced a terrifying encounter with a strange craft. Especially when you take into consideration that they had already spent about thirteen hours on the road. At that time of the morning, fatigued and driving through unfamiliar territory may have distorted their understanding of the events that occurred. This could explain an accident that caused the blown tire, but I do struggle to make a suggestion regarding the object connecting with the car roof and lifting it into the air. Is it possible that as the car increased speed on an unfamiliar road due to the lights, the car hit a bump on the road. The bump could have caused the car to lift into the air momentarily, returning to the road with force enough to burst a tire. This may have caused the car to lose control, in which case the breaks would have needed to be applied. As the breaks were pushed to help regain control it could have generated the burning smell reported. Now all these possibilities seem rather normal, so why would the Knowles family claim it was a UFO! Let us return to the likelihood of fatigue and possible stress that may have been caused by thirteen hours on the road. They may not have been expecting to see any lights on the road, and if they did it was likely to have been a predetermined understanding of them in relation to vehicle headlights. If for example, they were struggling to keep awake or even that some were already asleep, then identification of vehicle headlights or even far off lights could be obscured. Depending how tired the driver and rest of the Knowles family were, this could lead to paranoia and even hallucinations. In a way we return to our favorite subject of perception on this website. That is to say that the possibility of this being a UFO could be based on the state of mind of the Knowles family and their perception of events as they occurred.

The only thing that maybe slightly adverse to this is that the family seemed to describe the object in close proximity to them; as it was on the roof and looked for them. However, when they left the car and hid behind a bush, it could not find them. Something that seems a little odd to me, as given the technology described here by the Knowles – simply hiding behind a bush stopped the encounter. Seems like an odd ending to me.

As the object had gone, although I have not found a description of its exit just yet; the Knowles changed the blown tire and continued on with their journey, observably shaken.

They eventually report the events to the Police who take it seriously and before long it hits the media. A truck driver that also witnessed a ball of light is also thrown in as a witness, but with little additional information from him.

Now there are some interesting theories on this cause; from it being an actual UFO encounter to the car being lifted by a helicopter fitted with a large magnet. The events that night on the Nullarbor Plain have certainly stirred the enthusiasm of UFO researchers and even some conspiracy theorists. There are certainly plenty of UFO cases that claim that those involved were tormented by objects described as balls of light of varying and changing sizes. So, I guess this could quite easily be such a case. However, there are for me a few factors that cast a shadow over the events that occurred on the 20th January 1988; the probable fatigue and unfamiliar surroundings of the Knowles family to start with.

We must also consider that if fatigue is an important element here then memory equally becomes important too. As they believed they encountered a UFO, the trauma and distance travelled before they reported the event; means that its likely their memories may not have been entirely accurate either.

In 1887, Hodgson and Davey published a paper in the Proceedings of the SPR; ‘The Possibilities of Mal-Observation and Lapse of Memory from a Practical Point of View.’ Even back then they showed how our memory of events fails us, how we can remember them out of sequence and even add elements that never even occurred. This concept of our memory being flawed still received pushback as recently as the 1990’s; showing the faith that would have still been placed on memory alone by the Knowles and those interviewing them. If your not sure about this then you’ve likely encountered it without realising it. When recalling an event that hit the media over ten years ago, I recently realised that my own memories of those events were highly wrong. Glad I keep notes now!

The point being, is that although one could argue that an event as traumatic as that which all of the Knowles experienced would possibly remain vivid up to the point they reported it; it is actually likely two things occurred. 1) From the moment they left the location all of their memories of the events began to deteriorate; 2) when they gave their statement they probably made it together, meaning the Police collected information from them all, collating it as one statement. Even though they had travelled together and probably discussed the matter, they should have been interviewed separately – to determine patterns between their statements. I am assuming they were interviewed together, simply based on when it occurred as in the 1980’s, the type of event they were reporting and because the Police would likely not have treated is as a crime. Hence they can all make the statement together.

Whilst this is an interesting UFO case, I am not entirely convinced of its validity or that it holds enough to make it a distinct possible encounter case. Of course this assumption is purely based on what I read on Sarah’s website and a few others from a simple Google. I must agree with Sarah’s closing comments; it does seem to point towards an accident in unfamiliar territory by fatigued individuals. The physical evidence supplied, is simply consistent with logical explanation, like a roof rack making dents on the roof and the ash deposits being sand from the road. Although we do have four adult witnesses that claim it to be a UFO encounter. What is the truth about this event? Is there a truth or do the Knowles believe what they perceive to have happened? What do you think happened on the Nullarbor Plain in 1988?

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8 thoughts on “Looking At The Knowles Family UFO Encounter

    1. Are you referring to the possibility that the long hours driving in the night, coupled with fatigue and the repetition of the road travelled on could cause a kind of hypnosis ?


      1. Yes, highway hypnosis is a relatively well-known phenomenon and is an altered mental state in which a person, for example, can drive a car, truck, or other automobile great distances, responding to external events in the expected safe and correct manner, but with no recollection of having consciously done so. I’m just wondering whether there may be some kind of connection to the event and altered states of consciousness (ASCs). A more detailed file on this particular case might help answer my questions. Could you offer any links you have on it? Thank you.


  1. The Knowles family were attacked by a paramilitary force in a helicopter equiped with a powerful electromagnet but this was a case of mistaken identity and the family were not the target group. There are many reliable witnesses including the Knowles family who have told the truth about this incident even though they probably were not the best observers and found it difficult to explain the series of events they experienced. There were two truck drivers also on the road that night who have added information about this incident, especially Mr Henley. Henley saw the families car being chased by the helicopter though his rear view mirror and was at the roadhouse when the family evaded the attack. Henley reported that there was soot all over the car, the car smelt like it had blown a fuse, and most importantly he said there were four dents as if the car was picked up by a magnet, IT WAS. This attack from the beginning to the time the family pulled into the roadhouse lasted approximately 90 minutes and my complete investigation and report would take a whole book to explain but I will give a brief outline. Paramilitary terrorists were trying to murder me and my three friends, this was a premeditated assassination but observers on the road that night wrongly identified Patrick Knowles as me and passed the information to the terrorists waiting out on the Eyre Highway. The chopper had been launched from a ship in the Southern Ocean and it was supposed to be a simple mission to run me off the road at 100 km/hr using the choppers searchlight to night blind our driver. If they had managed to run our car off the road the terrorists would have murdered us. The chopper was equiped with a powerful electromagnet and it would have been a simple matter of attaching the magnet on the cars roof , lifting the car, flying over to the Southern Ocean and dumping the evidence in a watery grave and return to their ship. This is what happened to the family. Sean was driving when the chopper coming down the road towards them as planned switched on the searchlight but Sean unexpectedly swerved onto the opposite side on the road and raced off. There all saw the chopper as they had a split second glance. It was described as a station wagon just above the road with something hovering over it, that was the helicopter. The helicopter crew turned to chase the family and flew past them to have another go at running them off the road but Sean turned the car around and sped off in the opposite direction. This cat and mouse game could go on all night so the chopper crew make a desperate and risky manoeuvre to hoist the speeding car off the road. The chopper crew release the electromagnet which is attached to a steel cable onto the speeding cars roof. The family hear a metallic thump on the roof the feel the weight on the magnet pushing the car down. The car is bathed in the light of the searchlight and the static electricity from the magnet makes their hair stand on end. The high voltage starts to melt the cars wiring and the car fills with a foul smelling smoke. They wind down the windows and the car is engulfed in carbon soot and hot fumes from the helicopters engines. Mr Knowles reaches onto the roof and touches a rubber shock insulator around the magnet and later says it felt like a suction pad. Her hand and arm were burnt by the hot fumes and she later needed medical treatment for those burns. As the car is lifted it swings violently from side to side and this pendulum motion makes it impossible for the chopper to maintain lift. The chopper loses altitude and the rear tyre hits the road first and explodes. The car while still attached is now bouncing along the road at 100 km/ hr and damages the rear shock absorbers and shears the springs in the front wheel well. Sean slams on the brakes and is dragged skidding down the road until the car stops. This braking action nearly brings down the chopper and it is now swinging around on the steel cable trying to gain control. The family jump out of the car and watch the chopper. The chopper is nearly standing upright with its tail going towards the ground, it is blowing desert dust and soot from the engines all over them and the car and it is shining the searchlight into the families faces. I can understand why the family didn’t recognise the chopper at this point, this is a unique and extraordinarily position for any helicopter to be in. The family say it made a hell of a noise like a high pitched humming electrical noise, that was the electric rotors, and a vroom vroom noise which was the engines as the pilot was feathering them to gain stability. The chopper did manage to right the chopper but noticed a truck coming along the road so the helicopter crew broke off the attack. The family race back to the car a start to fix the tyre. They try to hail the truck driver but the truck wouldn’t stop so the jump in the car and take off after the truck. The helicopter crew now return to finish off the assassination because their mission is exposed and they must as a matter of survival kill the occupants of the car. The chopper catches up with the car and tries to re attach the magnet but the driver starts swerving at high speed and outmanoeuvred the chopper at every attempt. The family catch up with the truck and pass it and that ends the mission for the helicopter crew head out into the ocean to land back on their ship. One half an hour after the hapless chopper crew tried to land on a tuna boat by mistake. Six men come out on the deck and watch the lost and confused helicopter crew as the approached the tuna boat, hover and then realise they are in the wrong place and fly away never to be seen again. It is my view that this operation which was supposed to be quick and easy ended up with them in shock, disorientated, lost and low on fuel and when they headed into the ocean and mistakenly tried to land on the tuna boat , well that was the last roll of the dice and they probably ended up in the bottom of the ocean. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say. All the evidence for my investigation and my full report can be found on the timeline of my Facebook page William Buckley from Perth, If you can handle the truth.


      1. Everything that I have written can be proven with facts and forensic evidence but not many people want the truth. At every turn there is a corrupt media who are part of the coverup and therefore part of the crime. It is my view that some of the less corrupt media would tell the story but may be prevented by our National Security laws. The wrongdoers / Terrorists are being protected and that should be a concern for everybody who loves freedom and a fair go. The media and the Police said that no evidence was uncovered from the vehicle but that is just one big fat lie by these traitors. A fine dust was recovered and it was found to be potassium chlorate an explosive compound used by terrorists to build improvised explosive devices. The dust was also sent to a NASA related laboratory in the USA and they found traces of astatine which is a toxic radioactive compound that should only be found in nuclear facilities. So we have terrorists trying to murder me six days before the Bicentennial of Australia with a helicopter that has a capability to drop a radioactive barrel bomb with an electromagnet and the Police, Security Service, the Government and the media are all trying to cover it up. Something is rotten in Australia, many people are now saying it and many people believe that there are powerful criminal forces that are hell bent on stealing our wealth and exploiting our resources. Don’t worry be happy because they are people of straw and rule with smoke and mirrors. I have stood against them many times and they cower at the thought that I am coming for them, I AM. I would be happy to sent my research to you just for fun but I can’t find your email address. Maybe you could direct me to it or sent an email to me which I have provided so I can return my evidence.


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