Kembara Langit - A Journey Into Twilight

This blog is dedicated to the study, documentation as well as any possible analysis of what I consider to be the most intriguing things in life. UFO's; odd scientific/technological/philosophical break through; pondering on the super/preter-natural; tinkering on plausible conspiracies. The type of things that defies the limitations of science, stretch the very depths of our imagination and ultimately shows us that we basically know very little about this universe called LIFE. This blog is thus not meant to provide or pretend to provide definitive answers for anything.

February 08, 2009

Indonesia's 1970s C8 Cases

The following is an independent & hardly exhaustive recount of the first few C8 cases from Indonesia. All of the cases happened during the 1970’s, in the vicinity of Java & Bali islands, within the central & eastern regions of the country. These are basically the classics of Indonesian C8 sightings which also represent a milestone in the slow yet steady development of local interest for the UFO phenomena.

As most UFO researchers & enthusiasts would know, Category 8 (C8) is a simple concept expounded by NICAP for classifying UFO sightings with photographic evidence entailed to it. When it comes to Indonesia, such cases are basically non-existent (or perhaps yet to be found) prior to the 1970’s. Even by then, as can be seen from the time span between the cases presented here, they were quite far & few in between. A situation that hasn’t changed much even up until now.

Most of the material used in this recount are based on 2 main sources. First & foremost are the writings of Indonesia’s pioneering ufologist – Air Force Vice Marshall (Ret.) J. Salatun, who has been studying the phenomena independently since the late 1940’s. Second is the quite intriguing database of local cases collected by Indonesia’s currently prominent UFO research group – BETA UFO, which also include Salatun’s works. Additional data are collected from independent research on the net as listed in the reference list.

Gunung Agung, Bali, August 1973
Standing at an elevation 3014 meters, Gunung (Mount) Agung in the Karangasem district, Bali Island, has always been considered as a sacred & mystical place by the Balinese. As is the case with other major volcanoes in the island (such as Mount Batukaru, Batur & Abang) Agung has always been traditionally revered as the holy abode of Godly entities. In Mount Agung’s case, it’s believed to be the home of Batara Agung – the supreme representation of Shiva. Curiously enough, this site then also become the place where the 1st known photograph of a UFO sighting in Indonesia was made.

Perhaps in testimony of how little do most Indonesians care about UFO sightings, the photo itself wasn’t made by a local. It was taken by a Japanese tourist – Ryo Terumoto, on August 17th 1973, as he was traveling in the vicinity of Mount Agung. He supposedly took the shot from a car at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Mr. Terumoto himself apparently didn’t notice the odd lens-shaped aerial object (to the left of the frame) until the photo was printed.

The photo has since been published in the Japanese magazine – Hito To Nippon March 1974 edition under the heading “UFO Above Bali Island?”. It is also said that the photograph has undergone some kind of analysis, although no further details have yet been found about it, and proven to be a genuine object shot from a far away distance. Up until now, the
case has also been featured in several UFO related websites as can be seen in the reference list.

Cilamaya coastal area, West Java, 1975

Three years after the photo in Mount Agung was made, another unknown aerial object was caught on camera in Indonesia. This time it happened around the coastal area of Cilamaya, in the Karawang regency, West Java Province. The photo itself was taken by an Indonesian engineer – the late Mr. Tony Hartono Rusman, on September 22nd 1975.

At the time, Mr. Rusman was taking photographs with an Olympus camera on board an offshore oil platform owned by ARCO Indonesia, the company that he was working for. Located about 83 kilometers from the Cilamaya coastline, the platform was still under construction by then & the photos were made as part of a report on the construction progress.
The event itself took place at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, as Mr. Rusman was wondering what else he should photograph to finish up the last shot in his film roll. Suddenly, his attention was drawn to a tiny speck in the sky which was growing bigger as it rapidly approached the platform. According to the man’s testimony to Salatun, the object appeared to be oval shaped with a dark-reddish color & emanated a faint spinning sound. Mr. Rusman himself managed to take a shot at the object, with ARCO’s Arjuna tanker visible in the background, just before it made a sharp turn away & disappeared within a minute on a vertical climb.
About a year later, the photo found its way to Salatun’s possession who in turn passed it over to noted Ufologist – Prof. J.A. Hynek on his visit to Indonesia, in late 1976. Although it is still unclear how Rusman got in touch with Salatun, the passing of the photo was clearly documented in Salatun’s 1982 book & 1977 letter to Prof. Hynek. It was also through Prof. Hynek that the photo was then analyzed with the result later documented in Salatun’s book, as quoted below (with translation).
"Dr. J.A. Hynek telah membawa foto dari UFO Ir. Tony Hartono Rusman yang kemudian dianalisa oleh Dr. Fred Beckmann, ahli analisa foto UFO yang terkemuka dari Universitas Chicago. Pendapatnya ialah : foto UFO tersebut dapat juga disebabkan oleh kerusakan film. Untuk dapat dianalisa dengan baik, rupa-rupanya mutlak perlu tersedia negatif-negatif aslinya disamping dibuatnya beberapa foto UFO yang sama dengan sudut pandang yang berbeda-beda.
[Dr. J.A. Hynek has taken engineer Tony Hartono’s UFO photo which was then analyzed by Dr. Fred Beckmann, a noted UFO photo analyst from the University of Chicago. His opinion is that : the UFO photo could have also been caused by a defect in the film roll. Apparently, to have a better analysis of the photo, it is absolutely necessary to have the original negatives as well as to have several shots of the same UFO made from different angles.]"

Porong area, East Java, 1977

The area known as Porong is actually a sub-region within the Sidoarjo district, in the East Java Province. It is also the location of one of the main access road/highway that connects the province’s capital – Surabaya with the southern regions. Since May 2006, the area has been infamously known as the “ground zero” for a catastrophic mud flow which has inundated most of the surrounding region. About three decades ago it was made famous for a different reason : as the place where the 3rd known Indonesian C8 case took place.
The case itself happened on June 27th 1977, at around 18:15 in the afternoon, involving three Indonesian engineers – Dr. Aryono Abdulkadir, Rudianto Ramelan & Ananda Soeyoso. At the time, the three colleagues were driving south from Surabaya to the city of Malang. Somewhere down the road, around Porong, they caught sight of an interesting object in the sky to the west of the highway. Dr. Aryono, who has always been interested with astronomy, thought at first that it was a meteor. He then convinced the other 2 men to make a short stop & tried to photograph it.

Strangely enough, the “meteor” then made a 90 degrees turn towards the south shortly after the first photo was made. Mr. Abdulkadir then proceeded to take more shots of the object that behaved unlike any meteor he had ever known (interestingly, Salatun later noted that Mr. Abdulkadir did admit of accidentally shaking his hand while photographing the object’s “weird” 90 degrees turning). The three men then watched as the strange object moved slowly & silently across the sky, for about 6 minute long, before it disappeared from view while heading further south.

J. Salatun's
online (pdf) Book (in Indonesian)
NICAP’s C8 brief outline
BETA-UFO website
The Gunung Agung case in an Italian web
The Gunung Agung case in French
The Gunung Agung case in Malay
Salatun’s letter to Hynek in The Sign Historical Group archive(look under Foreign Contributions, page 114)
Background info on Mount Agung’s traditional reverence
Background info on Mount Agung’s topography and location
Cilamaya map & assorted infos
A Google map of the Cilamaya region
Wiki’s entry about Karawang regency
Indonesian MSM recount of the Cilamaya case
Wiki’s brief entry about Porong area
Online pdf files on the Porong mud flow disaster

This article was first submitted to be published in, on 11/01/09

No comments:

Post a Comment