On the evening of 20th January, 1988, Sean Knowles was driving his mother, Faye, brothers Patrick and Wayne and the families two pet dogs across Australia's Nullarbor Plain to stay with family in Melbourne. While heading east of Perth to Mundrabilla along the Eyre Highway at about 1.30 a.m., the car's radio suddenly began to malfunction. At 1.45 a.m. Sean spotted what he presumed to be a truck with only one headlight working up ahead.
As it approached, however, he could see that there was a strange ball of light hovering above the truck, which was now driving erratically on the wrong side of the road. Realizing he was in danger of a collision, Sean quickly swerved narrowly missing the wayward truck.
Not long after, another car passed the Knowles', with what appeared to be the same bright light travelling above it. Perplexed, Sean turned the car around to follow the glowing object, but before long, the ball of light had doubled back again and was, this time, in pursuit of Sean's car. Everyone in the car was thrown into a state of panic as Faye and the children screamed at Sean to get out of there fast. Sean tried to turn the car once more, but it was to late, the object had already caught them up and landed with a thump on top of the car.
Bright beams of light filled the inside of the car. Patrick, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, felt as if his 'brains were being sucked out of his head'. The dogs were going crazy and everyone in the car thought they were going to die. What Sean thought initially was the movement of the car going forward at 200kmph, was in fact the car being drawn up into the air by the object. Faye, who was in the back seat, opened the window and actually touch the object. She felt something which was warm and spongy, like some sort of suction pad. Recoiling violently, she became hysterical and began to scream. When she pulled her hand back in, it was red, swollen and cold. Patrick, in the front seat, rolled his window down only to engulf the inside of the car with a black, ash-like substance and a smell which smelt like 'decomposing bodies'.
The family's voices became distorted, sounding as if they were talking in slow motion, and their hair stood on end. Then, suddenly, the car dropped back down to the ground, bursting one of the rear tyres. It was not until this point that Sean realised the car had been in the air. After regaining control of the vehicle, Sean managed to stop the car, enabling the family to exit the car and run for cover in some nearby bushes.
They watched petrified as the object, which resembled 'an egg in a cup' hovered above them. Emitting an electrical humming sound, the craft circled around in the sky above while beaming a searchlight down on to the ground, as if looking for them. Eventually, to their relief, the craft disappeared. For around 15 minutes afterwards, their voices remained distorted while they desperately tried to change the tyre. Then to their horror and surprise, the craft returned.
The family quickly jumped into the car and drove towards the Mundrabilla Roadhouse, some 40km away, as this was the closest inhabited building to them. In Sean's frantic attempt to get to the Roadhouse, they clipped a kangaroo on the way, badly denting the car, but this didn't stop them driving at a frantic pace until the service station was in sight. It was at this point that the craft disappeared out of site. On arrival at the Mundrabilla Roadhouse, the family, visibly shaken, reported their encounter to two truck drivers. An attendant at the station said 'I thought at first they were trying to be funny, they were excited and scared. When I got near to the car, I noticed an odour which smelt similar to hot insulation'. Faye's hand was still swollen and the dogs had began to lose clumps of hair.
A thorough investigation was carried out by the Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS). Samples of the dust which entered the car were sent to a NASA-related laboratory in California for analysis. The results showed that the dust was made up of oxygen, carbon, silicon, potassium and, more unusually, a trace of astatine, which is a radioactive chemical produced synthetically. Its half-life is only a few hours and so, in normal circumstances, even the smallest trace of this element would have long since deteriorated by the time the investigation was underway. However, when magnified 5,000 times, some of the particles exhibited signs of potential radiation, which would help to explain Faye's swollen hand.
© Dave Cosnette