The British UFO Research Association
Investigations & Research since 1962
   .      BUFORA 50th Conference 2012

The BUFORA 50th Anniversary Conference 2012:



The conference was first planned a couple of years ago when it was realised that BUFORA was approaching its half century mark. I spoke to Lionel Beer about this and he clarified that 1962 was the definitive year, with only the ‘R’ in our title added in 1964 having no constitutional bearing. The inaugural meeting had been held in Kensington and we had looked into this original venue but this presented a number of draw backs. Firstly, there would be no wireless internet thus preventing Jenny Randles and any web based references for speakers being denied us. The venue could not be acquired for two days as Sunday was impossible for the lecture theatre, which had to operate to the same opening closing days that the public library operated.

We looked at university venues and decided it was not necessary to have tiered lecture seating, preferring to get a hotel with more facilities. The Holiday Inn ticked all the right boxes. It had on site accommodation, very comfortable seats to avoid those pins and needles and a well lit room.

Delegates and speakers arrived at various times on the Friday evening and all was set for the Saturday morning, with lighting checks, seating plans and sound tests. After the BUFORA theme played in the commencement of the conference, John Wickham started the sequence of excellent M.C. links into the speakers and he had a good rapport with the audience, especially during the cross over times between speakers. There was ample time between each of the speakers to stretch legs and get quick refreshment and Lionel Beer reported that his book sales were good over the two days. BUFORA had a smaller stall, from which Geoff Falla was seen signing the sleeves of the collaborative project, the Vehicle Interference report.

Throughout the presentations, it was clear the audience were very pleased with the content and presentations and variety of subjects, which were all qualified by the highest standards of cross referencing and research in all subject areas. One again, we witnessed, as in Newcastle in 2011, that a large proportion of the conference were comprised of first time attendees.

There was excellent hosting and management of the timings by Press and Media officer, John Wickham, who was conference M.C. for the two days.

               Pictured: John Wickham, MC for both conference days

               Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012

Lionel Beer, one of our founding members gave some insights into the more challenging world of the subject, with BUFORA being watched by the security services and even threats from religious cults. He gave a compelling overview of how the subject has developed and key moments where BUFORA has assisted and guided the subject forward, resisting and remaining steadfast against pushes towards the extremes of scepticism or exclusive extra-terrestrial or cultist beliefs.
Photograph Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012

Second to the podium on Saturday, with a fresh update on BUFORAs stance on hypnosis, Heather Dixon gave a well-researched and qualified approach to this difficult and highly debated area of the UFO subject, focusing on the investigation approaches to higher strangeness cases and how belief systems often get intertwined with experiences. There was a special focus on the way memory works and the way we recall events in some surprising and variable ways in the complexities of the mind and how it deals with high strangeness events, UFO related and beyond. Heather also outlined the details of how BUFORA investigates cases and the Investigator Training course (ITC) that BUFORA operates and also the National Investigation Committee (NIC).
  Photograph Copyright Clas Svahn 2012
John Spencer then gave accounts on how the waves of film, radio, television and literature have shaped the public’s awareness and perception of the UFO enigma, with special focus on how science fiction has crossed over and muddied the waters with regards to how investigations are conducted and the media presentation of the subject. He related the vast differences between real cases and their scientific research, John looked at how the public and media often unwittingly draw their perceptions on cases from films and television, without even realising this is happening.

      Photograph Copyright Clas Svahn 2012

Jenny successfully conducted her first video conference, which involved a split screen with images referred to in cases. It was possible to ask questions directly from the audience afterwards and this has inspired us to invite further guests in this manner in the future. Jenny outlined three key cases in how BUFORA approached investigations, which a lot of evolution in the Investigator Guide and supplementary manuals reflected in her time as Director of Investigations. It was noted that many of the principles that evolved from identification of craft shapes in the pursuit of IFO success in finding the majority of rational sightings proven had leapt in percentages solved during her time working with a nationwide team of investigators.

    Photograph copyright John Hanson 2012

Lionel Fanthorpe had travelled from the West and gave a good coverage of cases which involved missing time and impossible movements in space.  He summarised a large consideration of cases across the Fortean spectrum into six summaries for possible causes for UFOs and to keep an open view that there may be many earthly based anomalies which may be attributed to some cases and not all are necessarily caused by an extra-terrestrial but may be a  dimensional presence of entities or technology.

   Photograph Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012

Clas Svahn introduced the work of AFU in its many archiving projects and this included a personal presentation to Matt Lyons, with the completion of everything BUFORA has recorded or published onto a super drive for forthcoming availability in the future, all fully digitised. After a tour of the organisation, he then moved onto the current ghost rocket expedition, a major current practical investigation on location at one of the lakes where this UFO had fallen. The investigation will continue with return visits with more equipment and was an engaging look into the work of UFO Sverige, Sweden’s premier group, who also produce their own magazine.


Photographs Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012
A separate informal meeting of our friends and colleagues from outside the U.K. was enjoyed at the hotel.

 Photograph Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012

This closed the first day’s lectures and delegates from the UK and Europe joined guest and BUFORA speakers and the conference team for a celebration meal, joined in an overlap of speakers over both days.  The two days were of great diversity and it was a reasonable early night, with all aware that Sunday’s lectures were to start at 9.30 in the morning, for another full day with speakers right up to 7pm.


                   Photographs (meal) copyright Ole Johnny Braenne 2012

Vicente Juan Ballester Olmos gave the first lecture of the second morning, in compliment to Clas as the final speaker from our European representation of the previous day. He gave some insights and explanations to photographs that have been collected and received from over the globe, as part of his extensive Fotocat project. Vicente has recently been updating the U.K. database and regularly works with many European Ufologists on cases. He detailed his work in investigating photographs to reconnect with original witnesses and tracing their photographs and original or expanded accounts. Vicente’s fascination with UFOs and categorising cases using an evolved case documentation system started its process with the Vallee and Hynek classification systems and he demonstrated how the case system is currently working in relation to type of images and location data.

 Photograph copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012

John Hanson with Dawn Holloway looked at a new personal sighting at Rendlesham forest, which included anomalous falling objects and brand new footage of lights filmed on location recently amongst a group of other confirming witnesses. In additions to his Haunted Skies book series he continues to develop; he also brought along a tube with an extracted implant form a witness, which caused a lot of fascination This presentation clearly showed that the forest is prone to a high and frequent anomalous nature which can be measured form way before the famous 1980 event and continues to most recent times.

 Photo of John Hanson and Dot Street copyright Dawn Holloway 2012

Dot Street, one of the original case investigators was there at the conference over both days and gave some good contributions from the floor and many delegates found a first chance to interview and ask her on the Rendlesham incident and UFOs in general.

Richard Conway was joined by a surprise guest lecturer in a joint presentation on the science of the subject. This was a refreshing look into separating pseudo-science and often misleading or ill-conceived experiments in energy and propulsion matters in not just UFOs, but the search for the kind of energies and physics that may allow us to reach those fantastic distances to the stars. He looked at the current projects in the field of free energy and was then joined by his father, long time BUFORA member Stan Conway.
  Photograph Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne 2012
Stan looked at the frustrations of truly innovative projects which have been thwarted which have been of genuine substance and world changing technology, all with physics and research intact but often blocked by establishment politics and trends in research. He looked at the problems with light speed and energies required due to increased energy requirements as velocity increases and then focused on exciting new projects looking at warping space and/or time as a possible route to achieving these huge travelling distances. Stan also looked at the possibility that the UFOs that are seen may be evidence of success in these realms, whether it is a future of us or how other civilisations are leaving their mark on the planet.

Photograph Copyright Ole Jonny Braenne

Geoff Falla gave a fascinating insight into the many cases of UFOs that affect all manner of transport, on air, sea and land and how the sightings can affect the witnesses in vastly difference reactions to missing time, various levels of post event trauma and even physical reactions to the body or the vehicle travelled within. He has explored a new data pattern that appears to be emerging that indicates ley lines and other key magnetic sources at locations may be responsible for some contribution to a number of UFO cases. Geoff was happy to sign some of the vehicle interference DVDs and was involved with this project from the 1960s.

 Photograph Copyright Clas Svahn 2012

Tony Eccles explored a project launch in regards to Amnamnesis and its predecessor, with respect to the work of BUFORAs Ken Phillips, who was one of the leading coordinators of the witness support group. Tony has looked at the original findings and explained how this will be moved forward on a one-to-one basis, looking at individual witness accounts and how they relate to their vivid accounts of high close encounter experiences. In many cases, Tony explained how the experiences were often life changing in a positive way and after experiences, new ways of looking at life and the world at large had changed for the better for many witnesses. This was a fresh balance to the impression given in too many reported cases being an exclusively negative experience.

Photograph Copyright Lee Rawlings 2012

Dave Newton looked at the whole picture of our cultural fascination with the UFO concept in a very different way to John Spencer’s lecture from the previous day. Looking at cases from the Berwyn Mountain incident to the Arnold 1947 sighting, he also looked at the Drake equations and earlier Jacques Vallee and Carl Sagan perspectives that have developed alongside truly remarkable advances in SETI and modern astronomy, with ever more rapid scans of the heavens through the super telescopes in orbit.

   Photograph copyright Clas Svahn 2012

Finally, Ross Hemsworth gave an overview of his television and radio projects, leading towards a team out in the forest for our second visit to Rendlesham beyond the 1980 events. He had footage developed which definitely showed film anomalies and became aware of something that was definitely a presence in the vicinity, with sensations of communication which also affected the research team that accompanied him. Having spent many years delving into the paranormal and with a healthy sceptical air to many sightings of ghosts, he explained that this was something unlike anything he expected to experience.

 Photograph Copyright Clas Svahn 2012

Matt Lyons gave a brief closing speech and shook Lionel Beer’s hand and thanked all the delegates for coming along to this landmark conference and Dot Street reminded us all to not forget the obvious, “Happy Birthday!”.

   Photograph copyright Vicente Juan Ballester Olmos 2012

It certainly was and there was so much information from all the lectures that it is fortunate we had Mark Easen, our BUFORA photographic specialist, filming the whole two days, so we can enjoy this all again and review all the research and investigation references once more. Matt thanked all the speakers, delegates and support crew, plus our many sponsors of the event. It was a conference we would have put on in any case but the fact it was our 50th, we wanted to ensure that some of the best Ufology can offer and all the research and investigations of the past 50 years were in evidence and most importantly, to look forward. Already, new projects are under way and the rolling stone of this constantly evolving subject goes forward into the next decade and as one of our team would say “And so the beat goes on…”

Thanks to our reviewers and sponsors, from UFO Matrix, Kevin Moore, personal recommendations, the speakers and their teams, Mysterious Britain, Steve Mera and the paranormal crew, BBC Magazine, Quest and so many others. A special thank you to our friends and all the researchers and investigators who have contributed to the legacy of research and investigations in the last fifty years, with special thoughts to those and this conference was a tribute to those hundreds of investigators and researchers who have passed away. This conference is dedicated to the many thousands of hours of work on various countless projects and reports that have continued to accrue and the understanding of the UFO phenomena so far. The quest continues in all categories of sightings and encounters as we return to current investigations and future research projects.

The conferences had some very positive reviews and to see it, please go to our store section for the DVD of a weekend of excellent speakers on this very special Anniversary for BUFORA.

Matt Lyons
(Previous) Chairman
The British UFO Research Association