Targeted By UFOs On The Lonely Roads Of Australia

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
April 19, 2022
Estimated Reading Time
13 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

Perhaps both because of its overall size and the vast stretches of open space and lonely roads, it is no surprise that Australia has many UFO encounters to its name. Two in particular, though, separated by a decade, each featured these strange otherworldly vehicles descending on cars as they traveled on largely lonely loads at night. And while each encounter is decidedly different, they demonstrate just how active this part of the world is in terms of bizarre and unexplained aerial vehicles, with one being a rare incident where physical evidence was left behind of the encounter.

A depiction of a UFO over an Australian beach

Australia has many UFO sightings on record

Are these mystery vehicles top-secret experimental aircraft of the military? Or might they really be extraterrestrial visitors from another world? And perhaps more important than all, what are the reasons for their presence? Are they merely test flights that will simply go unaccounted for? Or perhaps they are part of an alien reconnaissance mission.

Of course, it shouldn’t escape our attention that there are several secretive facilities in this part of the world that has various connections to UFO sightings and conspiracies. Might they have a connection to the sightings we are about to examine here?

While these two encounters on the roads of Australia are of most interest to us here, we will also examine some of the other lesser-known encounters that took place around the same time, particularly in the late-1990s, when a relatively heavy wave of UFO sightings was unfolding.

We will start, though, in the early hours of a January morning in the late-1980s, when a mother and her sons were traveling home.

The UFO Encounter Of The Knowles Family

In the early hours of 21st January 1988, at around 4 am, Faye Knowles and her adult sons, Patrick, Sean, and Wayne – 24, 21, and 18 years old respectively – were traveling home somewhere between Madura and Mundrabilla. Sean was driving and Patrick was in the front passenger seat, with Wayne and their mother, and their two dogs in the back.

Suddenly, Sean and Patrick noticed a bright light appear in the sky ahead of them. They both immediately noticed something strange about the suddenly appearing glow, although they didn’t quite know what it was. Sean asked Patrick if he thought it might be a “spaceship”, a notion that he quickly laughed off.

Sean, however, was now more than curious and pressed down a little on the accelerator in order to get closer to the bizarre glowing object. When they were a little over 50 feet away, a brilliant bright blinding appeared in front of their vehicle. And what’s more, it was heading in their direction.

The object, it appeared, had suddenly descended. The witnesses recalled it appeared egg-shaped with a strange, yellow center part.

A depiction of a UFO

Just what did the Knowles family witness that evening?

Sean swerved the car to avoid a collision. As he did so, he narrowly avoided crashing into an oncoming vehicle before Sean settled back onto the correct side of the road. He continued on his way, hoping to have put the object, and the encounter behind them. However, he quickly noticed that the strange craft was circling around and heading in their direction once again.

Despite performing several desperate U-turns in the road, the object remains in pursuit. Then, things turned even stranger.

Something Lifting The Car Off The Road

As they were beginning to think they had lost the curious craft for a moment, they heard a sudden “clunking” sound on the top of the car. Something had either landed on the roof or attached something to it. When they each felt a considerable weight bare down on the car, they suspected the former.

At this stage, fear was beginning to rise in each of the witnesses. Even more so when they felt the sensation of the car being lifted from the road.

Faye reached for the door and began winding down the back window. She reached her hand outside and felt on top of the car’s roof. Her hand happened upon a soft, rubbery attachment, that while hot, did not burn her hand. When she brought her hand back inside the car, it was covered in a strange, black dust.

When Patrick wound down his window, the car’s interior was suddenly full of this same black dust, which now covered each of them. At the same time, a noxious odor filled the car – a smell that the witnesses would liken to “dead bodies”.

Before they realized what was happening, things appeared to be going in slow motion – literally. At the same time, a high-pitched sound, that made the two dogs become extremely agitated, had begun. Even worse, the witnesses could somehow feel the effects of what was taking place, inside their own heads. Patrick would even recall it felt as though his “brain was being sucked out”, while Faye recalled that some bizarre was “going into our heads”.

Then, with no warning, the car was suddenly dropped to the ground. As it landed, they could feel the back right tire burst. Sean briefly blacked out before waking and running from the car to the side of the road to take refuge in some nearby bushes. After approximately a quarter of an hour, they ventured back to the car, quickly changed the tire, and then quickly went on their way.

A Corroborating Witness

What the family didn’t know at the time was that another witness to the unsettling events was present on the same road that night. A truck driver later identified as Graham Henley was driving along the same stretch of road when he suddenly noticed a bizarre light appear in his rearview mirror. Remarkably, he would describe the glowing object in a similar way to the Knowles family, claiming it was like a “big fried egg hung upside down”.

He would state that the object remained in view for around five minutes before it disappeared from his sight. When asked if he could recall seeing any car headlights below the object, he claimed that he couldn’t.

A depiction of a UFO

Another witness also saw the same UFO as the Knowles family

He would later pull his truck to the side of the road to rest momentarily. A short time later, the Knowles drove up and brought their vehicle to a stop nearby. They immediately left the car and rushed toward him, each almost hysterical in their efforts to tell him what had just happened to them.

When he viewed their car, he could see the black dusty substance they had spoken of covering the roof, as well as parts of the interior. The roof also had four clear indentations and the back right tire had indeed exploded.

The Knowles family would report the incident to Ceduna police upon their arrival. They also overlooked the vehicle and were confident from the distress of the witnesses that something strange had occurred on the road that night. They would pass the details to the organization, UFO Research South Australia which agreed to investigate the case.

An Extraordinary Example Of A Physical Trace Closer Encounter

UFO Investigator, Keith Basterfield would lead the investigation. However, after initially meeting with the family, whom he felt were very credible, the story began to pick up steam in the local and national media. So much so, that not only was access to the witnesses becoming increasingly difficult but the chances of a serious investigation taking place were being narrowed.

Several tests were carried out on the strange dust. Researchers managed to send samples to Dr. Richard Haines – a NASA scientist. However, other than stating that the dust samples from the exterior and interior both differed, there was no data returned that could suggest what the dust was, and if it was of a chemical make-up that was unknown.

A depiction of a UFO

Just did happen to the Knowles family that night?

Basterfield would state, though, that the case was “an extraordinary example of a close encounter that left physical traces”.

Also of interest, further investigations around the immediate communities returned several UFO sightings on the same night that the Knowles had their encounter. And while this doesn’t necessarily confirm the Knowles’ version of events, it does suggest that something particularly strange was in the skies of the region during those early hours of 21st January 1988.

Just over two decades later, however, a very similar incident occurred that is very much worth our time examining here. And it is there we will turn our attention next.

Similarities To “Lifting Car Case” In New Hampshire, 2010

Although it happened on the other side of the world, there are plenty of similarities to an encounter that unfolded in New Hampshire in 2010, [1] an incident referred to as the “Lifting Car Case”.

On the night in question, two local teenagers were sitting in their parked car when they noticed an obscure light appear in the sky. Within what appeared to be a split second, the light had gone from being quite a way off in the distance to being a glowing object directly in front of the car. As the driver of the vehicle attempted to start the engine and drive away, a bizarre beam of light came from the object and struck the car. The wheels simply spun around as if they were stuck in the mud, refusing to get any traction.

Then, the entire vehicle began to lift from the ground, as though the beam of light was physically rising it into the air. The two witnesses, now becoming increasingly panicked, realized that all around them had become silent and things appeared to be happening in slow motion. This bizarre sensation lasted for several moments before the car horn suddenly came to life. When it did, the light retracted and the car dropped back to the ground.

They would tell their parents of the incident, who would, in turn, notify the police. When they examined the scene, there was substantial damage to the curb where the witnesses claimed their car dropped to the ground. Furthermore, the underside of the vehicle was also considerably damaged.

Whether there is a connection between the two cases is perhaps open to debate. You can, though, check out the video below which looks at the Knowles family abduction a little further.

The Cross-Shaped UFO Over Echuca

According to a report received by James Owen of the Victorian UFO Research Society, another report of a UFO appearing to target a moving vehicle as it traveled occurred on the evening of 27th August 1998 in Echuca in South Australia. [2] The report states that the witness – given the name MD – and his wife were returning home when they decided to stop for food at around 9 pm after spotting a Mcdonald’s Restaurant ahead.

They pulled into the car park and were preparing to leave the vehicle when the witness noticed a strange object in the skies ahead. The object, which the witness believed to be a light airplane, was descending and appeared to be doing so at a relatively high speed. He drew his wife’s attention to it and they each watched it until it disappeared over the horizon several moments later. They shrugged the sighting off and went inside to eat.

It was around 9:45 pm when the pair left the restaurant and returned to their vehicle. Moments later, they were back on the road. Only minutes later, while still within the limits of Echuca, the witness noticed a strange red light moving in the skies to the side of them. MD recalled that he believed it was the light of a helicopter, albeit one that was traveling at a particularly low altitude, somewhere between 75 and 150 feet.

He continued to watch the red light for a moment or two, realizing that whatever it was, it was heading in their direction. MD estimated if both he and the light kept moving, that they would “intercept” each other around 1000 feet ahead of him on the highway.

An Object Sustained In The Air By Nothing At All!

MD, still believing he was witnessing a conventional aircraft attempting to land. As he continued on, he noticed another vehicle approaching on the opposite side of the road. From his quick calculations, all three of them – him, the oncoming truck, and the mystery aircraft – would collide on the highway.

With that thought in mind, MD swerved his vehicle to the left and brought it to a stop in the bushes at the roadside. The driver of the oncoming vehicle clearly thought likewise and brought his truck to a stop by swerving to his side of the road. However, instead of stopping completely, the truck continued forward, slowly at first, and then quickly gathering pace and heading off into the distance.

It was then that he realized the object was hovering almost directly over the top of them, approximately 100 feet above them. MD estimated that the object remained perfectly still overhead for between 30 to 45 seconds. During this time, he couldn’t see the standard aviation lights that all aircraft would have to show, making him contemplate for the first time if the object was something more out of the ordinary than a helicopter.

A depiction of a UFO

Another similar encounter occurred ten years later

Cautiously, he opened his car door and stepped outside of his vehicle. He stood there for around a minute watching the object while his wife remained inside the car. He could see that it was of a shape that was unlike any aircraft he had previously seen.

It was much larger than any aircraft he had seen previously, and it had what appeared to be four wings in the shape of a cross. Although he could still see the right light, he would state that “it didn’t appear to have any origin”. This is a potentially interesting detail when we consider many people who claim to have been onboard these apparently extraterrestrial vehicles say the same about the sources of light inside, perhaps suggesting some kind of advanced technology.

Another thing MD noticed for the first time was that the vehicle was completely silent, with no sounds of engine noise or any other mechanical or machine-like sounds. He further noticed that it truly was completely still with “nothing that was sustaining it in the air”.

A light then appeared on the underside of the craft, illuminating the ground below, although the witness pointed out that “there was no beam”. After several moments, the light went out, and the object began to move away.

Something I “Shouldn’t Have Seen!”

The object traveled relatively steadily at first. Then, it began to speed up considerably. Of more concern to MD, once more it was heading toward the ground, this time toward an industrial part of the city.

He jumped back in his car, performed a U-turn in the road, and headed toward the industrial estate where he believed the object’s trajectory was taking it. He eventually brought his car to a stop nearby, stating in his report that he fully expected to have seen a “fireball” so sure he was that object would crash.

After several moments, however, it reappeared to the right of their vehicle. This time, it was barely 50 feet above the ground and was moving at a speed of around 150 miles per hour. It traveled across the windscreen of their vehicle, and after they set off, it remained in view for around eight minutes. After this, it suddenly began to ascend before shooting off into the night sky, disappearing from sight within seconds.

Although he is not at all certain what he witnessed that evening, he believes he witnessed something he “shouldn’t have seen”, speculating that it might have even been a secret “military prototype”. He would elaborate that the object was definitely “not a conventional aircraft” and that it “defied all known means of air travel”.

Further Witnesses Are Discovered

Owen would interview MD, and his wife, after receiving the information. Although the local police had received no reports of anything untoward on the night in question, several of the local radio and television stations had, leading Owen to build up a list of several other sightings on the same night in the area, both before and after MD’s encounter. This suggested that something strange was most definitely in the skies of South Australia that evening, although what that something was remained open to debate.

When the witnesses were interviewed by UFO investigators, the details they would give largely match the details offered by MD and his wife. One particular testimony came from a man who lived relatively nearby to the MD’s sighting. Not only did he describe a similarly sized and shaped object at approximately the same time as MD, but he also recalled the presence of a heavy-duty truck coming to a screeching halt.

Perhaps even more intriguing, some of these other witnesses mentioned seeing a second, smaller object that appeared to be trailing the larger, unknown craft. Might this suggest that some kind of scout ship or advanced drone was sent to get a closer look at whatever the occupants were seemingly searching for?

The incident remains unexplained. However, it would appear that the witnesses to this particular sighting – whose statements have been corroborated by several others – are largely very credible.

It is perhaps worth our time examining another UFO encounter that unfolded over Australia only several months earlier, late on the night of 4th March 1998. According to a report from the Australian UFO Research Network, Rick and Donna, along with their 12-year-old daughter, were at home when, at around 10 pm, Donna decided to step outside on the veranda for a cigarette.

As she smoked, she looked out at the night sky. Her gaze settled on a “very bright white light” that was positioned just above the horizon. She estimated it to be a little over a mile away and appeared to be hovering for so long, before then performing the most fascinating maneuvers.

She called out to Rick who joined her outside. They watched the light for several hours, at least until around 1:30 am, with their daughter coming out at one point to see what they were doing – she also saw the bizarre glowing object.

They watched the display until the light suddenly faded away. Before it did, however, it would move, erratically in the sky temporarily before settling back down into a hovering position once again.

Other Intriguing UFO Sightings Over Australia In Early 1998

It is worth noting several intriguing if little known UFO encounters around Australia in 1998. For example, according to UFO investigator, Russell Boundy, seven strange objects were reported moving across the sky in Cairns, Queensland at around 8:30 pm on 1st January.

Several weeks later, beginning on 17th January in Melbourne, a husband and wife, along with their young daughter were in their car driving along a quiet road when they noticed a silver, oval-shaped object hovering in the sky in front of them. In a strange offering, the witness claimed to view the UFO was like “walking into a dark room, which had the television on but no programs, just snowy”. It remained in sight for around 10 seconds before it simply disappeared right in front of their eyes.

Exactly a week later, they saw what appeared to be the same object, only this time, instead of simply hovering, it was moving in an extremely erratic way. It eventually disappeared just as the first object had. Both sightings remain without explanation.

A depiction of a UFO in the outback

Are other UFO sightings across Australia connected?

In the early hours of 2nd February, at around 3 am in Innisfail, Queensland, an unnamed witness suddenly felt a strange presence and was brought from sleep. When he peered out of the window he could see the night sky – and an object that was as bright as a full moon. Unsure why he had suddenly awoken, he made his way to the window. Once there, he could the bizarre object in full, as well as a second, identical object. The objects remained where they were for several moments before both calmly moving away.

On the evening of 26th February, according to the research files of Barry Taylor, a family at an isolated farmhouse in Grafton, New South Wales, witnessed a bright, glowing object approach their property from the distance. What’s more, as well as descending on the property, it circled it several times, as if those inside were clearly getting a good look at the layout of the area. It eventually came to a brief stop before shooting off into the distance.

An Important Location In The Overall UFO Picture

We have examined here, in detail, just two of the many UFO sightings to have unfolded in Australia over the years, and only a handful of the many others on record. Indeed, some of the most interesting and thought-provoking accounts have come from this part of the world.

From secret facilities such as Pine Gap, to areas such as the Bass Strait where all manner of paranormal encounters unfold, to multiple sightings of the strange craft of various shapes and sizes, in terms of UFOs, Australia’s skies are as busy as any. Whether these locations are the cause of this abundance of activity, or whether all manner of unknown energies and entities are somehow drawn there is perhaps open to debate.

Perhaps we should also draw attention to the vast waters that surround it. If, as many UFO researchers believe, there is a connection between apparent underwater alien bases and the many bizarre sightings people are reporting, then it could be the case that at least some of these subaquatic facilities reside off the coast of Australia. Or perhaps it is merely a crossing point, as these curious objects negotiate their way around our planet for largely unknown purposes.

And of course, much of Australia is open country for miles and miles. There could, and likely are, many UFO incidents that go unreported, as well as activity that goes unnoticed altogether. Before the complete picture of the UFO and Alien Question – or as close to complete as is possible – is available to us, this part of the world will surely prove to be an important location in deciphering.

The video below looks at UFO sightings in Australia in a little more detail.


1 US: UFO picks up Laconia, New Hampshire car with teens and drops 180 feet away, Roger Marsh, Signs of the Times, April 17th, 2010
2 Echuca, August, 1998, Victorian UFO Research Society

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • William Buckley says:

    The Knowles family UFO incident is a great story and most of the things that have been said are truth but is is a case of attempted murder and a case of mistaken identity. By all accounts the craft that attacked the family was about the size of a station wagon with something on top of it. Mrs Knowles later drew a sketch of the craft which was said to be about fifteen feet in length and she said it looked to be over three feet wide, The craft had a cone shaped front which had a wider body and tapered down to the rear. She even drew a yellow globe in the middle of the wider body where a powerful light was coming from. This sketch was placed in the newspapers the day after the attack and some say it looked like an egg in an eggcup. This sketch looks exactly like a helicopter from underneath and I’m surprised nobody has even been able to identify it, this is truly bizarre. The craft also spewed out hot carbon soot and fumes from its twin turbo shaft engines, made a humming electrical noise and a vroom vroom noise. The Knowles family all say that the car was hoisted off the road while they were travelling at over 100 km/hr and were lifted about several metres off the road and I believe them. A truck driver who looked over the car at a roadhouse shorty after the attack said the car had four dents on the roof and it looked s though the car was picked up by a magnet and I believe he is right and all the forensic evidence supports that opinion. I will tell you about this evidence that has been reported in the media and was discussed in a UFO magazine X Factor. As the family was trying to escape the helicopter caught up to the car and lowered the electromagnet EM attached to a long steel cable onto the roof. The family all hear a metallic thump on the roof and feel heavy weight pushing the car down. The car was said to be bathed in the intense light of the searchlight and the static electricity from the EM made their hair stand on end. Mrs Knowles feels the car being lifted and reaches onto the cars roof and touches a soft rubber shock insulator surrounding the magnet and said that it felt like a suction pad. Mrs Knowles hand and arm were also burnt by the hot fumes being down drafted from the turbo engines by the main rotor and she later needed medical treatment for those burns. As the car is lifted it swings violently from side to side on the steel cable which makes it impossible for the helicopter to maintain its lift and it loses altitude. The car while still attached to the cable hits the road and the rear tyre explodes on impact. The car is now bouncing along the road at over 100km/hr while still attached and this up and down action shears the springs in the front wheel wells and tears the rubber front the rear shock absorbers. The driver slams on the brakes and the skidding car eventually brings the car to a halt and near brings the helicopter to plunge into the ground nose first. The family all jump out of the and watch the sticken craft swinging around on the steel cable as the pilot desperately tried to control the craft. All this information had been reported in many newspaper articles over the years but people are clearly too afraid of the truth and the normal human response is to shield one’s self from the horrible truth. To be fair to the family they probably couldn’t properly identify the craft because the powerful searchlight was shining towards them and the chopper was at an acute angle slowly going down on its tail as the pilot was feathering the engines. The rotors of the chopper was also blasting the family with dry desert dust and engine soot and they could only see the outline of the craft through a bright dusty haze. Nether the less I find it hard to believe that nobody but me can see the truth. It was during this time at a fine chemical inside the helicopter became dislodged and it spewed out of the open cargo bay and ended up all over the family and inside and outside of the car. That fine dust was later tested and was found to be potassium chlorate an explosive compound used by terrorists to build improvised explosive devices and another test by NASA found traces of astatine a toxic radioactive substance. I was said by the authorities that the dust was an unknown substance but that is a pack of lies and it really shows to me that the Australian authorities along with their shady mates in the media are involved in a conspiracy to hide the truth from the public and that should concern every fair minded person. Covering up an attempted murder on an innocent family by terrorists group in a helicopter is crime and it is slippery slope from there on to quickly become an Authoritarian State.

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