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Aliens in the Outback: The Knowles Family UFO Attack

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Aliens in the Outback: The Knowles Family UFO Attack
The 1988 UFO encountered by the Knowles family is not a typical UFO story. What sets this encounter apart from others isn’t just the bizarre incident but also that there were witnesses. The event occurred around 5 a.m., and at one point the family drove 200 kilometers per hour in an attempt to outrun the UFO (1).

On January 20, 1988, Faye Knowles and her three sons–Patrick (24), Sean (21) and Wayne (18) along with their two family dogs were traveling in Southern Australia through the Nullarbor Plain – destination Melbourne.

The Nullarbor Plain covers around 77,000 square miles and is the “world’s largest single exposure of limestone bedrock.” This semi-arid environment is known for a high-rate of UFO sightings, although few witnesses have historically reported their sightings (2).

The Knowles family’s sighting moved the world’s spotlight onto this region of the globe and subsequently other UFO stories began to emerge (3).

Family Sees Bright Light in Sky

The Knowles family first spotted a bright light off in the distance in front of them. The middle son, Sean, was driving the family car with Patrick riding shotgun. Faye and her youngest son, Wayne, were sitting in the back seat. The family noticed that the light continually grew brighter the closer they got. They later described the object simply as a blinding light.

At one point, Sean decided to speed up in an effort to see what it was. To their surprise, when they got closer, they discovered the light was egg-shaped. Some reports state the family described the object as resembling an egg resting in an egg cup with a yellow center.

As Sean continued to drive toward the UFO, it suddenly emitted an angular white light about three feet wide. When the beam moved about the road just in front of the car, the family panicked and Sean swerved to avoid the light. Their car was now traveling in the opposite lane and directly in the path of an oncoming station wagon.

According to the Knowles, the driver of the station wagon swerved to miss them and Sean managed to steer the car back into his lane. As though having lost interest in the Knowles, the UFO gave chase to the station wagon.

A Couple of U-Turns

Concerned for the occupants in the other car and more than a bit curious, Sean made a precarious U-turn in the road to chase after the station wagon and UFO. They quickly gained speed and nearly caught up with the car and UFO when according to Faye Knowles, a “dark feeling” gripped both her and her sons.

At that point, the family decided it wasn’t such a good idea to pursue the UFO and once more made a quick U-turn in the road, resuming their original direction toward Melbourne. They agreed that to stop at the next available phone to report the incident to the authorities.

Suddenly, the car bounced downward as it gave under the pressure of something very heavy landing on top of their car. Sean had a difficult time keeping the car on the road.

Much to their surprise and terror, the car began to lift from the road. Faye, still in the back seat, rolled the window down and reached up to see if she could feel anything on top of the car roof. To her surprise, her fingers met what she described as being hot, spongy and rubbery.

artist rendering ufo

Black Dust Overwhelms Family

When she drew her hand back inside the car, it was covered with a dark dust that was very fine and powdery. The car was suddenly filled with a cloud of the same kind of dark dust that entered through Patrick’s open window (4).

The family reported that the dust carried a foul odor that reminded them of a decomposing body. Following the cloud burst of black dust and putrid odors, a high-pitched sound buzzed in the car, driving the family dogs into frenzied barking.

The family claims they were quickly overcome with feelings of being disoriented and that their voices now raised in screams grew lower in pitch and slower in sound. It was as though they moved in slow motion.

The oldest son, Patrick told reporters, “I felt like my brain was being sucked out…”

His mother described the sensation as though “…something was going into our heads.” At this time, Faye recalled that they all thought they were going to die.

The family next lost all sense of time that ended abruptly when the car returned to the pavement and one of the tires blew out. Sean was able to bring the car under control and braked it to a stop, pulling onto the side of the road.

The family piled out of the car in terror and quickly found cover behind the roadside brush, hiding from the object that was nowhere to be seen. Afraid that the UFO would return, they remained hidden in the brush for around 15 minutes before venturing back onto the road. They quickly changed the tire and resumed their journey toward Melbourne, ever watchful for the return of the UFO.

When they arrived in the town Mundrabilla, Sean stopped at a gas station. That’s when they met Mr. Graham Henley a truck driver who told the Knowles he’d witnessed the strange light on the road. Another motorist also bore witness as well as several other reports of an intensely bright light in the sky.

Researchers Give Explanation for UFO Encounter

The experts that later examined the car stated that the black powder was in keeping with the dust found in brakes.
However, a 1990 UFO Report filed by Timothy Good reported that in July 1988 Dr Richard Haines at Philips Laboratory analyzed the dust taken from inside the car and found it to be different from the exterior dust (5).

Other debunkers stated that the blown tire bore evidence of having been driven on the wheel rim for some time. As for the UFO, there were no traces of radioactivity on or in the car. Scientists explained that what the family experienced was the rare event of a disintegrating meteorite, that would have been hot and foul smelling.

The family car was auctioned off after the family couldn’t keep up the payments. They were ridiculed and promise money by a marketing firm that never materialized. In the end, they simply wanted to fade into the background and pick up their lives once more.

In the face of seemingly authoritative explanations for the UFO, tire and black dust, the Knowles remained steadfast in their story. They never wavered, stating they knew what they’d experienced. There are two camps when it comes to this UFO story. One believes plausible explanations were given while the other strongly believes that the Knowles lived through a harrowing UFO encounter.

References & Image Credits:
(1) Ghost Theory
(2) Nullarbor Plain
(3) TSW: Read about the Most Recent UFO Sightings at These 5 Websites
(4) Paranational
(5) Adelaide Now
(6) Nullarbor Plain

Originally published on

  • Defiant

    “This semi-arid environment is known for a high-rate of UFO sightings, although few witnesses have historically reported their sightings (2).”

    If sightings aren’t reported…how does the author know the area is known for a high rate of sightings!? LOL!

  • snoopyone

    Wish my wife were alive today. Our story about what happened to us would get some eyebrows up and make this one seem silly.

  • winone

    Please do share your story. Many of us are trying to learn more about what is happening to people and about these beings.

  • snoopyone

    it was frightening. Oct,1989. my wife and i had a really cool honeymoon vacation set in motion. After spending a few nights in San Francisco,we rented a car and started out on a California driving experience,stopped at Camel California to see if Clint Eastwood happened to be at the mayors office,nope wasn’t there. Drove down the coast to tour the Hearst mansion,then drove to see the redwood forest,then to drink wine at the Napa valley vineyard wineries.
    One last sight to see in California was Death Valley. We were driving out of Bakersfield,on a stretch of highway, that was taking us into Death Valley. The sun was setting behind us,we had the windows down catching the cool desert air. It was one of those calm nights were everything seemed right. When ever someone says “be careful for what you wish for, because it may come true” is an adage that i can attest it is true. So we were cruising at a slow speed,not in any hurry to get there. When i only said “It sure would be neat to see some UFO’s right now,. wouldn’t it”!
    My wife just laughed a little. but within seconds of saying that phrase 3 bright objects appeared out of thin air about 50 miles from us and rising higher into the air and then making a slow dissent towards us.
    The look on my wife’s face is one i will never forget. She was so terribly frightened,so she stopped the car and asked me to drive. I got out,went around the front looking at the objects getting close,my wife slid over to the passenger seat. i could see her screaming something at me through the window and pointing straight up,but couldn’t hear a thing she was saying. I remember opening the car door was like in slow motion. My hearing was gone and my vision was experiencing some kind of strange distortion. my hearing came back,.I then heard her screams to “Get in”!,.get in quick! they are right over the car!. I remember thinking..How could that be? the objects were at least 30 miles away, if not more from us just seconds ago.
    I never got in the car,i thought i did,I could see my wife’s lips moving, but i couldn’t hear her. It felt like the barometric pressure had dropped so low,so fast that it affected my hearing. I finally got in the car. We sat in the car speechless,.watching the craft leave in a hurry,heading east then flew straight up. We heard what we thought was thunder coming up from behind us. we looked around outside the best we could to determine what that noise was,.suddenly four United States Marine corp fighter jets came galloping across and just above the desert floor,.3 jets took off in hot pursuit of the objects and one of them was going at a snails pace,as he passed us i could definitely make out his image in the cockpit as he was using his right hand to signal us to get going now! We did the last thing of that event was watching the jets and the objects playing some sort of game of tag. The entire ordeal really seemed surreal,we were in a trance for the rest of our trip that ended in Phoenix. We never spoke about it to the in-laws,.they were professors and I am sure the last thing they wanted to hear from their daughter that she had a UFO encounter. In the months after returning home to Alaska,it wasn’t long before we knew, within ourselves,we would never be the same people again. Both of felt violated in many ways. It started to affect our work lives. We then scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist,who after hearing about what we went through together,felt it was out of her league,gave us some sleeping medications. a few weeks later my wife said she had gotten a strange call at the office for someone claiming to be a psychiatrist,.i reported the same to her as i had gotten a call at work from someone who scheduled an appointment with me. We thought the first doctor called someone who could help us. So i went to the appointment,it was not in the area where all the doctors offices were,.instead it was in a trailor house kind of fast setup.brand new,having a few high windows. I walked into the trailer and was greeted by a male secretary(kinda odd). waiting,. i noticed nothing on the walls,no books to read,just a desk and the chair i was sitting in. I was called into the office, it was dark in there and barely could see the person who asked me to sit down. Nothing on the walls. i noticed the man asking me a list of questions that were written down in a 3 ring binder. i answered a few questions before the whole thing felt weird,he was asking me everything about the night,he wanted details and was not at all interested in my well being at all. All i said to him was I feel uncomfortable with this and i am going to leave now!. So i did. it took maybe ten years for the memory of that event to fad somewhat out of our minds.
    The way i look at life now is so different then the way it was before, i feel that i was awakened to something i should not be.
    My wife died of cancer in 2007. i don;t know, she was as healthy as a race horse,.the last thing i thought id be doing is holding her lifeless body in my arms. I really feel that experience had something to do in bringing on her cancer. i want to forget about it so much,but cannot.
    I like to take this opportunity to Thank the Marine Corp fighter jet response for helping us out and saving our lives that night.


How FOIA Exemptions Affect Ufology Research

How FOIA Exemptions Affect Ufology Research

An estimated 80% of the American public believe that the US government is hiding something about aliens - be it strange visitations, crashed spaceships and charred alien cadavers, or worse. [...]

“The thing about the truth is, not a lot of people can handle it.” -Conor McGregor

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
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