Revival of the 61-Month Wave Theory
by Donald A. Johnson, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 161
Kirkland, Washington 98033
The Knowles family CE-II encounter with an ovoid-shaped UFO on the Nullarbor Plateau in Western Australia January 20th was right on target in terms of time and place, according to the 61-month wave cycle first proposed by Dr. David Saunders back in 1971. At least two other UFO encounters of major importance occurred that same night in Australia and Tasmania. If the indications are correct and this is not an isolated incident but the beginnings of a major UFO wave, we will have to reconsider the significance of this long-term prediction in terms of our ability to predict and act upon the occurrence of this and future UFO waves.
Dr. David Saunders first noticed the regularity in major American UFO waves (1947, 1952, 1957 and 1967) in the early months of 1971 while working with the UFOCAT computer catalog at the University of Colorado. He determined that what distinguished these UFO waves from other, possibly publicity-generated UFO waves, was the shape of their distributions. These were waves of UFO reports in which the frequency of daily reports began building slowly, built to a crescendo, and then diminished rapidly. These negatively-skewed UFO waves occurred with a periodicity of five years, or more accurately 61-months, with an accuracy in peak prediction to within a day or so (1).
Furthermore, another characteristic of these five-year waves was the progressively eastward movement of their loci of activity. The first wave crested in July 1947 and occurred predominantly in the Pacific and Mountain States. The 1952 wave reached its peak in late August 1952 with the majority of reports coming from Midwestern States. Each successive wave appeared to move approximately 30 degrees east in longitude. The absence of a 1962 wave was accounted for by a search of South American references which revealed a Brazilian and Argentinian UFO wave in September, and the 1967 wave--which began on the Eastern seaboard of the United States--actually crested in November of that year in England.
Saunders was able to make his first prediction that a major UFO wave would occur in the vicinity of 30 degrees East longitude and peak in December 1972 over a year prior to its occurrence. This prediction was borne out by the occurrence of a UFO wave in South Africa in late November. However, most ufologists lost interest in the theory when the predicted waves for 1977-78 and 1983 failed to materialize (so far as we can tell). Both of these waves should have occurred in countries controlled predominantly by governments unfriendly to the West. Saunders continues to have faith in the theory and has offered a consistent, convincing response to critics: that it is unfair to judge the merits of the theory on what we may or may not hear about from the Soviet Union.
According to calculations (see table below), the next great UFO wave should occur between now and the beginning of March, centered at 120 degrees East longitude. The Nullarbor Plain is at approximately 127 degrees East longitude. The wave should also unfold in the same characteristic manner as the earlier waves, building slowly in intensity in the number of daily reports and diminishing rapidly after reaching a peak.
The 61-Month Wave Cycle and Corresponding UFO Waves
|July 1947||July 8, 1947||120o W||Northwestern U.S.|
|Aug. 1952||Aug. 3, 1952||90o W||Central and Eastern U.S.|
|Sep. 1957||Aug. 21, 1957||60o W||Central and Eastern U.S.|
|Oct. 1962||Sep. 1962||30o W||Brazil|
|Nov. 1967||Oct. 24, 1967||0o W||Atlantic, England|
|Dec. 1972||Nov. 1972||30o E||South Africa|
|Jan. 1978||?||600 E||?|
|Feb. 1983||?||90o E||?|
|Mar. 1988||Feb. 1988(?)||120o E||Australia(?)|
A corrollary to the Saunders' spatio-temporal wave theory is that physical evidence cases should occur at approximately the same time world-wide; thus, if the Australian close encounters continue to occur during the pre-dawn hours, we should expect U.S. CE-II cases to occur in the evening hours between 4 and 10 p.m., since the United States and Australia have a time difference of some 8 to 11 hours.
We shall soon see if new evidence merits the revival of an old theory.
(1) Saunders, D.R. (1976). A spatio-temporal invariant for major UFO waves. In N. Dornbos (ed.), Proceedings of the 1976 CUFOS Conference. Evanston, IL: Center for UFO Studies.
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