Location. Groendal Reserve, Despatch/Uitenhage, South Africa
Date: October 2 1978
Time: 11:15 a.m.
Four young boys, Peter Simpson (16), Jannie Bezuidenhout (15), Hugo Ferreira (12) and Joe Perino (13) were out hiking in the Groendal Reserve on the weekend of Sunday October 1. The next day, Monday, was a public holiday and Mrs. Simpson, wife of a Despatch doctor, was to pick the boys up at a prearranged rendezvous at midday.
The day was overcast and the boys sat quietly waiting for Mrs. Simpson. The Reserve is an isolated area of “veld” (The term Veld (often spelled Veldt) refers primarily (but not exclusively) to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub. The word veld comes from the Afrikaans (ultimately from Dutch), literally meaning 'field') containing many of the smaller species of wild African animals such as rock-rabbits, baboon and leopard.
The time was eleven fifteen when all four boys saw a glistening stone in the distance, about 900 meters away. Almost at the same time, Jannie drew their attention to two men who were to the west of the stone. The boys thought they were poachers but were surprised to see that the men wore silver ‘firefighters’ suits. “Their silver suits looked just like aluminum foil’ Hugo said later. The men appeared to come from the direction of the glistening object. They moved across the terrain in a ‘gliding’ motion, as though they were on trolleys. In the middle of the hill they were joined by a third man carrying a small, square suitcase. When the men reached a dividing fence and either climbed or glided over, one of them stopped to let the others through and he looked at the boys. They could see that the silver suit covered his forehead, leaving only his face clear. The skin was grey. The men continued on their way, moving up the hill to the summit and then suddenly disappeared.
All the boys noted that during the incident, which apparently took place over sixty seconds, they felt ‘peculiar’. Peter Simpson felt disoriented and there was an unusual quietness in the Reserve as though all the birds and animals were silenced.
On checking with Mr. Zeelie, the Game Park Warden, he verified that there were no firefighters in the Reserve at the time. South African police sergeant Christopher Powell, together with journalist Keith Ross and photographer Evert Smith, a police major and two trackers made the journey to where the boys had seen the glistening stone. They were surprised to find that the bush in the area, called ‘fynbos,’ was about two meters high. In the area indicated they found a large oval depression, 7 x 20 meters, with eight or nine indentations on the outside perimeter. There were no marks of burning.
HC addition # 904
Source: Cynthia Hind, Phenomenon, 40 years of Flying Saucers
Images sourced from Marsh, Rob VERLORE SKAKELS Struik, Kaapstad, 1994
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