Dean “Vern” Garner has kept a secret for 20 years. He thinks about it often, but hardly speaks about it because he has no proof.
The memory came back vividly recently when he was throwing out old newspapers kept for painting. One fell on the floor.
It contained a story, published in this column in November 2017, about Geoff and Maree Masters. Dean hadn’t come across the story until then.
The couple had shared their story about seeing a massive black triangle-shaped UFO from their Edgeworth front yard one night in the late 1990s.
Dean, who owns Vern’s Guitar Clinic at Wallsend, had a similar experience.
“It was 1999, around November. It was a hot, crystal clear night. You could see the stars. There was no breeze,” he said.
He was living on Grandview Road at New Lambton Heights on top of a ridge. That night, he was having a barbecue.
At about 11pm, he was outside talking to a mate about the forthcoming new year.
Suddenly, they could see “what appeared to be a fire, down low behind trees”.
They also thought it could be lightning.
“Then the orange light started to rise up. It rose above the eucalypt trees,” he said.
“We could see it coming towards us. I said, ‘we’re about to find out what this thing is’.
“We were absolutely stunned. I said ‘what the hell is that?’. This thing was coming towards us at no more than 25km/h.
“It was about 30 metres high, just above the tallest eucalyptus tree.
“As it approached us, the hairs on our neck and arms stood up. We were in deep shock. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”
A massive triangular-shaped craft flew above them.
“It was travelling so low, you could have thrown a rock and hit it. It was directly above our heads,” he said.
“As we stood underneath it, there was no doubt what it was. We knew straight away it was an alien craft from another planet. There’s nothing like that on our planet.
“I never thought I’d see a UFO in my life. It seemed to take a minute for the whole craft to pass over our house.”
Light from the craft shone on them and the house.
The pair screamed, “hello, hello”.
“We felt calm, like we weren’t in any danger. It was almost like it was being emitted from the ship somehow,” he said.
He said the UFO had five lights, including a massive orange light in its centre.
“It was kind of like the inside of an orange when you cut an orange in half,” he said.
The orange light itself, he said, was about “three quarters the size of a football field”.
The triangular craft was much bigger.
It appeared to be made of a substance that he likened to “black glass or titanium”.
“This thing was absolutely huge. It was 50 to 100 times the size of a 747,” he estimated.
“It was a massive ship. It seemed to float on air. There were no engines, no flames, no sound. It was completely silent. It was absolutely beautiful.
“It came from another world, an advanced world. We had the distinct impression that we and everything around us were being filmed. We didn’t know why, we just had that feeling.”
Black triangle UFOs have been sighted many times around the world.
A photo of a UFO spotted in Belgium.
In 1989 to 1990, for instance, this type of UFO was reported many times in Belgium. Witnesses claimed to see large black silent triangles.
“Two key factors that make the Belgian wave of sightings so interesting to UFO scholars and skeptics alike are the large number of police making reports and the Belgian government’s official interest in the sightings,” Michael Lauck reported.
Retired Belgian Major General Wilfried de Brouwer, who oversaw the investigation, said there were about 2000 reported sightings. In one case, two police officers spotted a triangular object with three spotlights illuminating the field over which it hovered. In its centre was a red flashing light.
Sceptics have suggested this type of UFO could be United States Air Force surveillance aircraft developed under “black operations”.
Dean Garner, citing his close encounter of the first kind, dismisses this suggestion. He can’t imagine a stealth military aircraft being as large as the one he saw. Nor can he comprehend why a military craft would want to fly low over Newcastle.