Australia has lost its X-Files, documents which detailed sightings of UFOs (unidentified flying objects) and alien encounters across the country collected over decades, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Australia's Department of Defense had been unable to locate the files despite a two-month search in response to a newspaper Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. FOI requests force government officials to release documents of public interest.
The paper had asked for any documents that mentioned sightings of UFOs or “extraterrestrial organisms” in Australia.
The request came after the British government released a dossier of thousands of documents relating to UFOs, the Telegraph reports.
The only file the Australian Defense Department could locate was a folder called: "Report on UFOs/Strange Occurrences and Phenomena in Woomera." According to Natalie Carpenter, FOI assistant director, Woomera is a military weapons testing range in the center of Australia's vast outback. The file reportedly contained "a sketchy series of sightings from around the country and overseas, including people living in towns near Woomera," in the state of South Australia, the SMH reports.
All other files had been lost or destroyed, which the paper said could fuel conspiracy theories about their disappearance.
UFO experts in Australia believe that the military shredded the documents. The Telegraph writes, quoting Bill Chalker, author of The Oz Files, who "said that in 2003 eight years-worth of documents relating to UFO sightings were destroyed — not to cover up a shocking discovery of alien life, but as part of department 'housekeeping.' "
“But it does seem strange that Australia would be destroying these files while England and America was putting theirs online and making them public,” he reportedly said.
Meanwhile, Australia’s military said it stopped taking reports of UFO sightings in late 2000, instead referring alien-hunters to the police.