• Indonesia’s largest UFO-centric community is BETA-UFO (‘BETA’ being short for Benda Terbang Aneh, the Indonesian translation of UFO). Established in 1997, BETA-UFO has more than 19,000 registered members on its Facebook group, with about one hundred actively involved in the community’s ongoing activities. BETA-UFO carries out discussion, research, investigation and public education on UFOs. The community’s website contains information about, among other things, UFO sightings around Indonesia. Anyone can report sightings through the Facebook and WhatsApp groups, but only selected testimonies are published on the website.
• “BETA-UFO keeps thinking critically, meaning we aren’t believers who ignore data and facts,” said Nur Agustinus, cofounder of the community organization. The community usually contacts people who report sightings and analyzes any pictures sent by possible witnesses. “If the analysis proves that, for example, it’s a light beam or flare ejected from the sun, we will tell them it isn’t a UFO. We have members from various government agencies, so it’s easy to check [facts].”
• Agustinu, who is today a psychologist in Surabaya, shared with The Jakarta Post how his ongoing passion for extraterrestrial phenomena began. As a high school student, he discovered astronomy and fell in love. “I liked observing the stars and moon with a telescope. My parents supported my hobby.” As he grew older, he devoured any articles and books about UFOs that he could find.
• Another senior BETA-UFO member, Anugerah Sentot Sudono or “Nugy”, has been fascinated by extraterrestrial phenomena since he was a child when his father let him watch a movie depicting a UFO and aliens. Nugy’s curiosity grew stronger when he lived in Paris in the 1980s. In 1990, Nugy was in Puncak, Bogor for a senior high school class farewell party. “I went to bed around 9 p.m., but was suddenly awakened at 12 a.m. Then I walked upstairs to the balcony. When I looked to the skies, I saw an oval object moving downward,” said the 48-year-old learning development manager. “My friends thought it was a comet. But I told them it wasn’t, because a comet has a tail and is not as bright as this object.” Nugy became a full-fledged believer.
• Nugy has had to endure the slings and arrows of skeptics. In February 2021, Nugy was interviewed for a YouTube channel. In the comments section, some said that Nugy was insane and a liar. He has even been accused of making up stories.
• In the 1960s, Jacob Salatun was a Vice Air Marshal in the Indonesian Air Force. He founded the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, wrote a pair of books on UFOs, and pioneered an Indonesian UFO Studies group – a precursor to BETA-UFO. Nugy says that in the 1950s, Salatun had documented proof of alien and UFO encounters. In one of his books, Jacob related the testimony of the head of a police station in Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara about an alien and UFO encounter the officer had experienced. That “testimony” was one of the many things that convinced Nugy that UFOs were not merely the imagination of just a few. “It’s hard for us to think this is all a mass hallucination,” said Nugy.
• Agustinus says that alien origins is a favorite topic that always gets strong traction from Facebook members. “Some say they may come from outside the Earth. There is also an assumption that they may have been living on Earth for a long time in unknown places, either in underground caves or on the seabed. US and Russian military officers have reported their encounters with unidentified submerged objects.” These types of theories get passed around on the BETA-UFO board.
• Leaked information on the impending US Congressional report on UFOs, however, indicates that no conclusive evidence has been found to suggest that UFOs are alien spaceships. Agustinus thinks that there are political agendas behind the disclosure.
• Nugy believes that if UFOs are considered a threat, the US military will go after more funding to prepare for this threat. Nugy never thought that the US report would reveal the existence of alien lifeforms. “In the end, if aliens are classified as a threat, the DoD would end up requesting a budget increase for the US Space Force,” he said.
“I liked observing the stars and moon with a telescope. My parents supported my hobby.”
Nur Agustinus, cofounder of Indonesia’s largest UFO-centric community, BETA-UFO, shared with The Jakarta Post how his ongoing passion for extraterrestrial phenomena began. As a high school student he discovered astronomy and fell in love. His parents found it positive and let the young Nur, now 55 years of age, have his fun.
As he grew older, he devoured any articles and books about UFOs he could get his hands on.
“In 1979, news about UFO sightings in New Zealand was published in major newspapers such as Sinar Harapan and Kompas. In the same year, many books on UFOs in Indonesian were published by [Bandung-based publisher] Tanadi Group,” recalled Nur, who is today a psychologist in Surabaya.
Another senior BETA-UFO member, Anugerah Sentot Sudono, who often goes by
Nugy, has been fascinated by extraterrestrial phenomena since he was a child, starting after his father let him watch a movie depicting a UFO and aliens.
Nugy’s curiosity grew stronger when he lived in Paris between 1984 and 1985. During his time there, Nugy read many books about UFOs. However, it wasn’t until an occurrence in 1990 at Puncak, Bogor, that Nugy truly fell for UFOs.
“I was there for a senior high school class farewell party. I went to bed around 9 p.m., but was suddenly awakened at 12 a.m. Then I walked upstairs to the balcony. When I looked to the skies, I saw an oval object moving downward,” recalled the 48-year-old learning development manager.
“My friends thought it was a comet. But I told them it wasn’t, because a comet has a tail and is not as bright as this object.”
Nugy became a full-fledged believer.
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Sources: Wulan Kusuma Wardhani
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