Tuesday, August 13, 2019

 

Manitoba Seminar on Ufology, 1981



The Manitoba Seminar on Ufology in 1981

Following the success of the Manitoba Conference on Ufology in 1980, during which UFO witness Val Johnson and other investigating policemen attended to talk about the Marshall County CE2 case of August 27, 1979, it was decided to hold a second national Canadian UFO conference.

So, on May 16, 1981, the Manitoba Seminar on Ufology was held in Winnipeg, with eight invited guests from across Canada, representing active UFO investigation and research, and local academics from various fields.


The title of the meeting was: Science and UFOs.

In advance of the meeting, a list of ten questions was proposed as a way to facilitate dialogue. The questions were:

Invited participants were:

Dave Haisell, UFO investigator and researcher
Guy Westcott, UFOROM
Vladimir Simosko, UFOROM advisor
Dr. Martin Clutton-Brock, astrophysicist
Dr. Richard Gordon, biologist
John Brent Musgrave, UFO investigator and researcher
Dr. Richard Bochonko, astronomer

The host and moderator was Chris Rutkowski of Ufology Research of Manitoba (UFOROM) (now Ufology Research).

The audio recording is, unfortunately, difficult to make out sometimes, but it documents what was cutting edge interdisciplinary UFO research and a willingness to approach the subject by the academic community in 1981, almost 40 years ago.



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Sunday, August 04, 2019

 

"I stumbled across something I wasn't supposed to see"


One of the most remarkable UFO cases on record is the Val Johnson incident of August 27, 1979. That morning, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson was on patrol in Marshall County, Minnesota, when his police car was apparently struck by a UFO. What makes the case extraordinary is that the "accident" was immediately investigated by the Marshall County police force and treated as a standard police report. What's more, the police car, as evidence of the incident, was never repaired and was impounded. It has been preserved and is still on public display today in a museum.




On March 16, 1980, Ufology Research convened the first Manitoba Conference on Ufology in Winnipeg, Canada. 

In the April 1980 issue of the Swamp Gas Journal, I noted:
A main issue under examination at the Manitoba Conference on Ufology on March 16, 1980, was the Val Johnson UFO incident which occurred on August 27, 1979. The case received wide publicity and has been noted in most ufozines (it was noted in SGJ #6), so it will not be repeated again here. Briefly, it involved the apparent impact of a US police vehicle with an unidentified flying object, near the town of Stephen, Minnesota, The incident was supported by various physical evidence in the form of dents, impact marks and broken glass.
Frankly, it is one of the most puzzling incidents in the history of ufology. This strong statement is partly because of the fact that the case involves a man who has been described as "the perfect witness." Val Johnson is a Deputy Sheriff in Marshall County, Minnesota, and is a trained observer as well as an experienced police officer. The physical evidence suggests that something very strange happened to him in the early morning on a lonely stretch of road near the Red River. The time sequence of events is very firmly established by both tape recorded and written logs of his actions that morning. The physical traces were examined and measurements were made immediately after the encounter by trained police investigators, and Johnson was taken to a hospital by ambulance directly from the site.
At MCU, the case was discussed and reviewed in detail by all participants, as presented by guests Val Johnson, Everett Doolittle and Greg Winskowski. Doolittle was the first individual to reach the site after Johnson radioed for help, and Winskowski conducted the initial police investigation.

Invited attendees with Val Johnson and other deputies in discussion at the first Manitoba Conference on Ufology.


Members of Ufology Research, including Guy Westcott and Chris Rutkowski, were among the first civilian investigators of Val Johnson's experience, since at that time there were few UFO investigators in the area and Winnipeg is only about two hours driving time away. This was a unique cross-border collaborative effort.

I wrote about this case several times, and summarized the conference proceedings in the special issue of the Swamp Gas Journal, later republished. Anticipating some interest in the discussion, I had used a small cassette tape recorder to capture some of the discussion. However, the tape recording had been thought lost during the intervening decades.

Amazingly, the tape surfaced only a few days ago, serendipitously just prior to the 40th anniversary of the incident. I managed to convert the fragile magnetic tape to a digital version, and we now have a playable record of about half an hour of the conversation with Val Johnson and a select few conference attendees.

Towards the end of the recording, Val Johnson is asked about what he saw, he replied: "I think I stumbled across something I wasn't supposed to see."

He refused to speculate about the UFO he encountered being an alien spacecraft.

Jack Webb would have liked him: "Just the facts, ma'am."

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Thursday, August 01, 2019

 

"Lost" audio recording of Hynek found and restored


It was a bitterly cold, February night in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. That morning, the temperature had hovered near -30C (colder than -20F), and there was a bus strike.

Despite this, on Friday, February 6, 1976, Dr. J. Allen Hynek gave two lectures at the University of Manitoba as part of its Festival of Life and Learning. (Other invited presenters during the Festival included sound poet Ken Feit and vaudeville legend Mandrake the Magician.) Both of Hynek's talks were to packed houses.




A review of Hynek's afternoon lecture, published in the University of Manitoba student newspaper, The Manitoban

I was taking courses in the astronomy department at the time, and I had started investigating UFO reports several months earlier, having been given contact info for witnesses who called the department with their sighting details. I was young, impressionable, and willing to do anything to get on the good side of my professors, who couldn't be bothered with such nonsense as UFOs.

At that time, Hynek was the guy. He seemed to always be on TV talking about UFOs, and yet had such a solid astronomical background that one of his textbooks was required reading in my courses.




Apparently, in 1977 when I met Allen at a science education conference, I had lot of dark hair.

I had been invited to meet with Hynek privately before and after his afternoon lecture, and listened as several university academics professed their desire to help him in his UFO research. This was the early stages of the creation of the Manitoba Centre for UFO Studies, the first satellite group for Hynek's Center in the USA. MCUFOS never really got off the ground (pun intended) because none of the academics wanted to venture into the field to investigate reports, and preferred offering their scientific opinions.

However, MCUFOS did spin off Ufology Research of Manitoba, which I created after watching MCUFOS flounder for a few years. The good news is that I continued to meet with some of the university scholars in a true "Invisible College," drawing on their expertise and assistance in my research and investigation. A few physicists helped me analyze the radioactive Falcon Lake artefacts, for example, and a psychologist worked with me on experiments on belief and dissociation, and later a clinical psychologist worked with me on abductee cases.

Allen kept in contact with me from then on until his death. Every time he visited Winnipeg, he made a point of meeting with me to discuss UFOs. He even napped in my home to recharge between talks and media interviews. 




Dr. J. Allen Hynek in my living room, about 1977

In 1979, I spent time with him and his family at a remote lodge in Manitoba that was on the centre line of the 1979 solar eclipse, where he proudly showed off his stereo camera.




Allen and Mimi at Hecla Island for the 1979 solar eclipse




The Hynek clan having dinner with us at Hecla Island in 1979

I recalled using a Radio Shack tape recorder to record his evening talk, but I had completely forgotten about it until I was looking for some other recordings and discovered it in a dusty box in my basement. After several moves, I was surprised it still existed.

I then had to figure out how to play and convert the aged magnetic tape to a digital format. Through trial and error, using borrowed equipment (thanks, Vicki), and with advice from Isaac Koi and Curt Collins, I was able to make the transfer. There's a bad hum throughout the recording, and the audience microphones were not working well, but we have a fairly decent recording of Hynek's evening presentation, linked here for your listening pleasure.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

 

Aliens versus Ghosts in a Half-Court Press


There are a lot of people excited about Area 51 these days. At last count, there could be as many as two million people who claim on social media that they will "Storm Area 51."

My guess is that it will be a drizzle.

MJ Banias and I talked about this recently, and discussed the possibility that instead of a mass protest at the gates, it might turn into another Woodstock or Burning Man event, celebrating everything UFO-ish in Nevada.

My personal preference, however, would be for a revival of the Great American Pastime: a baseball game.

You see, forgotten among the Area 51 brouhaha is the fact that in 2001 (appropriately), the farm team for the San Diego Padres moved to Las Vegas, beginning an affiliation with the LA Dodgers. Because of the new location, a new branding was required, and someone thought of incorporating the new team with the local UFO stories.

The Las Vegas 51s became the new AAA farm team, with an alien as its logo and a mascot named Cosmo.





Of course Cosmo looked like Jar Jar Binks. What did you expect?

Nevertheless, I supported the team as best I could.



In 2009, they became the farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays, where I first learned about them. They even made it to the Division Final one year. In 2013, they were bounced to the Mets after a deal with no less than Howard Hughes Corporation. But in 2019, they were rebranded once again as a farm team for the Oakland A's and became the Aviators, somewhat more down-to-earth.

So, alas, there is currently no pro or AAA sports team near Area 51.

However, there is hope.

In 2017, actor.rapper Ice Cube spearheaded the creation of BIG3, a new, half-court basketball league that would feature some of the best players from the NBA. None of the twelve teams would have a "home court" as such, but would play in venues across the USA. The closest they would play to vegas would be in Utah, although the championship game is in Los Angeles.

Why is this relevant? Because one of team is named the Aliens



With Coach Nate Archibald (Celtics star guard) and Center Andre Owens, formerly with the Jazz and Pacers, the aliens are unfortunately not doing well in the league. In fact, they are just below another team, the Ghost Ballers, in the standings. 



Nevertheless, on July 21, 2019, the Aliens beat the Ghost Ballers 51-35 playing in Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

[Aside: Maybe there should be an all-Fortean sports league.]

So my suggestion is simple: more alien and UFO-themed sports teams. 

It can only help the Disclosure Movement. After all, if millions of sports fans can get turned on to aliens and UFOs, that will do more than all the short and inaccurate news segments on mainstream TV news programs.

You're welcome.

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A ufological first: a disc-shaped UFO over over Canada, with an interesting twist


I usually don't look through the current year's UFO reports in great detail until after December, when I begin the arduous process of sorting, coding, and entering the data into the Canadian UFO Survey database. Sometimes, as a case comes to my attention, and it seems to need further study or examination, I pull it out and act on it accordingly.

Since most UFO reports aren't like that, it's not something that happens very often. And especially when a case obviously has a simple explanation, like a "green orb" photo by someone taking a picture towards the Sun, or a starlike light high in the sky that turns out to be, well, a star.

So when I saw an entry in UFO Stalker about a recent report from northern Quebec, it didn't immediately strike me as all that interesting. 

It's case number 101921 in the MUFON listing.

On July 10, 2019, at about 11:30 pm local time, a witness was traveling by plane from Los Angeles to the UK, flying high over Canada on a standard great circle route. According to his calculations, he was over the general area of Killiniq Island at the tip of Labrador. (It's actually part of Nunavut.) He happened to look out his cabin window and saw a dark circular object somewhat below the plane and some distance away. He lost sight of it and then saw a second object he thought:

looked like a flying saucer with a dome shape in the middle of the craft. silver in color it stood out against the white of the cloud cover behind it. the saucer was just sitting there not moving. there were no lights on it, no markings. it just hovered there as we passed by. 



He grabbed his phone and began taking a video:

i was able to get video but the turbulence of the aircraft made it a tad difficult to focus and the camera zoom isn't the greatest. my eyes on it confirmed it was there. regardless of the video i saw it and would testify it was a flying saucer hovering there with other one at roughly the same altitude but further from our plane. they were both just hovering there, no movement, no lights.

By itself, the photo does indeed appear to show a disc-shaped object, but it's impossible to judge its distance or size.

However, the video provided by the witness is much more revealing. When the camera zooms out so we can see the entire cabin window, we can also see the horizon, and realize that the disc-shaped object is much lower than the plane.

In fact, it's on the ocean.



This was indeed a first for me: a UFO that can be explained as... an iceberg.



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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

 

Happy World UFO Day!



Happy World UFO Day!

July 2 has been designated World UFO Day. It commemorates the date in 1947 when a flying saucer was said to have crashed near Roswell, New Mexico.

Canadians from coast to coast can celebrate World UFO Day by visiting some UFO-related points of interest either in person or online!


Visit the Shag Harbour UFO Museum in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia
On October 4, 1967, many witnesses, including RCMP, saw a bright object fall into the ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. The case, often called “Canada’s Roswell,” is supported by actual government and military documents from the National Archives that detail the official investigation and efforts to recover whatever it might have been. Local residents even commemorate the incident with an annual UFO Festival, and there’s a nearby museum and a sign at a park along the highway near where it happened.


Have a swim in the rooftop pool at Place Bonaventure in Montreal, Quebec
On November 7, 1990, at 7:20 pm, several people enjoying a swim in the rooftop pool of Place Bonaventure saw an object hovering over the hotel, seeming emanating green and yellow beams of light. It stayed over the hotel for over an hour, during which time many more people observed it, including the Montreal Chief of Police and a newspaper reporter arrived to observe and photograph it.


Ride on horseback to a UFO landing site at Falcon Lake, Manitoba
On May 20, 1967, Stefan Michalak was doing some amateur prospecting north of Falcon Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park. He encountered a flying saucer that seemed to land on a rock outcropping near him. He walked up to it and was burned by its exhaust when it took off. The case was investigated by the RCMP, Canadian Forces and even the United States Air Force, which considered it “Unexplained.” Today, you can get a t-shirt commemorating the event in Falcon Lake, and the local riding stable offers guided “UFO Rides” to the site where it occurred.


Visit the St. Paul UFO Landing Pad and Museum in St. Paul, Alberta
“The World’s First UFO Landing Pad” was built in 1967 as a Canadian Centennial Project. In the 1990s, the saucer-shaped platform had fallen into disrepair (from apparent lack of use) and was restored. Later, a UFO museum added as well and a UFO conference was held there a few times. Queen Elizabeth visited the pad in 1978, and Mother Theresa herself visited it in 1982.


Enjoy a rest stop at Eve River, BC
On October 8, 1981, Hannah McRoberts and her family were driving from Campbell River, BC, to visit relatives in Holberg, on the northwest tip of Vancouver Island. They had stopped at Eve River, a Provincial rest area, at about 11:00 am, and were admiring the scenery when their attention was drawn to an odd cloud surrounding a mountain peak. Roberts took a photo of the peak and thought nothing of it until she had the film developed some time later and noticed on the photo a metallic saucer-shaped object over the mountain. The photo was analysed by several experts who did not have an explanation.

And above all (pun intended), have a Happy World UFO Day!


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Friday, June 28, 2019

 

How About a Weird Canadian Vacation This Year?

Tired of the same old, same old places to drag the kids this summer for the family vacation? How about something a bit different? 

How about a Weird Canadian Vacation?

Canada is home to all kinds of strange and remarkable places with offbeat histories and traditions. There are many hotels, halls, and other buildings that are said to be haunted, many lakes that some residents and tourists swear are home to Canuck versions of the Loch Ness Monster, rugged areas and forests where hikers have claimed to have seen Sasquatch, and locations where UFOs were observed to land.

Why not travel to visit places and monuments that are out of the ordinary this year?

The following list is by no means complete or exhaustive, but only highlights a few unusual places from coast to coast that you might consider taking in.



Shag Harbour UFO Crash
Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia
In October 1967, many witnesses, including RCMP, saw a bright object fall into the ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. The case, often called “Canada’s Roswell,” is supported by actual government and military documents from the National Archives that detail the official investigation and efforts to recover whatever it might have been. Local residents even commemorate the incident with an annual UFO Festival, and there’s a sign at a park along the highway near where it happened.

Haunted Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
Toronto Islands, Ontario
During the War of 1812, lighthouse keeper John Paul Radelmuller was murdered by soldiers from nearby Fort York and his body dismembered, the parts buried around the lighthouse. His ghost is said to haunt the area. A coffin was found in 1893, with only a jawbone inside it.


Ogopogo
Kelowna, BC
Lake Okanagan in the BC Interior is said to be home to Ogopogo, Canada’s version of the Loch Ness Monster. For many decades, tourists and residents have claimed to have seen an eel- or serpent-like creature swimming across the lake. There’s even a statue of Ogopogo along the Kelowna waterfront.

Haunted Craigdarroch Castle
Victoria, BC
Built in the 1890s for coal baron Robert Dunsmuir who died before it was completed, this Victorian mansion has a reputation for being haunted. Visitors have said they have seen and heard a piano playing by itself, while others have seen a spectral woman in white standing in the ballroom.  

Falcon Lake UFO
Falcon Lake, Manitoba
In May 1967, Stefan Michalak was doing some amateur prospecting north of Falcon Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park. He encountered a flying saucer that seemed to land on a rock outcropping near him. He walked up to it and was burned by its exhaust when it took off. The case was investigated by the RCMP, Canadian Forces and even the United States Air Force, which considered it “Unexplained.” Today, you can get a t-shirt commemorating the event in Falcon Lake, and the local riding stable offers guided “UFO Rides” to the site where it occurred.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel Ghost
Banff, Alberta
Built in 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel is a majestic building that is host to many classic ghost stories. These include the story of an entire family murdered in room 873 (which has been bricked up and never entered again), a bride who fell down the hotel’s stairs and is haunting it ever since, and the ghost of a retired bellman Sam McAuley who has been helping guests with their luggage long after his death.


St. Paul UFO Landing Pad
St. Paul, Alberta
“The World’s First UFO Landing Pad” was built in 1967 as a Canadian Centennial Project. In the 1990s, the saucer-shaped platform had fallen into disrepair (from apparent lack of use) and was restored. Later, a UFO museum added as well and a UFO conference was held there a few times. Queen Elizabeth visited the pad in 1978, and Mother Theresa herself visited it in 1982.

Haunted West Point Lighthouse
O’Leary, P.E.I.
Mysterious lights have been reported in windows of rooms in the West Point Lighthouse in O’Leary. The story is that its first keeper, Lighthouse Willie, haunts both the lighthouse and the West Point Lighthouse Inn next door.

The Old Spaghetti Factory Ghost
Vancouver, BC
The ghost of a tram conductor is said to haunt this restaurant built over an underground railway. As well, patrons and employeess have reported feeling cold drafts, seeing spectral figures, and hearing their names called out by disembodied voices.

Sasquatch Museum
Harrison Hot Springs, BC
The Sasquatch Museum is located at the Harrison Visitor Information Center at the corner of Hot Springs Road and Walnut. Hours vary by season and the Sasquatch Museum will be open during Visitor Center Hours.

Haunted Cathedral of The Holy Trinity
Quebec City, Quebec
According to some stories, in the early 1800s, the cathedral was built over top of the body of a woman buried alive during a cholera epidemic. Another story is that a nun had a baby and buried it under the church, but now her ghost and that of the child are restless spirits. Some people report hearing the organ play by itself.


Screaming Tunnel
Niagara Falls, Ontario
According to legend, the tunnel is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who escaped a nearby burning building with her clothing on fire and succumbed inside the tunnel. Another version of the tale is that the girl was set on fire by her angry father after he lost custody of her following a messy divorce. Yet another tale has her being raped inside the tunnel and her body burned to destroy evidence. The screams people claim to hear are, of course, the girl calling for help and crying in pain while ablaze.

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