Monday, July 18, 2016


The danger of UFO fandom

UFO fans can be a danger to society.

Okay, I said it.

I won't go as far as to endorse Philip Klass' book UFOs: A Dangerous Game, but I will say that in some circumstances, ardent UFO buffs can be a serious problem.

I received another message overnight from a rather uncritical UFO fan. I've heard from him before; he sees UFOs (READ: lights moving in the sky) fairly often and sends me his notes on observations. He's shown uncompromisingly poor judgement in his pursuit. He sees dozens of UFOs nearly every time he goes out skywatching, often in the middle of a populated area with many lights and with significant light pollution, and usually near flight paths leading towards airports. In addition, he sometimes sends me links to Beforeitsnews and some other hoax sites raving about how great they are.
In general, I didn't really think this kind of UFO fan caused any serious problems. They're annoying, but tolerable. And a bit embarrassing to serious ufology. 
But last night's message gave me concern.
He noted:
"Friday night was a goodnight for U.F.O hunting. From 11pm to 3am i saw 2 U.F.O's They had red and white lights on the corners shaped like a triangle or a boomerang object i could see it in my binoculars. The 1st one came straight down on the right side over the farmers yard light. Than it hovered slowly left over the trees. When i signaled it with the lazor pointer and the flash light it signaled me back with a brighter white light. Those 2 U.F.O's came back and forth over the hrs I was watching them. A perfect night in Tyndall for U.F.O hunting calm, clear and no wind out."
Yes, that's right. He's using a "lazor" pointer to shine at the UFOs he's seeing... which are obviously aircraft! So now, he's endangering human life!
What do we do? He will not believe me that it's an aircraft. he's convinced everything he sees is an alien ship.
He's not the first one, of course.
Brilliant ufological historian Isaac Koi pointed out to me that in 2011, a UFO fan got into legal trouble for doing this same thing, shining a laser pen at a police helicopter because he thought it was a UFO:
... although he got off easy:
UFO fans get their ideas to do this from several pro-contact writers and groups. Stu Hanberry noted that Greer's Sirius CSETI campouts include instructions for participants that note:
A good pair of binoculars is useful for viewing aerial or otherwise distant phenomena, and a laser pointer is helpful both for signaling and for pointing out objects when working in a group although should use should be minimized.
So what should dedicated ufological researchers do with such individuals? Most will not accept the possibility they have been only observing aircraft. The lights seen by Greer on a CSETI expedition to Florida several years ago (and which were likely a Search-and-Rescue operation) have been held up as definite contact with aliens by his adherents.

And the fellow who contacted me has never been swayed by my suggesting his many UFO sightings were not of alien spacecraft.

If only those aliens would stop disguising their saucers as terrestrial aircraft.


Wednesday, July 06, 2016


Official UFO reports, and all that

Recently, a lot of media and net attention was given to an announcement that classified UFO documents relating to objects tracked by NORAD had been obtained by a Canadian researcher at great personal risk. This was heralded and hyped as quite the breakthrough, showing that the government and military are deeply concerned about UFOs and alien spacecraft, and that this is proof that Disclosure must be demanded by concerned citizens, especially UFO fans. Courageous! Amazing! Fantastic!

Except that the documents in question have been available online for years. Even I have some copies that I've had for awhile. 

But Paul Dean, who is an expert on NORAD with respect to UFOs and uncorrelated targets, has extensively studied and written about NORAD and UFOs, including those documents, plus a rasher of others. He has a multi-part series of posts about this, starting in 2015:

Dean includes copies of official Canadian documents where NORAD was involved with UFO sightings.

... and his study of NORAD files about UFOs over Malmstrom AF Base in Montana:

And Dean details how NORAD investigates UFOs:

... and he's continuing his research, with more to come.

In addition, Palmiro Campagna, whose book The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed describes government and military involvement in the subject, also features the NORAD documentation.

On a MUFON website, Campagna noted on 6/28/2016 17:03:38:
"Many of the older documents shown, including the blurred out one were published or discussed in my book The UFO Files: The Canadian Connection Exposed, published back in 1997 and republished in 2010. In fact in the blurred out document you can still make out my caption as it is a straight photocopy from my book."

In other words, the documents were nothing new to dedicated UFO researchers, but they were astonishing to newcomers to the field. That doesn't excuse longtime researchers who were present at the time of the public announcement, however, who probably should have spoken up.

At any rate, I thought I would add to the hoopla by posting some hitherto unpublished NORAD documents relating to UFOs.

First, a UFO report from the year 2000, through NORAD:

In addition, here's another UFO case from 2000, from the files:

And in this instance, the military air traffic controllers saw the object but were unable to determine what it was.

I'm not suggesting these were spacecraft or anything otherworldly. I'm simply showing that there are other documents of this nature.

It's unlikely that I or Campagna or Dean will be given medals for this work.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Top 10 Canadian Vacation Spots for UFO Buffs

Top 10 Canadian Vacation Spots for UFO Buffs

If you’re looking for something a bit different for your vacation this summer―and someone in your family is really into UFOs―you should consider visiting places in Canada that some believe attract otherworldly tourists, too.

Bored with the usual touristy venues? Tired of packed, noisy beaches and stifling amusement parks? From places to hang out and watch for mysterious lights to horseback trail rides to where a UFO was seen to land, these are some of Canada's best must-see places to visit by anyone keen on aliens and UFOs.

Shag Harbour UFO Crash Site
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. There’s even a sign along the highway near where what happened.

A new sign has recently been put up near the site:

Scugog Island Ghost Light
Near Port Perry, Ontario
Whether a mysterious light is called a UFO or a ghost is a matter of perspective and the opinion of whomever is seeing it. Recurring mystery lights are often called spook lights or ghost lights. Most have background stories about unfortunate individuals’ tragic deaths (sometimes decapitations) that result in their ghosts haunting where accidents occurred. Witnesses say that the lights appear in the distance then somehow zoom towards them, only to vanish suddenly. This light northeast of Toronto has a long history, and even has been investigated by Toronto ghosthunters. (It’s actually on a peninsula, not an island.) With a classic tragic origin story, one writer noted: “the 'ghostlight' appears as one solid light with the naked eye as well as through optical devices such as telescopes, binoculars, etc. Occasionally it appears as if more than one light is merging together to result in a larger light that pulses.”

Moonbeam, Ontario
120 kilometres north of Timmins, along Highway 11, and about 20 kilometres east of Kapuskasing.
The town of Moonbeam got its name from stories by pioneers who saw flashing lights falling from the sky, which they called “moonbeams.” The town has embraced its spatial origin, even erecting a huge flying saucer along the highway as a tourist attraction. About 10 years ago, development of nearby hiking trails included signage with green-skinned aliens guiding the way.

Neebing Spooklight
40 kilometres south of Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Highway 61
Several locations near Thunder Bay have spook light stories. These are more like UFO sightings in the sense there are no tragic deaths or events associated with them, but are more simply lights that seem to appear and disappear while flitting about treetops. Some witnesses describe them as UFOs rather than ghosts.

Falcon Lake UFO Incident
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 which 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.

Woodridge Spooklight
Woodridge, Manitoba
This spooklight also has an origin story involving a decapitation. The light is said to be a lantern carried by a headless ghost looking for its missing head along the railroad tracks south of town.
The light has been investigated by researchers, even some from the University of Toronto.

St. Louis Spook Light
30 kilometres south of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
The light appears near the old railroad tracks about eight kilometres north of St. Louis. The gravel road that leads to the location is unmarked and hard to find. Best bet: Go to St. Louis, and ask someone. According to the CBC: “…one night in the 1920s, a CNR engineer was checking the tracks near St. Louis, Sask., when he was hit by a train ... and decapitated. Since then, there have been numerous sightings of a mysterious light which some claim comes from a phantom train or lantern.”

Tabor Light
17 miles NE of Esterhazy, SK
The spooklight with probably the richest history is that of the Tabor Light in Saskatchewan. It is more of a true “ghost light,” as it appears usually near the Tabor Cemetery, near the village of Yarbo (Tabor is completely gone today.). There’s even a geocache that directs you there, if you can find it. In the 1930s, dozens of people attested to seeing a light hovering over the tombstones and adjacent field.

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, with a UFO museum added as well. A UFO conference was held there a few times, and there are plans for a 50th anniversary celebration in 2017. Queen Elizabeth visited the pad in 1978, and Mother Theresa herself visited it in 1982.

Keats Island “Nest of UFOs”
Keats Island, BC
A cross between a recurring spooklight and a repetitive series of UFO sightings, Keats Island is northwest of Vancouver across the bay from Gibsons. In 1967, there were so many strange UFO sightings reported there, the island was considered a “UFO nest.”


Wednesday, June 01, 2016


Crash go the UFOs... onto Canada!

Crash Go the UFOs… in Canada

When one hears the phrase “UFO Crash,” the incident most people think of is what is said to have happened near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. However, despite some possibly associated UFO reports from June and July 1947, all that is known for sure about Roswell is that some physical material was found and recovered by US military officials in early July 1947.
Roswell is only one of hundreds of claimed UFO crashes that some UFO buffs insist are proof that aliens have been visiting Earth, but having misfortunate accidents when they arrive. In fact, the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (CSETI) lists almost 300 cases suggestive of UFO crashes on Earth. (
Even more interesting is that Canada seems to be a place where UFOs have particular difficulty. (CSETI lists five UFO crash sites in Canada, although most have no basis in fact.)
Historically, there are more than a dozen well-witnessed and well-documented examples of odd or unexpected objects apparently descending from the sky and landing or “crashing” on Canadian soil. Some of these cases are supported by publicly-available documents from Canada’s National Archives, others through historical records and others as noted in the files of scientific institutions. This is not arm-waving speculation about aliens visiting Earth; these are actual anomalies involving odd objects falling to Earth, observed by witnesses. Most have simple, prosaic explanations, although some have been celebrated by hardcore believers in alien visitation as “the real thing.” At least one of these cases is being promoted by some UFO advocates as proof that the Canadian government is hiding the “truth” about aliens and UFOs from Canadians and that “UFO Found” is an admission of cover-up.

The following is an annotated list of these cases, with an added indication of: Explained; Probable Explanation; Insufficient Information for an Explanation; or Unexplained.

Thicket Portage, Manitoba
The oldest account of an odd object over Manitoba took place in the fall of 1792. Explorers David Thompson and Andrew Davy were camped on the shore of Landing Lake, near what is now Thicket Portage. In Thompson’s diary, he recorded that one night he and his companion were surprised by the appearance of a brilliant “meteor of globular form... larger than the Moon.” This object seemed to move directly towards them, descending slightly, and “when within three hundred yards of us, it struck the River ice with a sound like a mass of jelly, was dashed in innumerable luminous pieces and instantly expired.” Thompson noted that the next morning, when they went to see the hole it should have made in the ice, they could not find any sign of the object’s apparent impact on the Earth.
[page 118]
Probable Explanation: Fireball

March 15, 1960
A U-2 spy plane made a forced landing on Wapawekka Lake in northern Saskatchewan.

Few people know that there was another U-2 “incident” other than the more famous one of Francis Gary Powers. It's a good thing that Flin Flon was more friendly than Russia. As far as we know, no one saw the U-2 make the emergency landing in Saskatchewan, which might have resulted in a UFO report. RCMP from Flin Flon, Manitoba, were called out to the site of the forced landing to assist the American pilot.
In 2014, the CIA released a 1998 report that claimed its U2 experimental flights were responsible for many UFO reports.
Newsweek noted at the time:

Through the program, the CIA secretly flew U-2 spy planes at altitudes of 60,000 feet above target countries, like the Soviet Union. At the time, most commercial flights flew between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, and military aircrafts flew below 40,000 feet. Most people thought man couldn’t reach such heights and assumed alien life was behind the mysterious objects in the sky… “Consequently, once U-2s started flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet, air-traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports,” the document reads.

Explained: Aircraft

June 22, 1960
An object was seen to fall into Clan Lake, Northwest Territories.
On June 22, 1960, an airplane dropped a hunter off at Clan Lake. About 20 minutes after the plane left, the man reported hearing a loud noise similar to an airplane. As the noise grew louder, he looked to the sky, but saw nothing. Seconds later, however, an object fell from the sky and crashed into the water. When it hit the surface, the object began to rotate, causing a spray of water around it. There was no steam to indicate that the object was hot. According to the witness, the object was approximately 4 to 6 feet wide, with spokes coming out of it like arms. As it began to slow down, a rush of water met the campers on the shore. Finally, the object sank.

The RCMP officer who met the witness recalled in 2010 that he was a reliable and trustworthy individual, not prone to exaggeration and well-liked in the community. If it was a meteorite under the water of significant size, you'd think the scientists would want to recover it.

October 4, 1967
A bright object was seen by several witnesses to fall into Shag Harbour, off the coast of Nova Scotia.
Sometimes called “Canada's Roswell,” this classic case is actually a bit better than Roswell because a number of official documents have been located suggesting something really happened, unlike Roswell. It began in the early evening of October 4, 1967. People all around Quebec and the Maritimes reported UFOs, including pilots of an Air Canada DC-8 who saw a large, brightly lit rectangular object estimated to be flying at around 12,000 feet, flying in a parallel flight path. 
Around 9:00pm ADT, the captain and crew of a fishing vessel near Sambro, Nova Scotia saw several red lights over the water and said their onship radar also detected the objects. The RCMP, communicating with the Captain via the Canadian Coast Guard, was curious enough about the event to request the Captain file a report when he returned to port.
            Chris Styles, (one of the principal investigators of the Shag Harbour incident), himself saw something strange in Halifax Harbour. It was a disc-shaped object, glowing orange, drifting up the harbour. After running closer to the object, Styles could see it was a roughly fifty-foot diameter sized orange ball, moving slowly over the water. No sound could be heard.
Then, around 11:30 pm, five witnesses observed an object descending at a moderate pace over Shag Harbour. With a swishing sound, the object fell out of the witness's sight, seemingly crashing into the harbour. Moving to the harbour to see what happened, the witnesses could see an object floating in the water, about 200 feet from the shore.

Thinking the object might be a crashed plane, the youths phoned the RCMP and the local detachment dispatched a car to the scene. The local police also contacted the Halifax station, the headquarters for the surrounding area, and in turn, Halifax contacted RCMP national headquarters in Ottawa. Ottawa then filed a UFO report with the Canadian Forces, who, suspecting a downed plane, contacted the Rescue Coordination Centre back in Halifax.
            Meanwhile in Shag Harbour, the local RCMP began to think of ways to reach the object, whatever it was. Three RCMP officers were at the scene, including one who had himself observed a bright object moving over the mainland. For several minutes the officers were able to see a strange yellow light off the shore, and through binoculars were able to see what appeared to be yellow foam around the light. The police roused some local fishermen from sleep and the Mounties secured some boats for a water rescue. Unfortunately, the object by this time seemed to have sunk beneath the surface of the ocean.
            Nevertheless, the boats traveled out to where the object was last seen. While the would-be rescuers didn't find the object or any occupants, they did the thick yellow foam floating on top of the surface where the object had apparently gone down. The foam was estimated to be around three inches thick, 80 feet wide and a half-mile in length. Bubbles could be seen continually coming to the surface and the smell of sulfur was present in the air. By 12:30am, the Canadian Coast Guard arrived on the scene and they helped in the search, but by 4:00am, the search was called off for the night.
            The search was restarted again the next morning, this time with the help of a dive team.  As many as seven scuba divers searched the depths of the harbour in hope of finding the object that fell from the sky.
            Even the military seemed puzzled as to what could have crashed into the water. In a memorandum dated October 6, 1967, it was indicated that: “The Rescue Coordination Centre conducted preliminary investigation and discounted the possibilities that the sighting was produced by an aircraft, flares, floats, or any other known objects.”
            The search continued through to Monday, when it was finally called off. Nothing was ever found, but rumors circulated that something, or at least pieces of something, were recovered and sent to a naval base in Dartmouth. One witness insisted he saw divers pulling shiny metal material out of the water.
Officially, nothing was recovered from the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia in the search for what crashed back in October of 1967.  The Condon Committee (a U.S. Air Force sponsored investigation that was carried out by the University of Colorado), examined the case (Case #34 in its report). After a brief review of events, the report concluded the case by indicating:  “No further investigation by the project was considered justifiable, particularly in view of the immediate and thorough search that had been carried out by the RCMP and the Maritime Command.” No explanation for the sightings was even attempted by the Committee.

October 17, 1968
Fragments of a "space vehicle" found near Wollaston Lake in Saskatchewan were transported to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. One of the pages of RCMP documents about the incident is titled: “U.F.O. Found in Northern Saskatchewan.”
There are dozens of pages of documents online about this mysterious chunk of space hardware, describing the investigation by the RCMP and NRC. This is the most-cited document:

Although this one is perhaps the most telling, noting the results of the analysis, that it is 99% pure titanium like from a space vehicle, and is “the largest piece from a satellite that has ever landed on Earth” (at that time).

Explained: Satellite

January 24, 1978
Cosmos 954 crashes into northern Canada, mostly near Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories but also, of course, Saskatchewan.
This radioactive Russian spacecraft was seen to fragment and fall over a very wide area in the largely uninhabited Canadian north. Radioactive debris was painstakingly tracked, located and taken to the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment in Pinawa, Manitoba, for examination. Aboriginal people throughout the area were given medical examinations and tested for radioactive contamination.
Explained: Satellite

April 2, 1978
Bell Island Boom, NF
On April 2, 1978, a loud explosion on Bell Island caused physical damage to some houses and the electrical wiring in others in the surrounding area. Two cup-shaped holes about two feet deep and three feet wide marked a major impact on the ground. A number of TV sets in Lance Cove, the surrounding community, exploded at the time of the blast, which was initially thought to be caused by ball lightning. At the time, meteorologists said that atmospheric conditions at the time were not conducive to lightning. The boom was heard 55 kilometers away in Cape Broyle, although the impact occurred in the Bickfordville area, on the southwestern side of the island.
The incident was investigated by John Warren and Robert Freyman from Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, in New Mexico. It had been speculated that, due to their place of work, that they were investigating a secret weapons test and were military attachés. However, they had been studying data received from the Vela satellites, investigating a “superbolt” - an unusually large bolt of lightning, lasting an unusually long time: about a thousandth of a second.
Probable Explanation: Natural Phenomenon?

August 22, 1990
Ebenezer’s UFO, PEI
At 7:00 pm, Walter Benoit of Bellefond, New Brunswick, saw a “very bright object, 4 to 5 feet long,” and “clear in colour.” He reported it to the RCMP, who sent the report to the NRC. The NRC numbered the case N90/66 in its Non-Meteoritic Sightings File.
At 7:15 pm, Carmelle Morrissey was in Morristown, Nova Scotia, Canada, and happened to look up into the early evening sky. Morrissey saw a “very bright, circular object” moving in the sky for an estimated four to five minutes. The sighting was reported to CFB Greenwood, and the BOC (Base Commander) filed the report with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). In turn, DND sent a note about the sighting to the NRC, which filed it as case N90/61. Copies of the report were sent to an alphabet soup of official acronyms: RCCPJAC NDOC OTTAWA, RCWBOCA, ACOC WINNIPEG, RUWOKDB NORAD COC CHEYENNE MTN COMPLEX, DOFO, RCCBNVA FGCANCHQ NORTH BAY, SSO, NT, CCCEON, NRCOTT OTTAWA “METEOR CENTRE”
Shortly thereafter, three more objects were reported to the NRC, all involving UFOs with long tails and identified as meteors by the NRC as cases N90/62, N90/63, and N90/64.
Meanwhile, something odd was happening in Prince Edward Island.
According to N90/65, from 222350Z to 230115Z (7:50 pm to 9:15 pm), Shirley Yeo of Ebenezer, PEI, was “eyewitness to [a] glowing white object which landed in woods.” She and all her family watched the strange object, which they described as “like an ice cream cone.” Remarkably, once it “landed,” the object was reported as “still glowing at 0300Z,” two hours later. Helen Gallant, who lived with the Yeo family, said: “I saw it through the trees. It looked like a great big round ball of light through the trees.”
While the glow was still visible, witnesses watched as military helicopters and aircraft arrived and began circling the area. Although there is a civilian airport at Charlottetown, 12 km southeast of Ebenezer, and a military base at Summerside, 45 km southwest, witnesses were puzzled by the appearance of the aircraft because such activity seemed unnecessary if the UFO was really only a meteor.
Charlottetown RCMP confirmed that they had received more than a dozen calls about the Ebenezer object and had sent two constables to investigate. They noted that one officer “could see it in the distance, but then he just lost sight of it.” Meanwhile, Alexander Davis of Frenchvale, Cape Breton (Nova Scotia), “saw [a] red-hot sheet of metal land 300 yards from him in woods.” It was noted that “he swears he knows exactly where it can be found.” At the time the NRC report was filed, the RCMP was planning to question him the next morning.
NRC case N90/65 comments about the large number of reports that night, noting that the “phenomena [was] seen from Anticosti Island to Halifax, and from Newfoundland to Maine.” Furthermore, “all colours of flares [were] reported as well as fireballs, flaming aircraft and burning boats,” and reports were received over a period of 90 minutes. One note recorded that “RCMP detatchments in [the] Maritimes have reported location of debris.”
Spurred by the possibility that the object was in fact a meteor which may have fallen, a group of 30 amateur astronomers with the Charlottetown Astronomy Club searched the area the next morning, but found nothing of interest.
Clive Perry, president of the club, was doubtful the UFO had been a meteor. “I wouldn't think it would be a meteorite when it glowed so long,” he said. “It pretty well had to be space junk or parts of a satellite. That's about the only thing that could have come down unless you want to talk about little green men with buggy eyes.”
Perry spoke with the witnesses and found them to be honest and truthful. “They are very credible,” he noted. “It would take a pretty good mind to make up a story like that.”
Another astronomer, Paul Delaney of York University in Toronto, also offered his opinion to the media that because of the duration of the sighting, the UFO was probably not a meteor. He thought that the presence of the aircraft indicated the falling object was a satellite.
However, despite witnesses’ reports and the negative findings of the astronomers, NORAD and CFB Halifax insisted the UFOs were ascribable to meteors. A newspaper report noted: “Neither military agency would say if anything struck the ground.”

November 4, 1989
Corkery Road, in Carp, Ontario
Although diehard UFO buffs insist this case is real, most serious UFO researchers have figured out it was an elaborate hoax perpetrated on the UFO community. Basically, the claims involve stories of the crash of an alien spacecraft just west of Ottawa, and a military cover-up so thorough that there is not only no physical trace of it left, all of the residents in the area insist nothing occurred. All supposedly supportive evidence comes from a single video that purportedly shows a spacecraft moving vertically in the air but can be shown to have been a truck on the ground surrounded by flares while a video camera moved up and down. Alleged eyewitness testimony has never been substantiated.

Explained: Hoax

August 18, 1991
Carp, Ontario
CSETI claims that a second UFO crash occurred near Carp.
No details were given.
Insufficient Information for an Explanation

1993 or 1996 (exact date unknown)
According to CSETI, “ET craft shot down in Canada. Not previously reported in the UFO press but vouched for by confidential CSETI sources.”
Insufficient Information for an Explanation

June 14, 1994
St-Robert, Quebec
Meteorite Fall and Find
Just before sunset on June 14, 1994, in eastern Canada, grazing cows witnessed a shower of meteorites―the 12th recorded fall in Canada―and the beginning of an event that would set many precedents over the next two years. The pastoral village of St. Robert, Quebec, was instantly catapulted into the 20th Century world of meteoritics, research, and Cultural Property Laws.
Explained: Meteorite

000214 Medicine Hat, Alberta
A large chunk of ice fell from the sky, hitting a truck.
Source: UFO Roundup
“According to the Medicine Hat News of February 15, 2000, the truck's owner was driving past the Ross Glen Elementary School when something slammed into his truck. Pulling over to the curb, the driver found that a large piece of ice had struck and penetrated the tough canvas truckbed cover. The ice chunk was described as about two feet long, tapered and narrow at one end and blunt at the other. The truck driver reportedly has the ice chunk and hopes to have it tested or analyzed.”
Insufficient Information for an Explanation

010419 Etzikom, Alberta
A fireball was seen falling to earth. Later, a “crater” was found in a field.
Source: Ufology Research

On April 1, 2001 at 10:30 pm, farm manager George Hofer and several children from the Rosedale Hutterite Brethern Colony near Etzikom, Alberta, saw something remarkable in the sky. They were startled to see a brilliant fireball falling straight down and appearing to impact the Earth only a few miles away. The incident was discussed briefly with others, then dismissed.
On April 16, 2001, Ken Masson, who farmed 13 miles south of Etzikom, was preparing his land for seeding when he discovered a circular, crater-like formation, which he was certain had not been there before. Soon, news spread throughout the community as local newspapers carried stories about the two events which seemed connected. the occurrence. Many people visited the “crater” and speculation flourished as to whether it was caused by aliens, a meteorite or something else entirely.
On April 30, 2001, a reporter from a local paper contacted Dr. Pano Karkanis of the Department of Geography at the University of Lethbridge, and requested him to examine the crater and offer some opinion on what may have caused it. Karnakis visited the site on May 1, 2001 and conducted interviews Masson, members of the Rosedale Hutterian Brethren Colony and other people from Etzikom the neighbouring town of Foremost. Later, he also interviewed Hofer, the first witness of the fireball.
Karkanis took photographs of the site, measured it carefully and took soil samples.  He found that the crater was a circle 15 cm lower than the surface of the field, with an inside circle diameter of 2.4 metres, surrounded by a mound of dirt 40 cm high, and an outside circle diameter of 3.6 metres. He also noted four curious indentations inside the crater, which some had speculated were caused by “landing gear” of a UFO. The ground inside the circle was cracked and sere, very different from the smooth powdery nature of rest of the area. Finally, he found some odd, reddish-brown particles of dirt on the mound surrounding the circle.
After completing his analysis, Karkanis published a report on the formation, in which he noted:

There was not any indication to suggest that the small circle is a formation caused by a landing of an extra-terrestrial vehicle. The four indentations in the middle of the circle... are not quite symmetrical which might indicate an object leg-marks, these were probably formed by rain-water accumulation on softer soil spots inside the circle.

Despite the physical appearance of the soil inside and outside the crater, Karkanis could not find any chemical or radioactive anomalies, nor any indication that the dirt was affected by intense heat.
He concluded that the crater was most likely caused by:

A meteoroid, fragment of a meteorite, a small rock or metal solid object which plunged and fell into the earth from outer-space with great force, at SW 18-4-8 W4, with very high speed (probably 150 - 650 km/hr depending on the material of the meteoroid and height from which it fell) and extreme kinetic energy. An incandescent body accompanied by a fiery luminous phenomenon, which is caused by the substantial resistance of the dense atmosphere to the meteoroid motion (the light usually recognized at 100 - 150 km of the meteoroid height), near the end of its path, was observed by Mr. Hofer, who is a reliable eye-witness. The meteoroid’s outer layer probably disintegrated a little, due to the high heat it was exposed to during its rapid flight through the atmosphere, scattering crusty thin and rusty fragments, as found around the crater...

This fallen meteoroid object was not visible and could not be found on the surface of the ground at the investigation site, probably due to the great force by which it crashed on to the ground and eventually sank to a depth of approximately a metre (3 ft 4 in) or more, into the soft soil of the field (loamy texture). Therefore the meteoroid kind, shape, age and composition could not be recognized and its origin could not be identified whether it is of a chondrite, achondrite, iron meteorite or stony-iron meteorite origin. It is a future challenge, to excavate the site and retrieve the meteoroid for further study of the material.

Once news of the Etzikom crater had reached ufologists, there was considerable speculation that this was a bona fide UFO case. What is most interesting it was investigated quite thoroughly by a number of scientists before the UFO community was even aware of it. Soil scientists, physicists and geologists from two different institutions examined the site, and an official report has been issued. I was called for my advice on the course of action early in the investigations by ufologists, and consulted with a number of people as to the types of tests that might be useful.
Gord Kijek, founder of the Alberta UFO Research Group and one of the principal investigators of the incident, examined the site in some detail and noted there was no explanation for the formation if it was not a meteor crater. He did not find any evidence that it was caused by a sinkhole, a lightning strike or a natural gas explosion.
However, if the Etzikom formation is a meteor crater, it is extremely unique. Most geology textbooks illustrate meteor impact craters such as Crater Lake in Oregon, the Ungava Peninsula in Quebec or the impressive Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is a major tourist attraction.
The Etzlikom crater, albeit small compared with Barringer, may be the first significantly sized meteor crater discovered in Canada in modern times. Even the fireball that generated a huge wave of sightings across Eastern North America several years ago only made a bucket sized crater in the soil. The Etzikom crater is about ten feet wide.
To further add to the puzzle, Dr. Alan Hildebrand of the University of Calgary, Canada's leading authority on impact craters, the scientist whose research received international attention when he concluded that dinosaurs died off after a major cataclysmic impact event, expressed his opinion to investigators that he did not think the Etzikom crater was made by a meteorite.
But if it’s not a meteor crater...

030416 Drumheller, Alberta
A bright, burning object fell into a yard; a smouldering small shiny object was found.
Source: MIAC
A letter was sent to the Meteorite and Impact Advisory Committee of the Canadian Space Agency regarding a strange incident.

To whom it may concern,
I was asked by my parents to inquire as to what may have happened on the 16th of April 2003 in Drumheller, Alberta. What took place on that morning was indeed strange, in fact the strangest thing that they have ever witnessed in their married lives. At approximately 6: 45 am my mom saw the oddest thing happen.
My parents are early risers, they had gotten up at around 5:30 am that morning, and after their ritual of making and consuming several cups of coffee, they were ready for the day. My dad headed for his workshop in the backyard, to split some firewood for their wood stove. My mom was doing a few dishes and generally putting around in the kitchen. She had decided to put on a couple of eggs to boil and hollered out the back door and asked if my dad was going to join her for some breakfast. His reply was, not right at the moment. Mom had returned to the stove, when something caught her attention at the window in the kitchen. There was a fire right outside the window!! She immediately went to the back-door and asked dad if he was burning something in the backyard. He said, no.
When mom got back into the house and looked again outside through the window, she had to turn away as the light from this burning ember was so bright it hurt her eyes. She said it was like glancing at someone welding. She watched this thing burn and smoke away until it had dissipated into an object no bigger than a dime. My dad at this time had come from the garage with their big Golden Retriever and asked what the hell was going on. The dog apparently had heard or smelled something, because he was shaking and cowling like he had been terribly frightened.
My dad asked again what was going on; my mom had filled him in on what she had just witnessed. They both continued to look at this smoldering object in the side of their back yard, wondering where this thing had come from. After about 2 hours they both went outside to investigate further. Where this object had landed, was on a portion of the yard my dad was trying to rake up, but it still had a little ice and was extremely wet, so it made it impossible to rake up. Not now, this spot was burnt and all the leaves around it were charred and the soil was bone dry. The heat must have been horrific.  What they found was an object no bigger than a dime. It was smooth on one side and rather bumpy on the other. On the bumpy side, it shone like diamonds in the sun!! They scooped it up and put it into a glass jar and now have it on their kitchen table as a conversation piece. Indeed, what a conversation piece!
Insufficient Information for an Explanation

November 20, 2008
Buzzard Coulee, SK
A brilliant fireball was first spotted at around 17:30 MST (00:30 UTC) and was reported by people living in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even North Dakota. It was five times as bright as a full moon. Over 400 people reported seeing it. There are several videos of the meteoroid on YouTube. The object split into multiple pieces before widespread impact. The meteoroid entered the atmosphere at approximately 14 kilometres per second and is estimated to have been about the size of a desk and have had a mass of approximately 10 tonnes.
Explained: Meteorite

June 12, 2010    10:30 am
New London, PEI
Two people saw a ball of fire fall from the sky and hit a hay field nearby. The hay was set on fire and the couple were able to put the fire out. Astronomers who were called in to investigate the “meteorite” said the observation and physical traces were “not consistent with natural meteoroids or space debris.”
Insufficient Information for an Explanation

February 18, 2015
Hoax Story of UFO Crash at Jackhead First Nation, Manitoba
This hoax story of a UFO crash and military cover-up began on social media, with tweets about something falling onto frozen Lake Winnipeg and the Canadian military immediately arriving to cordon off the area, threatening residents of nearby Jackhead First Nation and confiscating cameras. The rumour became stronger when photos were posted of Canadian Forces vehicles in the area, with some people claiming the military was there to contain the UFO crash site. In reality, the military were in the area for a long-planned winter training exercise. None of the claims involving UFOs could be substantiated.
Explained: Hoax


Rumors about an alleged crashed UFO near Roswell, New Mexico, may be tantalizing, but there are documented events in Canada offering more substance, more diverse reported characteristics, and more verified documentation of real events. Government documents available on these and other cases were never kept from the public but are in open files in archives and other repositories of information. Although few are known to the general public, these cases are known to serious researchers of such phenomena and have been presented in books, journals and at conferences.

            As Canadians begin their summer vacations, they may well be advised to keep an eye out for unusual objects descending from above.


Friday, February 05, 2016


The St. Paul UFO Landing Pad

In response to a question from someone, I had found a review I had written many years ago of the first St. Paul UFO Conference in 1998. I was one of the invited speakers for the event.

I originally posted the review to the former UFO Updates, and I posted it recently to the new UFO Updates Facebook page. In case you didn't see it there, here's my review.

The St. Paul UFO Conference: Little Pad on the Prairie
July 10-11, 1998

"This is our first try at this, so if anything goes wrong, you can't blame us for it, because we're just learning," said Paul Pelletier, organizer for the UFO Conference in St. Paul, Alberta, Canada, on July 10-11, 1998.

Paul had nothing to worry about. The conference was an outstanding success.

Almost 500 people registered for the event, most travelling more than two-and-a-half hours from Edmonton, although there were many there from Calgary and other Alberta towns, but also many from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia. (I noted that the UFO museum guest book had signatures of people from Las Vegas, Billings, Whitehorse, Winnipeg and Boise.)

For an out-of-the-way location, St. Paul did well to make its presence known on the international UFO scene, and rightly so. It boasts the first and longest-maintained UFO landing pad in the world. The platform was built in 1967 as part of an eccentric project to mark Canada's 100th birthday.

"We were just going to make an ordinary park," said Jules Van Brabert, mayor of St. Paul at the time. "But I started having a few beers with some committee members, and we got to thinking that we wanted something really different. Well, someone had just watched something on TV about flying saucers, and laughed that we should make the park into a UFO landing pad. It seemed like a great idea at the time."

And it was. The pad didn't cost St. Paul anything. Materials were donated by local businesses, and the publicity of its inauguration made it a tourist attraction.

But then, as the years wore on, interest in the pad faded. It fell into disrepair in the 70s, but then in the 80s, someone had the idea to restore the pad and turn it into a larger attraction.

The site grew, and became more well-known. Mother Theresa (yes, the Mother Theresa) visited the site and extolled the virtues of helping others, even others "in outer space." Later, a museum was built adjoining the pad. The CUFOS travelling exhibit was installed there, too, when John Timmerman "retired" from taking it across North America.

A toll-free hot line was set up, for people to report their own UFO sightings. Reports are maintained by the energetic Rhea LaBrie, who runs the museum and makes sure there are enough UFO t-shirts, spoons and bumper stickers to sell.

"It has all been a great success," she boasted at the conference.

I was invited to be a guest speaker there, on the program which featured Stanton Friedman lecturing about why Flying Saucers Are Real. Gord Kijek of the Alberta UFO Study Group talked on an outstanding case involving triangular UFOs as well as some Alberta crop circles. Cerealogist Gord Sobczak showed some of the striking shots of recent British crop circles and attracted a lot of interest from the audience.

One of the best-received speakers was Fern Belzil, a cattle rancher and mutilation investigator. His years of experience in raising cattle give him a definite edge when it comes to interpreting mute evidence. (I only wished his talk wasn't immediately after lunch.)

John Timmerman of CUFOS gave both a history of ufology and commented on its future, describing the under appreciated work of James McDonald and others, and how there are so many avenues for future research.

Clinical psychologist Helen Neufeld described her work with abductees, in particular "Sharon", who agreed to share the podium and answer questions.

The conference ended with a surprise presentation by Martin Jacek, a UFO investigator from the Yukon and affiliated with UFO BC.

Those were the formal presentations. Then there was all the other stuff.

Gord Kijek drove me to the conference from Edmonton. We got there about noon on Friday and met Stan for lunch. He had already done several media interviews and wanted to grab
something to eat before dashing off to another one. We had a great chat, catching up on UFO gossip and exchanging some material each of us had brought along. Stan had not yet seen a copy of the new Sturrock Report and I gave him my copy to view. He showed me some of the declassification notices he had received recently about some ELINT programs from the 50s and 60s and only just now admitted.

After lunch, Stan was picked up to go to the conference site, while Gord drove me around town to check out the UFO kitsch. Sure enough, St. Paul is exactly like Roswell.

"Welcome to our 'Pad'," said an alien on a sign outside a Radio Shack.

"E.T. PHONE SMITTY'S", invited the sign outside a restaurant.

The local Bingo Hall had a saucer on its sign, and the shopping mall had a mural depicting the Roswell crash at its main entrance.

After Stan's first lecture that evening, he needed something to munch so he could wind down for the night. Where did we go? UFO Pizza, of course! The restaurant was open late, had great pizza and pasta, and the decor featured UFOs in paintings, murals and hand-painted signs on the front window. Naturally, we all had 'UFO Coolers' to drink. (At 6.9% alcohol, they kind of sneak up on you!)

The conference site was in a huge recreation centre. The lecture hall had more than 350 chairs set up, and they were filled by Friday night. Stan had a table at the back where he sold his books and papers.

The adjoining room, however, was twice the size. It contained the main huckster room, which had dealers selling t-shirts, caps, pins, rings and necklaces. The most popular item (according to Rhea) was the green alien head filled with $1 'alien pops'.

One artisan was selling her huge selection of ceramic aliens and flying saucers, including some which had lights and made weird noises. I bought a 'UFO gun' which shoots foam saucers, some alien key fobs, a UFO Pizza cap and other assorted goodies.

(The St. Paul Chamber of Commerce said they thought the conference brought in many more dollars into the town's economy than they spent on speakers and publicity.)

A big part of the display was set up by the Edmonton Space Sciences Centre. Director Frank Florian was there demonstrating simple gee-whiz science experiments to the kids, and even had a Starlab planetarium inflated in one corner of the hall. The Fort McMurray astronomy club had a display, and that night had a star party for the attendees, having set up their scopes outside.

The media were everywhere. Every network, every Alberta newspaper, most radio stations. Stan must've done a few dozen interviews, while lesser figures such as Gord and me only did a couple. :)

One weird event occurred when a woman presented herself to reporters as the abductee who would be speaking later in the conference. Paul was really worried because not only did she look crazy, she sounded crazy. Well, we're not sure who she really was, but she wasn't Helen's abductee. The imposter had a hospital bracelet and was just out on a stroll away from a nearby institution ...

Hot gossip: John Timmerman had a call about a new crop circle in Ohio, just days before leaving for Alberta ... Stan is on his way now to Australia. 'grok' magazine in Oz faxed him a list of questions which included some real corkers, such as "Why are there only 10 theses on UFOs? Which ones are positive?" ... Stan told me and Gord about his appearance at a conference in Argentina, at which officers from the Uruguayan Air Force presented a paper describing their own official investigations, which reached the conclusion that there was no scientific evidence for UFOs ... A farmer told me he still has some angel hair from a batch which fell in the 70s. He gave most of it to scientists with the Alberta government who requested it from him. When the farmer asked about their results, the reply was: "Samples? What samples?" ... One woman told me a weird story about how the "government" put up posters in small towns in Saskatchewan in the mid-1980s, advertising a 1-800 number to report UFOs. There was a flap around Kindersley at the time. The number was only in operation for a few months ...

All in all, it was a great time. The next St. Paul UFO Conference is in two years (2000 A.D.). Don't miss it, you UFO buffs!

Chris Rutkowski

12 July 1998

There was a second conference in 2000, but none after that year. 

A few other things of note: It was built in 1967 as part of Canada's centennial project and opened during a special ceremony at which the emcee was none other than Paul Hellyer himself, when he was Canada's Minister of Defence. In 1982, as mentioned, Mother Theresa visited it and declared at that time that "If there are sick people in space, we will help them too." 

The pad was renovated in 1990. In 1998, the UFO Conference noted above was held there, and it was shortly after that John Timmerman of CUFOS donated the entire CUFOS UFO exhibit to the St. Paul tourism office that was expanded and built beside the pad. It's quite a large display of UFO-related paraphernalia.

The UFO Landing Pad is still there today, ignored by aliens. Maybe Steven Greer can vector some of them to land there sometime soon.


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