Monday, June 04, 2018

 

It's Lake Monster season!


I was interviewed recently about Manipogo, Manitoba's version of the Loch Ness monster.



As part of my research into Manitoba Forteana, I included a chapter about Manipogo (and friends) in my book Unnatural History.

I investigated some reports of the creature, and even did a TV special for CKND (now Global TV) many years ago.

Well, the interest is still there! CBC says so!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/lake-monster-manipogo-winnipogo-1.4681105

Have you seen Manipogo?

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

 

When UFOs and music meet


Music and the Saucer

On Sunday, April 29, 2018, an original choral work was premiered in Iles-des-Chenes, Manitoba, Canada. The Seine River Singers, accompanied by a small orchestra, presented Burns From Beyond, a musical retelling of the UFO experience of Stefan Michalak in 1967 at Falcon Lake.


I and Stefan's son Stan Michalak, accompanied by our wives, were invited to sit front and centre at the performance. We were introduced at the sold-out event by the composer, Stephen Haiko-Pena, who explained how he had been reading our book about the case, When They Appeared, when he had been asked to compose "something new" for the choir. (We were honoured when he held up his copy of our book.)


Our book was his inspiration for the choral work, and he created the five-part "opera," focusing on Stefan Michalak's own words from his original booklet and reprinted in our book.


Stan (on the right) visited the site of his dad's experience for the first time in 2017.

The entire choral work was recorded that night and the video has been uploaded for viewing. 

Haiko-Pena's introduction is here.

The choral work Burns From Beyond is here. The entire script is in the link as well.

The website of composer Stephen Haiko-Pena is here.


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Thursday, April 12, 2018

 

Another 1967 case: Glace Bay, Nova Scotia


Still poking around in the National Archives, I found yet another documented UFO case from 1967, this time from Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.




Not only that, but the submitter of the report helpfully provided a map of Glace Bay, showing where the UFO was sighted.


And the reply from DND?


Well, that was that.

Except... Alistair Scott didn't give up. Also in the file is a set of answers to questions apparently posed by Scott to DND, prodding them for more information. His letter with the questions isn't on file, by DND's answers are:




Note the answer to Scott's question number six:

"Although the majority of unusual aerial sightings can be explained, there is a small number which cannot be correlated with any known object or phenomena."

Yes, Commodore F.B. Caldwell, Secretary of the Defence Staff, told a civilian, Alistair Scott, that some UFOs could not be explained by the Department of National Defence.


F.B. Caldwell, when he was Lieutenant-Commander of the HMCS Haida in 1947.

Caldwell was also mentioned by Palmiro Campagna in his book The UFO Files, in reference to a comment he made about the Warren Smith photo: "The possibility exists that the object might be a secret military project..."

It's interesting that a high-ranking military officer was so candid about UFOs in 1967.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

 

An increase in media interest in UFOs?



Regarding media reporting of UFO stories:

In response to many people proclaiming that UFOs are being "finally taken seriously" by media and that UFO stories are now "mainstream," because I've been studying the phenomenon for several decades, my intuition was that this claim was not true.

I therefore took some time to do an online search of the keyword "UFO" in an online media database, looking at both wire stories and in newspapers for the period 1997/98-2017/18 (two decades).

The results show that while wire stories (in blue) about UFOs have increased during the past two decades, 2016/17 had more stories than 2017/18, so that the recent news coverage isn't higher than last year.

The newspaper database (in red, and the bar graph) is even more obviously at odds with the claims, as the number of newspaper stories about UFOs 20 years ago was almost double today's numbers.

The view that recent UFO stories implies a surge in media interest is equivalent to media attention concerning some publicized earthquakes means that seismic activity worldwide has increased, or that a few traffic fatalities in one neighbourhood means that neighbourhood is no longer safe.

Statistics show that average numbers have not increased, at least according to a very simple, "quick and dirty" count of articles.


A more rigorous analysis is needed to verify this and to dig down into the media stats in more detail.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

 

How the government handles media requests about UFOs


How does the government handle media when it comes to inquiries about UFOs?

With "tact."

At least, that's what we can learn directly from a series of documents in the National Archives of Canada. And it's how the government responded to media in 1965, more than 50 years ago.

Have things changed since then?

Back in 1965, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), like all major networks, was interested in the topic of UFOs and wanted to do a special show about the subject. So they contacted the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for information on what the RCA was doing about UFO reports.

In a Confidential memo dated February 22, 1965, Canadian Air Training Command (CANAIRTRAIN) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, asked Canadian Forces Headquarters (CANFORCEHED) in Ottawa for help in replying to a request from the CBC in Winnipeg.

The record of this memo is:


Document Title: Intelligence - Sighting of unknown objects. (See also microfilm reel No. T-3291)
Document Date: 3/4/1965
Record Group: Department of National Defence
Record Series: E-1-c
Record Number: C-940-105

-->
MIKAN No: 135965



Directed to the Director of Information Services (DIS), the memo noted: 

FOR DIS OMM CBC WINNIPEG WANT TO DO PROGRAMME ON UFO SIGHTINGS PD THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN ASKED FOR BACKGROUND OF ANY RCAF INPUT OR PROCEDURES THAT ARE FOLLOWED PD ADVISE CURRENT POLICY


The memo was bounced around a few offices during the next few days and was referred to the DIS on February 24, 1965. Someone named S.L. Tetreau added in handwriting: "What do we on this type of request?"

Obviously, no one really knew what to do with such a request. The CBC was Canada's most-watched national TV and radio network. It was not to be treated lightly, but at the same time, what could the RCAF actually say?

It took ten days, until March 4, 1965, before a decision was reached. In a memo from Colonel L.A. Bourgeois, Director of Information Services, to his staff at the DND Office of Information at RCAF Station Winnipeg, he noted:
1. This HQ does not wish to become involved with such a program. It is policy to stay clear of this subject whenever possible.
2. Many inquiries are received on this subject. They are answered by a standard letter as per attached copy.
3. Please tactfully say "NO" to CBC.

The UFO "hot potato" was to be avoided at all costs, even to the point of sending a national broadcaster a standard form letter.

This was reiterated in a memo signed by S/L Totman in the DIS office, who noted:

"I suggest the policy would be to stay clear of this type of program except to answer the query with information contained in attached "form letter" that has been used by DPR (now DIS) for some time."


Of course, this is more than staying clear of the topic. The DIS had no idea what angle the CBC was going to take with its program, and likely was going to use a comment from the RCAF to lend authority or credibility to the show. But refusing to be interviewed at all was distancing themselves from the subject completely. Was this because they were "covering up" the fact that alien spacecraft were hovering in Canadian skies, or because they had already decided that the subject was foolish and that witnesses were either themselves foolish or mistaken.

This latter view is perhaps borne out by a few other documents from that same time.

Coincidentally (or perhaps serendipitously) there was a UFO sighting on February 20, 1965, only a day or two before the CBC request. 

A witness in Pouce Coupe, BC, just outside of Dawson Creek, saw a bright orange light moving slowly north, apparently at a high altitude. This was at about 7:11 pm local time, and the object was observed for four to five minutes.  The case was listed as a "Fireball and Meteorite Observation," even though it could not have been either.


What's more relevant is a small accompanying memo, kind of a routing slip, to Dr. Peter Millman of the Geophysics Section of the Defense Research Board. Millman was later to become the chief debunker of UFO reports for the National Research Council of Canada. In this memo on February 23, 1965, by a writer named Smith, Millman's explanation that the UFO over Pouce Coupe was "Probably Echo I or Echo II" was noted and apparently accepted.


Given that scientists such as Peter Millman were advising the RCAF that reported UFOs had simple explanations, it was not surprising that the RCAF was reluctant to go on camera or do a radio interview about a subject that, to them, had no value.

One can wonder if this view of UFOs by the military has persisted, and whether the reluctance to cooperate with media is still policy.


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Monday, March 19, 2018

 

What’s going on in Nova Scotia?

What’s going on in Nova Scotia?


I just received another UFO report from Nova Scotia from last weekend, this time near St. Margaret’s Bay Road and North West Arm Drive in Halifax.

A UFO was seen early Sunday morning, March 18, 2018, starting at 2:25 am.

An object with lights was seen for about 1.5 hours. According to the witness, the object was: “Hovering, still at times, moving short distances in all directions. Initially surrounded by other lights, off white, yellowish brown. These surrounding lights faded quickly, but the center part stayed for over an hour. The bright white light at front of object seems to be moving almost as if it was searching and “looking around.”

The lights were changing between white, yellow, green, blue and red. The lights changed direction and intensity frequently.

The shape of object seemed to change, and the lights at times seemed to be detaching. No sounds were heard. The weather was clear, with light cloud, and the object seemed to be below the clouds. It faded away gradually and then disappeared.

This was about 125 km due east and about six hours after UFOs were seen in Clementsport.


The Clementsport UFOs were a series of “strange lights” hovering over the treeline on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at 8:07 pm, while it was snowing. As many as 7 were seen at one time, and they lasted 3-4 minutes. A husband and wife saw them and took some photos. They said: “We don’t know of anyone who seen them and so far anyone we mentioned it to says they are flares, etc. They hovered awhile and it was gusting 50km/hr; they weren’t flares.”

The witness gave me permission to post on of the photos.


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Friday, March 16, 2018

 

Not a UFO, but a USO


Still plugging away at the National Archives' collection of Canadian UFO docs, I came across this curiosity. It stood alone, without any additional accompanying information.

It seems that something described only as a "disappearing object on ocean surf" was seen near the RCAF Station at Torbay (now the St. John's International Airport). This would place it on the easternmost point of North America, at about -52 West longitude, and closer to England than Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, which is near the middle of Canada.


Anyway, sometime of June 22, 1955, an object was seen at sea, and was reported to the RCAF base at Torbay. There were no corroborating witnesses.

What investigation that was done only revealed that there were no American, Canadian, or British submarines in the area at the time.

In other words, this was an official report of an USO (Unidentified Submarine Object).


Only 12 years later, the infamous Shag Harbour UFO would plunge into the ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia, resulting in the Canadian Navy's underwater search for an unidentified object.


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