Friday, October 29, 2010


Top 20 Scary Movies About Aliens or UFOs

Previously, I've posted lists of the best and most interesting UFO movies, but for Hallowe'en, here's a list of the Top 20 Scary Movies About Aliens or UFOs:

1. Alien (Aliens, etc.)
- Well, you kind of have to go with this one. The "boo" factor was at its highest for the first, and declined after that. We'll see how the prequels go.

2. Signs
- Again, mostly for the "boo" factor of waiting for the aliens to break into the house where Mel Gibson and his clan are holed up.

3. The Fourth Kind
- Even though IT DIDN’T REALLY HAPPEN, PEOPLE!, this Paranormal Activity-style film got many viewers riled up over what the aliens do to abductees.

4. The Day the Earth Stood Still
- The classic original film frightened audiences because aliens are unstoppable, all-powerful and wise compared with us humans. But we knew that already.

5. District 9
- So good, I went and found the original short film and was impressed by it, too. Aliens suffer indignities in a South African refugee camp. Like everyone else.

6. The Day of the Triffids
- A meteor storm creates walking plants that want to eat people. ‘Nuff said.

7. Village of the Damned
- The creep factor in this version of the Midwich Cuckoos was high; the scenes where children with weird eyes stare at you are chilling. Every teacher’s nightmare.

8. Knowing
- It’s the end of the world as we know it, but kids don’t seem all that worried for some reason.

9. Communion
- Whitley Strieber goes crazy as aliens haunt his life. Did you even have the feeling you were being watched?

10. Fire in the Sky
- What happened to Travis Walton when he disappeared for several days? He was in an alien goo-filled egg sack, of course.

11. The Mothman Prophecies
- Completing the trifecta of “based on real events” movies (with Communion and Fire in the Sky), this story is the original “Men in Black” tale, done creepy-style.

12. The Abyss
- Close Encounters done underwater. Most of the scariness comes from the crazed human psychopaths trapped with the scientists, but it counts anyway.

13. Dreamcatcher
- Truly awful film that tried to include every alien/UFO meme imaginable, and then some, but many people were scared (maybe for the wrong reasons)

14. The Thing From Another World
- The original film produced shivers (mostly for the Arctic scenes) as tension built. Is the alien’s severed arm moving…?

15. The X-Files
- The first movie found Mulder and Scully battling bureaucracy as well as killer bees, and our heroine ends up in a vat of goo (Note: recurring theme in alien movies).

16. Horror Express
- A frozen “fossil” being transported by train comes back to life, and Telly Savalas stands between it and the rest of world.

17. The War of the Worlds
- The original movie was a Cold War analogue playing on the fear of the Martians who cannot be stopped by good old American know-how.

18. Predator (Predators, etc.)
- An unstoppable alien warrior wants to play war games with CIA and Army Commandos in the Central American jungles. Can Arnie save the human race?

19. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
- The movie that asked the question: “Do your neighbours seem a little strange?”

20. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- The origin of the government cover-up theme, as only the elite must know that aliens want to land in Wyoming.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Quebec UFO activity

According to Francois Bourbeau of OVNI-ALERTE, an interesting object was seen this morning (October 28, 2010) over Laval, Quebec. It was a structured craft of some sort, with lights, and was seen about 3:00 am. Most remarkable is that the sighting of the object was associated with a loud rumbling noise and strong winds that shook the entire house from which teh witness was observing the object. OVNI-ALERTE is looking for additional witnesses.

In addition, I should note that a recent book published in Quebec gives a very detailed history of UFOs seen in that province. Because of the language barrier, most of English Canada knows little about UFO activity in Quebec (unless you read my blog). The book, by Danielle Goyette, is one of a series of books about Quebec mysteries, called Quebec Insolite. This book, titled simply OVNIs, covers cases from 1841 over Hudson Bay to Gaspe in 2009.

Goyette has done a good job in gathering disparate information and case details about Quebec and crafting it into a nicely-illustrated and laid-out work that is appealing and informative. Interestingly, she has sections giving voice to skeptics and contactees alike. The chapter on the infamous Hotel Bonaventure case has some good information and description, although she devotes most of the book to cases that have occurred in this new millennium, many of which are new to me. Goyette essentially follows the life and UFO investigations of Francois Bourbeau, (who runs OVNI-ALERTE), with a few references to other Quebec ufologists like Christian Page, but no mention of Claude MacDuff or Don Donderi. She includes references to pop culture and includes some questionable stuff (why bother with UMMO, anyway?) but all in all it's a nice addition to Canadian ufology, despite ignoring all cases outside of Quebec.

Available from:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010


Polls About UFOs

Polls about UFOs make the news every few years. In general, they find that many people believe UFOs are "real," whatever that means. An important and overlooked study about such polls was done by Canadian UFO researcher Geoff Dittman a number of years ago. It's highly significant and I am making it available to a wider readership here:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Response To An Uninformed Debunker

After an article appeared in the Montreal Gazette a week or so ago regarding a UFO seen by several witnesses over a shopping mall there, a follow-up article appeared, penned by a freelancer who was identified as an "astronomer and science writer." Apparently, the concept of UFOs was so appalling to him, he chose to attack everything in the original article, including comments by me which suggested an explanation for the UFO seen. In fact, he accused me of "intellectual dishonesty" for noting that about one per cent of all UFO cases may be unexplained.

Such attacks usually don't deserve a reply. I've dealt with them many times before.
In this case, though, since I'm accused of intellectual dishonesty, which is something about which I am very concerned, I sent a letter to the editor, which of course was not printed (likely because it was too long). Here it is:

In response to Andre Bordeleau regarding UFOs...

The rather personal attack on me by Andre Bordeleau ("In UFOs, the U is key," October 7, 2010) should probably best be ignored, but in this case I feel it deserves some comment.

Bordeleau informs readers that UFOs are not necessarily flying saucers from Mars piloted by little green men. This is a good example of stating the obvious. Considering most serious researchers on the subject know this already and try to educate the public on this fact, this is nothing new. In my several books on UFOs, I make this distinction often.

Bordeleau also calls me a "UFO buff." It's a bit condescending, as I like him am an astronomer and science writer. I remain objective and do not dismiss UFO reports out of hand but am willing to talk about them in a rational manner with witnesses, rather than engage in ridicule.

Bordeleau also writes that I "might believe an advanced civilization has found the means for interstellar travel," but I state no such belief. I share the view of most astronomers that extraterrestrial civilizations could exist but that the distances between stars are too great to overcome with our present understanding of physics and technology. To suggest that we will not be able to overcome the obstacle of distance given continued advancing technology is illogical, given that similar doubts about human engineering such as sending people to the Moon was also thought by some narrow-gazing scientists to be impossible.

Bondereau also relegates the study of UFO reports to an area known as "pseudoscience," a term generally used by debunkers to designate something which they disdain. The collection of data and research into UFO reports by witnesses (which include pilots, meteorologists and, of course, astronomers) is scientific in nature and should not be ignored.

My observation that there were more than 1000 reports of UFOs in Canada in 2008 includes sightings later explained as aircraft and balloons is a statement of fact. Without actually looking at the data, it is impossible to make statements or conclusions about what is being reported. That's how science works.

The one percent that are high-quality unknowns are the cases that were sifted out of the hundreds of UFOs reported sincerely by witnesses who were baffled by what they were seeing, and which remained unknown after ruling out various explanations.

Bordeleau's accusation that I am intellectually dishonest (brazen or otherwise) is bizarre, given that I honestly present the data behind my statement. His bias against the possibility that some cases are unexplained might be held in the same regard. I wonder how many of those 1000 cases he himself has studied in order to arrive at any conclusion, since making statements without investigation is not a scientific approach.

Even that small average yearly percentage, amounting to a few hundred cases during the course of our 20-year study of Canadian UFO cases, does not mean that Bordeleau's little green men (which he apparently entertains, not I) are hovering over St. Joseph's Oratory. It simply means that witnesses, among them good observers, are reporting unusual objects for which there are are sometimes no simple explanations.

Bordeleau concludes: "Perhaps the media should pay less attention to outfits like Ufology Research of Manitoba and more on properly investigating the stories they publish."

If media did pay no attention to Ufology Research of Manitoba or other institutions seriously investigating UFO reports, they would not get reliable and factual information regarding the subject and instead receive only uninformed opinion to publish.

Dismissing the subject of UFOs out of hand is not an objective standpoint.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


UFOs and Canadian Pilots?

"As a matter of fact, I just had a phone call about an hour ago..."

This morning, I did a short radio interview (about five minutes) with 570 News in Kitchener, Ontario. It was in the middle of a longer segment on UFOs during which Robert Hastings was a guest talking about last week's story that UFOs had been seen over US nuclear plants and had been seen on many occasions by military pilots.

Hastings had been asked about UFOs seen by Canadian pilots but wasn't able to give enough of an answer so the host asked me. By coincidence, I had "breaking news."

Just about an hour before I was called by the radio station, I had a call from a commercial pilot who had seen some UFOs last night. He said that he lives under the flight path of aircraft in Winnipeg and is familiar with how they appear. He explained that last night (October 6, 2010) at about 10:20 pm, he was in his back yard, looking up and saw three bright lights in a linear formation moving in the northeast. He said they were brighter than the stars in Cassiopeia, which they were passing underneath. They were at about 60 degrees elevation and an estimated 3,000 feet altitude, and flew from NE to NNE in a matter of six or eight seconds.

I checked the satellite ephemerides for last night and nothing came up in that location and time. No Iridiums, either.

The pilot said that he had "never seen anything before this in all my years of flying." He thought they were geese migrating, but they were too bright, not wavering in flight, fast and made no noise. It was a perfectly clear night, with no clouds at all. Before and after the UFOs there had been both flights of geese and aircraft overhead, but these three objects were not like those at all.

So yes, pilots do see and report UFOs.

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Monday, October 04, 2010


The Montreal UFO

Anglophone media in Montreal is covering a UFO sighting from last week, although their French counterparts seem to be less than interested.

On Wednesday morning, September 29, 2010, at about 1 am, Dr. Cleve Ziegler was driving past the Cavendish Mall when he saw something unusual in the sky. Ziegler, an obstetrician at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, insisted to reporters that he is "not a crazy person." He said he really saw a strange flashing object in the sky and stopped his car to get a better look.

He said it had blue and red twinkling lights, and was not an aircraft or the beam from a flashlight playing about the sky. He noted: "It was moving up and down, sideways. It was not a flying saucer, more like a couple of triangles."

He saw another person standing nearby, also craning his neck to look at the object. The two men, the other man's girlfriend and one other woman, all watched the object and agreed it was something strange.

Ziegler used his cellphone to take some really indistinguishable photos of the object, and then used it to call police. He continued to watch for a total of 10 minutes, then went home. Police interviewed him at home the next day.

English source:

French source:

The Montreal Gazette called me for an opinion, and I gave it, based on what I had read. The description was lacking some detail, but it sure sounded like a balloon or kite, and when I read on the Gazette website and also the CBC website in the readers comments about the UFO story that someone had seen a guy flying a kite, then that seemed a reasonable possible explanation.

Of course, that was just speculation, and I told the reporter that we'd need to know what the winds were like that night, for one thing, before making a definitive conclusion. However, the reporter used my "probably explained" comment as a headline, and the story seemed to die.

Until Quebec ufologists investigated. Jean Casault ( and Francois Bourbeau ( both went after the case. I suspect they were a little ticked at me for labelling it as Possibly Explained without onsite investigation, but I had only given a qualified opinion to the reporter, not a definitive answer. But they both have been investigating since then, with some interesting results.

Additional witnesses have been located and interviewed. Also, they pointed out that the guy who had reportedly been flying a kite at night has not been located. So at this point we only have the statements of Ziegler and the others as testament to something that was floating over Montreal that night.

Yet, I remain unconvinced it was anything unearthly. I suspect it was a kite or balloon, even though I can't imagine why anyone would want to fly a lighted contraption like that at 1 am over a shopping mall. Sleep seems a much better pasttime.

I don't think the Montreal object was extraterrestrial, but I think the best way to get to the bottom of what was seen is through investigation by onsite researchers. I look forward to their investigation results.


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