Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Reactions and comments about the 2011 Canadian UFO Survey

Reactions are about as expected to the 2011 Canadian UFO Survey. Hard-core buffs think we're being too conservative, and debunkers are just scoffing.

We just go with the "Joe Friday" treatment.

One thing I should elaborate on is the one case I describe from St. Catharines, where a "grapefruit-sized" object flew very close to a witness.

The Yahoo story quoted me as saying:

a man reported seeing a grapefruit-sized object circling around a hydro pole before flying toward him, missing him by as little as two metres, before disappearing.

The Winnipeg Sun had the longer quote:

In St. Catharines, Ont., in early February, a man reported seeing a beige object -- the size and shape of a grapefruit -- circling high around a hydro pole before it stopped and then flew toward him, missing him by about two metres, before he lost sight of it.

Among the comments to the Yahoo story was the following:

Markku  •  Surrey, British Columbia  
the grapefruit sized object could have been a plasma ball , from a power bump in the electrical system . Similar object can be made by giant tesla coils and are completely natural. In the case of a Hydro Pole there is a lot of cable up there long enough to create an inductance at high frequencies if there is a power bump, and cause a plasma discharge to occur. That is my theory, and I am sticking to it.
However, I had the opportunity to speak with this witness at length, and he was insistent that this was not a plasma discharge, which is typically blue in colour and intense, but a physical "opaque" object that had form and was beige or brown.

Someone who had personal experience with plasmas in the field emailed me:

When I heard the bit about the beige ring spinning around the hydro wires, I immediately thought of the insulator rings that are used on some hydro poles.  When I worked at [a TV station], we would occasionally be on-site for "pole fires" - and those things could be weird (electricity like lightning moving along the outside of the wire, insulators blowing up, etc.).

He added:

The lightning things that I saw skipped along the outside of the wire and were, as you say, bluish-white, like regular lightning - in fact, they looked exactly like lightning - but moving horizontally along the outside of the wire , but when the insulators blew up, they changed color to more like orange.  For safety purposes, curious by-standers were kept at bay (on the next block) by the police, because when the insulators blew up there was no predicting in which direction they would fly, and they could go several hundred feet at high speed. I only saw one, that was a little smaller than a Frisbee (say, 6 inches in diameter) shoot about 100 feet and hit a fence. If that thing had hit a person, it would have surely caused injury, or death (depending on where it hit). 

So, if it wasn't a plasma discharge or an insulator, what was it?


Hiya Chris, I enjoyed reading the report and posted a commentary on ATS. Surprisingly, it didn't generate a lot of interest. Not many are willing to read extended articles these days; it's the era of skim-reading or relying on others for details.

I also used your '93 and '11 surveys to argue that classical ufology is diminishing as the Internet Age continues. There may come a time, sooner than later, when UFOs will continue to be seen and nobody will be there to collect the reports. Some of your comments in either survey implied similar concerns.

In that scenario, internet databases will continue to present an image of ever-increasing UFO activity. Of course, few if any of the reports would be filtered, followed up or explored.

For example, I just read a report of 5 cigar-shaped craft over Kansas. It has lightning flashing across the skies and the craft flying high-speed manoeuvres at 10:30pm. Neighbour comes out and all the photos are blank. Dramatic stuff...dubious too.

Strange days ahead. Thanks for posting your surveys, they are always thought-provoking, sober and considered. All the best.
Thanks, Kand! It's good to know someone is reading this stuff!
It amused me to see your post on UFO Updates today. Recently, a few grumpy UFO partisans complained that diabolical skeptics were promoting very low percentages of quality unsolved sightings. And there you were, sensible Canadian, reporting very low percentages of quality unsolved sightings.

True-believers and their silly framing techniques.

It is my honour to please you.

Although most debunkers and skeptics lambbaste me for being a "believer," the pro-UFO crowd tends to look at me as a debunker.

Maybe I'm too "zetetic."
Yes, it seems most of UFO and skeptical fandom look at everything from a partisan perspective.

There are several exceptions, but those people tend not to get cited or invited to speak anywhere.

The quest for certainty blinkers the mind.
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