Wednesday, November 28, 2012
On Chinese Lanterns reported as UFOs
There was an interesting case study on peoples’ observations and reporting of UFOs this month. There were 14 separate reports of numerous, orange objects flying over one specific city in southern Ontario, all on November 7, 2012. Such well-documented UFO flaps are relatively rare, and so the collection of UFO reports can give some insight into how people perceive and report observations of objects in the sky.
Most of the reports were emailed to Brian Vike’s UFO blog, The Vike Factor (http://canadaufo.blogspot.ca/). He had been posting the individual reports on his blog, and then received a tip about a probable explanation. Here’s what he wrote in his blog:
Orange Lights In The Sky Over Newmarket Ontario (40 Lanterns Released In Memory Of Ladies Son)
On November 7, 2012 between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. a lot of folks filed sighting reports over unknown orange/red lights that were seen in the evening sky over Newmarket, Ontario. This morning (Tuesday, November 13, 2012) I received an email from a nice lady informing me what folks saw that night, which were Chinese/Wish lanterns. 40 lanterns were released in memory of her son at Fairy Lake on November 7, 2012, she noted that it was magical.
Links to the 13 reports reported to Vike are given in the blog post. One additional report was found on Peter Davenport’s National UFO Reporting Centre: http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/094/S94232.html
After looking through the reports, there is no doubt that the witnesses probably were indeed seeing paper Chinese Lanterns sent up as part of a memorial service in the Newmarket, Ontario, area.
A good example of the reports is the following:
Red Lights In The Sky Over Newmarket Ontario
On November 7th, 2012 at approximately 7:00 p.m., in Newmarket Ontario Canada, I was driving home when my boyfriend called me and told me about the glowing red lights in the sky. He saw about 10-15 of them floating in a group in the sky (close together). When I pulled over to take a look, there were about 6 of them in the sky and they were bright red light, like a stop light. They were flying around, they were just floating in the northeast sky.
Most of the other reports had similar descriptions, with slight variations.
All of the reports matched the time of the lanterns’ release, between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm. All were of orange objects. All were observations of multiple objects.
Most witnesses said the objects were moving towards the North, with some saying they were going Northeast and some saying Northwest, although one report said the objects were heading South.
The number of observed objects is interesting to analyze. Although about 40 lanterns were sent aloft, only one witness reported anything close to this number, and that was someone who thought there were “approximately 100” objects. The average number of objects seen was bout 15. One possible explanation is that as the lanterns dispersed, some descended out of sight behind trees and buildings, and some certainly climbed high enough that they quickly became lost to sight. And, depending on the time of observation, many lanterns would have burned out after several minutes of release.
Another important point about the many reports of the same set of objects is that the blog posts did not refer to the objects as UFOs, where the public normally associates such observations with alien spacecraft. Admittedly, however, the blog is called “Canada UFO” so the sightings were reported with this in mind. Some of the witnesses said that the objects were completely mysterious and unexplainable. One, in fact, noted: “Never thought this day would come, but now I believe in UFO's and nobody can tell me otherwise. I know what I saw.” The implication is that what the witness observed was a truly anomalous craft (or crafts) of some kind. The question could be asked: “What, exactly, do you ‘know’ you saw?”
It is worthwhile commenting on the fact that following the release of a myriad of Chinese lanterns, many people observed and reported seeing lights moving together in the sky. This attests to the possibility that reports of UFOs likely reflect observations of “real” objects that are physically in the sky. This reinforces “experiments” by skeptics who have sent lighted balloons aloft and then waited for reports of “spaceships” to be filed. In other words, if a witness reports seeing a UFO, it is probable that there was in fact a stimulus to make him or her believe something was there.
A few videos of what Chinese Lanterns look like after launch can be found here:
and a multiple launch:
And, to be a true skeptic, one should also doubt the claim by the person who said that such a memorial service took place and that the Chinese lanterns actually existed. That, in itself, could be a hoax, designed as a “red herring” to throw UFO investigators off-track. Fortunately, the popular fad of launching Chinese lanterns to celebrate events is well-documented, and the claim is not improbable. Vike no doubt checked the details with the claimant before announcing the lantern explanation.
The Newmarket flap offers some insight into how flaps develop and how witnesses’ observations vary, especially with regard to actual objects known to have been in the sky.
The question is, if a witness reports a large, metallic, structured object at close range, instead of just distant, floating lights in the night sky, how does an understanding of witnesses’ observation capability effect the report in this instance?
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Poll on Canadians' views on UFOs
Also among the online copies of the MUFON UFO Journal is this article by me (which I had completely forgotten about).
MUFON UFO Journal
December 1997 Number 356
1997 Canadian poll suggests ten percent have seen UFO's
By Chris Rutkowski, UFOROM
A survey of Canadians regarding beliefs and attitudes towards the subject of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) was conducted by an independent research network. The results suggest that almost ten percent of all Canadians believe they have seen a UFO and that belief in the existence of extraterrestrial life is very high among the general population, confirming results from other surveys conducted by national and international professional polling organizations.
During August, 1997, Ufology Research of Manitoba (UFOROM) requested the assistance of independent, civilian UFO groups for a project surveying Canadians on their beliefs and attitudes concerning unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Participating groups were solicited on the basis of their record of investigation and active contribution to Canadian ufology. Participating groups were UFO*BC (Vancouver), Seekers (Brandon). UFOROM (Winnipeg), MUFON Ontario (Toronto) and SOS OVNI Quebec (Montreal). During a period of one week, Canadians were surveyed in five cities across the country. Surveys were conducted randomly either in person in public locations or by telephone. Each pollster used an identical set of questions. (A literal translation of the survey from English into French was used in Quebec.)
Survey results were collected and forwarded to UFOROM where each respondent's answers were coded and entered into a computer database. Data was entered in MicroSoft Access, then translated into Excel and later into a file readable by SPSS for Windows so that analyses could be performed.
A total of 167 respondents provided data for the survey. Age breakdown was a good cross-section of the populace, as follows:
Age Number Percent
Under 20 19 11.4
20-29 52 31.1
30-39 35 21.0
40-49 23 13.8
50+ 38 22.8
The number of respondents varied from city to city, as follows:
City Number Percent
Vancouver 20 12.0
Brandon 62 37.1
Winnipeg 50 29.9
Toronto 10 6.0
Montreal 25 15.0
The educational background of the respondents varied as follows:
Highest Level of Education Number Percent
Less than grade 12 32 19.3
Grade 12 83 50.0
First Degree/Diploma/Certificate 38 22.9
Second Degree 12 7.2
PhD 1 0.6
Gender distribution was very nearly equal:
Sex Number Percent
Female 80 47.9
Male 87 52.1
Survey Questions Related to UFOs
In response to the question: "Do you believe in the existence of life elsewhere in the universe?" people answered:
Not sure 9.0%
This overwhelming positive response suggests that most Canadians believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life.
This result is comparable to a 1996 Angus Reid poll which found that 70% of the Canadian population believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life. A 1985 Roper poll found only 41 % of the American population believed likewise. In response to the question: "Do you believe that some UFOs are alien spacecraft?" people answered:
Not sure 22.2%
The qualifier 'some' obviously created a problem for some respondents. Other polls have asked "Are UFOs real?" without qualifying "real" to respondents. In those studies, Roper (1985) found that 25% responded positively, whereas Gallup (1990) found 27% responded positively. It is thought that the qualifier affected the results. Yes, this survey suggests that more than half of the population believes aliens are presently visiting Earth. The big question of interest to ufologists was the query: "Have you ever seen a UFO?" In the present survey, the results were:
Not sure 6.0
Nearly one in ten Canadians believe they have seen UFOs. In terms of population, this translates into a
staggering 3 million Canadians who are UFO witnesses. While this seems high, it should be noted that according to studies of UFO data, only a small percentage of UFO reports remain unexplainable after investigation. In other words, the fact that a large number of people claim to have seen UFOs does not translate into a large number of actual "real" unknown objects seen. (And, it should be noted, an
unexplained UFO does not automatically mean that a spaceship was seen by a witness.)
This result compares very well with other polls. A 1978 Gallup poll found that 9% of the American population had seen UFOs, a 1985 Roper poll found 7% and a 1996 Newsweek poll found 12% had seen UFOs. But this question is even more useful with the accompanying question, asked of UFO witnesses: "Did you report the UFO to any civilian or government organization?" The responses to this confirm what has been suspected by ufologists for some time, namely, that most UFOs go unreported:
Not sure 6.3%
Only slightly over 12 per cent of UFO sightings are reported. This means that out of the 3 million which were seen by Canadians, only about 375,000 were officially reported. This is still a large number, but is easier to reconcile with the numbers of reports on file with various agencies.
For example, other studies of Canadian UFO data have found that an average of about 250 UFO reports are made each year. Knowing that only one in ten are reported, this means that 2500 sightings actually take place. Further, studies show that UFO sightings are most often witnessed by more than one person at a time.
This means that at least 5,000 people see UFOs each year. If we calculate that the living population of Canadians who have seen UFOs in their lifetimes is uniform each year (and assuming people only see UFOs once in their lifetimes), we can multiply the number of UFO witnesses each year by at least 50 years to give the number of living Canadians who have seen UFOs.
This figure is 250,000, only a factor of 12 smaller than the number calculated based on the percentage discerned through the poll. This is close enough to the reported values that we can suggest that the results of the poll reflect actual reporting characteristics in the country.
Another approach to UFO reporting was to ask people: "If you ever saw a UFO, to whom would you report it?" This question was asked specifically of people who said they had not seen a UFO, in order to understand how the issue of reporting would be approached should the opportunity arise. The answers are interesting in their trends and dispersion:
Reported to Percent
No one 14.4
UFO group 14.4
Not sure 14.4
Media/Many people 4.3
The results are arranged in order from a scale whereby witnesses are not comfortable with telling others about their sightings to an extreme where they tell anyone and everyone. The five most common responses are interesting, with nearly identical percentages: No one, a UFO group, Not sure, Police and Government. (Curiously, very few people said they would report UFOs to the military, implying, perhaps, that there is some distrust or uncertainty about that specific kind of authority.)
In Canada, "police" and "RCMP" are highly analogous, so we may be justified in combining the two categories to produce the largest group at 18%. This could be a concern, because there is no concerted effort or mandate for police or RCMP to investigate UFOs at this time. What would be done with the reports? Even worse is the number of people who would report UFOs to the government (16.5%). With a bit of thought, this avenue is quite unacceptable. The National Research Council of Canada ceased accepting UFO reports in 1995. At the present time, there is no official government body which is in any way interested in public UFO reports. This might pose a problem to those respondents if they were to ever actually see a UFO. The percentage of people who would not tell anyone about their UFO experience (14.4%) is at odds with that of people who have seen UFOs and admit they did not make an official report (81.3%). We can note that the actual witnessing of a UFO would cause most people to hesitate before reporting their sighting. Only 14.4% would actually report their sighting to a UFO group or organization. Obviously, this would depend on the witness knowing how to contact a group in his or her area.
When we correlate the results of this question with the age of respondents we find a strong relationship (p<.05). Older people tended toward reporting sightings to authorities such as police and government, whereas younger people would tend only to tell friends and family. This might suggest that
there is still some distrust of authority among younger adults.
Belief in a military or government cover-up also produced interesting results. "Do you believe there is a military or government cover-up regarding the existence of UFOs?"
Not sure 9.0%
More than half the population feel that information about UFOs is being withheld from the general public. This compares well with the Newsweek poll (1996) which found 49% of the American population believed there was a coverup. Finally, respondents were asked if anyone else in their families had seen UFOs.
Not sure 14.5%
The small percentage of positive responses suggests that UFO witnesses probably do not come from a family with a history of experiencing anomalous phenomena. This is a complex issue that could be explored by researchers in other studies.
A number of significant correlations were found between factors within the data. The capitalized titles are abbreviations used in coding and correlating the data. AGE was negatively correlated with COVER-UP (p=.007). This means that older people tended not to believe in a cover-up, but younger adults did. This is perhaps related to a generational difference in trust in government.
COVER-UP was also negatively correlated with EDUCATION (p=.032). People with greater education tended not to believe in a cover-up. AGE was very strongly negatively correlated with belief in
extraterrestrial life, THE (p=.000). Older people are very likely not to believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life, but younger adults almost certainly hold such a belief What is interesting is that a strong belief in THE is correlated strongly with belief in a COVER-UP (p=.000). It perhaps makes sense that if a person believes that there is life elsewhere in the universe, he or she might think the government or military would have this same knowledge and were withholding it because there is no open acceptance of this fact.
UFO ALIEN was negatively correlated with AGE (p=.000). Older Canadians were unwilling to accept that some UFOs were alien spacecraft. However, UFOALIEN was strongly correlated with
COVER-UP (p=.000). People who believe UFOs are alien spacecraft definitely think that there is a suppression of this knowledge. YES REPORT was correlated with COVER-UP (p=.018). This implies that people who have seen a UFO are more likely to believe there is a cover-up. This is probably because to their own satisfaction, UFOs exist, against denials of that fact by government and military organizations.
Only a weak correlation was found between EDUCATION and UFO ALIEN (p=.094). It has long been thought that there was a relationship between the amount of education and a belief in UFOs as alien spacecraft, but this was only slightly indicated.
Curiously, there was a significant correlation found between gender and the question of others in a witness' family who have seen a UFO. For unknown reasons, more women than men reported that others in their families had seen UFOs (p=.006). At present, we have no way of interpreting this with confidence, other than by noting that women may tend to know more than men about matters within their families.
Highlights of the Survey
Based on survey data:
- 78 % of Canadians believe in the existence of life elsewhere in the universe.
- 52.1 % of Canadians believe that some UFOs are alien spacecraft.
- 9.6% of Canadians believe they have seen UFOs.
- Only 12.5% of these reported their sightings to a civilian or government organization.
- More than one-third (18% + 16.5 %) of Canadians said that they would report any UFO to the police, RCMP or the government.
- Only 14.4% would report it to a UFO organization devoted to the investigation of such phenomena.
- 57.5% of Canadians believe there is a military or government cover-up of information regarding UFOs.
- Older people are more likely than young adults not to believe in a cover-up, and tend not to believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life or that some UFOs are alien spacecraft.
- People who think UFOs are alien spacecraft tend to think that there is a cover-up.
- People with higher education tend not to believe in a UFO cover-up.
This was a preliminary study which attempted to coordinate Canadian UFO-related organizations in a national research project. Although UFO groups tend to function independently, a pooling of resources has always been considered as a possibility for research projects. In the past, however, sharing of information and coordinated efforts have not been entirely successful. The results of the present study may pave the way for future cooperative ventures in scientific ufology. The survey had a number of limitations which likely affected its results. First and foremost, the small sample size and uneven representation across the country may have caused biases to enter into the data. Future surveys and polls will have to address this problem. A second issue was raised because of the independent nature of ufology itself. Each of the participating groups may have used slightly different methods in selecting respondents, and randomness may have been compromised as a result. Another factor is that polling generally took place in metropolitan centers and may not reflect geographic and demographic differences from coast to coast. Maritime Canada was not represented, and neither were the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and the North. Although polling may have covered most of the primary population centers in Canada, it is possible that there would be major differences in respondents if all provinces and territories were included. However, the logistical problems in acquiring data from remote regions and provinces without organized UFO groups for human resources are not insignificant. Yet we must note that the quality of information obtained in this pilot study may indicate that such a major effort is warranted and should be explored.
Without the active participation of independent UFO groups, this study would have been impossible. Appreciation is given to the groups: UFO*BC (Vancouver), Seekers (Brandon), UFOROM (Winnipeg), MUFON Ontario (Toronto) and SOS OVNI Quebec (Montreal). Individual thanks go to Dave Pengilly, Gavin McLeod, Graham Conway, Bill Oliver, Brian Fidler, Dave Creighton, Steve Hladkyj, Errol Bruce-Knapp, Sue Kovios, Tom Theofanous, Victor Viggaini, Drew Williamson, Victor Lorenco, Jacques
Poulet and Riccardo Melfi.
Angus Reid/Southam News Poll (1996). Canadians on the possible existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Released Sept. 10,1996.
Durant, Robert (1997). Public opinion polls and UFOs. In: UFO 1947-1997. Fifty years of flying saucers. London: Fortean Times.
ReutersVariety News Poll (1996). Nearly half of all Americans think the government is hiding proof of UFOs from the public. Released July 1, 1996.
Canadian Ufology in 1987
Now that more and more ufozines are being scanned and made available digitally and online, some gems are being rediscovered. I've noted on Facebook that all the back issue of OMNI Magazine are now available online, including those with articles quoting or noting me. (https://archive.org/details/omni-magazine) But which ones they are, I have no idea.
Other articles of note popped out while searching for other things. Here's one from the MUFON UFO Journal, October 1987, by Stanton Friedman, on the state of Canadian UFO investigations and research at that time.
By Stanton T. Friedman
Stanton Friedman is a well-known UFO researcher and nuclear physicist.
Canada has had many reports of UFO sightings, several UFO groups, at least two official government sponsored investigative bodies and has also managed to cover up significant UFO information. The Access to Information law has been used to obtain a good deal of data though much more about what government has been doing has apparently been hidden or destroyed. Public interest in a scientific approach appears to be strong. The National Research Council file of a few thousand reports is ripe for detailed investigation by serious researchers able to devote considerable time and effort to the pursuit of more information since the NRC itself has done essentially no investigation of "nonmeteor" sightings.
It is not surprising that many aspects of ufology in Canada are quite similar to those in other countries.
There have been Canadian sightings, landings, physical trace cases and radar observations. Canadians have been abucted. The Canadian government has kept much information classified and misrepresented the facts of its activities to the public. A number of courageous investigators have dug into Canadian sightings and some cultist and amateur groups have flourished and died off.
As an American (my wife is a Canadian) living in Canada since 1980 and having visited Canada since 1965, I am aware that many Americans think of Canada as being just like the USA but further north. The languages of the two counties are (leaving out Quebec) generally the same. But there are some very important differences that have a bearing on the UFO question:
1) Canada covers a larger land area than the USA (actually second only to the USSR) but has a population only 1/10th that of the USA and most of that is in a narrow band within 200 miles of the US border. Winters are long and harsh. The number of people per square mile available to observe UFOs is thus greatly reduced compared with Europe, Asia, the USA etc.
2) Canada has a much smaller military presence than does the USA and the rest of the NATO alliance.
3) Canada did not, until the past 5 years, have anything even close to a Freedom of Information Act. Access to Information is new and does work ($5 per request), but there are many exemptions. Because much of Canada's cultural and political heritage is from the UK, not from the USA, there is much more of a Government-knows-best attitude than in the USA.
4) Canadians, in general, have far more respect for authorities, especially for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police than do Americans. The extensive but very incomplete National Research Council UFO files have very little contamination with what might be described as kook reports. RCMP investigators frequently were involved and people here usually (if not involved in crime) do not lie to the RCMP, and don't think of police as "pigs." Military people are respected and usually are careerists rather than short termers.
5) Because of the great size of the country and the weather, it is comparatively more difficult to have well-organized investigative groups.
On a personal basis, having lectured at dozens of campuses (some 3 times) and to many other groups in 8 of the 10 Canadian provinces and appeared on many radio and TV programs, I can say that there is a great deal of interest in a scientific approach to the UFO problem, coupled as would be expected with a general lack of awareness of the mountain of work done by investigators and organizations such as MUFON. I have had many overflow crowds at my lectures and many columns of favorable newspaper coverage.
I have also had my trouble with the major newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail, and with Phil Klass's noisy negativist associate, Henry Gordon, who did three separate columns on me in the Toronto Star (Ref. 1), each one loaded with misrepresentations, as one might perhaps expect from a magician member of the self-annointed Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. At least the Star published portions of two letters in response to the misinformation in Gordon's columns and has carried a large overview article. The Globe and Mail actually lied to the Ontario Press Council which did give me a hearing in my complaint about false statements in a summary front page G&M article. The OPC found against me, however, with 2 of their three counts being demonstrably false. It reminded me of the strong anti-UFO attitude of the Los Angeles Times for many years, a sort of "Don't bother us with the facts: Our mind is made up. If there were anything to UFOs, we would know about it. We don't know any such thing, and anybody who says there is something to UFOs is some kind of a nut."
There were sightings in Canada in 1947 as well as much earlier and have been ever since. Of the 853 UFO sightings reported in Ted Bloecher's compilation, "Report of the UFO Wave of 1947," from June and July 1947, 18 were of Canadian origin as observed by a total of 52 witnesses. Judging by other efforts to expand Bloecher's compilation, there were many more cases reported in local newspapers but not collected by Bloecher. There were at least 2 publicly acknowledged official investigative efforts: Project Magnet and Project Second Story. A key figure in both was Department of Transport Engineer, Wilbert B. Smith. I never met Smith prior to his untimely death of a brain tumor in the early 1960s, but I have communicated with his wife and met his son and talked to many people who knew him. Also, Arthur Bray has been kind enough to provide copies of a number of items from Smith's files.
As with the great majority of Canadian research activities, Smith's work was very much on a shoestring budget. Since an excellent overview of the UFO situation in Canada is presented in the book by Bondarchuk (Ref. 2), I will not duplicate the information he provides. Smith was clearly a serious professional who was awarded Canada's highest broadcasting engineering award, often visited the USA and knew Donald Keyhoe of NICAP and Frank Edwards, as well as having had through the Canadian Embassy an association with Vannevar Bush, who apparently was the key figure in the top secret US UFO effort after the Roswell Incident (Ref. 3,4) in July, 1947.
Bush also had headed the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II as a kind of Science and Technology Czar, having established the Manhattan Project as well as a myriad of other joint military-industry-university technology projects aimed at winning the war. He also organized and was the first head of the postwar Joint Research and Development Board (JRDB) which later became the RDB, served on the War Council, had headed prewar the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA which later became the NASA), had very close ties to James Forrestal, first head of the Department of Defense, and many meetings with presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. His association with MJ-12 member Donald Menzel goes back to 1934, and Bush was Menzel's staunchest defender at Loyalty Hearings held in May 1950.
I have elsewhere (Ref. 5) quoted the startling statements from Smith's 3-page Top Secret memo “Geomagnetics," discovered by Canadian Research Mr. X (legal name for a most unusual researcher, sort of a Canadian Charles Fort), but will repeat the key comments here (November 21, 1950): "I made discreet enquiries through the Canadian Embassy staff in Washington who were able to obtain for me the following information:
a) The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States Government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.
b) Flying saucers exist.
c) Their modus operand! Is unknown but concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by Dr. Vannevar Bush.
d) The entire matter is considered by the United States authorities to be of tremendous significance.
Some sceptics have tried to pass Smith off as a kook because of his interest in paranormal phenomena, apparently not knowing that there is quite a file of supporting material, especially classified correspondence with Arnauld Wright and Gordon Cox and other Canadian Government employees. Also I managed to have released under Access to Information the files of the Defense Research Board... roughly the equivalent (on a much much smaller scale) of the US Research and Development Board which was the evolutionary remnant of the Joint Research and Development Board. The DRB had established a committee on UFOs which met on a number of occasions in classified session, strangely at the same time the public was being told that nothing official was being done and that Wilbert Smith's activities were just a hobby as part of his membership in NICAP!! The 300 page DBR file is not for the most part of very great excitement, including newspaper articles and letters in response to public inquiries. It also however, includes a 1.5 page summary of government UFO involvement, dated October 1958. Here are some very provocative items from that history:
E.A. Bernard (Confidential - declassified May 25, 1984)
Defense Research Board.
1. Past History
U.S. "Project Saucer" was completed about 1950 and it was found desirable to solicit Canadian reports. At the 220th meeting of the JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) on the 12, April, 1950, UFOs were discussed and the following decisions were reached:
a) DSI (Directorate of Scientific Intelligence) and DAI (Directorate of Air Intelligence) were to collaborate in preparing a questionnaire to be distributed to field intelligence officers of the three services and the RCMP.
b) DAI is to coordinate the investigation arrangements in the field.
c) All field reports were to be passed to DSI for official examination on behalf of DND (Department of National Defense).
2. Action by DRB/DSI
A tabular record of reports of sightings dating back to 1954...is kept in this office and is classified SECRET. The last entry is a sighting of 8th June 1956. A file is also kept here which contains a multitude of press articles, sightings, etc. DRB file 3800-10-1-1 (3 vols.) contains a large number of sighting reports dating back to 1947. The last report in the DAI files was dated July 1958. DAI did not appear to be aware of earlier policy as explained in paragraphs 2 and 3 above.
I naturally filed an Access to Information request for the specific items noted. The response, which was
prompt, was also very disappointing since it stated that copies of all these items had all been destroyed. From my own background of 14 years work with classified documents I simply do not believe that these were the only copies but have no way of establishing where the others are, though I am still working on it.
I located some of the individuals listed as attending the meetings. A couple of people responded that so far as they were concerned the information was still covered by the Official Secrets act and refused to say any more. I did manage to locate and meet with Dr. Omand Solandt who was the first Chairman of the DRB and sort of the Vannevar Bush of Canada...though much younger. He recalled Wilbert Smith, but denied knowing that there was really a huge U.S. coverup. He serves still on many committees and keeps very busy in retirement. He was not interested in getting back into the UFO controversy.
The National Research Council has had an important and unusual involvement in UFOs since the mid-1960s after Smith's death. On the one hand it has been the official collection agency for public reports and had received thousands from the military, the police, and the general public. However, unlike the U.S. Project-Blue Book, it has had a very low public profile and does practically no investigations on its own. Each report is given a number and filed chronologically on file cards maintained in a small office. One can view the files, usually by appointment, but cannot make copies though notes can be taken. Since about 5 years ago thanks to the efforts of Mr. X and some effort on my part the early files were transferred to the Public Archives and put on microfilm. Each year the 100-200-cases received the previous year are added to the Archives collection where they can be viewed and hard copies made. These are crying out for investigation.
Essentially the only effort made by the NRC is to subdivide into "meteor" and "non meteor" categories. The NRC is interested in the meteor reports and follows up on them in the interest of science. They do nothing about the non-meteors which are, of course, of far more interest to ufologists. There is no cross filing geography, type of report, whether radar is involved or a landing occurred etc. Two NRC people, Dr. Peter Millman an astronomer and Dr. MacNamara have made public antiUFO statements. There are no classified sightings in the NRC files though it is clear that the Canadian side of the North American Air Defence Command does make radar observations and does report to HQ NORAD per the terms of JANAP-146 and its successor regulations. There are still in place regulations for military and civilian pilots to make reports of unknown aerial objects, unknown missiles, unknown aircraft, etc.
My first contact with Canadian Ufology was way back in 1968 when William K. Allen a teacher of physics in Calgary had the courage to bring me in to speak at the Jubilee Auditorium. Bill kept me busy with the media and we had a crowd of 1200 paying attendees. The profit went to help' Bill's group "UFO Anonymous" put out an excellent LP record which included both sounds of UFOs and interviews with witnesses including commercial pilots. Bill is retired and living in Kelowna, B.C. and has done a great deal through the media to make the study of UFOs respectable.
John Musgrave had the courage to apply for and accept a grant from the Canada Council to study UFO abductions and toured all over North America in his quest. I was very disappointed in his final report (Ref. 6) and never could understand why it was so negative and in places inaccurate until April, 1987 when John was involved in the CBC TV Man Alive program "The ET Connection." The program which set new standards for careful advance research thanks to Director-Producer David Cherniack, focused on abductions. It turns out John may himself have had an abduction experience when young and seems to be fighting dealing with it at all by trying to pass it and other abduction experiences off as dreams. Apparently if he admits that other actual abductions have occurred, he would have to face up to his own which apparently is too difficult...sort of a classic case of denial. John heads a small group in Edmonton, Alberta.
Arthur Bray of Ottawa, has published two books on UFOs, is an ex-officer and has managed to obtain a portion of the files of Wilbert Smith. Because of his input at the Toronto MUFON Conference in 1982, I was put on to Dr. Robert Sarbacher whom I was able to locate in Florida, and to visit. Sarbacher was a quite remarkable scientist who served on a number of wartime and post war research committees and was the source of some of Smith's comments about UFOs as quoted above, according to Smith's handwritten notes after the meeting. Sarbacher was a boy genius according to a Saturday Evening Post
article and made major contributions to the technical side of winning World War II...I don't know why Arthur hadn't looked for him. His yacht in Palm Beach, Florida, was quite impressive and he was in the phone book as well as in various professional directories.
Still active in Canada are people such as Chris Rutkowski of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and employed by the University of Manitoba. Chris publishes The Swamp Gas Journal and has compiled an extensive computerized file of hundreds of Manitoba UFO sightings. He has been involved in various research projects concerned with observations from satellites. Gene Duplantier of Toronto has been a long time distributor of UFO publications. John Magor of British Columbia published a Canadian UFO report for several years and has written at least one book. David Haisell of the Toronto area has also written a book and was an active investigator for several years. There are still active UFO groups in Toronto and Waterloo and Stratford, all in Ontario. Dr. Don Donderi is a Professor of Psychology at prestigious McGill University in Montreal and was very active in UFO Quebec as well as courageous enough to introduce me at 2 of my overflow McGill lectures.
1. Friedman, Stanton T. "Flying Saucers, Noisy Negatiuists, and Truth" Paper presented at 1985
MUFON Symposium, St. Louis, Missouri, 15 Pages. $2.00 postpaid from UFOR1, POB 3584, Fredericton, NB Canada E3B 5J8.
2. Bondarchuk, Yurko "UFO Canada" Signet Book, New American Library of Canada Limited, Scarborough, Ontario, Paperback, May 1981 $2.95, forward by Stanton T. Friedman, 198 pages.
3. Moore, W.L, and Berlitz, C. "The Roswell Incident" 1980 Grosset and Dunlap, New York, 168 pages.
4. Moore, W.L. "Crashed Saucers: Evidence in Search of Proof Paper presented at MUFON 1985 Symposium, St. Louis, Missouri, 49 pages, $5.00 from UFORI.
5. Friedman, Stanton T. "The Cosmic Watergate" 1981, 18 pages $2.00 from UFORI.
6. Musgrave, John B. "UFO Occupants and Critters, The Patterns in Canada" 1979, Global Communications, 303 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1306, NY, NY 10016 66 pages, Lists 90 Canadian
Sunday, November 04, 2012
More books and stuff added to the collection
This summer, I traveled to several conventions and conferences with a “Paranormal” theme. Unfortunately, the dealers’ rooms at each of them were very enticing, and I ended up adding considerably to my collection of UFO-related books and materials. Ufology can be a very expensive field of study. I post this list on my blog to show that the phenomenon is very complex and still evolving, with new material coming out every year, but also that there's a history behind some of the ideas that are being promulgated today.
In no particular order, the following were added to my library:
13 individual issues of Fate Magazine, between 2005 and 2011. Editor-in-chief Phyllis Galde was at the Paradigm Symposium, and when Erich von Daniken was late for an interview for the magazine, I was asked to do a quick interview before he arrived. Not sure when it’s going to appear, or where. But the Fate display at the con was impressive, with dozens of past issues and books for purchase. I was compelled to oblige.
Danelek, J. Allan. (2010). UFOs: The Great Debate. Llewellyn: Woodbury, Minnesota.
Sanchez, Anthony F. (2011). UFO Highway. Strange Lights Publishing: Rocklin, CA. [Autographed by the author. Gave a very interesting talk.]
Hanks, Micah A. (2010). Magic, Mysticism and the Molecule. Grailien Report: Asheville, NC. [Personally autographed by the author. Micah was a fine host and did an amazing job (with Scotty) of planning and running a remarkable first-of-its-kind conference.]
Scranton, Laird. (2012). The Velikovsky Heresies. Bear & Co: Toronto, Ontario. [Personally autographed by author. Nice guy. Gave a good overview of the whole Velikovsky thing.]
Godwin, David, ed. (2011). True UFO Accounts From the Vaults of Fate Magazine. Llewellyn: Woodbury, MN.
Galde, Phyllis, ed. (2005). Fate Presents: UFO Special. Fate: Lakeville, MN. [Even though I’m not included in Fate’s list of the “Top 100” ufologists, but they included Billy Meier and Steven Spielberg. Maybe it was just as well I wasn’t in the list. Go figure.]
Von Däniken, Erich. (1971). Chariots of the Gods? Bantam: New York. [I think this was the first UFO-related book that I bought with my own money, when I was just 12 or 13. This is the original paperback, when I met von Däniken at the Paradigm Symposium, he signed it for me. Awesome.]
Von Däniken, Erich. (1999). Chariots of the Gods. Berkley: New York. [He signed this later edition, too. It’s interesting that the “?” has been dropped in the title. This edition has some newer material.]
Von Däniken, Erich. (1974). The Gold of the Gods. Bantam: New York. [He signed this one too.]
Redfern, Nick. (2005). Body Snatchers in the Desert. Paraview Pocket Books: Toronto. [Hung out with Nick at the Symposium Cocktail Reception. Later, he personally autographed some of his books, including this one.]
Redfern, Nick. (2012). The World’s Weirdest Places. New Page: Pompton Plains, NJ. [personally autographed by author]
Hall, Michael David. (1999). UFOs: A Century of Sightings. Galde Press: Lakeville, MN.
Hanks, M. and Roberts, S. (2012). INTREPIDmag: The Paradigm Symposium 2012. [no publisher noted].
Friedman, Stanton T. (2004). Are Flying Saucers Real? [DVD]. UFORI: Houlton, ME.
Feschino, Frank C., Jr. (2012). The Braxton County Monster. [Revised Edition]. Lulu Enterprises. [autographed by Stanton Friedman]
Ramsey, Scott, et al. (2011). The Aztec Incident. Aztec.48 Productions: Mooresville, NC. [autographed by Ramsey, Ramsey and Friedman]
COMETA. (1999). UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For? G.S. Presse Communication: Levallois-Peret, France. [Yes, the infamous COMETA Report]
Howe, Linda Moulton. (1998). Glimpses of Other Realities. Volume 2: High Strangeness. Paper Chase Press: New Orleans, LA. [This was already in my collection, but I brought it for Linda to sign; personally autographed by author]
Weatherly, David. (2012). The Black-Eyed Children. Leprechaun Press: Arizona. [First book about a creepy new paranormal phenomenon; autographed by the author]