Tuesday, November 06, 2012
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
your article fanttastic. thanks in informahie.....Post a Comment
Sky Lights Bangalore
Sky Lights Bangalore