Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 

Whither Galileo?


Many UFO/UAP fans have posted details of the news conference that Avi Loeb held announcing the Galileo Project based at Harvard. It seems to be a good step towards a situation where the the scientific community can be contributing its collective knowledge towards understanding the UFO/UAP phenomenon.

It raises some important questions, however. For example, one “activity” listed in the GP documentation is photographing UAPs using “a network of mid-sized, high-resolution telescopes and detector arrays with suitable cameras and computer systems, distributed in select locations.”

This is a lot easier said than done. Anyone who has been into ufology for any length of time knows that photos of UFOs leave a lot to be desired, if they can be obtained at all. But apart from that, which “mid-sized” telescopes are we talking about? Certainly larger than the typical C-8 or C-14 in amateur astronomers’ backyard observatories. (The GP mentions telescopes with a 36-inch aperture or better.) Also, telescopes are woefully inadequatefor imaging objects moving within a local frame of reference. At most, we might expect a camera to catch a trailed image of some kind.

[Back in 2009, I noted earlier astronomical research devoted to UAPs (even called that back then!):

...a group calling itself UAP Reporting (uapreporting.org)... (sent out a news release). What was most remarkable is that the release announced the opening of a website where astronomers could report sightings of Unidentified Aerosapce Phenomena (UAPs).

As many ufologists will know, UAP is a term used in place of UFO by some scientists who don't want to call them UFOs because of the stigma associated with it. (Actually, UAP originally has stood for Unidentified or Unusual Aerial Phenomena, but we can go with Aerospace if they really want. See: http://www.susanrennison.com/Index_Joyfire_UAP_Index.htm)

Anyway, the website is the brainchild of Philippe Ailleris, a Dutch financial officer working for the Euopean Space Agency. An amateur astronomer, he has been quietly presenting papers at astronomical conferences on SETI and topics related to UFOs.

Ailleris cites the 1976 study by Peter Sturrock on professional astronomers' UFO sightings (in this case a revision published in 1994) and also the reports on the Hessdalen lights over the past few decades. He doesn't note (or is aware of) the Gert Herb report on amateur astronomers' sightings. (http//www.rasc.ca/publications/nationalnewsletter/nn-1981-02.pdf, page 12)

The Galileo Project also mentions “select locations” This probably means “UFO Hotspots,” which as Cheryl Costa has pointed out many times, are not as cut-and-dried or as simple to identify. Sedona? Near Area 51? Catalina? Installing these high-resolution cameras in remote locations may not be easy.


The rest of the stated activities mostly revolve around examining all-sky surveys for anomalous objects within our Solar System, and using the Vera Rubin Observatory on Kitt Peak to search for alien microsatellites in orbit above Earth.

It’s good that the GP has generous donors, because none of this will come cheap. Buying time on “very sophisticated large telescopes on Earth” is going to drain bank accounts, and the operator time alone will be considerable. This is a long-term, expensive proposition.

The other interesting thing about the GP is that while many UFO/UAP fans have expressed excitement about the project, it really has little to do with UAP as most people define the term. Nowhere does the GP website mention anything about the UFO reports that continue to be filed every day around the world, nor is there anything about examining existing databases or documents concerning UAP that have been observed in the past 75 years.

The GP does not mention previous scientific studies of UFO/UAP cases, most notably the Condon Report. Nor is there any mention of the many peer-reviewed scientific papers that have been published on the subject throughout the decades (even those by Ailleris). There's also the scientific discourse published in the many issues of the Journal of UFO Studies. And the analyses of the SCU. It almost seems like there is a desire to reinvent the wheel.

Don't get me wrong; it’s great that a group of scientists are planning on taking the subject of UAP seriously, and have even acquired independent funding for their research. I would hope that some take the opportunity to investigate UAP reports personally, and interview witnesses, and collect data on cases as they are reported

Or maybe that’s up to ufologists.

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Saturday, June 26, 2021

 

When does "Unexplained" not mean "Unexplained?" - Reading that darned UAP Report...

 

What does the Pentagon’s UAP Report really say?

A lot has been written about the brief but fascinating Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena released late on Friday, June 25, 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) of the US Department of Defense.


Hardcore skeptics and debunkers are pointing out that the Report does not mention aliens or extraterrestrial spacecraft as possibilities in evaluating the UAPs. In fact, it avoids that suggestion like the plague.

Ardent UFO zealots, on the other hand, read the Report as saying that UAPs are physical objects that for the most part have no explanation. That leaves the door open to the possibility of alien technology, since the Report also notes that the UAPs investigated don’t seem to be either American or foreign technology.

But what does the report actually say on all these points? What details can we glean from its meagre nine pages of information?

First, some media outlets and UFO experts are noting that only 144 cases were evaluated for the Report, and of those, only one had an explanation:

We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained. (p.5)

That’s a very significant detail, with almost all cases having no explanation!

But this detail was repeated a few pages later, with a slight but significant change in wording:

With the exception of the one instance where we determined with high confidence that the reported UAP was airborne clutter, specifically a deflating balloon, we currently lack sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations. (p.5)

There is a big difference between saying 143 cases have no explanation and saying there’s not enough information to definitively explain them as specific objects or things.

The second interesting thing to note is that the Report looked at cases reported during a very small window of time.

The dataset described in this report is currently limited primarily to U.S. Government reporting of incidents occurring from November 2004 to March 2021. (p.2)

More specifically:

… the UAPTF concentrated its review on reports that occurred between 2004 and 2021, the majority of which are a result of this new tailored process to better capture UAP events through formalized reporting. (p.3)

This “tailored process” is quite important, because it didn’t exist until 2019!

            No standardized reporting mechanism existed until the Navy established one in March 2019. (p.4)

And further:

The Air Force subsequently adopted that mechanism in November 2020… (p.4)

This meant that the Report was very limited in scope:

These reports describe incidents that occurred between 2004 and 2021, with the majority coming in the last two years as the new reporting mechanism became better known to the military aviation community. (p.4)

What this means is that nearly all of the only 144 cases that were examined for the Report came from a very small time period between March 2019 and (presumably) June 2021, perhaps only two years.

It’s worse than that.

… the USAF began a six-month pilot program in November 2020 to collect in the most likely areas to encounter UAP… (p.7)

So the Air Force only looked at reports from between November 2020 and April 2021 as data for the UAPTF Report, and even then, only from certain unspecified locations. We can only speculate that these were near military installations, and near operational theaters.

And from whom did these cases come?

…the UAPTF focused on reports that involved UAP largely witnessed firsthand by military aviators and that were collected from systems we considered to be reliable. (p.4)

So this means that a rather remarkable 144 UAP reports were submitted to the Navy and Air Force by military personnel (mostly pilots) during only the past few years, with possibly a few exceptions.

This should be of concern, and it is. That implies that at least once a week, American military pilots are seeing and reporting unidentified aerial phenomena.

And what of the sightings themselves? The unclassified version of the Report that was made available does not mention any case specifically, save the “deflated balloon,” and even on that one we have no details as to where or when it was seen, or under what conditions.

The Report offers a few curious tidbits, however.

 80 reports involved observation with multiple sensors. (p.4)

 These “multiple sensors” are laid out earlier in the Report:

            … a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation. (p.3)

Well that’s something. Eighty cases had at least two methods of observation, such as both radar and visual, or tracked by weaponry, although the phrasing could be interpreted to allow for simply two different visual observations of the same object.

Then there’s this:

And a Handful of UAP Appear to Demonstrate Advanced Technology:

In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics. (p.5)

First of all, the UAP Task Force seems to have large hands, as 18 is more than a typical handful. Secondly, these 18 UAPs moved in such a way as to seem unlike ordinary craft. But only 18 out of 144, so that the vast majority of UAPs did not seem to have abnormal movement compared with conventional objects.

Furthermore, some cases involved the same object. In other words, a UAP was seen by multiple witnesses (or sensors) and reported independently. This is also significant because it means that at least there were three reports of the same object, bringing the actual number of UAPs included in the Report down to 141. One can ask if this was the situation with others as well. Only an examination of the full, unclassified version of the Report can shed light on this.

And finally:

The UAPTF holds a small amount of data that appear to show UAP demonstrating acceleration or a degree of signature management. (p.5)

In other words, only a fraction of the total number of cases have UAPs that move in such a way as to defy explanation. This seems more manageable in terms of data analyses.

Okay, then, what about the reports themselves? What do they look like?

The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP. (p.3)

Right in the Executive Summary, the Pentagon cautions that the Report has its problems. Most UAP reports are incomplete or inadequate. This isn’t at all surprising, given that formal reporting by military personnel only has a reporting process recently, and we have no idea what that looks like.

This also echoes the problems with Project Blue Book, the original UFO investigation program by the Pentagon (that most people, including those on the UAPTF, seem to have forgotten or are ignoring). Even though Blue Book involved hundreds of UFO sightings by military personnel, many reports were judged to have insufficient or inadequate information for evaluation, despite a formalized reporting process.

And actually, that’s why I will now point to the Canadian UFO Survey.

The Survey has four categories of conclusions regarding UFO reports. Two are most obvious: Explained and Unexplained. But there are two additional categories that we have been using to classify UFO reports: Possible/Probable Explanation and Insufficient Information. These comprise the bulk of UFO reports in the Survey every year.

Possible/Probable Explanation is used if the description of the observed UFO fits well with a prosaic explanation or a conventional object.

Insufficient Information is used if there is information lacking that could help identify the UFO. A lack of a definite date or location is insufficient information, for example.

(http://www.canadianuforeport.com/survey/essay/2020surveyessayv3.pdf)

Typically, the yearly breakdown in Canada has been something like: 2% Explained, 20% Insufficient Evidence, 68% Possible Explanation (for a combined percentage of about 88%), and 10% Unexplained. From what we know from the UAP Report, they had 0.7% Explained, something like 87% Insufficient Information or Possible Explanation, and 12.5% Unexplained.

Not bad, for a ballpark comparison.

If a UFO report has characteristics of, say, a drone, but the specific drone cannot be located or the operator can’t be identified positively, the report is not completely explained, but we suspect it may have a conventional explanation.

And if a report is submitted but the date or time of observation is not precisely given or known, then there isn’t full enough information to evaluate the case.

And that’s what’s missing in the UAPTF Report. It appears as though they were considering only two options: Explained or Unexplained, without allowing for any “grey basket” (as ufologist Stanton Friedman called it). No wiggle room.

They note this situation exactly, as noted earlier:

With the exception of the one instance where we determined with high confidence that the reported UAP was airborne clutter, specifically a deflating balloon, we currently lack sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations. (p.5)

What were these other explanations?

Our analysis of the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved they will fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall “other” bin. (p.5)

“Airborne clutter” meant “birds, balloons, recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or airborne debris like plastic bags,” and “natural phenomena” include sundogs and moisture-laden clouds that can be detected on radar.

Then there’s this one:

USG or Industry Developmental Programs: Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however, that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected. (p.5)

In other words, some UAP reports could be of classified American craft or devices. UFO fans note correctly that the Pentagon should know if an observed object seen by its own military personnel was one of “ours.” And indeed, the Report states that it could not get confirmation that any UAPs were secret American projects.

(Because, presumably, they might have been secret, and not simply “classified.” In fact, in an unclassified report, it would be unlikely that any information on secret programs would be provided.)

Similarly, UAPs don’t seem to be craft or vehicles belonging to China or Russia. That we know of.

And then there’s the “catchall ‘other’ bin”:

Although most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis, we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize some of them. We would group such objects in this category pending scientific advances that allowed us to better understand them. (p.6)

First, note the reaffirmation that most UAPs are unidentified because of a lack of data or information. But then the sentence goes on to note that some cases might need “additional scientific knowledge” to understand them.

What the heck does that mean? This is a phrase that many UFO fans and experts are pointing to as proof that notable cases such as the “Tic Tac” and the “Go Fast” involve craft that seem to break the laws of flight and physics. They seem to move in and out of water, accelerate but don’t make sonic booms, and so forth.

But do they? We simply won’t know until we get more information.

What else do we know about the UAP reports?

There’s this:

… there was some clustering of UAP observations regarding shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion. (p.5)

Again, we don’t have the data so it’s hard to understand what this means. But varying shapes of UFOs have been recorded for decades, and there are some shapes that seem more common than others. Similarly, with sizes. (See, for example, the Canadian UFO Survey statistics.)

The “propulsion” observation likely means that the witness did not see an visible means of propulsion for the UAP, which is almost universal (pardon the pun).

UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds… (p.5)

Of course they did. Most reports were from military pilots.

One of the most significant parts of the Report was in bold capital letters: UAP THREATEN FLIGHT SAFETY AND, POSSIBLY, NATIONAL SECURITY. (p.6)

That almost didn’t need the emphasis. If UAP are being seen by military personnel in and around military installations or bases, and if there’s no explanation for some of the objects seen, then that’s obviously of concern.

The Report states in no uncertain terms:

UAP pose a hazard to safety of flight and could pose a broader danger if some instances represent sophisticated collection against U.S. military activities by a foreign government or demonstrate a breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary. (p.6)

If UAPs are flying circles around jet fighters, then that’s a problem.

Okay, so what happens when a pilot does see something? What does he or she do about it?

When aviators encounter safety hazards, they are required to report these concerns. (p.6)

Indeed, pilots are required to report UAPs (and UFOs), according to flight regulations. In Canada, this directive is found in NAV Canada instructions on CIRVIS reporting, under Transport Canada regulations:

1.14.2.1 CIRVIS Reports – Vital Intelligence Sightings

Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS) reports should be made immediately upon a vital intelligence sighting of any airborne and ground objects or activities that appear to be hostile, suspicious, unidentified or engaged in possible illegal smuggling activity. Examples of events requiring CIRVIS reports are: unidentified flying objects…

https://www.navcanada.ca/en/2enr_eng_17_june_2021.pdf

(Yes, the term unidentified flying object (UFO) is actually used in Canada, not UAP.)

Okay, so pilots are supposed to report UAPs, but the UAP Report acknowledges that they might not be believed, and one challenge in studying UAPs is that:

Narratives from aviators in the operational community and analysts from the military and IC describe disparagement associated with observing UAP, reporting it, or attempting to discuss it with colleagues. Although the effects of these stigmas have lessened as senior members of the scientific, policy, military, and intelligence communities engage on the topic seriously in public, reputational risk may keep many observers silent, complicating scientific pursuit of the topic. (p.4)

The Report goes on to note ways in which it is hoping to overcome witness reporting hesitancy, including by working with the FAA to reach out to pilots who might have seen UAPs.

The FAA has its own way of gathering UAP data, analogous to the Transport Canada and NAV Canada:

The FAA captures data related to UAP during the normal course of managing air traffic operations. The FAA generally ingests this data when pilots and other airspace users report unusual or unexpected events to the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. (p.7)

But by acknowledging that serious UFO research by members of the scientific community has helped lessen the “stigma” of UAP reporting, the Report suggests that civilian UFO research is having an impact on concerted studies in this field.

This of course leads to the obvious question of who will be paying for UAP studies by scientists. The Report offers this in its final paragraph:

The UAPTF has indicated that additional funding for research and development could further the future study of the topics laid out in this report. (p.7)

Send some of that our way, please.



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Thursday, June 24, 2021

 

A UFO report that wasn’t “logical”

 

It stands to reason that a report of a UFO that flies circles around a jet fighter doesn’t seem logical. In fact, it’s absurd. Nothing like that could possibly be real.

Except when it’s actually reported by not one but two different pilots.

In the files of Project Blue Book is such an incident that the USAF admitted defied logic.

The main record card for the case:


On February 13, 1956, at 0255Z (or before midnight on February 12, 1956), two F-89 jet fighters were 40 miles southeast of Goose Bay, Labrador, on a routine training mission. One fighter aircraft, a F-89D Scorpion, acquired visual and radar contact with an object that “rapidly circled” the F-89D, which was flying at 260 knots and an altitude of 20,000 feet. The object had green and red lights that were flashing. It was estimated to be ¾ mile away.


The object was observed visually for about one minute, and during this time, the second F-89 pilot also had radar contact with it. About 15 seconds after the pilots encountered the object, air traffic controllers monitoring the situation reported radar contact with the same or another object, noting that it was stationary, about 38 miles southwest of Goose Bay.

The fighter aircraft were then both vectored to head for the object that had appeared on the ATC radar scope. The aircraft radar locked on to this object but the target faded when the aircraft got within eight miles of it.

The weather at the time was clear visibility of 20 miles, with some ice crystals.

The report noted: “Sighting cannot be correlated with any known FRD activity,”

We don’t have any information on what was done in terms of investigation at the time, but almost ten years later, some kind of review of the case was made. A note from the USAF Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, dated 11 February 1965, read:

“The information in this report is too incomplete for an evaluation to be made. It is not logical for a genuine target to ‘fade’ and disappear when the fighter gets close to it – the normal situation is for the target to get stronger the closer the fighter gets to it.” [NB: emphasis in original]


 
Despite this, the original report is labeled “UNIDENTIFIED.”

 “Not logical?”

 Ya think?

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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

 

UFO seen on USAF B-29 Bomber's radar southeast of Newfoundland in 1949

 

Pilot and radar UFO reports are nothing new, even in Canada, or just off its east coast, anyway.

According to USAF files, on December 26, 1949, at 0210Z (or 2310 local December 25, 1949), a B-29 Superfortress was on a routine training mission, flying from Bermuda to Britain.

At a position about 500 miles southeast of Newfoundland, an "Unidentified object approached a/c from rear, When a/c executed a 90 degree turn, object faded from view after two miles."

The unknown object was traveling at an estimated 600 mph. It was observed on radar but was not sighted visually.



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Thursday, May 13, 2021

 

A Mysterious Manitoba Vacation: Pandemic Edition: 2021


A Mysterious Manitoba Vacation - Pandemic Edition: 2021

Although we are limited in our ability to travel during the pandemic, why not consider visiting some of Manitoba’s more unusual places of interest as a vacation alternative. Most Manitobans aren’t aware of the weird and wonderful history behind some popular and not-so-popular places in their own province. Many sites are off the beaten track, but others are visited every day by hundreds of people who don't know the stories there.

These are just some of my picks for the most interesting off-beat vacation spots in Manitoba, updated to reflect sites that can be accessed even during the pandemic amid lockdowns.

“Charlie Redstar” and His Friends
During the 1970s and early 1980s, dozens of people watched, filmed and photographed unusual lights that seemed to tease observers positioned on mile roads just south and east of Sperling, and also just northwest of Carman, Manitoba. People would drive towards the lights that seemed to hover some distance down the road, then retreat quickly away, always keeping just out of reach. The most famous of these lights was the Carman UFO named “Charlie Redstar” that darted around the countryside in 1975 and 1976. These LATERs (Lights At The End of the Road) were reportedly seen literally every night by anyone who went looking for them. Some locals claim the lights can still be seen today, if you know where to look.




If you want more information about UFOs in Manitoba, check out the "M Files" - the Manitoba UFO Survey here.

Sasquatch Near West Hawk Lake
A Sasquatch was seen near the Lily Pond, about 15 kilometres north of West Hawk Lake on Highway 44 on June 7, 1990. It was raining, and as a woman drove around a bend at about 1:00 p.m., she said she was forced to brake suddenly when a tall creature appeared on the road in front of her car. It was six to seven feet tall, with dark, “patchy,” wet and matted hair all over its body. When the car swerved, she hit her head on the steering wheel, requiring medical attention. That evening, in the muddy ground, eight footprints were found, each about 18 inches long and nine inches wide. Sasquatch have also been reported during the last 20 years in widely separated locations in Manitoba, such as Beaconia and Gillam.


Cast of Sasquatch Footprint
In September 1973, conservation officer Bob Uchtmann was working near Landry Lake, west of The Pas. He came upon several large footprints, each about 18 inches long, in hard, compacted ground. They were 28 inches apart, indicating an extremely long stride. The cast of one footprint is currently on display in the Sam Waller Museum in The Pas, and is suggested to be that of a Sasquatch. The Sam Waller Museum (currently closed due to the pandemic) is known for having an eclectic collection of many other artefacts, including: a Judi-Dart Meteorological/Sounding Rocket used at Fort Churchill in 1969; a Daisy XZ-35 Buck Rogers Rocket Wilma Pistol Ray Gun; a brass sundial owned by explorer Sir John Franklin; a crystal radio set manufactured by the Martian Manufacturing Company of Newark, New Jersey; and a human appendix. (Map shows location of Landry Lake)

BONUS:  If you are interested in Sasquatch or Bigfoot, we have created a list of known Sasquatch sightings in Manitoba. Click here for the list.




Linear Mounds National Historic Site
Near Coulter, Manitoba, close to the Saskatchewan border, is a little-known National Historic Site where unusual linear mounds can be seen and climbed. These are long, manmade ridges, more than 500 feet in length, built more than 1000 years ago by First Nations peoples for driving bison into a ravine where they could be killed by hunters.


The Haunted Nunnery
A former nun’s residence, L'Auberge Clémence Inn on the Prairie B&B and Retreat Centre in Elie is said to be haunted. Guests have heard footsteps on the wooden stairs, without anyone being near. Doors have opened and closed by themselves, and glimpses of a figure have been seen moving in several rooms. Check with them for access.


Pilot Mound
The 116-foot-high “Old Mound,” as local people refer to it, is one of the most important historical landmarks in Manitoba. This large hill was caused by an upheaval of natural gas beneath the ground many, many years ago. But on its summit is a small circular hill that was built by ancient Indigenous peoples. In 1908 a Toronto University archaeological excavation unearthed relics of the Mound Builders, suggesting it was a sacred site. The Plains Cree called it "Little Dance Hill" (Mepawaquomoshin) and travelled great distances to hold ceremonial dances on its summit.




Devil’s Island
East of Camperville in the middle of Lake Winnipegosis is an island about two kilometres in length, with a reputation for being haunted. There are stories that people who have dared camp on the island have swam in panic to the mainland in the middle of the night, afraid of eerie lights and sounds that seemed to chase them off the island!

Devil Island
The same stories (almost identical, actually) are told about this tiny island in the middle of Lake Winnipeg, about six kilometers northeast of Traverse Bay.


The Falcon Lake Saucer


In 1967, Stefan Michalak was prospecting just north of Falcon Lake and encountered a flying saucer that apparently landed in a clearing near him. He walked up to the craft out of curiosity and was burned by a blast of hot gas when it suddenly took off and flew away. The incident was investigated by the RCMP, Royal Canadian Air Force and even the US Air Force, which labeled the case “Unexplained.” Today, the site is still accessible near the gravel pits north of town, and you can go on a guided “UFO Ride” to the site from Falcon Beach Ranch. The Laughing Loon store in town sells t-shirts and other items commemorating the 1967 event.

The Haunted Hotel Fort Garry
Much has been written about Winnipeg’s Hotel Fort Garry and its various resident ghosts. One story is that a grief-stricken woman took her own life in Room 202 many years ago. Since then, some staff have said they have seen blood running down the walls of the room, and some guests have said they have seen her ghost at the end of their bed. In 2004, former Ontario Liberal MP Brenda Chamberlain was staying in Room 202 and said that while in bed she felt the mattress depress next to her as if someone was getting in beside her. The same or another ghost is said to have been seen in the hotel’s lounge, and in rooms on other floors.


The Manitoba Legislature Hermetic Code
Although to the untrained eye it is simply a large, ornate government building, the Manitoba Legislature is adorned with sphinxes, doric columns and even a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. And the statue of the Golden Boy on top of the building? The god Hermes. According to Frank Albo, sometimes called Manitoba’s own Dan Brown, the Legislature is a Masonic edifice designed to guide and help elected official rule the province. Albo conducts guided tours of the Hermetic significance of the many bizarre feature of the building. (Oh, and the building is haunted, too.) NB: Closed during lockdown.


Old Man Gimli and Thorgeir's Ghost
Kids at camps throughout the Interlake are often told the story of Old Man Gimli, who wanders the bush along Lake Winnipeg for sinister and macabre purposes. One story is that travelers who stopped their car along the highway north of town were shocked to see a dark, brooding figure leap out at their car and grab onto their rear bumper before falling away! As well, the tale of Thorgeir's Ghost is told by Icelandic settlers to the Hecla area, of a skinned bull that came back to life after being readied for butchering, and has been seen roaming the fields between Gimli and Riverton. They may not be true, but they're great local tales!

The Narcisse Snake Dens
Featured on many nature shows and websites, the snake dens in and around Narcisse are unique and fascinating. Each spring and fall, the natural caves and sunken areas of limestone in the area are overrun with thousands of garter snakes that mate in seething masses that are downright strange. The mating balls occur in about May each year, and the snakes return in September. NB: The dens are closed to teh public in 2021 due to the lockdown.


Dalnavert
The Dalnavert Museum at 61 Carlton Street in downtown Winnipeg is said to be haunted. Some “ghost hunter” tours have been organized for the house, but few people have ever seen or heard anything out of the ordinary. NB: closed due to the pandemic.



The Manitoba Desert
It may seem incongruous, but even in a province that is covered in snow for several months of the year, there is a desert. Although quickly being encroached by vegetation such as wild grasses and poison ivy, there’re still sand dunes to climb and explore in the Spirit Sands near Carberry. And the Devils Punch Bowl is a bowl-shaped depression 45 metres deep in the sand hills, caused by underground streams. And look for the Prairie skink, Manitoba’s own lizard!



The Kettle Stones
Northeast of Swan River is a small Kettle Stones Provincial Park. It’s isolated, with no picnic tables, concessions or bathroom facilities, and the road in is barely a trail that often is impassable. But if you manage to get there, you will see dozens of huge boulders that were formed under water and left behind when Lake Agassiz retreated in about 10,000 BC. The stones are considered scared by First Nations peoples.




Seven Oaks House
Similarly, Seven Oaks House Museum at 50 Mac Street is the oldest home in Winnipeg, and has developed a reputation as “the oldest haunted house in Manitoba.” Public investigation tours have been arranged by the Winnipeg Paranormal Group, during which attendees are guided through actual nighttime investigations of the building. NB: temporarily closed.



Hamilton House
Although now a naturopathic clinic, at one time Hamilton House on Henderson Highway in Winnipeg was the North American centre of research into paranormal activity. Dr. T. Glen Hamilton conducted many séances in sealed upper rooms in the house, where many photographs of ghosts and other eerie phenomena were obtained. Even Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, visited the house in 1923 and participated in one of the séances. Not open to the public.



The Woodridge Spook Light
Since the 1960s, it has been said that if you wait any night after about 11:00 pm just south of Highway 203 east of town, you'll see the Woodridge Spook Light dancing at the end of the road along the railway line. It was actually seen as early as the 1930s, and is supposed to be a lantern carried by the headless ghost of a man who was killed by a train many years ago.



Lake St. Martin Crater
Invisible to the average visitor, the largest meteorite crater in Manitoba is located at Gypsumville. In fact, the entire town and hundreds of surrounding acres sit inside the crater itself! Beneath the ground is a 200-million-year-old crater that is 40 kilometres wide, making it the fifth-largest in all of Canada.


West Hawk Lake
By comparison, the meteor crater that is now West Hawk Lake is only about 2.5 kilometres across. But it’s not eroded like the Lake St. Martin crater, and is completely filed in with water left over from retreating glaciers. There’s an info kiosk at the park office, a large descriptive sign at the beach showing how the lake was formed, and a concession stand that sells “meteor burgers” and “potato UFOs,” among other tasty treats! [NB: may not be open thus summer]



Lower Fort Garry
Apart from its rich conventional history, Lower Fort Garry has a reputation as being one of the most haunted places in Manitoba. Visitors and workers there have reported seeing rocking chairs moving by themselves, ghostly apparitions standing in otherwise empty rooms and hearing chains rattling in the fur loft. The grounds are open but the buildings are currently closed.



Bannock Point Petroforms
In Whiteshell Provincial Park along Highway 307 is a small park where you can climb an observation tower and look down on ancient outlines of turtles and other figures laid out with boulders. Thought to be steeped in Indigenous tradition and ritual, these huge formations are even visible from the air!


The White Horse Plains
Along the Trans Canada Highway near St. Francois Xavier is a statue of a White Horse. The figure is one of the few monuments in the world depicting a ghost! The story is that hundreds of years ago, a maiden escaped into the night with her lover astride a beautiful white horse, given as a gift from her betrothed whom she was to marry the next day. They were pursued and killed, but the horse ran off and has been said to roam the prairie ever since.



Manipogo Beach Provincial Park
Just north of Toutes Aides on Highway 276 is a little-known park that is one of Manitoba’s jewels and best-kept secrets. Pristine beaches, clear water and beautiful landscaping along Lake Manitoba's rocky shore, it’s also the site of numerous sightings of Manipogo, Manitoba’s own Loch Ness Monster. The dinosaur-like creature was seen there several times in the 1990s. Maybe you can be the next lucky one to see it!


BONUS: We created a list of known sightings and encounters with lake monsters in Manitoba. Click here for the list.

Magnetic Hill
While New Brunswick has a more famous Magnetic Hill, where cars seem to roll uphill, Manitoba has one too! It’s on Harlington Road, two miles west of the Highway 487 turnoff to the Thunder Hill Ski Area, along the Saskatchewan border. Local residents say that you can put your car or truck in neutral, and with the brakes off, you start moving apparently uphill.


And finally…

Move over, Stonehenge! Winnipeg has Pilehenge!

This mysterious, awe-inspiring structure is located on the outskirts of Winnipeg, on Sturgeon Road just south of Prairie Dog Trail near Centreport Canada Way. Clearly an ancient structure designed as homage to our alien ancestors, it was built by Inland Cement, obviously under guidance from extraterrestrials.

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