Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Ebenezer's Ice Cream Cone: The PEI UFO of 1990

The following is a redux of the infamous "Ebenezer Ice Cream Cone" case, with additional notes from my files.

The evening of Wednesday, August 22, 1990, was clear and cool throughout all of Canada's Maritime provinces.

At 7:00 pm, Walter Benoit of Bellefond, New Brunswick, saw a "very bright object, 4 to 5 feet long," and "clear in colour." He reported it to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who sent the report to the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canada=s official repository for UFOs. The NRC numbered the case N90/66 in its Non-Meteoritic Sightings File.

At 7:15 pm, Carmelle Morrissey was in Morristown, Nova Scotia, Canada, and happened to look up into the early evening sky. Morrissey saw a Avery bright, circular object@ moving in the sky for an estimated four to five minutes. The sighting was reported to CFB Greenwood, and the BOC (Base Commander) filed the report with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND). In turn, DND sent a note about the sighting to the NRC, which filed it as case N90/61. Copies of the report were sent to an alphabet soup of official acronyms: RCCPJAC NDOC OTTAWA, RCWBOCA, ACOC WINNIPEG, RUWOKDB NORAD COC CHEYENNE MTN COMPLEX, DOFO, RCCBNVA FGCANCHQ NORTH BAY, SSO, NT, CCCEON, NRCOTT OTTAWA "METEOR CENTRE".

Fifteen minutes later, at 7:30 pm, an anonymous caller in Iles-de-la-Madeline, Quebec, notified the Department of Transport (DOT) (probably through an airport) that he or she had seen a "bright red ball followed by a tail." It was seen for only five seconds, which prompted the NRC to file the report as N90/62: "Identified as possible meteor."

At the same time, Gerald Foster of Kingston was in Middleton, Nova Scotia, and saw an "orange/yellow circular object" for about three to five seconds. He also reported it to DND, and as NRC case N90/63, it too was "Identified as possible meteor."

Also at 7:30 pm, Anne Mazeralle of Chatham Head, Nova Scotia, saw a "bright, lime green, oval-shaped object" for "a few seconds." She reported it to the RCMP, which also sent it to the NRC and the report became N90/64. It was also "Identified as a possible meteor." (NB - This report is actually dated August 23 in the NRC files, but this is probably a mistake because it seems to have been part of the "meteor" activity of the day before.)

Meanwhile, something odd was happening in Prince Edward Island.

According to N90/65, from 222350Z to 230115Z (7:50 pm to 9:15 pm), Shirley Yeo of Ebenezer, PEI, was "eyewitness to [a] glowing white object which landed in woods." She and all her family watched the strange object, which they described as "like an ice cream cone." Remarkably, once it "landed," the object was reported as "still glowing at 0300Z," two hours later!

Helen Gallant, who lived with the Yeo family, said: "I saw it through the trees. It looked like a great big round ball of light through the trees."

While the glow was still visible, witnesses watched as military helicopters and aircraft arrived and began circling the area. Although there is a civilian airport at Charlottetown, 12 km southeast of Ebenezer, and a military base at Summerside, 45 km southwest, witnesses were puzzled by the appearance of the aircraft because such activity seemed unnecessary if the UFO was really only a meteor.

Charlottetown RCMP confirmed that they had received more than a dozen calls about the Ebenezer object and had sent two constables to investigate. They noted that one officer "could see it in the distance, but then he just lost sight of it."
Meanwhile, Alexander Davis of Frenchvale, Cape Breton (Nova Scotia), "saw [a] red-hot sheet of metal land 300 yards from him in woods." It was noted that "he swears he knows exactly where it can be found." At the time the NRC report was filed, the RCMP were planning to "question him" the next morning.

N90/65 comments about the large number of reports that night, noting that the "phenomena [was] seen from Anticosti Island to Halifax, and from Newfoundland to Maine." Furthermore, "all colours of flares [were] reported as well as fireballs, flaming aircraft and burning boats," and reports were received over a period of 90 minutes. One note recorded that "RCMP detatchments in [the] Maritimes have reported location of debris."

Spurred by the possibility that the object was in fact a meteor which may have fallen, a group of 30 amateur astronomers with the Charlottetown Astronomy Club searched the area the next morning, but found nothing of interest.

Clive Perry, president of the club, was doubtful the UFO had been a meteor.
"I wouldn't think it would be a meteorite when it glowed so long," he said. "It pretty well had to be space junk or parts of a satellite. That's about the only thing that could have come down unless you want to talk about little green men with buggy eyes."

Perry spoke with the witnesses and found them to be honest and truthful. "They are very credible," he noted. "It would take a pretty good mind to make up a story like that."

Another astronomer, Paul Delaney of York University in Toronto, also offered his opinion to the media that because of the duration of the sighting, the UFO was probably not a meteor. He thought that the presence of the aircraft indicated the falling object was a satellite.

However, despite witnesses= reports and the negative findings of the astronomers, NORAD and CFB Halifax insisted the UFOs were ascribable to meteors. A newspaper report noted: "Neither military agency would say if anything struck the ground."
Like the Shag Harbour case, the reports were filed away without further investigation because it seemed no new information was going to be forthcoming. For lack of any other evidence, the sightings might as well have been due to meteors. After all, they did have some of those characteristics.

But in 1997, "A" began investigating UFOs. An ex-military officer with rescue training, she was living in PEI but had left the Canadian Forces and was then living elsewhere in Canada. "A" told UFO researchers that she had been based at CFB Summerside several years earlier when she and a rescue team had been scrambled to assist following a crash of some object near the base. Knowing of the PEI case, Ufology Research of Manitoba investigator Chris Rutkowski asked her for more details, and "A" began to describe a very different scenario than had been publicly offered.

"A" said that she and the medical team had been flown into the Ebenezer area on a Hercules transport after being told to prepare for a rescue mission. She says they were told to bring along their "banana suits" - protective yellow-coloured outfits for going into contaminated areas. However, once on the ground, she and the team were told by senior officers that they could not go near the crash site because of an unspecified security issue.

As they waited, "A" said she watched as a flatbed transport was brought in, then it left the site with something covered by a tarpaulin. She says she was sure that whatever had crashed had been recovered and taken away on the truck.

"A" said she and the team were given strict orders not to talk to the media about the operation. However, she said she was surprised when her own family later asked her what had happened and that they related the media stories about the meteor. She did not tell them about her experiences that night, however, obeying her instructions.

She also said that one day in the mess hall, a group of American air force officers were sitting beside her discussing the recovery operation at Ebenezer. She says she asked them what had been recovered, and was told outright that it had been a "spaceship."

The question is, then, what do we do with this new information? How can it be interpreted? While the original reports could be explained as meteors, this explanation would only work if we ignored some of the witnesses' observed details and assumed they were in error. Further, we could reason that the military aircraft activity was part of a planned operation and unconnected with the UFO sightings.
Given that the American military recently has admitted using UFO reports as a subterfuge to conceal secret missions, however, UFO researchers might be justifiably suspicious of military explanations of UFO sightings. If we assume instead that the witnesses' observations were relatively accurate and that the military activity was as a result of the observed object, it is possible that the fallen object was in fact a satellite of some kind as had been speculated.

In other words, without invoking the idea of aliens and crashed flying saucers, it is possible to interpret the events of that night in PEI as being due to an actual military rescue and recovery operation that was "covered-up" and a fictitious explanation given to the media for dissemination. Of course, why the crash of a satellite would need such elaborate security is not obvious.

In any event, even without "A's" statements, the PEI case is not explained to everyone=s satisfaction. And, if "A's" version of events is taken into account, the incident becomes even more puzzling. Who knows? Perhaps it was even a contemporary UFO crash, rivaling Roswell.

Or not.


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