UFOLOGY IN CANADA
BUFORA's 2nd London International UFO Congress,
London, England, May 25, 1981.
Ufology in Canada has evolved over the last thirty years in much the same way as in many other countries, namely a disorganised and fairly erratic manner. This comes as no surprise to most people, since those attracted to the study span a wide spectrum of backgrounds, interests and motivation, and thus much disagreement has existed among them, the general public and that group of persons to who I shall refer as 'the authorities', being comprised of those to whom the media seem to turn for comments on the phenomenon we now call UFOs.
Unfortunately for Canada, these problems are compounded by two additional factors, namely its immense size and sparsely distributed population. The area per interested and capable investigator/researcher adds up to many thousands of square miles. Also, basic extrapolation, if valid, would imply that most UFO related events in Canada would go unnoticed and hence unreported because of the large areas of the nation with little or no population.
To put things in perspective I shall compare Canada's size and population with those of the United Kingdom. The UK. has an area of 94,212 square miles, with a population of 55,534,000 (1976 figures). This averages out to 590 persons per square mile. On the other hand Canada covers an area of 3,851,809 square miles, over 40 times the area of the UK. With a population of only 21,489,000 this averages out to 5½ persons per square mile. Thus the UK, has over 100 times the population density of Canada.
When one considers that 13,730,000 or 64% of Canada's population live in Ontario and Quebec which cover 1,007,442 square miles or only 26% of the nation's area, this means that only 36% of the population or 7,759,000 people live in 74% of the area, namely 2,844,367 square miles. Thus the other 8 provinces and two territories have only 2.7 persons per square mile. The UK then, has 200 times the average population density of ¾ of Canada.
The situation goes from the sublime to the ridiculous when one considers that the two territories (the Yukon and the N.W. Territories) which are almost 40% of Canada's land area, (or 16 times the area of the UK) have a total population of only 51,000 people. That's 30 square miles per person! Imagine having a back yard measuring 5 miles by 6 miles! That's a lot of grass to cut - or snow to shovel! To compound the problem even further there are only a few active UFO groups in Canada, far fewer than in England.
Nevertheless, ufology has had quite an interesting and productive history in Canada, and I shall now relate what I hope are some of the highlights as well as some of the little known, but significant, happenings which have occurred over the years, particularly in relation to the involvement of the Canadian Government.
Canada's initial involvement in UFO investigation, or flying saucer investigation at the time, apparently came more than three years after the Kenneth Arnold incident in the U.S., and the accompanying 'flaps' of 1947.
It happened in an inauspicious manner, but was destined to be plagued by the usual amount of intrigue and double talk which seems to be characteristic of most government sponsored projects surround controversial material. The initiator of the investigation was one Wilbert B. Smith, a senior radio engineer with the Canadian Department of Transport.
Smith's area of research was in radio wave propagation, a study which eventually led him into fields such as auroras, cosmic radiation, atmospheric radio-activity and geo-magnetism. (1) It was the latter of these fields which really attracted his attention and caused him to speculate that the potential energy of the Earth's magnetic field might be extracted and used. He had already progressed to the stage of developing a crude experimental model to demonstrate his theory, and successfully tested the unit which, in his words, "demonstrated the soundness of the basic principles in a qualitative manner and provided useful data for the design of a better unit." (2)
He believed, and I again quote, "that we are on the track of something which may well prove to be the introduction to a new technology." This "is borne out by the investigations which are being carried on at the present time in relation to flying saucers." (3)
The investigations he was referring
to were those being carried out by the US Government at that time.
In late 1950 Smith had attended a North American Radio Broadcasting
conference in Washington, DC, and while there, made enquiries through
the Canadian Embassy staff who were able to inform him that:
a) the matter of UFOs was the most highly classified subject in the US, rating higher than the H-bomb,
Smith felt the preliminary result of his work in geo-magnetism correlated with the available data on reported UFO behavior, and that they were fairly close to some of the answers. And this was thirty-one years ago! The Defence Research Board liaison officer at the Canadian Embassy in Washington evidently agreed with Smith for he was extremely anxious for him to get in touch with Dr. Solandt, Chairman of the Defence Research Board upon Smith's return to Ottawa, to discuss with him future investigations along the line of geo-magnetism energy release.
Consequently, upon his return to Canada, Smith met with Solandt on November 20, and obtained his support. Solandt agreed that work on geo-magnetic energy should proceed as rapidly as possible and offered DRB's cooperation in providing laboratory facilities, acquisition of equipment, and specialized personnel. (5)
On November 21 he outlined his proposal in writing to the Controller of Telecommunications, indicating DRB's support and requesting that a project be set up and carried out on a part-time basis "until such time as sufficient results would warrant more definitive action". (6)
The proposal outlined seven avenues of investigation, all dealing with geo-magnetic research, none dealing with UFO investigation. (7) He proposed the work be classified since he felt that the lesser known and little explored aspects of magnetism might hold the key to a new and significant technology, and its impact on our civilization would have to be assess if his suspicions proved correct. Commander C.P. Edwards, then Deputy Minister of Transport for Air Services gave the project his blessing, requesting that he be kept posted from time to time. It is curious that the avenues of investigation Smith proposed made no reference to UFOs. Could it have been that Smith willfully omitted such reference in order to ensure a greater probability that the project would be approved? Or was he only interested in UFOs because they seemed to be demonstrating that some of his concepts were apparently being applied, whereas his main interest was indeed in the new technology which he felt he was on the verge of initiating?
There seems to be evidence for both points of view, but since I don't want to analyze Smith's career at this time I shall not pursue that issue any further. It is enough at this moment to recognise that Smith's curiosity was responsible for Project Magnet's initiation in November 1950, and for its relatively secret progress for a few years at least. It is significant, though, that the official 'Magnet' report, when eventually released many years later, dealt only with UFO sighting analysis, and made no mention of Smith's geo-magnetics research.
Curiously, the Canadian government in all its wisdom, saw the need for still another project to analyze UFO reports, less classified than Project Magnet, but still confidential. During the early months of 1952 there was a noticeable increase in the number of UFO incidents covered by the Canadian Press. (8,9,10) Several of these involved reports of disc-shaped craft over Royal Canadian Air Force bases, many reported by service personnel themselves.
The Defence Research Board (DRB) noted this increase, and DRB chairman Solandt asked staff member Harold Oatway to get a committee together "to see if we can make anything out of these flying saucer reports". (11)
Had Solandt forgotten about Smith and Magnet? It's doubtful.
Oatway was a friend of Smith and knew of his involvement. As we shall see Smith had not been forgotten, but the reason for setting up a further project remains unclear, unless, of course, Smith was too busy with his research. Why they didn't merely enlarge Magnet remains a mystery.
On April 22, 1952, the committee gathered by Oatway held its first meeting, with Peter Millman, head of the Dominion Observatory, as its chairman. Smith, Edwards and Solandt were also among those present.
It was agreed that there was a need to formally investigate UFOs, and that a committee should be formed to lead this activity and to standardize procedures, etc. (12) From the minutes of this meeting we read, "This committee was to prepare a brief of instructions for observers; examine interrogation; and to establish a standard method of recording and indexing for subsequent analysis." (13) (And if I may be permitted, I would like to note that thirty years later, we are still doing the same thing!) It was also decided that "the function of DRB should be mainly advisory as the collection of reports could best be done by field organizations."(14)
Two days later, the newly formed committee assembled, classifying its work as 'confidential', and identifying themselves as 'Project Theta'.
On May 19, 1952 they met for a second time and among other things, re-named themselves 'Project Second Storey' since 'Theta' was apparently not on the list of valid names for projects of this type.
I hope I am not boring you with these details, but it is quite interesting to not how the activities of 'Magnet' and 'Second Storey' dovetailed at this time, how each affected the other, and finally and more significantly, when public awareness of their activities developed, how they rapidly came to a close.
On June 25, 1952 Smith submitted an interim report on Project Magnet in which he stated that it appeared evident that flying saucers are emissaries from other civilizations and actually operate on magnetic principles, magnetic principles which we have failed to grasp due to our not paying enough attention to the structure of fields in our study of physics.(15)
One wonders what reaction Smith caused! One can almost hear the hurried whispers, and see the startled faces and raised eyebrows.
On July 31, Project Second Storey held their third meeting where, among other items of business, a letter containing several of Smiths motions, presumably based on his progress in Magnet, was tabled and discussed. Also, the final form of the 'Project Second Storey Sighting Report was approved, and distribution of same was determined.
There was no mention in the minutes of any reference to Smiths decisive statement in his interim 'Magnet' report.
The fourth meeting of Second Storey was not held until November 17, followed by the fifth on March 9, 1953. Smith had been working on some 'weighting factors' to be applied to witness testimony to help arrive at some measure of report significance. At the fifth meeting his system was adopted temporarily without alterations. At this point, though, it was probably felt irrelevant since Chairman Millman noted "that evidence to date (and note that this was not Second Storey's evidence to which he was referring, since they had so far only managed to standardize their procedures) did not seem to warrant an all out investigation by the Canadian Services but it might be well to continue to collect at some central location all forms which may be submitted to the Services." (16) Millman reached this conclusion following discussions with the chairman of DRB on the future activities of the committee. They seemed to be again ignoring Smith's statement in his preliminary report on Magnet; or were they trying to play it down?
And as it turned out, Millman's conclusion was based on activities in the U.S. in the wake of the Robertson Panel, which is now know to have been a CIA whitewash. So here is further evidence of top level U.S. Canadian inter-relationship in the UFO field, and if we assume this inter-relationship continued after the Robertson Panel, it is safe to assume that investigation of UFOs in Canada was placed under the control of some branch of Canadian Intelligence. We have more evidence for this from none other than Prime Minister Trudeau, as I shall relate later. We can only guess that Smith's interim 'Magnet' report probably played a significant part in this assumed decision.
In concluding the fifth meeting of Second Storey, it was agreed that a further meeting would take place after the Department of Transport had completed its analysis. That is, after the Magnet Report was finished. This was accomplished on August 10, 1953 but there are no minutes available of any further Second Storey meetings, although there is evidence that further meetings did take place. One wonders why the minutes were nod made public. Recent correspondence between Canadian ufologist Arthur Bray and Dr. Allen McNamara (without even having been asked the question) that the Project Magnet Report was submitted to Second Storey in 1953. (This from a letter dated July 25, 1979.) (17) So it was 26 years before any indication of further Second Storey meetings surfaced.
During the summer of 1953, Wilbur Smith obtained approval from the Department of Transport (DOT) to set up some UFO detection equipment at Shirley's Bay, near Ottawa, and by the end of October the installation was complete. The instruments included a gamma ray counter, a magnetometer, a radio receiver (to detect the presence of radio noise, and a recording gravimeter. (18)
News of Magnet finally leaked to the media presumably because of the conspicuous nature of the Shirley's Bay installation. (19) As expected, denials were attempted; on the very day the station went into operation Dr. Solands was quoted as saying reports of the station's establishment were completely untrue. However, he was forced to back down on this, and later claimed he actually had only said that such a station was not being operated by his department, and that he personally had no knowledge of its existence. (20) Even this was difficult to accept since the installation was located next to DOT's Ionosphere Station on Defence Research Board (DRB) property, and in fact, the building was loaned to Smith by DRB. (21)
Public awareness of this project was to be a source of frustration, annoyance and embarrassment to DRB and DOT, and it put Smith in an awkward position since he was still officially a member of the Second Storey Committee. This was probably a contributing factor to the contents of Millman's November 21st summary report of Project Second Storey. He announced that Project Second Storey's forms and instructions for filing of sighting information were available for any government department seriously interested in pursuing the matter further, but the committee felt that, owing to the impossibility of checking independently the details of the majority of sightings , most of the material did not lend itself to a scientific method of investigation. (22)
Could it be that they were not aware of the scientific study being conducted in the U.S. at that time by the Air Force on UFO reports collect from June 1, 1947 to December 31, 1952? The study was initiated in 1952 and continued through 1954, and proved beyond a doubt the existence of an unidentified phenomenon, even though the conclusions were worded in such a way as to divert attention from the evidence. The study to which I am referring was known as 'Project Blue Book Special Report #14' which is probably the most constantly referred to in the literature of Stanton Friedman, and more recently was the subject of a paper by Bruce Maccabee in the Journal of UFO Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, entitled the 'Scientific Investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects'. I will be referring to this report later in my presentation.
I therefore find it difficult to believe Millman's statement, and feel more inclined to think his remarks were designed to appease 'somebody' in the event Smith's association with Second Storey eventually became public knowledge, and also to save face in view of the Adamski & contactee activity now in the public eye.
There is more to the Second Storey/Magnet fiasco, but I feel I have related enough to enable you to judge for yourselves concerning the apparent ineptitude of the Canadian government to handle the UFO problem.
Perhaps I should mention one more thing, though, before moving on.
At 3:01 in the afternoon of August 8, 1954 the instrumentation at the Shirley's Bay installation registered an unusual disturbance. In Smith's words "the gravimeter went wild", (23) as a much greater deflection was registered than could be explained by conventional interference such as passing aircraft. Smith and his colleagues rushed outside only to find a heavy overcast. Whatever was up there was hidden in the clouds. The only evidence they had was the deflection registered on the chart recorder paper.
Two days later the controller of Telecommunications issued a form letter, which was also authorised as a press release, admitting that the DOT had been engaged in the study of UFOs for three and a half years, that considerable data had been collected and analysed, but it had not been possible to reach any definite conclusion, and since new data simply confirmed existing data, there seemed little point in carrying the project any further on an official level.
Project Magnet was to be dropped, but Smith would continue to receive and catalogue data on an unofficial basis.(24) In Smith's words, Magnet went "underground"(25) probably joining Second Storey. By the way, isn't the fact that "new data... confirmed existing data." supposed to be what you would expect of a positive scientific experiment?
The detection of "whatever it was" two days before had evidently inspired rapid action. Does it seem likely that a project, which had finally apparently detected what it was looking for, would be terminated?
That doesn’t make sense to me - instead it seems pretty good justification for changing to a 'Top Secret' classification. It is apparent that pressure was applied to Smith to downplay or even deny the Shirley's Bay incident.
Researcher Greg Kanon writes: "In an abrupt about face, Smith announced, before the May 17th 1955 session of the Commons' Special Committee on Broadcasting, that no UFOs had ever been detected at the Shirley's Bay Station. At about this same time, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt (who earlier served as chief UFO investigator for the U.S. Airforce) was reportedly told by RCAF Intelligence officers that only 'officially' had the Shirley's Bay Station produced negative results. These developments led some UFO researchers to conclude that Smith had been successfully silenced by officialdom."(26)
Whatever the case, Smith kept busy over the next few years, and we get a glimmer of what he was up to from a presentation he gave about five years later to the Illuminating Engineering Society's Canadian Regional Conference during which he stated:
"We know that gravity is not all Newton visualised. Far from being a basic force in nature, it is really a derived function, and is the consequence of a dynamic condition, not a static one. We know what goes into its makeup; we know its formula and we have a pretty good idea of how to go about bringing it under control. We have conducted experiments that show that it is possible to create artificial gravity (not Centrifugal force) and to alter the gravitational field of the Earth. This we have done. It is Fact. The next step is to learn the rules and do the engineering necessary to convert the principle into workable hardware." (27) That statement was made 22 years ago. The question is, what has been achieved since then?
Smith died of cancer on December 27, 1962. The respect he commanded was reflected in his being posthumously awarded the Lieutenant-Colonel Keith S. Rogers Memorial Engineering Award for dedicated service in the advancement of the Technical Standards in Canadian Broadcasting. This award, presented by the Canadian General Electric Company, was well deserved. Smith was one of the foremost thinkers of his time - a well respected ufologist - one of the first of our breed.
The Canadian government was publicly drawn into the UFO controversy in a different way less than five years after Smith's death. This was caused by an unusual and significant encounter with a UFO by one Steven Michalak, a Winnipeg mechanic and part-time prospector. Some of you may be familiar with the case since it has received wide media coverage - even the BBC reported on it. It left many experts and government officials in four separate departments completely stumped, or at best, unwilling to divulge their opinions publicly.
On Saturday, May 20, 1967, 52 year-old Michalak claims he not only saw a UFO, but actually touched it.
The following account of the incident is taken from a series of articles written by Brian Cannon, then Director of the Canadian Aerial Phenomena Research Organization which is no longer in existence. The articles were published in Canadian UFO Report, Volume 1, numbers 3, 4 and 5. Also referenced is a report written by Michalak himself entitled ‘My Encounter with a UFO’. (28)
At 5:30 a.m. Michalak entered the dense bush of the Whiteshell Forest Reserve, 80 miles east of Winnipeg on a weekend prospecting trip. He eventually came to a section of rock near a large swamp and beaver dam by Falcon Lake. As he approached the swamp, several geese became aware of him, gaggled violently at first, but soon ignored him as he went about his task chipping at a formation of rock crystals.
At 11:00 a.m. he stopped work and ate lunch. He had only just returned to work when, at about 12:15 p.m., his attention was again drawn to the frightened cackling of geese on the nearby swamp. At the same instant his eye was attracted to two scarlet lights in the clear sky above. He watched them descend and take on a definite cigar shape. In his own words: "Two cigar-shaped objects with humps on them about halfway down from the sky appeared to be descending, glowing with an intense scarlet glare. As these 'objects' came closer to the earth, they became more oval-shaped."(29)
One of them descended to the ground 130 feet from Michalak, while the other hovered above the tree tops for a few moments, then suddenly took off at an incredible speed. Michalak states: "I cannot describe or estimate the speed of the ascent, because I have seen nothing in the world that moved so swiftly... without a sound." (30)
He then noticed the landed craft was changing colour from red to grey-red to light grey to silver, the changes hot metal experiences as it cools. After the glare had disappeared, Michalak was able to discern the characteristics of the craft. It was disc-shaped, 35 to 40 feet in diameter and 15 feet high, with sloping sides and a dome structure on top. Surrounding the dome were horizontal slits about 12 inches long. Down the sloping side facing him were nine Vent-like openings each about six by nine inches, and each containing about 30 small holes resembling ventilation or exhaust ports.
He began to sketch these details into a diagram he was preparing and approached the craft several times in doing so. At this time he felt he was looking at an American space craft of some kind. He felt waves coming toward him, and noticed a strange pungent odor, like a burned-out electric motor, filling the air. Along with this were the whining noise of an engine and a hissing sound similar to that of air being sucked in. These seemed to be coming from a small rectangular opening in the side of the craft from which a brilliant purple light was also shining.
As he approached once more, he heard two voices coming from inside, "one with a higher pitch than the other"(31), but was unable to determine the language being spoken. Still convinced the craft was of Earthly origin he addressed the voices, first in English, and then in Russian, German, Ukrainian, French and Italian. After exhausting the languages with which he was familiar he decided to look inside the opening. He described what he saw. "Placing green lenses over my goggles, I stuck my head inside the opening. The inside was a maze of lights. Direct beams running in horizontal and diagonal paths and a series of flashing lights...seemed ..(to be) working in a random fashion, with no particular order or sequence. I took note of the thickness of the walls of the craft. They were about twenty inches thick..."(32)
He stepped back and after a moment the doorway closed, two panels sliding horizontally across the opening, and one coming down from the top. He placed his glove-covered hand on the side of the craft which appeared to be a highly polished steel-like substance. The rubber and canvas of the glove melted upon making contact with the hot surface, but at the same instant the craft tilted slightly and Michalak felt a burning sensation on his chest. His outer shirt immediately caught fire, and he realized that one of the vent-like openings on the side had emitted a blast of hot air, sending him reeling. He quickly ripped his shirt off and extinguished the flames, but the damage had been done. A grid-like burn, matching the pattern of the vent, had branded his chest, leaving him in considerable pain. When he looked up moments later, the craft was above the tree tops and soon out of sight, disappearing in the direction of the first ship.
Michalak gathered up some of his belongings and examined the imprints left by the craft. He related "as I approached the site I felt nauseated and my head began to ache. The spot where the craft had come to rest looked as if it had been swept clean with a broom. There was no debris of any kind on the rock. No twigs, bits of stone, nothing. It had all been piled up in a six-inch high circular ring about fifteen feet in diameter.” (33)
His headache worsened and he began to feel nauseous from the sulphur stench which seemed to be all around him. He began to vomit repeatedly, as he slowly made his way back through the bush, his head pounding, vision blurred. Two hours later he made it back to the road, and finally to the motel where he had spent the previous night.
After telephoning his wife requesting that his son pick him up at the bus depot, he made the long trip back to Winnipeg. Seeing his father’s condition, his son drove him straight to Misericordia Hospital, and thus began his year and a half of encounters with the medical profession.
The doctors at the hospital were puzzled by his combination of symptoms. Unable to diagnose his condition, they could only provide temporary relief from the pain of his first degree burns. The following day his throbbing headaches persisted, as did the dots in front of his eyes. Also, the strange smell from the UFO site seemed to have followed him, as if it were coming from inside his body.
Within the next week he lost 22 pounds and his blood lymphocyte count dropped from 25% to 16% before returning to normal four weeks later. Since this symptom is apparently often caused by exposure to radiation he was examined first at the radiotherapy department of the Winnipeg General Hospital, and then at the National Atomic Research Centre at Pinawa, but no abnormal levels were detected.
After a week or so his health seemed to be improving and he started to put back the weight he had lost. But on June 3 a rash started to appear on his chest, and by the end of the month it had spread in a V-shape up to his ears. This seemed to be the start of a regular cycle of returning symptoms, and in September 1967, and January, May and August 1968, he was stricken with the geometric pattern of burns, nausea, blackouts, rashes on his hand and legs, and swelling of his body.
Receiving no satisfaction from the 27 doctors he consulted during this time, he eventually sought help from the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he underwent, at his own expense, an extensive examination, returning home two weeks later. After six months of prescribed medication his health returned to normal.
According to Michalak the doctors told him he had a chemical impurity in his blood, but he did not clarify this further.(34) Apparently, the Mayo Clinic has refused to release, even to Michalak, any further details on his diagnosis.
Michalak was not the only UFO witness in the area at that time.
During the four week period preceding and following his encounter at least 20 sightings were reported in the Winnipeg area, including one by two boys at Falcon Lake on the same day as Michalak's. (35, 36)
Both the RCMP and the RCAF launched investigations into the case, and many expert consultants were used. Tests were conducted on Michalak's burned clothing, but they were "unable to reach any conclusion as to what may have caused the burn damage." (37) Both the Department of National Defence and the RCMP, after extensive investigation, reported that "neither of their investigation teams were able to provide evidence which could dispute Mr. Michalak's story.(38)
However, quite a controversy erupted over access to the reports of the government's findings. In November, 1967, Defence Minister Leo Cadieux answered negatively to MP Ed Schreyer (who is now Canada's Governor General) when he enquired if the results of the formal investigation would be made public.(39)
But in November 1968, one year later, the House of Commons was drawn into the debate by Barry Mather, the New Democratic Party member for Surrey, New Westminster, BC. He made his first motion on November 13, asking "That an order of the House do issue for a copy of all letters, reports, studies or other data in respect to an exchange by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Canadian Airforce, the Department of National Health and Welfare, the Geological Survey of Canada and the National Research Council of Canada regarding the sighting in 1967 by Mr. Steve Michalak of an unidentified flying object."
He was answered by Donald S. MacDonald, President of the Privy Council, who replied, "I am informed by the National Research Council, that on an informal basis they have been soliciting correspondence from individuals throughout Canada on these particular sightings. They have asked that this kind of correspondence not be made the subject of a return in this house. I wonder whether in the circumstances the Hon. Member would be agreeable to withdrawing his notice of motion."
But Mather refused to withdraw his motion and requested it be transferred for debate. Three months later, on February 6, 1969, he finally received the opportunity. The following is part of his presentation, and some of the response he elicited. I am going into some detail here because I think it is important to demonstrate how this apparently significant issue was successfully buried by politicians.
He said: "Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up the time of the house at any great length on the matter referred to in notice of motion No. 19 which asks for an order for a copy of all letters, reports and so on, the details of which you have just read. I do, however, have a few points I should like to put forward. First, there is the failure the government to table the papers referred to and the significance of that failure as it bears upon the rights of members of Parliament in representing the people of Canada. Second, I wish to comment on the present situation in our official dealings in respect of reported sightings of UFOs or flying saucers...
My reason for bringing up the matter in the first place and later in asking for the tabling of papers was simply to comply with a request from constituents who, as are many other Canadians, are much interested in what reportedly happened to Mr. Stephen Michalak in eastern Manitoba last May when he was prospecting near Falcon Lake...
... I believe that in Canada we should have a more tangible policy regarding UFO investigations. I think the government should table all information available pro and con about these phenomena. I think we should also consider that our own little Earth is now sending out flying objects, and if life exists on other planets the flying objects which the USA and the USSR are sending into space may very well appear to that form of life to be unidentified flying objects...
I have two points. I think the papers should be tabled so that we can all find out what they say, and I believe Canada through its agency in this field should take a more serious interest in establishing the facts."
Mr. Yves Forest (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council):
"The Honourable Member raised two points, the second of which precisely takes into account the fact that he is not an expert in the matter of flying saucers and I think that I could say so myself...”
Now, notice the following set of contradictory Statements as Forest continues:
"The Honourable Member will understand that the government does not have much to conceal on a subject like this."
How much do they have to conceal?
"As to the request of the Honourable Member for the complete file, the latter includes some documents which are marked 'confidential', such as advice, opinions, or reports which have not usually been made public in the past for obvious reasons."
What are the Obvious reasons?
"If the government were to divulge publicly these opinions or confidential documents every time it is requested to do so, I would think that the department officials concerned would not be very inclined to offer candid opinions or to submit complete reports."
Which all pretty well translates to mean that the government does not have much to conceal, other than what the public does not already know about the incident, namely the opinions of the government experts called in to analyze the case. These must be kept confidential, otherwise the experts would not agree to report their findings. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if they had concluded that Michalak was a nut or a hoaxer, the results would have been released.
Now, some more contradictions from Forest:
"On the other hand, I want to inform the Honourable Member that I have the complete file containing some reports, (if it only contains some reports, how can it be complete?) including articles which have been published in newspaper by various reporters.” (They are obviously already public domain.)
And then he again says, as if trying to convince himself:
"It is a complete file from which a few pages have simply been removed. They are inter-departmental reports or others originating from officials who may have expressed opinions 'which in no way affect the nature of the file, and the publication of which would not be in the public interest'."
Figure that one out!
As if that is not enough to grab your attention, he adds:
"Any other procedure would, I think, create a dangerous precedent that would not contribute to the good administration of the country's business, and such has been the policy of the present and preceding governments." And one could easily finish his statement with, "... to conceal such information from the public."
And he continues with:
"If the Honourable Member is willing to approve this suggestion, we would be ready to table a complete file (which we all know is not complete) and Honourable Members could thus be informed of this interesting question raised by the Honourable Member for Surrey.”
(Nothing like laying it on a bit thick!)
By now, it is apparent that Mather has given up, for he replies:
"If I am in order, I should like to thank the Honourable Member for the offer he has made and accept it."
And the issue was successfully buried!
It is apparent that the same government parameters of incompetence, ignorance, apathy or covert operations - take your choice - which existed for Wilbert Smith, still persisted in the Canadian government fifteen years later.
* To be continued...
Four weeks after the House of Commons fiasco an ironic, or as some might venture to suggest, humorous, twist occurred, which, although never publicly revealed, was the subject of an RCMP report which is now filed at the Hertzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Planetary Sciences Section, National Research Council, Non-meteoritic sighting file, N69-077. Reminiscent of the famed alleged UFOs sighted in restricted air space over Washington, C.C., in 1952, this Canadian event involved UFOs spotted directly over Parliament Hill and over the Prime Minister’s residence on Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
The RCMP Constable who first spotted the UFOs on the evening of March 4th, 1969 from his station at the Privy Council door stated, “At 7:45 p.m., an object was seen from Parliament Hill, going through the sky at a terrific rate of speed, heading from south to north. This object stopped and appeared to hover in the sky over Hull (a city on the other side of the Ottawa River). It gradually moved in a northwest direction and at 9:34 p.m. disappeared from view.”
Six more RCMP officers stationed at various positions around the Parliament buildings also watched the same object and reported it to National Defense authorities at the Royal Canadian Air Force Uplands Base. Incredibly, the RCAF Captain to whom they spoke told them “he would not be taking any active action concerning the object”. (The names of the persons involved are in the quoted report, but one condition of public access to this file is that witness names not be revealed publicly.)
Thirty minutes later another RCMP Constable reported two UFOs hovering above Sussex Drive between the Prime Minister’s residence and the Governor-General’s house. The witness reported, “At approximately 10:00 p.m., while on foot patrol from the police lodge at Government House to the Prime Minister’s residence, I noticed two rather bright flashing red lights in the sky. At first glance, I assumed they were aircraft, but could hear no sounds of engines. One of these lights proceeded east and was lost from view within a minute or less, while the other one travelled in a westerly direction. The lights were first seen directly overhead at a point slightly inside the gates to Government House and were very bright red. No definite shape could be distinguished nor was there any type of trail visible behind these lights.”
The same lights were spotted by two other RCMP constables on Parliament Hill. As soon as it appeared overhead it shot straight down toward the river as if it were going to crash. Just before impact it suddenly reversed direction shooting back up into the sky where it performed a 90? turn and disappeared.
These activities lead one to speculate that the UFOs, almost apathetically (or otherwise) brushed off by the House of Commons a few weeks before, were trying to make a point. If that was the case, the point was re-emphasized three months later on the evening of June 5, when three Parliament Hill RCMP constables and three tourists spotted a luminous craft hovering over the Ottawa River behind the Parliament Buildings. They watched the object emit a range of various colours as it changed from red to green to red again and then to white. (40) Then security officials on Parliament Hill became concerned when, according to the RCMP, “At 10:10 p.m., all the lights on Parliament Hill - East, West and Centre Blocks - went out. Mr. L.T. of Ontario Hydro was notified, but he said the cause could not be ascertained at the time.” (41) There is no record of whether the cause was ever determined.
Because Parliament Hill was now in darkness it was easier to see the UFO which was travelling eastward in a strange up and down motion. As it reached a point across the river from the Prime Minister’s residence it stopped, remained motionless for five minutes or so, lights flashing on and off and then “proceeded west of Hull at an altitude of approximately a thousand feet and came across the river in the Ottawa area and disappeared from view behind high buildings on Wellington Street at about 10:35 p.m. All this while, the object was of no discernible shape”. (42) The same witnesses again saw a bright luminous object to the south of Ottawa twenty minutes later, accompanied by a second smaller object 500 or so feet below it, but it was not certain this was the same UFO spotted before. The object hovered another 15 minutes and then disappeared.
The final incident in this series of post-debate sightings took place on the morning of July 20. An employee of the National Research Council was on her way to work when she spotted an orange oval-shaped object hovering over her. It then darted noiselessly across the Ottawa River, stopping directly above the Parliament Buildings where it remained motionless for several minutes. Then with a sudden burst of speed it disappeared. This UFO was spotted by many Ottawa and Hull residents, one a police officer, and NRC was swamped with calls. NRC did not conduct an investigation because they had insufficient information. (43) They seemed to forget that one conducts investigations to acquire information.
This is not the only time UFOs made an appearance in Ottawa. Wilbert Smith reported seeing small metallic discs hovering outside various houses where meetings on the UFO subject were taking place during the 1950s. Upon leaving one such meeting on day he saw a disc, metallic in appearance and three to four feet in diameter, suddenly appear from a ditch at the foot of the front garden and speed rapidly away in a vertical direction. A couple of years ago, in a personal conversation, Smith’s son, Jim, who is still living in Ottawa, related to me an incident which he witnessed himself as a child during his father’s investigative period. Jim was leaving his house through the front door one day when he noticed a metallic-looking disc hovering in the branches of a tree on the front lawn. He stood motionless, watching it for a few minutes, feeling that it was watching him. Then it suddenly shot straight up into the sky at an incredible speed without a sound. The leaves which had been close to the object were charred and wilted. According to Jim these “mini-UFOs”, as he called them, were prevalent in the neighbourhood during the time of his father’s research, and quite often their neighbours used to complain about burnt lawns and shrubbery. Wilbert Smith referred to these craft as “monitors”, feeling they were listening in on what took place at their meetings.
Smith’s son, who is a leading member of his community in Ottawa, teaches music at both high school and university, and has also been an announcer for CBC radio in Ottawa, does not get involved in the UFO controversy. Their existence, from the results of his father’s research and his own observations, is obvious to him he says. What they are and what they are doing will eventually be known, he speculates, and until such time, he is more concerned with the problems of day-to-day life. There are times when I wish I could be so nonchalant about the issue.
Thusfar, I have presented much evidence to indicate that the government either cannot or will not publicly undertake a serious constructive analysis of the UFO problem. To say they are not interested is ludicrous in view of the information the CIA has been forced to release thanks to recent civilian legal action. We know, in fact, that they are interested, but do not want the public to know of this interest. A CIA memo declassified April 20, 1977, and dated August 1, 1952 on the subject of flying saucers states, “It is recommended that CIA surveillance of subject matter, in coordination with proper authorities of primary operational concern at ATIC, be continued. It is strongly urged, however, that no indication of CIA interest or concern reach the press or public, in view of their probable alarmist tendencies to accept such interest as “confirmatory” of the soundness of “unpublished facts” in the hands of the U.S. government.
Similarly, in a DOT memo dated September 15, 1969, which advised “that the documents reporting the results of the Second Storey (sic!) studies in project “magnet” be declassified,” one finds the following comment:
“Since the question of flying saucers is still attracting public attention and since this file (Second Storey) covers documents relating to the studies behind project “Magnet” and, indeed, records much of the discussion in the Department of Transport surrounding project “Magnet” which is confidential in nature, it is recommended that this file be down classified at least to the confidential level. At no time should it be made available to the public.”
Are we to infer that as long as there is public interest in UFOs, it is not good policy to indicate there is also government interest? Why not? Could it be that the government does not want us to be aware of their ineptitude in dealing with the phenomenon? Or is it that they have made some astounding discoveries which would throw the public into a panic and perhaps permanently affect the political and economic structure of our world? From previous revelations of government ineptitude, I suspect the former is more likely the case.
One and half years following the aforementioned memo there was an indication that the Canadian government was still studying the UFO problem. In March, 1971, in response to a letter from Canadian ufologist Arthur Bray to Prime Minister Trudeau, the Department of External Affairs replied in part, “The Canadian Government does not underestimate the seriousness of the question of UFOs, and this matter is being kept under consideration and study in a number of departments and agencies.” (44) Since there have been no leaks that I know of during the past ten years it would seem that security is much tighter than that which surrounded project “Magnet”.
Turning to the civilian study of UFOs in Canada we find the last three decades have been volatile ones, with groups forming and dissolving so frequently that many are never aware of the existence of others until after their demise. Most have been more in the form of social clubs and societies than serious investigative and research groups, being content to collect media reports on alleged UFO incidents and use these as the basis for group discussions at weekly or monthly meetings. There have been a few groups over the years which have hung together for a significant period of time, motivated by either a strong or publicly known leader, or by the occurrence of, and subsequent reverberations from a UFO flap or controversy. One such group was the Ottawa New Sciences Club which came into being as a result of Wilbert Smith’s work. In fact, he was associated with the group, and wrote several articles for its publication “Topside”. The group persisted several years after his death, but eventually dissolved due to lack of leadership and public interest.
Similarly the Canadian Aerial Phenomena Research Organization was in its heyday around the time of the Michalak affair. The Manitoba Centre for UFO Studies came into being sparked by Dr. Allen Hynek’s creation of the Center for UFO Studies in the U.S., as did the UFO Research Centre: Ontario. Both, however, are merely discussion groups. There are similar groups in Vancouver and Edmonton, but neither have the resources nor the motivation for serious UFO research.
A few times in the past, individuals involved in Canadian research have recognized the need for some sort of Canadian unification if progress is ever to be achieved. Brian Cannon tried it in the 1960s with little, if any, success. A group in Ontario called Project SUM (Solving the UFO Mystery) tried again in the 1970s by initiating the Canadian UFO Report Exchange Network (CUFOREN) wherein participating groups would at least exchange sighting reports. This lasted for about a year, after which exchanges gradually petered out, and Project SUM dissolved, although which came first is difficult to determine. It has been suggested that groups are hesitant to exchange reports with others, and jealously guard their investigations. This may be true, but from what I have seen in Canada it is more a case of one group being embarrassed to report on its investigations to another - embarrassed because of their ineptitude to carry out an effective investigation. There is, of course, the problem of one group not wanting to associate with another because of what the group believes. Some already claim to know what UFOs are, where they are from, and what they are doing here - they are thus not interested in constructive research, merely in convincing others that their ideas are correct. Speculation is fine as long as it does not lead to bias on the part of the speculator, but groups and individuals such as these are displaying out and out bias. Other groups have such contempt for one group or another that they are so quick to jump on the negative aspects of a comment or proposal, that the positive points are not noticed. Constructive criticism is a sign of positive cooperation but destructive criticism has never been an incentive toward collaboration. However, I will have more to say on this in my conclusions.
There are, however, a few bright lights on the horizon, if you’ll pardon the metaphor, which are identifiable by their persistent efforts over the years. As a result of the formation of the Provisional International Committee for UFO Research (PICUR) here in London in August of 1979, I faced the task of forming some sort of national body in Canada to interface with PICUR. At the same time, however, I didn’t want to form another group because of the horrendous task of coordination this would require in view of the geographic problems I have previously mentioned. Therefore, I decided once again to try to inspire existing groups and individual researchers to cooperate with one another on a national basis, and perhaps form a committee or confederation which would present a unified interface with the international body. With this in mind I contacted sixteen known groups and individuals involved in UFO research in Canada and presented my proposal.
The replies I received, as you can well imagine, ranged from very positive to completely apathetic. However, reading between the lines, the apathy in most cases was a confession of a lack of capability or facilities, rather than a lack of interest. Here is a sample of what I mean.
“Due to other priorities I regret any meaningful contribution is not possible at this time.”
“Some years ago we attempted a training program for interested investigators - but found little real interest...For the past few years membership has declined to about a dozen or so; there are at the most 20 regular attendees of meetings. But almost all have only a casual interest. Probably I’m the only one who has devoted a fair amount of time and money to the subject.”
“...There is, at present, no one in our organization who has either the time or money to act as a representative in such a project...”
Now, I am at a loss to explain this last comment since I expressly clarified that a group would be a contributor to this project merely by carrying out well-planned, rigorous investigations in accordance with the generally accepted, standardized format. Each group would still maintain complete autonomy. What this latter group was really saying then was that there was no one in their organization who had the time or money to carry out effective UFO research, period. Why does the group exist?
I am happy to announce, however,
that on October 1, 1980 Project UFOCAN was officially formed, with the
following participating members:
1) John Musgrave, individual researcher, Edmonton, Alberta
UFOCAN is a committee representing
the core of UFO research in Canada, and is dedicated to ensuring that
input from Canadian groups and individuals is conveyed to PICUR in regard
1) establishing standards for an international minimum UFO data base, and for the format and procedures necessary in order to maintain this data base, and to retrieve information from it, and
As publisher and editor of Journal UFO, I have offered the services of our publication to make UFOCAN and PICUR information available to the general public in order that they be kept up-to-date on the progress of international UFO research.
Because of Canada’s geographic size and sparse population density, it is the opinion of UFOCAN that national collaboration is the only route toward progress in our field. In view of the lack of success of individual group efforts in the past, and their often conflicting approaches, it is imperative that they cast aside their differences and learn to work together. The United Nations is not going to lead the way, as was recently made obvious, but a strong international stand on the part of civilian groups may go a long way toward encouraging UN support, or at the very least, UN recognition. But without national cooperation among groups, international cooperation will be very difficult to achieve.
Argentina is another country which has just gone through an exercise similar to ours in Canada. The Argentine Federation for the Study of Extraterrestrial Science is a cooperative project of eighteen organizations in that country. There is a restriction in Argentina requiring groups of fifty or more to be officially registered with the government and thus be subject to surveillance. Most organizations are viewed with suspicion by the government, and this discourages the formation of large groups, perhaps accounting for the fact that there are so many small groups. The formation of the Federation, in view of these restrictions, is thus an encouraging sign in that country, even if their name, which refers to the Study of Extraterrestrial Science, shows a measure of bias on their part.
Speculating for the moment that some UFOs do represent an extraterrestrial intelligence, in view of the tribal warfare nature of international politics on this planet, why would they want to make contact? Is it not ironic, then, that those responsible for this speculation also exhibit their own version of tribal warfare? UFO research is only going to progress in the hands of those who do cooperate and coordinate their investigations.
We have seen that governments can’t do it, although full marks must go to France for her recent efforts. We have seen that individual civilian groups have been flailing away independently for thirty years without much success. The only remaining approach is national and international collaboration. When constructive research is attempted, it attracts the scientific community; and when the scientific community becomes involved, public support is aroused, and when public support is aroused, governments may listen, and cooperate. Then and only then might we get somewhere.
Bertil Kuhlemann has suggested that our first important task is to prove without a doubt that there is indeed a phenomenon to investigate. I suggest that to a certain extent this has already been accomplished in the statistical study to which I previously referred, called Project Blue Book Special Report #14 (BB#14). Unfortunately, the conclusions of the study, namely that “all unidentified aerial objects could have been explained if more observational data had been available” (45) did not accurately reflect the data analyzed in this report. The study analyzed 4000 sighting reports collected between June 1, 1947 and December 31, 1952, and among its many tables of results was one containing a comparison between those sightings labeled as either excellent, good, doubtful or poor, depending on factors such as witness reliability, observing conditions and completeness of report, etc. In the “excellent” category 33.3% were classified as unknowns, while only 4.2% were felt to have had insufficient information. Similarly in the “good” category 24.8% were called unknowns, while only 3.6% had insufficient information. (46) It would seem logical then, that more observational data could only have been made available with an actual craft retrieval. Could it have been possible that the conclusions were politically motivated? This seems most likely in view of the fact that when the report was finally published in May, 1955, “copies were made available only to the military even though the report was unclassified”. (47) Only the conclusions were made available to the media.
With international cooperation, it ought to be possible to repeat this study with a much larger data base, and once and for all demonstrate that we are dealing with a real phenomenon. Our data would of course be publicly available. This may provide the impetus to motivate and mobilize the public support Kuhlemann identifies as imperative to the execution of our cause.
But we must be careful in defining what Ufology is. Let us not forget that our investigations are probably going to reveal many previously unknown or misunderstood natural phenomena. Some of you may be familiar with the work Michael Persinger is doing in Canada in relating severe geological stresses to the discharge of electromagnetic energy which may appear as globes of light, and spark some UFO reports. (48) He is having his own problems convincing his fellow scientists of the validity of his theory, but if he is correct, a number of UFOs will become IFOs, and become a study for geophysicists.
In the same vein some UFO reports may be identifiable as a previously unknown meteorological phenomenon - enter the meteorologist.
For example, our meteorological consultant at U.P. Investigations Research Inc., Gene Duret, is doing some original research in isotropic wave theory and has come up with some startling discoveries. Gene is a graduate in Engineering Physics, and also has a Master’s degree in Meteorology. He is currently teaching in the Physics Department at Humber College, where I teach Computer Studies. I asked Gene for a short abstract of his work to include in my paper, and this is what he provided.
“In many problems regarding wave motion, it is sufficient to consider a wave system as a one- or two-dimensional system for all practical purposes. But a wave actually exists in three dimensions, and if it is in mechanical equilibrium, must exert an equal pressure in all directions. Viewed as a method of transferring energy, a wave system must transport energy at the same rate in all directions. A wave on the two-dimensional surface of a fluid must, for example, develop a third wave in the form of a vertical component, carrying energy into the air at the boundary, where, being in a different medium, it takes on different characteristics.
In many cases of practicable interest, it is possible to channel, guide, or otherwise direct the main energy flow in one direction, while interpreting the energy flow in the other direction in terms of ‘losses’ requiring no further explanation. If, however, the third wave is examined in detail, it reveals much about the fundamental structure of the waves themselves, and answers some of the mysteries often associated with the motion of certain types of ocean waves.
The energy in the third wave can appear in various guises, depending on the nature of the principal wave system and the media involved. It can appear, for example, in the form of heat, sound or even light, sometimes causing optical and accoustical effects which might often appear to be illusory but which are just as real as the two-dimensional waves with which they are associated. Such efforts are to be expected whenever shearing forces are brought into play by the sliding of one body over another, as when ocean waves are generated by the wind, or earthquakes are generated by slippage in the rock layers in the Earth’s crust.”
This may help explain a portion of the strangely behaving lights often reported as UFOs, especially over water. There have been many such incidents over Lake Ontario in Canada during the last few years. There may even be a chance that Duret’s work may be related to Persinger’s, and if it proves correct, will convert another type of UFO to an IFO.
The field may further be reduced if some of T.J. Constable’s speculations prove correct, namely that some UFOs are a previously unknown form of high altitude life - enter the biologist. (49, 50)
We are all aware of the parapsychological nature of some UFO encounters - if such encounters are eventually revealed to be purely parapsychological - enter the parapsychologist.
There is suspicion that some reported UFOs are secret test craft of our own design. What better way to secretly test a new technology? With the current attitude toward UFOs who is going to believe you anyway if you sight and report one of these craft? If this proves to be the case, there goes another portion of UFOs becoming IFOs.
All of these possibilities should not upset the ufologist who feels there is an extraterrestrial intelligence behind some UFOs. In fact, they would be a positive sign, rather than a negative one because even now when 90% of all sightings can be explained, the remaining 10% is still an enormous number - and this in itself argues against the extraterrestrial hypothesis unless you want to propose that our planet is the “Grand Central Station” of the Universe. I would speculate that a one percent or fewer unknowns would probably lend more credence to the ET hypothesis.
But if, as some suspect, some UFOs do turn out to be alien space craft - enter the ufologist? Not likely. Try the politician, the military and the scientist. What is left for the ufologist? To say “I told you so.”
How about the parallel universe concept? If that proves valid its implications will be staggering, but rather than result in the origin of a new scientific discipline, it will probably extend existing ones.
So at the risk of being accused of shortsightedness, I believe ufology is not a science. It is indeed, a process of analysis - ufologists are the analysts - and must utilize a systematic approach. And while analysis is underway, pre-supposing the result(s) of that analysis is self-defeating. We must not only be careful in defining what ufology is, we must be careful in carrying it out. Anybody who is drawn into ufology with a “golly-gee-whiz-wow!” attitude should seriously reconsider his or her motivation, and if not prepared to become involved in the long, drawn-out, tedious process of analysis, should return to armchair involvement. It is frustrating work, but the rewards could be tremendous.
As Dr. Allen Hynek has speculated,
we may be on the edge of a quantum leap in our understanding of the
Universe. And since we are an integral part of this Universe,
I tend to agree somewhat with Dr. Jacques Vallee who feels that the
solution to the whole problem does not lie “in some secret file in Washington.
The solution lies where it has always been: within ourselves.”
(51) Ironically, unless we unite, we may never find that solution.
(1) Memorandum to the Controller
of Telecommunications, W.B. Smith, Nov. 21, 1950, p.2.