Mystery lights part of first UFO survey

Thursday, April 12, 1990
Page B12

The Canadian Press

WINNIPEG - Startled residents of the rural Quebec community Ste-Marie-de-Monnoir see flashing lights glide over a field and out of sight.

The next morning, they find strange circles swirled into the ground.

At Wesleyville, Nfld., eight or nine people notice a saucer-shaped object swoop low over housetops and along the shoreline.

Despite investigations by the police, neither incident can be explained.

But the strange sightings were only two among 141 reports of unusual flying objects last year now documented in what may be Canada's first national survey of UFO contacts.

The study was co-ordinated by Chris Rutkowski, a Winnipeg UFO researcher who wants the science community to start taking such sightings a lot more seriously.

"It tells us that UFOs haven't gone away, it tells us that UFOs are being seen right across Canada," Rutkowski, who has a degree in astronomy, said this week.

Rutkowski compiled the survey from reports submitted to private investigators across the country, police and the Ottawa-based National Research Council, which supplied two-thirds of the material for the study.

Such information was always available but never put together in a form that painted a picture of the UFO situation Canada-wide, he said.

More than half the reports didn't have enough information to evaluate properly and one third had probable explanations, said Rutkowski, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada's Winnipeg branch.

Of the rest, seven were stamped solidly unknown, meaning they were seen by several people and investigated by the police and NRC, without any explanation being found, he said.

The Quebec and Newfoundland sightings were two examples of the latter type, as was a sighting near Beaver Creek, Man., where people reported seeing a diamond shape with red lights zip over their car and out across Lake Winnipeg.

But one of Ruktkowski's intriguing reports has yet to be confirmed.

According to a second-hand report, a woman and her son were driving near Carp, Ont., just west of Ottawa when a strange object flew toward them and shone a bright light at their car, burning the boy's arm.

Rutkowski stresses that he wants to take a rational, scientific approach to the reports and will not offer any theories about unexplained sightings.

But he hopes publicity from the survey will spark more people to come forward with their observations, providing a larger body of evidence that could be investigated by scientists.

A Gallup poll indicated that while eight per cent of Canadians have seen UFOs, only one in ten sightings is reported, Rutkowski said.

"People tend to think little green men when they hear the word UFO and there tends to be a ridicule curtain that holds people back."

Fellow UFO investigator Ed Barker of Winnipeg welcomed the survey, but warned that it provides a far-from-complete picture of UFO reports.

Rutkowski documented only a handful of sightings in Atlantic Canada, 62 in Ontario and Quebec, and 71 in the West, Barker said.


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