T. W. Paterson Reviews the Facts
YOU Be the Judge

The Daily Colonist
November 28, 1965

LONDON (AP) - Having solved Britain’s great train robbery, Moscow Radio today disposed of flying saucers.
“Mysterious objects in the sky,” it said, “are a myth created by the Pentagon for fanning the war feeling.”
“An unexplained danger always alarms people more than a realized threat.”
“And if a supernatural danger is mentioned daily in the press and over the radio, it might be that even a sober person would see mysterious things in the sky. . .”

Tensely, United States Air Force officers watched the distance between two small "blips" on their radar screen narrow with each fleeting second. Their eyes followed the tinier, faster speck of the F-89C all-weather interceptor which they had scrambled minutes before from Kinross, Michigan, as it closed to investigate the stranger.

Whatever hovered over Lake Superior that eerie night of November 23, 1953 - a friendly aircraft off course, an enemy bomber or a visitor from outer space - they would soon know, for the fighter was almost alongside the alien

Suddenly an officer blurted: “They’re going to collide!”

Before the startled observers could even think, the two actors in this amazing drama seemed to merge, and “faded from the screen . . .”

Sound like a scene from a poor science fiction movie? Perhaps, unfortunately, this remarkable incident is all too true - fully documented by the USAF. Today, 12 years after the tragedy, it is known only that:

The investigating fighter pilot had not even time to radio of his danger before he vanished in the dark Michigan skies - never to be seen again. No trace of his interceptor or of the mysterious object with which he is believed to have collided ever were discovered!

The unsolved “Kinross Case” is but one of tantalizing, unbelievable episodes of our frantic (and, to date, unsuccessful) quest to identify the increasing number of unidentified flying objects - “UFOs” - flying saucers!

It also is a prime example of the secrecy in which both the Royal Canadian Air Force and the USAF have shrouded this startling - but real - field of research; a silence that may yet lead to a showdown in Washington, D.C., in the near future.

For this reluctance of the air forces to disclose their considerable evidence on this subject and constant efforts by the USAF to “play down” reports has drawn much criticism from American senators and congressmen. Many of these leaders, including 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, himself a pilot for 30 years, believe where there is so much smoke there must be fire. In other words they feel - as do many citizens - the thousands of inexplicable incidents of aerial phenomena must indicate something - something the air force is not telling.

Private organizations and clubs devoted to researching this fascinating field have appeared in most countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain in recent years. The lowly flying saucer, butt of countless jokes and scepticism, finally is becoming “respectable”.

For is it unreasonable to assume that somewhere in this vast universe there exists other intelligent forms of life? Races intelligent enough to have mastered space travel and to have visited our small planet? Or are all UFOs simply weather balloons, light reflections and the product of over-imaginative witnesses?

Interest in UFOs recently has been prompted by the magnificent achievement of the U.S. Mariner IV when it photographed mysterious Mars, and earlier Russian announcement of a “super-civilization”. Ironically, these reports, while stimulating universal interest, also have dealt near-mortal blows to public acceptance of the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.

In April, 1965, Soviet astronomers stated their research had “confirmed that a new civilization has been found” in outer space. They based their belief on regularly transmitted radio signals from a distant source, CTA-102. Two days later, the astronomers claimed their reports, which caused an international sensation, had been “misquoted!” Thus, no “super-civilization” and belief in flying saucers retreated another step . . .

In July, the space-probe Mariner IV indicated no life exists on Mars. A definite answer in this centuries-old puzzle will not be known until 1971, when the probe Voyager is scheduled for launching.

One of the greatest “flaps” in recent UFO history was sparked by Mariner IV. As the world waited and hoped for the first close-up photographed of Mars, flying saucer reports poured in from every corner of the globe.

One of the most publicized - and authenticated - came from Wichita, Kansas. UFO were sighted over eight American states during the night of Aug. 2; the Wichita incident is well-documented and vividly illustrates air force treatment of such reports.

Described as “flashing lights” and “egg-shaped,” the mystery objects were detected by the Wichita weather bureau’s radar, and witnessed by “hundreds of persons.” Said the USAF: “The planet Jupiter or assorted stars.”

Said Robert Hisser, director of the Oklahoma Science and Art Foundation Planetarium, which also sighted the phenomenon: “That is as far from the truth as you can get. Somebody has made a mistake. These stars and planets are on the opposite side of the earth from Oklahoma City at this time of the year!”

Following are some of the many sightings reported in the Pacific Northwest. Judge for yourself!

The most famous “flap” held Washington, D.C., in frantic awe for more than a month in 1952. Day and night, the fastest fighter planes vainly chased lights which bobbed up and down, flew horizontally and hovered. Radar confirmed the visual sightings. Some meteorites!

Previously, “solid, reliable” residents of Hammond, B.C., had reported strange objects which had been “whizzing through the night skies of the Fraser Valley for the last six weeks.”

Hank Harms, an RCAF tailgunner in the war, said: “Just before midnight I saw what appeared to be a star moving toward me from the south, about 45 degrees off the horizon.

“The sky was clear. It was as large as a silvery white star, except that it shimmered. Height, size and speed I couldn’t tell. It flashed out of sight and about a minute later it came back, travelling west on the same course, slightly higher.”

“Then it made a sharp right turn away from me and headed south toward the horizon. It was in sight for a total of about four minutes and made no sound . . . ”

The same month, a Victorian reported a “heart-shaped” object, spotted one afternoon while he was sitting in his garden. The witness, who had served in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War, said: “It circled twice in a clockwise direction, then twice in the opposite direction, and finally shot out of sight due north.”

That June, the American Astronomical Society and Astronomical Society of the Pacific met in Victoria, at which time one of the members accredited the sightings to hallucinations, “caused by world unrest.”

At the height of the Washington, D.C., incident, two objects were seen zooming just ahead of two Comox-based Harvard trainers. Witnesses said they “were travelling on edge, like wheels.”

More reports followed. In November, 1953, a Victoria woman stated she had observed a “shiny, silvery thing zig-zagging in the sky over toward Port Angeles.”

“It was somewhat like a long, narrow white cloud. It appeared to go on its edge and then back again. It was about two feet long, but I don’t know how big It would be close up,” she said.

“Then my view was blocked by a building . . . Maybe it was a comet or meteor. But it was such a silvery streak of a thing and the zig-zag motion was very odd and pronounced.”

The same day, RCAF officials checked a report of a “light” exploding in the air near Duncan. A Cobble Hill farmer and his hired hand had seen an “S-shaped” smoke trail after the object appeared to “hit the mountain-side. . .”

“It was very weird,” concluded another Victorian, K. J. Norgaard, in 1955. He was describing the mystery object which had streaked over his cabin cruiser near Bute Inlet. It had been ‘shaped like an egg with a body sort of pale gold. Around it was a bright orange halo and it appeared as though there were bright exhaust fumes coming out of this halo. At the rear there were very pronounced exhausts - blue, orange and red shooting back the length of the saucer.”

"October, 1959, flying saucers really became busy over Vancouver Island"

Aldergrove citizens were excited by an object resembling a large plastic bag with a bright red light inside. The top was a little irregular but otherwise it was quite round, but looked slightly tilted.”

The UFO had been watched for 10 minutes by one woman, who reported it hovered over the Aberdeen cemetery before streaking off toward Vancouver.

Popular Victoria showman Jerry Gosley and his wife observed a “pencil-shaped object which seemed to be of tremendous size” in January, 1959.

Months later, Prince George was startled by a “high altitude flash and explosion.” Twelve persons reported seeing “something fall from the sky’ immediately after the blast. Ground Observer Corps officials could give no explanation, but did not investigate.

It was in October, 1959, that flying saucers really became busy over Vancouver Island. Reports poured in, mainly from the Cowichan Bay area. Eleven Duncan residents observed four “orange discs.’ A foreman at the Crofton pulp mill, Jack Wilson, said his 14-year-old daughter, Gaynor, was riding her horse near their home when she saw one. “She said it was like a moon and lit the ground around her. She saw black lines in it like windows,” related Wilson.

Ten missile-like darts” were sighted at Crofton; a bright red ball” bobbed up and down over Quamichan Lake for five minutes before streaking off. One Crofton man believed they were spaceships looking for two others which he had soon “crash and explode” over Richard’s Mountain.

As the sightings continued, Dr. R M. Petrie, present director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Little Saanich Mountain, could only say: "They’re seeing something".

In one week “at least 35 UFO sightings” were reported locally.

Two Nanaimo hunters played hide-and-seek with a ‘huge, bouncing ball” near Echo Mountain. The Colonist reported:

"...When it was first sighted the object was stationary above the mountain. Then it gradually descended until it was completely hidden. About 20 seconds later, it came up again and remained visible for about a minute. Finally it descended until the top rim showed above the mountain, then it rose again to remain in the same spot for about five minutes before going down out of sight behind the mountain for good.”

The hunters had had a camera with them - but left it in their car. Earlier, five other Nanaimo hunters had described a similar phenomenon.

In December 1964 “more than 100 persons” saw an orange or gold sphere circle Vancouver, hover then soar away.

Flying saucers again made news in July of this year. Seattle pathologist Dr. Warren Lovell investigating the mysterious explosion of a Canadian Pacific airliner near 100 Mile House in which 52 persons died, was misquoted as saying:

"I have been investigating air crashes for many years, but I have never seen anything like this."

"In all previous cases we have been able to determine the cause of the crash. In this ease there is no explanation that our present scientific knowledge can determine."

“I would not exclude that a force completely unknown to science at present has been responsible for the crash. I would not exclude that a force from outer space is responsible, no matter how unlikely this possibility appears to be.”

Upon reading this, Dr. Lovell denounced the entire interview as fiction.

"Canada Ranks Fourth in UFO Sightings"

The same month, University of Victoria linguistics teacher, Dr. Max Edwards, urged a “national investigation” of all UFO reports. Canada ranks fourth in UFO sightings throughout the world.

In August, Vancouver was startled by several “green and red flashing lights and silver globes.” A 20-year-old amateur scientist and inventor claimed they were just balloons covered with aluminum foil, which he had launched as part of an experiment. A lecturer to a Canadian-American psychic phenomena convention being held in Vancouver at the time heatedly refuted this explanation

According to a recent USAF news release, “after 18 years of investigating 8,908 flying objects, the U.S. Air Force lists 663 sightings (roughly seven per cent) as unidentified.” Previously they had admitted to only 1/2 per cent as unknowns.

The Pentagon therefore concluded:

No UFO “has ever given any indication of threat to our national security;”

No UFOs ‘‘represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge;’’

Thus, “There has been no evidence indicating vehicles from beyond earth.’’

Most critical of the USAF in this field is the Washington, D.C., “private fact-finding organization” NICAP - National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. In July, 1964 NICAP published what must be the most impressive compilation to date of world-wide of UFO sightings.

Titled “The UFO Evidence,” the 200,000 word, 184-page book contains “hundreds of verified sightings by airline and military pilots, aerospace scientists and engineers, and other experienced observers.” The enclosed 750 cases were selected from over 5,000 on file.

NICAP’s Board of Advisors include army, navy and air force officers, scientists, veteran pilots and “other specialists.”

Aim of the book, presented to senators and congressmen is “to reduce the dangers of accidental war caused by misidentification of UFOs on radar screens, and to educate the public to the realities. NICAP advocates a sweeping reform of government policies on the subject by Congress.”

Official RCAF view of UFOs is:

“The RCAF, through Air Defence Command, is charged with the military investigation of UFO reports. It is policy to investigate in detail all reports of UFO which cannot be identified as man-made objects or natural phenomena.”

“Reports from private citizens are treated as private correspondence and would not be made public unless a threat to national security existed. To date no threat has been determined . . . It can be said . . . that investigations to date have classified reported sightings as either man-made objects, of which we are aware, or of natural phenomena well known to scientists but unfamiliar to the general public . . . ”

Dr. E. H. Richardson, of the Saanich Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, says: “ . . . I don’t think a deliberate search for UFOs has been made - it would involve a great deal of work with little chance of success because the phenomena is obviously extremely infrequent . . .”

“We don't have any official views on UFOs but I will give my own view. There are millions of stars in our galaxy that are of the same type as our sun. We do not yet have the capability to tell whether or not these stars have planets (but this capacity will come with the development of very large telescopes in space.)”

“However,” Dr. Richardson continues, “it would be very surprising if they did not have planetary systems, millions of which being older and more advanced than our own system. Also, one would expect them to explore neighboring systems.”

“Although one hopes for contact with other systems, and attempts have been made to establish such contact, the UFO reports of actual contacts are of questionable veracity (i.e. talking to green men) and the verified sightings constitute no real contact. Also the lights seen might be natural but rare phenomena resulting from the enormous amount of radiation and matter fed into interplanetary space by the sun and/or unusual conditions in the earth’s atmosphere.”

In conclusion, he said: “I would like to see some concrete evidence and I personally believe that when real contact is made with another system there will be no doubt about it.”

Associate Professor G. G. Shepherd, of the University of Saskatchewan’s Upper Atmospheric Physics Department, says. “No UFOs have been observed” there since their scientists first began study in 1950.

He has heard “second-hand reports” but, “in the whole international community, as I know it, of upper atmospheric and space physics I have never heard a report, or even had a discussion on this topic.”

He admits, however, that “on this kind of evidence it would be unscientific to draw any conclusion at all. The proper attitude of science in such cases is scepticism, coupled with demands for more evidence, and a resistance to drawing premature conclusions.”

On the subject of extra-terrestrial life, he said, “the evidence for beings from other planets is totally negative.”

Thus, despite thousands of “eyewitness” reports and scientific study the individual is left with very little that is known to be absolute bonafide fact.

But before drawing your own conclusions, please note: “Scientists have estimated there are in the universe 100 million trillions of planetary systems comparable to our own . . . ”

Life in outer space? Flying saucers?



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