October 17, 2000
Governments think the truth is out there
by Chuck Tobin
If you're left with the impression that governments dismiss unidentified flying objects (UFOs) as folly because they like you to think that, there's evidence to the contrary, says the founding directors of UFO*BC.
Graham Conway and David Pengilly have interviewed countless people who've reported seeing UFOs. The duo have worked with a world-famous UFO photograph taken in B.C., and have investigated a rare UFO landing sight in the Port Coquitlam, B.C. area.
To the 304 registered delegates for the first Yukon UFO Conference held last weekend, Conway and Pengilly recounted a number of eyewitness accounts.
Over the years, it's been learned, there is a corridor in the Surrey, B.C. area that's been a hotbed for sightings.
They spoke to a group of young men who were literally shakin' in their boots when they encountered a UFO at their favorite party place on a mountain next to Grouse Mountain, overlooking Vancouver.
Conway said they'd brought their drink, and quite likely their marijuana too.
What they witnessed, however, has etched on their collective consciousness an indelible mark, much greater than any hangover.
Just recently, a retired commander with the Canadian navy told of a spectacular 15-minute encounter with a spaceship while he was on graveyard watch aboard HMCS Iroquois in 1952.
The ship was travelling from Hawaii to Guam as support in the Korean conflict when one of about 30 strange lights in the distance came quite close the the Iroquois, then followed next to it.
"It stayed there for 15 minutes," Conway told the audience. "He counted 24 windows. It just sat there, and he counted them, and then after 15 minutes, it was gone."
The retired commander, now in his 70s, logged the incident as a meteor sighting. The next day, another sailor who worked the watches asked him about the report of a meteor, and his response was that it wasn't really a meteor.
"The other fellow said, 'I saw those a few nights ago', I put down, 'many meteorites seen.'"
The career navy officer, said Conway, never mentioned what he really saw to anyone else, and only came to UFO*BC two years ago simply to get it off his chest.
There was the case of a man who witnessed something strange moving through the roadside thicket while walking his dog.
"David wanted him to describe the thing as a critter or creature," Conway said of Pengilly's attempt to tone down the official report. "He refused to do that. He wanted to stay with alien His white dog developed brown and black patches on his fur."
During his investigation of the 1974 Port Coquitlam landing witnessed by three boys aged seven, eight and 10, Conway contacted a friend who was a civilian employee at the Comox, B.C. Canadian military base, he told the audience.
He wanted to know if the base had a branch assigned to investigating UFO sightings.
Conway said he received no reply, but when attending a conference a year or so later, one which he knew his friend would be at, he approached the fellow to ask him if he'd received his letter.
He was told by his friend that he wasn't able to respond because he didn't know if his mail was being monitored.
'"Well, what is the answer to my question?'" Conway said, recalling the conversation. "He said, 'I can't answer your question, but I can tell you there is an awful lot going on at this base the public knows nothing about.'"
Through the years, said Conway, there have been several reports by witnesses who tell of phoning the Comox base to report unidentified flying objects.
Many witnesses describe being put on hold, then being patched through to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) in Colorado.
And there's been mention of Quebec in some of the conversations, or at least in the background discussions while the caller is waiting to speak with the right person, Conway told the audience.
One witness, he said, was put through to a party in Quebec before being rerouted to Colorado.
He said in 1997, while pursuing scholarly analysis of dirt samples taken from the 1974 landing site, one of the scientists working on the sample mentioned how he once worked in the 1960s at the St.-Hubert military base/airport on the south shore of Montreal.
As a precursor to the conversation, the scholar told Conway if he ever mentioned his name in connection with what he was about to tell him, he would deny it emphatically, Conway told the audience.
At the time, said the UFO investigator, St.-Hubert was receiving UFO reports from the Distant Early Warning Line radar stations positioned by Norad across Canada's North to protect against any bombing attacks from that direction.
"They often got a lot of reports," Conway said. He then recalled the words of the scholar.
"My job was to decode the reports and push them through a slot in the wall. The message would come back and I would send them to Colorado. My personal opinion at the time: people in Ottawa did not know what was going on at the base."
It's not true that governments are not interested in UFOs, and it's double-speak when they suggest to the eyewitnesses that it's all in their imagination, Conway told the audience.
"There are people very interested in what is going on, and have been for a very long time," he said. "I can tell you, somebody takes these reports very seriously."
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