THE SHAG HARBOUR UFO CRASH
Nova Scotia (Canada's Roswell)
October 4, 1967
Commonly called "Canada's Roswell Incident", a UFO crashes into Shag Harbour in Nova Scotia on October 4, 1967. Initially concerned that it might be an airline crash, the case is investigated and documented by government authorities.
This classic Canadian UFO case has appeared in several newspapers and UFO books. In 2001 Canadian researchers Don Ledger and Chris Styles released a book on the incident titled "Dark Object", shown here on the right.
Above on the left is the Postmark used in the area to celebrate this famous case. According to Don Ledger there are also plans to introduce a postage stamp.
World Still Mystified by Nova Scotia UFO
C-News, Alison Auld, July 26, 2001
SHAG HARBOUR, N.S. (CP) -- Lawrence Smith stares out through a thick, milky fog hanging heavily over Shag Harbour's quiet bay. There -- he points -- only a kilometre or so out from this rocky shore, is the spot many of the residents of this sleepy town believe holds a mystery that has captivated the world and eluded government officials and sci-fi buffs looking for clues into what has been called one of the most important UFO sightings ever.
"Something came down there, there's no doubt about it," Smith, his eyes squinting with intensity, says in a heavy south-shore drawl.
"I'm not sure what it was. It's made me wonder, ya'know, way out there in space, if there's some other type of life besides us.
"Whatever that object was, it come from somewhere and our authorities don't know anything about it, so they're saying."
Smith, now 68, was a 34-year-old fisherman on Oct. 4, 1967, when the RCMP called him at around 11 p.m. to see if he could take his boat out in the sound.
There were reports, they told him, that what looked to be a plane might have gone down in the harbour.
Smith jumped in his truck and raced to the wharf where dozens of people had already gathered and were buzzing about a mysterious object that glowed a dull orange.
Cars lined the shoreline near the old moss plant, their headlights trained on the site where they said something had plunged into the water.
"God, it was quite a fiery looking site with all those lights," says Smith, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a flying saucer and a logo that reads, Shag Harbour -- Home of the '67 UFO Visit.
"It was a lovely night, no moon or anything and no stars. It was just a dark calm night."
Smith, a couple buddies and an RCMP officer jumped in his boat, travelling at full throttle out to where they thought the plane had crashed. The men had laid out lines and hooks to retrieve debris and help survivors into the vessel.
But they found no debris, no survivors and nothing to indicate a plane had gone into their bay.
"All we found was a patch of yellowish brown foam on the water -- the colour looked like burnt pancakes to me, you know when they're good and brown," says Smith, one of the few surviving fishermen who witnessed the strange happenings that night.
"It was a strip of foam that looked like a runway to me, where something come down on the water and sunk or the lights went out and it lifted off again." By this point, the RCMP, a Halifax newspaper and other agencies were receiving a flurry of calls from people along the coast, including fishing captains, motorists and an Air Canada captain.
All of them said they had seen an unusual object that had several lights and looked nothing like a conventional aircraft. The Air Canada captain, flying a DC-8 over south-eastern Quebec, reported seeing a large rectangular object, followed by a string of lights at about 7:20 p.m. Seconds later, he said there were several huge explosions near the object, while small lights flickered around it.
Chris Styles witnessed the object from his bedroom that looked out over Halifax harbour. Just 12 years old, he ran from his home in Dartmouth, N.S., down to the waterfront to figure out what was hovering over the ocean. "What I saw was an orange sphere that was probably 60 feet in diameter, slightly above the water, not making a sound, just tracing the shoreline," said Styles, co-author of Dark Object, a recently released book about the Shag Harbour incident. "It just gave me a cold feeling inside, like this is the other, this is what you're not supposed to see."
As he and the less than 700 residents of Shag Harbour puzzled over the object, the Royal Canadian Air Force moved in to investigate and the navy dispatched a team of divers to search for wreckage.
They could find nothing, although some fishermen said they saw divers bringing up shiny pieces of debris, according to Styles' book.
By this point, speculation was growing that the orange object that some say floated noiselessly in the skies over the south shore was not an airplane.
Days after the incident, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald was emblazoned with a bold, two-inch red headline that read Could be something concrete in Shag Harbour UFO -- RCAF.
"By 10:20 a.m., the Rescue Command Centre in Halifax was referring to the object as a UFO, having eliminated the possibility that it was a crashed airplane," Styles writes of the incident that was being called Dark Object.
Despite that, the Canadian Forces Maritime Command called off the official search on Oct. 9, concluding in its report there was "not a trace ... not a clue ... not a bit of anything."
There was never any official explanation, but theories swirled, particularly since the event occurred at the height of the Cold War and near CFB Shelburne, a top-secret submarine detection base.
For years, that's how the incident was treated -- an unexplained phenomenon that most in the community gladly let drift into obscurity.
Many were afraid the object could come crashing down on their village again. They spoke little of it, says Smith, whose brother still won't talk about the night of Oct. 4, 1967.
But that quiet lifted earlier this year when Styles' book was released and the local post office released a commemorative stamp depicting a flying saucer hovering over water with a lighthouse and boat beneath it.
In an instant, people in this south shore town were dealing with a buzz that stretched around the world.
TV crews from the United States and Canada showed up to interview witnesses. Enthusiasts stopped by to have their picture taken. The National Enquirer wanted to do interviews. People from Roswell, N.M., were visiting to compare notes about their infamous alien crash incident.
Now, there is talk of a company taking tourists out to the site to collect bottles of water.
Postmaster Cindy Nickerson, who came up with the idea for the stamp two years ago and has had 370 requests for it since May, says the attention has aroused a fond interest in her town.
"So many people stop in from all over wanting to take pictures of the post office," she says from the small building on Shag Harbour's main street.
"At the moss plant, where people went that night, there's always people up there taking photos. "It's kinda neat."
Neat for some, but a bother for Smith, who wishes he never went out on his boat that night after wondering for years what happened. Did he see the remains of a UFO? Or, since it was at the height of the Cold War, was it a Russian spacecraft or submarine, as some have speculated?
"I wouldn't want to go out there again," says Smith, sporting a cap from the Space Channel, which interviewed him about the crash.
"If I saw something today I'd just forget it. It caused too much trouble -- too many interviews."
SHAG HARBOUR SIGHTING OF 1967
by Chris Styles
SHAG HARBOUR GETS UFO STAMP
N.S. Town's New Postmark Pays Homage to UFO Visit
by Les Perreaux, The National Post
Residents of Shag Harbour, N.S., will be mailing an image of a flying saucer with every letter and package after Canada Post approved a new postmark commemorating a visit 34 years ago by an unidentified flying object.
The crash has become the subject of popular lore, including a book, and has also made the town a tourist draw.
The locally designed ink stamp, used to mark and date outgoing mail, depicts a flying saucer hovering over water with a lighthouse and boat beneath it. The scene refers to an incident in 1967 in which an apparent UFO plunged into the bay near the town and sent the RCMP, Coast Guard and townspeople on a fruitless search-and-rescue mission.
"There are so many people coming in who are interested in having their picture taken here or having their mail stamped, I though we needed something with a UFO design," said postmaster Cindy Nickerson, who came up with the idea for the stamp two years ago. The design is also being used on T-shirts, hats and commemorative wooden nickels.
At about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 4, 1967, Laurie Wickens and three friends were driving home when they saw an orange light heading toward the water, and called police.
"At first the cops didn't want to believe us, but then we found out another cop had seen it too," Mr. Wickens recalled yesterday. He and several witnesses, including RCMP officers, watched the light floating on the water until it sank. An all-night search found nothing except a 600-metre strip of floating, yellow scum.
No official explanation has been offered for the lights, but theories at the time had a Cold War influence and involved a Russian spacecraft or submarine. Mr. Wickens believes it was a U.S. military plane.
Canada Post has created many postmarks for communities, including a teddy bear hugging a heart for Love, Sask., and Anne of Green Gables for Cavendish, P.E.I.
"It's a concept that goes over very well with collectors," said Tim McGurrin, spokesman for Canada Post.
The ink stamp will be officially unveiled in May.
Documentary Explores Nova Scotian UFO Case
Truth is Out There in Shag Harbour
Pat Lee, The Halifax Herald, Dec. 15, 2000
On Oct. 4, 1967 many Nova Scotians saw something strange flying through the sky with flashing lights.
The mysterious object plunged into the water off Shag Harbour, leading fishermen and the RCMP to rush out in a frantic attempt to find survivors.
But by the time boats arrived on the scene, all that was found was a mysterious yellow foam that smelled like burned sulphur, although a dark object was later spotted moving out to sea. (Insert Twilight Zone music here.)
Some 33 years later the Shag Harbour UFO story continues to fascinate believers and skeptics alike, mainly because of the number of credible eyewitness accounts and the official documentation that has been unearthed.
So it's not surprising that the story has lived on in books and most recently has become the subject of a documentary by local filmmaker Michael MacDonald.
Airing Sunday at 5 p.m. on cable's Space: The Imagination Station, the hour-long The Shag Harbour UFO Story brings together eyewitnesses and pieces together the X-Files tale, which started that October night when those mysterious lights were seen around the province.
Among those who spotted the odd sight from Dartmouth was then 12-year-old Chris Styles, who subsequently heard the same story from his grandfather who lived in Shag Harbour.
"I literally felt cold inside," Styles says of seeing the glowing object that night.
Also interviewed in the film is Don Ledger, who has written extensively about the case with Styles. The pair's research provided the framework for MacDonald's film, produced by Halifax-based Ocean Entertainment.
Also providing input on the incident is local fisherman Laurie Wickens, who also saw the strange lights that night, along with fisherman Lawrence Smith.
Adding to the intrigue is a photograph taken by Wilber Eisnor, which shows coloured lights glowing in the sky.
All fascinating stuff, made all the more interesting by government documents, comic book illustrations, the usual jazz about coverups and interviews with folks who prefer to have their voices altered and to be filmed in silhouette.
Of course no one knows what really happened in Shag Harbour, but speculation abounds, particularly since the event occured at the height of the Cold War and the fact that nearby CFS Shelburne was a top-secret submarine detection base.
There's something to make every conspiracy theorist happy.
MacDonald and producer Johanna Eliot have done a nice job in touching all the mysterious bases, while presenting the information in a visually interesting fashion.
It truly is a story that will not die.
SHAG HARBOUR, CANADA
The Shag Harbour Incident
The Shag Harbour UFO Alien Crash
by Don Ledger
COULD BE SOMETHING IN SHAG HARBOUR - RCAF