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Detecting UFOs in the 1950s

The Shirley Bay Instrument Shack The original SETI program (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) was set-up by Canadian Department of Communications engineer and scientist Wilbert Brockhouse Smith in 1953. The main difference? Smith was not looking at distant stars, he was looking a lot closer to home - like the skies over Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The Canadian government was quite concerned about flying saucer UFOs over Canadian skies at the time, so Wilbert Smith designed instruments that would detect when a UFO flew over. He set up a UFO detection station at Shirley Bay ten miles outside Ottawa, Ontario.

Based on the idea that the UFOs operate by manipulating gravity, Smith's equipment was set-up to detect and record changes in the gravity field. The device was also connected to an alarm should some exotic technology manage to change the gravity field over Shirley Bay.

Inside the Shirley Bay Shack On Sunday, August 8, 1954 the station detected something in the skies. Wilbert ran outside, but the sky was overcast, so he could not see what sort of aerial phenomena or UFO had altered the gravity in the area.

Immediately after Smith announced the detection to the press, he was heavily reprimanded. Within days he reversed himself in the press and said no UFO was detected. By the end of the month the government told the press that it had not only shut-down the detection station, but all UFO research including Project Magnet.

It's interesting to read between the lines of the press release of August 10, 1954 that states, while the government is officially out of the UFO business, they still want people to forward their UFO information to Wilbert on an "unofficial" basis. They even go to the point of including his mailing address in the press release. So while they wanted the press off their backs regarding the UFO issue, it's obvious they were still interested in studying UFOs.

Based on the intense government interest in solving the UFO problem at the time, it's most likely that UFO projects went top-secret from this point on. Some of it may have been taken out of the hands of Smith, who had the problematic tendency of sharing his UFO findings with the press, who would then descend on his superiors.


  1. [ELECTRONIC OBSERVATORY] Globe and Mail Nov. 12, 1953
  2. [OTTAWA OBSERVATORY] Winnipeg Free Press Nov. 12, 1953
  3. [THE DAY] Wilbert Smith Aug. 8, 1954
  4. [CANADIAN FIRST] Globe & Mail Aug. 10, 1954
  5. [SHUTDOWN] Press Release Aug. 10, 1954
  6. [HUNT CALLED OFF] Montreal Star Aug. 31, 1954
  7. [MONITORING STATION] Fate Magazine J.C. Ross, 1954 (3 pages)
  8. [UFO OBSERVATORY] The UFO Annual Morris K. Jessup, 1956 (2 pages)
  9. [UFOLOGY CANADA] BUFORA Symposium David Haisell, 1981 (2 pages)
  10. [HOME] (Link to HomePage)

OTTAWA Nov. 11 (Staff) -- an engineer engaged in a scientific hunt for flying saucers says there is a 90 per cent change the numerous saucer sightings are justified by physical somethings and better than a 50-50 chance that the somethings are alien vehicles.

He is Wilbert B. Smith, engineer in charge of the Department of Transport's broadcast and measurement section of the Telecommunications Division, which, at Shirley Bay. 10 miles west of Ottawa, had the worlds first flying saucer sighting station

The scientific watch for saucers began five years ago as a hobby among some of the telecommunications people engaged in ionospheric studies. It since has been given official recognition and there is a small appropriation for it within the Department of Transport.

The departmental directive on the subject says the station is to see what it can prove of disprove the existence of flying saucers.

The Defence Research Board, which has been gathering flying saucer data for some time, is co-operating in the project. Among those associated with it are Dr. James Wait, the board's physicist, and John H. Thompson, technical information expert of the telecommunications division.

Professor J. T. Wilson, the University of Toronto, and Dr. G.D. Garland, specialist in gravitational studies at the Dominion Observatory assisted with some of the equipment for the station.

"From our point of view," says Mr. Smith, "this is nothing more than part of our routine work. At Shirley Bay we have an ionosphere observatory in connection with our radio wave studies."

Specifically, for the flying saucer work there is additional electronic equipment, some of it unique.

The purpose of the setup according to Mr. Smith, is to gather measurements, information as to the type of propulsion used, and other data, if a saucer should be sighted and if it should prove to be an alien vehicle.

Those associated with the project do not subscribe to the view that the saucer sightings can be explained as optical illusions. Engineer Smith states that he has not yet found one reported sighting which wholly could be put down to illusion.

Statistically it has been worked out, on the basis of past sightings, that the object, phenomenon, or whatever, may be expected to be seen within a year or so. The people at Shirley Bay are confident that maintaining an around the clock watch, the [group] should see something in a year.

Although it did not produce the results expected, an experiment tried here some time ago proved one thing. Not many people are sky-watchers. A weather balloon, 10 feet in diameter, lighted from the underside so a to have a saucer-like appearance from the ground, was released over Ottawa. It was estimated that a minimum of 5,000 people were in a position to see it.

The saucer scientists waited for the reports to come in. For one thing, they wanted to see what sort of descriptions were given. They didn't hear a word.

In a negative way, the test seemed to support the existence of saucers if a 10-foot lighted balloon could pass unnoticed, or cause no comment, among 5,000 people, at least some of those who reported seeing flying saucers must have seen something.

OTTAWA (NYHT) -- The Canadian government is building an observatory near Ottawa to watch the skies for flying saucers.

The observatory, first of its kind in the world, will be manned by government scientists headed by Wilbert B. Smith, an engineer of the Canadian department of transport.

"There's a very high degree of probability that flying saucers are real objects." Mr. Smith said Wednesday night, "and a 60 per cent probability that they're alien vehicles."

He discounted the optical illusion explanation of the phenomenon. He said that in every one of many reports of flying saucers seen in Canadian skies, there is some factor precluding writing it off as an optical illusion. The sighting station will use specially built electronic devices to track saucers.

Co-sponsor of the observatory, with the transport department, is the Defence Research Board of Canada. Dr. O. M. Solandt, chairman of DRB, and Dr. C. J. Mackenzie, former president of the national research council, have consistently refused to ridicule flying saucer reports.

The Day Magnet Detected a Flying Saucer

Wilbert B. Smith
August 8, 1954 started out as a rather typical day at Project Magnet. Since the project had started it was hoped that the instruments on hand would sooner or later pick up an unidentified flying object and track and analyze its movements.

For months I and my tiny group of likeminded associates had watched the sensitive gravimeter in vain. On occasions when large commercial airlines would pass over, our hearts would skip a beat, as the instruments would register aerial activities.

But on August 8 at 3:01 P.M. the gravimeter began acting strangely. First it waved, drawing a thin dark line on the graph paper being used to measure the movements of the instruments. Without further warning the gravimeter went wild. All evidence indicated that a real unidentified flying object had flown within feet of the station.

Alarm systems connected to the instrument panel began to ring, alerting us to the UFO. After watching the instruments a few seconds, we ran outside to see what was causing the odd reaction.

Unfortunately our area was completely fogged in, and whatever was up there could not be seen visually.

OTTAWA, Aug 9 (CP) -- Is Canada the first country in the world to record a flying saucer with instruments?

That question is being debated today after the Transport Department's flying saucer sighting station reported that it had detected an unexplainable object in the atmosphere over Ottawa Sunday.

Wilbert B. Smith, engineer in charge of the broadcast and measurement section of the Transport Department, said the saucer station's gravimeter was tripped at 3:01 p.m.

Mr. Smith said he is convinced that the deflection on the gravimeter was not caused by an aircraft. It was either something scientists did not know about or an instrument failure.

"We now are attempting to find out if there was a failure somewhere in the instrument." he said.

If it turns out that there was no failure then I don't know what it was that passed overhead."

Mr. Smith said it is not possible for anyone to state that the gravimeter recorded the presence of a flying saucer.

However, he added "it also is not possible to say it wasn't a flying saucer."

Mr. Smith, who built and operated the sighting station, said the deflection on the gravimeter was the first that could not be explained since the instrument was installed last October.

The gravimeter is designed to detect and record gamma rays, magnetic fluctuations, radio noises and gravity and mass changes in the atmosphere.

Mr. Smith was on duty at the station when a set of alarm bells tripped by the deflection of the gravimeter -- rang.

"I dashed over to look at the instrument," he said. "The deflection in the line (drawn by an electronically operated pen) was greater and more pronounced than we have seen seven when a large aircraft has passed overhead.

"I ran outside to see what might be in the sky. The overcast was down to 1,000 feet, so whatever was up there, whatever it was that generated the sharp variation, was concealed behind clouds.

We must now ask ourselves what it could have been."


Controller of Telecommunications
Ottawa, Ontario, August 10, 1954
Dear Sirs:

1. For the past three and a half years the Department of Transport has carried on an investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects. Considerable data was collected and analysed and many attempts were made to fit these data into some sort of pattern. However, it has not been possible to reach any definite conclusion, and since new data appear to be similar to data already studied, there seems to be little point in carrying the investigation say further on an official level.

2. It has therefore been decided that the Department of Transport will discontinue any further study of Unidentified Flying Objects and Project Magnet, which was set up for this purpose, will be dropped. However, Mr. W.B. Smith, P.O. Box 51, City View, Ontario will continue to receive and catalogue any future data on a purely unofficial basis.

Your very truly,


Controller of Telecommunications

OTTAWA, Aug. 31 -- (CP) -- The transport Department had given up its efforts to prove or disprove the existence of flying saucers.

J. R. Baldwin, Deputy Minister of Transport, announced yesterday that the flying saucer sighting station at Shirley Bay, 10 miles north-west of Ottawa, has been closed.

"We decided that nothing so far has come out of the station's operations to merit further expenditures of government time on it," he said.

Wilbert B. Smith, engineer in charge of the broadcast and measurement section of the Transport Department, said the station had sighted nothing since he built it last October.

Cover of 1954 Fate Magazine

Shirley Bay "flying saucer"
Monitoring Station

Canada Hunts for Saucers:
Dozens of flying saucer reports have
resulted in the creation of a
Canadian flying saucer observatory.

Fate Magazine, John C. Ross, 1954

In a tiny building only 12 feet square at Shirley’s Bay, 10 miles north of Ottawa, is house one of the most unusual collection of instruments ever crammed into so small a space. It is the world’s first flying saucer observatory.

The sighting station went into operation with little fanfare. At first Canadian Government officials were inclined to dismiss the very existence of the station as a figment of the imagination. On the day before it opened, Dr. O.M Solandt, chairman of the Defense research Board, professed complete ignorance of the project. "Nothing to do with the defense research Board," he said.

"True enough," it turned out. The station was constructed by the National Research Council and officially announced by the Hon. Lionel Chevrier, Minister of Transport. Mr. Chevrier did not explain the denial of the project by Dr. Omond Solandt, who was quick to modify his statement, explaining only that his board was not involved in the project.

"However we are continuing to study new reports (of flying saucers)," he admitted. " And are alert to the possibilities of discoveries of that nature."

Meanwhile, reports of new saucer sightings have been coming in from all over Canada.

In North Bay Ontario, The Daily Nugget has a file of 16 persons who have reported sightings of orange-colored discs. The newspaper says that all the accounts check closely in size, color, speed, and flying behaviour.

One North Bay citizen late in October told of a dozen night sightings of a "funny orange globe" which came out of the north-eastern skies, wandered back and forth across the sky, then vanished.

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In the fall of 1951, three persons reported a daytime sighting over Lake Nipissing. Each saw it from a different shore and did not know of the others report. Each reported a silver, round-shaped star going through strange manoeuvres.

Orange-red discs have appeared over the Royal Canadians Air Force base at North Bay several times. Once such an object circled, dived and zigzagged over the field for eight minutes. Another time a disc approached from the southwest, stopped, hovered over the field, reversed direction, and disappeared in a climbing turn.

It is dozens of such reports that have resulted in the creation of Canada's flying saucers observatory? some call it a "disc watching" station. Management of the station is under the Canadian saucer project called "Project Magnet." Project Magnet was given formal recognition three years ago by the Department of Transport on an understanding that it was to be confined to the broadcast and measurement section of the telecommunications division of the department and that no appropriation of public funds be required for its support.

Actually Project Magnet was created to investigate the possibility of discs powered by magnetic propulsion.

Tremendously complex and expensive equipment has gone into the tiny building at Shirley’s Bay. The equipment is designed to detect gamma rays, magnetic fluctuations, radio noises and gravity or mass changes in the atmosphere.

Installed in the tiny little structure is an ionospheric reactor to determine the height, pattern, and conduct of the ionized layers of gases several hundred miles in the atmosphere.

There is a new-type instrument called a gravimeter, imported from Sweden, to measure the earth’s gravity, a magnetometer, to record the variations in the earth’s magnetic field; a radio set running full volume at 530 kilocycles to pick up any radio noises, and a counter to detect atomic rays from the outer atmosphere.

Peter Dempson of the Telegram staff reports that all the instruments are connected with a control panel filled with lights, dials and other instruments, which record the individual findings on paper.

The station is not manned, but is connected directly by an alarm bell system with the nearby ionospheric station at Shirley’s Bay, where a staff of telecommunication experts are on 24-hour duty.

Eventually, relays will carry the information recorded by the instruments in the sighting station to the main building. Any unusual variations in the information they provide will trigger the ionosphere recorder? an instrument that transmits a radio signal 250 miles into the sky. The signal bounces off the heavy layers in the ionosphere, and is reflected back to be picked up by a radar-like instrument. Officials believe that it would record any flying saucer in the area.

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"If anything should happen, the findings of this recorder would prove very valuable," one official said.

The effective range of the other instruments is limited to about 50 miles.

Wilbert B. Smith, engineer-in-change of the project, believes that one the basis of past reports there is a 90 to 95 per cent probability that the sighted phenomena that the station was set up to observe actually do exist. Mr. Smith’s official position is engineer in change of the telecommunications division of the Department of Transport. He and members on his staff have conducted saucer investigations for five years as a hobby and Project Magnet now represents the official Canadian Government’s official seal of approval on their efforts. Smith, himself believes that there is a 60 per cent probability that flying saucers are "alien vehicles."

Top Canadian scientists, including Dr. C.J. MacKenzie, former head of the National Research Council and the Canadian Atomic Energy Project, have consistently refused to ridicule any saucer reports.

"My own opinion is that the reports are valid," Smith told Gerald Waring, Canadian news writer. "The optical illusion explanation is lovely, but in every sighting there is always some factor which rules it out. So we’ve decided to learn just what flying saucers are."

Because of the comparatively large number of sightings in Canada, and despite the fact that most of his instruments have only 50-mile range, Smith predicts that his instruments will report at least one saucer within a year. He points to a fact which may of may not be significant? that saucer sightings increase when the planet Mars is nearest to Earth. These close ranges occur every 26 months. Next summer the Earth will come within 40 million miles of earth, and in 1956 it will come within 35 million miles.

Others aiding engineer Smith include Dr. James watt, theoretical physicist with the Research Board; John H. Thompson, technical information expert on telecommunications; Professor J.T. Wilson of the University of Toronto, and Dr. G.D. Garland, gravity specialist with Dominion Observatory.

The Shirley’s Bay observatory had its first major test in January, just two months after it was established. A ball of fire flashed across Ontario, Quebec, and New York State in the early dawn and may have fallen into Georgian Bay. Startled residents of Ontario and Quebec started calling police and radio stations for an explanation. From Parry Sound, Ontario came reports of an explosion "like a bomb."

The observatory was able to report that it was a meteor. Director Smith stated that the object was noted at the flying saucer station but failed to register on the delicate instruments, indicating that it definitely was not a saucer.

"Not a squiggle on our electronic devices," Smith said. If it had been a saucer, our recorder would have shown it." Smith pointed out that his station’s electronic devices would not detect meteors unless they were of "great mass" and passed very close.

This leaves no doubt whatever that the little building at Shirley’s Bay is a flying saucer station only.

Picture of Morris K. Jessup

The Shirley Bay "flying saucer"
Monitoring Station

The UFO Annual, Morris K. Jessup, 1956


An engineer in Canada takes UFO seriously, and recently told the Canadian Parliament some of his theories and ideas regarding the possibility of UFO's causing radio interference and other phenomena. Since his long experience has convinced him that UFOs are thoroughly real we believe his opinions worth reading. The report was in the Ottawa (Ontario) Journal, May 18, 1955 as follows:

Radio MP’s Startled By Expert Witness

With a straight face, an expert witness yesterday told the Commons Radio Committee that while flying saucers were not accountable for television interference they could be blamed "for a lot of other things."

The expert witness was William (sp) B. Smith, the engineer-in-charge of the Broadcast and Measurement Section of the Telecommunications Division of the Department of Transport, and he came before the committee to explain some of the technological complications of radio and television.

But flying saucers were still close to his heart, and he still believed, as he has for some years, that there are such things.

A tall, dark and intense-eyed young man with an iron-grey brush cut, he was giving the committee the technical explanation for the interference aircraft set up in telecasting when Jean Richard, Liberal MP for East Ottawa broke in to ask: "Aren't you the Smith who operated the Transport Department's Flying Saucer sighting Station at Shirley Bay?"

"That’s right."

Mr. Richard hesitated a moment, then asked if Flying Saucers accounted for some of the interference that fluttered across television screens.

"No," replied Mr. Smith evenly, "you can’t blame flying saucers for TV interference, but you can for a lot of other things."

Mr. Richard neglected to follow up the intriguing possibilities this answer might have offered. The resulting silence was broken in a few seconds by Donald Fleming, Conservative MP for Toronto-Eglinton, who wanted to know why Mr. Smith had been "watching flying saucers."

The Saucer Sighting Station had been operated by Transport from August, 1953 to the late summer of 1954 "to gain knowledge."

Mr. Fleming wanted to know why it had been closed after only a year. "We were getting nowhere," reported Mr. Smith.

George D. Weaver, Liberal MP for Churchill, attempted to follow up the inquiry, but Committee Chairman Dr. Pierre Gauthier Liberal MP for Portneuf, ruled him out of order.

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The Commons Radio Committee had been assigned the job of looking into CBC radio and television enterprises, he reminded, not to conduct an inquiry into the Transport Department's investigation of flying saucers.

While the committee chairman had ruled out flying saucers, Mr. Smith was quite willing to discuss them with anybody who has the interest and took the trouble to ask.

He still "believed."

"I am convinced there are flying saucers," he said as the Committee rose for the day, "but I’m in the unhappy position of the police chief who knows who robbed the bank but can't prove it in court."

And when he had told the committee the saucer research had been "getting nowhere" he had been speaking for the Transport Department, not for himself.

Personally, he has felt further investigation was imperative since there had been one morning when the instruments at Shirley Bay station had produced what Mr. Smith termed a "wiggle." This could be explained by no known atmospheric phenomenon.

"I didn’t know then what caused that strange and fascinating instrumentation," he recounted, "and I don't know now...but the possibilities are interesting."

After a year’s operation he had advised the Transport Department that the research should be full and complete with all possible facilities made available, or it should be dropped altogether.

"There was the choice to go all out or get out," he said, "and the department decided that the investment in terms of personnel, laboratory facilities and equipment would not be warranted, particularly in the light of the opinion that a great many people held flying saucers in ridicule."

Still with a straight face, this telecommunications engineer, who enjoyed the confidence of former Transport Minister Chervier, confided as he left the committee hearing that while he "believed" there were flying saucers, he didn't know precisely what they were. They could be space vehicles, he said, and then again they might only be some unknown type of "celestial fireball."

The committee after shyly asking a few more shy questions of Mr. Smith returned to the more familiar subjects of television and radio operating licences and the procurements of these highly prized assets.

But before they had finished with him, the committee got back to the question of aircraft and TV interference.

The interference, explained Mr. Smith, was first set up by the TV transmission itself. Some TV waves rippling out from the transmitter strike passing aircraft and are bounced back to the transmitter and so out on the television signal to the viewer's screens.

Past, Present and Future

BUFORA Symposium David Haisell, May 25, 1981
(Excerpt Regarding Shirley Bay)

During the summer of 1953, Wilbert Smith obtained approval from the Department of Transport (DOT) to set up some UFO detection equipment at Shirley 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. (17)

News of Magnet finally leaked to the media presumably because of the conspicuous nature of the Shirley's Bay installation. (18) As expected, denials were attempted; on the very day the station went into operation Dr. Solandt 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. (19) 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. (20)

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. (21)

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'.

It is difficult to believe Millman's statement, and perhaps 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 the public eye.

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", (22) 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 as 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. This, despite the fact that "new data... confirmed existing data", which is what one would expect of a positive scientific experiment!

17. The UFO Connection, Arthur Bray, Jupiter Publishing, 1979, p.63.
18. Sudbury Star, Nov. 12, 1953.
19. Toronto Daily Star, Nov. 14, 1953.
20. Letter from Dr. N.M. Millman, Sept. 24, 1968, NRC files.
21. Project Second Storey - Summary Report, Dr. P.M. Millman, chairman, Second Storey Committee, Nov. 21, 1953. Bray, p.63.
22. Form letter signed by the Controller of Telecommunications, DOT, Aug. 10, 1954.

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Project Magnet was to be dropped, but Smith would continue to receive and catalogue data on an unofficial basis.(23) In Smith's words, Magnet went "underground"(24) probably joining Second Storey. 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? Justification for changing to a 'Top Secret' classification perhaps... It is apparent that pressure was applied to Smith to down-play 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. Air Force) 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."(25)

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." (26) That statement was made in 1959. The question is, what has been achieved since then?

It has been claimed by some that Smith turned away from orthodox scientific work to the more metaphysical aspects of what he termed 'the new science'. Such was not the case. He carried on his normal scientific work and at the same time delved into the science of metaphysics as a possible answer to the UFO mystery, which apparently produced some concrete results in the laboratory. In the realm of purely orthodox science, Smith was working on the development of an anti-gravity device and believed himself to be on the verge of an important breakthrough just prior to his death.

In the area of metaphysics, Smith claimed to communicate with 'occupants' of UFOs through a contact who provided him with certain information. One instance pertained to areas of reduced binding in our atmosphere. All matter is held together by forces which are not clearly understood and are known as 'binding forces'. Smith was informed that there are areas of reduced binding and that many air crashes were due to entering such regions, where the planes literally fell apart. He was told that means of detecting such areas were easily available to us and that suitable instruments could be constructed. By building a 'binding meter' according to the principles given to him, he was able to locate regions of reduced binding. He recommended to the government that further investigation be conducted, but because of the unorthodox source of his information, he was unable to obtain official recognition of this work and his letters were added to the 'crank file'.

The last ten years of Smith's life were devoted to intensive thought and study. He formulated several of his ideas into a book titled 'The New Science'.

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.

23. 'Project Magnet - The Canadian Flying Saucer Study', Topside, Winter/Spring 1963.
24. Canadian UFO Report, Vol.3, No.6, p.23.
25. 'Sputniks, Saucers and Spacecraft', W.B. Smith, - a paper delivered to the Illuminating Engineering Society, Canada Regional Conference, at a luncheon in Ottawa, June 11, 1959.
26. ibid.


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