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More UFO Sightings Since Start of Pandemic

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There was something weird spotted in the sky above Main Brook on the Great Northern Peninsula in January.

According to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), a US-based tracking organization, a resident filed a report stating there were “40 plus objects, high in the sky, travelling in a straight line equal distance from each other. No beacons.”

The resident, whose identity is protected by the organization, took several photos of the unusual lights streaking across the sky, reporting it to have lasted about 10 minutes, about 7 pm on January 21, 2020.

One of the photos of the Main Brook UFO(s). Photo via the Mutual UFO Network.

That sighting wasn’t the only one reported by Newfoundland and Labrador residents this year.

On February 25, 2020, a Corner Brook resident reported seeing something circular moving in an unusual pattern while watching television about 5 pm.

“It flew over Corner Brook,” the report filed to MUFON states. “Slow film down 1/15 you will see upper left enter black object… then into sun. Flask [sic] of light on it and then black again and gone over the hill.”

Looking to the Stars in Lockdown

Canada’s leading UFO expert, ufologist Chris Rutkowski, told The Independent that UFO sightings are up in every province in 2020 when compared to numbers in the 2019 Canadian UFO Survey, released this summer in Manitoba. His team of researchers has been tracking UFO sightings since 1989.

Although Rutkowski was unable to provide a full breakdown for 2020 yet, he believes the increased numbers have something to do with Covid.

“During the pandemic, the numbers have risen,” Rutkowski explained. “Even the first half of 2019 the numbers were much lower than what we have for 2020. People are being forced to spend more time at home or outside… many are spending more time looking up to the big sky out there and there’s a lot to see.”

The 2019 survey shows 849 sightings across Canada, seven of which came from Newfoundland and Labrador. Those provincial sightings include:

  • January 24, in Gander, an irregular disk shaped “anomalous object” was reported at 11 pm and captured in a photo;
  • May 5, at 11 pm above Robert’s Arm, a “transparent oval object hovering overhead, size of 48 inch screen TV;”
  • July 10, at 11:30 pm, a pilot flying from Greenland over an iceberg, spotted a white object flying between Killiniq Island, Nunavut, and northern Labrador to be a “silver dome-shaped object;”
  • August 22, at 2:15 am, a resident in St. John’s reported “flashes of light seen in sky;”
  • November 19, at 7 pm, there were yellow objects in the sky reported above Torbay that “appeared to hover over the harbor;”
  • November 26, at 8 pm from an undisclosed location in Newfoundland and Labrador, someone reported “an object in sky appears to move around for about an hour;” and
  • December 13, at 11:23 pm there was an unusual sighting reported from St. John’s as a “fireball” that travelled across the night sky as “white light appeared to fall into ocean.”

Most UFOs Have “Reasonable Explanations”

Rutkowski says most sightings have “reasonable explanations” and are not the result of some alien invasion.

Since 1989, 195 residents from Newfoundland and Labrador have filed reports of strange lights or activities in the skies.  In the same timeframe, more than 21,000 UFO sightings were reported Canada wide. The 2019 survey of sightings was the lowest on record since 2009.

“Results of this study show that many people continue to report unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations,” the report concluded. “Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment. Although the largest percentage of reported UFOs is simply lights in the night sky, a small number are objects with definite shapes observed within the witnesses’ frame of reference.”

About 1,000 sightings are reported annually across Canada but Rutkowski believes the numbers are much higher.

“We do know from studies and polls that 10 percent of Canadians believe they saw a UFO but only a fraction are being reported, ” he said, noting people don’t report for various reasons—including fear of ridicule.

“Multiplying by ten, this means it is probable that more than 13,000 Canadians saw UFOs in 2019.”

The Clarenville UFO: Part of Our Heritage

One of the most credible UFO sightings in the nation’s history happened in this province, and was recently immortalized by the Canadian Mint in October. The silver coin—its glow-in-the-dark illustration rendered by Fogo Island artist Adam Young—has already sold out.

The Clarenville UFO was reported in the fall of 1978 by RCMP Constable Jim Blackwood. He responded to a call that came in at 1:50 am from a resident of Marine Drive who spotted something hovering over Random Island, offshore.

“I was always a non-believer before this, but it changed my opinion,” Blackwood told the late legendary Newfoundland broadcaster Geoff Stirling when describing the experience.

The officer arrived to find a resident standing on the road with binoculars pointed at an oval shaped object in the sky that was moving east. The officer borrowed the resident’s binoculars to focus on the lights, estimating the object was hovering “2000-3000 feet high, about a half-mile away.”

He told Stirling—captured in this NTV flashback on Youtube—that he was bewildered and drove to the detachment to get the RCMP’s high powered telescope, returning soon after. He zoomed in and was blinded at first by the lights, but he could clearly see the bottom half of the object “completely illuminated,” and the “blue light was flashing very, very rapidly, the fastest I’ve ever seen on police vehicles or aircrafts or anything else.” He described seeing a small “stubby” fin at the back seemingly too small to help the aerodynamics of the hovering large dull-grey craft, and no visible windows or doors.

The RCMP officer told Stirling they watched the object for almost two hours, witnessing it move side to side or hovering in place before it began moving out of the sky “like the normal speed of a jet” and then, a split second later, disappearing from sight.

“I still can’t say what it was, whatever kind of vehicle it was or whatever kind of aircraft,” Blackwood said. “It definitely was not a star. I did try to zoom into the brightest star but it wasn’t the same.”

According to the information on the Canadian Mint’s web, the sighting was reported to the Department of National Defense at the time.

“The National Research Council suggested it may have been the planet Jupiter casting its shadow on the water, but the witnesses disagreed with this explanation,” according to the Mint.

In the meantime, Rutkowski says if you see something unusual, find someone else to “watch it with you,” noting the date, time and where you were and in what direction you were looking when you saw something. Grab a photo or film the moment if possible.

Watch the Skies, Traveler

According to the UFO Canadian Survey of 2019, 35 percent of the sightings came from Quebec, while Ontario reported 20 percent and British Columbia reported 17 percent. Far less were spotted up in the far north or on the east coast of Canada.

NORAD confirmed it responds to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air traffic but not to reports of UFO sightings.

NORAD’s Public Affairs officer Maj. Jennifer Jones said they are on stand-by to respond at any moment  to “investigate any flights that show up” on radar that are not supposed to be there. For Canada’s east coast, that response flies out of 22 Wing Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario.

“From the NORAD perspective we are focused on aerospace control, aerospace warning and maritime warning,” she told The Independent.  “Our mission is to deter, deny and defeat air threats to the United States and Canada, and we do so using a well established, graduated response process.”

Multiple sources provided Rutkowski’s team stats for their 2019 Canadian UFO Survey including the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), l’Association québécoise d’ufologie (AQU), and the National UFO Reporting Center in the USA, all of which have toll-free telephone numbers for reporting UFOs. The report also used information provided by Transport Canada and the Department of National Defense. Anyone in the province seeing anything unusual can email his research team at: canadianuforeport@gmail.com.

Main photo: “Long photo exposure of a drone” by Ben Collins on Unsplash.

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