The fishing community of Shag Harbor has a unique attraction for tourists passing through southwest Nova Scotia: an interpretive center commemorating one of Canada’s most famous UFO incidents.
Retired fisherman Laurie Vicens is president of the Shag Harbor UFO Incident Society that runs the center. On the unforgettable night of 4 October 1967, he was driving his car ‘56 Pontiac with four friends When some unusual light appeared in the sky.
“There were four of them. One would go into each part and all were on for a second, then all would turn off, and then they‘d starts in that order,” Vicens, who was 17 at the time, recalled in an interview.
“We were just thinking it was a plane. We watched it for three or four minutes. It went at a 45-degree angle from the level of the flight [downward] And we lost sight of him. … We went to the top of the hill. [From there] We saw Roshni going into the water.”
Vicens got a call. “We called the RCMP and reported a plane crash. He didn’t believe me at first,” she said of the officer who picked up her phone.
“The Coast Guard boat left, the fishing boats left. Nothing was found.”
Vicens, RCMP officials and other local residents looked from the shoreline, watching a large orange light move slowly across the water for about half an hour before disappearing.
Two days later, divers from the Royal Canadian Navy with Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic from Shag Harbor on the sea floor of the Gulf of Maine searched for the object that had been seen by many, including airline pilots and fishermen, but found nothing.
In more recent times, UFO incidents are sometimes referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs). On June 25, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a preliminary report concerning more accepted UAPs between 2004 and 2021.
The report investigated 144 sightings of “unknown aerial phenomena” by Navy pilots and others. Pilots reported near-misses with UAPs 11 times, while “abnormal patterns or flight characteristics” were noted in 18 incidents.
Canada also has its share of claimed sightings, with hundreds reported each year.
The same night that Vicens and his friends saw strange lights over Shag Harbor, 12-year-old Chris Stiles saw a similar-looking UFO from his bedroom window, 250 kilometers away on the waterfront in Dartmouth, NS.
Since the early 1990s, Styles has researched the Shag Harbor incident extensively and authored two books on the subject.
“You had around 70 witnesses, including three RCMP officers who were on duty. He saw it in the air and in the water,” Styles said in an interview.
He located a telex for the Navy Diving Unit from the Canadian Maritime Command.
“Above all, they write UFO in capital letters and underline it three times and put an exclamation mark behind it,” he said. A memo from Colonel W.W. Turner stated, “rescue coordination center Preliminary investigations further discounted the possibility that the vision was produced by an aircraft, flares, floats, or any other known objects.
While officially, at least, the object was not found, what Styles said seems curious.
“You have to wonder about something that everyone agrees, even by the smallest estimate, was 60 feet wide and circular and entered the water there. And the sound is so shallow, [yet] Nobody got anything.”
When the RCMP went out to check in on the fishing boats, they saw something else that was different from the orange light that had been seen for 30 minutes: a clump of yellow foam sitting on the water.
“There was a great streak of foam that was about 80 feet wide, half a mile long, where [the UFO] After hitting the surface, the water had moved along the surface,” Stiles said.
“Seven divers were sent down, and these are the people I found” [to interview]. It was very easy for me because in high school my best friend, his father trained all the divers and was running the unit at the time.
Remarkably, Navy divers and other military sources told Styles something he never told the public: The UFO later traveled about 50 kilometers northwest of Shelburne.
“The thing was moving under water. [The Navy] Argus and the S-2s were leaving the sonar buoy and tracking it,” he explained. “Supposedly it came to rest on the seashore halfway between Government Point and the lighthouse on McNutts Island. … there’s two [UFOs] were sitting down there and giving each other some kind of help.”
“[The UFOs] Begin moving under the water back to the Gulf of Maine. Once they get there just off the island of Bon Portage, but still on the outskirts of Shag Harbour, they surface and fly away. “
Unlike the abundant paper trail of Shag Harbor sightings, there is no solid evidence to support claims of the existence of UFOs at Shelburne.
Although the Shag Harbor UFO incident occurred over 50 years ago, its lore remains. In 2019, the Royal Canadian Mint made a made $20 silver coin It depicts a disc with four lights that glow in the dark. Vicens bought 200 of them for the Shag Harbor UFO Incident Society.