Canadians reported second-largest number of UFO sightings last year

Canadians reported second-largest number of UFO sightings last year

I take reports about UFO sightings with a large grain of salt.

I suppose it's possible extra-terrestrials from stars hundreds of light years from Earth could have the technology to visit us more often than I see my mother.

I even thought I saw an unidentified flying object once. At a remote cabin one summer night, the sky was clear enough to pick out shooting stars and satellites. I was watching one satellite move overhead when it suddenly took a sharp turn. At least that's what I thought I saw.

So I'm not going to rule out completely some of the sightings in this year's Ufology Research annual report.

The survey, compiled each year since 1989 by a Winnipeg-based team, reported 1,180 UFO sightings in Canada last year. That's down substantially from the record 1,981 sightings in 2012 but still the second-highest number since the survey began.

The report says the nearly 2,000 sightings in 2012 probably were an anomaly, "likely due to many people excited about the so-called 'end of the world' in 2012 according to the Mayan Calendar."

[ Related: Aliens getting braver? UFO sightings in Canada doubled last year ]

In all, about 14 per cent of sightings were classified as unexplained.

"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," the report says.

The survey team is careful not to attribute the mysterious lights or shapes to extra-terrestrial sources but says the continued reporting and a trend to increased sightings "suggests a need for further examination of the phenomenon by social, medical and/or physical scientists."

“It’s a matter of eliminating possible explanations, until we’re left with something we can’t explain,” report editor Chris Rutkowski, whose day job is in media relations at the University of Manitoba, told The Canadian Press.

“It may or may not have anything to do with aliens, and very likely not. And yet the possibility that there’s an interesting phenomenon there is something that scientists should be curious about.”

The advent of drones is thought responsible for a spike in sightings over the last few years, according to Time.

That's why you won't see anything in the Ufology report about last September's purported sighting at a Vancouver Canadians' baseball game.

Video and photos of an object hovering above the trees outside Nat Bailey Stadium swept across the Internet until it was exposed as an elaborate stunt by the nearby H.R. MacMillan Space Centre to promote the $500,000 upgrade to its Planetarium Theatre, CTV News reported at the time.

[ Related: Aliens miffed at Earth's wars, former defence minister says ]

Still, the report singles out several "unknown" sightings as interesting.

There was a January 2013 sighting in Musquodoboit, N.S., where two kids sledding on a hill heard a beeping noise and saw an object shaped like "a massive hotel" with protrusions and windows flying over a nearby house.

A man in St-Jerome, Que., using his telescope to look at a star last May was startled by a bright flash. He looked up to see a large rectangular object moving over the treetops, making a whistling sound.

And a Winnipeg air traffic controller reported four lights in a V-shaped formation moving silently overhead at an altitude of 1,000-2,000 feet. The controller did not think they were aircraft because the did not display the normal beacons.

There are plenty who want to believe, including former Liberal defence minister Paul Hellyer, who's on record as warning humanity to get rid of its nuclear arsenals so anxious aliens can finally reveal themselves and lavish us with new technology.

“We have a long history of UFOs and of course there has been a lot more activity in the last few decades since we invented the atomic bomb,” Hellyer told a Russian TV show recently.

“They are very concerned about that and that we might use it again, because the whole cosmos as a unity, and it affects not just us but other people in the cosmos, they are very much afraid that we might be stupid enough to start using atomic weapons again.”

If that sounds familiar, hunt up a copy of the original 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still.