Audio Sources: Paul Hellyer – Motherboard interview, Richard Dolan – Earth Mystery News
BELLEVILLE – Heart-shaped candies, roses by the dozen and flashy engagement bands are just a few of the things you will see this month – but what you won’t see in February raises far more questions.
The number of unidentified flying object sightings dwindles in Ontario in the month of February, according to the Canadian UFO Survey that provides an analysis of annual UFO reports across the country.
QNetNews reviewed the statistics for the past five years and found each February the number dropped.
With sightings still on the rise for overall UFO reports, we’re left wondering where they go when February flips up on our calendars.
In the latest report for 2015, Ontario residents only called in three unidentified objects – a leap from the 51 claimed sightings in August.
Amateur astronomer Cody Starr, a student at Loyalist College and self-proclaimed X-Files buff, thinks he knows why.
“Obviously during the winter or during spring, you’re going to have a lot more cloudy days, which makes it a lot harder to see anything up in the sky. Or it could just be the simple fact that people don’t want to go outside and people don’t see these UFOs or objects in the sky,” Starr said.
Backing up the theory is Matthew Hayes, a Ph.D. candidate at Trent University, that has spent several years diving into Canada’s official UFO investigation.
“I mean, the summer is so easy because you’re outside and it’s warm. I think you tend to look at the stars more in the summer when you can actually see them. But in the winter I’m not going out at night looking for UFOs, it’s too damn cold.”
Hayes said that it’s all too easy to confuse some things as UFOs in the sky.
“People that study this sort of thing will probably say 95 per cent of sightings can be identified as weather phenomenon, like meteorites or northern lights. I have one case from the 60s in Newfoundland where the RCMP thought they saw a UFO and reported it, and it was actually just the moon. And then ufologists claim that there is 5 per cent where they can’t be explained,” he said.
According to the survey, in 2015, 146 of these sightings – or 11.5 per cent – were ultimately labeled “unknown”. UFO reports are categorized by many factors, including a reliability and a strangeness rating, and are then sent for further evaluation based on rankings. There are 65 higher-quality unknown cases for 2015 – or about 5 per cent of the total sightings.
“The most reported [sightings] tend to be of flying lights with no distinguishable shape. These obviously tend to happen more at night,” Starr explained. “It could be anything. Just due to lighting or conditions or something, you can’t tell what it is. Therefore, it’s an unidentified flying object.”
Through his research, Hayes said the thing that throws people off the most isn’t simply a light in the sky, but a light in space.
“Venus. People misidentify Venus as a UFO all the time, because it’s bright, and if you move even just on your feet or in a car it can look like it’s moving. People misidentified Venus to the point that in these reports I’ve studied, there would be a stamp on it – the government actually thought it was necessary to print a red stamp, a stamp that said ‘probably a Venus sighting,’ because it happened so often,” he said.
There has also been cases where people have mistaken car headlights driving down a valley as UFO sightings, according to Hayes, as it is difficult to tell where the horizon starts at night in areas with very little light pollution.
Belleville resident Tim Devries claims what he saw could have been the real deal when he and a friend drove up to a conservation area in Oak Hills this past summer.
“Fast forward to about 11:30 p.m., her and I had just been chatting, then I noticed there was a light in the distance that was flickering, not blinking like the cellphone towers. It was a reddish-orange colour. I noticed it was moving slightly. I watched it a little longer, and I pointed it out to my friend. We both watched it, then suddenly the light got a little brighter, shot off to the side faster than any plane and completely disappeared into thin air. Afterwards, we both had this super weird feeling and a sense of impending doom. It was super odd, and I still don’t know how I feel about it.”
An incident that occurred in Napanee made the list of strangest sightings in 2015 according to the Canadian survey report.
There were also five reports in Kingston that year, and one from Trenton. However, what takes the cake for the most important case in Canada’s UFO investigation in Hayes’ opinion took place in Manitoba in the late 60s.
“This guy, Stephen Michalak, apparently made contact with a UFO. The reason it was interesting was because he had physical evidence of it – something had happened. He was the only person that saw it but he ran through the forest afterwards and flagged down a police officer. He had these really intense burns all over his body and claimed that it was from the heat from the UFO from when it took off,” Hayes said. “There were hundreds of pages [of paperwork] just in terms of this one specific sighting. There were levels of radiation in the area when they found it.”
As for sightings in Ontario, Hayes says for the most part they are nothing special, and our UFO shortage in the month of February is probably caused by nothing else but sheltered eyes.