/ .................. \
CANADIAN UFO SURVEY
Five Years of UFOs
Chris A. Rutkowski
Paul Anderson, UFO BC Roy Bauer, UFOROM
Steve Bucek, UFO BC Charles Burchil
Grant Cameron, UFOROM Daniel Clairmont, MUFON SK
Graham Conway, UFO BC Tony Cowling, UFO BC
Michel Deschamps, MUFON ON Frances Ellis, UFO BC
Lorne Goldfader, UFORIC Jeff Harland, UFOROM
Robert Hawkes Gordon Kijek, AUFOSG
George Kriger, UFOROM Victor Lourenco, MUFON ON
Mike McCarty, MUFON ON Rob Nowatschka, UFO BC
Christian Page, UFO PQ Stephen Parsons, MUFON NF
Vladimir Simosko, UFOROM Michael Strainic, UFO BC
David Thacker, AUFOSG Tom Theophanous, MUFON ON
Donald Vanden Hoorn, UFO BC Ruth Walde, MUFON SK
Bonnie Wheeler, CUFORG Drew Williamson, MUFON ON
Ufology Research of Manitoba
Canada R3C 3R2
May 5, 1994
The 1993 Canadian UFO Survey
Since 1989, UFO case data has been solicited from all known and active
investigators and researchers in Canada for analyses and comparison with
other compilations. Before that time, individual researchers would normally
maintain their own files, with little or no communication with others. Even
today, representatives of major UFO organizations often do not regularly
submit case data, and the parent organizations themselves tend not to do much
analyses with the data they do receive, although this is changing.
After favourable responses from the publication of previous Canadian UFO
Surveys, UFOROM decided to continue the systematic collection of raw UFO
report data in Canada and prepare yearly reports for general circulation.
It always has been felt that the dissemination of such data would be of great
advantage to researchers, so it is presented here once again as data with
This is not to suggest that statistical studies of UFO data are without
their limitations and problems. Allan Hendry, in his landmark book The UFO
Handbook, pointed out flaws in such studies and asked:
... do UFO statistics represent a valid pursuit for more knowledge about
this elusive phenomenon, or do they merely reflect frustration that none
of the individual reports are capable of standing on their own two feet?
(1979, p. 269)
Hendry offered six questions to ask of statistical ufology:
1) Does the report collection reflect truly random sampling?
2) Have the individual cases been adequately validated?
3) Are apples and oranges being compared? Are NLs necessarily the same
kind of UFO as DDs?
4) Are differing details among cases obscured through simplification for
the purpose of comparisons?
5) Does the study imply the question: "Surely this mass of data proves
and 6) Do the correlations really show causality?
The Canadian UFO Survey was undertaken with these and other critical comments
in mind. Readers are left to judge for themselves the value of these
Canadian UFO Data
The response from Canadian researchers to requests for 1993 data was less
prompt than in previous years; there was some difficulty in receiving cases
from the "active" researchers and there are still some researchers who, for
whatever reasons, do not submit cases for the annual survey. In addition,
some researchers do not maintain useable case files and do not retain
quantitative criteria in their investigations (for example, contactee
It is now known that only a small fraction of "active" ufologists and self-
proclaimed "researchers" actually investigate cases and maintain useable
records. However, despite these problems, more than twice the number of
reports were obtained for 1993 than the previous year. The 1993 report may be
much more comprehensive because of its broader database.
In 1989, 141 UFO reports were obtained for analysis. In 1990, 194
reports were recorded. In 1991, 165 reports were received and in 1992, 223
cases were examined. In 1993, 489 reports were obtained, an increase of more
than 200% over the previous year.
In 1993, reports were obtained from contributing investigators' files,
press clippings, the files of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)
and fireball reports from geophysicists and astronomers associated with the
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Meteor and Impacts Advisory
Committee (MIAC) affiliated with the Canadian Space Agency. The NRC routinely
receives UFO reports from private citizens and from RCMP, civic police and
military personnel. Included among the NRC reports are many observations of
meteors and fireballs, and these have been added into the UFO report database
There are several reasons for including such IFOs in the UFO report
database. First, previous studies of UFO data have included meteor and
fireball reports. For this study, the working definition of a UFO is: "an
object seen in the sky which its observer cannot identify." In many instances
observers fail to recognize stars, aircraft and bolides, and report them as
UFOs. That is why some UFO investigators often spend many hours sorting IFOs
from UFOs. Historically, analyses of UFO data such as American projects like
Grudge, Sign and Blue Book all included raw UFO data which later resolved
into categories of UFOs and IFOs. Second, observed objects are sometimes
quickly assigned a particular IFO explanation even though later investigation
suggests such an explanation was unwarranted. One 1993 case can serve as an
example: Case NRC 93-030, on 26 February 1993, in Cambellton, New Brunswick.
It involved a triangular formation of 11 lights in which moved slowly through
a fog layer and was observed for 45 seconds by a witness. The label assigned
the report was "possible meteorite." Given the information on the case, it is
probable that the object was not a "meteorite," but it is impossible to give
a definitive explanation at this time.
Fireballs have always been reported in Canada. The tremendous increase in
fireball reports for 1993 suggests that people have become more comfortable
with reporting observations of unusual objects in the sky. Another factor is
that organizations such the Canadian Space Agency appear to be more visible
to the general public and are requesting and receiving fireball information.
This easier access to information has accelerated by the blossoming of the
so-called "Information Highway" and the Internet. Indeed, many of the reports
in the 1993 survey came via electronic mail and newsgroups.
Until 1993, the number of Canadian UFO reports appeared to remain constant
at an average of 180 cases per year, even allowing for the influx of cases
from new contributors to the database. However, the number of reports
received in 1993 represents a significant increase over previous years. The
largest contributor to this increase was a single fireball event on October
30, 1993. That evening, a spectacular object and a sonic boom was reported by
literally hundreds of people throughout Canada. More than 120 individual
reports were filed with astronomers, RCMP, police, the NRC and other
agencies. (This event will be discussed later in this report.)
The implication of this case is that statistical tabulations of UFO
characteristics in 1993 will be skewed by a significant amount.
Note on Missing Data:
Several problems were encountered in acquiring and using data submitted
by Canadian ufologists:
1) In some provinces, localized flaps prevented investigators from
following up individual reports, and instead only noted that several
dozen reports were received from a certain area during a particular
month. In these situations, the meagre report data (often just a note
that an anonymous person had left a message on an answering machine
saying that an object had been seen, but no other details) could not
be satisfactorily added to the database. (The number of such "lost"
sightings is not insignificant; more than 200 reports may fall into
this category, thus raising the true number of reported UFOs in 1993
in Canada to about 700!)
2) Only one Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind (CE4) was included in the
database. It should probably have been eliminated. CE4s are the
sensational "abduction" cases which are currently receiving wide
attention. Some researchers have speculated that thousands of such
abductions occur each year, based on various surveys and the number of
witnesses ("experiencers") coming forward. Since abductions are often
reported long after the fact, exact times and dates may be meaningless
as UFO data. Similarly, since witnesses' memories are clouded or
obscured, other data such as colour, duration and even location may be
impossible to ascertain. Indeed, if, as some sceptics would suggest,
that abductions are a psychological rather than a "real" phenomenon,
then CE4s may not be appropriate for inclusion in UFO databases. And,
if they really are true close encounters, their complexity decrees that
their inclusion in a raw data listing might be inappropriate as well.
For these and other reasons, all other CE4 cases were not included in
this study. From information received through conversations and
interviews with abductee therapists and other researchers, it is
possible to speculate that at least 25 relatively-documented abductee
cases occurred in Canada in 1993.
3) Approximately 30 reports were received after statistical analyses had
been run. This is unfortunate, but emphasizes the need for ufologists to
respond promptly to requests for data. Although it is widely known that
data collection for this annual study begins in January of each year,
many ufologists delay sending their data or ignore repeated requests for
Data for each case was received by UFOROM from participating researchers
across Canada. The information then was coded and entered into a WordPerfect
file, separated by tabs. The file was then converted into ASCII DOS text and
uploaded into a UNIX environment where it was read into a SAS statistical
package and analyzed.
The coding key is as follows:
Example: 993 10 23 2108 CALGARY AB NL 600 BLUE 1 TRI RUMBLE 6 DND P
Field: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Field 1 is a default YEAR for the report (UFOROM is now coding to allow
for the next millennium).
Field 2 is the MONTH of the incident.
Field 3 is the DATE of the sighting.
Field 4 is the local TIME, on the 24-hour clock.
Field 5 is the geographical LOCATION of the incident.
Field 6 is the PROVINCE where the sighting occurred.
Field 7 is TYPE of report.
Field 8 is the DURATION of the sighting, in seconds (a value of 600 thus
represents 10 minutes).
Field 9 is the primary COLOUR of the object(s) seen.
Field 10 is the number of WITNESSES.
Field 11 is the SHAPE of the primary object.
Field 12 indicates whether or not a SOUND was heard.
Field 13 is the assessed QUALITY of the report.
Field 14 is the SOURCE of the report.
Field 15 is the EVALUATION of the case.
Analyses of the Data
In 1993, there were apparent significant increases in the number of
reports in Manitoba, while there was an apparent decrease in reports in
Alberta and Quebec. As usual, British Columbia represents the largest
fraction of UFO reports of all the provinces. Since 1990, BC has garnered
between 30% and 40% of the total number of cases per year. As mentioned in
previous annual reports, this is partly due to the highly efficient UFO
reporting system in that province, and the comparatively large number of
active investigators. The rest of the Provinces appear to have had average
numbers of reports in 1993.
If we look at only the NRC as a source for UFO reports, the geographical
distribution of cases is more related to population. The most reports then
come from Ontario, followed by Manitoba and Quebec. As mentioned earlier,
there was a major fireball over the prairies in 1993, raising the number of
cases from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and this caused the higher proportion
of reports from those two provinces. Taking that factor into account, the
distribution of cases agrees somewhat better with population, although there
is still an overabundance of reports from Western Canada. It is not clear why
this would be so.
Distribution of UFO Reports by Province
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
BC 15 76 59 90 157
AB 16 9 22 8 56
SK 18 10 7 9 93
MB 22 20 6 23 74
ON 34 21 30 56 51
PQ 28 36 16 10 32
NB 1 7 9 9 3
PEI - 3 1 - 1
NS 3 5 7 3 3
NF 3 4 4 4 7
YK - 1 1 3 -
NWT 1 2 - 1 5
The monthly breakdowns of reports during each year show slightly
different patterns from those of previous years. In 1989, there was a
significant increase in UFO reports in the late fall, with other months
maintaining what appeared to be a fairly constant "normal" level of reports.
But 1990 saw two major increases in report numbers in two months: April and
August. The "normal" level of monthly report numbers appeared to be constant
in other months, with minor fluctuations. In 1991, reports peaked in August,
but there was no single obvious trough. The 1992 breakdown again shows no
clear peaks in monthly report numbers. This is most curious, because UFO
reports often are thought to peak in summer and trough in winter. This has
never been the case with Canadian UFO reports throughout this five-year
period of study. In 1993, the opposite of what is usually imagined was true:
there were peaks in winter, and troughs in summer. The October peak is easily
explained as due to the fireball. Even taking this into account, there are
more cases in fall than in summer, and more in winter than spring and early
fall. Again, there is no immediately obvious reason for this.
However, in an historical analysis of 480 Manitoba UFO cases in UFOROM's
MANUFOCAT, a distinct June peak and December trough was found. Analyses of
13,000 cases in Project Blue Book found a similar June peak and December
trough, though Hendry (1979) suggested that this was a statistical artefact.
Further studies are needed to understand the monthly distribution of UFO
Monthly Report Numbers
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Jan 13 17 13 15 59
Feb 9 7 7 16 15
Mar 6 6 17 27 20
Apr 9 47 12 16 22
May 5 10 7 22 14
Jun 9 10 12 16 38
Jul 5 9 16 23 27
Aug 5 47 25 19 49
Sep 12 15 16 11 41
Oct 32 16 12 16 152
Nov 27 10 11 21 24
Dec 9 - 17 21 21
An analysis by report type shows a similar breakdown to that found in
previous years. The percentage of cases of a particular type remains roughly
constant from year to year, with minor variations. Nocturnal lights (NLs),
for example, comprised 60% of all reports in 1989, 73% in 1990, 67% in 1991,
61% in 1992 and up to a high of 76% in 1993. The average of these is 69%,
which agrees well with the meta- analysis conducted by Hendry (1979), which
found that NLs comprised 70% of the cases studied. But, because he was using
the original standard Hynek classification system, he did not have the
present category of Nocturnal Discs (NDs). These were probably distributed
between NLs and DDs in his study.
Report Types (Modified Hynek Classifications)
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
NL 84 141 110 136 372
ND 20 24 26 44 77
DD 16 15 13 20 26
CE1 10 2 7 15 8
CE2 7 1 4 5 2
CE3 - - 1 2 1
CE4 2 4 2 3 1
EV 2 3 1
PH 1 1
For those unfamiliar with the classifications, a summary follows:
NL (Nocturnal Light) - light source in night sky
ND (Nocturnal Disc) - light source in night sky that appears to have a
DD (Daylight Disc) - unknown object observed during daytime hours
CE1 (Close Encounter of the First Kind) - ND or DD occurring within 200
metres of a witness
CE2 (Close Encounter of the Second Kind) - CE1 where physical effects
left or noted
CE3 (Close Encounter of the Third Kind) - CE1 where figures/entities are
CE4 (Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind) - an alleged "abduction" or
EV (Evidence) - a case where physical traces left by an event are the
RD (Radar) - UFOs observed on radar
PH (Photograph) - photographs of a UFO, but no actual sighting
The category of Nocturnal Disc was created by UFOROM for differentiation
within its own report files. Similarly, Evidence is also an ad hoc creation,
and may not be applicable by other researchers. Normally, Evidence would
include such physical traces as "crop circles", "landing rings" and "saucer
nests". However, in 1990 there was a great increase in the numbers of such
traces discovered in North America, and it was decided to treat these as
separate from UFO reports in these Surveys.
The breakdown by Evaluation for 1993 cases was similar to results from
previous years. There were four operative categories: Explained,
Insufficient Information, Possible or Probable Explanation, and Unknown
(or Unexplained). Readers are warned that a classification of Unknown
does not imply that an alien spacecraft was observed; no such interpretation
can be made with certainty, based on the given data (though the probability
of this scenario is admittedly never zero). In most cases, Evaluations are
made subjectively by both the contributing investigators and the compiler
of this report. The category of Unknown is adopted if the contributed data
or case report contains enough information such that a conventional
explanation cannot be satisfactorily proposed. This does not mean that the
case will never be explained, but only that a viable explanation is not
Evaluation of Canadian UFO Data
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
# % # % # % # % # %
Explained 2 1.2 17 8 154 31.5
Insuf. 74 52.5 90 46.4 80 48.5 83 37 170 34.8
Poss. 47 33.3 78 40.2 69 41.8 74 33 115 23.5
Unknown 20 14.2 26 13.4 14 8.5 49 22 50 10.2
The average proportion of Unknowns throughout the 5-year study was about
14.5%, a high figure considering that this would imply that more than one in
ten UFOs cannot be explained. However, there are several factors which affect
this value. The level and quality of UFO report investigation varies because
there are no explicit standards for ufologists. Some "believers" might be
biased to consider most UFO sightings as mysterious, whereas those with more
of a sceptical predisposition might tend to subconsciously (or consciously!)
reduce the Unknowns in their files. Furthermore, since there are no
absolutes, the subjective nature of assigning Evaluations is actually an
interpretation of the facts by individual researchers.
If we look only at those Unknowns with a Quality rating of eight or
greater, we then are left with only 26 high-quality Unknowns in 1993 (5.3%).
This value is comparable with other years: 4.9% in 1989, 4.6% in 1990, 7.3%
in 1991 and 7.6% in 1992. And, if we eliminate the category of NLs from the
1993 Unknowns in an attempt to focus on detailed, close observations of UFOs,
we get only 16 cases out of the original 489, or 3.3%. This last value is in
accordance with the USAF Blue Book studies which found three to four percent
of their cases were "excellent" Unknowns.
The average Quality rating of reports was 6.36, indicating that there was
a significant amount of useful information available through investigations
for the majority of cases. A breakdown of Quality versus Evaluation shows
that both the Explained and Unknown reports carried with them a substantial
amount of information. Obviously, in those cases, either the investigators
found enough evidence to explain the observations as of conventional objects,
or found that their investigations could not find an explanation with the
same quality and level of information. The cases with Possible explanations
or Insufficient Information were of much lower Quality and, hence, less
information for evaluation.
The Quality of Nocturnal Lights varied considerably, while NDs, DDs and
CEs had an average Quality Rating near 7 on the scale.
Finally, it should be emphasized that even these high-quality Unknowns do
not imply alien visitation. Each case may still have an explanation following
further investigation. And of those that remain unexplained, they remain
unexplained, but still are not incontrovertible proof of extraterrestrial
The hourly distribution of cases follows a similar pattern for 1993 as in
previous years. There appears to be a continuous curve, with a peak at 2200
hours local and a trough around 1100 hours local. Most sightings occur
between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. Since most UFOs are nocturnal lights, this is
not unexpected. The number of possible observers drops off sharply near
midnight, and we would expect that the hourly rate of UFO reports would vary
with two factors: potential observers and darkness.
The average number of witnesses per case went down from a value of 2.12/case
in 1989 to 1.40/case in 1990, then up again to 1.91/case in 1991. In 1992,
this value was up slightly to 2.36/case. The average number of witnesses
in 1993 was 2.07/case. The five-year average was 1.97 witnesses per case.
These figures indicate that a typical UFO experience has more than one
witness, and support the contention that UFO sightings represent observations
of physical phenomena.
The category of Duration is interesting in that it represents the
subjective length of time the UFO experience lasted. Naturally, these times
are greatly suspect because it is known that people tend to misjudge the flow
of time. However, some people can be good at estimating time, so this value
has some meaning. Although an estimate of "one hour" may be in error by
several minutes, it is unlikely that the correct value would be, for example,
one minute (disregarding the claims of "missing time" during the abduction
category of experiences). Furthermore, there have been cases when a UFO was
observed and clocked accurately, so that we can be reasonably certain that
UFO events can last considerable periods of time. The average duration of a
sighting can be calculated as a summation of all given durations then divided
by the number of cases with a stated duration. The resulting value for 1991
is about 12 minutes, down from 19 minutes in 1990. In 1992 and 1993, the
average duration was again about 12 minutes. This surprisingly long duration
is due likely to the large number of sightings lasting only a few seconds
contrasted with the comparative few that lasted several hours.
An interesting result of the analyses is that long-duration sightings
tend to occur in the early morning hours, from about midnight until 6:00 a.m.
It is probable that the majority of observations at this time are those of
astronomical objects, moving slowly with the rotation of the Earth.
Duration data by itself is not wholly useful in analyzing UFO behaviour.
Hendry describes Duration data this way:
Duration is a powerful feature of identity when it refers to extremely
short and long events, but is otherwise mostly a reflection of the
witness's behaviour during the event, coupled with the fluctuating
behaviour of the objects watched. (1979, p. 249)
Extremely short duration events are usually fireballs or bolides, while very
long duration events of an hour or more are very probably astronomical
objects. In between, there can be no way to distinguish conventional objects
from UFOs solely with Duration data. (Hendry also cites a Canadian study by
an Ontario UFO group which timed aircraft observations and found that the
duration of such sightings varied between 15 seconds to more than 8 minutes.)
The Duration of sightings decreased with the number of reports. The
majority of sightings had Durations of only a few seconds, while those with
longer Duration were less in number.
In cases where a colour of an object was reported in 1993, the most
common colour was white (36.3%), followed distantly by red (15.7%). Other
colours were also represented, although there is a noticeable change from
previous years, when green and orange were the dominant colours. Since most
UFOs are nocturnal starlike objects, the abundance of white objects is not
surprising. Other colours such as red, blue and green often are associated
with bolides (fireballs).
Shape was a good predictor of UFO type, as was expected. Fireballs and
point sources were usually Nocturnal Lights, whereas cigars, discs and
triangles were either Nocturnal Discs or Daylight Discs.
Summary of Results
As with previous annual Surveys, the 1993 Survey does not offer any
positive proof of the physical reality of UFOs. However, it does show that
some phenomenon which is called a UFO is continually being observed by
witnesses. The typical UFO sighting is that of two people observing a
moving, distant white or red light for several minutes. In most cases,
the UFO is likely to be eventually identified as a conventional object
such as an aircraft or astronomical object. However, in a small percentage
of cases, some UFOs do not appear to have an easy explanation and they may
be given the label of "unknown".
What are these "unknowns"? An additional classification is useful to try
and better understand this kind of report. In the gathering of data for the
study, contributors were asked to give a value for their personal Evaluation
of the reliability of the report. This value is noted as "E" in the case
listing. This value gives the likelihood that the UFO experience "really"
occurred as described by the witness. Granted, it is impossible for any
investigator to judge this absolute value; often, a subjective value for two
categories of "strangeness" and "probability" is assigned. The Evaluation
value is another subjective value imposed by the investigator or compiler (or
both) with a scale such that the low values represent cases with little
information content and observers of limited observing abilities and the
higher values represent those cases with excellent witnesses (pilots, police,
etc.) and also are well-investigated. Naturally, cases with higher values
The 1993 high-quality unexplained cases were the following:
9930130 1900 Quidi Vidi,NF ND 3600s blue ball, 20 witnesses, STRA
9930226 1805 Arthur,ON DD 720s black cigar, 2 witnesses, CAM
9930402 1715 Prince George,BC DD 900s black object, 2 witnesses, STRA
9930514 2200 Penticton,BC ND 10s cigar-shaped object, 2 witnesses, STRA
9930725 2130 Brocklehurst,BC ND 300s 1 witness, STRA
9930726 0100 Brocklehurst,BC ND 3600s round object, 4 witnesses, STRA
9930802 2230 Mission,BC DD 15s red triangle, 3 witnesses, RCMP
9930804 0436 Glenella,MB ND 120s yellow object, 1 witness, URM
9930812 0030 Lethbridge,AB ND 5s black triangle, 3 witnesses, ASG
9930820 2245 Winnipeg,MB DD 90s yellow triangle, 1 witness, URM
9930821 2045 Vernon,BC ND 150s polygon, 12 witnesses, STRA
9930822 1930 Kamloops,BC ND 3s white trapezoid, 1 witness, STRA
9930901 0330 Dorothy Lake,MB C3 60s blue light & entity, 1 witness, URM
9930912 1800 Surrey,BC ND 20s silver triangle, 3 witnesses, STRA
9930912 2030 New Westm.,BC ND 20s red oval object, 2 witnesses, STRA
9931219 2340 Cold Lake,AB C1 1200s 2 witnesses, ASG
The interpretation of this list is that these cases were among the most
challenging of all the reports received in 1993. It should be noted that
most UFO cases go unreported, and that there may be ten times as many UFO
sightings that go unreported as those which get reported to public, private
or military agencies. Furthermore, it should be noted that some cases with
lower reliability ratings suffer only from incomplete investigations, and
that they may well be more mysterious than those on the above list.
UFOs were reported at a rate of about 40 per month across all of Canada
in 1993, although throughout the 5-year span of this study, the rate drops to
20 per month. Witnesses range from farmhands to airline pilots and from
teachers to police. Witnesses represent all age groups and racial origin.
What is being observed? In most cases, only ordinary objects. However, this
begs a question. If people are reporting things that can be explained, then
the objects they observed were "really" there. Were the objects we can't
identify "really" there as well? If so, what were they?
These are questions only continued and rational research can answer, and
only if researchers have the support and encouragement of both scientists
and the public.
Comparisons with Other Analyses of UFO Data
It is most instructive to compare the UFOROM analyses with those of other
organizations, particularly the National Sighting Research Center of New
Jersey, headed by Paul Ferrughelli. The NSRC results have been reported in a
series of publications, a recent one being the National Sighting Yearbook
1992. The NSRC collected UFO reports from newspaper clippings, UFO
publications and MUFON case files and analyzed the raw UFO data. Because of
the difference in data sources, a comparison with the UFOROM results will not
be true. However, it is still interesting to compare the two studies.
The NSRC found a total of 197 UFO reports in 1992. This number was
slightly less than that of Canada for the same year. Because of its larger
population, it is likely that the USA had many, many more sightings that were
never accessed through the NSRC's sampling technique.
The NSRC study revealed that there was no clear trend in the monthly
distribution of UFO reports in the USA. Peaks were found in June and
December. Grouping the American and Canadian studies together yields
a monthly distribution with troughs in mid-summer and mid-winter, with
slight variations month-to- month. It is possible to speculate that with
adequate report sampling, there would be no monthly variation in the number
of sightings, except for major flaps which would be more noticeable in an
international survey. This is somewhat counter-intuitive and suggests that
UFO reporting is independent of climate and seasonal variations. That is,
people do not see more UFOs in summer because they spend more time outdoors
during that season.
Like the Canadian study, the American data was unevenly distributed
throughout the country. Most reports came from just two states, Florida and
Indiana. The Florida flap is likely due to the Gulf Breeze reports which
receive a great deal of media attention. The distribution of sighting
duration was nearly identical to the Canadian study. The average duration of
a typical American UFO sighting is between 3 and 9 minutes.
For the hourly distribution of UFO cases, the American study found a
symmetrical distribution with a pronounced peak at 9 PM local time and a
trough at around 9 AM local time. This is in complete agreement with UFOCAT
studies by Hendry (1979) and others cited by him. Canadian distributions are
normally about one hour later in each peak, but are otherwise identical in
distribution. It is possible that there is a "Daylight Savings" effect
within the time data. Breakdown by Hynek classification yields identical
distributions within both American and Canadian studies, with NLs being
A major difference between the Canadian UFO Survey and other studies of
UFO data is that Close Encounter cases appear to be under-represented in the
former database. CEs comprise an incredible 30% of the NSRC data and nearly
50% (!) of the cases in David Spencer's MUFON UFO Report Database. There is
no question that some screening and/or selection is occurring in the studies
with high proportions of CEs. Hendry (1979) noted that CEs comprised 13% of
the Blue Book unknowns and 14% of his own unexplained cases. (There were four
unexplained CEs in the 1993 Canadian study.) In each of these studies, CEs
represent slightly less than one percent of the total cases.
In summary, Ferrughelli's analyses of American UFO data yield results
remarkably similar to the UFOROM Canadian studies, despite the differences in
collection procedures. The two studies are complementary, and will aid
further research into the UFO phenomenon.
The Anomalous Event of October 30, 1993
At 9:39 PM CST on October 30, 1993 (0339 UT on October 31, 1993), a brilliant
object was seen streaking through the night sky over the Canadian prairie
provinces. Literally hundreds of people witnessed the event, which lasted
less than 10 seconds. Most observers thought the object was greenish-blue in
colour, though some thought it was orange-red. Reports were received from
witnesses in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, with some outliers
in North Dakota and as far away as Indiana. Because of its trajectory and
appearance, the object was assumed by scientists to be have been a fireball
or very large meteor. It appears that the burn started over eastern Alberta,
headed east across Saskatchewan and terminated somewhere over Manitoba.
Dozens of people near Dauphin were jarred by a tremendous "sonic boom" that
some compared to "a car hitting the house." The noise followed the passage of
the object by approximately two minutes. Witnesses in eastern Manitoba
generally saw the object somewhere to their west, so it may have fallen
over Lake Manitoba.
A complication of the investigation is that a check with NORAD revealed that
a booster rocket from a Russian space mission had apparently re-entered the
Earth's atmosphere over Canada at precisely the time of the observation. It
was thus postulated that the observations were consistent with that of the
space hardware re-entry, and that there had not been a meteoric event.
However, one researcher was told by another military spokesperson that an
orbiting camera directed at Canada had recorded two separate events occurring
within a few minutes of each other. It was possible, then, that some
witnesses had seen the re-entry, while others had seen the fireball.
A problem was that the predicted impact point or the rocket booster was
near Nova Scotia, and there were no reports farther east than northwestern
Ontario. In addition, if the booster was low enough to create a sonic boom
over Manitoba, it could not, under any circumstances, survive to the
Atlantic Ocean. And what could be made of the outlier reports in the
United States? Finally, it is most curious that no observer saw two events.
It would seem logical that at least one person would have seen two objects,
given the large number of witnesses and recorded observations.
Is it possible that a rocket booster re-entered the Earth's atmosphere at the
same point and the time as a meteoroid? Although the statistical probability
of such a unique tandem event is not zero, it is very unlikely. Something
very remarkable and still not completely explained was seen by hundreds of
people that night.
Ferrughelli, P. (1992). National Sighting Yearbook 1992. National
Sighting Research Center, 60 Allen Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470.
Hendry, Allan. (1979). The UFO Handbook. Doubleday, NY.
Rutkowski, C. A. (1986). The UFOROM Datafile: MANUFOCAT. Ufology
Research of Manitoba, Box 1918, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3C 3R2.
Spencer, T. David. (1993). Initial results from the UFO report
database. MUFON UFO Journal, number 305, pp. 13-15.
The 1993 Canadian
UFO Survey: Five Years of UFOs
Summary of Findings
1. The number of UFO reports in Canada has been increasing since 1989.
Reasons for this include increased public awareness of where to report
UFOs and the increasing participation by UFO researchers in the annual
studies. There were 141 UFO cases reported in Canada in 1989, but by
1993, the number of UFO cases rose to 489.
2. More UFOs are reported in Western Canada than in Eastern Canada.
3. More UFOs are reported in the fall and winter than in the spring and
4. Two-thirds of all UFOs are classed as Nocturnal Lights; that is, they
are simply lights moving about in the night sky. Most of these can be
explained as aircraft or astronomical objects.
5. 31.5% of all UFOs reported in 1993 were explainable as misidentified
34.8% of the cases had insufficient information to find an explanation.
23.5% had possible explanations.
50 cases (10.2%) could not be explained.
6. Of the unexplained reports, only about half were of high quality (26
cases, or 5.3%). That is, these cases were relatively well-investigated
and well-witnessed and were judged as reliable cases by at least one
7. Most UFOs are seen around 10:00 p.m.
8. UFOs usually have more than one witness. Normally, two or more people
see a UFO at the same time.
9. UFO sightings last an average of about 12 minutes.
10. Most UFOs are white in colour.
These findings show that UFOs represent a continuing phenomenon that refuses
to go away. More and more people are reporting UFOs each year, from all
provinces. If UFOs do not represent alien visitation as is popularly
conceived, the numbers of reports demand that the phenomenon deserves
scientific study, if not as a physical phenomenon, then a sociological or
For those who wish a hard copy of this report, including 28 additional
tables and graphs not available in ASCII, send $10.00 to:
Ufology Research of Manitoba
Canada R3C 3R2
Back to Robin's Alien Gallery