2008 bumper year in Canada for UFO reports

2008 bumper year in Canada for UFO reports
August 11, 2009
By Teresa Smith
Calgary Herald

If UFO sightings statistics are anything to go by, the skies over Canada in 2008 must have looked like an extraterrestrial parking lot.

Canadians saw a record number of unidentified flying objects last year, according to a 20-year study of saucer sightings from coast to coast.

Chris Rutkowski, a 'Ufologist' and science writer in Manitoba, said Tuesday that in the past two decades, 15,000 Canadians have reported seeing 8,600 UFOs. These include sightings of lights in the sky and disc-shaped objects, reported to authorities ranging from the Department of National Defence to airports, police and the RCMP.

He said the number of sightings has skyrocketed since 1989 when 141 were reported. Last year, there were 1,004.

Rutkowski said the hike is probably due to a couple of things. First, it has become easier to report sightings as UFO-dedicated websites provide forms online, he said. As well, there are more satellites and aircraft in the sky — more objects to misinterpret.

And finally, Rutkowski added, there may be more genuine UFOs — airborne objects which can't be identified or explained.

About 14 per cent of the sightings are "unexplained," he said, which means they don't seem to be aircraft or stars or fireballs.

About a tenth of those are called "High Quality Unknowns" based on the wealth of knowledge about the sighting, the number of people who saw the same object, or the high credibility of such witnesses as pilots or police officers.

He said people in Ontario and B.C. report the most sightings, which makes sense based on population. But Albertans and British Columbians see the most UFOs per capita.

Rutkowski said those provinces both have very active data collection websites.

Rutkowski has never seen a UFO himself, but he wants to know why the reports keep coming in.

"People persist in reporting objects that shouldn't be there, so either there's a real phenomenon that needs further study or there's something in the nature of humanity to make them believe they're seeing something," he said. "Either way, it's worth studying."

Rutkowski has no proof that these sightings are aliens buzzing the locals — but he believes the possibility exists.

"It would be nice to think that we're not alone in the universe," he said. "And, if there's a civilization out there that is more advanced than ours, it's certainly possible that they're keeping an eye on us."

Metropolitan Sightings over 20 years:

Vancouver — 977

Toronto — 614

Winnipeg — 338

Ottawa — 276

Montreal — 223
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