The 1947 UFO incident in Roswell, New Mexico is the most famous of its kind, but Chris Rutkowski believes there are more compelling cases that have happened in Canada — they just haven't received the same attention because they happened north of the U.S. border.
Rutkowski, a Winnipegger who has researched UFOs since the 1970s, spent a few months studying UFO crashes in Canada. He was surprised to find "more than a dozen well-witnessed and well-documented examples of odd or unexpected objects apparently descending from the sky and landing or crashing on Canadian soil."
An example of a UFO crash that Chris Rutkowski considers more compelling than Roswell is from Wallaston Lake, Sask., where this fragment from a “space vehicle” was found and taken to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.
Rutkowski, who listed the incidents on his blog (uforum.blogspot.ca), defined the crashes as anything unexplained that was witnessed to have fallen from the sky and didn't fly away.
"Certainly the Roswell one is the most famous one, but the purpose of this report was to show that there are many such cases not just around the world, but here in Canada," Rutkowski, research co-ordinator for UFOlogy Research of Manitoba, said Thursday. "To find more than a dozen, I think that's pretty interesting.
"Roswell has such a tremendous machine behind it to promote it ... it's taken on a mythology of its own. The fact is we actually have better cases, it's just that we're not Roswell."
The only Canadian example that received its share of attention globally happened in Shag Harbour off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1967, Rutkowski said, adding it's sometimes called "Canada's Roswell."
"This classic case is actually a bit better than Roswell, because a number of official documents have been located suggesting something really happened, unlike Roswell," he wrote in his report.
A glowing disc-shaped object was witnessed to have been flying over the harbour before it crashed into the water about 200 feet from shore, then floated for a moment. RCMP were called to the scene and attempts were made to reach the object, thought to be a crashed plane.
However, they failed to reach it before it sunk into the ocean, leaving a thick yellow foam.
Another example Rutkowski considers more compelling than Roswell is from Wallaston Lake, Sask., where a fragment from a "space vehicle" was found and taken to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. One of the pages of RCMP documents is titled: "U.F.O. Found in Northern Saskatchewan."
Manitoba had an incident in 1792 in Thicket Portage "when something fell to earth that sounded like it was a massive jelly, according to explorer David Thompson," Rutkowski said.
The brilliant object broke into many luminous pieces after hitting the river ice, Thompson noted in his diary. When he went to see the hole in the ice the object should have made, there was no sign of impact.
"If he says that happened, we can be fairly sure that it actually did happen," Rutkowski said, noting Thompson was a respected explorer who wrote extensively about his discoveries in Manitoba.
The most famous Manitoba UFO case happened in May 1967 at Falcon Lake. Stephen Michalak claimed he witnessed a UFO land and take off again while prospecting in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, but this incident isn't included in Rutkowski's report as it wasn't considered a crash.
Unlike the U.S., records of UFO incidents in Canada are easy to obtain, Rutkowski said.
"In Canada, there's a tremendous amount of information that's been available since the 1940s on objects seen in the sky and crashing," he said.
"It's good that we have relative open access to information."