Nearly 15,000 UFO sightings in Canada
WINNIPEG - Do you believe?
Large flying objects, crop circles and alien abductions are part of a new study about UFO sightings in Canada.
A Winnipeg group called Ufology Research has compiled and analyzed reported sightings of unidentified flying objects across Canada over the last 25 years.
It found 14,617 celestial oddities have been spotted since the group started collecting data in 1989. Explanations or probable explanations were found for about half the sightings.
Research co-ordinator Chris Rutkowski said the group's work doesn't provide absolute proof about the existence of extraterrestrials.
But it raises questions.
"This is simply a phenomenon that's real, that people continue to report," Rutkowski said after the study was released Friday.
"And I believe that science should take a better look at what's going on because the (data) suggests the phenomenon isn't going away."
The study shows a growing number of unexplained sightings over the years, with the majority in British Columbia and Ontario.
The "hot spot" cities with the most sightings are listed as Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary.
Most sightings were of lights in the sky, often spotted between 10 p.m. and midnight, and usually in July and August.
About three per cent, or 467 cases, were close encounters, including alleged alien sightings and abductions.
One of the study's "most remarkable" cases was that of a Winnipeg nurse who said that she found two "small human-like creatures" when she got home from work on Nov. 1, 1992.
"She found herself taken in a 'hangar' with several spacecraft and was taken inside one for a brief trip around the Earth. She soon found herself back at home, with several hours of time missing from her life," said the study.
On Nov. 20, 1989, a few people at a farm outside Montreal said they saw a bright light and heard a loud noise. They found a large circle of flattened green grass in a field. It remained green long after the grass surrounding it turned brown and died.
The study also includes a list of the Top 10 strangest sightings in Canada over the last century, taken from historic reports and other UFO databases.
In 1915 a "phantom invasion" of flying objects caused so much panic that the lights on Parliament Hill were shut off to "prevent targeting by the enemy."
A Montreal woman said in 1977 that she saw a flying saucer land on a roof across from her home along with "two spindly creatures in tight-fitting suits." The creatures and their ship then disappeared.
And in 1980 a teenager in Duncan, B.C., was so obsessed with UFOs that he built a huge model of one in his backyard.
"One day, following a series of UFO reports in the area, he announced to his friends he was going to be taken away by aliens," the study said.
"He was never seen again."
— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton