[CNI News thanks Canadian astronomer and veteran ufologist Chris Rutkowski for permission to reprint this report. Chris can be reached by email at email@example.com. Thanks also to Errol Bruce-Knapp of UFO UpDates - Toronto (firstname.lastname@example.org) for sending us the text.]
An analysis of 258 UFO sightings reported officially in Canada during 1996 shows that Canadians continue to see many strange things flying in the sky.
Ufology Research of Manitoba, working in co-operation with researchers across Canada, has released its annual review of Canadian UFO cases. The study used case reports from private UFO organizations and some government sources.
"UFO sightings continue to be reported at a fairly constant rate," says Chris Rutkowski, an astronomer and science writer in Winnipeg who for the past 22 years has been studying UFO reports in Canada. "People still report observing unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations."
According to the study: the typical UFO sighting occurs after 9:00 p.m.; most sightings have two or more witnesses; more UFOs are seen in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec than other provinces; and many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgement. While most cases involve star-like objects in the night sky, some witnesses describe disc-shaped or triangular objects at close range. Although most cases had explanations, a small percentage were not that easy to dismiss.
"We were still left with some cases that were relatively well-investigated and involved unusual objects that did not seem to have been aeroplanes, balloons or stars," Rutkowski notes. "The continued reporting of UFOs leads us to recommend more studies of the phenomenon by social, medical and/or physical scientists."
Among the unknowns this year: black triangular objects buzzing houses in Quebec and BC; brilliantly-lighted objects frightening motorists in Quebec; rectangular "spaceships" blocking a snowmobile trail in the Northwest Territories; and a saucer-shaped object seen hovering beside a farmhouse in Manitoba.
"The number of reported UFOs is increasing slightly each year," says Rutkowski. "Interest in the subject is simply not going away."
SUMMARY OF 1996 SURVEY RESULTS
o The number of UFO reports made in Canada has increased slightly during the past eight years. There now are approximately 190 cases of unidentified flying objects reported each year, up slightly from previous year's calculations.
o The distribution of UFO reports in Canada was somewhat related to the distribution of population. Western Canada was over-represented in terms of UFO report numbers, while the Maritimes are under-represented.
o During the past eight years, there was no definite monthly trend found in Canadian UFO reports. Each year, there appear to be regional monthly fluctuations. UFOs seem to be as likely to be reported in summer as in winter.
o Approximately 80% of UFO sightings were merely observations of lights in the night sky.
o About 13% of all UFO reports are unexplained. This percentage of unknowns falls to about 5% when only higher-quality cases are considered.
o Most UFO sightings occurred between 9:00 pm and midnight.
o UFO incidents usually had more than one witness. Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgement.
o In 1996, the typical UFO sighting lasted nearly half an hour, a dramatic increase from [1995's] average of seven minutes.
o Most reported UFOs were white in colour.
o Although most reported UFOs are simply lights in the night sky, a significant number are objects with definite shapes.
For more information, and for information on regional commentators, contact:
Ufology Research of Manitoba
Original file name: CNI - Canada UFOs
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