Thursday, January 15, 2009

Are We Alone? - UFO Sightings Defy Explanation

Posted: January 15, 2009

By Mark Pavilons


In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Long before humankind read the Scriptures, we glanced skyward, wondering if we were alone in the cosmos.

Unexplained sightings for literally thousands of years have culminated in a modern pastime and, for some, a lifelong search for extraterrestrials. Google “UFOs” on the Internet and you’ll find more than eight million references.

A spokesman for the Vatican said May 13 there could be life forms beyond Earth, even intelligent ones. “How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?” asked The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory. “Just as we consider earthly creatures as ‘brother’ and ‘sister,’ why should we not talk about an ‘extraterrestrial brother’?” Funes added astronomy doesn’t contradict religion and the Bible is not a book of science. He conceded the big bang theory is a “reasonable” explanation for the creation of the universe and science has vindicated astronomer Galileo. This latest revelation softens centuries of division between the church and the famed astronomer, who was deemed a heretic and forced to recant his theory that the earth revolved around the sun. Pope John Paul publicly admitted in 1992 the ruling against Galileo was a tragic error.

While science has since proven him correct, and uncovered many galactic mysteries, hard evidence of alien life and unidentified flying objects (UFOs) remains elusive. But that hasn’t curbed a belief held by millions of people around the globe – that aliens do exist and do visit earth.

This past Jan. 2, two people travelling along Highway 50 and then east on Rutherford through Vaughan saw static lights in the sky. “They did not move and made a weird shape in the sky,” according to the report posted on Canada’s largest website dedicated to UFOs – HBCC UFO Research.

Reports like this are common, according to Brian Vike, director of HBCC (Houston, British Columbia, Canada) UFO.

“I honestly wish I knew what some of the strange craft folks report were,” he said. “The majority of UFO reported sightings are explainable. A small percentage remains unknown. What these unknown craft are, this is the tough part of the UFO business.”

Vike believes we are not alone and that life exists elsewhere in the vastness of space. “Do I have actual fact that we are being visited, no,” he admits. “But I am open and listen to what folks relate to me.”

The reports continue. In fact, 2007 was a record year for sightings, Vike said.

A boomerang-shaped object was reported in Bolton July 31, 2007. While stargazing, the resident said the object was “white and grey in appearance and it had a boomerang shape to it. Almost like a banana shape … it was quite fast.”

Numerous photos were taken of a UFO Aug. 2, 2006 shortly after 9:45 p.m. The man who reported the sighting was at the Caledon Badlands near Inglewood taking photos of the moon when there was “all kinds of commotion in the trees and bushes. I got really spooked, and I don’t spook easily.” The camera kept snapping and apparently captured 15 photos of a UFO – “one just starting to break the atmosphere, two fully engulfed in the atmosphere, three cooling down; four sitting still; five leaving going back to space …”

Government secrets?

Aside from sporadic individual reports, Britain’s National Archives released 1,000 pages of formerly secret UFO documents May 14. The documents contain UFO sightings from the 1970s through 2002 and several remain unexplained. However, Britain’s defence ministry did not find any evidence of alien activity or alien spacecraft. The archives are releasing files in light of numerous freedom of information requests about government UFO reports. Defence officials noted the reports were only investigated to ensure there were no enemy aircraft over British airspace, and never attempted to solve the UFO riddle.

Vike said the official Canadian government stance is they are not hiding anything from the public and they are not investigating UFOs. However, Vike said from his sources in both the Canadian and U.S. military, “we as the general public haven’t a clue as to what is really going on at times. Yet the military is, from time to time, scrambling aircraft to intercept, or in hopes of intercepting, craft of unknown origin.”

The official roadblocks are evident. Vike said any time he goes through official channels in search of information, “it seems no one knows anything.”

The Library and Archives Canada has a collection of government records on UFOs, gathered from the Department of National Defence, Department of Transport, National Research Council and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The documents were accumulated between 1947 and the early 1980s and consist of some 9,500 digitized documents. The National Research Council began collecting reports of UFO sightings in 1968. The NRC stopped collecting reports in 1995.

There is no department in Ottawa dedicated to investigating UFOs, according to a spokesman from Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson’s office. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a Canada-U.S. partnership, tracks all aircraft, including those of unknown origin, within Canadian airspace, with a view to identifying them. All aircraft require proper clearance and identification, according to military or International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreements.

Federal cabinet documents from the 1960s reveal former prime minister Lester Pearson was intrigued by reports of UFOs in the night skies over southern Ontario and Great Lake states.

One of the most infamous UFO stories of the century – The Roswell Incident – involved the recovery of materials near Roswell, New Mexico, on July 7, 1947. The U.S. military maintains it was a top-secret research balloon that crashed, but there has been intense speculation and questioning ever since, giving birth the UFO phenomenon. UFO proponents believe an alien craft crashed; bodies were recovered and the military covered up the incident.

Some recognition of the UFO phenomenon came from a top-level source.

“If I become president, I'll make every piece of information this country has about UFO sightings available to the public and scientists. I am convinced that UFOs exist because I have seen one,” said former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

Fast-forward to Sept. 21, 2006 when a Caledon family of five saw strange, flashing lights outside their window. “Before this light descended behind our tree line, the light changed to what looked like a flashing white strobe light. It stopped its descent and started to move very quickly horizontally right and then left about three or four times … a second red light started descending in the same path the first one took. Again the light turned white and flashing …”

One of the most well known sightings in Vaughan occurred July 13, 2005 at about 11:30 p.m. Several people reported seeing a disc-like object with an orange glow to it. The light faded in and out and other lights moved across the object. It occurred on Highway 7 above the Ikea store.

These stories, and others that come to HBCC UFO on a daily basis, fuel the fire for Vike.

He said he’s personally had three UFO sightings, mostly in 2002 outside of Vancouver, “when our area went through a major UFO flap.”

An avid UFO buff since 2000, Vike said his fascination with anything of unknown nature led him to create HBCC UFO, now a major Canadian website with a worldwide following. Vike, 57, has been a science fiction fan since childhood. He was a consultant for the American History Channel and its UFO Hunter series and he said he’s waiting to hear back from another film company interested in putting together a UFO-related program.

An object with an aura around it was seen in Caledon Sept. 11, 2004. “I looked to the west sky and there it was … it got brighter and gave off some type of aura … it was zigzagging and doing circular movements.”


What about the skeptics and naysayers?

Vike said those who are adamant that we are, in fact alone in the cosmos, are not open-minded enough to at least consider the idea of earth being visited by other life forms.

World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking upset the UFO community with some comments made during an April lecture at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“We don’t appear to have been visited by aliens,” Hawking said. “Why would they only appear to cranks and weirdoes?”

In a previous lecture entitled Life in the Universe, Hawking touched on the chances that humans would encounter alien life as we explore the galaxy. While he conceded many planets could have life on them, considering many were formed billions of years before our earth, he wondered why the galaxy isn’t filled with activity.

“So why is the galaxy not crawling with self-designing mechanical or biological life forms? Why hasn't the Earth been visited, and even colonized. I discount suggestions that UFOs contain beings from outer space. I think any visits by aliens, would be much more obvious, and probably also, much more unpleasant.”

Renowned astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake created the Drake equation in 1961 that estimates the number of “communicating civilizations” in our Milky Way galaxy. Using his formula, current conservative estimates put that number at 1,000 (planets with intelligent life) in our galaxy alone. Astronomers estimated there are 80 to 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Drake was the founder of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and the SETI Institute, founded in 1984, has a mandate to “explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.”

Down to earth, Caledon’s clay hills, which resemble a Martian landscape, seem to draw visitors of both the earthly and extraterrestrial kinds.

One person saw different objects in the sky Sept. 22, 2004 on visit to the Badlands. “The first one was in the northwest and it was very bright with almost a strobe light effect – white, green and red lights. It moved very fast up and down like the (amusement park ride) Drop Zone. Then we looked to the east and there was another one, again it moved and turned in the same way.”

Believers seen undaunted by a lack of evidence or criticism in their cosmic fascination.

“I know from my experiences they visit throughout the winter … I’ll keep watching,” said a Caledon resident who saw rapidly flashing lights in November of 2004.

“If you can get people to stay long enough to witness it once, you pretty much have a new believer,” wrote another.

Believers and non-believers alike are welcome to visit Vike’s site at: or e-mail him at

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