Shag Harbour Encounter
Date: October 4, 1967
Location: Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada
An extraordinary event in 1967 would practically put the small fishing village of Shag Harbor on the map. Located at the southern tip of Nova Scotia, this rural community would be host to one of the best documented UFO events of the past 30 years. Named after the shag, a bird of the Cormorant family, the harbor was literally left off most maps of the time, but that would be changed once and for all. The tiny fishing community has always had it's stories, stories of giant sea serpents, man eating squid, and ghost ships. The list of local color would see one more story added to it's lore, a story of a visit of a mysterious craft of unknown origin. This craft would visit the waters of Shag Harbor, permanently stamping the villages name in the public eye.
The reports were investigated by various civilian (Royal Canadian Mounted Police & Canadian Coast Guard) and military (Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force) agencies of the Government of Canada and the U.S. Condon CommitteeCondon Committee.
The unknown flying object was never officially identified, and was therefore referred to as an unidentified flying object (UFO) in Canadian government documents. A Canadian Naval recovery effort immediately followed. The event is sometimes compared to the Roswell UFO incident and Kecksburg UFO incident, two other events alleged to be military crash recoveries of UFOs.
At least eleven people saw the low flying orange object head down towards the harbor. Multiple witnesses reported hearing a whistling sound, like a bomb, then a whoosh, and finally a loud bang. Some reported a flash of light as the object entered the water. Thinking that an airliner or smaller aircraft had crashed into the Sound next to Shag Harbour, some witnesses reported the event to the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment, which was located at Barrington Passage. Ironically, RCMP Constable, Ron Pound had already witnessed the strange lights himself as he drove down Highway 3 in route to Shag Harbor. Pound felt that he was seeing 4 lights, all attached to one flying craft. He estimated the craft to be about 60' long. Most witnesses agreed that there were 4 orange lights that evening. Five teenagers watched these lights flash in sequence, and then suddenly dive in a 45° angle toward the waters surface. The 5 were surprised that the lights did not dive into the water, but seemed to float on the water, approximately ½ mile from the shore. Another of these witnesses was Chris Styles, age 12, who says he came within 100' of the object in Halifax. The sighting left a deep impression on Styles, who 26 years later was to resurrect the Shag Harbour case and become its principal investigator. Don Ledger, another Nova Scotia resident and an aviation expert, would later join Styles.
Constable Pound made his way to the shore to get a closer look at the phenomenal sight. He was accompanied by Police Corporal Victor Werbieki, Constable Ron O'Brien, & other local residents. Pound clearly saw a yellow light slowly moving on the water, leaving a yellowish foam 80' wide and half a mile long, in its wake. All eyes were glued on the light, as it slowly either moved too distant to be seen, or dipped into the icy waters. Coast Guard Cutter #101 and other local boats rushed to the spot of the sighting, but by the time they arrived, the light itself was gone. However, the crewmen could still see the yellow foam, indicating that something had possibly submerged. Nothing else could be found that night, and the search was called off at 3:00 a.m. The RCMP ran a check with the Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax, and NORAD radar at Baccaro, Nova Scotia. They were told that there were no missing aircraft reported that evening, either civilian, or military.
The following day, the Rescue Coordination Center filed a report with Canadian Forces Headquarters in Ottawa. This report stated that something had hit the water in Shag Harbor, but the object was of unknown origin. The same morning, RCC also sent a Priority Telex to the Canadian military headquarters Air Desk in Ottawa, which handled all civilian and military UFO sightings, informing them of the crash and that all conventional explanations such as aircraft, flares, etc. had been dismissed.The HMCS Granby was ordered to Shag Harbor, where divers searched the bottom of the ocean for several days, but without results.
The official story of the incident ends here, further evidence attributed to various military and civilian witnesses might imply a highly secretive military search involving a small flotilla of U.S. and Canadian ships about 30 miles to the NE of Shag Harbour near Shelburne, site of a top secret submarine detection base. According to one military witness, he was allegedly briefed that the object had originally been picked up on radar coming out of Siberia. After crashing in Shag Harbour, it traveled underwater up the coast and came to rest on top of the submarine magnetic detection grid near Shelburne, where it was supposedly joined by a second vehicle. Ships were anchored there for a week, according to the witnesses, in an attempt to recover the object. This would explain the presence of a Russian submarine in the area. There was also the rumor of American involvement in the follow up investigation, but there was no official statement from the United States. A barge was said to have been brought in from the United States to assist in the recovery, as reported by another military witness. Regional newspaper stories did mention a barge with atomic furnaces being brought to Shelburne on October 6 for emergency repair, theorized by some as a cover story to explain its presence there.
One American diver, known only as Harry, in the book Dark Object by Styles and Ledger, stated that the object wasn't from planet Earth. Harry claimed photographs were taken by the divers and some foam like debris brought up. Another military witness claimed that there were actually two objects, one perhaps trying to assist the other. The naval search was suddenly called off on October 11. That night, a seemingly identical UFO was reported departing the area by witnesses near the original Shag Harbour crash site.
The Shag Harbor incident would have new life breathed into it through the efforts of MUFON investigator Chris Styles. The case intrigued him so much that he decided to search for more details. Styles found the names of many of the original witnesses through newspaper clippings, and was able to interview many of them. Styles was assisted by MUFON investigator Doug Ledger. These two men would uncover some extremely compelling evidence through their interviews. They discovered that when the divers of the Granby finished their work, the case was not over after all. The divers, along with others, related these events, The object that dove into the waters of the harbor had soon left the Shag area, traveling underwater for about 25 miles to a place called Government Point, which was near a submarine detection base. The object was spotted on sonar there, and Naval vessels were positioned over it. After a couple of days, the military was planning a salvage operation, when a second UFO joined the first. Common belief at the time was that the 2nd craft had arrived to render aid to the 1st.
At this time, the Navy decided to wait and watch. After about a week of monitoring the UFOs, some of the vessels were called to investigate a Russian submarine which had entered Canadian waters. At this point, the 2 underwater craft made their move. They made their way to the Gulf of Maine, and putting distance between themselves and the chasing Navy boats, they broke the surface, and shot away into the skies. These extraordinary events were corroborated by many, both civilian and military. Unfortunately, the reports were given off the record. Ex military personnel feared the loss of their pensions, and civilians feared ridicule, and their privacy being invaded. The unusual events of Shag Harbor command an important place in the study of UFOs.