B.C. Beats Other Provinces in UFO Sightings

Experts suspect an active UFO hunting community is likely behind the high rates

(Kristen Frier)

In the 2017 Canadian UFO Survey, B.C. has the highest percentage of “high reliable” UFO sightings among provinces with over 50 annual sightings. Out of the 128 sightings in British Columbia last year, nearly 10 per cent were categorized as high reliable sightings, which is five per cent higher than the national average.

The information in this survey was gathered by Ufology Research, a Manitoba-based research group. The organization looks at sources such as “online UFO organizations, government files, direct witness reports, media, and some internet posts” and compiles the information into an annual report for the public to peruse.

The reliability ratings offered in the survey do not confirm that unidentified flying objects were spotted in the sky. Instead, the reliability rating “measures the confidence in the quality of a UFO report.” This means that a high reliable sighting (with a 7-9 rating) has more confirming evidence that the actual sighting took place, such as quality video, photographs, or reports made to investigators. A low reliable sighting (rated 1-3) has less confirming evidence, such as “an anonymous email or voice message describing a UFO sighting.” Most provinces tend to have a low reliability rating around 15 per cent.

Charles Lamoureux, an astronomy enthusiast and skywatcher of over nine years, believes that the communities in B.C. are the primary reason for the high rating of UFO sightings there.

“We have more people like myself here that are taking this seriously,” he says. “I know a good half dozen people who do what I do and that have the same type of equipment that are sightseeing, that are looking up. I don’t know if they’re doing any reports or not, but there’s a lot more people looking up here.”

Chris Rutkowski, a science writer and coordinator of the annual Canadian UFO Survey, is skeptical of the high percentage, but admits that B.C. does have an active UFO hunting community.

“[Local advocacy group] UFO*BC is very active in their investigations and their website details their follow-up with witnesses,” says Rutkowski. “I suspect that their cases might therefore get slightly higher reliability ratings since such transparency is not found in cases from some other provinces.”

Lamoureux believes that low reliable sightings are largely a result of ignorance.

“People don’t know what they’re looking at,” he says. “A lot of people are wanting to be a part of a community [and they’ll] believe in something so strongly that they’re sure that what they saw was a UFO and report it. They’ll exaggerate their sighting.”

The survey also rates each sighting on a strangeness level, which measures how unusual the characteristics of the sighting are. B.C. also has a high percentage of low strangeness sightings, with nearly half of all sightings in the province categorized as low strangeness (rated 1-3).

Unlike Rutkowski, Lamoureux doesn’t believe that most of the results of the survey are important and he no longer reports any of his findings to Ufology Research.

“These UFO reports, they really mean nothing,” says Lamoureux. “I started reporting to them initially and then I stopped because nothing’s done. Nobody does anything about them. What we need is people out in the field.”

When asked if there were other reasons why Lamoureux no longer reports his sightings, he claimed that some members of Ufology Research are biased.

“[Rutkowski] doesn’t believe what I’ve captured on video,” he says. “He thinks they’re balloons. He thinks they’re bugs. But he’s never looked through a night vision device, and if he has, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. So there’s a lot of bias in their survey. You need to know who actually is doing the survey and who’s deciding what’s high strangeness and low strangeness.”

When asked about Lamoureux’s claims, Rutkowski replied, “Charles can make any claims he wants about his opinion on the legitimacy of the Canadian UFO Survey. Every report is evaluated equally and most are considered without knowing the identity of the witness.”

Still, Lamoureux and Ufology Research agree on something. Many of the sightings made today remain unexplained. As the survey says, “Many people continue to report unusual objects in the sky, and some of these objects do not have obvious explanations.”

The only true way to find an answer for what’s out there is to continue looking up at the night sky.

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