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Close encounters:

FALCON LAKE, CANADA, 1967:

At 12:15 p.m. on May 19, 1967, Stephen Michalak, who was engaged in some amateur prospecting near Falcon Lake, on the Manitoba/Ontario border, was startled to see two cigar-shaped objects with "bumps" on them, glowing red and descending. One object stopped in mid-air, hovered, and then silently rose and disappeared into the clouds. The other object, about thirty-five feet in diameter and twelve feet high, landed about 160 feet away from Michalak. A door opened in the side of the craft and Michalak heard voices within. He called out in English and Russian and other langages, but got no response. He was able to walk up to the craft and actually touch it, but it took off as he stood near it, burning his chest and setting his shirt on fire. He went to a doctor, who found a pattern of burn marks in a grid on his chest. He suffered from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss. Radioactive contamination of the site was much debated, as was the truth of his story .

Steven Michalak Steven Michalak
Photograph of Stephen Michalak showing geometric pattern burned onto his body by the exhaust gases of an alleged UFO. Mr. Michalak's burns where treated but continued to re-appear for many years after his encounter with a mysterious craft in the Canadian wilderness.

IN THIS SECTION:

THE CONDON GROUP INVESTIGATION:

Case 22
North Central
Spring 1967
Investigator: Craig

Abstract:

A weekend prospector claimed that a "flying saucer" landed near him in the woods, and that when he approached the object and touched it with his gloved hand, it soared away, its exhaust blast leaving a patterned burn on his abdomen and making him ill.

Events during and subsequent to a field search for the landing site cast strong doubt upon the authenticity of the report.

Background

A 50-year-old industrial mechanic (Mr. A) claimed to have observed two UFOs while prospecting in the North Central area. The reported time of the sighting was about 12:12 p.m., CDT.

According to Mr. A, his attention was distracted by the squawking of nearby geese. He looked up and saw two disc-shaped objects descending together from the SW at an angle of 15░-20░ above the horizon. One stopped 10-12 ft. above the ground; the other continued downward, and landed on the flat top of a rock outcropping 160 ft. from Mr. A. The objects had domes and were about 40 ft. in diameter. They had flown three or four diameters apart, keeping a constant distance. The first object hovered in the air (one of Mr. A's accounts says it hovered about 15 ft. above him) for about three minutes, then ascended in the same direction from which it had come, changing color from bright red to orange to grey and back to bright orange as it disappeared in the distance. It moved noiselessly, much faster than airplane speeds.

When Mr. A turned his attention to the landed craft, it, too, was changing color from glowing red to the iridescence of hot stainless steel. The craft had no markings. Intense purple light shone from apertures around the dome of the craft. Mr. A noticed wafts of warm air, a smell of sulphur, and a hissing sound from the craft. He sketched the object. After about 15 min. he noticed that a hatch on the side of the craft had opened. He could see nothing inside, because the light was too bright.

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He waited in vain for someone to emerge through the hatch.

About 30 minutes later, Mr. A approached the craft and heard humanlike voices from within. Thinking the craft was of U.S. origin, he addressed the assumed occupants in English. When no response was heard, he tried Russian, German, Italian, French, and Ukrainian. The voices stopped. Panels slid over the hatch, through which Mr. A had noticed that the craft's walls were about 20 in. thick, and honeycombed. After the hatch closed, Mr. A touched the craft with his gloved hand, burning the fingertips of his glove. The craft tilted slightly and started to spin rapidly. He was standing near a patterned ventilation or exhaust area on the craft's side. When the craft started moving, a blast from this opening burned his upper abdomen and set his shirt and undershirt afire. He tore off the shirts and threw them to the ground, stamping out the fire. His outer shirt was almost totally burned, but he retrieved the remains of his undershirt. A hole also was burned in the front of the top of the cap he was wearing. He was left with burns on his abdomen and sickened, apparently as a result of inhalation of vapors from the machine. The craft disappeared in the direction from which it came at a bearing of 255o (determined by Mr. A's compass) and at a speed estimated as far exceeding known aircraft capability. Mr. A said he suffered headache, nausea, and cold sweats within minutes after the experience. He returned to his prospecting site (160 ft. away) and got his coat and prospecting equipment. He put the remains of his undershirt in his prospecting satchel. Feeling weakened and vomiting frequently he struggled to the highway to seek medical assistance. He was aware of a horrible odor associated with his breath.

He reached the highway and requested help from a constable of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who was driving by. The constable thought Mr. A was intoxicated, and refused to help. Mr. A also failed to get help at the park headquarters and went back to his motel at Lake X. After several hours, he took a bus to Winnipeg. While waiting for the bus, he telephoned the Winnipeg Tribune to request assistance, asking, at the same time, he said, that they give his experience no publicity.

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Mr. A was met by his son, who took him to hospital X for medical attention. The burns on his abdomen were diagnosed as superficial, and Mr. A returned home. He continued to complain of nausea, headache, offensive odor from his lungs, lack of appetite, and rapid weight loss.

Two days after the alleged event, Mr. A was attended to by a personal physician, whom he had not visited since Spring 1966. The following day he was taken to hospital Y to be checked for radiation trauma by the hospital's Department of Nuclear Medicine. A radiation pathologist found no evidence of the effects of radiation on the burned area, in his blood, or on Mr. A's clothing. He reported that the burn was thermal. A week after his sighting Mr. A was checked in the whole-body radiation counter at an Atomic Power Installation. This counter detects and measures gamma radiation from isotopes in the body. The test showed no count above normal background.

Mr. A said he lost a total of 22 lb. over the next seven days, but had regained his strength and some weight 11 days after his sighting.

Investigation:

The case involved close contact, and one of the most detailed descriptions of a material object of this type on record. The site at which the event allegedly took place had not been re-visited since the event, and held promise of providing tangible physical evidence that an unusual material object had actually been present. A project investigator left for city A as soon as word was received that Mr. A was physically able to search for the landing site. The investigator wanted to visit and examine the alleged site before it was disturbed by others.

Nearly two weeks after the event, when Mr. A was interviewed by the project investigator, he had regained sufficient strength to lead a search, which was planned for the following day. Mr. A displayed a rash on his neck and chest, which he associated with the alleged UFO exposure. He said the rash appeared two days earlier, 11 days after the sighting, and he had visited his physician the morning of the interview to have it checked. Mr. A had, on the same day, cooperated with authorities in a ground and air search which had not located the UFO landing site.

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Mr. A reluctantly agreed to lead another ground search, indicating that the new rash made him uncertain of his physical health.

Later, Mr. A led a party, including the project investigator, on a hike in the Canadian bush, ostensibly searching for the landing site which assertedly was about three air miles north of a highway, which skirts the north shore of Lake X. The area searched was located 49░43' +/- 1'N, 95░19' +/- 1'W, in a forest reserve. A fire-watch tower stands between the highway and the area searched. The party began the search within a half mile of this tower, and never got more than two miles from it while wandering back and forth through an area within which Mr. A said the site had to be. Most of the area was covered by dense vegetation. Numerous beaver ponds, swamps, and rock outcroppings were contained in the area, the outcroppings rising as much as 40 ft. above the swamp level. It was on such an outcropping that the landing allegedly occurred.

This "search" impressed the investigator, as well as other members of the party, as being aimless. Mr. A expressed the desire to terminate the search after a few hours of hiking. The rest of the party felt a good effort had not yet been made, and pressed him to continue. In the early afternoon, when it seemed obvious that a "landing site" would not be found that day, the party returned to Lake X resort, where the investigator interviewed other people who were in the vicinity on the day of the alleged event.

Two youngsters who claimed they saw an UFO over the lake on the date in question gave a description suggesting that they may have observed a box kite or a balloon, but certainly not an object of the type described by Mr. A.

According to Conservation Officer Jim Bill, the fire lookout towers were manned on this date after 9 a.m. A ranger with Officer Bell indicated that the forest was dry at this time. Both rangers felt that a fire capable of burning a man would have started the forest burning. They commented that watchmen in the towers generally notice smoke immediately from even a small campfire, and felt that a small fire in lichen and moss, such as Mr. A said he tramped out when he

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threw his burning shirts to the ground, would have been seen by the watchman. They also believed objects as described by Mr. A would have been seen by the tower watchman, had they been present for even a fraction of the time Mr. A claimed. Watchtowers are 8' x 8'. About six other towers are visible in the distance from the tower near the alleged landing site. Although a 35-40 ft. metallic saucer only 1/2-2 mi. away should have attracted the watchman's attention, nothing unusual was noted from the watchtower.

Weather Bureau information indicated the day of the reported sighting was mostly clear with broken clouds, in agreement with Mr. A's description.

The flight direction Mr. A gave for the UFOs would have brought them within about a mile of the golf course at Beach X, at an altitude of 4,000 ft. The course attendant said that there were hundreds of golfers on the course on this date, none of whom reported seeing an object such as Mr. A described.

The investigator sought other information supporting the claim that an unconventional flying object had been in the area on the sighting date. A check of several other UFO sighting reports in the region revealed that they had no relation to Mr. A's sighting, having occurred on a different day (except for the lake sighting already mentioned) in a different area.

Radar observers at three other locations (60 mi. NW of the claimed sighting, 85 mi. W, and 40 mi. E) reported noticing nothing unusual on the alleged sighting date.

With Mr. A's permission, the project investigator reviewed the case with his physician and with the other M.D.'s involved. Items of particular interest which were revealed to the investigator by Mr. A himself were (a) a rapid weight loss; (b) a lymphocyte count of 16% climbing later to 21%; and (c) the rash on Mr. A's throat and upper chest which developed 11 days after his reported sighting.

The claimed weight loss of 22 pounds in seven days, including 14 pounds the first three days, could not be verified. Mr. A's physician did not see the patient until two days after the alleged exposure and

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had not seen him during the previous year. There was no way to verify the weight claimed prior to the event. A medical consultant considered the claimed weight loss logically excessive for an inactive, fasting patient.

The lymphocyte percentages were not outside the limits of expected statistical variation of two routine counts of the same blood, and were therefore not considered to be significant.

The rash, which was not on the same body area as the original burn, looked like the normal reaction to insect bites. Mr. A said the rash appeared on the day he had gone on the site search with RCMP officers. In view of the great number of black flies in the area, the coincidence in date, Cpl. Davis' report that he was severely bitten while on the search, and the accessibility of the affected neck and chest area to flies when the shirt collar is not buttoned (it was Cpl. Davis' belief that Mr. A had worn his collar unbuttoned during the search), it seems highly probable that the rash was the result of insect bites and was not connected with the alleged UFO experience.

Comparison of recordings of separate accounts of Mr. A's UFO experience, as told to an APRO representative two days after the reported event and to the project investigator short of two weeks later, revealed minor variations, as would be expected in any two accounts of an involved experience. The inclusion in the account of a magnetic effect of the UFO developed during the first interview. The APRO representative asked Mr. A if the UFO had affected his compass. Mr. A first answered: "I couldn't tell you if the compass needle was affected. I hadn't looked before. It was kind of abnormal." Upon further discussion, the effect developed to a definite spinning of the needle, then a rapid whirling as the second object left the area. This latter description was repeated in subsequent accounts. It is hard to reconcile such a magnetic effect with the facts that Mr. A not only reported a definite compass reading for the direction of departure of the second UFO but also a definite reading of 140o for the direction of approach and departure of the first, which left while the second was still present.

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The undershirt which Mr. A presented had been ripped apart in front, where it was burned. It also carried a patterned burn centered high on the back, the pattern matching, according to Mr. A, the pattern of the UFO's exhaust openings from which the burning vapors had spurted. Mr. A had been burned only on the abdomen, with slight singeing of the forehead. The reason for the presence of a patterned burn on the back of the undershirt was not obvious.

Mr. A was deemed very reliable by his employer. He had convinced representatives of the RCMP and RCAF, two of the several physicians involved, as well as his family, that he was telling the story of a real event. During the project investigator's interview, he seemed honest, sincere, and concerned. His presentation of his story was convincing. His wife and son verified his claim of an unusual odor coming from his body after his alleged UFO experience, indicating that the odor permeated the bathroom after Mr. A had bathed.

Analysis of Subsequent Developments

  1. The claimed finding of the site by Mr. A and an associate shortly over a month later.

    The site was allegedly still obvious, with moss blown away in a circular pattern. Samples of soil and moss from the area, portions of the burned shirt, and a six-foot measuring tape which Mr. A had left behind were brought to city A. All three were radioactive. When sent to city B for analysis, they were found to be so strongly radioactive that the Radiation Protection Division of the Dept. of Health and Welfare considered restricting entry to the forest area from which they allegedly were taken. A careful check of the site by a representative of this department revealed that the perimeter of the "landing circle" and beyond were free of radioactive contamination. According to his report:

      A thorough survey of the landing area was carried out, using a Tracerlab SU14, Admiral Radiac 5016, and a Civil Defense CDV 700 survey meter. One small

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      area was found to be contaminated. This was located across the crown of the rock. There was a smear of contamination about 0.5 x 8.0 inches on one side of the crack. There was also some lichen and ground vegetation contaminated just beyond the smear. The whole contaminated area was no larger than 100 square inches. All water runoff areas were checked for possible contamination, but nothing was found.

    No representative of an independent or official agency was present when the circular area alleged to be the landing site was rediscovered. In spite of an RCMP understanding with Mr. A that no evidence should be removed from the area should he relocate it, radioactive soil samples, (fortuitously selected from the small contaminated area), remnants of cloth, and the measuring tape were represented as having been removed from the area. Why the cloth remnants and the tape were radioactive was never explained. While these items could have been contaminated by contact with the soil samples, reports received by the project indicated that the items were in separate plastic bags, and major contamination would not be expected. The partially-burned undershirt had earlier been found not to carry radioactive contamination. The tape would have been left some 160 ft. from the landing circle, in an area found to be free of radioactive contamination.

    Other individuals checked the site for radioactivity later. One of these was Mr. E. J. Epp of city A, who searched the site in Fall of 1967 and found no radioactive material. At the project's suggestion, he had the records of the Dept. of Mines and Natural Resources searched for mineral claims in the area filed by Mr. A. This was requested because of the possibility that Mr. A had deliberately misdirected the earlier searches in order to protect mineral claims. Such claims were filed by him, but not until later in the Fall.

    The project never received a final report of the analyses of the soil samples taken by the Dept. of Health and Welfare. The origin of this material is therefore an open question.

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    The site presented did not match Mr. A's earlier description of it. An opening in the trees through which Mr. A said the UFO came and departed would have required the object to leave the landing circle travelling in a NNE direction, whereas Mr. A had said it departed to the WSW. Other aspects also differed from the original description.

  2. Claimed recurrences (in the early Fall and other occasions) of the physiological reactions to the UFO experience.

    Relation of these reported attacks with Mr. A's alleged UFO experience has not been established.

  3. Commercial publication of Mr. A's story in a booklet.

    This account differs in some aspects from Mr. A's original reports. In the booklet, for example, Mr. A is reported to have stuck his head into the open hatch of the "saucer" and observed a maze of randomly flashing lights inside the craft. In earlier accounts, Mr. A stated that he avoided going near the hatch and was unable to see inside it because of the brightness of the light coming from it. The account was chronologically jumbled, and showed a carelessness with fact.

  4. A claimed visit to the site by Mr. A and another associate a year after the alleged sighting, at which time they discovered massive pieces of radioactive material in a fissure of the rock within the "landing circle." This material reportedly consisted of two W-shaped bars of metal, each about 4.5 in. long, and several smaller pieces of irregular shape. These items were said to have been found about 2 in. below a layer of lichen in the rock fissure. They were later analyzed as nearly pure silver. The results of the analyses of these pieces of metal were sent to the Colorado Project by Dr. Peter M. Millman of the National Research Council of Canada. The analysis of the report by Mr. R. J. Traill (Head, Minerology Section, NRC) showed that the two fragments each consisted of a cental massive metal portion which was not radioactive. One of these was 93% and the other 96% silver. Both contained copper and cadmium, and had a composition similar to that found in commercially available sterling silver or sheet silver. The metal was coated with a tightly-adhering layer of quartz sand, similar to that used as a foundry sand. This also was not radioactive. The radioactivity was contained

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      in a loosely-adhering layer of fine-grained minerals containing uranium. This layer could be removed readily by washing and brushing. The minerals were uranophane and thorium-free pitchblende, characteristically found in vein deposits. Mr Traill's conclusion was:
        I would interpret the specimens as pieces of thin sheet silver that have been twisted, crumpled, partly melted, and dropped into, or otherwise placed in contact with, nearly pure quartz sand, while still hot. They have subsequently been covered with loosely-adhering radioactive material which consists of crushed pitchblende ore, much altered to uranophane and containing associated hematite. These naturally-occuring radioactive minerals are found typically in the uraniferous deposits of . . . [River x] area and in parts of . . . [camp X].

      In view of the thoroughness of earlier searches of the site for radioactive material, it is improbable that the particles discovered a year later would have been missed had they been present when the earlier searches were made.

Conclusions:

If Mr. A's reported experience were physically real, it would show the existence of alien flying vehicles in our environment. Attempts to establish the reality of the event revealed many inconsistencies and incongruities in the case, a number of which are described in this report. Developments subsequent to the field investigation have not altered the initial conclusion that this case does not offer probative information regarding inconventional craft.

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SOURCE:


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