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UFOs in the daily Press:

Sighting in Canada, 1999:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper East Kootenay Weekly, British Columbia, Canada, on March 17, 1999.

UFO Spotting

Look! Up In The Sky!

By Christine Boyd
Weekly Editor
East Kootenay Weekly
March 17, 1999

A diamond-shaped spacecraft. Unearthly flashing lights. Shooting white beams. Five people aren't sure exactly what they saw hovering over Kimberley March 5, but they agree on one thing -- the experience was out of this world!

A diamond-shaped UFO covered with flashing lights may have been responsible for the collapse of the McKim Theatre roof in Kimberley two weeks ago.

That's the rumor setting the ski town a-buzz after at least five witnesses reported seeing strange lights drifting slowly above the Bavarian City around midnight March 5, 1999.

Fuelling speculation were reports of an unearthly "light show" spotted directly over the theatre roof just a few hours before it's as-yet unexplained collapse.

Flashing lights above Mckim.

The first sighting of a UFO -- and that's "unidentified flying object," not necessarily "spaceship," all those interviewed were quick to point out -- seems to have been made between 10:00 p.m. and midnight March 5, 1999.

Home care worker Gail Shay had just returned from work to her apartment in the Pioneer Lodge on Church Street. As she prepared to retire, she noticed unusually bright lights dancing above the roof of the theatre a few blocks away.

At first, the 46-year old assumed that the beams were part of a McKim Theatre Society-sponsored light show. A second glance sent shivers up her spine. "It was like nothing I've ever seen before," said Shay.

"At first, it seemed like there was a crisscrossing spotlight going up into the sky from the rood of the school. It was glimmering, like the northern lights. There were all these colors.

"Then the light spread out like a mushroom cloud, exactly on the same spot as where the roof is gone."

Aware that she might be in for some ribbing after going on record about her experience, Shay quickly added that she hadn't been drinking and isn't a spaceship buff. Although she considers herself somewhat unconventional and open to esoteric ideas, she was overwhelmed by the experience.

The light spread out like a mushroom cloud, exactly on the same spot as where the roof is gone.

After reeling through a list of possible explanations, Shay said she decided that she must be hallucinating and crawled quickly into bed.

"I just kept thinking, 'Well, it's some unexplained natural phenomena' ... I can accept lots, but this was too much!" she said.

"I just couldn't keep looking because my mind couldn't explain what I was seeing. I witnessed something, but I don't know what it was."

Shaking knees in Townsite

Approximately an hour later, 68 year old Ted Zawaski was shaken out a deep sleep by a phone call.

On the other end of the line was a friend in Chapman Camp, incoherently insisting that Zawaski take a look at the sky.

After a few minutes, Zawaski says he was able to make sense of the friend's words -- with flashing lights was drifting slowly over the trees west of town.

Grabbing their coats, Zawaski and his wife ran outside.

"The minute I saw it, I almost panicked, because it was like nothing I've seen on this earth," said Zawaski, who lived in Townsite.

Excitedly swapping details with the friends in Chapman Camp, the Zawaskis watched the object from 12:15 to 12:40 a.m. when it drifted out of sight behind the trees.

"What do I think it is? I don't know. I can tell you what I don't think it was..." he said.

The quartet ruled out every conventional explanation they could think of for the phenomena -- it was moving too slowly and too low to the ground to be a plane or helicopter and had too many extremely bright flashing lights to be a hot air balloon, said Zawaski.

Zawaski admitted to being a bit of a UFO aficionado himself, and has spotted four over the past 30 years -- in Austria, Norway, near Calgary and Kimberley. However, the other three witnesses claimed that they had never seen one before and weren't looking.

Man-made, not spacemen!

In fast his two friends from Chapman camp only agreed to comment if they could remain anonymous, due to fear of public ridicule.

"Your kind of laughing at the whole thing yourself," said Mrs. "X." "people make these little comments like, 'Well, were you drinking last night?"

In fact, Mrs. X was stone sober and done a last tour of the house before retiring for the night when she, like Shay, noticed a bright light illuminating the house from the outside. Expecting to see a bright star, she glanced outside and then stood petrified.

"It was large and round like a car light, so I thought it was a plane that was going to be landing," she said.

As she observed with dawning amazement, the "plane" hovered unmoving for five minutes, bright white rays of light shooting to each side. Then the lights changed.

The minute I saw it, I almost panicked because it was like nothing I've seen on this earth.

"It was throwing out quite a few different lights, rotating around it. There were definitely four colors that I recall and maybe two others ones," she recalled.

"Then, of course, I ran in and called my husband -- 'Hey! You've got to see this!"

Armed with a pair of binoculars Mr. X was the only witness to perceive more detail on the object. He reported seeing a faceted shape like a diamond in a ring, with an inverted cone underneath. Lights played constanly about its surface, but the shimmered like lights in a fog, not with the concentrated energy of a bulb, he said.

"It definitely wasn't a star," he said. "Stars twinkle -- they don't give off dazzling light like that. It was to brilliant and big for a star."

Mr. X believes it was probably a man-made object, but is at a loss to explain it.

"I don't believe in flying saucers and little green men, space men, and all that stuff, I don't believe in it," he said. "I was the first to 'fooh-fooh!' all that stuff when other people talked about seeing UFOs. I think there's a logical explanation."

Back in Townsite, Zawaski shook with excitement, too awed to take his eyes off the object -- which he now regrets not photographing.

If it had been any closer, I would have had a heart attack. When I hear reports of other people experiencing these things from 20 meters away -- I don't think I'd survive.

He had to take a tranquilizer to fall asleep after and couldn't help constantly glancing over his shoulder the next morning while skiing at the Kimberley Nordic Track.

"It wasn't anything I've ever seen anywhere," said Zawaski, adding that the experience cured him of and desire to see UFOs in the future.

"I don't ever want to see another one: it's too devastating.

"If it had been any closer, I would have had a heart attack. When I hear reports of other people experiencing these things from 20 meters away -- don't think I'd survive."

Spaceship not ruled out.

While Cranbrook Regional Airport doesn't have radar, nothing unusual was reported that night by staff or incoming pilots, according to it's flight services station.

However, Kimberley RCMP received several telephone calls that night about the phenomena, although they were unable to verify the sighting.

The rumor was even raised among members of School District No. 6 at an emergency meeting called to discuss the collapsed theatre roof, which is attached to McKim Middle School.

"We're not about to speculate on the cause of the collapse, but we've heard all kinds of ideas, including UFO sightings on Friday night," said George Watson, school district director.

He did admit last week, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that the work crew had not yet found anything in the wreckage to rule out alien spacecraft as a cause.

"We haven't yet, but maybe when we get inside that building, we'll find something: we could find anything!

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