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UFOs in the daily Press:

Ufology in Canada, 2003:

This article was published in the daily newspaper The Toronto Star, Canada, on October 10, 2003.

Jennifer Robinson
Canadian Press

Blame Ed Wood's spinning pie plates, the Raelian obsession with cloning and theme parks, or maybe Erich von Daniken's premise that ancient gods were once travellers from outer space.

Pop culture and crackpots have hijacked the scientific study of UFOs, turning it into a running joke, says UFO researcher Chris Styles.

Best known for his work on the 1967 case of a suspected UFO crash in Shag Harbour, N.S., Styles was expected to be among five experts speaking this weekend in Halifax at an international symposium on unidentified flying objects.

For him, proof that UFOs exist can be found in an unlikely place: Canadian government documents.

Through federal access requests, he has found detailed reports from RCMP officers and Defence Department officials chronicling decades of strange sightings in our skies.

"A lot of what goes on nowadays really isn't ufology. It's what I call alienology," says Styles, co-author of Dark Object, a book about the Shag Harbour incident in which a large object crashed into waters off southwest Nova Scotia on Oct. 4, 1967, leaving behind a trail of yellow foam and bewildered fishermen who sailed the area to search for survivors.

Navy divers mounted an extensive search and RCMP talked to many witnesses but nothing was found.

Official reports offer detailed accounts from police and an Air Canada pilot who witnessed a strange object in the sky.

Styles was 12 when he saw the orange object above his home in Dartmouth, N.S. He estimates 90 per cent of sightings are mistakes. The International Space Station's bright lights regularly trip up casual observers.

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