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Memory Lane: Sudbury a UFO hotbed for five decades

We asked, you answered — readers share their sightings of strange objects in the skies
220622_memory lane ufo encounters
Cartoonist Ollie Simpkin’s 1953 UFO cartoon for  The Sudbury Star.

In the early 1950s, Sudbury was at the centre of flying saucer sighting activity. 

Local UFO expert Michel M. Deschamps has identified 51 reported sightings in Sudbury and surrounding area between 1948 and 1989.

The first one was reported in the Warren area March 20, 1948, when two truck drivers said they were followed by an 80-foot long object emitting orange sparks.

Deschamps operates the group Northern Ontario UFO Research and Study (NOUFORS) and posts his research on his website, NOUFORS.com.

He said he personally has had 23 UFO sightings dating back to 1974 when he was nine.

The largest number of UFO sightings in Sudbury occurred during the summer of 1967, when there were eight incidents reported.

His research shows 1953, 1954, 1961, 1967 and 1975 were periods of high UFO activity. 

Sudbury.com recently invited readers to share stories or memories of UFO sightings in northeastern Ontario, something commonly reported in newspapers at the time.

In 1954, the daily newspaper reported Charles Beck, a pastor and renowned investigator of supernatural phenomena from Buffalo, N.Y., was in Sudbury to investigate the “landing of a Martian space ship (sic) on the Garson Mine property.”

Best believed "Martians" were interested in atomic energy and any kind of minerals and mines.

He interviewed a 23-year-old miner who had passed out at the mine first aid station after claiming to have witnessed and been hypnotized by creatures from outer space, possibly Mars.

The Garson miner saw three “creatures" leave the ship, and one delivered a message to the miner by mental telepathy.

"I would be rather be dead than rely the message," he said. "It was horrible."

Jason Marcon, the administrator of the Coniston Historical Group, shared a newspaper clipping from The Sudbury Star dated April 12, 1953.

The headline: "That 'thing' is back again in the Sudbury sky." Six Coniston men reported seeing an unidentified object in the sky above Frood-Stobie Mine and again closer to the west side of the town of Coniston about at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 11. This sighting followed a rash of local  UFO reports in February 1953.

Marcon also administers the Sudbury Then and Now Facebook page and often shares Sudbury.com Memory Lane articles. There were several comments under the post he created to share our June 8 story. 

Former CKSO Radio host Scott Turnbull wrote,"Years ago, the CKSO No Stars played an exhibition basketball game (or something) at the radar base. I asked one of the officers, 'Off the record, you ever see things on your screens that you can’t explain?' The fellow said, ”Oh yea! All the time.’ So be careful…They’re out there...watching."

In November 1975, NORAD released a news release regarding another UFO incident that occurred at CFS Falconbridge.

Denis Beland remembered, "The activity in November 1975 was witnessed by many people including the tower and ground crew staff at the airport and a number of Sudbury police. Too many unrelated parties from Garson to Capreol saw this UFO for this not to be true."

Dave Bryan remembered, “My mom was a Sudbury Regional cop back then; they chased it in a squad car.  I think I still have the newspaper clippings of the fun of that night.”

Keep watching the skies.

Vicki Gilhula is a freelance writer in Sudbury. Memory Lane is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.