What sounds like a saucy, cinematic romp that would likely have played in some dingy theater on New York’s 42nd Street in the 1970s, is actually one of the strangest and most fascinating events in the long history of UFO research. The event in question, which would soon become a full blown phenomenon, began in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, 1970, and involved a group of Canadian nurses who would bear witness to a peculiar craft and a pair of bizarre beings that would forever alter the course of their lives.
At 11:59 pm. on New Year’s Eve, 1969, while the rest of British Columbia was engaged in celebrating the arrival of the new decade with hugs and kisses and copious amounts of champagne, a night shift nurse by the name of Doreen Kendall was punching in at Cowichan District Hospital on Vancouver Island for the midnight to eight swing.
There can be little doubt that following her tedious 26-mile commute from her home in Nanaimo, that she regretted having to miss all the festivities, but as she shucked her coat and resigned herself to the performance of her duties, Kendall had no way of knowing just how much excitement was in store for her and her co-workers occupying the second floor of the CDH’s East Wing.
NURSE KENDALL AND THE SAUCER PILOTS:
The dedicated practical nurse diligently made her rounds in the extended care unit for elderly patients with a registered nurse named Frieda Wilson, when, at approximately five in the morning, she noticed that one of her geriatric patients was stirring restlessly.
Assuming that her aged patient was simply too warm, Kendall pulled back the heavy drapes in the four bed room in order to allow a breeze into the ward. At the same time her supervisor attended to the patient on the other side of the privacy curtain near the doorway.
As soon as the nurse parted the drapes she was suddenly startled by a dazzling light, but once her eyes adjusted to the shine she spied something that would eternally adjust her perception of reality. Kendall described what she saw illuminating the hospital that early morn:
“Just as I pulled the drapes a brilliant light hit me in the eyes. It was still dark outside, but about 60-feet away, right above the children’s ward to my left, there was this object so big and bright I could see everything clearly.”
Kendall would go on to describe the unusual hovering object itself, which she claimed was slightly above her and approximately the width of five or six windows in the nearby children’s ward. This speculative measurement would put the diameter of his “Saturn-shaped” disc at about 50-feet. Kendall gave a detailed description of the vehicle:
“The object was circular and had what I guess you would call a top and bottom. The bottom was silvery, like metal, and was shaped like a bowl. There was a string of bright lights around it like a necklace. The top was a dome made of something like glass. It was lit up from inside and I could see right into it.”
One of the “men” seemed to be positioned behind the other and appeared to be a little smaller than the closer one — although that might have been an issue of perspective. Both of these beings were, according to Kendall, facing to her right, looking away from the hospital. Kendall described the head gear clad, veiled, 6-foot tall humanoids in her own words:
“They looked like fine, tall, well-built men. They were dressed in tight-fitting suits of the same material that covered their heads but their hands were bare and I noticed how human they looked. Their flesh seemed just like ours.”
At this point Kendall observed that the odd craft was “tilting” toward her. As it leaned forward she spied two, knee-high, stool-like protrusions behind the entities and she also noticed what she described as an “instrument panel,” which looked as if it were made from a chrome-like metallic substance. The panel, which consumed almost half of the space inside the UFO and loomed up practically to the peak of the dome, was filled with small (presumably navigational) “circles” or dials of various sizes, all of which appeared to be illuminated from below.
Even more intriguingly, the larger being standing closest to the front of the transparent bubble seemed to have his attention consumed by the devices before him, forcing the nurse to speculate that they might be experiencing some kind of engine difficulty. Kendall would later ruminate that the reason she was so enthralled by this allegedly extraterrestrial technology was due to the fact that she came from a long line of racing-car aficionados and that she was always interested in automotive and other mechanical devices. According to Kendall:
“The man in front was staring at the panel as if something very important was going on, and I wondered if they might have had mechanical trouble. I even thought they might have landed on the roof of the hospital and then had trouble taking off… Maybe because I’m so mechanically minded, but I suspect they were having mechanical trouble and had stopped to make repairs.”
Interestingly, as this middle-aged nurse stood enthralled by this strange vessel floating before her, she would later claim that she had no sense of “fear” during her unusual encounter, only one of curiosity and calmness:
“I never felt so peaceful in all my life. I wish I could have talked to them… I was completely oblivious to anything else and felt no fear. In fact I would have loved to have gone for a ride and, if the men had spoken to me, I would have answered quite naturally.”
As if on cue — or perhaps by psychic connection — the smaller entity raised its head and slowly turned towards Kendall. Although his face was concealed, she felt as if this being were staring directly at her. Kendall described this harrowing interlude:
“He seemed to look right at me but I couldn’t see his face. It was covered by a darkish material that looked softer than the rest of his suit. I’m sure he saw me because then he touched the other man on the back… He was wearing a darkish fabric, similar to his uniform and headgear, which obscured his facial features.”
Once Kendall’s presence had been brought to the larger alien’s attention, he began engaging in what seemed to be evasive maneuvers. The entity reached down and grabbed what Kendall described as a “lever” with a ball on the top — which she would later compare to the “joy stick” of an airplane — that stuck out of the floor of the craft. Kendall described what she speculated to be the ufonauts effort to beat a hasty retreat:
“When he did this, the man in front reached down and took hold of something like a lever beside him. I’ll never forget how deliberately he did it. He pushed it back and forth and the saucer, or whatever you’d call it, started to circle slowly, still close to the building, in an anti-clockwise direction.”
Kendall was so captivated by what she was seeing that she momentarily forgot about Wilson, who was still standing behind her. She was also afraid that these evidently shy creatures might hasten their departure even more if she made so much as a sound. It was then that Kendall silently waved her superior over to catch a glimpse of this astonishing vehicle, and its’ ostensibly unearthly occupants, before they disappeared:
“Then when I did think of it, I guess I hesitated. I felt I mustn’t make a noise or do anything that would break the trend of what was happening… I was so taken with the flying saucer that I didn’t call anyone. I felt mummified and fascinated and stood there for about five minutes watching before I called another nurse, Mrs. Freda Wilson. When it started to pull away, I realized no one would believe me and I ran and called Mrs. Wilson to come and look. She asked ‘what on earth it that?’ and I said ‘It’s a flying saucer.’”
Wilson later described the same event from her perspective:
“I noticed Miss Kendall standing at the window and wondered what she was looking at. In fact, I was just going to see when she beckoned to me, and then I saw this great big light over the patio outside the children’s ward. I’d say it was quite a bit larger than a car. It looked circular in shape and the far side seemed to be higher than the side near us. It was moving around slowly and then it started to move away. I didn’t really see any top or bottom to it. It was all just tremendously bright.”
At this point Kendall and Wilson sprinted down to the Nurse’s Station to corral their fellow nurses. Two of their understandably skeptical cohorts — Mrs. Appleby and Mrs. Clarkson — quickly followed them back into the room. The quartet of nurses rushed to the window, but by this point the hovering vehicle had moved far enough away from the hospital so that the allegedly extraterrestrial pilots were no longer visible, but the abnormal, self-illuminated object was still in plain sight.
Wilson confirmed Kendall’s assertion that the UFO was over five window panes in length and added that she saw a “red light” at the base. All of the nurses agreed that the spinning ship was completely silent.
The nurses watched as the disc-shaped craft slowly drifted off on a southeasterly course, disappearing behind the grove of trees bordering the facility just as two additional nurses arrived, missing the entire show. At this point one of the nurses — whose identity is surprisingly difficult to discern considering how well documented this case is — raced down the corridor and into a lavatory on the other side of the building and watched as the UFO rotated five times, then shot off “like a streak,”
As mind boggling as it is to have so many medical professionals observe an estimated 50-foot flying saucer gyrating over a hospital, there are some UFO skeptics who have pondered as to why Wilson (who was the second witness on the scene) did not also see the humanoids in the craft, and whether or not this is indicative of some sort of disingenuousness in Kendall’s account.
This seems ludicrous considering that there were three additional witnesses who were present to confirm the reality of the flying saucer whizzing around the hospital. Kendall, however, dismissed the skeptics’ doubts as a simple matter of timing:
“I think Mrs. Wilson must have come just a bit too late. After the thing circled four or five times, it started going away, farther along by the roof of the children’s ward, and I couldn’t see inside it either.”
Other researchers have pointed out that in the vast amount of “in flight” flying saucer sightings a large percentage of them seem to indicate that stationary — or hovering — UFOS seem to emit considerably less light than those in flight. Kendall was the only one of the four eyewitnesses to see the object before it began its revolutions. So, if the aforementioned hypothesis is true, then the excess illumination given off by the spinning disc might have obscured the pilots by the time Wilson and the others got to the window. This, of course, is pure speculation.
The Monday following this strange sighting, Kendall claimed that the experience had left her with no anxiety at all, just the same placid feeling she had felt during the encounter. She was also unruffled by what she knew would be the inevitable scoffing that would come from local skeptics and claimed that this event had only cemented her previously held belief in the existence UFOs:
“The reason I was so terrifically interested was because I always believed there were unidentified flying objects, but now I am absolutely convinced.”
Wilson, however, did not share Kendall’s belief in UFOs nor her easy going demeanor in the face of these unknown visitors. When she saw the abnormal aircraft all that rippled through her was sense of alarm and fear. It’s interesting to note the different interpretations that these women had to the same event.
Some researchers have theorized that Kendall’s relaxed demeanor in the face of such a fantastic encounter was due to the fact that she was overcome by some kind of hypnotic “wave” emanating from the ship that gave her a mild euphoric buzz which she described as a “tingling” sensation. Others hypothesize that it was the inherently “peaceful manner” of the two, masked ufonauts, along with her willingness to accept that alien life forms from out of this world might exist, that dissipated the apprehension that many feel Kendall ought to have experienced.
Kendall, wanting there to be an official record of this incredible incident, decided to record it in the hospital’s working schedule. This is the entry she jotted down following the event:
“At 5 a.m. I saw a flying saucer as low as the third floor of the hospital when I pulled the curtains. There were two men or figures in the dome flying towards Victoria. The bottom of the saucer was brilliantly lit and also the dome — New Year’s morning.”
A later reconstruction of proceedings would reveal that Kendall — who admitted to having a poor sense of direction — was mistaken when she suggested that the UFO had flown toward Victoria in her memo.
This, according to researchers, implied that the flying saucer headed south, when later sightings would confirm that it actually traveled in a northeasterly direction. Although it might just as easily have changed direction when it disappeared from the nurses’ view.
Despite Kendall’s poor directional judgment, she knew what she had seen was real and in the weeks following this odd episode she found that she had been profoundly affected by her encounter with these allegedly alien beings. Kendall explained how her visiting brother and co-workers noticed a difference in her behavior in the days following the incident:
“For at least a week after that I didn’t feel quite like my usual self. I think that normally I am an outgoing sort of person, but now I felt very subdued and some of the other nurses said I seemed preoccupied.”
Soon after, Kendall regained her composure, and hospital routines were quickly reestablished, but this would not be the last run-in that the good citizens of the Vancouver Island region would have with allegedly alien beings that wintery day.
CONFIRMATION AND CONTEXT:
As if the word of four professional caregivers would not be substantial enough to warrant serious debate for this case as being one of the most significant close encounters of the 20th Century, there would be other, completely unrelated, eyewitnesses that would seem to corroborate the fact that there was an anomalous object soaring in the skies above Vancouver island on January 1, 1970.
Before we delve any deeper, I think it warrants noting that these events happened over 40-years ago, long before the genesis of the current information age in which we are all entrenched. While word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective means of communication, it is by no means the swiftest and in the days before cell phones and the world wide web, information moved at a snail’s pace when compared to today.
So, as surprising as it may seem to us citizens of the 21st Century, news of this astonishing UFO encounter did not “officially” break until the following week, when the story was published in the Cowichan Herald on January 7, 1970, under the title “Another Saucer Sighted This Time Within 60 feet.” Surely information in the form of rumor and hearsay spread like a virus in an airplane, but most folks in the area wouldn’t even have their first inkling of these events for days. This fact would seem to make the plethora of eyewitnesses who came forward over the course of that eerie New Year’s Day all the more credible.
THE TRUCKER, HIS WIFE AND THE UFO
The first set of eyewitnesses to come forward before the tale of the nurses and the ufonauts hit the presses was a truck driver and his wife who were driving home following a rowdy New Years Eve celebration.
The husband — whose name is evidently in the official report on this case, but not on the public record — admitted to having had a few drinks at the party, but insisted that the experience he and his wife had with the UFO left him “cold sober.” He also felt the incident was of such significance that he was willing to reveal his illegal driving condition to researchers, which would seem to indicate just how sincere his testimony was.
According to their account, the married couple was driving home at approximately 5:00 am., which means that — assuming that we’re dealing with the same potentially interstellar device — their sighting occurred either directly before or directly after the encounter reported by the Nurses of the CDH. The trucker insisted that he and his wife had seen a brilliant white light, which he described as being “as big as a house” hovering just above their home. The eyewitnesses further elaborated that the object was ovoid and emitted multiple shafts of light, which pointed downward, uniting into a single shaft.
The couple later claimed that this convex shape made the UFO look like a child’s spinning top. The pair stared at this anomalous object for just a few moments before it abruptly soared skyward and disappeared from view. While conceding to being slightly buzzed, he emphasized the veracity of his and his wife’s account:
“I may have had a few drinks, but I know perfectly well that had nothing to do with what I saw, and my wife saw it, too.”
THE SCHOOL CREW SPIES A FLYING HULA HOOP
At this point the chronology of events gets a bit garbled, but when rifling through the accounts, it seems that this next alleged sighting occurred later that same morning, when a grade school aide named Edith Beiling — along with another aide, two students, a teacher and the school secretary — claimed to have seen an unusual airborne object above the Alexander Elementary School, where they all worked.
The group first saw the silently spinning, apparently ring-shaped UFO through the window of the grammar School. According to Beiling:
“We saw it through a window from inside the school at first, then we rushed outside to get a better look. We were all pretty excited, and I think there was one who was even quite frightened. I felt like ringing the school bell but decided I had better not… The ring definitely looked as if it was made of some solid substance. It was like a very large heavy hula hoop and the material looked like thick rolled-up plastic. It seemed to change in size slightly, perhaps because it was moving up and down, and we didn’t have any real idea what size it was but I’d say a large plane could have fitted into it about fifteen times.”
While Beiling was convinced that the object was “hula hoop” shaped, she did concede that it was an overcast day and it was therefore difficult to discern with complete assuredness if the gray center of the ship was a dull metal or merely the clouds poking through.
Regardless of whether or not the craft was ring-shaped — which may have been an illusion caused by the speedily spinning craft — the eyewitnesses all agreed that they were looking at a solid object and not some kind of cloud formation.
The sighting lasted approximately 3-minutes before the object disappeared from view. The rest of that New Year’s Day would prove to be a less eventful… that is, until the sun went down. That would be when one of the most noteworthy sightings in this shocking UFO flap would occur.
THE DRUMMOND ENCOUNTER
Established in 1860, and located approximately 10-miles away from the CDH, the quaint village of Mill Bay is nestled on the southeast shore of Vancouver Island and would serve as the site of what many believe to be the second most significant — and, in many ways, most alarming — encounter in this wave of anomalous airborne objects.
A 22 year-old nautical pilot and shipwright by the name of Jim Drummond had used his boat building expertise to convert an aged tugboat into a comfortable home, which he shared with his 18 year-old bride Dianne and their son. The boat was moored to a jetty adjacent to the home of Jim’s mother, Bea Drummond, whose house rested right on the shoreline of Mill Bay.
Bea would be the first to bear witness to this extraordinary, floating object when, at about 7 pm., when she walked out her back door to call in her son and his family in for New Year’s dinner. She described the beginning of this unusual event, which would prove to be every bit as bizarre as the nurses’ encounter from earlier that day:
“It was about seven o’clock and Jim and Dianna were still on the boat, anchored close to shore, when I went outside to call them in to dinner. Then I noticed a light in the sky moving over the bay. I couldn’t tell how big it was, it was so bright, and it had a yellow-orangey glow like sunlight. I got so excited I yelled to my son to look.”
Jim heard his mother’s excited screams and looked skyward. His eyes immediately registered the uncharacteristic object and he wasted no time in retrieving both his telescope and his camera from within the cabin.
He would later tell investigators that in the course of his job as a ship’s pilot he was accustomed to calculating the bearings of far-off objects, which is why he had confidence in the estimations he made regarding the strange flying object that evening. According to Jim:
“I looked up and saw this light coming in from the north, just about in line with our boat. It was skimming right under the overcast, which was about 900-feet. I ran into the cabin and grabbed my telescope and camera, and my wife came out with me to look. We were really excited.”
Sadly — though just as likely accurately — Jim surmised that the unconventional vessel would just look like a smudge of light against a sea of blackness, so he set down his the camera and began scrutinizing the UFO through his telescope. Jim described what he saw that chilly eve:
“It was sort of egg-shaped, in a vertical position, but the top and bottom were indistinct. It seemed to be transparent on top, and inside it I thought I could see a set of lights but I couldn’t really make out any details.”
With the exception of the “necklace” of lights, Jim’s description seems uncannily similar to the nurses. Bea, the justifiably concerned matriarch of the family, frantically urged her son to get his family off the boat and into the relative safety of her house.
Hoping to facilitate their passage over the dark pier, she flicked on the flood light attached to the back porch, filling the yard with light. This would appear to illicit an unexpected response from the UFO.
Without warning, the radiant, amber-ish object plummeted nearly 300-feet and began hovering between the house and the tugboat — effectively cutting off the younger Drummonds’ passage to the shore — but before either party could react, an even more alarming (and, according to the laws of physics, seemingly impossible) incident transpired. In Jim’s own words:
“Just at that point something came out of that thing, which by then had slowed down almost to a stop. It was a ray of light like a very thin neon tube, and it was in pieces, something like the dots and dashes of morse code. It came down in a curve and then it flashed right out, all of it at the same time. My hair just stood up on end. I couldn’t imagine anything like it.”
Just when it must have seemed that things were going to go from bad to worse, the object suddenly shot back up to its previous altitude, then soared southward and out of sight. On shore, Bea tried to follow the UFOs trajectory by dashing around her home, but to no avail. According to her account:
“I ran out to the other side of my house but I couldn’t see over the trees. I tried to phone some of the neighbors but I couldn’t get through on the party line.”
Jim continued to watch the vehicle’s departure through his telescope, marveling at the curious structure. Later he would testify that he was positive that it was not a conventional aircraft due to its irregular shape and lack of colored navigational lights or any sound . According to Jim:
“It was brighter in the middle and I could see four distinct lights of the same color that looked like tips of candles only a bit bigger. I have never heard of anything that could maneuver that slow and fast without making some sort of noise.”
When the nurses’ account was printed in the Cowichan Leader the next week it was accompanied by a smaller article simply titled “Second Sighting.” Nevertheless, according to Bea’s daughter — and Jim’s sister — Fran Drummond, her mother was reticent to even speak of the event up until her death in 2007, for fear of being labeled as a “nut.”
Sadly, such is the curse that befalls far too many who bear witness to a fascinating, yet — at least by current scientific standards — unclassifiable event and have the courage to speak out about it. One can’t help but to wonder how many other potential witnesses to these (and similar) events remained tragically silent for just that very reason.
JUDGE HALLET AND SEES A GLOWING EGG
Judge George Hallett and his wife were entertaining three guests at a celebratory New Year’s dinner, which they were hosting at their Mill Bay home at the same time that the Drummonds were temporarily severed from Bea’s home by a glowing egg-shaped device. With their home being located directly behind Bea Drummond’s house, the Halletts and company were in a unique position to confirm their UFO account… and that’s exactly what they did.
According to Canadian private investigator, Leanne Jones, who reconstructed the case in 2008, the Halletts’ sighting directly followed the Drummonds’ run-in. The guests at the dinner party all claimed that they watched as a massive orange light passed leisurely along the water’s edge opposite the Halletts’ home. According to Judge Hallet:
“This was no ordinary aircraft, and it was no plastic-bag trick either. It was making no sound that we could detect, it was moving very slowly and it was enormous. I’m quite sure no one could play a trick with such a large apparatus without being spotted. We watched it for about five minutes until it seemed to disappear into the clouds.”
THE DEER LODGE SIGHTINGS
Just moment following both the Hallett and Drummond sightings, the ubiquitous UFO made its presence known yet again on Mill Bay. This time the glowing object appeared to the attendees of yet another dinner party, which was being hosted by Arthur Gillam and his wife at the Deer Lodge restaurant just off the Island highway, south of Mill Bay.
While this sighting occurred at a greater distance than either the Drummonds’ or Halletts’ sightings, all of the observers in attendance agreed that they saw a colossal, glowing sphere cruising over the Saanich Peninsula, about 10-miles to the east. According to Arthur Gillam:
“All we could see was a large ball of light moving quite slowly, much slower than an airplane. It must have been very bright for us to see it from that distance. I don’t think a helicopter would have been that bright.”
While in and of itself this long distance sighting is nothing to get worked up about, taken in conjunction with the Drummonds’ frightening run-in and Judge Hallett and his cohorts observations, it serves to further cement the fact that there was a genuinely anomalous aircraft soaring over Mill Bay that New Year’s Day eve. And while there’s no proof that these events are even remotely related to the CDH incident of that morning, the circumstantial evidence seems too obvious to ignore.
There can be little doubt that January 1, 1970, was a seminal day in the history of North American UFO encounters, but — according to various eyewitness and newspaper reports — the residents of Vancouver Island had been plagued by strange nighttime visitors for years previous to the events in question.
THE MAYOR, THE DOE AND THE UFO
Perhaps the most auspicious eyewitness to these incidents was the then mayor of Duncan — the city within which the CDH is nestled — Jim Quaife. Quaife claimed that in late 1964, he was relaxing in his home when he heard what he described as a roaring turbine-like sound.
They mayor leapt to his feet, yanked back the curtain and looked out the window. What he saw would be something he would never forget. Quaife asserted that his entire backyard was bathed in brilliant white light, which emanated from an unknown source above. He later stated that his eye had been caught by a doe frozen like a proverbial “deer in headlights” in his orchard.
The Mayor wasted no time in grabbing his rifle and charging outside. The moment he stepped out his door the light disappeared, enabling him to see a large, non-aerodynamic craft, which soundlessly sped off at a tremendous rate of speed. This would not be Quaife’s final encounter with a bizarre, airborne visitor.
On January 13th, 1970, the Mayor arrived home after a city council meeting to find his neighbor staring skyward at a bulky, unknown craft that hovered above a nearby power plant pulsating with a purple radiance. Quaife rushed into the house to fetch his binoculars and his wife. The trio watched this strange pulsing object perform ostensibly impossible aerial maneuvers — including abrupt reversals of direction and dead stops — for at least 10-minutes, until the vessel soared off at breakneck speed toward Mt. Provost, then cut at a 90-degree angle and shot straight up.
According to the Mayor, the following day an article was published in the “Times Colonist” regarding an amateur astronomer and UFO buff by the name of Vernon Stanley-Jones, who had constructed his own observation tower on Richard’s Trail road in Duncan. Stanley-Jones not only claimed to have spied the UFO, but he also had a theory regarding its agenda… a theory which was shared by the Mayor himself.
BEEPERS AND THE ENERGY PIRATES
Vernon Stanley-Jones had erected his observation tower near his home on Vancouver Island, not far from CDH, where Nurse Kendall and her cohorts claimed to have seen the spinning saucer. He was fascinated by the mysteries of the cosmos and even more intrigued by the allegedly unearthly visitors that had made their presence so obvious in his hometown.
With that in mind, Stanley-Jones was exceedingly diligent in collecting evidence regarding the rash of UFO sightings taking place in the region, but it wouldn’t be until five days after the initial flap that he would have a close encounter of his own, though it was not the first time that he claimed to have seen a UFO.
The event in question occurred on Lakes Road on the evening of January 6, 1970, when he and his wife spied a massive, orange, disc-shaped object flying slowly over Lakes Road hill at approximately 11:00 pm. Stanley-Jones pulled over to the side of the road and killed his headlights, while he and his wife watched this amazing aircraft float between 500 and 1,000-feet of the ground for about 8-minutes.
At some point during this sighting, the couple — and other unnamed eyewitnesses — stated that the UFO emitted a series of “fireballs” as it made its way northward. While these witnesses described “fireballs,” one can’t help but to wonder if these fireballs might be a long distance interpretation of the strange Morse code-like series of illuminated dashes that Jim Drummond claimed to have seen through his telescope. Either way, Stanley-Jones — who described the craft as the biggest thing he’d ever seen — described their sighting:
“When it reached the bottom of the hill, it paused briefly and then turned right and flew over Duncan. When it was over the center of Duncan it stopped again and we watched it just hanging there for awhile and then it moved off due west more rapidly.”
As the vehicle sped out of sight, the couple raced to a nearby friend’s home and borrowed a pair of binoculars. Sadly they were only able to reacquire the oddly moving object for a few moments before it disappeared for good. Stanley-Jones then speculated if this might herald the return of a phenomenon that folks had dubbed the “beepers.”
He later explained to a local reporter, Sharon Currie, that two years previous individuals from the Cowichan region claimed to have heard weird, electronic “beeping sounds, but couldn’t see anything.” He also asserted that it similar sounds had been picked up on an 80-meter band by a ham radio operator, but offered no explanation of their origins. Stanley-Jones story, which was published on January 14, 1970, was titled “Local Witnesses Claim U.F.O.’s Eject Fireballs.” He is an excerpt from her “Fireballs” story:
“Fire-balls ejected from an UFO hovering over Maple Bay and Crofton area last week could mark the return of “the beepers.” Vern Stanley-Jones, President of the Cowichan-Chemainus UFO Club, advocated. Stanley-Jones considered an expert on UFOs for more than a decade, mooted such a possibility after he, his wife and several other people in the area witnessed a large bright, yellow-orange craft cruising over the area Tuesday January 6th 1970.”
As if enigmatic “beepers” were not enough, according to investigator Leanne Jones, the area where the couple saw the UFO on Lake Road was less than 2-miles from the giant power grid mentioned by Quaife in his account. Based on this correlation, both Stanley-Jones and the Mayor proposed that this luminescent craft was in all probability making “fuel stops” and “sucking up energy” from the grid.
Just about any UFO enthusiast is familiar with the hypothesis that extraterrestrials (or extra-dimensionals) are visiting Earth for the purpose of exploiting our raw materials, be they water, gold or electricity. Bearing that in mind, one can understand how Quaife and Stanley-Jones might have come to this conclusion. According to Quaife:
“Actually I didn’t talk with Vern until after I spotted his report about the event in the Times Colonist a day or so later. When I called and advised him that I thought the craft was over his neck of the woods he stated that he thought it was over Duncan. At this point I suggested that it was neither, it had to be somewhere in-between which would have placed it over or near, the AC/DC substation on the Island Highway, I then suggested that the craft may have been “refueling” by tapping into the energy field of the substation. Vernon immediately questioned why I thought they needed to draw on electric energy and I related the story of my first incident on Riverside Road a few years earlier, that I distinctly heard a “turbine like” sound. He then agreed, saying that they have to refuel somewhere, and maybe that is how and where!”
It’s a theory that Leanne Jones seems to support:
“Perhaps, ‘Sonoluminescence ’[the emission of short bursts of light from imploding bubbles in a liquid when excited by sound] is the true source of UFO propulsion. Perhaps, we have been too naïve to realized until now that ‘UFO Piracy,’ i.e. the theft of Earth’s energy resources, may be one of the major reasons for UFO activities around Earth, as well as, government secrecy and denial. The possibility that Alien Presence(s) may be leeching electrical and nuclear energy (as well as human DNA and animal biological material) may be one of the most closely guarded secrets of all the world’s governments.”
As intriguing (and potentially terrifying) as this theory is, in my opinion there simply isn’t enough supporting evidence in this case to warrant this conclusion, but who really knows?
ONE LAST HURRAH!
In February of 1970, about month after all of the hubbub seemed to have fizzled, a farmer by the name of John Vanderhoek reported to authorities that motorists were congregating in front of his property near Vancouver Island highway in order to catch a glimpse of a “red thing in the air.” Vanderhoek claimed that the object — which was white on the top and red on the bottom — was ascending and descending, all the while varying in intensity.
As Vanderhoek made the report on the phone he watched as the lights receded into the west, finally disappearing into the mountains. The farmer and the other observers swore that there was no wind that evening and they had no doubt that the object was intelligently controlled. UFO sightings have continued in the area sporadically since then, with a report being filed as recently as July 3, 2010.
PROJECT BLUE BOOK AND THE NOT QUITE MEN IN BLACK
In the days that followed the sighting Jim Drummond claimed that he was visited by a United States Air Force officer who hailed from Nevada. The military man claimed to be a representative of “Project Blue Book.” Project Blue Book was America’s only official investigative organization supposedly dedicated to uncovering the “truth” about the UFO mystery.
Intriguingly, Project Blue Book had been disbanded just weeks before in December of 1969, following the release of the notoriously slanted Condon Committee Report, which was the unofficial title of the University of Colorado UFO Project. This assemblage was funded by the USAF to study unidentified flying objects under the direction of physicist Edward Condon from 1966 to 1968.
What was supposed to be a reasonable assessment of the UFO phenomenon, was (according to many researchers and numerous inside reports — including a documented memo from one of the men in charge) nothing but a hack job with the preordained outcome of delegitimizing the entire field of study and thus reducing public panic — and therefore interest — in UFOs. Nevertheless, the media celebrated the results of this pseudo scientific report and, whether individual reporters realize it or not, western societies in general, and the press in particular, have based their ridicule of this genuine phenomenon on the presumed authenticity of the Condon Report — as well as other misleading campaigns inspired by the Robertson Panel — ever since… but I digress.
To this day there continues to be heated debate regarding the scientific integrity of the Project Blue Book; with many suggesting that it was a poorly staffed, incompetently led organization that existed as a catch all for “crackpots” who were haranguing the Air Force, and whose primary function, much like the Condon Report, was to debunk reports, be they “legitimate” or not.
Nevertheless, in the early days of 1970, members were still “unofficially” investigating accounts, which may well make the Vancouver Island incidents the last UFO reports to be examined by the team. That having been noted, there are some researchers who speculate that the military officer who questioned Jim Drummond was actually amongst the first wave of post-Blue Book investigators, who would continue the project’s work in a more confidential fashion.
There is also the very real possibility — according to Leanne Jones — that Jim Drummond’s “USAF military man” was using Project Blue Book as a cover for another, more clandestine, organization. Jones speculated that this mystery man was not CIA or NSA, but most likely a representative of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which was instituting another UFO investigation project, under an as yet unknown code name. This seems reasonable considering the fact that there’s not a single government of Earth that does not take seriously the potential threat that might come from hyper-technological aircraft that can invade their airspace undetected and at will, whatever their intentions may be.
Regardless of the origins of this mysterious Air Force officer, I can find not reports of either Drummond or any other witnesses who claimed to have been followed, threatened or in any way harassed by prototypical MIB characters.
So what to make of these incredible UFO sightings? There can be little debate that this is one of the most remarkable UFO/humanoid cases in modern history. First off, it offers up an amazing amount of corroborating evidence. Not only that, it also proffers some of the most outstanding eyewitnesses ever assembled — running the gamut from a cadre of health care professionals to a ship’s pilot to Educators and administrators to a judge to a mayor and many other respected citizens.
It’s an impressive array to say the least. In fact, if the aforementioned witnesses had claimed to observe some sort of crime rather than a UFO, then just about any jury would deliberate for mere moments before moving to convict. Even more telling is the fact that the folks involved in these cases have all stuck by their stories for over 40-years — or, at least, the duration of their lives — and none of them have made any overt efforts to exploit their experiences. Perhaps Jones put it most succinctly:
“A significant factor of this sighting is that none of the witnesses made any effort to publicize it, yet at the same time made no pretense of being secretive.”
In terms of Wilson and Kendall — who bore witness to what was arguably the most unbelievable element of the case, the humanoids — I believe that the investigators, who published the details of the case in the summer of 1970 edition of the Canadian UFO Report Vol. 1 No. 7, described their credentials as professional caregivers and as witnesses perfectly:
“Miss Doreen Kendall, a practical nurse, and Mrs. Frieda Wilson, a registered nurse, are employed together on the night shift in the extended-care ward for elderly patients at the Cowichan District Hospital at Duncan on Vancouver Island. Theirs is a position that requires a special degree of tact, maturity and gentleness of manner for it is at night that their patients, often unable to sleep, have long lonely hours in which to contemplate the little that remains for them in life. A word or gesture of comfort from the nurses on duty is all they have in their fading world until the routine of morning helps them into another day. It is immediately apparent on meeting them that Miss Kendall and Mrs. Wilson, both in late middle-age, were assigned to their particular work with these qualifications in mind. In addition to what training obviously has given them, they have an inborn quality that invites trust, and it was no surprise, after we interviewed them, that friends and former patients of each told us they would accept their word under any circumstance. Coming from several who had doubted the existence of UFOs, this was a significant tribute in light of what the two nurses (with partial confirmation by two others who arrived seconds later) said they observed outside the hospital just as 1970 was dawning on the Pacific Coast.”
As in many such media hyped flaps, there were a few hoaxers making false reports over the following months and even one case of a fake UFO being released by what many have chalked up to school kids, drunks or both. Jim Drummond actually saw this “copycat” UFO a few days after his initial sighting and had this to say about it:
“The second one wasn’t the same thing at all. You could see it was a kids’ job, not a fraction as bright, and it was just bobbing around without really going anywhere.”
Nevertheless, it should come as no surprise that professional “debunkers” have used this incident to dismiss the entire flap. Former UFO skeptic and eyewitness, Nurse Wilson, completely dismissed the idea that what she, Kendall and the other nurses saw was some kind of hoax:
”Some people say we were looking at a plastic bag with candles in it, put there as a joke. But it would take a million candles to make it as bright as that.”
Sadly many of the eyewitnesses involved with this case are no longer with us, but their accounts remain as a testament to one of the most enigmatic and intriguing close encounters of all time… and it’s worth noting that when the CDH redid the facade of the hospital following the 1970 sighting, they emblazoned it with a huge, circular, star-burst. While I’ll be the first to admit that it was likely nothing more than an aesthetic decision, part of me can’t help but wonder if someone is subtlety trying to entice these ostensibly alien visitors to return.