UFO sighting – and that’s the truth…

Yes, its true, my father the late artist Bernard Safran drew a UFO in color on fine grey drawing paper in 1974 for the RCMP investigators who came to visit. They came because our little family all witnessed a UFO at our isolated farmhouse in New Brunswick, Canada. But we weren’t alone – many many people saw it that night too.

red house dusk147

Our house and barns in Jolicure – behind the house and down the hill was Long Lake. The house was alone on the rise, surrounded by open fields and then miles of forest in all directions.

It was probably February or early March the first night I saw it – I remember that my mother was able to drive to “Club” (the local quilting club) by herself because the dirt road was still passable, and I was busy at the kitchen table doing geography homework. My father was upstairs and I don’t remember where my sister was – probably at University.

encyclopedia britannica set

Our Britannica set.

I had the giant Atlas from our giant Encyclopedia Britannica set open on the kitchen table to one of the maps for industry in Canada – you know the kind that show little pigs for pig farming, trees for timber, oil rigs for oil drilling… I had to draw the same kind of thing for one of the Provinces for grade 8 Social Studies.

It was a year after we’d moved to Jolicure; a year in which we’d grown accustomed to the enormous night sky including the plane routes overhead, the rare satellite arcing above, the northern lights, and the constellations and planets that my mother and I regularly looked at with our star chart and flashlight.

We knew how to find the Andromeda galaxy and star clusters and recognized falling stars. In other words we knew our night sky like the back of our hands. And we knew the night sounds around our house that came from the forest and the lake and fields.

From our house there was only one barn light visible across the ridge in the opposite direction from the lake, in the direction of the Trans Canada Highway – several miles of forest away. It was very isolated there.

house and barns small image

The barns were clustered around an open barnyard next to the house. You can see the cupola of the long hay barn clearly in the middle of the roof line – it was above the cupola where I saw the bright light that first night.

Anyway, I was working away at my project when I suddenly looked up out the kitchen window to my left and saw a huge bright light hanging just above the long hay barn next to the house.

At first my mind didn’t understand what was going on – I’d never seen anything like it over the barn or in the sky before, and as I watched it it turned from an orange-red to white. I ran to the hall of the house and called my father to come down to see the strange light – he came running – but when we got back to the kitchen the light was gone.

The next night my sister was at home – and she and I had gone to bed. My parents were watching the night time news. Their bedroom window looked out over the black night scene of the sky and the forest and lake. A report came on about a UFO sighting in the area and as the report was being read my father, lying on his bed, looked out the window and saw a mysterious light rise up out of the forest behind the lake and travel across the lake toward our house. My mother and father woke us up and ran downstairs to the kitchen and our always handy binoculars were already being used when I got down there.

moon over barn jolicure oil sketch617

Looking out towards the huge, long field where we watched the UFO – this photo was taken from our backyard – the back of the long hay barn is visible on the left. The lake was down the hill to the right.

Out the window in the field beyond the barnyard was a mysterious glowing object moving quietly around the giant field. It wasn’t marsh gas – let me get that straight, and it wasn’t ball lightning – it was a conscious object moving consciously – up a little, then over a little and then down a bit and then up again and over, and so on – moving in a way that indicated it wasn’t being moved by the air or by nature but by some intelligence inside. I was the last to get a look at it through the binoculars as it was moving away. My father had the most time to observe it. That’s why he could draw it.

The next day everyone was abuzz. The RCMP had chased a bright object across the long flat highway of the Tantramar Marsh that night and clocked it at a high speed but never caught up with it. People in Sackville and all over the area saw it – my sister’s friend at Mount Allison saw it out her dorm window as it made its way across the Marsh.

The next three nights we witnessed tall columns of light rising out of the black forest behind our lake – they looked like those giant klieg lights they use for Hollywood openings.  One or two straight columns of white light rising up into the western night sky. It was a bright blueish white light – crisply defined against the black sky – not at all like the northern lights that sometimes rose up into the night in the north.

ufo kang and kodos

Was it Kang and Kodos visiting us in their UFO? From the Simpsons.

My mother was convinced that we were being visited by peaceful beings – so why don’t we go and find them in the forest?

…gee, I don’t know… why not?

jolicure close up map

The red dot is approximately where our house was located. You can see that its adjacent to Long Lake and behind the lake is wilderness and more lakes and bog. The entire area pretty much from Sackville (lower left) up through Jolicure is the Tantramar Marsh. The RCMP chased the UFO across Highway 2.

So she and I hiked for miles around our lake and into the marshy scrub that lay behind the tall trees on the far side. It took hours, and when we got there it was desolate wilderness as far as the eye could see and no sign of equipment or light towers or anything that could have made those columns of light. Nor was there any sign of a vehicle driving in – it was boggy and there would have been evidence.

The next day we took our canoe out and went all along the edge of Long Lake looking for anything unusual, but never found anything.

jolicure sunset Long Lake

Looking across the lake to the forest from our backyard.

Soon after farmers started reporting burned rings in their fields. People were asking a lot of questions and were getting worried. And guess what?, there were even several cattle mutilations reported, that the RCMP claimed were due to a pack of wild dogs – really?  wild dogs?

That summer the Air Force were ever present in the sky (and the only summer they spent training there while I lived there). Fast fighter jets flew in formation up and down the marsh basins.

cf18s in formation

Canadian fighter jets in formation (for the purist these are CF18s that Canada started using in 1982 – I couldn’t find a picture of what we saw flying in formation in 1974)

One hot day my mother and our cat and I were out in the vegetable garden in front of the house, and a jet came screaming down low over us and flipped straight up over the roof of our house – all three of us went flat onto the ground in terror… those jets move so fast that they are gone before you can breathe. The pilot must have thought it was sooo funny to do that…

Anyway, that year came and went and I never saw anything like it again in my life. It opened a new fascination for me for science fiction and the X files but like anyone experiencing  paranormal experiences – you don’t talk about them because people think you’re absolutely nuts.

Men in Black - Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith

Thank goodness we have the Men in Black to protect us from bad aliens.

But all four of us saw that thing that night, and the investigators came to our house and were very respectful to my parents and took the drawing that my father had done of the UFO. It was shaped like a squashed disc with lights that rotated around the central edge of the thing.

Lily Tomlin as Edith Anne and Herry Monster

Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann with Herry Monster from Sesame Street. Image from http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Herry_Monster

So before you start telling me why UFO’s can’t possibly exist and I must be making it up or I must have been a victim of mass hysteria… let me just say… (As Lily Tomlin‘s character Edith Ann used to say)  “and that’s the truth” (with a Bronx cheer)