It’s an event that has been debated for almost half a century – did a UFO crash into the waters near Shag Harbour, or was it something else?
Now, it may become more difficult to learn about the decades-old mystery, as a museum dedicated to keeping the story alive is in danger of closing.
It all began on the night of Oct. 4, 1967.
Several witnesses reported seeing a strange object in the sky, which they say then crashed into Woods Harbour.
“We saw a light in the sky…then they’d be on for a second, then they’d all go out, then they’d repeat that sequence,” says Laurie Wickens, who reported the incident to the RCMP.
Searches were conducted, but no aircraft or debris was found, and the Canadian government recognized the incident as an official UFO sighting.
“A lot of people probably didn’t even know where Shag Harbour was,” says Dorothy Nickerson, co-chair of the Shag Harbour Incident Society. “It put Shag Harbour on the map.”
Since then, a tourism industry has grown in the area. Thousands of people flock to Shag Harbour each year to attend the UFO Festival and visit the museum dedicated to the sighting.
The Shag Harbour Incident Society has spent years collecting items for the museum, but now the building is in danger of closing.
“It definitely is a draw for tourism to our area and I don’t think we can afford to lose it,” says Suzy Atwood of Barrington Municipality Tourism.
The Shag Harbour Incident Society says financial difficulties are to blame for the potential closure.
Up until two years ago, the society received government funding to hire an extra student during the summer months. But it no longer receives that grant, and the society says it is difficult to stay open during regular operating hours.
“The museums have always been very successful in getting funding through the provincial and federal government, so it’s very disappointing,” says Atwood.
“Unfortunately, it will have to…go in storage,” says Nickerson of the items in the museum.
While Wickens is convinced what he saw that night was just a plane, and not a UFO, he feels the closure of the museum would be a major loss to the community.
“It’s important to the community and this area of Nova Scotia,” he says. “It brings a lot of tourists in.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Gena Holley