Shag Harbour Incident continues to fascinate small N.S. fishing village
The Shag Harbour incident continues to fascinate witnesses, UFO hunters, conspiracy theorists and anyone who loves a good mystery.
Exactly 52 years after an unidentified flying object crashed into the ocean nearby, the small, but infamous Nova Scotia fishing village is still trying to explain what happened.
Taking place off the coast of Shag Harbour in 1967, the event remains in the memories of witnesses. Resident and eyewitness Laurie Wickens was a teenager at the time and has vivid recollections of the mysterious October night.
“We see four lights in the sky and over the land here,” says Wickens. “We thought it was a plane and never paid no attention – more or less just watching lights go on and off.”
Wickens and his pals continued to follow the UFO and its bright lights – and they weren’t the only ones. Other residents, including an off-duty police officer, watched an object with orange-yellow lights go off and on in a sequence.
“It went across the road in front of us, behind the hill – we couldn’t see it. We made it to the top of the hill,” says Wickens. “There was a light in the water. We went to the phone booth, called the RCMP and reported a plane crash.”
Wickens says the bright object appeared to be floating one-half mile from the shore, leaving a trail of yellow foam that folks watched for nearly an hour before it disappeared. The Canadian Coast Guard and fishing vessels sailed to the area to search for wreckage, but nothing was found.
“Got no idea what it is,” says Wickens. “All I know is we seen something.”
The incident, referred to as an unidentified flying object by the federal government, sparked a slew of reports, articles and conspiracy theories over the years. So much interest remains for the case that the Royal Canadian Mint released a coin commemorating the Shag Harbour UFO Incident – quickly selling out online.
“The credibility of the witnesses is just amazing for this,” says Royal Canadian Mint project manager, Christa Bruce. “We have witnesses from the military; we have pilots who were witnesses to this event, local RCMP officers and residents like Laurie and his friends – so it was a great story to tell.”
In memory of the incident, the town plays host to the annual Shag Harbour UFO Festival – bringing in thousands of visitors to the UFO museum every year.
And many locals have a personal connection, including Leonard Nickerson, whose mother went into labour with him on the night of the incident.
“They tease me that I’m not from this planet,” says Nickerson.
As the stories and theories continue to pile up, Wickens doesn’t know if he’ll ever find out what happened, but he’s confident someone knows the truth.
“I don’t think it’s a UFO,” says Wickens. “But whatever it is, the government knows, and they just ain’t telling us.”
The annual Shag Harbour UFO Festival took place from Friday to Sunday.