Website Tracks UFO Sightings
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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Website Tracks UFO Sightings
By TARA BRADBURY BENNETT, The Telegram
Flashing lights, globes of colour, hovering objects � Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have witnessed strange things in the skies above the province.
Airplanes? Stars? Possibly. But at least one person believes they could actually be extra-terrestrial objects.
Brian Vike is director of HBCC UFO Research, based out of Houston, B.C. Every year, he receives hundreds of reports of sightings of unidentified flying objects from across the country � some from this province. This year, he expects to receive more than 300 reports in total, and so far four have come from Newfoundland and Labrador.
�The ones I�ve been getting seem to be scattered throughout the province � Goose Bay, Bonavista, St. John�s. They�re really all over the place,� he says.
Vike � who says he started his website, www.hbccufo.com, out of boredom � has had a longtime interest in science and astronomy, stemming from the time when he was a small boy and began watching science-fiction shows on television.
His interest in UFOs began about 20 years ago, when he started researching reported sightings across the country.
In 2000, Vike started up the HBCC UFO Research site to officially accept and record reported sightings. These days, the site gets about two million hits a month.
Vike has been told of cases of UFO sightings in this province that span the last 50 years.
�On the night of April 23, 1999, me and my friend seen a big orange globe over the water in Bonavista. It scared me so much, it was like nothing I ever seen before. I went a bit closer and then it got brighter,� reads one submission on Vike�s website.
�It was an oval disk-like-shaped object that flew through the night sky a lot faster than a plane. The object had up to six blinking lights that flashed in a circular motion,� reads another submission, dated March 25, 2004, from New Wes Valley.
Vike says people reporting UFO sightings generally see the same types of things.
�People see lights flashing in the sky. You get people seeing a kind of circular craft with six lights on it; over Goose Bay there was a pilot who ended up watching a large UFO � it looked like a flying arrow, he says,� he explained.
�You get some triangle sightings and cigar-shaped sightings. There have been some decent reports, but hardly nothing new at all.�
Once Vike receives the reported sightings, he asks permission to post them on his site.
He then goes about doing some research, contacting airports in the area to see what aircraft were in the skies that day, as well as the military, astronomy programs and Environment Canada, to see if the sighting could have been caused by weather-related phenomena.
Most of the reports, he says, can be accounted for.
�I honestly think the majority can be explained,� he said. �What they�re seeing is a lot of times stars. You get a distortion in the air and they appear to move, but they don�t really.
�But there is a small percentage that are definitely unusual, and that�s the hard part.�
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