Did A UFO Cause The New Kimberly School Roof To Collapse?
- Did A UFO Cause The New Kimberly School Roof To Collapse?
By Christine Boyd
East Kootenay Weekly 3-23-99
A diamond-shaped UFO covered with flashing lights may have been responsible
for the collapse of the McKim Theatre roof in Kimberley two weeks ago
(March 5, 1999).
That's the rumour setting the ski town a-buzz after at least five witnesses
reported seeing strange lights drifting slowly above the Bavarian City
around midnight Mar. 5.
Fuelling speculation were reports of an unearthly "light show" spotted
directly over the theatre roof just a few hours before it's as-yet
Flashing Lights above McKim
The first sighting of the UFO - and that's "unidentified flying object,"
not necessarily "spaceship," all those interviewed were quick to point out
- seems to have been made between 10 p.m. and midnight Mar. 5.
Home care worker Gail Shay had just returned from work to her apartment in
the Pioneer Lodge on Church Street. As she prepared to retire, she noticed
unusually bright lights dancing above the roof of the theatre a few blocks
At first, the 46-year-old assumed that the beams were part of a McKim
Theatre Society-sponsored light show.
A second glance sent shivers up her spine.
"It was like nothing I've ever seen before," said Shay.
"At first, it seemed like there was a crisscrossing spotlight going up into
the sky from the roof of the school. It was glimmering, like the northern
lights. There were all these colours."
"Then the light spread out like a mushroom cloud, exactly on the same spot
as where the roof is gone."
Aware that she might be in for some ribbing after going on the record about
her experience, Shay quickly added that she hadn't been drinking and isn't
a spaceship buff. Although she considers herself somewhat unconventional
and open to esoteric ideas, she was overwhelmed by the experience.
... The light spread out like a mushroom cloud, exactly on the same spot as
where the roof is gone.
I was reeling through a list of possible explanations, Shay said she
decided that she must be hallucinating and crawled quickly into bed.
"I just kept thinking, "Well, it's some unexplained natural phenomena' . .
. I can accept lots, but this was too much!" she said.
"I just couldn't keep looking because my mind couldn't explain what I was
seeing. I witnessed something, but I don't know what it was."
Shaking knees in Townsite
Approximately an hour later, 68-year-old Ted Zawaski was shaken out of a
deep sleep by a phone call.
On the other end of the line was a friend in Chapman Camp, incoherently
insisting that Zawaski take a look at the sky.
After a few minutes, Zawaski, says he was able to make sense of the
friend's words - a diamond-shaped object covered with flashing lights was
drifting slowly over the trees west of the town.
Grabbing their coats, Zawaski and his wife ran outside.
"The minute I saw it, I almost panicked, because it was like nothing I've
seen on this earth," said Zawaski, who lives in Townsite.
Excitedly swapping details with the friends in Chapman Camp, the Zawaskis
watched the object from 12:15 to 12:40 a.m when it drifted out of sight
behind the trees.
"What do I think it is? I don't know. I can tell you what I don't think it
was..." he said.
The quartet ruled out every conventional explanation they could think of
for the phenomena - it was moving too slowly and too low to the ground to
be a plane or helicopter and it had too many extremely bright flashing
lights to be a hot air balloon, said Zawaski.
Zawaski admitted to being a bit of a UFO aficionado himself, and has
spotted four over the past 30 years - in Austria, Norway, near Calgary and
Kimberley. However the other three witnesss claimed that they had never
seen one before and weren't looking.
Man-made, not spacemen!
In fact, his two friends from Chapman Camp only agreed to comment if they
could remain anonymous due to fear of public ridicule:
"You're kind of laughing at the whole thing yourself," said Mrs. "X."
"People make these little comments like, 'Well, were you drinking last
In fact, Mrs. X was stone sober and doing a last tour of the house before
retiring for the night when she, like Shay, noticed a bright light
illuminating the house from outside. Expecting to see a bright star, she
glanced outside and then stood petrified.
"It was large and round like a car light, so I thought it was a plane that
was going to be landing," she said.
As she observed with dawning amazement, the "plane" hovered unmoving for
five minutes, bright white rays of light shooting to each side. Then the
"The minute I saw it, I almost panicked because it was like nothing I've
seen on this earth."
"It was throwing out quite a few different lights, rotating around it.
There were definitely four colours that I recall and maybe two other ones,"
"Then, of course, I ran in and called my husband, 'Hey! You've got to see
Armed with a pair of binoculars, Mr. X was the only witness to perceive
more details on the object. He reported seeing a faceted shape like a
diamond in a ring, with an inverted cone underneath. Lights played
constantly about its surface, but they shimmered like lights in a fog, not
with the concentrated energy of a bulb, he said.
"It definitely wasn't a star," he said. "Stars twinkle they don't give off
dazzling light like that. It was too brilliant and big for a star."
Mr. X believes it was probably a man-made object, but is at a loss to
"I don't believe in flying saucers and little green men, space men, and all
that stuff, I don't believe in it" he said. "I was the first to
'fooh-fooh!' all that stuff when other people talked about seeing UFOs. I
think there's a logical explanation."
Back in Townsite, Zawaski shook with excitement, too awed to take his eyes
off the object - which he now regrets not photographing. He had to take a
tranquilizer to fall asleep after and couldn't help constantly glancing
over his shoulder the next morning while skiing at the Kimberley Nordic
"It wasn't anything I've ever seen anywhere," said Zawaski, adding that the
experience cured him of any desire to see UFOs in the future.
"I don't ever want to see another one: it's too devastating."
"If it had been any closer, I would have had a heart attack. When I hear
reports of other people experiencing these things from 20 metres away - I
don't think I'd survive."
Spaceship not ruled out
While Cranbrook Regional Airport doesn't have radar, nothing unusual was
reported that night by staff or incoming pilots, according to its flight
However, Kimberley RCMP received several telephone calls that night about
the phenomena, although they were unable to verify the sighting.
The rumour was even raised among members of School District No.6 at an
emergency meeting called to discuss the collapsed theatre roof, which is
attached to McKim Middle School.
We're not about to speculate on the cause of the collapse, but we've heard
all kinds of ideas, including UFO sightings on Friday night," said George
Watson, school district director.
He did admit last week, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that the work
crew had not yet found anything in the wreckage to rule out alien
spacecraft as a cause.
"We haven't yet, but maybe when we get inside that building, we'll find
something: we could find anything!"