UFO chasers head for the hills

Wanna see a UFO? The Lower Mainland has been buzzed by a lot of airborne orange orbs in the last few years, and according to the president of UFO BC, the best place to catch one is “the hills behind Mission, Sylvester Road area." Many of the orbs seen in this busy corridor are likely Chinese lanterns or something equally mundane, Richard Tortorella reckons. But a few defy simple explanation.

“The problem is when these lights all of a sudden zip out of sight very quickly, and come back into view, for whatever reason,” he explains. “We’ve had quite a few good sightings, ex-RCMP members who have 30 or 40 years on the force have reported lights in the sky with similar descriptions to that. When they’ve taken a pair of binoculars to the object, they get a bit more of a structure as opposed to just light. They can see your typical saucer shape with the light underneath the larger grey structure.”

Although Tortorella is well aware of the prejudice directed at the phenomenon he’s pursued for over 15 years, the professional computer scientist is hardly some credulous boob. He states that “globally, out of the millions of sightings, you can explain 99.99 per cent of them.”

“The big problem with anything like this is the credibility of the witness,” he continues. “I’m not saying they’re trying to come up with a fake report, but the problem is their observational skills are limited to their knowledge of what they’re actually aware of”¦ they simply don’t have all the facts to make a proper analysis of what they’re seeing, and because we don’t see it ourselves, we’re limited to their description.”

Tortorella added that “fifty percent of the cases we are given are either people that are intoxicated on some level on drugs or alcohol, or are, ultimately, psychiatrically unstable.”

Still, there remains a small but hard number of reports that, as Tortorella says, “have absolutely no explanation.”

An event that stopped air traffic above Vancouver International Airport in 2001 had all the hallmarks of an authentic encounter, when something that looked like a ball-bearing was seen “hung in mid air” by four separate ground crew members. “They radioed the control tower,” Tortorella recounts, “They said, ”˜Look, do you guys see this?’ And the answer is officially ”˜No,’ but they reported that they said, ”˜Yeah, we can see it, but it’s not showing up on any gizmos.’ The object then proceeded to move and actually come down over the tree line, and shortly after a large number of white, unmarked SUVs were reported going to the scene, and it was blocked off by security personnel, civilian and military.”

UFO BC was thwarted in its own investigation by YVR. “The number they gave us,” he says, “Our common joke was that it must have been the telephone in the drawer somewhere. We called it 30, 40 times, never had an answer. It’s one of those good cases.”

As for the notorious orbs, the phenomenon actually began with a widely seen event at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 2008; Tortorella considers it to be another of the dozen or so “good cases” on the UFO BC books. “They saw an orange orb fall out of the sky, zip back up, and everyone’s now pointing, so much so that even the entertainer on stage made a note of it and everyone looked at this thing. And then it just took off.”

Since then the mystery has been concentrated mainly away from the city. UFO BC recently tracked an orange UFO that commuted from Chilliwack, to Mission, and out to Port Coquitlam, seen independently by several people. Mission is where Tortorella recommends any orb-spotters should camp down. But he adds a strong note of proper skepticism. “Chances are you’ll never see anything, given the statistical probability,” he cautions. “However, if absolutely nothing else, you get some good stargazing in there.”

Have you ever seen a UFO?

Yes 52%
111 votes
No 48%
104 votes
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laniwurm
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up late
we just had a blue red object over cowichan lake looked like a smaller aircraft floolowing definitely a jet following behind clear night . Anyone report anything anywhere? crappy video footage.
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Lamoureux's Grandson
RE: Laniwurm -- that photo from 1937 was taken by my grandfather, we still have the original of it framed with a blown up copy as well hanging in the livingroom -- fascinating story behind it.
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