Another amazing tale of UFO sightings and the subsequent in-depth research that mysteriously vanished and was never talked of again is the Falcon Lake UFO Incident of 1967.
Stefan Michalak claimed to have witnessed a UFO land near Falcon Lake, Canada, in 1967, which resulted in serious burns, weight loss, nausea, and a variety of other symptoms. The statements made by the man Michalak were thoroughly verified.
Stefan Michalak, an irregular quartz prospector, departed Winnipeg on May 19, 1967, for Falcon Lake, a Manitoba tourist town located on the southern border of Whiteshell Provincial Park, a wilderness region the size of Rhode Island. He spent the night in a hotel along the Trans-Canada Highway and he woke up early the next morning to venture into the woods.
The Falcon Lake UFO Incident
He began work at 9.00 a.m. after discovering a quartz vein near a swamp. At 12.15 p.m., upon hearing the cries of scared geese, he raised his eyes to the sky, where he noticed two red, burning cigar-shaped objects.
The objects began to resemble discs rather than cigars as they descended at a 45-degree angle. The one that was at distance came to an abrupt halt, while the other landed on a huge, flat rock around 160 feet away. The first UFO lingered briefly before heading west and disappearing behind clouds.
The grounded UFO, which was more than 35 feet broad and 10 feet thick and included a three-foot-tall dome, appeared to be made of “hot stainless steel.” A gold glow encircled the UFO, and purple-colored lights flashed through the structure’s holes.
The holes included 12-inch-long horizontal splits on the cupola and nine vent-like forms on the UFO’s bottom section. Even with Michalak’s welding glasses on, the illumination generated crimson afterimages. The item made a whirring and hissing noise. It emitted warm air with a sulfurous odour.
Over the following half-hour, the witness drew the item, which he assumed to be an experimental American aircraft, from his location near the rock from which he had been collecting quartz. Then, on its side, a little door opened, displaying lit inside but nothing more, and Michalak thought it was time to get a closer look.
Michalak heard voices around 60 feet distant from the building. Though they were “somewhat muted by the sound of the motor and the rush of air always pouring out from someplace within,” he could tell that one was higher pitched than the other.
He said sarcastically: “Are you having difficulty, Yankee boys? Come on out, and together we’ll see what we can do.” When the voices remained silent, Michalak attempted to communicate in various languages: Russian, German, Italian, French, and Ukrainian. There was still no response. Now, surrounded by curiosity and standing in front of the ship, he attempted something daring:
“Placing green lenses over my goggles, I stuck my head inside the opening. The inside was a maze of lights. Direct beams running in horizontal and diagonal paths and a series of flashing lights, it seemed to me, were working in a random fashion, with no particular order or sequence. I took note of the thickness of the walls of the craft. They were about twenty inches thick at the cross-section.”
Michalak drew back his head. Almost quickly, three panels were slid into place to completely cover the aperture. He observed the exterior’s high finish. When his glove came into contact with the surface, it ignited and melted.
The UFO slanted slightly higher, facing him now was the gridlike “exhaust” he had observed before on the craft’s bottom-left. The vent was nine inches high and six inches wide, with a regular pattern of 3/16-inch round holes.
A jet of scorching gas exploded from these openings, searing his chest and sending him reeling. Michalak snatched his burning shirt and undershirt off his back in anguish, just as the UFO rose in a surge of air. After clearing the treetops, it followed its companion’s lead and went in the same direction. It resembled a cigar form once more.
Psychological Effect of Falcon Lake UFO Incident on Stephan Michalak
Michalak took precautions to extinguish the flames from his burnt shirt, fearful that they may ignite a blaze in the dry woods. He then proceeded to the location of the UFO’s landing. It appeared to have been swept clean, around by a 15-foot circle of pine needles, leaves, and dirt. By this time, he had succumbed to a severe case of nausea. A strong odor of burning electric circuits mingled with the previously existent sulfur stink, creating an unpleasantly unpleasant combination. Persistent pain in his head had developed into dizziness. He was puking persistently.
Michalak made his way back to his accommodation. He paused frequently to vomit and regain the strength to continue until the next nausea attack. The journey to the highway took nearly two hours. Noticing that he was a mile from where he had entered the woods, he made his way in that direction.
Soon afterward, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicle arrived on the road, going straight for him. He flagged it down and explained his ordeal to the officer, who behaved as though Michalak was intoxicated. He continued driving, ignoring Michalak’s call for assistance. Michalak arrived at his accommodation a few minutes later, but with much difficulty.
He first refused to enter. He waited outside in a little forested area near the structure, fearful of being “infected.” He made his way over to park headquarters, but they were closed. Michalak visited the hotel coffee shop at 4 p.m., nearly paralyzed by agony. The news was disappointing. The nearest doctor, in Kenora, Ontario, was 45 miles to the east. Michalak would be much further from Winnipeg if he moved there. He reasoned that he may as well return home.
He contacted the Winnipeg Tribune and spoke with a reporter; he offered that if a reporter brought him to a doctor, he could give a detailed narrative of the journey. Simultaneously, he stated incongruously, he want “no publicity.” He was rejected by the publication. Michalak then called his wife to inform her that he had been involved in an “accident” and asked if their son Mark could pick him up at the Winnipeg bus stop at 10:15 a.m.
Michalak had Mark drive him to Misericordia Hospital once he arrived in the city. Michalak explained to the attending physician, a Chinese immigrant with a limited command of English, that the thermal burns on his upper chest and gridlike imprint on his belly were produced by airplane exhaust. He was too exhausted to attempt to recount what had actually occurred. He was given a sedative by the doctor. Michalak returned to his residence and took a bath before falling asleep.
He felt no better in the morning. He was unable to swallow food, and his body stank. That evening, he met R. D. Oatway, his personal physician, who prescribed pain medication and recommended him to a skin expert for treatment of the burns. Oatway later wrote:
“He complained of band-like headaches, hot forehead, anorexia, and nausea, feeling of blacking out. On examination, he appeared rather depressed, dazed, apathetic, but rational and coherent. There was singeing of the hair on the forehead at the hairline and over the lower sternal and upper abdomen region. Over the upper abdomen, in the mid-portion and especially to the left of the midline, there were numerous reddish, slightly irregular, oval-shaped, slightly raised lesions, arranged with their long axes mainly in a transverse direction. These lesions seemed to be consistent with a first-degree burn. As I recall they were painful and tender but not severely. I also observed the burnt undershirt which had holes with charred (or blackened) edges corresponding to the sight of the burn.”
Michalak dropped up to 22 pounds in the week after the meeting, according to his own account. He passed out many times and had recurrent vomiting bouts, but he quickly recovered.
Michalak had radiologist T.D. Cradduck examine him on May 23, at the advice of ufologist Barry Thompson. Dr. Cradduck discovered nothing unusual. He was tested for radiation again exactly a week later at the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment in Pinawa, Manitoba, and had standard findings.
Although the burns on the chest healed, the grid pattern remained. It faded briefly but always reappeared. Additionally, a rash developed unexpectedly on September 21 when Michalak was at work at the Inland Cement Company. In his throat, he felt increasing anguish and burning. As he put it:
“My body began to swell. Tearing off my shirt, I noticed large red spots in the same place where the burns from the ship had been before… In the next 15 minutes, my body had turned violet. The swelling progressed so quickly that I could not take off my shirt again… My hands looked as if they had been inflated with air… My vision was failing… The room was spinning around and I felt myself fading out into unconsciousness.”
He was readmitted to Misericordia Hospital. He was freed at 12 p.m. the next day. “Doctors at the hospital stated that the swelling was caused by an allergic reaction,” Michalak writes, “although it seemed somewhat weird that the spots developed in the same locations as the UFO’s prints.”
Michalak became irritated with his own physicians’ failure to detect the condition as the symptoms persisted long into 1968. As a result, he made preparations to visit the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, despite the fact that all charges would be covered by his Canadian health insurance. Michalak stayed for two weeks throughout the summer, staying in a nearby hotel and receiving outpatient therapy.
He saw both physicians and psychiatrists while he was there. As it turned out, they offered no solutions either; they only described his symptoms and suggested possible reasons. For instance, they connected his fainting to transient drops in cerebral blood pressure. In part, the diagnostics report states:
“Since May 1967, he has had repeated clearing-up and recrudescence of the erythematous and pruritic lesions on his chest and legs. Sometimes these occurred at intervals of approximately 112 days, but this has not been consistent. Since January 1968, reoccurrences have been more frequent but the symptoms were briefer in duration. Generally, the chest lesions appear as minute points or ‘grains,’ enlarge progressively to the size of a quarter or a half dollar, and are very pruritic… The time between initial appearance and disappearance has ranged from a few days to several weeks. Various medications have not been helpful…
“(His) main reason for coming to the Mayo Clinic now is because of headaches and ‘blackout spells’ which have attended the other symptoms since he was severely ill in January 1968. Headaches are mainly bitemporal, steady, and excruciating. Skin problems occur at the same time. Blackout spells are not sudden but cannot be predicted accurately enough to permit him to drive during symptomatic periods (he is fearful of hurting himself and/or others). Gradually, his eyesight begins to dim until everything goes black. He has time to sit down but is… unconscious for a few minutes or more. Allegedly, his wife has viewed him during these spells and he recounts no symptoms suggestive of seizures. He declares that he is unable to hear during the spells.”
“No overt evidence of significant mental or emotional illness.”A Mayo psychiatrist found
Investigation into the Matter
On May 21, the evening following the incident, Winnipeg Tribune reporter Heather Chisvin paid a visit to Michalak at his house. Within a short period of time, the tale had become a global phenomenon. Soon after, investigators from a variety of agencies, initiatives, and organizations began scouring the case for information.
Ufologists Edward M. Barker, Brian C. Cannon, and Barry Thompson, all of whom are affiliated with the Canadian Aerial Phenomena Research Organization, was among them (CAPRO). Michalak created and self-published a 40-page booklet, My Encounter With The UFO, in 1967, which sold out without recouping print expenses.
Squadron Leader Paul Bissky, who investigated the matter for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), led the initial search group on May 25. He met with Michalak five days later to request that he accompany him. Michalak, however, declined; he claimed to be too ill to travel. Rather than that, he offered a drawing of the region and a thorough description of it. The next day, the thirty-first, police and military personnel scoured the neighborhood once more, supported by an H112 helicopter. Michalak consented on June 2 to a helicopter fly-over. Bissky stated:
“Mr Michalak… found no recognizable features. He stated he could probably do better on the ground. The search then proceeded with him leading the ground party, with the helicopter monitoring the proceedings from the air. With the aid of RCMP portable radios, an air/ground link was possible, and this greatly assisted in directing the ground party to the most likely-looking areas as described by Mr Michalak. Following a frustrating afternoon and evening search… Mr. Michalak insisted the ground party had been very, very close to the sought-after location as he recognized several physical features and areas where he had chipped rocks during his last prospecting visit.”
On the fourth, Michalak was taken to Falcon Lake by University of Colorado UFO Project officials Roy Craig and Mary Lou Armstrong, as well as Life writer John Fried, but Michalak claimed to be unable to locate the spot.
As other investigators confirmed when the place was discovered, the spot was surrounded by dense vegetation and foliage and was inaccessible. Meanwhile, Bissky and the Colorado residents accused Michalak of lying to them, ostensibly to conceal a mining claim.
Later that month, after another fruitless hunt, Bissky addressed Michalak:
Mr. Michalak objected very strongly on the basis that during his 25 June hunt he had in fact located what he had searched for originally and until such time as he could stake his claim, he had no intention of having anyone go near this area… Mr. Michalak stated that no matter what anyone thought of him, he would not cooperate until his claim was filed.”
Michalak and his new partner, Gerald Hart, visited the site on the 30th. The two saw that the leaves on neighboring trees had wilted and perished, according to the witness. There was also a distinct “outline of the ship on the ground,” Michalak wrote, as well as the “remains of my shirt… (and) the tape measure I lost that day.”
They deposited them, along with rock and soil samples, in separate plastic bags and returned to Winnipeg – despite the RCMP’s request that Michalak leaves the location alone if he discovered it.
Michalak was eventually persuaded to collaborate with the police. He, Bissky, and other government agents gathered samples at the site on July 28. They noticed, in Bissky’s words, “the imprint of a roughly 15-foot diameter circle on the rock surface where the moss and dirt covering had been removed to the rock surface by a force comparable to that produced by air traveling at extremely high speeds.”
However, the investigators reasoned that an item of the witness’s size should have had an effect on the trees throughout its drop and ascension; “but there was no evidence of any such effect,” Bissky observed. Civilian investigators provided a conflicting account. According to Cannon, who described the site’s appearance in late May:
“The lichen and moss which covered the other rocks in the group of three, was brown clear and was heaped in a ring around the edges of the rock over which the object was said to have hovered. A small tree which was growing through a crack in the rock, had been bent and broken and now lay on its side. The leaves of this tree were discoloured in the following manner: on each leaf, there was a round circle of brown within which was an area of red in the center of which there was a hole.”
Even Bissky could not deny the existence of the “clearly visible circle that remains on the site,” as he phrased it in his official report. Additionally, he admitted the perplexing nature of Michalak’s condition and burns. Bissky, though, sought for inconsistencies in the testimony. One concerns the direction in which the UFO departed.
Michalak reported that it departed through an opening in the woods, which would have taken it north-northeast; however, the witness asserted unequivocally that it went west-southwest. Bissky was adamant about not blaming Michalak for basic misunderstanding.
Nonetheless, Colorado project investigator Roy Craig voiced more significant concerns. Craig contacted nearby residents whose employment or interests would have placed them in a position to witness the existence of an unidentifiable item following the aborted June 4 search. The case study on the project notes the following:
“According to the Conservation Officer Jim Bell, the fire lookout towers were manned on this date after 9 a.m. A ranger with Officer Bell indicated that the forest was dry at this time. Both rangers felt that a fire capable of burning a man would have started the forest burning. They commented that watchmen in the towers generally noticed smoke immediately from even a small campfire, and felt that a small fire in lichen and moss, such as Mr. A (Michalak) said he tramped out when he threw his burning shirt to the ground, would have been seen by the watchmen. They also believed objects as described by Mr. A would have been seen by the tower watchman, had they been present for even a fraction of the time Mr. A claimed. Watchtowers are 8′ x 8′. About six other towers are visible in the distance from the tower near the alleged landing site. Although a 35-40 ft. metallic saucer only 1/2-2 mi. away should have attracted the watchman’s attention, nothing unusual was noted from the watchtower.”
The second point appears to be more persuasive than the first. The moss fire was contained and appeared to have lasted only a few seconds. However, the fire watchers’ failure to observe is difficult to reconcile with Michalak’s account. (However, as we shall see later, there were several perhaps corroborated sightings.) Craig discovered no evidence that Michalak was a frequent liar:
“Mr A was deemed very reliable by his employer. He had convinced representatives of the RCMP and RCAF, two of the several physicians involved, as well as his family, that he was telling the story of a real event. During the project investigator’s interview, he seemed honest, sincere, and concerned. His presentation of his story was convincing. His wife and son verified his claim of an unusual odor coming from his body after his alleged UFO experience indicating that the odor permeated the bathroom after Mr. A had bathed.”
Alleged Case of Radiation
Analyses conducted by the RCMP revealed an alarming level of radiation in the samples. The Department of National Health and Welfare’s Radiation Protection Division, which examined one sample at the RCMP’s request, reported “a radiation value of.3 microcuries.
The radiation is from a radium source and poses a potential major health threat.” Additionally, the division studied the dirt, burned shirt, and steel tape Michalak and Hart removed from the site on their June 30 visit. Initial gamma readings revealed a significant amount of “Ra 226 or its equivalent.”
Stewart E. Hunt, Safety Assessment and Control Section, of the division, travelled from Ottawa to Winnipeg to meet with authorities and develop a plan of action. Their investigations would focus on both the physical evidence and the backgrounds of Michalak and his primary supporters among Ufologists, with a particular emphasis on the possibility that someone (presumably Michalak or his allies) planted radioactive hazardous waste or flecks of radium at the site.
Both issues were addressed during the study. There was no missing hazardous material, and Michalak’s workplace, which the crew visited, did not use radium in any product. Hunt was one of the expedition’s participants on July 2. As stated in his report:
One small area was found to be contaminated. This was located across the crown of the rock. There was a smear of contamination about 0.5 x 8.0 inches on one side of the crack. There was also some lichen and ground vegetation contaminated just beyond the smear. The whole contaminated area was no larger than 100 square inches. All water runoff areas were checked for possible contamination, but nothing was found.
The radiation exposure was minimal – approximately one-third that of a regular wristwatch – but, as a commentator in the Chief of Defense Staff’s office noted in a 1967 report, there was no clear explanation for “How this’ smear’ became embedded in the granite at the supposed landing location is unknown. This is what the scientific community is concerned about.”
Fragments of Metal Found After Falcon Lake UFO Incident
Between July 1967 and May 1968, E. J. Epps, a representative of Manitoba’s Department of Mines and Natural Resources, paid multiple visits to the site. His radiation tests revealed nothing unusual. Nonetheless, when Michalak and a companion visited the location on May 19, they discovered (in the words of Roy Craig):
“Massive pieces of radioactive material in a fissure of the rock within the ‘landing circle.’ This… consisted of two W-shaped bars of metal, each about 4.5 inches long and several smaller pieces of irregular shape. These items were said to have been found about 2 in. below a layer of lichen in the rock fissure… The two fragments each consisted of a central massive metal portion what was not radioactive. One of these was 93% and the other 96% silver. Both contained copper and cadmium, and had a composition similar to that found in commercially available sterling silver or sheet silver. The metal was coated with a tightly-adhering layer of quartz sand, similar to that used as foundry sand. This also was not radioactive. The radioactivity was contained in a loosely-adhering layer of fine-grained minerals containing uranium. This layer could be removed steadily by washing and brushing. The minerals were uranophane and thorium-free pitchblende, characteristically found in vein deposits.”
The UFO Research Institute, situated in Pittsburgh, provided a specimen to physicist J. Roesner for study. He ascertained:
“The gamma spectra were complex; 15 distinct energies ranging from 0.11 MeV to 2.57 MeV could be resolved. The three major contributors to the total gamma radioactivity had energies of 0.61 MeV, 1.10 MeV, and 1.53 MeV and decayed with half-lives of – 14 days, 8 days, and 21 days, respectively… A semiquantitative chemical analysis … showed that 95 percent of the specimen is silver. The amount of copper in the specimen was determined to be 0.5 percent… The energies and half-lives of the gamma rays emitted by the specimen do not agree with the expected decay of silver activation products formed in an (n*y) reaction on natural silver.”
According to some investigators, the items were planted on the location. As Craig noted, “given the breadth of the prior searches… it seems implausible that the particles identified a year later would have been missed.” CAPRO, on the other hand, described the evidence indicating the metal had been present since at least July 1967 as “overwhelming”:
“When the metal was located, and since it was taken from the middle of the rock, we examined the soil samples removed from the site in July 1967. These samples also contained tiny fragments of the same metal and no doubt the samples taken by the authorities contain pieces as well.
“Analysis confirmed the presence of Radium 226, the same source as was found in the soil specimens. The luminous watch dial paint theory dulled considerably.”
However, further examinations of soil samples at the University of Manitoba revealed only natural uranium activity and no evidence of radium, duplicating a 1968 investigation conducted at the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment laboratory.
Chris Rutkowski, a well-known expert on the subject, observes:
“The original soil samples retreived from the site contained only natural radioactivity. However, radium 226 was detected by some investigators. It is not clear whether or not this was an error. The metal samples, on the other hand, are definitely mysterious and do not appear natural. To solve the puzzle, it would be most useful to obtain a small sample for reanalysis.”
Several inhabitants of southern Manitoba reported seeing UFOs described as blazing, red, spherical, or cigar-shaped during the third week of May 1967. These descriptions corroborate Michalak’s. Perhaps the same is true with a May 25 sighting above Winnipeg of “two really bright lights in close proximity to one another.”
At the time of their occurrence, these accounts were reported in the local newspaper. Additional reports surfaced years afterward. In 1978, a man informed Ufology Research of Manitoba that he and a friend were traveling along a roadway between West Hawk Lake and Caddy Lake, directly north of Falkon Lake, when the companion knelt to tie his shoe about the “same time as Michalak.”
While gazing below, the informant, who was facing forward, was shocked to see a big disc-shaped object approach from just over the treetops. It crossed the road silently and vanished over the woods on the other side. The occurrence occurred at such a rapid pace that the other man never noticed the thing.
In 1992, a lady recounted an incident she and her daughter had on the same weekend as the Michalak sighting. They noticed a “perfect flying saucer” just above the woods on the north side of the road as they drove west on the Trans-Canada Highway from Falkon Lake around 4 p.m.
The UFO was silvery in colour and hat-shaped, having windows on the upper side. From within the item, a “pinkish-mauve” light shone. It went instantly, as though “into thin air.” “Independent drawings of the item by both witnesses coincide in detail and appear to depict a ship identical to that witnessed by Michalak,” Rutkowski notes.
Rutkowski describes the Michalak family, whom he has known since his adolescence, as “sincere people… bright… levelheaded… well-read on a variety of issues.” Despite the uncertainties and inconsistencies, it’s difficult to think Michalak orchestrated a complex, expensive fraud for no apparent reason, jeopardizing his health in the process.
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