Image: Getty Images
The frozen prairies of Canada have always been home to strange events and mysterious encounters. So it’s perhaps appropriate that the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg has just accepted a large donation of documents from a prolific UFO researcher confirming the province’s “unnatural history.”Science writer and researcher Chris Rutkowski is a Canadian legend. Undoubtedly the country’s most prolific researcher and writer on UFOs and paranormal phenomena, Rutkowski was approached by the university’s archives and was asked to donate some of his collection to its library.
“I’ve been doing research and publishing in this field for more than 40 years. I’ve accumulated a lot of files, notes, books and zines over the decades, and I had always wondered what was going to happen to it all,” Rutkowski told Motherboard in an interview. “The Director of Archives had seen me on TV talking about the Falcon Lake case. She approached me and asked if I would consider donating the files…After discussing it more over dinner, I wondered out loud about the possibility of donating my entire collection. And that was that.”The US Air Force’s UFO investigation program, Project Blue Book, investigated an infamous Canadian injury case which allegedly occurred on May 20, 1967, known as the Falcon Lake UFO Incident. As the story goes, Stephen Michalak was searching for minerals along Falcon Lake, 80 miles east of Winnipeg, Manitoba when a strange, 40-foot object landed on an outcropping of rock. After approaching the craft and hearing voices inside it, the object emitted a hot gas out of a vent in its side, burning Michalak’s abdomen. Michalak was examined by his doctor only a few hours after the incident and was treated for his symptoms which included severe headache, vomiting, and first degree burns which formed in a grid pattern on his lower abdomen. While Michalak’s condition temporarily improved, he did suffer from lasting effects.“Canadian doctors were unable to determine the cause of Michalak's injuries and subsequent illness. He later chose to seek medical attention at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, at his own expense, and this cost was significant,” Rutkowski stated.
In his book, When They Appeared, Rutkowski states that the documents from the Mayo Clinic proves that Michalak was not suffering from mental illness or hallucinations.Rutkowski believes that the Falcon Lake case is one of the best UFO cases to date, and there’s much more documentation supporting it than Roswell and many other famous American cases. It has significant police and military documentation, physical injuries, independent lab tests from two countries, medical reports, and in-depth witness testimony. Geographically, the site of the incident is accessible and physical materials, such as a still radioactive piece of melted silver was recovered.“How much else do you want in a UFO case? There are so many supporting details that it rises far above most others. It is better than Roswell, in my honest opinion. The Canadian government admits it actually happened, and they even issued a commemorative coin for its 50th anniversary,” Rutkowski stated.Similar to the collection of the late Stan Friedman, a famous UFO researcher who once crashed on Rutkowski’s couch, this assortment of documents is massive. Since he has been cataloguing Canada’s “Unnatural History (the title of his second book)” for so long, there are well over 30,000 documents. The greatest hurdle is the time and money required to digitize the archive so researchers around the world can access it. The University of Manitoba and Rutkowski have started a crowdfunding campaign.“I would hope that the funds will be used by researchers wishing to better understand the nature of the UFO phenomenon, whatever it may be. That might include going through the more than 20,000 Canadian UFO reports from 1989 to the present, or my collection of UFO books and zines, or my accompanying documents that include a large collection of UFO-related articles and papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals,” Rutkowski explained.