There are a lot of things Canadians have given the world that we don’t get enough credit for — Schitt’s Creek, Yukon gold potatoes, the first female late night host.
But perhaps the field where our contributions are most unrecognized is the elusive world of UFO sighting. The U.S. seems to get all the alien-hype just because they have one fancy, highly-classified facility (and as raiding it last month confirmed, it’s lame, secretive, and seemingly alien-free).
Well no more. Finally, Canada’s most famous and intense UFO sighting has been memorialized as it should be – on a pure silver, rectangular, glow-in-the-dark coin that you can purchase for $129.95.
The Royal Canadian Mint picked the Shag Harbour incident, a UFO sighting that took place on Oct. 4, 1967, to be featured as the second coin in its ‘Canada’s Unexplained Phenomena’ series.
Once just a small Nova Scotia fishing community, everything changed for Shag Harbour, N.S. on one clear October night,” according to the UFO incident’s official website.
Orange lights in the sky were the first thing residents noticed. The lights first flashed in a sequence and then seemed to dive towards the water of the Gulf of Maine. Witnesses said it seemed like the light floated on the water, according to the website.
Watch: What went down at Shag Habour, N.S. in 1967? Story continues below.
The RCMP was then called to investigate. Laurie Wickens, the chair of the Shag Harbour incident society, told HuffPost Canada he was the first person who called to RCMP to tell them what he saw. He and his friends were driving when they saw the lights, according to an account he gave the Yarmouth County Vanguard, a local newspaper.
“When I called the RCMP, the first thing he was to know was what I was drinking,” Wickens, who would have been 18 at the time, told the Vanguard. Along with Wickens, seven people reported the incident.
The RCMP investigated, first thinking that an aircraft had crashed. According to testimonies given to RCMP from local fisherman, people assumed it might have been a plane crash because the Navy did “a lot of practising in the area.”
But the Mounties checked in with the nearest Canadian Forces base and found that no missing aircraft had been reported that evening.
Officials in Ottawa were eventually pulled into the search — reports were sent to the Air Force and the Navy explaining that local officers and fishermen searched the area and found nothing.
The Department of National Defence eventually conducted their own underwater search and also came up with nothing. It was called off on October 9th, five days after the object was spotted. According to the Library and Archives of Canada, the case is still described as “unsolved.”
Unsatisfied with the lack of answers, Wickens has been heading Shag Harbour Incident Society UFO Interpretative Centre, a museum that exhibits documentaries and clippings related to the incident. You can also head up to the centre’s picnic space, from where there’s a clear view of where the incident happened. They also have a gift shop.
Wickens worked with the coin’s designer, Pandora Young, to help pick a scene for the coin. It shows three fishermen looking up at a dark sky, where a round UFO flashes four orange lights.
The coin comes with its own little black light to complete the extraterrestrial experience. Shine the light through the back and the UFO disappears, but the mysterious lights remain. Spooky. The back of the coin has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, unrelated to the alien scene.
And if the way the coin is selling is any indication, Canada’s UFO enthusiasm is well and alive. The Royal Canadian Mint made 4,000 coins and by the evening of their release day, 95 per cent of them had sold.
Wickens isn’t too worried about getting his hands on one. Since he helped with the design, he got 200 of them.
“I just got one and looked at it,” he told HuffPost. “It’s nice.”
The coin might bring a renewed sense of fame to little Shag Harbour, something Wickens has been trying to keep up himself since 1967.
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“The government is still trying to keep this hush-hush,” he said. “They said they won’t promote it or anything.”
“There’s still loads of people that don’t know about the incident and it’s the only one in the world where the government will admit that something came down, and they searched for something.”
If the coin isn’t enough, the best time to experience the mystery would probably be during the two-day Shag Harbour UFO festival, where you can decide for yourself if you want to believe.