UFO Hoax by the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
On September 10, 2013 Global News carried a story where the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre admitted to flying a 1 metre diameter disk shaped craft around the City of Vancouver as a publicity stunt. They may have flown the craft which was a modified RC helicopter in front of web cameras on August 26 and also flew it near minor league baseball game on September 3 and possibly other dates and locations around Vancouver at that time.
One may have expected that UFOBC would have been flooded with UFO reports during that week; after all, the organization receives around 100 reports per year. However, that was not the case. Only one report was received by UFOBC and another by the Vancouver UFO Meet-up group, both as if written by the same person and of a highly suspicious nature (more on that later in the article). Although there was video taken by baseball fans being circulated on the internet and over social media networks there was not a single witness who stepped forward. It is our suspicion that the radio controlled model may have looked like a toy rather than an "Unidentified Flying Object" and that is why people didn't bother reporting it. However, UFOBC would still like to hear from people who saw the object to gain insight into the perception of size and distance by UFO witnesses. This knowledge would be helpful in analyzing non-hoaxed UFO reports in the future.
On August 27, UFOBC received a UFO Report and screen capture image of the Deep Cove Kayak Club web camera web page. A similar image, this time with a screen capture of the Deep Cove Yacht Club web camera was submitted to the Vancouver UFO Meet-up Group and forwarded to UFOBC. The suspicious part was that wording accompanying the text was nearly identical and obviously written by the same person:
Report to UFOBC
"As I was checking a local weather camera for the Deep Cove Kayak Club. It reloads every five or so minutes. When it reloaded, I noticed that there was an object floating off in the distance. It looked relatively large and had a distinct cone shape to it. It also had a dim, white glow to it, with individual blue and red lights. I've never seen anything like it. By the time the next camera image loaded, the UFO was gone. The shape was too defined for it to be the product of a strange camera flare. It had to be a UFO.
I also have this image that I thought would show what I was talking about a little better. Feel free to use it. I feel like everyone should see this!"
Report to Vancouver UFO Meet-up:
"As I was checking a local weather camera for the Deep Cove Yacht Club, I noticed that there was an object floating off in the distance. It looked relatively large and had a distinct shape to it. It also had a dim, white glow to it. I've never seen anything like it. By the time the next camera image loaded, the UFO was gone. The shape was too defined for it to be the product of a strange camera flare. It had to be a UFO."
The fact that the same person filed different UFO reports to two different organizations on the same day made it suspicious. Why didn't he file both reports to both organizations? Further suspicion arose when the individual was asked for a telephone interview and did not return a call. Normally, when witnesses see a UFO they desperately want to tell someone of their sighting, especially someone who will take them seriously. The line at the end of one of the reports that said, "I feel like everyone should see this!" indicated that the individual was seeking publicity of his report, deepening our suspicion. For these reasons, UFOBC did not post any of these reports. There were just too many red flags and bad vibes.
On September 4, UFOBC came across an internet blog titled "UFO Sightings Vancouver" featuring around 10 UFO reports and images of the same craft with less than convincing accompanying text. The fellow running the site had the same name as the person who submitted the report to UFOBC and UFO Meet-up. This raised more questions. How did this person receive so many reports with so little history in collecting reports? How would people know to contact him? After all, UFOBC did not receive any other confirming reports and they have been running the same website for over a decade. Could it be that this blog page was set up after attempts to have UFOBC post these sightings failed? At this point UFOBC felt that this was definitely a hoax and maintained their position not to post any of these images and sighting reports.
On September 10, 2013, Global News confirmed our suspicion, when they posted this story: Global TV News Story of Hoax. The article states:
The UFO, which is actually a drone designed to resemble the shape of the space centre — has been sighted around Vancouver since August 27 and was spotted in Deep Cove, Jericho Beach, Burrard Street Bridge and downtown Vancouver. But, the recent sightings at Nat Bailey stadium is what made it go viral.
The area where the Science Centre flew their model was a wooded area in Queen Elizabeth Park, just beyond the ball field fence. As can be seen in some photo images and video, the audience was so impressed by the spectacle, that some people were actually observed to point at the flying toy. Talk about a reaction! From the audience reaction, I think we can surmise that few, if anyone, was fooled in any way, and it's quite likely the audience knew it was a toy from the fact that it was flying so close to the field and it probably was seen emerging from the nearby trees and bushes just beyond the fence. The initial event was covered by the Province newspaper: Nothing Like a UFO to help out. The sports story treated it as a "UFO, hah, hah, wink wink" news item, but it was informative in the sense that it did mention it "might be" a remote controlled helicopter.
In the sixth inning of the Game 1 of the best-of-three North Division final between the C's and the Everett AquaSox, a shiny blue something or other appeared levitating just beyond the right field fence.
A kite? A remote controlled helicopter? Maybe. There were even reports of a UFO at the Nat popping up on Twitter, complete with some eerie looking pictures.
The "news story" got legs when people posted photos on Twitter and someone posted a video on YouTube. As with all things posted on the Internet, once it gets out there, all kinds of people create all sorts of speculation about "the UFO". As usual, many people get upset when anyone explains that "its probably just an RC toy", because "thats what the debunkers always say".
When the news stories finally did clearly identify the "UFO" as nothing but an RC toy, used by the Space Centre for publicity, the reaction was varied. One person, learning the "UFO" was a hoax in the "Aliens and UFOs" forum on the conspiracy website "Above Top Secret" stated: "Everyone knows there's no such thing as Canadian baseball".
The lessons to learn from this are:
- Do not use Twitter as a "news source"
- Most of the "UFO" videos posted to YouTube are hoaxes or recordings of the most mundane and common phenomena.
This wasn't the first time a "UFO" has been seen at a baseball game at Nat Bailey stadium. Back in 1962, a huge UFO caused a huge sensation at a baseball game when it lit up the skies over Vancouver. Giant UFO Over Vancouver.
The sighting was very well witnessed as it occurred over the heads of players and spectators at an evening baseball game between the Vancouver Mounties and the Portland Beavers from the USA. The players took to their heels and the 660 spectators, catching the panic, in the words of the Vancouver Sun Sports for May 29 "churned towards the exits, half of them stopping only when they were outside the stadium."
In this case, the sighting was probably a very large meteor, and it lit up the skies, causing some panic.