On August 16, 1974, at about 8:00 PM, three small boys were returning to
their homes on the outskirts of Port Coquitlam, a community about 20 miles east of
Vancouver lying on the shore of the Port Coquitlam river. They were David Bates, 8, and
Steven and Henry Stillie, aged 10 and 7, whose two families live almost opposite each
other in a trailer court.
Following their fairly common practice, the
boys took a short cut through a small wooded area bordering the river. This route brought
them to a small sandpit, no longer in commercial use. Passing it by, they joined up with
the road leading to the street on which they lived. Halfway along the road they became
aware of a high pitched whine that resulted in a number of things happening in short
David Bates, who was
carrying a pet cat in his arms, found he could not control the animal as it arched its
back and attempted to escape frantically. Releasing it, he watched it run several yards
and then drop in its tracks, as if it "fell asleep," he said. The Stillie boys
described it as "playing dead." The boys then turned towards the source of the
noise and saw an object approach over the trees, traveling south or north over the railway
bridge spanning the river. The object had a red light on top and green and white lights at
either end of its length. These lights flashed on and off. Traveling slowly, the object
reversed its course and with an undulating motion headed for the small cleared area
amongst the trees where the sandpit was situated. The intensity of the noise disturbed
David so much that his friends said he placed his hands over his ears and called out for
it to stop. However, David does not recall doing this.
The UFO began to settle down for a landing
and the noise became a buzz, the children claimed. All this took place within a few brief
minutes. At that point the terrified cat recovered and returned to its owner, clawing
David when he picked it up. The long scratch on his arm was still visible when I
interviewed him in September.
In a state of petrified amazement, the boys
remained at their point of observation about 150 feet from the touchdown site. As the
object settled down to land it gave off a blast of hot air that disturbed the ground so
violently the boys were covered in a film of dust. Immediately prior to making contact,
the object extended short legs, then some action on the part of the machine caused sand
and stones to be sucked upwards towards it in a violent swirling manner. A few seconds
later, the boys said, "blue sparks came up from the ground as the machine made
I gather at this point, although confusion
and contradiction exist, the Stillie boys had seen enough, and established an Olympic
record for the 100 metres required to find the safety of home.
David Bates, either more courageous or
foolhardy, remained long enough to establish that it looked like, "two plates joined
together, and had an outline in the side like a door." This fact was confirmed by the
Stillie boys when interviewed. All agree that it had apparently no windows, "was
square on the top, and had "something like a chain" in the centre of the
David told me that his curiosity only kept
him long enough to see if anyone came out of the door, but courage failed him and he too
fled, down the dirt road after his companions.
Mr. and Mrs. Bates confirmed their son was
"hysterical and bug eyed," when he arrived home, white-faced, and it took him
some time to calm down. His story they brushed off. Steven and Henry Stillie's parents
were out, but they have a teenage sister who was in the trailer washing up. The window
from the sink faces the sandpit and although a few trees serve as screen between them and
the sandpit, she didn't notice anything unusual. Describing the boys' entrance, she
related that their first actions were to lock all the doors and windows, then draw the
drapes. Very frightened herself, she had trouble calming them down, and extracting an
accurate picture from them of what took place. She drew a sketch from the description they
provided but tended at that point not to totally believe the story.
On this particular evening, nothing further
transpired. No one was informed, nobody investigated the scene.
Possibly due to parental indifference and/or
disbelief, the boys related the story the following morning to a close neighbor, Mrs. Lola
Rogers, who lived on the same street. Being interested in this sort of thing, she
accompanied the boys to the sandpit and found not only indentations in the alleged landing
area, but also circular patches where the "aircraft" had left carbonized
deposits either on take-off or landing. Bending down to pick up this material and rub it
between her fingers she felt her hand go numb, and it remained so for over a week before
gradually wearing off. The depressions formed a triangle and seemed to indicate that some
heavy object with a tripod landing gear had indeed rested on the ground.
Returning home she phoned the
RCMP who graciously hung up on her, after hearing the account. The local newspaper was not
so skeptical, at least preferring to withhold any comment until having seen the witnesses
and visited the scene. The reporter from the Port Coquitlam Herald was sufficiently
impressed with what he found to suggest that a call to the military authorities at
Chilliwack, asking them to do a geiger-count survey of the area, might be productive. The
call was made and a voice at the other end stated that "they" would arrive the
next day and conduct such an investigation. They never did. Although The Herald gave the
story front page coverage in its once-weekly publication, and two weeks later again
provided the same treatment to an independent study .None of the Vancouver's papers
attempted to pick the story up.
X X X X
At the beginning of September,
Brian Fewster, Mark Bauer and I began an investigation that continued for several months
as we pursued different paths, securing assistance from a variety of surprisingly helpful
Our source of information was
the newspaper article. From this we obtained our leads and knew what to ask the witnesses.
By this time it was apparent that outside and TV influence was intruding into the
children's' accounts. However, it was equally clear that the story possessed grains of
unusualness that youngsters of that age would not dream of including in a fabricated
Despite the fact that several
showers had occurred since the landing, the depressions and carbonized material were still
clearly evident when we arrived at the site. A more ideal landing spot for seclusion could
hardly be found. Surrounded on three sides by a 15-foot bank and with a large number of
trees on the fourth side, it could conceal any reasonable large vehicle from outside eyes
for a long period of time. Only by walking or driving into the sandpit area would an
object be detectable and even then possibly only at the last minute or so, particularly if
its lights were off. So perfect were the conditions, so accessible to the major highway
nearby, we allowed ourselves to speculate that maybe the UFO wasn't attracted to the boys
by curiosity, but originally intended to land to pick someone up or drop him off.
By placing a centre stake
within the triangle, then measuring with an extended string to only two feet beyond the
tripod indentations, we discovered that the object's diameter was 20 feet. from the boys'
on-the-spot description, we found it must have stood 10 feet high when resting on the
The dust was chalk-like and
smooth to the touch when rubbed between the fingers. Two universities completed analysis
of the material. Dr. Posnar reported that it showed no evidence of the residual material
to indicate what, if anything, had been burnt on that particular spot. Evidence of
radiation was also absent. The site did not appear to create magnetic distortions.
Surrounding trees and leaves on the site perimeter did not indicate burning or damage,
although checked over a period of several weeks.
Tom Bennett, who conducted a more thorough examination of the
carbonized substance, stated that a high degree of heat would be required to produce such
results, but even simulated conditions would not extend so far into the sandy soil. He
made educated guesses as to how the substance could be duplicated by using a variety of
common available materials. But the big snag was that not all the elements would be left
that were present in the site samples. On completion of an x-ray spectrometry test, the
print-outs showed what Bennett described as an abnormally high amount of zinc present in
These findings were
surprisingly similar to those of the Delphos, Kansas landing incident on November 2, 1971.
In that case deposits with a high zinc content were also left by the object involved, and
tests showed the presence of hydrocarbon of a type that might be an insecticide solvent or
might show up in a diesel fuel. This, too, was found in the Port Coquitlam tests. Stranger
yet, Mrs. Erma Johnson, housewife on the farm where the object landed, felt a numbness in
the fingers (as did her husband to a lesser degree) after touching the residue, just as in
the case of Mrs. Rogers. The numbness lasted "about two weeks" while Mrs.
Rogers' lasted "over a week."
On August 16 it was clear warm
night. No one we spoke to had TV interference during the time of the landing. But it is
possibly worthy of mention that Mrs. Bates' electric clock ran one hour fast that evening,
something it has never done before. We feel this event is not a hoax. The boys told the
truth as they recalled it.