Saskatchewan, 1933: UFO stops for “repairs”
Even as late as the mid-1930s, much of the prairie provinces of Canada was still on the frontier of immigrant settlement. Particularly in the northern areas, homesteaders were just beginning to open up the land to commerce and agriculture, and such luxuries as telephones, paved roads and electricity were things of the future. The town of Nipawin, Saskatchewan, is situated in the northwest corner of the province and in the 30s was on the edge of this settlement.
During the summer of 1933 stories drifted into Nipawin that some homesteaders, as well as a forest tower ranger, had been observing strange lights in the sky and near the ground. Whatever it was, they had been seeing it for the better part of a week. The land to the [northeast] of Nipawin, near the Tobin Lake area, is made up of rolling hills and low-lying marsh. Parts of it had begun to be farmed just a few years earlier, and it was without improvement because of the local marsh. Most of the townsfolk who heard about the strange lights explained them away as swamp gas – a convenient scapegoat that still gets used today.
Fortunately, not everyone in Nipawin was convinced that the stories were based on nothing more than “hot air”, and shortly after midnight that summer night two men and a woman (names known to the author) jumped into a small pick-up truck and drove to the area where the lights were reported to have been seen. They were not disappointed as the glow on the horizon gradually grew brighter as they drove on. After driving as close as the rough trail would allow them, they got out and hiked through the woods in the direction of the glow. They were blocked a quarter of a mile or less from reaching the source of the glow by a strip of muskeg that was too boggy to risk on to in the middle of the night. But it was close enough. From their vantage point they were able to make out that the light came from a large oval-shaped object that was domed at the top and slightly rounded on the bottom. It was supported by legs and from a central doorway, or hatch, about a dozen figures could be seen going up and down a ladder-like stairway. The occupants appeared to be slightly shorter than the average man, and were all dressed in what appeared to be silver-colored suits or uniforms. All appeared to be wearing helmets or ski caps, and all were busy running around “repairing” the craft. All about was a strange sort of quiet, even though the occupants were busy scurrying about. Not a sound could be heard. The three witnesses stared in silent amazement at what was going on; no-one even thought to speak out. The bright orange glow that emanated from the craft lit up the surrounding area, and the three of them had no difficulty spying on the activities. The light from the craft was not only bright but had an “unearthly” quality never seen by any of them before and added to the mystery of the scene. After about a half-hour the three of them returned to the truck and started back to town, hoping to find a way around the muskeg to get a closer look at the strange machine parked in the middle of a marsh miles away from the nearest farmhouse or forest tower. But when they finally did come across a cut-off trail that might take them closer they realized that they didn’t have enough gasoline to take them in and out. So they had to return home that night.
It was not until a couple of nights later that they were able to make a return trip out. It was a clear night with almost a full moon, and they hoped to get an even better view. But this night the object was gone. No trace of the glowing craft could be seen from the vantage point of two nights previous, and they returned to the truck to await dawn. They then walked back in across the muskeg to see if any evidence of what they had seen was left. And [it] was. Six large square imprints that must have been the bases of the legs that supported the craft proved that there indeed had been something there that night. Each imprint was the same size – two to 2½ feet square, and approximately five to ten feet apart. The imprints were two to three inches deep, and reminded the three of them of a kind of mark that would be made by a boiler plate stomped into the ground. They could also see markings where the base of the stairway met ground. As if this wasn’t remarkable enough, a great burn mark in the center of the area covered a circle approximately twelve feet in diameter. They looked for footprints but found none, though there was some scuffing of the vegetation surrounding the spot where the craft had been.
They came better prepared this time. One of the witnesses had brought along a small Brownie box camera and took photographs of the burn marks and of the imprints. Later two of them wrote up an article about the whole affair and submitted it, along with copies of the photos, to a number of magazines and newspapers in Canada. But no publication was interested, and those publishers that replied wondered what kind of party they had been to those nights… In the course of the 40-plus years since the incident, the original photographs have been lost by the witness who took them and who had learned the hard way that they were apparently of no interest to anyone else. Perhaps copies of them are still in existence stored in an attic or sandwiched between vacation shots in some photo album. If they are ever uncovered they may prove to be the earliest photographs of a physical trace case where there were witnesses, and which even had occupants to boot.
By John Brent Musgrave (Flying Saucer Review vol 22 # 6 1976)