Friday, October 21, 2005

The National Archives and UFOs

In Canada, the first place to look for UFO records is the National Archives, located in Ottawa, Ontario. They maintain a varied group of records relating to how Canada dealt with the UFO phenomenon over a period of decades, beginning in the late 1940s, and extending into the 1990s.

I'll be there early in 2006 for a couple of weeks or so, rooting through the records. For others who want to do it themselves, here's where to look:

1. Records of the Department of Transport (RG 12)

The Department of Transport kept reports on UFO sightings between 1976 and 1978.

Transportation; general; Unidentified Flying Objects, 1976-1978 (RG 12, vol. 3930, file 2-1-33, pt. 1)

2. Records of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RG 18)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police kept reports of UFO sightings from 1959 and 1987.

National research; Radio and Electrical Engineering Division; Unidentified Flying Objects (sighting of), 1959-1987 (RG 18, vol. 3779, file HQ 400-Q-5, pts. 1-7)

3. Records of the Department of National Defence (RG 24)

DND kept numerous reports on the possible security risk UFOs could pose.

Intelligence sightings of unknown objects, 1947-1964 (RG 24, vol. 17984, file S-940-5, pts. 1 and 2; on reel T-3291) (See: Note 1)

Intelligence sightings of unknown objects, 1950-1964 (RG 24, vol. 17988, file C-940-105, pts. 1 and 2; on reel T-3291), (See: Note 1)

Intelligence sightings of unknown objects outside Canada, 1950-1952 (RG 24, vol. 17988, file S-940-105-3; on reel T-3291) (See: Note 1)

Counter intelligence; flying saucers, 1952-1957 (RG 24, vol. 22349, file 9150-4)

Target detection; search; flying saucers; general, 1950-1967 (RG 24, acc. 83-84/167, box 7523, file DRBS 3800-10-1, pt. 1)

Target detection; search; flying saucers; general, 1968-1973 (RG 24, vol. 24031, file 3800-10-1, pt. 2, 1968-1971 and pt. 3, 1971-1973)

4. Records of the National Research Council (RG 77)

The National Research Council has looked into the scientific validity of UFO claims.

UFO sightings, 1965-1981 (RG 77, reels T-1741 to T-1744)

UFO sightings
(RG 77, acc. 1985-86/179, box 1 (1981-1984);
(RG 77, acc. 1986-87/377, box 1 (1986);
(RG 77, acc. 1989-90/005, box 1 (1987);
(RG 77, acc. 1989-90/016, box 1 (1988);
(RG 77, acc. 1990-91/073, box 1 (1989);
(RG 77, acc. 1991-92/022, box 1 (1990);
(RG 77, acc. 1992-93/016, box 1 (1991);
(RG 77, acc. 1992-93/308, box 1 (1992);
(RG 77, acc. 1995-96/008, box 1 (1993);
(RG 77, acc. 1995-96/096, box 1 (1994);
(RG 77, acc. 1997-98/046, box 1 (1995).

For contextual information on the NRC's collecting of UFO sightings, refer to the correspondence included on microfilm reel T-1744, as well as:

Proceedings of the meetings of the Associate Committee on Meteorites (RG 77, acc. 1997-98/094, box 34), 11th meeting, 1967 and 12th meeting, 1968

5. Records of the Department of Communications (RG 97)

Air services; sightings of unidentified aerial objects; Project Second Story, 1952-1953 (RG 97, vol. 115, file 5010-4)

Space research and satellites, UFO's, 1953-1966 (RG 97, vol. 182, file 5010-4, pts. 1 and 2)

Space research and technology, 1959-1964 (RG 97, vol. 104, file 5010-1, pts. 1-3)

Note (1) Available in part for research purposes at the National Archives only. This file has been reviewed in accordance with Access to Information and Privacy legislation. Some documents have been removed from the file; deletions are indicated on file.

Some of these files can be found on-line, which is convenient and makes for some interesting reading.

Go to:

Of course, there are probably those out there who think that rummaging about in archives is boring. That's okay - not everyone can afford the time to do the heavy lifting, and, frankly, not everyone is qualified to sift through the data, and sort the wheat from the chaff. For my part, I've spent more time digging through various archives than I can remember, and, no matter what I've been researching, I always viewed it as a treasure hunt.

Fortunately, for those who don't like treasure hunts, and are more concerned about the medium than the message, the National Archives has a nice little on-line interactive display of some of Canada's best known cases.

It even has a few bells and whistles for the armchair theorists to get excited about.

We Canadians aim to please.

Paul Kimball

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