With a total population of around 35 million people spread across a massive area of 9,984,670 km², (3,511,003 sq miles) Canada is one of the least populated countries on earth. In many parts, it is wild, remote and uncharted.
Could this be one of the factors that has recently turned it into a UFO hotspot?
Numbers of UFO sightings in Canada have soared to dizzy heights over the past couple of years, with figures reaching a record high in 2012. Almost 2000 reports were made during that year, though UFOlogy Research director Chris Rutkowski suggested that this peak could have been related to the "end of the world" predictions that prevailed in 2012, inspired by the end of the Mayan calendar.
“We think that contributed greatly,” he said. “But if you look at the general trend the numbers have been steadily increasing.”
The doomsday predictions do not account for the huge number of sightings recorded the following year, however; an amazing 1,180 sightings were reported during 2013 - around three each day - according to a recent survey released by the Winnipeg-based UFOlogy Research of Manitoba.
Maybe the current trend is for people to search for answers that they perceive to be "divine" or unexplained, suggested Rutkowski.
"The downturn in the economy is leading to an increased desire by some people to look skyward for assistance," he wrote in the survey report.
Rutkowski believed that many factors could be influencing the increase in UFO sightings, one of the most simple being that people are taking more time to look for unexplained objects in the sky. Of course, he suggested, there is the possibility that the number of UFOs in the Canadian skies has increased dramatically, or maybe such large numbers have always been present, but only in recent years has access to the necessary technology made it easier to report the events.
Though Rutkowski takes a pragmatic stance when analyzing witness sightings, proposing that some objects could be classified military exercises or explainable lights, at least 14 per cent of all sightings were classed as "unexplained." These were objects that had been observed by credible witnesses and where all other explanations had been ruled out. Typically, sightings were not just fleeting glimpses, but protracted views of objects lasting around 13 minutes.
"Many witnesses are pilots, police and other individuals with reasonably good observing capabilities and good judgment," said Rutkowski.
Interestingly, one particular area of the country seemed to attract more UFOs than any other: the Canadian UFO Survey indicated that witnesses in Ontario generated over 40 per cent of all the reports in Canada, with 480 sightings in 2013. The city most likely to yield UFO reports appears to be Vancouver, and consequently British Columbia reported the second highest figures with 298 sightings.
The influx of reports has meant that Rutkowski has been inundated and he is struggling to follow up every lead; he thoroughly investigates every account in order to weed out those he deems to be truly inexplicable.Rutkowski, a civilian science writer who has produced the Canadian UFO survey since 1989, is now one of the primary investigators of UFO sightings in the country; federal agencies including Transport Canada, the RCMP and the Department of National Defence, used to follow up any reports but the Canadian government has decided that investigating UFOs is no longer a priority.
The recent increase in sightings has prompted Rutkowski to question the government's decision, commenting that if they continue to rise, Ottawa will soon have to attribute more importance to the issue.
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