Published: 6:41 PM 8/20/2014
By Heather Ibbotson, Brantford Expositor
The first Brantford meeting of Mutual UFO Network draws a crowd Monday night to the Colborne Street Coffee and Tea House. Some travelled from as far as Petrolia and Grimsby.
The first Brantford meeting of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) was out of this world as a standing-room-only crowd gathered at a downtown coffee shop.
"I'm overwhelmed with the response," said Stu Bundy, MUFON's Ontario director, by the stellar attendance Monday night of more than 50 people at the Colborne Street Coffee and Tea House. Some travelled from as far as Petrolia and Grimsby.
Many had stories they were eager to share. Some had tales they weren't ready to talk about yet.
Pierre Maher, of Paris, fell into both categories.
He said he saw a UFO about 10 years ago while employed at the former Strub's pickle plant in Brantford. He had taken a break during a night shift and stepped out onto the plant roof with a cigarette and coffee. There he saw something strange speed across the sky.
"It looked like a transparent halo... like a jellyfish with a halo," said Maher, struggling to describe the strange - and silent - object.
But within a minute of the object passing, Maher saw and clearly heard what he believes were two fighter jets streaking past in the same direction as the mystery craft.
"I've always believed in UFOs," said Maher, adding that he has had other disturbing experiences he is not yet willing to open up about.
What does he think about UFOs?
"We're here because we are their experiment. We may never know. Maybe we are them."
Those at the meeting also were enthralled by a photo presentation of recent unidentified, as well as later-identified, flying objects from across the country.
Identified anomalies included a chandelier-looking object in the sky photographed in Delhi, which analysis determined was a camera lens flare from the sun, and a series of lights on a landscape horizon in a Midland photo that proved to be reflections of stove lights as the picture was taken through a kitchen window.
Others have been found to be objects as varied as balloons, Chinese lanterns, kites and remote-control drones.
However, some UFOs defy all attempts at identification, Bundy said. Included in this category was a round object with multicolored lights caught on camera above Penetanguishene about two months ago -- "a real head-scratcher" -- and a large glowing object seen by multiple witnesses over Oshawa -- "a real unknown."
Bob Mitchell, of Brantford, a MUFON member and lead Ontario investigator, said that, while Brantford "is not a hotbed of activity," there are likely more sightings than are known because people are reluctant to come forward.
Mitchell spoke of two local occurrences that left witnesses "freaked out and scared."
One involved a man at a house party years ago. The man, admittedly drinking, went outside, stumbled and fell, and woke up an hour later with a disturbing memory of being tied to a cold slab, surrounded by little grey people and having a giant needle thrust at him.
The man had not been the least interested in UFOs prior to the experience, but has since believed he was abducted, Mitchell said.
Another Brantford occurrence involved the May sky sighting of two round, dark grey spheres by a man and woman walking a dog on the grounds of W. Ross Macdonald School.
Mitchell said he believes the UFO experiences reported to MUFON and those shared at Monday's meeting are "only a drop in the bucket" of what is out there.