As a result of some local publicity in May and June of 1998, we were informed that a photograph of several UFOs near Tagish Lake was taken some years back.
In July of 1998 an investigation led to the identification of the secondhand witness who was in possession of a slide duplicate of the image.
A copy of the slide was made, a preliminary analysis performed, the witness was interviewed and results are presented in this report.
We know that there was a total of seven objects from witness testimony. This is important since object 7 (the smallest object) is almost indistinguishable from bright reflections off the mountain rocks.
Sighting Description and Story Background
Two couples were doing some recreational boating on Tagish Lake in 1970 (approx.). Tagish Lake is a large glacial lake about 100km(60 miles) south of Whitehorse, the Territory’s capital. The two couples were travelling in two separate boats.
To respect their anonymity, we will simply refer to the two men involved in this story by their first names, Jim and George. George was in his early 50’s and Jim was in his mid 60’s around that time. Note: since the writing of this report, Jim's surviving daughter has been contacted. She has given her permission to disclose his identity.
It was about 10 am when they were travelling southbound on the lake. It was windy and the water was a bit on the rough side. Jim's boat was smaller than George's and also had an open top. George and his wife where driving in a closed and larger boat. Because Jim had a smaller boat and wanted to stay out of the roughest water, he was travelling close to the shoreline while George and his wife could afford to travel out in the middle of the lake and were about 5 to 8 kilometres back.
While travelling along the edge of the lake, Jim and his wife saw seven strange glowing orbs as shown in the photograph (Figure 1). There are four closer objects and three more further up the mountainside. Jim estimated that they were 3 to 4 feet in diameter. They moved about slowly for the estimated 15 minutes that they watched them as he and his wife traveled down the lake.
The four closer objects eventually made their way up the mountain to join the other objects. George was too far back to notice the objects and didn’t even have sight of Jim's boat. His concentration was devoted to the rough water. Jim or his wife never mentioned anything to George until the film was developed, about a week later. We can speculate that this may have been because of the fear of ridicule or disbelief. That is until Jim had the slide in hand.
Jim used slide film and made a couple of slide duplicates for George . George submitted one to the Weather Office who submitted it the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.
About a year later George was curious to find out what the department found from their analysis so he asked the person at the Weather Office to look into it. The answer he got back was that that information was classified.
Preliminary Investigation and Analysis
The analysis performed here does not come from experience in analyzing UFO photographs but rather from the viewpoint of experience with photography. Further analysis is warranted by experts in the UFO field.
On Sept 5, 1998 a field trip was undertaken to establish a more precise location of the sighting and the location of Jim when he took the photo. After some effort the location was found and a 1998 photograph was taken from the same spot using a camera with the same focal length lens as Jim used.
The UFO locations were drawn as red circles to facilitate analysis. The island in the forefront enabled us to pinpoint the witness location on a map of the area (105K). It is estimated that the 1998 photo was taken within about 10 metres (30 ft) of the 1970 photo.
Unlike the 1970 photo which was taken under cloudy conditions the 1998 photograph was taken in good lighting and therefore shows a lot more detail in the terrain. The photograph was taken at about 9:45am, about the same time of day as the 1970 photo.
Because of the higher detail some further analysis could be performed. By measuring rock formations on the island and scaling them on the photograph it was established that Jim was approximately 50 metres (164 ft) from the island. The distance of 250 metres (820 ft) from the island to the shore behind it was scaled off a map.
Therefore, the total distance from Jim to the shoreline was approximately 300 metres (984 ft). The 1998 photograph clearly shows that UFO#1 was in front of the tall spruce trees at the shore line. If we assume that UFO#1 is just in front of the trees and therefore 300 metres from Jim, we can calculate its size.
After doing the math we get a maximum object diameter of 1.4 metres (4.5 ft). This agrees well with Jim's estimate that the objects were about 3 to 4 ft in diameter. Although the objects look like dots in Figure 1, calculations show that UFO#1 would of appeared to be about half the diameter of a full moon to the witnesses.
These magnified images can give us the relative diameter and color of the UFOs. The diameter was used to assess object size and distance. The color of the objects also give us some important information. Note that UFOs 1 through 4 (the closest ones to the camera) are not in direct sunlight as the surrounding trees are not illuminated. Therefore, these objects may be glowing by their own source. The glow is of yellow and perhaps of a slightly green color. In contrast, the area around UFOs 5, 6, and 7 up on the mountainside is bathed in morning amber light from the sunrise.
The three UFOs also seem to be of a similar amber color suggesting that they may be reflecting sunlight as well. If this is true, it indicates that they are of a solid nature rather than some form of plasma. The questions remains; if the 4 closer objects were exposed to the sunlight, would they also reflect it over and above their glowing yellow color?
Did they appear to be of the same amber color to Jim once he observed the 4 closer objects join the other objects further up on the mountainside?
The testimony of the secondhand witness George sounded very sincere. George was curious about what Jim saw and photographed and added that neither him nor Jim have or have had a big interest in the UFO phenomenon.
There was no apparent reason for Jim to make up the story or to fake the photograph. Jim’s story which was related by George sounded sincere and the two were close friends. Jim was the Chief Grain Inspector of Canada around that time and therefore it is unlikely he would have risked his credibility by perpetuating a hoax.
One question which often comes up is "Why is there only one photo of the objects when Jim observed them for 15 minutes?" Of course there may have been more photos that we are not aware of but as far as George knows, Jim only had the one image.
However, during the September 1998 field trip, one possible explanation for the one photo theory came to mind. As I was holding up the UFO photo in front of me, looking at the scene, and simultaneously trying to steer the outboard motor to get into Jim's position, one thing very quickly became apparent. When I imagined what the real scene must of looked like, it almost sent chills down my spine.
Although, UFO#1 looks only like a dot in the photograph, UFO#1 would of looked " DAM CLOSE ! " in real life. If Jim wanted to at the time he could of driven the boat towards the UFO and been underneath it in less than 30 seconds and taken more photographs at very close range.
Surrounded by ice cold water it wouldn’t surprise me if he would have chosen to do just the opposite; that is, take one quick photo and continue to drive down the lake while keeping a somewhat fearful and very watchful eye on the objects
The prints were scanned using a UMAX 1220S Scanner ranging from 150 to 1200 dpi. To reduce download times, the images on this web site are not the full resolution scans.
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