That time when the UFOs stopped by

UFOYou just never know what stories you might hear when you’re chatting with folks.

For instance: at the recent pancake breakfast at the Queensborough Community Centre, an old friend of my family (from the days when my father was the minister at St. Andrew’s United Church here in Queensborough) got talking to me about my posts on the 1971 Rock Acres Peace Festival (here and here, among others). Which was all well and good, but then he suggested another topic that really got my attention: the time the UFOs visited Cooper!

Former Cooper United Church

The former United Church at Cooper.

(Cooper, for those who might not know, is a hamlet just a few miles north of Queensborough. Until its pretty little United Church was closed in 1967 (it is now a private home), it was part of the Queensborough Pastoral Charge of which Dad (The Rev. Wendell Sedgwick) was the minister. There are lots of ties between Cooper and Queensborough.)

Now, I had the dimmest of recollections from my youth of stories about strange happenings and suspected UFOs over Cooper, but I had to admit that until Norm mentioned the incident I’d completely forgotten it. I had to ask him to give me the details. Which were along the lines of:

One summer back in the early 1970s, several huge pieces of sod (turf? whatever the correct term is) were discovered lifted up wholesale from some farm fields at Cooper, and just moved! Now, who or what could have done that? And I believe the story also included some strange lights in the sky.

It seemed weird to me, as Norm told me the story, that I didn’t remember more about an event that must have been the absolute talk of the town around here. However, I’ve since figured out the reason for my lapse in memory. (And perhaps you’ll be relieved to know that it has nothing to do with my being taken aboard an alien ship and brainwashed.) A quick search on the internet revealed that the space aliens’ visit was in 1976, a year after my dad had moved on to another pastoral charge and my family had left Queensborough. So whatever I knew at the time about the UFO activity was gleaned from newspapers, not from what must have been humdinger first-hand accounts from friends and neighbours in Queensborough and Cooper.

Anyway, here’s the Canadian Press news report on the strange happenings, as printed on the front page of the Sudbury Star of June 12, 1976 (and part of a collection of Canadian UFO reports that you can find at – NOUFORS standing for Northern Ontario UFO Research & Study):

Suggest ground displaced by landing gear
Suspect UFO landed near Belleville

COOPER, Ont. (CP) – A Toronto organization says evidence collected by its researchers indicates that one or more unknown, unconventional, aircraft are present in the area of this community about 35 miles north of Belleville.

Neptune Research, a private group that investigates unidentified flying objects, sent researchers last weekend to the farm of Reginald Trotter, who reported that three large pieces of earth had been mysteriously displaced in a field sometime during the last week of April.

Harry Tokarz, co-ordinator of the research group, said members of the group found three large triangle-shaped holes in the field. Soil had been pulled from the depressions to a depth of eight inches and placed neatly about 20 feet away, he said.

Mr. Tokarz suggested the earth was displaced by a disc-shaped object at least 75 feet in diameter.

He said his group assumes some type of heavy aerial craft, possibly fitted with a tripod form of landing gear, moved the chunks of earth as it attempted to land on an angle in the field.

Mr. Tokarz said rock and soil samples have been recovered from the field and have been submitted for analysis. The group sends its samples to private laboratories because it is conducting private investigations, he said.

A spokesman for the Ontario Provincial Police at nearby Madoc said CFB Trenton asked an OPP officer to take photographs and measurements at the Trotter farm.

A spokesman at the military base said earlier this week that the OPP report was forwarded to the Meteorite Observation Centre of the National Research Council in Ottawa where the information will be filed for reference purposes.

Mr. Tokarz said investigators will remain in the Cooper area until early next week to record information and do research on other reported sightings of UFOs in the area.

“So,” you must be asking yourself, “what ever happened? What did the analysis of the rock and soil samples reveal? What did the OPP and CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Trenton make of their investigations? What the deuce moved that soil in Cooper?”

People, I do not know. Do you? Are there readers who remember this crazy incident who might have more to add to the story? Does anyone have any photos of the mysteriously moved earth? Even if you don’t remember, do you have any theories about what might have happened?

The truth is out there… Please help me tell this story!

18 thoughts on “That time when the UFOs stopped by

  1. Oh, you never know … I wonder if it was the same UFO that had landed at the art school on Hwy. 7. Here’s a video of an account of what happened (as told by someone who witnessed the UFO incident, and who was *gasp* abducted!)

      • I can’t remember how I learned about these stories, but when I found out about them, I did some digging around on the internet, and I was able to make contact with Mrs. Barton, the woman in the video. She explained a bit more about the story. It all sounds so odd to me, with the claim of being sent to Coe Hill for ten years, as part of the abduction. Oh, well, some people do take these things very seriously. I’ve visited some of her sites, but they’re all “beyond” me. The man in the video at the beginning (David Hamel) lived in the Gilmour area, and he was seriously trying to build a flying saucer. He claimed he flew from B.C. to Ontario in one, in about 10 minutes time. He has videos on YouTube. David claimed the Government was preventing him from building his saucer (yeah, and likely the bigger concern came from neighbours who were concerned about such things crashing through the roof of their houses.) Oooooo, aliens. You never know!!

    • Good gracious. I am speechless! And now I vaguely recall the IAM (Institute for Applied Metaphysics), which had some kind of connection with the Lester B. Pearson Peace Park off Highway 7 between Madoc and Tweed and was all a bit wackadoodle, if nobody minds my saying so. Ah, the ’70s…

      • Well, the Lester B. Pearson Peace Park was built on property that was owned by Roy & Priscilla Caldwell, the owners of an art school on Highway 7. The Peace Park was built at the top of the east hill just adjacent to the art school buildings. Actually, I had met some of the people from the art school, and while I was only about 14 at the time, I thought they were “out there”, so I think “wackadoodle” would be an appropriate term. As for the UFO landing, and the abductions, I’m sure it had nothing to do with artsy people who may or may not have had experiences with Lucid Strange Dreams.

  2. Two years ago we saw flairs north of our farm towards Cooper. We started to think the same thing but after investigating, it was discovered the armed forces come up here and practice war games unbeknownst to the public. I guess they actually parachute down into the forest around Cooper somewhere. Probably along empty fields by the entrance to Lingham Lake. There is always an answer. The military also practice flights up here as a plane came close to our house and barn and. I called the base up. It was the Americans practicing up here because they had no place in the states that they thought was secure. This is the route that the base practice on in the air. You never know what goes on in the sky. The Prime Minister gave them the OK to do it. That is what the base told me!!! this can’t be that secretive or they wouldn’t have told me.Anyways, keep up the good work. I enjoy your blog. You make the simplest things really interesting.
    Nancy Lou

    • That is so interesting, Nancy Lou – thank you! Gracious, who knew all this military-exercise stuff was taking place in the fields and woods right around us? And since nobody knows, no wonder people think that what they see might be caused by something unexplained. Hey, and thank you for the kind words about Meanwhile, at the Manse!

  3. I remember when there was UFO sightings. I was with my Dad and 2 of our friends hunting north east of Bannockburn. Where we saw where the sod the shape of a circle was lifted and moved over from where it originally was. I don’t think it was moved that far. But sure was moved. Not sure how many spots there was. I sure was more then one. I know wasn’t very old when we saw this. I will have ask my Dad about this the next time I am talking too him.

      • I grew up in the Belleville, Stirling area, and had relatives living in Queensboro at the time of this incident. I will also look into this and ask them about this. It would be very interesting to find out what happened to the soil samples and perhaps talk to a few of the witnesses personally, as I know of the names mentioned in the original post……I am a firm believer that humans have had help in the fields of health, technology and Physics from Extra terrestrials. How else would we increase the rate at which these fields of science have advanced in the last 50 years exponentially ? It sure as hell didn’t just pop into someones head from out of nowhere. Surely there has to be others just like us, and the simple fact that we exist in the vast universe is proof to me that the rest of the universe is full of life. It would be an awful waste of space if there was no life wouldn’t you agree


      • Hi Jeff! I would love it if you could gather any memories or information from people who remember or witnessed this very strange event back in the day. As for our place in the universe – if there’s nobody else out there, that is one immense empty space… Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?

  4. Yeah I it will be interesting hear what my dad remembers. Really I guess that is a good question what move the sod. It is cool I got to see it. Wish I would have been alittle older so I could remember more. Glad I could share what remember.

  5. My great great grandfather Tom and his brother Jack Nicol owned some land in and around Queensboro at the turn of the Century. He also owned and ran a saw mill there at one time. My grandpa KT Nicol had relatives who lived there and May have run the general store for awhile.
    I really am lucky to have stumbled on your blog. Will be checking in from time to time.

    • Hi Roger – wonderful to hear from you! And welcome to Meanwhile, at the Manse. I have been really busy of late (hey, isn’t this supposed to be summer-vacation time?) but I will try to do some looking-up in my various local-history books to see if there’s information about the Nicols of Queensborough. Do you by any chance have any photos of family members here?

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