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!
(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.com – 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!