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Local UFOlogists say facts buried by official secrecy
By Jim Brown
Staff Writer

Believe it or not, Michel Deschamps and Jerry Pihursky are ufologists.

They believe extraterrestrial life has visited earth although a spokesperson for the North American Air Defence (NORAD) base in North Bay says most UFO sightings can be explained through natural or man-made phenomena.

Deschamps and Pihursky say the truth about UFOs is buried behind a shroud of official secrecy.

Both say they have seen UFOs in Sudbury.

Pihursky and Deschamps are detectives in a field of UFO research. Like regular gumshoes, they have their recording devices, ledgers of notes and invaluable contacts, even a camcorder that Deschamps bought in March.

"It allows me to film anything, day or night," he says.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the men visited Manitoulin Island to investigate a report of "strange markings" in a gravel pit that have been there for nearly eight months. The two markings were spherical and cannot be explained by natural causes, says Pihursky and Deschamps.

A few days prior to the discovery of the markings, last September, witnesses reported strange lights in the area, says Deschamps.

Pihursky and Deschamps are excited about their investigations and about the contacts they've made over the years, including a local man called "UFO Don", who has recorded more than 51 confirmed sightings from 1967 to 1969.

Pihursky says contacts are assured of confidentiality, and won't have to worry about "the fear of ridicule."

Though Pihursky and Deschamps are convinced they are on to something big, they don't want to give too much of a profile to their investigations for fear of "panicking the public."

They use words such as "strange markings" instead of UFO landings, to prevent a "War of the Worlds" hysteria.

Deschamps has a thick binder filled with typed notes, UFO literature, sketches of aliens and newspaper clippings. Both men are members of the world's largest organized UFO organization, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and regularly send in written reports and photos to the organization's Canadian office.

And Deschamps recently spent more than 35 minutes in a phone conversation with Stanton T. Friedman, e renowned American nuclear physicist who believes in the existence of UFOs.

Skepticism and downright ridicule are constant companions in the elusive business of tracking down UFO sightings, but the two are undaunted.

They've both experienced sightings and they've heard others describe UFOs in exacting detail.

Deschamps' first sighting was in July 1974, when he was nine years old. From his Sudbury home, he saw a "spherical, metallic-looking object" hovering near the neighborhood playground.

That year and 1975 were banner years for UFO sightings across North America. In Sudbury alone, there were reports that a UFO had almost collided with a Canadian Pacific Airlines jet.

Pihursky had also recorded a sighting during 1974, when he was traveling with a friend from North Bay to Sudbury on Highway 17 West

In 1975, phone lines lit up across the city with callers reporting sightings of UFOs above the Hanmer Radar base. The skies above key military installations throughout North America were also filled with strange lights and odd-shaped craft.

The list of people who have seen UFOs or believe in their existence is growing everyday and include doctors, lawyers, physicists, pilots, teachers, chemists, "and people from all walks of life," says Pihursky.

And people aren't willing to swallow explanations that sightings were the result of weather balloons, the orbit of the planet Venus, man-made satellites or mass hysteria, says Pihursky. One Laurentian University professor has even attibuted local sightings to "gases created by stresses in the rock", says Deschamps.

Sgt. Phil McGrath at the North American Air Defence (NORAD) base in North Bay, insists that "99 per cent" of all UFO sightings can be explained through natural or man-made phenomena.

McGrath says: "all the information" gathered from the 1974-1975 UFO flaps has been sent to the Hertzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Ottawa.

"The majority (of UFO sightings) can be explained through atmospheric conditions," such as the Northern Lights.

The Northern Life - July 10, 1991
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