Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/5/2017 (1703 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Stefan Michalak’s story about what he witnessed in the Falcon Lake-area on May 20, 1967 remained the same until the day he died.
The 51-year-old amateur prospector was prospecting that day the woods north of Falcon Lake.
"While he was there, what could only be described as a Hollywood-style flying saucer descended from the sky and landed on a rocky ridge not far away from him," said Chris Rutkowski, a Winnipeg science writer who studies UFOs.
Stefan walked up to the object and touched the side of it.
"When it left rather abruptly, it blasted some hot gas onto him as it took off. It set his clothes on fire and smoldered some of the pine needles and leaves that were on the ground," said Rutkowski.
Stefan was injured and was treated at the Misericordia Hospital. He had circles engraved onto his abdomen and become sick in subsequent days.
50 years later, his son Stan Michalak, and ‘Canada’s UFO guy’ Rutkowski have commemorated the anniversary of the encounter, dubbed the ‘The Falcon Lake UFO Incident,’ with book.
When They Appeared – Falcon Lake 1967: The Inside Story of a Close Encounter, launched last Saturday at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg. The book features three parts: Stefan’s 40-page story he handed out to media after the incident, Stan’s experience from the family perspective and research and reflections on the incident from Rutkowski.
The book, Stan said, tells the complete story of the incident, which 50 years later is classified as unexplained.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Air Force all investigated the incident.
Their final word on the incident was they have physical evidence of an event that can’t be explained, said Stan.
"The only person who did any poking and prodding after the fact was Chris," he adds.
Stan and Rutkowski grew up in the same neighbourhood and reconnected in the late 1970s when Rutkowski wanted to investigate the incident.
Interestingly enough, the pair had never visited the site in Falcon Lake together until this year. In fact, after 50 years, the visit was Stan’s first.
"Extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary," said Stan about visiting the site for the first time. "There was a lot of emotion."
Five days after the incident in 1967, Stefan was still sick. He was dizzy, vomiting and nauseated. Yet, he could still recall exactly where his experience occurred.
Stan said the RCMP wanted his dad to take them to the landing site, which meant going for a hiking adventure in the bush. At the time, Stefan’s family doctor said he wasn’t fit to do so.
"The RCMP pleaded with him and said, ‘Look. Draw us some sort of sketch, so we have reference when we go plotting around," said Stan.
"From memory, Dad drew a site map of the spot he had been. He even put a compass reference and showed the direction of flight, where they landed and distances to forest lines, the height of the rock—Everything. He put in all in there from memory."
50 years later, Stan stood on the site with the map his father drew in hand.
"Everything he drew on the map is perfect. It’s exactly right, including the compass reference," Stan said.
"He got to that site for a reason. The year before, he had gone out there and he located a few nice, rich veins of quartz. He wanted to put in a few mineral claims because he wanted to find gold and nickel."
Stefan was very familiar with the spot, but Stan said no one could find that spot until months later. It wasn’t until years later that people actually geocached the spot with Stefan’s coordinates.
"With holding that site map that he drew from memory and realizing everything was perfect, I knew he was there. There is no question that he stood on that very spot," said Stan.
"That’s vindication to me. You can talk about him making up stuff, but it’s not until you actually put your buts on the ground that you realize that’s exactly where this occurred."
Stefan was lauded by a producer of Unsolved Mysteries, who filmed the family’s story for an episode that aired in 1992, as being an extraordinary man. Stan said the producer mentioned to his dad this had to be the most extraordinary and scary thing that had ever happened to him.
"No," Stefan replied.
He then explained his wartime experiences.
"Anybody who goes through all of that life experience—why would he make up something like this?" the producer told Stan.
Stan said psychology evaluations also painted his dad in a positive light—once again, as someone who wouldn’t have a reason to make up his encounter.
Stefan stood by what he saw. He may not have hoaxed it, but he didn’t necessarily believe it was aliens.
"He never actually believed this was a craft from another world. He believed that it was an American research craft. Every time we talked about it, logic would dictate we had nothing technology-wise that was that advance in 1967, so it must’ve been other worldly," said Stan.
"Dad would roll his eyes and say, ‘well, yeah, but how do we know that? We don’t.’"
Time would go by where no one would talk about the incident, Stan said. They didn’t have a reason to. The first year after the incident was intense and every so often after that, someone would approach the family for interviews or other information.
Stefan’s account of what happened on May 20, 1967 stayed with him until he died Oct. 28, 1999. Stan said there were no death bed confessions saying the whole thing was a hoax and no one ever came forward to say they helped Stefan with the hoax.
While Stefan was in the hospital before he died, the scar tissue underneath his skin from the circles could still be felt on his abdomen, Stan said.
"In fact, one of the doctor’s at the Victoria Hospital said, ‘we found some very unusual scar tissue.’ We said, ‘yeah, we know,’" Stan laughs.