©Hugh F. Cochrane
The Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle
©Hugh F. Cochrane
Having spent some interesting hours with the late Hugh Cochrane, at his home in Toronto, and on the telephone in long, fascinating conversation, I would like to include some quotes from his 1980 book "GATEWAY TO OBLIVION - the Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle."
As I reread his book yet again, finding more similarities with my experiences, it is clear that these anomalies have been seen around the lake for centuries.
In the chapter entitled "The Unexplained Objects" Hugh mentions the following incidents.
"Around 7 p.m. December 10, 1969, the sky was clear enough for the pilot of a light aircraft flying across Lake Ontario to see the lights of Kingston 170 miles to the east. He was flying at an altitude of three thousand feet and was midpoint in his flight from St. Catharines, Ontario, to Toronto Island Airport, when he noticed a bright light hovering close to the lake. The light was white and appeared to oscillate up and down with no side movement. When the pilot contacted Toronto radar, he was informed that they were not picking up a blip in that sector, but he continued to watch the light for ten minutes.
A few minutes later another small plane came into the area, and its pilot also reported the bright white light, which he watched for five minutes. At that point the light ceased oscillating and disappeared to the southeast at a very high rate of speed."
"During the summer of 1974 and on into the spring of 1975, reports of strange objects seen in the Lake Ontario region reached new heights. Some observers stated that the objects had a definite shape unlike conventional aircraft: others reported that they saw only lights that glowed brightly. In many cases the objects gave the impression that they were under intelligent control; others appeared to move randomly without apparent purpose.
Around 9 p.m. on March 13th 1975, a woman (name witheld for privacy), who was driving along the shore of Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake, caught a glimpse of a cluster of lights near the shore. At first she assumed they were lights on a sand dredge operating on the lake, but as she passed by an opening in the trees she looked again and saw that they had moved. She went around the block and stopped to get a better look and saw that the lights were too bright for a barge. The lights were arranged in a triangular pattern of red and blue with the largest light, a silver colour, at the bottom close to the water. Off to one side was another set of lights, which was gold-coloured, and above these were two morelights that appeared to rise and fall.
The brightest of all the lights seemed to sway back and forth and was at least four times larger than any of the others. At times, this light would vanish momentarily, then reappear.
Unable to figure out what the lights were, the woman went home and phoned her daughter, who also lived near the lake shore. The daughter said that she, too, had been watching the strange antics of thelights and added that, during the time when the lights had been near her home, the family dog had cowered in fear.
This sighting was confirmed by local police, who also viewed the lights while on patrol along the shore. However, there was no explanation as to what the lights were.
Around 9.30 p.m. on the night of April 9th, the wife of an aeronautical engineer sighted a group of strange lights out over the lake and called her husband, Harry B. Picken. This couple live(d) near the shore of Lake Ontario where the Niagara River enters the lake, and from this vantage point they have (had) a good view over the water. The husband ran out to the driveway, and with a pair of binoculars was able to get a clear look at the lights, which he later described as three yellow-orange globes arranged in triangular fashion. He estimated their height to be close to forty of fifty thousand feet. He stated that periodically the lights grew extremely bright and during this "blooming" they appeared much larger, then faded to almost nothing and began to grow bright again. This process was repeated time and again during the half hour that the couple observed the lights.
Picken further stated that when viewed through binoculars, each of the lights could be seen to be made up of two lights closely spaced on a horizontal plane with a slight space between them.
(This picture is one frame from my own videotape dated 17th March 1999. I think that this light configuration could be similar to that seen by Harry Picken from near his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake.)
However, at the times they faded out, they were replaced by numerous small flickering lights of various colours arranged in a haphazard fashion. During the time of the sighting, all of the objects remained in the same position. In the end they simply faded away and did not return.
As this highly qualified aeronautical engineer pointed out late in 1977, he and his friends have often watched these pulsating orange lights over the lake. He is also aware that the area where the lights are most often seen is directly under the Vector 36 flight path into Toronto's International Airport. This, he said, allows a comparison with conventional aircraft lights. Unlike them, however, these lights are closer to that produced by sodium vapour and they appear to expend thousands of watts of energy when they are brilliant.
Malcolm Williams, an investigator with the Northeastern UFO Organization, feels that the high percentage of these sightings in this one area adds support to the theory put out by Ivan T. Sanderson in his book "Invisible Residents." Sanderson suggests that the UFOs are piloted by visitors from another planet and their appearances near water indicate that these beings are using the water areas of Earth as bases for their operations.
Williams has examined maps showing the depths of Lake Ontario at the western end where the lights have been seen, and believes he has located two deep depressions joined by a long narrow channel. This, he says, could reinforce Sanderson's theory.
For the present (1980), no underwater explorations of the area are planned, and it appears that these strange lights are destined to remain a mystery for some time yet."
Here is an illustration from Hugh's book. The photograph was taken by a young student who had set up his camera at Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Harry B. Picken later sent me more information about this sighting and photography session. He also kindly provided me with a better quality print of this photograph.
I included this narration because the lights that Harry and others were seeing back in the 1970s closely resemble those which I am seeing in my own lake watches.
Hugh's book is out of print, but can be found in public libraries.
"GATEWAY TO OBLIVION - The Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle."
Copyright © Hugh F. Cochrane 1980
Doubleday Canada Limited, Toronto, Canada.