Research and Investigation into Anomalous Light Phenomena
on and over Lake Ontario, Ontario, Canada

The Unexplained Objects

"Gateway to Oblivion - The Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle"

Copyright 1980 Hugh F. Cochrane
ISBN: 0-385-15376-7
Library of Congress Cat #79-7597

Included here are some quotes from the seventh chapter of Hugh Cochrane's book, "Gateway to Oblivion, the Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle." The book was published in 1980.

The book is extremely difficult to come by, but a few copies have been located at public libraries in Ontario. I have extracted excerpts from the seventh chapter of the book so that people can see that this anomalous activity in the area of Lake Ontario is not something new.

"Since the early 1960s there has been a dramatic upsurge in UFO sightings throughout the region, particularly in the nocturnal-light variety of UFO."

(I have inserted a map of the more western part of the region here for the convenience of visitors to our website who are not familiar with the area. Ottawa is on the far eastern edge of the province of Ontario, and not on this map.)

Extract from book:

"The following cases demonstrate only a small portion of this activity.

Probably the first celestial object that catches the attention of most people is the moon. But it was not the moon that gripped the attention of a young couple around 9.30 p.m. on a mild August evening in 1965. Parked near a reservoir outside Ottawa, Ontario, they were startled by a brilliant light. When they looked up they saw a glowing object descending toward the reservoir. On the underside were what appeared to be four searchlights, which were illuminating the whole area.

When the object got within twenty feet of the surface of the water, it halted and hovered........

The UFO investigators who looked into this case and questioned the couple (who requested that their names not be used,) noted in their report that the site was near a quarry and that there were high-tension lines nearby. In many UFO sightings there seems to be some relationship between UFOs and power lines or quarries. Just what this relationship is has never been determined.

In August and again in October 1966, residents of New York State from Sodus, on the edge of Lake Ontario, to Port Gibson, twenty-five miles to the south, observed a brilliant light that hovered and moved about the area before heading northeast out over the lake. In one location the light was seen hovering for thirty minutes. During this time witnesses reported that the light oscillated, flashing red and green and white before the object moved off over the lake.

State police said that, during the sighting, reports began coming in around 8 p.m. and continued until 8.30 p.m.

At 10.30 p.m. on June 17, 1968, Mr. X, an alderman for Scarborough, Ontario, and his wife, stepped from their car in their driveway in time to see a huge orange globe of light pass over their house just above treetop height. During the five minutes they watched this object, it seemed to be breaking up, and bright orange chunks appeared to fly off. These chunks would glow brightly, vanish, then reappear, still glowing, only to vanish again seconds later.

The alderman's house is within a few hundred yards of the edge of Scarborough Bluffs on the shore of Lake Ontario. The object moved forward, paused to hover and rise, then moved ahead again as it followed the edge of the bluffs and finally disappeared in the distance.

The couple entered the house at 10.45 p.m. and their son, who had been watching from a window, spotted a second glowing orange object coming from the east on the same course as the first, but at a slightly higher altitude. As it repeated the manuevers of the first object, the couple and their son had an opportunity to compare it with a commercial aircraft that flew overhead. Although the plane was at a much higher altitude, the couple felt that the pilot must have seen the brilliant object because there was no moon in the sky. However, no such confirmation was received when they contacted the Toronto International Airport. This second sighting lasted for approximately five minutes before the object disappeared over the lake.

By 11.20 p.m. the family had put the matter aside for the time being and had settled down in their living room to finish off some paperwork related to their business. Within minutes the alderman's wife called out as she glanced out the window and saw a third glowing object coming from the same direction.

This one was even lower than the first two - almost at treetop height. It was also huge compared to the first two. The alderman estimated that this one measured two to three inches on a ruler held at arm's length, and at this time the object was approximately a mile away. This would make the object over one hundred feet across.

Taking his binoculars, the alderman ran to the backyard and climbed on a three-foot wall for a better look. However, the object was moving faster, and he was only able to hold it in view for three to four seconds before it pased by and went below the level of the trees.

Alerting one of his neighbours and telling him there was a UFO over his house, the alderman ran to the end of the street near the bluffs where he was joined by two teenagers who had also been watching the objects. From then until it was completely lost from view, the trio took turns watching the object through the binoculars.

This third object was described as being very round, large and flat. The underside appeared to have a central hub and spokes, which appeared dark against the rest of the craft. It was giving off an intense yellow-orange colour that seemed to be coming from inside the object. It was also noted that the bright glow did not reflect on the rooftops or trees as the UFO passed over. Nor did it pause to hover and rise as did the first two. None of these objects made any sounds and none had any signs of clearance lights which conventional aircraft have.

All told, some twenty individuals witnessed these strange globes of light. Their agreement on what they saw rules out any suggestion of imagination on the part of the witnesses.

In a communication from the alderman in January 1978, I was told that he had been contacted by the U.S. military with a request for a complete report on the sightings. This was followed by a similar request from the Canadian military authorities. In both cases he was assured he would be contacted after investigations had been completed. To this date, ten years later, the alderman had heard nothing from them.

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.

When local UFO investigators learned of the incident they checked and found that no weather balloons had been released in that area, nor were there any other aircraft aside from those mentioned.

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 13, 1975, a woman (name withheld for privacy,) who was driving along the shore of Lake Ontario at 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 were gold-coloured, and above these were two more lights 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 the lights and added that, during the time when the lights had been near her home, the family dog had cowered in fear.

Another UFO sighting was made at Toronto's east end Beaches district. The objects were seen by two adults and several children from a pier on the beach at around 11.30 p.m. (20th March 1975.) They were described as golden-coloured and were seen travelling west down the lake and over the shore. At the time of the sighting the moon was visible, and one of the objects approached the observers and hovered for a short period before moving on. The witnesses described this one as appearing to be the size of the moon and exhibiting red and green lights. This one also shot off to the west at high speed.

During this sighting an aircraft passed by, allowing the observers to make a comparison of its lights to those of the UFO. But the hovering and the sudden high-speed maneuvers made the witnesses certain they were not observing any conventional aircraft.

Twice during the following week phantom lights put in an appearance. These were made during the evening hours close to the atomic power plant at Pickering on the shore of Lake Ontario between Toronto and Oshawa. In one of the sightings residents in the area observed the lights as they hovered near the shore and as they passed over the generating plant. More than a dozen UFOs were counted passing overhead or maneuvering out over the lake.

The next sighting occurred around 6.30 p.m. and lasted until 11.45 p.m. At this time the lights were observed by five ambulance drivers, a police officer, and two radio newsmen. Before it was over it had lasted six hours. In this sighting they were described as multicoloured pulsating lights - blue, yellow, red and green - but it could not be determined if they were attached to any sort of craft. When they were examined through binoculars it was obvious they were not stars. The sightings were made from a point one and a half miles back from the shore and just east of Ajax, Ontario. At times the lights appeared to be just above the lake and moving to the west at a very slow pace.

By April 5, the strange lights were being observed just east of Oshawa. This time a salesman sighted a cluster of coloured lights as they travelled down the lake to the west. They were moving too rapidly for the man to get his binoculars to get a better view of them, but the sighting stirred his curiosity so much that he kept a close watch on the lake for the next few nights to see if the lights would make a return visit. On the eleventh his vigilance paid off when he sighted a small cluster of lights a half mile above Oshawa. Within minutes he called the police and the local newspaper editor. A police officer and the editor arrived at his home and together they watched the phenomenon for over an hour.

In the meantime, scanty newspaper reports showed that the lights were back in the southwest corner of Lake Ontario again. The reports aroused a young photographer and on the evening of April 8, Peter W set up his camera on the shore of Niagara-on-the-Lake and took a photograph on a five to six minute exposure of the lights as they performed over the water. The photograph shows several unusual lights streaking back and forth in independent maneuvers. In this photograph nearby tree branches and the skyline of Toronto, along with the eighteen-hundred-foot tall CN Tower on the opposite side of the lake, were clearly outlined and unblurred.

Analysis of the Image - ©Harry B. Picken, B.Sc.,P.Eng.

The photograph was made between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and a local UFO investigator, who called Toronto International Airport, learned that there were no commercial aircraft in that corner of the lake during that time. Even if there had been the streaks in this photograph indicated abrupt halts and sharp turns that no aircraft built today (1980) could make.

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.

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."