In the summer of 1974 in British Columbia, Canada, three young boys were witness to a UFO landing encounter as they made their way home. Not only did they get a close-up view of the otherworldly object, but when they returned to the landing site the following day with a neighbor, they discovered apparent evidence of its presence in the form of clear indentions and even carbonized remains.
Despite attempts to report the incident to the police and the military, the incident was largely ignored. However, following a local newspaper running an article on the encounter on its front page, several UFO investigators took an interest in the case, eventually sending material from the site to be tested and analyzed.
The encounter came only months after a wave of UFO sightings throughout the United States, and indeed the world, in the final months of the previous year, many of which featured landed craft and even humanoid occupants. Whether this encounter was a continuation of those sightings or the result of an entirely different intelligence remains open to debate. The case, though, remains of interest to UFO researchers and investigators today over 50 years later.
A Bizarre Sequence Of Events On The Walk Home
According to the research files of Graham Conway, at around 8 pm on August 16th, 1974, on the outskirts of Port Coquitlam, just outside of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, 8-year-old David Bates (along with his pet cat whom he was carrying), 7-year-old Henry Stillie, and 10-year-old Steven, were returning home for the evening.  As they usually did, they took a shortcut through a small woods near the river. As they came out onto a lonely road that led to the street on which they lived, they each heard a sudden “high-pitched whine”. And with this strange noise, a bizarre sequence of events played out.
David’s cat, for example, suddenly arched its back and began struggling to be free of its owner’s arms. After several seconds David was unable to hold on any longer and looked on helplessly as the cat landed on the ground and then ran off looking for cover. However, after only several yards, the animal suddenly stopped and fell to the ground, as if it was “asleep”.
Before they could contemplate the fate of the animal further, they turned their attention to the whining sound and where it might be coming from. As they looked around, they all noticed a strange aerial object over the treetops heading toward them. The object was oval-shaped with a red light on the top and green and white lights at either side which flashed on and off at regular intervals. They all noted that it was traveling particularly slowly. Then, the object reversed its direction before heading toward a clearing near the woods, descending to the ground as it did so.
An Otherworldly Landing In The Clearing
By this point the level of the noise had increased considerably, so much so that all three of the boys were forced to place their hands over their ears. They looked on in awe as the object landed near a sandpit from a one-time commercial project. As it did so, the noise now “became a buzz” that they could almost feel in their bodies.
As all this was happening, the cat that had seemingly been “playing dead” suddenly sprang back to life, and immediately returned to David. However, when he picked it up, it scratched his arm, leaving a significant mark.
The trio was approximately 150 feet away from the now-landed object. Suddenly, a “blast of hot air” came from the object, so powerful that it covered all three boys with dust from the sandpit. They could see that the strange craft was resting on what appeared to be “short legs” that came from the underside. Then, a whirl of sand and stones lifted from the ground in the direction of the object, as if they were being “sucked toward it”. This was followed by “blue sparks” that “came up from the ground as the machine made contact”.
Immediately following the landing, Steven and Henry turned and ran as fast as they could toward their home. David, on the other hand, remained and watched events play out further.
He looked at the curious craft taking in as much detail as he could. He would later recall that the object looked similar to “two plates joined together” and had “an outline in the side like a door”. He would further recall that there was a square section on the top with “something like a chain” in the middle. None of the boys recalled seeing any windows or portholes. After several more moments, David too turned and ran home.
By the time he had arrived home, his parents later recalled how David was “hysterical and bug-eyed” with fright, with his skin looking particularly pale and sickly. He was in a state of shock and panic and took several minutes to calm down enough for him to tell them what had happened. When he did, to begin with, his parents dismissed the account as a mistaken encounter.
Steven and Henry’s parents, on the other hand, had been out when they arrived home several minutes earlier. The boys told of what they had seen to their older sister, who went to the kitchen window which overlooked the direction of the sandpit where the boys claimed the object had landed.
She would later recall that as soon as the boys arrived, they immediately began securing the locks on every door and window. Much like David, the two boys were worked up into a state of panic – something which frightened their sister somewhat. She eventually managed to calm them down enough for them to tell her fully what had happened. She would later draw a sketch of the object based on their descriptions.
No further strange events unfolded after that, and both of the boys’ parents were happy to forget about the encounter as nothing at all.
The Involvement Of Lola Rogers
Despite the boys not being believed when they told of their encounter, the following morning they happened upon one of their neighbors, Lola Rogers. They told her of what they had seen the previous evening, and she was much more sympathetic with the account. So much so, that she offered to return to the landing site with the boys and take a look.
To their amazement, they discovered several indentations in the sandpit exactly where the boys said the object had landed. Furthermore, they discovered several “carbonized” areas that Lola guessed were made upon the object landing or taking off. Instinctively, she bent down to pick up this leftover material. However, as soon as her fingers touched it her entire hand went numb. What’s more, it remained in that condition for around a week.
This is an interesting detail and one that comes up in several other close encounter UFO cases. Perhaps one of the most interesting is the well-known landing incident in Delphos, Kansas, where a strange substance was left in a ring on the ground where an unknown object had landed. When the witnesses touched this substance, they too felt a numbing-like sensation.
When she returned home she placed a call to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). However, although they listened to her account, they declined to send anyone to investigate. Following this, Lola contacted the local newspaper the Port Coquitlam Herald, and they were much more willing to listen to the account.
They would send a reporter to speak to Lola and the three boys. He came away very much believing the boys had seen something unusual, not least due to the physical evidence left behind. He eventually placed a call to a military base in Chilliwack. He asked if they would send a unit to investigate and to undertake a Geiger count survey of the landing site and surrounding area. They agreed to do so and informed them they would be back in touch and send a unit to investigate. They never called and no unit investigated the area.
The Investigation Of Conway, Fewster, And Bauer
The Port Coquiltlam Herald ran the story of the landing incident on their front page. However, none of the larger newspapers showed any interest in picking the story up. UFO investigators, on the other hand, were more than keen to delve deeper into the incident. Several weeks later, the previously mentioned Graham Conway, along with Brian Fewster and Mark Bauer were just one investigative team who turned their attention to the case.
Not only would they speak to the witnesses, whom they found very credible, as well as many other locals, but they visited the landing site for themselves. And despite the time that had passed, during which there had been several rain showers, the indentations and carbonized material remained visible.
The investigators also noted that there was clearly intelligence behind the craft, given that the landing area was perfectly secluded from the local population, with a 15-foot bank on three sides of it, and by trees on the other. It was so secluded, that only if someone walked right into the area would they even be aware of the object.
The investigators also noted how close the landing site was to the main highway. They contemplated whether this location was chosen due to this fact. Perhaps, they considered, they were there to target someone specific on the highway. Of course, if there was any accuracy to this, then it would not only mean the potential occupants of the craft were intelligent, but that they could be part of some kind of predetermined abduction.
By studying the dimensions of the landing site, the investigators determined that it was likely around 20 feet across and around 10 feet high at its tallest point.
It is also worth mentioning that the team discovered the electric clock in the Bates’ house suddenly jumped forward an hour on the night in question, something that hadn’t happened before or since. Was this connected to the landed UFO? Or might it even have been due to some kind of unknown energy that surrounded David, albeit temporarily, following his close encounter?
Further Similarities With The Delphos Case
The team also took samples of the sand within the radius of the landing legs, as well as the carbonized material. They found the sand to be particularly chalky to touch, not at all like typical sand.
They sent samples of both to two different universities for them to perform tests on them. However, these tests didn’t reveal anything of consequence. There wasn’t, for example, anything to show what had caused the apparent carbonization or the chalky nature of the sand. There were also no signs of “magnetic distortions” in any of the samples or at the landing site, nor was there any evidence of burn markings on the surrounding banks or trees, all things that are usually present in such cases, although certainly not all.
One of the people who carried out tests on the carbonized substance, Tom Bennett, did offer that whatever the cause was, it would have to have been a very high degree of heat. However, even though he could replicate the condition by various tests and methods in the lab, each of them resulted in leftover material that was not present in the actual samples. He also declared there was an “abnormally high amount” of zinc in the sample.
Once more, it is worth recalling the landing incident in Delphos, Kansas, where high amounts of zinc were also present in the leftover substance. Might we consider that the intelligence behind the landed object in the Delphos case was the same as those that were witnessed by the three young boys just outside Port Colquitlam? Or might it be that the substance left behind in each case features something unique and necessary for space travel – something that will cause numbness if touched? These are certainly points worth keeping in mind.
Just What Landed, And Why?
The landing incident in Port Colquitlam remains unexplained over half a century later. It is, though, a case that remains very relevant in the drive to understand just what lies at the heart of the UFO and alien question, not least because of the many details that resonate nicely with many other landing cases on record, with the landing case at Delphos that we have highlighted here being just one.
As with all such cases, we might ask just what the purpose of this landing encounter was. Were the boys the target that evening or were they simply a coincidence that they were in the same place the UFO opted to land?
Of course, as Brian turned and ran home several moments after his friends, it isn’t known what transpired in the moments that followed the landing. Did occupants emerge from the object? Had it landed due to the need to perform some kind of repair? Were the occupants looking to obtain samples of the surrounding vegetation and soil, something that comes up more than we might think in many other landing cases? Was the landing, as the investigative team contemplated, part of a predetermined abduction, possibly of someone driving on the nearby highway?
Whether any more information regarding the encounter surfaces, or whether there are other unknown witnesses who might come forward remains to be seen. For now, though, the Port Colquitlam landing case remains another small piece of a UFO and alien picture that is still very much unfinished.
The short video below looks at some of the most interesting UFO cases.
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