After a Canadian woman witnesses a UFO landing near her home, a mysterious video tape of the event is sent to investigators.
On August 18, 1991, at around 10 PM, Diane Labenek of West Carleton, Ontario, Canada, had just put her children to bed, and her husband was out running an errand, when the dogs began to howl. When Diane investigated, she witnessed a scene that she couldn’t explain:
“I looked out the window and I saw flames out on the field, extremely red flames and lots of smoke. It didn’t look like a fire. I know what a fire looks like when you start a fire out there when the grass is very dry. If you start a fire, you will see it moving either this way, or closer to the woods. And the fire was on one spot only. I saw a ship coming down close to the flames. Right on top of the ship, I saw a blue flashing light and another light was on the bottom, very bright. I didn’t know what to do. I was looking at it for about 10 minutes or so. And then the ship went a little bit back over the trees and it disappeared and I saw all the flames turn out at the same time. I don’t think I’d like to see it again. It’s very scary. I’ve lived here for many, many years and I have never been so scared in my life.
Diane said it entered her mind to call the police, but she worried what they would think:
“What am I going to tell them? I’m going to tell them I saw flares out there past 10 o’clock at night and there was a ship up there. And they were going to say, ‘Okay Diane, that’s fine, we’re coming over.’ So that’s why I didn’t call.”
According to Diane, ten minutes after the lights blinked out, a helicopter appeared. It flew low to the ground over the field where Diane had seen the unexplained lights. After criss-crossing the area, it passed over Diane’s house and disappeared into the night. The next morning, Diane explored the empty fields around her house, searching for evidence of the previous night’s events:
“I searched everything. There were no marks. There were no spots. There were no matches, there was just nothing. The only person I told was my mom and my husband. It kind of bothered me inside for a long, long time, not to tell anybody. But when I went out on the field and I could not find anything, who is going to believe me that this really happened? So I kept it to myself.”
In February of 1992, six months after Diane’s encounter, a package from Canada arrived at the office of Bob Oechsler, one of the foremost UFO researchers at the time. The package had no return address. Inside were secret military documents, pictures, a map, and a videotape of the incident at West Carleton. According to Bob Oechsler:
“On the label was the name “Guardian.” And it was accompanied by a fingerprint. Guardian to me was an enigma, certainly nothing I had heard about in the UFO literature. So it was a mystery starting from scratch.”
At the time, Oechsler was unaware of Diane’s sighting, but he later discovered that the video accurately showed what she had reported seeing. The tape showed a cluster of brightly burning red flames, similar to flares. To their right hovered a dark, disk-like object emitting a bright glow from its underside. The object was capped by a rapidly strobbing blue light. To Bob Oechsler, the tape looked real:
“I got a sense, initially, that this was a real event occurring in a field as opposed to some prop set up in a room somewhere. I kind of had a sense I might be dealing with something that was potentially authentic here.”
The map that was included in the package directed Oechsler to West Carleton, Ontario. He went there with UFO researcher Graham Lightfoot. When they interviewed Diane, she described exactly what was in the videotape sent by Guardian:
“She had not seen a tape. She had no idea what we knew. And yet she was able to describe things that we already knew from the tape.
Dr. Bruce Maccabee, a U.S. Navy physicist and photo analyst, has studied UFOs for years:
“It’s one of the clearest videos I’ve seen that shows a structured object. There’s the beacon light, blue light evidently, reflecting down on the body of the craft, the outline of the object itself. You can see some sort of dark lines that appear, some brightness structure, indicating something generating light is hanging down below the object. It’s generating green light as well as blue light.”
Dr. Maccabee believes the tape is not a fraud:
“The section of the video which shows the object as sort of appearing over a rise is quite convincing to me as what you would expect if somebody were in the field trying to get closer to it and not knowing how close he could get. And so he turns on his camera while he’s walking. He knows he’s going to come up over a rise and see it and you can see in the video he moves further and further down until you see the whole device. Suddenly, the light coming towards him gets brighter and brighter and you get a great big diffuse reflection or image in the camera, which suggests to me that this object shined a beam, a blue beam right at him.”
Dr. Maccabee estimates the object to be 20 to 30 feet in diameter. According to Bob Oechsler, that’s too big to be a hoax:
“It appeared to be so large that it would not be logical to try to set all this up at night, under darkness. There would’ve been evidence during the day of movement of generators, of somebody hauling cables, maybe a big apparatus or something that they would’ve had to bring in there for that night. Clearly, if there was a hoax involved, Diane would’ve seen evidence of it in advance.”
Audio analysis of the tape revealed only the distant barking of dogs, probably Diane’s.
The craft itself seemed to be silent. There was no audible trace of power generators which, if the object was staged, would be necessary to run its massive lights.
Dr. Robert Nathan of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reviewed the tape in a non-official capacity. He could not explain the images or dismiss the tape as a hoax:
After the incident, low-flying helicopters cruised over West Carleton on a regular basis. The helicopters were black, green, or maroon in color. They were unmarked and had darkly tinted windows. The Canadian military denies any involvement. Where the helicopters came from and what they were searching for remains a mystery. According to Maj. N.J. Patterson of the Canadian Forces:
“The helicopters that are used in this area of Canada do not fly low in that area. There are no requirements for our military helicopters to go and fly near private citizen’s property like that.”
Bob Oechsler says the key to the entire incident lies with the person using the name Guardian:
“I think Guardian has to be connected to the event in some way. I don’t see any way Guardian could’ve just happened on to this. I don’t see Guardian as a UFO investigator. Guardian is much more involved in this than the evidence even suggests, in my opinion.”
But supposed military documents that arrived with the videotape raise serious questions about Guardian’s credibility. The papers allege far-reaching conspiracies involving UFOs, Red China, and nuclear weapons. Bob Oechsler was skeptical:
“There’s some question, immediately, with regard to the authenticity of the documentation, that it didn’t look like it was a typical government document.”
Maj. Patterson reviewed one of the documents:
“This document is clearly a fabrication. There are way too many errors in the document to make it authentic. Someone with very little effort could have come a lot closer than this.”
Included on the videotape are images which Guardian claimed show an alien being. Again, Bob Oechsler wasn’t convinced:
“Clearly, this could’ve have been someone dressed up in a costume. But that posed a major question: if, in fact, the video images of the disk were authentic, why would anyone contaminate such an extraordinary event with fake images of alien creatures?”
Although the video arrived with questionable material, many experts believe that the event shown on the tape did indeed take place. But was it a staged event or an actual craft of some sort? Bob Oechsler says that only one person can answer that question:
“This is either an extraordinary top secret flying vehicle of somebody’s government or it is of a non-human origin. Having no contact with Guardian is probably the biggest frustration to an investigation like this. We don’t know who Guardian is, what Guardian represents. We don’t know if Guardian was sent or went on his own. We have no idea what the solution to many of these mysteries are going to be. We may never know.”