The festival saw a stellar lineup of speakers and panelists taking the stage at the Woods Harbour Community Centre during the three-day event. The festival attracted an estimated 400 people from as far away as B.C.
“I’m super excited with how everything turned out,” said Brock Zinck, vice-president of the incident society.
Chris Styles, who has been researching the Shag Harbour UFO incident since 1993, was keynote speaker for the festival, giving several presentations, including new research findings about the incident that serves to deepen the mystery, including discrepancies in the logbooks of navy ships that were involved in the search in 1967, and physical evidence in the form of a U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office reference marker, found just weeks prior to the festival on the shoreline of Bon Portage Island off the Shag Harbour coastline, in the general location of where a cylinder-shaped object was reportedly retrieved in 1967 by the lightkeeper of the day and delivered to authorities.
“It’s a teaser,” said Styles. “The story goes on.”
Then there was Captain Ralph Loewinger (retired), who was co-pilot of Pan Am flight 160 on the night of Oct. 4, 1967 on a flight from New York to London, who gave a detailed account of what he and the flight crew saw in the skies when approaching the Yarmouth area that night, and who still wonders to this day what it was they saw.
“The only things certain are that our crew did, indeed, see this light formation and it was remarkably similar to the lights reported from the ground in Shag Harbour,” said Loewinger.
Loewinger also provided a written statement from retired flight engineer Mike Littlepage, who gave a public account of his experience for the first time.
“I can only speak for myself as to what I observed and remember that night,” wrote Littlepage. “A few things have stayed with me for all these years. The size of the object which I could clearly see outlined in the diffused light of ground illumination. It was frankly frightening, the speed at which it moved up and away from us was awe-inspiring and the feeling of abject fear knowing that at any moment it could end our very existence.”
UFO experts who gave talks on a variety of subjects, a Shag Harbour UFO witness panel and an alien abduction panel were among the other festival highlights. A guided bus tour and re-enactment at the impact site involving the Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat Clark’s Harbour and the RCMP was a real crowd pleaser.
“It’s has been fantastic,” said Lisa Sooley, from Delaps Cove, who along with her husband Terry attended the festival for the first time. “Being able to hear from (eyewitness) Laurie Wickens is the best part. It’s been great. We’ve enjoyed it.”
Genevieve Paquette from Sydney also enjoyed the festival. “It has been a lot of fun,” she said. “It was exciting to hear first hand from the people who experienced it,” she said, adding the festival was well organized.
Lake Annis resident Ann Day said she was also pleased with the festival, calling it “enlightening,” especially the information that was provided during the eyewitness panel.