Form: 97 UFO Report
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2006 13:34:58 -0400
From: Don Ledger <>
Subject: The Smith Brothers Close Encounter  Shelburne, Nova Scotia; Nov. 25, 1970

Cat: 3
To: Francis Ridge <>

(Note: Documentation for this case can be found in the Case Directory - Fran Ridge)

<>The report below comes from Maritime UFO Files and is also reported in Dark Object by myself and Chris Styles and is supported by both my own and Chris Styles investigation and RCMP reports. There are two sightings of the same object at the same time from two locations separated by about 10 miles. One is a civilian sighting and another by a Cpl. in the CAF at radar base Bacarro.

That Military and to a much lesser degree RCMP reports reduce most UFO sightings to the basic facts [and probably rightly so] is no more evident than the report we are about to delve into now. I know this to be true because I have interacted with and interviewed the majority of the people concerned with the report.

The RCMP report states that while on patrol at 9:50 PM on the night of November 25 Constable Ralph Keeping was contacted by Lawrence Smith of Lower Shag Harbour. Smith reported that he and his brother Manus Smith had been driving on old Highway 3 near the western Bear Point turnoff when they encountered some lights in the sky.

The lights were between 30 and 50 feet in the air and described as being twenty inches in diameter, and reddish-orange in color which suddenly disappeared without moving. The incident lasted twenty seconds during which the tape player in the car had stopped and then the car engine had stalled while the car was moving at about 45 miles per hour. They said that the second light on the left had gone out and then lit up again at least once.

Constable Keeping mentions that he went to the area and had a thorough look around and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

What proceeds is pretty much how the report reads. The actual event however is much more involved than could be conveyed in a police report. Consider this. Not more than twenty-five minutes before the incident, Charles and Manus had been speaking with Ralph Keeping at a hardware store. They had been trying to locate Manus’ daughter who had not returned from school earlier that day and had not informed her family where she would be going after school. As well, Charles had discussed going deer hunting the next morning with Constable Ralph Keeping since they were friends and had been hunting a fishing companions for some five months.

Lawrence recalls picking up some rifle shells at the store then he and Manus leaving for Lawrence’s home in Shag Harbour. Ralph watched them go then did a tour through some of the local roads. Twenty five minutes later while standing near a store on Highway 3, Keeping was surprised to see Lawrence’s car pull up along side of his cruiser and a highly excited pair emerge from it.

Keeping remembers having to take a few minutes in which to calm the two brothers down in order to get the gist of their story. The Mounties recalls, that this was the first time he had ever seen Lawrence in such a state. Lawrence was not one to rile easily or to show much in the way of emotion. He was a fisherman and owner of his own boat and used to taking on the North Atlantic on its own terms, and so did not ruffle easily. So Ralph Keeping was surprised at Lawrence’s agitated state and took very seriously what the men had to tell him.

Apparently after they had left Keeping at the hardware store they had continued toward Shag Harbour and talked of the hunt the next day. They were only ten minutes into the short trip back to the “Harbour” when they came around a corner at a point about 100 meters east of the western turnoff to the Bear Point road. Something was laying across the road in front of them.

Lawrence recalls that at first sight he thought he was seeing a semi-tractor trailer strung across the road in front of him and he was seeing the riding lights on one side of it. But it was all wrong. The lights were too big and besides though the lower part was across the road the right side of it was angled upward into the night sky 60 to 80 feet [18 to 24 meters]. This whole impression was perceived in a fraction of a second. Caught off guard they were heading straight for it. A collision seemed assured.

Before Lawrence could react and get his foot on the brake, three things happened simultaneously. The tape deck stopped, the engine died and the car slowed to a halt, almost Lawrence remembers, as if it and they in it, had plowed headlong into a huge mound of jello. He remembers feeling as if he was being gently pushed back into his seat by some unknown force.

Dumbstruck and in an almost suspended state the two brothers watched the lights in front of them for some seconds. They flashed, and behind them Lawrence thought he could detect a large dark mass. The right end of it seemed to lift a little higher in the sky then, suddenly, it vanished. The engine started up on its own and the 8 track came back on. Lawrence had to step on the brake to stop the car from going ahead on its own.

The brothers sat for a moment, trying to reconcile what they had seen with their own experiences in the past- a common enough reaction after this type of encounter- before staring at one another with incredulity. Then they turned the car around and went looking for Ralph Keeping.

Ralph Keeping related to me two pieces of information during an interview I had with him in the early Fall of1997. First that on the occasion of the funeral of Lawrence’s wife some years later, Ralph had come back to the area from his new posting to pay his respects. He mentioned that as distraught as Lawrence was during the funeral services for his wife, he was that upset after the incident near the Bear Point Road. Second, that for a period of over a year, neither brother would travel that stretch of road, preferring rather to go around the loop of the Bear Point road adding on nine kilometers to avoid a three kilometer stretch.

Lawrence mentioned to me once, that there had not been a day that had gone by that he didn’t think of what happened that night, it had affected him that deeply. Whatever happened to the two men that night, the details reported do not seem to support the amount of trauma it caused them. But then the events do not appear to have been isolated.

Records indicate that another event involving an identical craft occurred at the same moment in time some 18 kilometers to the southeast of the Bear Point road area in Smithville which was 4 kilometers north of Canadian Forces Station, Barrington-better known as Baccaro Radar.

At 9:15 AM on the morning of the following day, the 26th, Cst. Keeping received a call from Colonel Calvin Rushton, CO at CFS Barrington. His request, considering his position and his job as the CO of one of the many links in the NORAD complex, charged with the responsibility of one of the two radar sites reporting to Syracuse sector in eastern Canada, was an odd one. He asked Keeping if he had had any reports of UFO activity the previous evening.

Keeping responded that as a matter of fact he did have a UFO sighting the previous evening. Col. Ruston informed Keeping that one of his men had reported to him earlier that morning that he had had a sighting over in Smithville. Upon comparing notes they discovered that the two sightings were very similar both in their time frames and the description of the UFO.

The Mountie made a patrol to CFS Barrington where he met with Col. Rushton who supplied him with the names and addresses of the witnesses on the Smithville incident. The principle witness in this case was Corporal Timothy Nielson, who had reported it first to Col. Rushton.

Cst. Keeping interviewed Cpl. Nielson shortly after the meeting.

Nielson told Keeping that he and his girlfriend June Smith and her mother Cathlene Mary Smith were out driving in his car. All of them sighted an object at about 9:40 PM the previous evening over Smithville. It was composed of four, reddish, orange lights stretched out in a perfect straight line in the sky to the northwest of him. He stated that the most southerly light would have been at the highest altitude because all of the lights were at a 20 degree slant from the horizontal. Each light, he said was about 18 inches in diameter and perfectly round with no light reflecting off them.

Keeping went to the home of Cathlene and June Smith [not, incidentally, related to the Smith brothers] and interviewed them about the sighting. Though their accounts of the UFO sighting agreed with Nielson’s they added some additional information. They remembered the lights as being about 300 to 400 feet [ 91 to 122 meters] away just over the tree line and that one of the two center lights went out then came back on again. They watched the lights for some thirty seconds before they sank out of sight behind the trees.

Again, the report is sketchy on any human involvement or at least how the witnesses felt about the sighting. In 1997 during a conversation with Col. Rushton, now retired, he said that what impressed him the most about Cpl. Nielson’s sighting was the Corporal’s high degree of agitation concerning the sighting. It had frightened him and affected him very much. Col. Rushton said that he believed that Nielson had seen something that had shaken him and that as his commanding officer had no reason not to believe him.

We come to a small item that has continued to bother me as an investigator since I first became aware of it. But first let me remind the reader of the sightings during the Shag Harbour incident. If you have not already done so perhaps now you will be reminded of the similarities between the objects sighted in the sky then and those reported 3 years later in November of 1970. I am also assuming that the reader has not missed that fact that Lawrence Smith was the captain of one of the first two fishing boats to go out on the Sound in search of survivors when the object went into the waters off Shag Harbour. The small detail that I find intriguing is that the witnesses in each case describe the size of the lights as being about 18 or 20 inches [45-55 centimeters] in diameter. I wonder how they are able to come up with such detailed sizes considering the distances from which they view the object. Even the Smith brothers sighting was done from a distance of over one hundred feet, [30 meters] and without a frame of reference, how can one be sure. Was that an estimate . . one from 30 meters, another from 122 meters and still another from 3 to 4 kilometers? Yet that light size keeps popping up.