USOs: The Shag Harbor and Sognefjord Incidents

Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs) have been seen around the world through much of history. Not the stuff of myth and legend, many staid and sober citizens have witnessed these craft rising from the waters around them or descending into them after a journey through the sky.

In this post, we’re going to discuss the most compelling sightings of USOs in the 20th century. But first, let’s recap a few points that were discussed in our Mermaids and Strange Undersea Noises post.

NOAA has been recording strange undersea noises for decades, the most famous of which nowadays is the one referred to as “The Bloop”. Some wondered whether mermaids could make that noise.

Well, if mermaids existed, they would be too small to make such a loud noise. So could it have been a marine mammal like a whale, or dolphins? Those animals chatter regularly and NOAA encounters them frequently in their recordings. The Bloop was heard once – so it’s probably not an animal.

What about other undersea noises: volcanoes, earthquakes, tectonic plate activity, geysers and vents, gas bubbles erupting. NOAA has recordings of them all, and they don’t match The Bloop. Mind you, they also don’t match a lot of other recordings that they’ve captured over the years. So what else could be making these noises?

The military? No matter whose military it is, we’re unlikely to ever learn about what they’re up to! Period. However, the Bloop originated at such a deep depth and was so loud to have traveled 3000 miles, that is seems unlikely to have been of human origin. Remember, mankind is unable to travel to the depths of our oceans yet, except for maybe once or twice in a death defying descent into the Marianas Trench. So it’s highly unlikely the military were down that deep making noises.

In my last radio broadcast, I mentioned that during the Cold War, the Soviet navy recorded an underwater  “object” traveling at 125 mph. They couldn’t figure out what it was, and it obviously wasn’t torpedoes as they all survived to tell the tale! The technology during that time was absolutely unable to travel that fast under water, and to my knowledge that is still the case.

So what were these objects? These unidentified submerged objects?

Two recorded incidents from the mid to late 20th century are the most highly regarded episodes in my mind because of the number of credible witnesses and the length of the sightings and the events surrounding the sightings.

We’re going to discuss the USOs seen off Shag Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the sighting seen off the coast of Norway in the Sognefjord (sounds like “Sonya fee yord).

Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada

Shag Harbor was a tiny fishing community back in 1967 filled with hard working no-nonsense people. The name Shag referred to the bird by the same name, a member of the cormorant family, that thrived in the area around the harbor.

On October 4, 1967 around 11:20 pm Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT) Laurie Wickens and four of his friends saw something strange falling out of the night sky towards Shag Harbor. They were on Highway 3 when they spotted the large object entering the harbor waters. They quickly drove to a better vantage point and joined other witnesses. They all saw the object floating 820-908 ft (250-300 m) offshore in the harbor looking towards the Gulf of Maine. Wickens called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and reported that they had seen a large airplane or small airliner crash into the Gulf of Maine.

RCMP Constable Ron Pound witnessed the lights himself as he drove down Route 3 responding to the call. He reported seeing four lights attached to one flying craft that he estimated was about 60 feet long. Police Corporal Victor Werbieki accompanied Pound and together with local residents, they saw a yellow light moving slowly on the water, leaving a yellow-orange-ish foam in its wake.

Within minutes other RCMP officers arrived on scene also concerned for survivors. The officers contacted the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Halifax to advise them of the situation and to inquire if any aircraft had been dispatched or were missing. At this point, the object began to sink and disappeared below the waves.

Within a half hour the officers had assembled a rescue mission. Local fishing boats hurried to the crash site looking for survivors. About an hour later the Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue cutter joined the search. No one found any survivors, any bodies, nor any debris.

The next morning authorities received confirmation that no airplanes were missing. The Rescue Coordination Center in Halifax confirmed that “all commercial, private, and military aircraft were accounted for along the eastern seaboard, in both Atlantic Canada and New England.”

After that the RCC Halifax notified the “Air Desk” at Royal Canadian Air Force headquarters in Ottawa that there had been a crash in the waters of Shag Harbor and that all conventional explanations such as aircraft and flares,  had been dismissed. The incident was labeled a “UFO Report”.

Soon after the head of the “Air Desk” notified the Royal Canadian Navy headquarters of the situation and recommended that an underwater search be mounted. The Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic was tasked with performing the search.

What Divers Saw

Finally, two days after the crash, a detachment of RCN divers assembled at the crash site. The divers combed the seafloor on the Gulf of Maine off Shag Harbor looking for an object, but found nothing.  The official report into the incident ends here.

Let’s consider, this craft was still moving, at least to a certain extent when it sunk, or submerged. Just because it was no longer in that spot, doesn’t mean it hadn’t been there.  According to the local residents  who had witnessed the crash, the craft hovered over the water before entering it. So saying it “sunk” isn’t accurate. The witnesses saw it hover, then enter the water and that’s a subtle but important difference.

So the official search was over, but as witnesses later attested, more people were searching for that craft.

More Search Ships Join the Fray

It seems that following the official investigation, a highly secretive search continued that involved a “small flotilla” of RCN and US Navy ships. They were situated about 31 miles (50 km) NE of Shag Harbor near HMCS Shelburne which is/was a top secret submarine detection base jointly operated by both navies as part of the Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS).

I’m not sure where the following data comes from, but it may be from the History Channel’s documentary about the incident because they interviewed a lot of people who had been involved with this search prior to the show’s airing on August 10, 2006.

One military witness said he was briefed that the object had originally been picked up on radar coming out of Siberia. After it “crashed” into Shag Harbor, it traveled 25 miles underwater along the coast until it came to rest – if you can believe this – on top of a submarine magnetic detection grid off the HMCS Shelburne!

Now in case you’re thinking this was probably a Soviet submarine or one that belonged to another nation, let’s be clear. The last place they will want to be is on top of a submarine detection grid!  This craft clearly didn’t care. I have to wonder, could it have been using the magnetic field for some reason?

According to this military witness Navy ships had surrounded the original craft supposedly trying to recover it.  Divers went into the water and photographed the craft and brought up some yellow foam debris that was coming from the craft. At that point, the USO was joined by a second craft.  At that point the Navies monitored their activity because they believed the second craft was rendering aid to the damaged craft. Wouldn’t you love to know what the navy was observing? There has been talk that “beings” were seen inside these ships.

In a book titled Dark Object by Chris Styles and Doug Ledger, an American diver known only as “Harry” is quoted as saying these photographs were taken of the craft by Navy divers who also retrieved samples of the yellow foam. So Harry’s testimony corroborates this other witness’ testimony.

The authors further report that yet another military witness said there were two objects and one may have been trying to assist the other. At that point a Soviet Navy submarine was detected entering the waters off NE Nova Scotia, so the naval ships had to leave to attend to that infraction. When they returned, the crafts had left the area near the HMCS Shelburne.

Also on the night of October 11, witnesses near the original Shag Harbor crash site reported seeing an identical UFO leaving that area. So it seems that after the Navy ships were called away to intercept the Russian submarine, the two USOs traveled back to the Gulf of Maine, broke the surface, and disappeared into the night.

An interesting sidebar: The History Channel program from 2006 interviewed a diver involved in the original search back in Shag Harbor. They checked his credentials to be sure he was legitimate. This diver wanted to remain anonymous and has to this day. He said that by the time he and his fellow divers reached Shag Harbor, they knew nothing would be found there because the craft had already moved off the coast to Shelburne. He added that the objects (note the plural) were monitored by radar and sonar the whole time they were underwater by the RCN, RCAF, USAF, and USN. The united agencies monitored the crafts for three days.

Unidentified Paperwork

Not surprisingly, there is precious little documentation to support any of this, especially the details shared by the unidentified military personnel.  Canada’s Department of National Defense officials stated that this sighting remains unsolved. Two government documents state that conventional explanations had been ruled out before beginning the search for the craft. Not surprisingly, the military is keeping quiet on what it did find, if anything.

Press Coverage in the Aftermath

The Chronicle-Herald ran a story on October 12 of another sighting of what seemed like an identical UFO departing the area the night of October 11, one week after the initial crash. “The report came from Lockland Cameron, Woods Harbor, only about one half mile north of the first sighting. Cameron said that he, his family, and relatives had all witnessed the object. Their attention was initially drawn by interference on the TV screen around 10 pm. Cameron went outside to investigate and noticed six bright red lights, about 55 to 60 feet in length, at an altitude of between 500 to 600 feet, and about three quarters of a mile off shore. It sat in a stationary position for 7 to 8 minutes and then disappeared. When it reappeared, only four orange lights were showing and seemed to be at a 35 degree angle. An hour later, a string of yellow lights appeared rapidly departing to the northeast. The RCMP investigated and found Cameron to be ‘sober and sincere’”.

Then on October 14, the same paper ran its final editorial on the incident. It read, “numbers of people have described similar objects on at least two occasions. They are agreed upon such essentials as lights, length of the object or objects, and its speed. In the second, there were some physical evidence – that orange-ish foam discovered by searchers – which gives yet more credibility to the sightings. Imagination and or natural phenomena seem to be the weakest, not strongest, of explanations. It has been a tough week for skeptics.”

Norway’s USO in the Sognefjord

Let’s start with some facts about the Sognefjord to help set the scene for what eventually occurred there.

  • The Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, second largest in the world.
  • Runs 127 miles (205 km) long and heads inland to town of Skjolden.
  • Maximum depth is 4291 ft (1308 m) and that’s found inland.
  • Near the mouth of the fjord, adjacent to the sea, there is a sill (rise in the sea floor) that sits 330 ft (100 m) below sea level.
  • Cliffs surrounding the fjord reach heights of 3300 ft (1000 m) or more.
  • According to one tour guide, most fjords are deeper than the adjacent sea.

These facts will become more significant as the story unfolds, so let’s begin:

How it Started

The Norwegian Navy and some NATO forces were involved in a two week long observation and pursuit of a USO beginning November 12 through November 22, 1972. In all, about 30 naval vessels participated in the search of the Sognefjord.

It’s unclear how the incident began. Some say that it started with the sighting of a Russian U-boat (submarine). Others say an unidentified craft was witnessed flying then disappearing below the water’s surface.  On the 13th, two unidentified witnesses reported seeing a “bright object” on the water. Generally speaking, most reports say that a fast moving vehicle was picked-up (presumably on radar) off the coast of Norway. Remember, this was during the Cold War and tensions were running high especially in regards to the Soviet Union and its intentions.

Somewhere along the way it entered the waters of the Sognefjord where the Norwegian navy began to track it. Specialized “sub hunter” helicopters even joined the fray. Soviet submarines, or U-boats, were previously seen in the fjord, and in all areas around the Norwegian coastline, so the Navy was familiar with seeing them and trying to force them to surface. To date, the navy had been unable to force a U-boat to surface.

However, whatever data they collected from radar and sonar tracking of this USO remains a secret. I think what is clear is they soon learned it wasn’t a Soviet submarine, but an unidentified craft.  It wasn’t until November 20th that it was seen at the surface of the water and described as a massive, silent, torpedo shaped craft. The navy fired at it, but it dove into the water again. So they fired depth charges at it – to no avail.

Nearing the end of this encounter, the navy decided to blockade the fjord. Now this is where the shallower depths at the mouth of the fjord play into the story. It’s easier to manage operations in more shallow water (330 ft), rather than deep (4000+ on the inland side).

If there had been a Soviet vessel in the water, it would have been trapped. A craft that could also fly, would not have been.

November 20th at 1 pm, a U-boat was seen heading toward the fjord’s southern tip. Then fifteen minutes later , five police officers saw it at Kvamsoy, a small island about 31 miles (50 km) north of Kyrkjebo. If they were seeing the same object, it would have had to travel at 124 miles per hour (200 kph)  – an impossible feat given the technology of the day. At the island, some frigate ships dropped mines on the USO, seemingly without affect.  (Remember in the Mermaids program that the Soviet submarines were tracking undersea objects traveling at 125 mph, that they couldn’t identify?)

The night of the 21st, four witnesses saw four “rockets” shooting from the water at Hermansverk. The rockets were silent and looked like small red balls of light.  On the afternoon of the 22nd, the navy fired an antisubmarine missile at the intruders. At that point the water’s depth was 82 feet (25 meters) so it would have caused a tremendous shock wave from there up to ten miles away. A conventional submarine would have been severely damaged and required to surface. The craft being tracked was unscathed.

Throughout this two week episode, reports came in of aircraft experiencing unexplained electronic problems, yellow and green objects were seen flying along a mountainside, navy vessels registered sonar contact with something in the deep water. Surveillance craft witnessed unidentified objects that executed breakneck maneuvers even during fierce storms.

Eventually, the USO disappeared and the navy abandoned the search. Where did it go? Most reports indicate it must have taken off into the sky and avoided the blockade altogether.

What to Make of This

There may have been a Soviet submarine in the fjord at or around the time the USO was found there. The Norwegian navy had a lot of experience dealing with the Soviet subs. There had to have been something else there given the eyewitness reports, the police reports, and given the behavior of the Norwegian navy.

Remember in the Shag Harbor incident, the Canadian navy finally had to leave to deal with a real Soviet submarine – these guys KNEW what a Soviet sub looked like on radar and sonar. They were all tracking something else, some other craft, a USO. And you can bet the Norwegian navy knew the difference too.

Taken with all the witness accounts, the familiar stories of seeing balls of light, like probes or sensors of some kind, cigar shaped craft – these reports echo what witnesses of UFOs have reported for decades, if not longer.

I think both these incidents are compelling evidence that something is exploring, possibly living beneath the vast waters on Earth.

Fact Check

Let’s review a few facts that showcase why human beings and their vehicles cannot be mistaken for USOs.

Marianas Trench: This is the deepest part of the world’s oceans in the West Pacific near the Marianas Islands. The trench is 1580 miles long (2550 m) and approximately 7 miles deep (11 km). The temperature at the bottom of the trench varies between 33-39 degrees F (1-4 degrees C).

Crush depths: This term refers to the nasty fact of life that if we humans and our vehicles venture too deeply into the ocean, we’re going to be crushed to death. Even today, science doesn’t have the technology to allow humans to explore these incredibly deep areas of the oceans.

Amount of Water: Earth’s surface area is 197 million square miles.  More than 2/3 of it is under water.           300 million trillion gallons of water.

Verdict Please!

With all that area to hide and operate, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we have either extraterrestrials visiting our waters, or perhaps they are earthlings that developed here long before we did.

In an interview, Stanton Friedman was asked if there was more proof for the existence of USOs. He said something to the effect that he was SURE the navies of the world know a LOT more about them, but aren’t willing to share.

So for now, the mystery remains.

What do you think?

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