A Salmon Arm man is thinking twice about looking up into the skies.
The resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has seen unidentified flying objects to the northeast of Salmon Arm nine times in the past year and a half.
He agreed to talk to the Observer after an article ran in the newspaper in August. It was about a Lower Mainland author, Rod Drown, who had noticed a report of a sighting in Gleneden on a UFO-tracking website. The article described the sighting and requested those with similar experiences to contact the author, who is writing a book on UFOs.
The Salmon Arm man has indeed had similar experiences, not something he had wished for and events that have left him shaken.
“It’s unnerving. It kind of changes you in a way,” he told the Observer. “You have to experience a sighting.”
What he’s seen has varied, but the objects always appear to be about 30,000 to 40,000 feet in the air, in a cloudless, dark blue sky, with no birds visible.
“The first sighting I had was one large orb, shining, aluminum-like, with a shadow on the bottom. It was with five smaller orbs… They were stationary, they hovered; the large one moved in and around the other four and then came back to the original position.”
The display lasted for about three minutes, he estimates.
He explains he is ex-military, so he has knowledge of aircraft.
“There’s no aviation craft that can do what these were doing.”
Another was one large orb and two smaller ones. Another sighting involved an airplane.
“A jet was passing over and, out of the blue, an object appeared out of nowhere, going into the vapour trail, moved through it and, poof, just disappeared.”
He said the object0 stayed inside the vapour for about 45 seconds before coming out and vanishing.
In another sighting, the UFO was also metallic-looking, round, and seemed to be turning in on itself, while at the same time streaming metallic-like material that resembled a ladder.
The fifth was particularly unsettling. He had just returned a little while earlier from a flight overseas and was once again at home, looking to the northeast, towards Bastion Mountain.
It seemed like the UFO had been waiting for him.
“Oh God, here we go again,” is how he describes his reaction. “Don’t get me wrong, I get excited about it, but I think, ‘what’s next?’”
The next time a UFO was seen was similar to previous sightings.
“It was round, circular in shape, but like a cauldron of lava, it was shape shifting. It was creating something, it looked like a ladder, like aluminum fire… All of a sudden, it went triple its own size in a circular bright light. It began moving toward me at this high altitude, it had shape-shifted into rectangular – almost like a small box but a bit rectangular.”
Although he had tried before to get photos, this time he was able before it began moving towards him. Then he took shelter under his roof while it went past high above him.
“It’s been mind-changing,” he says, noting the first and second sightings were interesting, but it’s gone beyond that. “Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, you kind of go, what the hell’s going on here?”
Travis Mikulin from Salmon Arm has also witnessed strange sights in the sky.
Twice during the past three years he has seen a very bright light sitting still above Mt. Ida, the first time for about 45 minutes, the second time all afternoon.
“The first time I saw it was at night, so the light really stood out. The second time was in the daytime. The light was just as bright – that’s what really stood out for me.”
He said it might sound crazy or far-fetched, but it couldn’t have been a helicopter or anything similar.
“I have no explanation for it… It really baffled me. The light was floating in the air.”
Mikilun said he has heard stories about Mt. Ida from other First Nations people – such as it possessing a portal to another dimension.
Louis Thomas knows a lot about the legends of the Secwepemc people. He says he’s never heard stories of UFOs.
Thomas laughs when he speaks about the Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake.
“My grandmother says that must be a sturgeon. She must have seen some so she knew what they looked like.”
He said he’s heard of Mt. Ida being home to the little people, not UFOs.
“Just a few people I’ve ever heard of have seen them up there – that was a few years ago.”
He imagines they’re similar to leprechauns.
“It seems like every country has legends similar to that.”
Thomas says he respects the mountain and the little people up there. He always suggests people do a short ceremony before going on Mt. Ida – “a simple thank you for letting me come into your territory.”