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On a night in early October 1967, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAT, noticed what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile off the east coast of Nova Scotia. Allegedly, a team of fighter pilots scrambled to intercept it.


Given the long simmering tensions of the Cold War, many felt that a strike from the Soviet Union could be imminent. Maybe this was that attack. The incoming object might be targeting the Air Force base in Maine or naval base in Virginia, or worse, maybe it was headed straight for Washington, D.C. But just as the military readied their counterattack, something strange happened.


It appeared that the incoming target wasn't a missile at all. In fact, they weren't sure what it was. It appeared to move at an astronomical speed of 70, 500 miles per hour until it suddenly stopped in midair and hovered. The pilot stood down. If it wasn't a missile, they weren't going to engage.


Whatever this incoming target was, it merely started World War three, or at least it was an alleged near miss. Because the truth is, we don't know if the military actually mobilized that night.


Although an anonymous Air Force informant has detailed the aforementioned events officially, Norat reported nothing on their scopes.


But how could that be? That very night in October 1967, hundreds of ordinary people witnessed an unidentified flying object crash off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Their sighting spanned thousands of miles and became infamously known as the Shag Harbour incident.


So did the most advanced radar in the world really miss the incoming target, or were they part of a massive government cover up?


Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a Spotify original from past every Monday and Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth.


I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg.


And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious. Don't get us wrong. Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not.


You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other originals from Park Cast for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.


This is our second episode on The Shaggs Harbor incident after hundreds witnessed an unidentified flying object crash land off the Nova Scotia Peninsula. The Canadian government offered no official explanation as to what had occurred. Locals were left with their own theories as they continued the search for truth.


In today's episode, we'll dive into the theories behind what really happened that night. We'll explore government cover ups, underwater mysteries, Cold War tensions and a night of good old fashioned mischief.


We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. On October 4th, 1967, reports of a UFO overwhelmed FM stations and law enforcement phone banks in Nova Scotia, Canada, from commercial pilots to fishing captains to teenagers coming home from their high school dances. The bizarre light show caught many ordinary citizens off guard.


Claims of a UFO swept over the terrestrial and marine radio, but others had a much more serious theory. Locals swore that they had watched a plane crash into the sound.


But even though the Mounties, Coast Guard and naval dive teams searched for wreckage, strangely, nothing was ever recovered. The only thing they found was a bizarre, glittering foam figure, shaving cream and floating on the water above the alleged crash site.


Despite the investigation and local speculation, no one really knew what streaked across the sky that night.


And to this day, the Canadian government has offered no official explanation, which leads us to our first theory that no wreckage was found because there was never any crash landing. The Sheik Harborough incident was simply caused by a few factory workers lighting off flares for fun.


This story first began to circulate after a popular television show aired an episode covering the Shark Harbor incident on Canadian TV. Not long after the episode aired, an anonymous viewer emailed the studio with an explanation of the sightings, one that wasn't included in the TV segment.


The tipster claimed that the sightings that night were caused by three men who work the late shift at an algae processing plant just north of Chag Harbor, allegedly on October 4th. The man wanted to blow off some steam, so they let off signal flares, which are similar to the less explosive than fireworks around 10 30 p.m.


The group started their improvised light show flares arcs high into the sky.


The bright floating lights were then mistaken as the navigation lamps of a plane and their subsequent fall look just like a crash landing.


As we know, hysterical reports of an airplane hitting the water spread throughout the region. But the men involved didn't set the record straight. Why? Because they were scared.


A simple night of fun had gotten wildly out of hand. They very well could lose their jobs, so they kept their secret and let the UFO frenzy take its course. Then after the authorities got involved in the search for any crashed plane, they never mentioned their seaside shenanigans. The night shift hooligans fear they'd be held liable for the expenditure of government resources.


It sounds like a very plausible explanation, but keep in mind, all of this information came from one anonymous tipster. This person said the two of the men had already passed away by the time the episode it aired on TV. And he claimed that by now the third flare lighter was badly sick.


However, the tipster wrote that in their opinion, the remaining man could be swayed to come out. After all, they had shared their story before with the tipster themself. Perhaps the tipster themself was the culprit. Still, despite this speculation, no confession was ever made.


If these anonymous men were truly responsible for the SAG Harbor incident, they've likely taken the secret to their graves by now.


Still, on first blush, it seems as if this fler theory could provide some neat answers to the mysteries of the incident. For instance, it explains why no wreckage was ever found in the water from an object that crashed there because there was no object.


That's a fair point. But flares are at a maximum, only visible for three miles, and while they can last for up to several minutes, they can also burn out after just 30 seconds.


True, that night, the reported sightings of this flying object stretched a distance of well over 200 miles by land, another couple hundred by sea and up to 12000 feet by air. What's more, this was over the period of several hours, right?


The timing and distance of the sightings just don't fit with the Flair's visibility and duration. Plus, there were reports from not one but two commercial airline crews who saw the flying object several hours before the alleged mischief.


Yet despite the span of sightings. This theory could explain why both the Boston Air Control and Norat Station claimed to have missed the target on their scopes, flares are too small and fleeting to appear on radar, but it wasn't missed by all radar monitors.


For example, a fishing trawler known as the M. The Nickerson ping did something unusual that night. The boat was offshore from the Nova Scotia Peninsula when they first noticed some brightly glowing objects on their screens as they watched the dots pulse on their scope, something even stranger happened.


The targets stopped in their trajectory and hovered before gaining altitude. Flares simply don't behave that way.


And there's one last piece of evidence that disputes this theory. A photographer named Will see Eisner was at a beach that night over 100 miles away from where the flares were lit. There, Eisner photographed the UFO hovering in the sky. It appeared on film like an orange orb. There's simply no way that the flares were seen at that distance, much less photographed. We should mention that, according to the anonymous emailer, the men lit flares off again on October 11th, a full week after the SAG Harbor incident.


While there were some local reports of another object streaking through the sky that night, there were far fewer and only from the surrounding local areas, which implies that their initial shenanigans weren't enough to stir up the peninsula wide hysteria of October 4th.


It also seems odd that the men were so worried about repercussions from their first night of mischief that they never came forward, given that they lit flares again a few days later. That doesn't sound like the behavior of terrified employees. And this theory still leaves other questions like what caused the mysterious seafoam that appeared off the coast that night?


Well, maybe these answers can be found elsewhere. For instance, perhaps the bizarre bubbles weren't reactionary, but coincidental.


We've taken a look at what circumstantial environmental factors cause oceanic froths, because while sea foams are strange and gross looking, they're not exactly uncommon or extraterrestrial and their origins are notoriously difficult to prove.


Recurring surface bubbles can come from cyclical algae blooms like those associated with a red tide. Other causes of natural when time foams can also be attributed to a large die off of seaweed, temperature changes and even currents or the lack thereof. Any number of environmental factors could have caused the strange shaving cream like effect that night.


However, when the group of local fishermen, civilians and Mounties cast off for their search and rescue mission, they had all claimed to have never seen foam like that. The extraordinarily thick viscosity and sulfuric smell worried them if this was a circumstantial event. It seems odd that the men who traversed the Strait of Water regularly were all left awestruck by the residue.


But maybe they were so stunned by the strange foam because it wasn't naturally occurring. Fertilizer runoff and sewage spills are also known to cause foam with a sulfur like odor. Perhaps these bubbles were the coincidental result of untreated drainage.


While this explanation doesn't offer an indisputable answer for the shaving cream like substance, it does indicate that it may have been independent of the night's sightings.


I agree. And on that note, I also find that the fleer theory doesn't account for the eyewitness testimonies of the pilots, the fishing trawlers radar ping or the Eisner photograph. However, it does neatly explain the local hype and the lack of recovered evidence. For these reasons, I'm giving this theory a five out of 10.


While I understand the allure of a tidy theory, for me, it completely ignores the onslaught of reported sightings across the peninsula. The Marine radio and local stations were jammed with eyewitness reports, which remain unexplained. It's hard for me to ignore all the evidence that the flare hypothesis overlooks. That's why I'm giving it a three out of 10.


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Now back to the story. Our second theory takes a major left turn from the innocuous story of flares, which we just presented.


Instead, we'd like to explore the idea that what crashed into Chag Harbor was a piece of classified military tech.


Whether that object was Soviet or American, the Canadian government may have worked with the United States to hide what they dragged out of the water in 1967.


Tensions between the Soviet Union and the U.S. were simmering. Both sides feared that an attack was imminent. Because of this mutual high alert, Canada and the United States jointly implemented a series of long range radar stations positioned along the East Coast. These bases were designed to monitor potential threats coming from the Eastern Hemisphere.


One of these stations was only 20 miles from the objects impact point in Shaggs Harbor. But on the night of the incident, that base reportedly saw nothing on its radar scope. This is despite the hundreds of people who witnessed a glowing object streak across the sky.


Which leaves us with two possible explanations as to why this was. The first option is that the highly sophisticated, long range radar simply missed the giant object that hurled toward the East Coast from the direction of the Soviet Union.


Or maybe the radar monitors logged.


The origins for that idea go back to 1953. That year, both Canada and the United States implemented joint guidelines for reporting vital sightings of unidentified flying objects.


This agreement stated that if military personnel, commercial pilots or captains made public statements about UFOs, they could subsequently be punished with up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to thousand dollars.


The reason for this agreement was that the United States and Canadian governments were concerned that the Soviets would launch a series of harmless decoys at North America. These distractions, when reported with them, create a boy who cried wolf phenomenon and ultimately leave the U.S. and Canada vulnerable to real attacks.


All of this means that if that radar station near SAG Harbor actually did pick something up on their system, they might have been barred from reporting it to the public anyway as a result. I think it's safe to assume that the Norat radar stations saw something on the scope that night, given that a regular fishing trawler caught the object on its radar nor and just didn't report it because they sent the military to pick it up, the retrieval of the object would have been classified.


So we don't have any information about what exactly it was or where it originated from. However, we can speculate perhaps the object was an experimental American aircraft. If so, it was presumably launched from the nearby Lorang Air Force Base in Maine before a crash landing in Shaich Harbor. Once in the water, it was swiftly and discreetly recovered by the government.


But if it was a military craft, why didn't the government just go out and say that in order to quell the UFO hysteria that arose after the crash?


Here's where the other possible origin comes in. Maybe, just maybe, the object that landed in the Atlantic between the Canadian and American coastlines was a piece of cutting edge Soviet tech.


For example, a crashed experimental airplane recovered from a Cold War enemy would have given the West a major advantage. If so, concealing its landing and recovery was essential. It would neatly explain why the government kept it under wraps.


What's more, the appearance of a Soviet craft in North American airspace would have inspired a far greater frenzy and panic in the public than some UFO conspiracy theories. So the authorities had even more incentive to recover any crashed object in a clandestine way.


And if we widen our point of view a bit, this theory also explains the testimonials of the commercial airline pilots who reported a strange object hours before citizens in SAG Harbor saw something crash into the water.


However, we can't call this theory the winner. Yet there are still a few pieces of information that don't necessarily align. For instance, eyewitness accounts across the area reported the object hanging still in the sky for a short period of time. Plus, the fishing trawler, the N.V.. Nickerson watched the object hover on their radar scope.


And even if we. Accept the idea that this advanced Soviet aircraft was able to float in midair. It still doesn't explain its extraordinary speed. Both commercial airline crews and the anonymous Air Force informant saw this object going fast, far faster than any known human made aircraft, Soviet or otherwise.


Now, let's follow this train of thought even further. Aside from the impossible, speed seems even more bizarre that this aircraft left no evidence after it impacted the water in SAG Harbor.


Crews of volunteers, civilians and fishermen embarked on a search and rescue mission very soon after the crash before any governmental or military search teams arrived.


And they all reported finding absolutely no evidence if the government wanted to retrieve the crashed object before anyone saw it, they would have had to report to the scene, then secure and move the wreckage in record time.


But what if the object had already sunk from view by the time recovery crews arrived, as many eyewitnesses claimed?


Well, that means the Navy dive team had the opportunity to recover what remained of a fallen Soviet craft. From there, they concealed it from the public eye by transporting it away entirely underwater.


This theory of a crashed Soviet plane and the subsequent cover up offers an explanation for the majority of eyewitness accounts, in addition to the lack of an official explanation provided by the government. And although it is difficult to fathom the logistics of disassembling and moving an entire plane underwater, it does explain why no wreckage was recovered. For these reasons, I'm reading this a nine out of 10. I have to agree.


However, it still doesn't answer how the mysterious foam surfaced that night or how the photographer's long exposure captured a hovering object, which is why I'm giving it an eight out of 10.


Unfortunately, the only way to verify this theory would be through government sources.


And to that point, it is quite odd that a full 53 years after the incident, the Canadian government still hasn't provided any sort of official explanation in 2019. They even made something of a joke out of it.


When the Canadian Mint released a Chag Harbor collectable coin, the official piece of memorabilia illustrates the event by depicting a large flying saucer dipping into the sound, which invites the question Was the Canadian government covertly admitting to the true story with a seemingly banal piece of change?


Coming up, we'll explore a truly out of this world theory behind the Shag Harbor incident. Now back to the story.


Our second theory illustrated how the Canadian and American governments worked to cover up the water crash landing of a piece of classified military equipment. Afterwards, they offered no official explanation so as to not draw international attention.


But what if the government said nothing about the incident because the truth was so far out there that it would have been nearly impossible to believe?


This brings us to our third and final theory. On the night of October 4th, 1967, an extraterrestrial craft seemingly crash landed off a SAG Harbor. But beneath the harbor surface, the craft began operating some type of water engine. It motored up the coast where it was cornered by a fleet of Navy vessels.


Then both the United States and Canadian governments worked together to conceal it.


On October 6th, 1967, just two days after the incident, the Canadian Air Force released a memorandum which appears to support this theory quite neatly. It said that the preliminary investigation indicated that it was very unlikely the sightings at SAG Harbor were produced by an aircraft, flares, floats or any other known objects.


In other words, whatever the unidentified flying object was, Air Force investigators implicitly admitted that it could have been otherworldly.


Witnesses who were at the harbor the night of October 4th saw the objects slipping underwater. As it did so, they reported that the mysterious craft appeared to be moving under its own power, given its direction.


It looked like the craft made its way towards Shelburn, which is about 40 miles to the northeast of Shaggs Harbor.


However, in a remarkable coincidence, a flotilla of Navy vessels was stationed off of Shelburn starting the day after the crash.


What's more, this location was just offshore from a NATO submarine tracking base. At the time, the fleet was reportedly conducting military drills. However, many believe that the group of ships actually stood by to monitor the submerged object.


Once in position, teams of divers regularly entered the water from these Navy ships. What they discovered, if anything, has never been revealed.


Locals have since recalled roads being blocked off and limited access to the shoreline. The amount of restrictions indicated that there were more than military drills happening in the area. Everyone was on high alert.


And as if all that weren't enough, this is where a theory gets even stranger a few days after the crash landing.


Many speculate that a second UFO came to offer aid and repairs to the first, but it was cornered underwater by the Navy flotilla.


This is because about a week after the original incident, a few Shaggs Harbor locals reported seeing a new cluster of strange lights.


While there were far fewer sightings of this particular incident, it led to the theory that a second UFO arrived to offer aid to the first after impacting the water.


The second UFO also turned into a UFO, or unidentified submerged object. It traveled toward Shelburn to assist in fixing the stranded craft, but it couldn't help that craft leave. Not yet.


The Navy was still there, but the U.S. SOS got their chance after a week. That's when over half the ships in the flotilla were given orders to pursue what appeared to be a Russian submarine, testing the 12 mile limit.


As the vessels dispersed, the two U.S. soldiers took the opportunity they had waited for. They motored underwater towards Maine and rose out of the ocean before flying out of our atmosphere to safety.


This US so theory could explain why no wreckage was found offshore SAG Harbor. And that's because the crashed object didn't actually crash there. It traveled underwater away from its impact zone, leaving nothing behind except perhaps a few pieces of jagged aluminum that were damaged in its water landing. These were then passed off as underwater markers that eyewitnesses and Shake Harbor saw Navy divers hauling up in the days after the incident.


All of this supposes that the extraterrestrial craft got away. But what if it didn't? After all, there. Are hints that something substantial was recovered after the incident, for the first of those, we'll look to a story published on October 12th, 1967, in the Shelburn weekly newspaper Coast Guard.


The article detailed an American barge which came to Shelburn, Nova Scotia, for repairs. The vessel traveled with a cargo of two huge atomic furnaces en route from a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania after taking on significant water. The vessel needed work and had to be temporarily docked in the harbor.


However, the timing of this handicapped barge seems suspicious, as does the story's wording. This odd piece of front page news reads more like a warning than an article of interest. Perhaps the atomic cargo was listed to dissuade the curious from investigating. What's more, the vessel was repaired rather quickly, despite the extensive hull damage.


Perhaps it wasn't docked for repairs at all, but loaded full with tons of recovered materials.


The barge would have been the perfect cover to transport a salvaged UFO in secret. Vessels like these typically carry cranes and have plenty of storage space available.


If the UFO had submersible capabilities, then this theory suggests that the remnants of the lost craft were captured by government entities off of Shelburn. The craft was then kept in their control after the water logged recovery, setting the stage for a massive cover up while an extraterrestrial crash landing and subsequent attempted escape may seem a bit far fetched.


This theory accounts for nearly all of the eyewitness testimonials and supports the other evidence gathered from that night.


Such as what, for example, take the intense speed and explosive flight path. Both of those factors are supported by this theory.


True, but according to onlookers, the strange object looked more like a plane crashing than a UFO.


Well, perhaps that's because they had no frame of reference for a true extraterrestrial ship. They had to compare the craft with something they knew, something familiar. But that night, there were no reports of missing aircrafts or maydays. Plus, the Air Force memorandum discounted the theory that the events were caused by any known object.


True, but maybe the division of the Canadian Air Force who wrote that memorandum was either mistaken or unaware of classified technologies.


Still, a submersible UFO hints at why there was a lack of publicly discovered wreckage. Even the mysterious foam could have been caused by a reaction from an extraterrestrial fuel source.


You may have convinced me of some things. While the thought of alien life is hard to fathom for some people with this incident, an extraterrestrial UFO appears to be supported by a majority of the evidence.


Since this theory is nearly impossible to disprove and offers an explanation to the other bizarre happenings of the night. I'm ranking this as an eight out of 10.


I have to agree that the variety of people who reported this as a UFO crash gives it more credibility, but only a little more. I'm personally giving this theory a six out of 10.


The lack of an official explanation for the SAG Harbor incident has created a wide variety of unusual theories, but it's difficult to choose the one that seems the most plausible. Overall, I think we can both agree that the American and Canadian governments were involved in some sort of cover up.




And given that so many regular citizens over such a huge area saw something that night, I think it's also safe to rule out theory number one, though, the flair lighter story neatly ties up the incident, it ignores far too much evidence to be a plausible explanation.


But while the events on October 4th aren't answered by the flair hypothesis, it does explain the localized reports and theories of a second UFO coming to offer aid to the first, especially since the second night of mischief occurred on the same night as the October 11 sightings. For me, that seems like a credible back story.


That's fair. But when I consider the Cold War tension of the era, I think it's more likely that a piece of Soviet technology crash landed and caused the peninsula wide frenzy. The Cold War tensions were so intense, it's easy to imagine the United States and Canada went to extreme lengths to conceal and recover the piece of enemy technology. Gee, I still like the extra terrestrial explanation. Sure, it may be a bit hard to believe in life from outer space, but if there ever was a UFO landing, The Shaggs Harbor incident is one of the most believable instances ever recorded.


Thanks for tuning into conspiracy theories. We'll be back Wednesday with a new episode, you can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other Spotify originals from podcast for free on Spotify.


Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story.


And the official story isn't always the truth. Conspiracy theories as a Spotify original from past, executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Billy Pace with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Freddie Beckley. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Amalia Krasker with writing assistants by Nicholas Ward and Ali Whicker and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy. Remember to follow superstitions for new episodes featuring our most unusual beliefs, are they side effects of ancient folklore or truly the masters of our fates?


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