The night of October 4, 1967, had numerous UFO sightings over Nova Scotia prior to the Shag Harbour crash.  All times are in Atlantic Daylight Time (ADT), one hour later than Eastern Daylight Time.  Refer to the above maps for locations of the sightings.  Note how objects sighted at sea, one group at  around 11:15 p.m. about 50 miles northwest of Shag Harbour  and another about 100 miles northeast at 11:00 pm, were reported headed in the direction of Shag Harbour, where the crash occurred at around 11:20 p.m.  Note, most sources are from book Dark Object (DO), by Don Ledger and Chris Styles.

Time:  7:19 p.m.
Location: Between Sherbrooke & St. Jean VOR, SE Quebec (approx. 30 miles east of Montreal and 25 miles north of Vermont, about 400 miles west of Shag Harbour); plane flying on a heading of 300 deg. Azimuth (WNW), 12,000 feet, 256 knots
Witnesses:  Captain Pierre Guy Charbonneau and copilot Robert Ralph, flying a Douglas DC8, Canada Flight 305
Sighting conditions: Mostly clear, thin wispy clouds just below plane
Source:  DO, pp. 9-13

Cpt. Charbonneau looked south (to his left) and saw a well-lit, orange, rectangular object followed by a string of smaller lights, like the tail of a kite, flying on a parallel course, about 20 deg. above the horizon.  He called copilot Ralph's attention to it.  There seemed to be a large explosion near the rectangular object.  It turned into a big, white, ball-shaped cloud, quickly turned red, then violet, then blue.  Two minutes later (7:21 p.m.) there was a second "explosion," orange in color, bigger and higher than the first that faded to blue.  The smaller trailing lights broke formation and began to dance around the explosion spheres like fireflies.  The pilots watched for several minutes as the second, pear-shaped cloud, glowing pale blue, drifted eastward.  Despite career concerns, both pilots wrote up comprehensive reports with times and drawings.

Time:  7:51 p.m.
Location: Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, outskirts of Canadian Naval Air Station, Shearwater  (1-1/2 miles NE of Halifax)
Witnesses: William Thibeault, employee of Fairey Aircraft (Canadian Division), and his brother
Sighting conditions: Cool and clear, layer of clouds at 12,000 feet.
Source:  DO, pp. 13-14

The Thibeault brothers saw two dim white lights (trailing one was brighter) above the cloud layer, moving slowly from NE to SW, following the coast of Nova Scotia, in the direction of Shag Harbour.  They reported their sighting to the Naval Air Station at 8:07.  William Thibeault told the C/O there that the estimated height was 50,000-100,000 feet and he was sure the lights weren't aircraft.

Time: 8:30 p.m.
Location: Near Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, about 40 miles SW of Halifax
Witnesses:  Darrell Dorey, 12, his older sister Annette, and their mother
Source:  DO, pp. 100-101

The Doreys watched an orange ball of light trailed by several smaller lights.  The large light seemed to merge with one of the smaller ones.  Then the small light seemed to blink back on and dart around the sky in rapid and impossible maneuvers for a conventional object.  Finally the light left at high speed over the tree line toward the ocean.  The acceleration was far greater than anything young Darrell Dorey had seen at any air show and he was also puzzled by the lack of a sonic boom or any sound.  He immediately wrote a report with drawing:  "Dear Commander of the CFB, Greenwood, I am writing about the UFO."  Investigator Chris Styles was later to find Dorey's letter in his search of Canadian UFO files at the Canadian National Archives in Oct. 1994.

Time: 9:00-11:00 p.m.
Location: Aboard the MV Nickerson (fishing boat), 32 nautical miles south of Sambro Lighthouse, Nova Scotia (44d29m N, 63d37m W) (about 20 miles south of Halifax)
Witnesses:  Cpt. Leo Mersey (age 45), his first mate, 18 crew members
Sighting conditions:  Very clear--could see lights of Halifax 50 miles to north
Sources:  DO, pp. 14-17, p. 165 (RCMP report of incident from Oct. 7, 1967), Condon Report

This was a radar/visual sighting.  The main object had brilliant, flashing red lights.  The other 3 objects showed only on ship's radar.  Radar gave sharp returns with a distance of 16 miles to the NE.  The objects formed a box formation on radar, about 6 miles on a side, the main visible object appearing to be on or just above the ocean's surface.  Occasionally the main object would flare up to a brilliant intensity, leaving an afterimage.  Cpt. Mersey radioed RCC (Royal Canadian Coastguard?) and the Halifax harbormaster to report and try to find out what the objects were.  He was informed there were no military exercises underway. (The Condon Commission report tried to make it sound like it was a naval exercise, but actual investigation by Don Ledger and Styles revealed there were no such exercises that night.) The ship's radio picked up that the Mounties were getting reports of UFOs from Halifax to Yarmouth.  Finally at about 11:00 p.m., the visible object, blinking only one red light, climbed straight upward according to Mersey's RCMP report (and also the Condon Commission, who attributed it to a helicopter from a boat).  However, when interviewed shortly before his death by Don Ledger, Mersey added the light arced over his boat, maybe 1 mile up, and continued to the horizon, taking it in the direction of Shag Harbour.  To his chagrine, Cpt. Mersey was told by the Coast Guard in Halifax that the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) headquarters in Halifax wanted Cpt. Mersey to file a report on return.  Mersey was interviewed 3 days later on October 7.  The report stated that he thought the climbing object might be the one they were looking for off Shelbourne or Barrington Passage. 

Time: 10:00 p.m.
Location:  Water Street, Halifax, looking over the harbor from ferry wharf
Witness:  A woman, not identified, other unidentified witnesses
Source: The Halifax Chronicle-Herald headline story, Oct. 7, 1967

A woman called a local radio station to report a glowing, orange-colored object, the color of a red-hot poker, 40-50 feet in diameter, drifting from the east side of the harbor to the boat slips.  Minutes later at home, through binoculars, she watched for several minutes as it drifted into Dartmouth Harbour, curve back to the Coast Guard pier, then SE to the Imperial Oil refinery, where she lost sight of it.  Soon after another witness called to confirm the first caller's description.  Many other witnesses also called the station and the local newspaper, The Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

Time: 10:00 p.m.
Location:  Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (NE across harbor from Halifax)
Witness: Chris Styles, age 12, later the principle Shag Harbour crash investigator
Source: DO,  pp. 4-8

Styles looked over the harbor from his 2nd-story window and saw a round object, glowing orange, like iron heated in a forge.  It drifted up the harbor toward him.  He could not see any form behind the glow when viewed through binoculars.  Styles ran out of the house to avoid losing sight of it.  He could see the object drifting closer to the end of the harbor.  Running further along, he saw the orange object drifting toward him from the right just above the water.  It was noiseless and he now realized it was 50-60 feet in diameter.  It came closer to shore, tracing the shoreline, to within only 75-100 feet away, and continued left following the coast toward the Coast Guard complex.  Finally Styles lost his nerve and ran home.  The next day, he heard on the radio that many had seen and called in about the glowing orange ball.

Time:  Somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m.
Location: Mason's Beach in Puffy Cup Cove, Lunenburg Village, Nova Scotia, (about 50 miles SW of Halifax)
Witnesses: Will C. Eisner, professional photographer, with friends Raymond Hiltz and St. Clair Croft
Source:  DO, pp. 18-21

While attempting to burn an old sailboat on the beach, Eisner spotted strange lights to the west suspended above a ridge.  There were three lights, arranged in a tilted triangle.  The bottom right and near left lights were amber; the apex brilliant blue.  There was no sound.  Eisner convinced his friends to have a look.  Lacking a tripod, but improvising with his camera, he managed to take a 5 minute time exposure of the lights. Then he watched them for several more minutes. Eventually the lights disappeared after being motionless for about 15 minutes.

Time:  11-11:10 p.m.
Location: Arthur Lake on Highway 355, 5 miles SW of Weymouth, Nova Scotia (western edge of N.S. near Bay of Fundy, about 30 mile SW of Digby)
Witnesses: Royal Mounted Police Constable Ian Andrew and 3 game warders, Bert Green, Don Brown, and Sonny Wagner
Sighting conditions:  Brilliantly clear, no moon, temperature about 45 degrees.
Source:  DO, pp. 24-27

While on a poaching stakeout, the four men saw an orange-colored light, like a glowing ball of fire, to the south and just above the tree line, moving slowly.  There were spark-like objects coming off it but no sound.  Constable Andrew saw it as an upside-down candle-flame-shape.  He also remembered sparks and a corona around it.  The estimated height was 200-300 feet.  The men rejected the idea it might be an airliner.  The object finally disappeared over the treeline to the south.  Constable Andrew explained he didn't file a report because of the paperwork.  If he filed a report with RCMP HQ, he was also required to report to the Air Desk in Ottawa and the National Research Council.

Time: Sometime between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m.
Location: NW of Brier Island and Digby Neck, Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy (about 25 SW of Weymouth, 55 miles SW of Digby)
Witnesses:  At sea, the entire Herring seiner fleet of about 150 fisherman on about 15 boats; main witness Walter Titus, captain of the Quadra Isle, plus his son Bradford.  On shore, the Lent family and neighbor Albert Welch.
Sighting conditions:  Clear, no moon.
Source:  DO, pp. 21-24

The fishermen saw brilliant lights moving rapidly back and forth.  Walter Titus observed a brilliant white light to the SE the size of the full moon, which gave off 3 brilliant yellow lights, forming a triangle around the larger light.  Son Bradford remembered seeing the objects to the south diving toward the water.  Radio chatter indicated the other fishing boats were observing the lights too.  On shore, Albert Welch was watching through binoculars as were the neighboring Lent family and their 3 teenage sons, 13-19.  The Lents were also listening to marine radio and reported one boat was concerned with being crashed into.  They also overheard fishermen saying the objects had four lights, each with some sort of extension, each flashing on and off.  Walter Titus also overheard a friend named Burton Small saying he was watching through binoculars and seeing even more than the others, but never got around to asking Small what he meant.  After 5 or 10 minutes, Titus said the lights departed to the SE, which would be in the direction of Shag Harbour, about 50-60 miles to the SE).

The 1967 Shag Harbour UFO crash, Part 2
UFO sightings before the crash