It was 34 years ago this month when Edwin Fuhr encountered five dome-shaped objects hovering about a half-metre above his canola field.
The passage of time has done nothing to quell the 70-year-old Saskatchewan man's conviction we are not alone in the universe. In fact, Fuhr believes his visitors are still keeping watch . . . from a distance.
"They're out there, there's no question," he said last week from his home in Langenburg, Sask., 225 kilometres east of Regina near the Manitoba border. In 1988, he moved from the farm into town. The urban lights tend to wash out the night sky, but every so often in the northeast, the lights show up and follow along, Fuhr said.
"I'm pretty sure they're the same ones. That's the direction they took off in '74," he said.
Going to inspect the landing area the day after his encounter, Fuhr found five rings of depressed canola swirled in a clockwise direction. More circles were found in the area later that month, according to news and police reports from the time.
Over the next while, the site was visited by the RCMP, scientists, UFO researchers from across North America and the FBI. Sniffer dogs used by the police refused to enter the circles, according to Fuhr.
Fuhr was 36 when he saw the saucers. Initially, he noticed one metallic object in a depression on the land. He walked to within five metres of the object.
"I saw the grass was moving and I looked up and saw this thing spinning at one hell of a speed," he said.
There was no sound, no smell, no windows to peer into, said Fuhr.
Then he noticed four more off to the side, arranged in a "half-moon" formation. He estimates the two largest ones were nine metres in diameter with the rest slightly smaller. They hovered about 15 minutes before taking off, one by one, with a gust of vapour.
A few weeks after the incident, a scientist from the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa suggested the rings were caused by mushrooms.
Allen McNamara, head of the NRC's upper atmosphere research section, also theorized the "glow" from the saucers may have been caused by the fungi.
The crop circles were exactly the same as "fairy rings" produced by underground mushroom filaments, he was quoted as saying. When asked by reporters about the canola pressed in a circular motion, McNamara guessed it was caused by wind.
Fuhr has never been provided an explanation that would convince him he was imagining things.
"Imagination doesn't leave marks in the ground, does it?" he said, noting the landing site was tested as recently as four years ago and is still emitting radioactive waves.
(Original headline: Prairie farmer still believes in UFOs, 34 years later Darren Bernhardt The Calgary Herald Published: Sunday, September 21, 2008)