Stan Michalak still remembers the day when his father came home sick and wounded after he survived an incident that happened in the Falcon Lake woods in Manitoba in May 1967.
The occurrence his father went through later became a major change in his family life and one of the world’s most famous UFO encounters.
“I recalled seeing him in bed. He didn’t look good at all. He looked pale, haggard,” said Michalak, who was only nine years old at the time.
Michalak, who co-authored the book When They Appeared, remembers there was an awful aroma. He was allowed to see his dad only for a few minutes and when he walked into the bedroom he sensed a very bad smell, possibly sulfur and burnt motor.
At the beginning, Michalak was very scared because he wasn’t aware of what is going on. However, after a few days, he was not the only one who found out what happened, but the whole public did.
The story about his dad being burned by a UFO was all over the newspapers and that is how everything started.
Stefan Michalak was an industrial mechanic and an amateur geologist who liked to experiment into the forest around Falcon Lake in a hunt for silver and quartz.
On May 20, 1967, Stefan was searching for quartz in Falcon Lane zone, when he was surprised by a crowd of adjoining geese that burst into a loud noise of honks.
According to his story, reported by the media, he saw two cigar-shaped objects with a reddish bloom floating about 45 away from him.
According to Stefan, one of the objects had more of a disc shape and moved down, landing on a flat area of rocks. The other object stayed in the air for a while and then it flew off.
At the beginning, Stefan considered this event to be a classified US military experiment, so he didn’t take any action in his hands. After half an hour, he decided to come nearer, later remembering warm air, sulfur smell and buzzing sound of motors as he approached.
He also perceived an open door with shining lights and suppressed voices inside the craft.
After that, he shouted, offering help but he didn’t hear any answer, although he spoke English, Polish, Russian and German.
Stefan claimed as he went nearer he noticed the smooth metal of the ship. Looking into the bright entrance, he pulled out his goggles and saw light beams and panels of flashing lights but no people. When he stepped away, three panels moved over the door and closed it.
When he stretched his arm to touch the vessel, he claimed that it melted the fingertips of the gloves he had on.
He described the craft started moving counter-clockwise and showing a panel that included a grid of holes. Soon enough, he was battered in the chest by an explosion of air or gas that pushed him and set his shirt on fire.
Trying to save himself, he ripped the burning shirt as he was watching the vessel carrying away in the air.
Stefan, confused and sick, barely found his way to his motel room in Falcon Lake and caught a bus to his hometown.
His burn injuries on the chest and the stomach were medicated at the hospital and they later elevated into grid patterned. Weeks after this event, he experienced headaches, blackout and weight loss.
‘It just flipped our lives over’
Once the story went viral, the air force, the media, government agencies and other public members went to visit the small house of the Michalak family.
“It just flipped our lives over,” Stan said. “It took several years before it finally died down.”
Stefan considered telling his story as a duty. He wanted others to know about it so if they see it they will know how to act and don’t get hurt like he did.
Michalak’s family, besides everything, suffered blaming and criticism in the public because Stefan’s mental health was doubted and his son was harassed in school.
“If you asked him what it was he saw, he could describe it in intimate detail but he would never say, ‘Oh, it was definitely extraterrestrials,’ because there was no evidence to prove that,” said Michalak.
In all those years since and with some 300 pages of documentation on the encounter, “there’s nothing so far that has flawed his story,” he added.
When asked for his opinion, his son said that he keeps an open mind that this could be something extraterrestrial, but without proper evidence, he couldn’t claim anything.
This event caused an acute investigation by many government agencies but the case remained unexplained. Rutkowski noted that The Falcon Lake incident is possibly Canada’s best-documented UFO case.
Evidence from the scene was later collected, including the glove and the shirt, but the further examination could not resolve the cause of the burns.
The landing section was 15 feet in diameter circle, that lacked vegetation. The analysis of the soil samples turned out to be highly radioactive.
The pieces of metal that were cracked out of the rock, about a year after the incident, showed signs of radioactivity also.