Clan Lake, Northwest Territories
June 22, 1960
Clan Lake, and the small community on its shoreline, is located in a remote part of the Northwest Territories, accessible only by boat or airplane. The people of the area have lived off the land -- hunting, fishing and trapping -- for generations. In 1960, when an object hit the water of Clan Lake, a month passed before the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), located 30 miles away in Yellowknife, were called to investigate the sighting.
On June 22, 1960, an airplane dropped two campers off at Clan Lake. About 20 minutes after the plane left, the two reported hearing a loud noise similar to an airplane. As the noise grew louder, the campers looked to the sky, but saw nothing. Seconds later, however, an object fell from the sky and crashed into the water. When it hit the surface, the object began to rotate, causing a spray of water around it. There was no steam to indicate that the object was hot. According to the campers, the object was approximately 4 to 6 feet wide, with spokes coming out of it like arms. As it began to slow down, a rush of water met the campers on the shore. Finally, the object sank.
The campers rushed to the spot in the water with their canoe and saw that the reeds in the water appeared burnt, and an area approximately 20 feet by 60 feet appeared to be 'cut-up'. Poking around with their paddles, they found a channel in the bottom of the lake that corresponded with the cut path of grass. The campers, however, could not locate the object with their canoe paddles.
A statement of one camper's sighting was filed with the RCMP on July 18th, almost one month after the event. The report states that the observer was "well known in this county and is considered very reliable."
RCMP report of July 19, 1960
The RCMP investigated Clan Lake on July 19, 1960 through an aerial patrol. It appeared that an object did land on the east side of the lake. An area of water about 12 feet wide by 40 feet long was completely clear of reeds and grass. The water in this corridor also appeared to be deeper.
RCMP report of July 25, 1960
Another RCMP officer returned to the lake on August 15, 1960. The officer reported that the lake's water level had dropped considerably since the previous RCMP visit, with only 1 foot of water at the site in the lake where the object had supposedly landed. Officers could easily wade through the area and used metal rods to probe beneath the water's surface. A Geiger counter, used to detect the presence of radiation, returned negative results. No object was located. A local geologist volunteered to do a magnetometer check after the water froze in the fall to help locate any metal objects in the area.
RCMP report of August 25, 1960
It was around this time that the RCMP contacted the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for help with the investigation. As a follow-up to a phone conversation, the RCMP sent a memo to the Director of Air Intelligence of the RCAF. The memo, dated August 16, 1960, stated that the issue was likely more in keeping with the interests of the Air Force than with those of the RCMP: the "description of the object is very interesting and the whole matter seems worthy of the attention of someone such as the RCAF, who are no doubt better able to handle this matter."
Memo of August 16, 1960
The Department of National Defence responded on September 23, 1960, with a letter confirming that the object could not have been associated with space research, as no reports were made by tracking agencies within Canada or the United States. The department stated that it was inclined to believe that the object seen by the campers was a meteorite, and that the heat of the meteor when it struck the Earth would have undoubtedly caused steam and could account for the burning reeds and grass. The original observers, however, reported that they saw no steam when the object hit the water.
The department recommended that the local geologist complete the magnetometer check; he would be familiar with the reactions of the instruments, and would be able to ascertain whether fabricated metals were buried in the area. Finally, although the department doubted the object was significant as far as national security was concerned, the Department of National Defence stated that they would "be most interested in being advised of the outcome" of the investigation.
Letter of September 23, 1960
However, a document dated almost one year after the incident explains that the plan to have the local geologist complete a magnetometer check never happened. Mr. Brown, the geologist, had to be out of the area and could not complete the check. The use of the magnetometer would have been the most effective method for finding the object. The case of the flying object landing in Clan Lake was closed. No object or meteor was ever found.
View letter of May 16, 1961