His father came home sick and injured from the Falcon Lake woods in Manitoba on the long weekend of May 1967. It is how Stan Michalak can still remember the ongoing mystery that put his family life into upheaval. The incident remains one of the best-known UFO encounters in the world.
Michalak, who was nine years old at the time, recalled that his father was in bed and did not look good as he looked pale and haggard. When Michalak walked into the bedroom, he noticed a major stink in the room. He described it as like a real horrible aroma of Sulphur and burnt motor all around. He later discovered that the smell was coming out of his father’s pores.
Michalak, who co-authored the book “When They Appeared,” was terrified to learn that his father had been injured as he did not know anything about it. Within a couple of days, he knew more, but so did much the public. The Winnipeg Tribune newspaper ran a story about of a UFO that burned his father. It was the time everything hit the fan.
An industrial mechanic by trade, Stefan Michalak is also an amateur geologist who is interested of the wilderness around Falcon Lake, about 150 kilometres east of Winnipeg, specifically for quartz and silver. The prior year, he had staked some claims, so he decided to explore some more on the long weekend of May.
The 51-year-old Stefan was close to a vein of quartz along the Precambrian Shield on May 20, 1967, when a gaggle of nearby geese, which erupted into a clattering of honks, startled him. Stefan looked up and spotted two cigar-shaped objects having a reddish glow floating about 45 metres away. One of the two landed on a flat section of rock and now took more of a disc shape. The other one stayed in the air for a few minutes before flying off.
Stefan thought it was a secret U.S. military experimental craft, so he decided to sketch it over the next 30 minutes. Then he approached the object and felt the warm air and smelt a sulphur-like smell as he got nearer. He also heard a whirring sound of motors and a hissing of air.
The door on the side then opened with bright lights inside. Stefan said that he heard voices muffled by the sounds from the craft. He called out and offered mechanical help, but he got no answer. Stefan decided to speak his native Polish but still got no reply. He also tried Russian and German, but only whirr and hiss of the craft responded.
Stefan claimed he went closer and noticed the smooth metal without seams of the object. He then looked into the bright doorway and saw light beams inside and panels of several coloured flashing lights. However, he could not see anyone or anything inside.
When Stefan stepped away, three panels slid across the door opening and sealed it. He reached to touch the craft but shocked to see the fingertips of the glove he was wearing melted. The craft then started to turn counter-clockwise, and Stefan noticed a panel that contained a grid of holes. Moments later, a blast of air or gas struck in his chest that pushed him backwards and set his cap and shirt ablaze.
As he ripped away the burning garments, the craft lifted off and flew away. Stefan stumbled through the forest and vomited. Fortunately, he made his way back to his Falcon Lake’s motel room then ride a bus back to Winnipeg. He cared for burns to his chest and stomach at a hospital. His injuries later turned into raised sores on a grid-like pattern. Weeks after, he suffered from weight loss, blackouts, headaches, and diarrhoea.
Eventually, the story was out of the media, RCMP, the air force, various government agencies, and the public. All of them descended to the Michalak’s’ small bungalow in River Heights, Winnipeg. Michalak received endless visitors and phone calls as the media and people camping on the lawn. It had taken several years before it died down.
Stefan, who died in 1999 at the age of 83, felt that time that it was his duty to share the story for the others to avoid it and not get hurt. Stefan was a military policeman back in Poland before he moved his family to Canada. As a police officer, he had set moral guidelines and that if something happened, it should be reported.
The family endured criticism and condemnation, Stefan’s sanity was questioned, and Stan was bullied in school. However, these were not enough for Stefan to back away from the story. Until his death, Stefan’s story never changed.
After intense investigations that were carried out by a number of levels of government, the official conclusion was that the case was unexplained. Investigators retrieved Stefan’s glove and shirt, as well as some tools from the encounter site, but no one could tell what caused the burns.
At the landing site, investigators found a circle measuring about 15 feet in diameter. They saw devoid of the moss and vegetation in other areas of the same rock. Samples of clothing and soil samples were tested, and they discovered that they were highly radioactive.