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Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2022

Encounters with the Unknown

The Steve Michalak case

by: Brent Raynes

Michalak’s drawing of the UFO he mailed to Brent Raynes in 1968

Note checkboard burns on abdomen area

On May 20, 1967, at approximately 12:13 p.m., Steve Michalak, 50, an industrial mechanic of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada, was prospecting for minerals (quartz and silver) near Falcon Lake about 75 miles east of Winnipeg. Hearing the insane cackling of geese nearby, he claimed that it was then that he looked up from what he was doing and observed two bright glowing white objects flying high in the sky coming from out of the south-southwest. The lead object landed in a nearby clearing, changing from white to yellow to orange and to red as it “cooled down,” while the other object hovered high overhead for a few minutes before flying off in the direction from which it had arrived.

For close to half an hour, Michalak remained in one spot. He began sketching what he was seeing, carefully noting all visible details.

After landing and the red glow extinguished he could then see a craft that resembled two saucers placed lip-to-lip, with a raised dome on top, with a stainless-steel appearing surface. He estimated it was 35 feet in diameter and was about 8 feet high, while the “dome” portion appeared to be an additional 3 feet. The object was producing a constant whistling sound with a “bellows” sound to it that suggested to him that it was circulating air in and out of the craft. He also detected an odor that made him think of something like burning electrical circuits.

About a half hour after the landing, a door slid open on the lower portion of the object. From the door there emitted a brilliant violet light. Michalak lowered the goggle visor on his welder’s helmet to protect his eyes. He then noticed, inside the door, blinking red, white, and blue lights. Curious Michalak decided to approach the craft. He called out before doing so. At some point, he reportedly thought he might have heard voices from inside the craft. He tried communicating in several different languages, including Russian, German, Italian and Polish, but heard no reply. He reached out his left hand, that was covered with a rubber glove, and touched the craft, whereupon the fingertips of the glove began to melt and his hand slid away from the surface.

Shortly after this the door closed shut and the object began to spin in a counterclockwise direction, soon leaving the ground at a high rate of speed towards the south-southwest causing a considerable blast of hot gas that came out of a grill in the side of the object that burned Michalak’s clothing and set fire to the grass nearby.

His chest hurting from being burned [he had first and second-degree burns], he vomited immediately after the encounter, and he was also feeling lightheaded and nauseous, Michalak walked into Falcon Lake and reported his encounter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He then had to wait for a bus to take him to the Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg, but when the doctors asked him about his burns, he told them that he had been burned by an airplane’s exhaust.

By the next day, Michalak was feeling very sick. He was suffering nausea and diarrhea, and for four days wasn’t able to keep food on his stomach. He became confined to bed for a week, lost 22 pounds, and a blood test revealed that his lymphocyte count was significantly below normal, though a test for radiation detected no abnormal count. There were burns on his abdomen that had a peculiar “checkerboard” arrangement of small dots (as did his shirt). Five months later, he again complained of dizziness, burning sensations, and also swelling on his hands and chest, as well as the appearance of several large red spots on his chest.

Prior to his experience, Michalak was a non-believer in flying saucers and after this experience little changed. He stated that what he had observed was, in his opinion, a couple of secret experimental vehicles belonging to the U.S. Air Force.

A Winnipeg salesman and photographer named James Barand Thompson happened to be a Winnipeg representative for APRO [Aerial Phenomena Research Organization], a civilian organization out of Tucson, Arizona that researched and investigated UFOs. He soon befriended Michalak, interviewed him, and even forwarded the burned glove and a piece of the burned shirt to APRO. He also forwarded a taped interview with Michalak that APRO shared with the University of Colorado’s Condon Committee, that was at that time conducting a review of UFO evidence. The committee’s physicist, a Dr. Roy Craig, followed up on the story, traveling to Winnipeg, interviewed Michalak himself, and tried to visit the Falcon Lake site with Michalak and Thompson, but were unsuccessful in locating the landing site. It was theorized at that time that Michalak might have been trying to withhold that information to protect a mining claim.

However, having read in one article that the Falcon Lake landing site was never found, I wrote to Winnipeg ufologist Chris Rutkowski who had co-authored a recent book about this case, When They Appeared, with Stan Michalak, the son of Steve Michalak, inquiring about this matter. “Michalak certainly did locate the site, and led military and RCMP investigators there,” Rutkowski replied. “Not sure where that claim originated that it was never found. Roy Craig was annoyed that Michalak couldn't find the location when Life Magazine had accompanied him all the way to Canada for the story, and was unimpressed that it was found later. But Craig had taken Michalak there less than two weeks after his encounter, and he was still quite ill.”

“The site has now even been geocached and is known precisely. In fact, one of the only ways into the site is to go on an escorted ‘UFO horseback ride’ across rugged country.”

“One reason the witness’ son and myself wrote a book about the case is because so much false information has been circulated about it.”

Special thanks to Mr. Rutkowski for reviewing my write-up and helping me to correct other errors that had long been circulating about this remarkable case.

Coral Lorenzen, the founder and director of APRO, reported in 1967 (1) how later, in the middle of June 1967, Thompson and Michalak did succeed in finding the encounter site. “There were no prints from landing gear, but there was a circular area on the ground from which all leaves and grass were absent – possibly the result of the heat given off by the craft.”

Age 9 at the time, Stan Michalak said of his father, “I recalled seeing him in bed. He didn’t look good at all. He looked pale, haggard. When I walked into the bedroom there was a huge stink in the room, like a real horrible aroma of sulphur and burnt motor. It was all around and it was coming out of his pores. It was bad.” (2)


1. Flying Saucers, UFO Reports, No. 4, Dell Publishing Co. (magazine), 1967,
2. Falcon Lake incident is Canada’s ‘best-documented UFO case,’ even 50 years later, by Darren Bernhardt, CBC News, posted May 19, 2017.

Saturday, April 13, 2024