Case #00001 – Diamond, Roslin on duty 10:14 a.m. July 30, 1997 Whapmagoostui.
We have landed in this former military base now home to a Cree community. We are investigating “The Incident.” Crack researchers from The Nation have been dispatched with utmost secrecy to check into reports of a meteor, a new bay and a lot of confused citizens, not to mention a black submarine.
Something, or someone, had carved a new bay a quarter-mile in diametre out of the beach, and we would not rest until we knew what, or who, was responsible.
We discover quickly that nature works in mysterious and awesome ways here. The wind is strong. The land and the bay are beautiful, majestic. Otherworldy, you might even say.
The day starts out cloudy. A light shower follows. Then an eerie fog blows in off the bay. Suddenly it is sunny and warm. Followed by more clouds. On the shore of wind-swept Hudson’s Bay, we are at nature’s mercy.
It takes us two hours by four-wheeler to make our way the 10 miles north to Kaamkopskaatch Siibii, a.k.a. Meteor Bay, a.k.a. Gawowiaj (The Oval), a.k.a. Gabooginayaj (The Hole). Our guides are Josie George (brother of George George, he informs us), Ron Sheshamush, Stephen Petagumskum. Also present are mosquitos—lots of mosquitos. And a wolf or two, which we see oniy by their tracks.
As we neared the site, crack investigator of the para-normal Neil Diamond got so excited he jumped off the four-wheeler, hurtled down a sheer cliff and scrambled over rocks to get there first. But he soon got tired and got back on the four-wheeler to ride the final few metres to Ground Zero.
We approached the edge of a 25-foot cliff and there it was, a truly awesome sight.
Below us a bay stretched out where before there was land and beach. Muddy brown water was lapping up at the grey clay cliffsides that surrounded the new bay. The tops of broken and mangled trees stuck out of the water. The bay was about 450 metres wide. We took it all in. “It looks like a scene from a disaster movie,” someone said.
Josie said someone from Chisasibi had been to the new bay and discovered a strange, black rock that was unusually light and appeared to be “melted.” Could this be a chunk of a meteor? we wondered. The Chisasibi-ites apparently took the rock and passed it along to their chief, who sent it to Montreal for tests. Still no word on what they found.
Josie wanted to go to the other side of the bay to look for another rock like it. The four-wheeler trail that used to follow the beach was now under water, so we had to take a longer route around the bay. By the time we got to the other side, the tide was starting to come in. We scoured the rocky shore for any sign of strange rocks, but couldn’t find anything that looked outer-spaceish. But we did find something else, something just as bizarre. A special episode of Unsolved Mysteries on Whapmagoostui must be already in the making as we speak.
A large boulder was sitting at the water’s edge with a dozen circular carvings or impressions on its surface (see photo, page 16). They were a few inches wide and looked like they had somehow been stamped in. No one in our party had ever seen it before. So you can understand why our divers are in training as you read this.
We had been informed two experts came to investigate from Laval University. The “experts” came by boat to the site but did not stay long enough to walk the circle. You’ve got to walk the circle.
Two of us started walking around the bay to see what we could find. The ones with the bikes stayed behind to hunt for anything more unusual like good Indians.
Near what used to be the beach, a tree that had been buried a metre deep in sand for perhaps hundreds of years jutted out of the cliff side just over our heads. Hundreds of twisted pine trees lay onshore, some still barely standing. In some small areas mini-beaches had already been formed out of the cliff sides by the water’s erosion. This reporter’s two hundred dollar boots sunk in the sand up to the ankle and were still sinking when he jumped on sunbaked mud not far in front. Mud and clay sat piled higher than 10 feet in some areas.
Feeling safer outside the crater, we continued. We checked the bases of the trees for fresh pinecones someone had told us had been shaken off when the “disturbance” took place. Sure enough, there they were. Pulling out a cone still attached felt like pulling an electrical cord out of its socket.
Near the bay’s centre a small new waterfall flowed quietly. We crossed the brook they call Kaamkopskaatch Shibiish when we heard the sound of a helicopter approaching. “Is it black?” we thought to ourselves. Not wanting to take a chance, we ducked behind some trees. They passed overhead harmlessly. We continued on our way feeding our mosquito brothers generously. (Memo to headquarters: Supply bug repellent next time.)
We picked up mussel shells off the moss and wondered how they got there. Half a dozen shells were sitting above the cliff which was about 20 feet high at that point, some 20 feet in from the cliff side! What force could have thrown them there?
Once on the other side of the bay, we get a closer look at some trees. One trunk looked like it had been ripped apart lengthwise with not many slivers. The centre of the tree’s rings almost looked like a dowel perhaps six inches long. We picked up black leaves on what is left of the beach. Were they charred by fire or time? Time, and The Nation, your favourite magazine, will tell.
At the southern edge of the bay is also where we discovered a 30-metre-long ridge of mud extending out into the water. Several boulders were sitting on top of the mud, which stuck a couple of feet out of the water.
Military satellites are now being checked to see if anything was picked up. They need a five-minute window as to when the event occurred. They are checking records from 7:52 to 7:55 p.m. on June 22 because that is when a “seismic perturbance” was recorded at a station in LG-4. That is also around when some say they saw a fireball falling from the sky and heading toward the site. But other witnesses saw a fireball falling on a different date, July 27.
University of Montreal geology professor Michel Bouchard is the man on the spot for the Meteor Impact Advisory Board of the federal government. Except he hasn’t been to “the spot” himself. He doesn’t want to go all the way up there since he doesn’t know if it’s really a meteor, or just a land slide. But how do you know for sure what it is? You have to actually go up there and do a gravity or magnetic probe, Bouchard said. A real dilemma, it would appear. Bouchard explained that if it is a meteor, there is no danger. “It’s not radioactive. There is absolutely no danger even if there is a meteor there.”
But he said all the evidence at the site, the new bay, the shells, the mud ridge, can be explained by a land slide or “sinkhole.” Except there’s one thing that still bothers him. If it is a land slide, why is there a 30-feet crater off the shore in front of the new bay? A hole with deep black water is visible from the shore, surrounded by muddy brown water.
“Normally in front of a landslide there is a mass of mud,” said Bouchard. “The puzzling thing for me is the hole out in the bay.”
We’re no experts but this is one hole that requires some deep probing.
Thanks to Josie George, Stephen Petagumskum, Ron Shesha-mush and Claude Tremblay for their assistance.