The 1978 incident in Clarenville and nearby Random Island featured on new, popular glow-in-the-dark collector coin
It was the talk of the town in 1978.
It was just five days before Hallowe’en when Jim Blackwood, a 25-year-old constable at the RCMP detachment in the Town of Clarenville, got a report of a strange aircraft hovering over Random Island.
In an interview with SaltWire in 2016, Blackwood said he assumed it was a simple case of someone letting their imagination get the better of them.
Blackwood headed down to the Clarenville waterfront, and what he saw is still talked about to this day.
“I went down and the craft was hovering between Clarenville and Random Island, right on the water. It was only a couple of hundred feet off the water. It was there for good two hours before it left,” Blackwood told SaltWire.
Using binoculars and a high-powered scope, Blackwood observed a fin-tailed, oval-shaped cruiser hovering over Random Island.
“I activated the roof lights of my police car and it activated lights at the same time.”
The strange craft, which emitted no sound according to the eyewitnesses, remained in the area for nearly an hour before rising up suddenly and vanishing into the night.
Others saw the strange sight too and it became headline news, not just locally, but provincially and nationally.
The sighting lasted for just two hours, but the story lives on, told and re-told in local circles and sometimes written about by curious journalists.
What do you think happened that night in Clarenville? 👽Posted by Royal Canadian Mint / Monnaie royale canadienne on Thursday, October 8, 2020
The story is likely to get more attention now, thanks to the Royal Canadian Mint.
In a press release Oct. 8, the Mint said it has added to its extra-popular Canada's Unexplained Phenomena series by telling the strange story of the 1978 UFO sighting.
The mint said the Clarenville Event is illustrated on a new glow-in-the-dark collector coin that captures the moment the RCMP officer and multiple witnesses observed the mysterious lights and oval shape of the unidentified flying object.
The mint produced 5,000 of the rectangular $20 coins comprised of one ounce of silver, and at a $129.95 sale price, they proved popular. A visit to the mint's official site shows the coins have already sold out, although they are being offered for resale elsewhere online.
The art was produced by East Coast artist Adam Young of Young Studios on Fogo Island.
In a press release, Young said, “I wanted this piece to include all the elements of the 1978 experience while also incorporating the rugged yet whimsical coastline so often found in the Newfoundland landscape.
“This has been an exciting artistic endeavour, which, throughout my research for the design, has caused me to tumble down the rabbit hole of other Canadian UFO sightings."
True to the scene described by witnesses that night, the collectible coin has luminescent elements that come through when exposed to a black light.
The 1978 sighting was not the last report of a UFO over the waters between Clarenville and Random Island.
In the winter of 2016, Clarenville resident Chad Haines reported he took photos of a mysterious of lights hovering over the water near his home on Bayview Road.