The genesis of Project Magnet can be largely traced back to a memorandum of 21 November 1950 that Wilbert B. Smith, an official with the Canadian Government’s Department of Communications (and who held a B.Sc. and a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering), wrote to the Department of Transport. Smith, who had a personal interest in UFOs and had studied the subject, stated in his proposal that (a) the Canadian Government should be prompted to establish an official UFO investigation project; and (b) that he was on the track of something that would lead to an understanding of both how UFOs were powered and the development of new technological advances on Earth.
According to Smith: “The existence of a different technology is borne out by the investigations which are being carried on at the present time in relation to flying saucers.” Smith also advised the DoT that, having made a number of discreet inquiries at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, he had learned the following from a Dr. Robert Sarbacher:
A. The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.
B. Flying saucers exist.
C. Their modus operandi is unknown but concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by Dr. Vannevar Bush.
D. The entire matter is considered by the United States authorities to be of tremendous significance.
On receipt of the memorandum, the Canadian Department of Transport quickly approved Smith’s proposal to officially investigate UFO reports; and on 2 December 1950, Project Magnet — a classified Canadian government project — swung into action and a number of high-quality UFO reports caught the attention of Magnet staff. On 10 August 1953, Smith submitted the following report: “It appears then, that we are faced with a substantial probability of the real existence of extraterrestrial vehicles, regardless of whether they fit into our scheme of things. It is therefore submitted that the next step in this investigation should be a substantial effort toward the acquisition of as much as possible of this technology.”
Three months later, at Shirleys Bay, Ontario, a station for investigating and detecting UFOs was established; and on 8 August 1954, the equipment “went wild,” recalled Smith later. All of the available evidence suggested that a UFO had flown in close proximity of the station. Regrettably the entire vicinity was bathed in clouds and no visual sighting was made; the instrumentation, however, did record a major disturbance. Two days later, the DOT announced that Project Magnet was being shut down. The speed with which the project was shut down has led to allegations that a decision was taken to continue studies at a far more covert level. It is intriguing to note, too, that in the early 1980s Dr. Robert Sarbacher reaffirmed his knowledge of secret U.S. Government UFO investigations overseen by Vannevar Bush and admitted that he was aware that the U.S. had in its possession both crashed UFOs and alien bodies. Wilbert Brockhouse Smith died on 27 December 1961, at the age of 52.