by Sue Demeter St-Clair
in my own words | extraordinary experiences
Pulsating Orb in the November Night Sky
January 11, 2013
Introduction. Extraordinarium features personal experiences of the
extraordinary as a way to explore their diversity and to broaden the
conversation about how such experiences impact people’s lives. Publications
such as Fate and Fortean Times have featured such personal experiences
over the decades as a way of giving experients a voice, and part of
Extraordinarium’s mandate is to do the same – to ensure that those who have
extraordinary experiences have a forum in which they can share them first-
hand, in their own words. From there, critical inquiry and respectful discussion
can follow. (See below for details on how to share your own experience).
Welcome to the first installment of
“In My Own Words.”
Sue recounts her experience which took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada:
On November 4th, 1990, at approximately 1 a.m., I was getting ready to
go to bed for the evening. My
now ex-husband, children,
and my sister who was
visiting at the time, had
already turned in for the
evening. I had been watching
an "Elvira Mistress of the
Dark" movie with my brother-
in-law, when I looked up at
the clock. Realizing it was
way past my bedtime, I got
up to lock the sliding glass
doors to our balcony. That
singular moment in time, and
seemingly mundane and
changed the focus of my life
in a very profound way.
At the time we were living on the 10th floor of an apartment condo
building, and as I had young children, it was my habit to make sure those
doors were always locked. I will also mention this apartment had a south-
southeast exposure with a clear view of Lake Ontario and the Pickering
Nuclear Generating Station. As I went to lock the door I observed a large,
red, glowing orb through the glass. It was like nothing I had ever seen
before. I quickly looked back towards the TV thinking it was a reflection. It
wasn't. In my pajamas, I stepped out onto the balcony. I noted that the
orb, for lack of better word, seemed to be in the vicinity of the nuclear
My mind raced with all the possibilities – was this a plane? a search light?
– quickly discounting each. In those days there were no readily available
and popular "Chinese Sky Lanterns" as there are now. And having set
these off in the last couple of years I can, looking back, discount them as
a causation for the sighting as well.
Out on the balcony, I yelled out for my brother-in-law who was outside
and at my side within seconds. I was pointing and yelling "What is it, what
is it?” He started yelling back, “It's a UFO!” He grabbed my arm, and I
glanced down to see gooseflesh. Almost immediately after he said that,
the full moon sized orb, began to pulsate. And for some inexplicable
reason, which I cannot fathom I said, "They know we can see them.” I
include this statement despite the fact it may go against my credibility as
a witness in the minds of some. There are too many others who have
come forward with their experiences, for me to lack the bravery to be
completely truthful with my recounting of this event, even if I do see how
others may view my words as odd at best.
After pulsating, the UFO, which appeared octagon in shape, imploded on
itself, turning to a speck, and then shooting straight up. At this point my
brother-in-law’s memory and mine differ a little. He says he saw the orb
implode, but not shoot up into the sky. I cannot explain the difference in
our memories/perceptions on that point. I looked down towards the street
and saw a single car driving eastward. I remember thinking we cannot be
alone in seeing this. We went inside, and sat up in the kitchen discussing
everything within our own experiences that could rationally explain what
we had witnessed (despite my strange comment of a “them”). We were
up until 4 a.m. and I ran back to the sliding glass doors a few times that
night to see if the orb had returned. It didn't, nor have either of us ever
seen anything like it since.
My brother-in-law and I failed to report our sighting immediately. We both
were afraid of nor wanted to put up with ridicule. We also did not know
who we should have reported this experience to. In those days there was
no internet or easy way to locate a UFO investigative group. I did pick up
a UFO book from the library and sent a letter to CUFOS in Chicago
(much of the details written above is based on the recounting from that
letter), but the letter was returned to me as undeliverable.
Eventually many years after the fact I was able to report the experience to
MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). Despite never answering the question
of what we saw that night with 100% certainty, I learned there were
thoughtful and intelligent people who were looking into these
extraordinary experiences without prejudice. This in turn inspired me to
follow suit and eventually towards the establishment of my own group and
Paranormal Studies and Investigations Canada (PSICAN). I can also say
this singular experience changed the course of my life to such a degree
that it led me to my current husband and partner in life, my “life's work” as
a psychical researcher, and my ever evolving views on consciousness,
reality, the world around me, and the nature of the Universe itself.
Postscript by Christopher Laursen. Sue’s experience shifted her life into a
new mode in which she felt compelled to investigate similar experiences, which
has since expanded to study a variety of paranormal experiences under
PSICAN and its affiliates. I first met her in 2006 and was impressed by her
knowledge of the history of psychical research. I have happily participated in
conversations with her and her colleagues ever since. Sue was influenced by
the work of the Society for Psychical Research and the Ghost Club in
England, as well as the work of Dr. George Owen and his New Horizons
Research Foundation based in Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s. Through her
website, she sought to collect experiences, cataloguing many of them online
so the public could read them. Receiving reports, she offers empathetic
consultation that refers experients to existing reports to help them understand
what happened, as well as the occasional field investigations of spontaneous
cases. PSICAN is among a new wave of online-based investigative groups that
cropped up with the popularization of the world wide web in the 1990s, yet
what sets them apart is their mandate to formally train investigators based on
what they have found best benefits experients alongside existing practices
established by British psychical researchers. Sue actively reads, studies, and
comments on existing literature. You can follow her on her website,
Here, Sue self-reflexively shares an extraordinary experience, even
questioning her own response to it, but in the end concludes that whatever it
was, it deeply moved her to rethink the world in which she lives (and “the
nature of the Universe”). Questioning her own experience and then actively
inquiring about that which falls outside of easy explanation marks true
scepticism. True scepticism, a process of thorough inquiry, has not an ultimate
directive to debunk. It seeks to openly ask constructive questions, to seek
explanation (which, indeed, often can be found), to share findings, to
respectfully recognize the meaning it held for experients (no matter their
findings), and to recognize that sometimes the only answer that remains is “I
don’t know what it was, but someone experienced it.”
Share Your Extraordinary Experience. Extraordinarium regularly
features people’s extraordinary experiences as told in their own words
– written, videoed or in audio format. Our aim is to share and discuss
a wide array of experiences that fall outside of the everyday, which
carry with them wonder and mystery, and even inspire a
transformation in how one thinks about the world. For more
information and to submit your experience, please Contact Us.
The sighting of a glowing red orb ignited Sue
Demeter St-Clair’s inquiring mind. Finding
“people who were looking into these
extraordinary experiences without prejudice”
shaped her investigative mandate.
STUDIES & EXPERIENCES
OF THE EXTRAORDINARY
© 2012-2014 Extraordinarium Digital Press & Journal.
All rights reserved.
Press is distributing
Horror Bound’s ebook
for the acclaimed
dark fiction anthology
FEAR OF THE DARK
featuring 300 pages worth
of eerie tales by emerging
and established writers.
starting at only
$4.99 USD / £3.58 / €4.38
CLICK HERE to read the
author biographies, and
to buy your copy.
Extraordinarium Digital Press publishes
non-fiction on studies & experiences of the
extraordinary; speculative fiction; and
OUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
WHAT IS EXTRAORDINARIUM?
Extraordinarium is a Digital Press & Journal
in which we journey through the extraordinary,
the fantastical and the supernatural. It is
curated and edited by Christopher Laursen.
The extraordinary consists of moments,
events, and things that unexpectedly catch us
off guard - changing how we see the our lives.
It defies order, challenges rules, and invites us
rethink everything! Read more about the
extraordinary in our About section.
Our online Journal, Studies and Experiences
of the Extraordinary (SEE), features indepth
articles, interviews, and first-hand experiences
on many facets of the extraordinary.
The Digital Press publishes non-fiction on
studies & experiences of the extraordinary;
speculative fiction; and imaginative works.
Subscribe to our e-mail list for updates.
EXTRAORDINARIUM’S CHRISTOPHER LAURSEN
& PAUL CROPPER DELVE INTO THE BALDOON
MYSTERY IN FORTEAN TIMES
(FT 315, JUNE 2014).