Every journey has a beginning. This book was begun during a 1995 trip with Chris Styles in his Chevy Blazer.
I met Chris after I joined the UFO organization MUFON earlier that year, after reading countless books about the phenomenon. MUFON put me in touch with Chris, who was then the assistant provincial director in Nova Scotia.
Chris brought up the subject of Shag Harbor during our first meeting. His enthusiasm for the case was infectious, and over the next few months I found myself being drawn into the investigation.
On this sunny day in 1995 I had accompanied Chris to a meeting with the president of Canadian Seabed Research in Porter's Lake, Nova Scotia. I went along as an interested party, and as a possible member of an underwater survey team in Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia, the next summer.
There was also another reason, one of convenience. In the weeks prior to this trip, as a fledgling Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) investigator, I had been looking into a UFO sighting by two fourteen-year-old girls one year earlier, on the thirteenth of April, 1994. At the time the sighting had received some attention by the local press and electronic media. One of the girls lived in a suburb of Dartmouth known as Cole Harbor, a community in the same general area as Porter's Lake.
During the initial investigation I didn't have my camera with me, and I wanted to photograph the area and get an idea of the location of the sighting. Since the area in question would be just a little out of our way, I asked Chris the night before if he would mind going there on our return trip, and of course he agreed.
After the meeting, we arrived at the sighting location around three-thirty in the afternoon. The area was new to Chris. While I took some pictures, he looked around. It was while I had the camera to my eye that he noticed that I was not the only person photographing this spot. There was another car, a black unmarked Nissan, parked farther down the road in this sparsely populated location. Chris observed a man with a camera shooting in our direction, either at us or at the wooded area I was photographing. I glanced toward the vehicle too late to see the other photographer. "Probably a real estate agent," I suggested. "There's a lot of land around here for sale." I continued snapping pictures.
The car started and proceeded up the road in our direction. By this time I was busy nailing down a compass bearing. The Nissan passed us and turned left around a corner. The road ended there, and there was only cleared land, with forest after that.
"Hey! GRC!" Chris exclaimed. He was referring to the Gendarmerie Royale du Canada, otherwise known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or "Mounties."
"What?" I asked, looking up from my compass.
"Those guys had GRC shoulder patches on their jackets. I saw them when they went by us."
"Are you sure?" I asked. I watched as the vehicle continued down the road to our left, eventually disappearing behind some trees in the thickly wooded area.
"Saw them as plain as day," Chris said. "They weren't more than ten feet away when they went by."
"Why would they be photographing the same area as me?" I was puzzled. "I'm sure they would have done all of that stuff last year, when the UFO was reported, if they were even interested then."
"Could be they were taking pictures of us."
"Us ... why us?" I was frankly shocked by his suggestion.
"Beats the hell out of me. But I'm less and less surprised by the things that happen in this field, as I get further into it."
"Bull!" I snorted. I wasn't ready to buy into that yet.
We got back into the truck and began the drive back to the city. Chris continued talking, relating some of his own experiences of odd coincidences that had occurred since he had become involved with the incident of the Dark Object. It was then that he said he was considering writing a book about his adventures, if he could find someone to help him. I mentioned that I did some writing, mostly on aviation-related subjects. We agreed that we would talk about the idea over coffee later in the week, and continued the drive back to the city.
My thoughts went back to the road in Cole Harbor and the GRC shoulder patches. I wondered then if they had taken my picture and if so, why.CHRIS STYLES
One evening when I was twelve years old, I sat in my bedroom listening to the radio and practicing my guitar, thinking perhaps someday I would be the lead guitar in a famous rock band. Soon the rock music ended and I switched off the radio. It was 10:00 p.m., and I could hear my parents moving around downstairs.
My house was on a corner, halfway up a hill in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. My room was upstairs, in the back of the house, with a view of one of the world's best natural harbors, Halifax Harbor. Bored, I looked out my window, down toward the mouth of the harbor. It was dark now, early in the fall of the year. Lights ringed the harbor and drifted along the water on ships and boats.
One light grabbed my immediate attention. It was a round object, glowing orange, the color of iron heated in a forge. It was much bigger than the others, and was drifting up the harbor toward me. I knew at once that this was no ordinary buoy or running light. There was something both familiar and foreign about it.
Although reluctant to lose sight of it, I wanted to get a better look, so I dashed into an unused bedroom, grabbed my grandfather's old field glasses from a shelf in the closet, and ran back to my room.
My hands shook as I tried to focus the binoculars on the orange disc. I could see no form behind the orange hue. It grew larger as it drew closer but I realized I was going to lose sight of it behind the buildings along the water's edge.
An urgency gripped me. I had to see more.
Excerpted from Dark Object by Don Ledger and Chris Styles edited and with an introduction by Whitley Strieber. Copyright © 2001 by Don Ledger and Chris Styles edited and with an introduction by Whitley Strieber. Excerpted by permission of Dell, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.