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A most unusual epitaph

This week Bill discovers a UFO epitaph – he knows there is more to the story

There are the usual epitaphs on headstones such as Rest in Peace. In Loving Memory, Until We Meet Again, A Life Measured in Memories.

Cemeteries are favourite haunts you not only find peace but wonderful stories. This one is incomplete for the time being.

Just off of Highway 66 on the south side, there is the Kirkland Lake Cemetery, also known as Swastika Cemetery. On the main row, fifty metres in on the ascending slope, on the right or west side is a typical rectangular, large like a headstone. But the inscriptions, on both sides of the headstone, are far from the norm.

After the biography references of birth and death and next of kin, it says on the front: UFO Are Real Spacecraft.

On the back:

Spinning Objects Vanquish Gravity
Spinning Objects Levitate  
Speed To Exceed The Earth's Relative Feet Per Second

Obviously, Mr. Bradley was more than just intrigued as his family went out of their way to grant his final wishes. Epitaphs are meant to tell a story about the deceased person or honour him or her in some way. We need to find out more.

His obituary in 2007 read:

Glenn Ellsworth Bradley - It is with sadness that the family of Mr. Glenn Bradley announces his passing in Englehart at the Northview Nursing Home on December 27, 2007, at the age of 88 years. Glenn was born on December 28, 1918, to the late William Hutcheson and Maude Mae (Ripple) Bradley of Pennsylvania. He was a veteran of World War II with the U.S. Navy and was stationed with the Seabees in the South Pacific Ocean. Glenn retired after 36 years with the Bliss Company of Salem, Ohio where they made parts for the Canadarm on the shuttles. He then moved to Matachewan to retire. Glenn enjoyed the outdoors especially fishing which he loved. He will be remembered for his scientific work such as antigravity and his belief in UFOs.

We know he was a member of the United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Navy Seabees, form the US Naval Construction Force (NCF). The Seabee nickname is a heterograph of the first letters "CB" from the words Construction Battalion. The back of the headstone denotes his Navy service from 1942 to 1945.

From the back of the headstone, this seems to suggest Mr. Bradley‘s focus may have been how Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) defy this phenomenon. Gravity is a force arising among any two masses in the universe. Our most familiar run-in with it is the attraction that pulls our bodies, our houses and everything else in our lives toward the planet earth beneath us.

Even in orbit, where astronauts do not feel the tug of gravity, it is nonetheless abundantly present. Gravity’s draw is simply masked by the free-falling motion of a spacecraft as it circles the planet. The only way out in deep space, beyond the domain of any planets or stars, can you truly escape gravity. Many people seem to think NASA has secret training rooms in which gravity can be turned off, however, there is no such thing as antigravity.

What we know

I reached out to Micah Hanks, a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. Visit his website if you want to learn more.

A fan of the website, Adam Petryk of Kirkland Lake sent him a lead to this story. Adam had worked at the cemetery.

“I worked at the local cemetery as a summer student while off from college for two summers cutting grass and helping with burials,” Adam told Micah. “I was always fascinated by the tombstone since this man possibly witnessed something that cannot be explained or couldn’t express his knowledge and literally ‘took it to the grave’.”

“Whether or not UFOs will ever be proven to be otherworldly, Bradley’s fascination with the subject is one he took with him to the grave, which, in truth, is somewhat otherworldly in itself," Petryk told Hanks. "But the fact that the obituary mentions his 'scientific work' that included antigravity is still interesting. Very little else could be found about Bradley as of the time this was written, although with little doubt, someone who may have known him, or at least knew of his work, may be able to provide further details.”

All of this leads us to his fascination associated with U.F.O’s now called them UAPs (Unexplained Aerial Phenomena) of which there is a resurgence of interest because of a recent report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, 25 June 2021.

He would have been in his prime as were UFOs in the late 1950s and 60s. The human race sent probes and then people into orbit, the public fascination with space also skyrocketed.

That fascination was also reflected in popular culture at the time with sci-fi stories often seen in books, television and films. If humans could visit other planets, people wondered whether Earth could be visited by extraterrestrials, and reported sightings of UFOs increased. He had the conviction that they were indeed spacecraft from other worlds.

Stephen Scharper is the author of the Green Bible. The University of Toronto professor knows about epitaphs. “The word 'Epitaph' stems from the Greek epitaphion, a combination of epi-, meaning 'at', or 'over', and taphos, meaning 'tomb'. The earliest epitaphial inscriptions seem to date back to ancient Egypt, written upon sarcophagi and coffins, but their use has differed over the centuries depending on regional and cultural factors.

“The ancient Greeks, for example, were more poetic in their epigraphs, while the ancient Romans were a tad more pedestrian, apparently focusing on biographical facts about the deceased," said Scharper. “Epitaphs are in the end one's last word and are often used to succinctly depict the overarching meaning of one's life or the love that was felt for a particular person."

"The fact that this epitaph references antigravity and UFOs suggests these were perhaps the most important preoccupations or encounters in this person's life, and something for which he wished to be remembered. It is a fascinating ‘final word,’ for sure,” Scharper added.

There is more to know about his avocation.

Upon retirement he moved to Matachewan, neighbours there may know more and Adam Petryk of Kirkland Lake may have more to share.

Glenn passed on in Englehart at the Northview Nursing Home on December 27, 2007, so staff may know. There are three daughters cited on the headstone, Linda, Sue and Terri Lynn and grandchildren, Michelle, Curtis, Anthony and Pamela. It is an intriguing story to know more about.

See the map for the headstone local. Maybe leave a small stone.

Cemeteries are for the living. Epitaphs usually give biographical information, memorialize the deceased or relay messages. They often convey great achievements, valued character traits or advice. 

They are lasting communication between the dead and the living, immortalization and commemoration of a life. I think this inscription checks all the boxes.



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Bill Steer

About the Author: Bill Steer

Back Roads Bill Steer is an avid outdoorsman and is founder of the Canadian Ecology Centre
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