Toronto’s Flying Jellyfish

Toronto Jellyfish - UFO Sightings Daily

What would be your first thought if I told you that there have been sightings of a “mysterious floating jellyfish” in Toronto? A new fish tank at the Ripley’s Aquarium? Perhaps the Royal Ontario Museum has welcomed another travelling exhibit?

On April 12, 2012, a witness reported that they had seen what looked to be a giant jellyfish swimming through the sky above Toronto. This thing came down from above the clouds, slowly descending for about a minute before I began filming, said the witness, who posted their home video of the Jellyfish on the UFO Sightings Daily website. Some sources have claimed this may be a possible cryptid, joining the likes of the Sasquatch and Ogopogo. It certainly begs the question, could this creature or phenomena be supernatural in nature? The eyewitness believes that they caught sight of a space creature. Not only did they watch as it floated down from the clouds, but the statement posted with the video described seeing “eyeballs” and “tentacles” on the object. Dare I say, this sounds a little fishy? 

The First Flying Jellyfish

Petrozavodsk Jellyfish, 1977

It turns out that this incident isn’t the first time a Flying Jellyfish has been reported. Known by many names including, “Space Jellyfish”, “Aerial Jellyfish”, “Atmospheric Jellyfish”, and sometimes even “Space Squid”, reports of jellyfish-like UFOs have been made since the 1970s. The first documented case of a Flying Jellyfish was witnessed by hundreds as it floated above the city of Petrozavodsk, Russia on September 20, 1977. An article published in the local newspaper announced to the public that, 

An intensely radiant ‘star’ which looked like a shining jellyfish, stood above Petrozavodsk. It moved slowly towards Petrozavodsk, throwing rays of light on the city. There were thousands of beams and it looked like heavy rain. A little later, the beaming came to an end, the source of light changed its brightness and moved towards Onezskoe lake. On the horizon were grey clouds, and when the object went into these, a number of semicircles and circles of pink light appeared. The manifestation lasted 10 to 12 minutes.

Many people living in the area were quite concerned for their safety. Over a thousand letters were sent to Russian authorities questioning whether or not it was safe to stay in Petrozavodsk. Panic quickly spread amongst the townspeople who feared they were going to be turned into jelly themselves. The authorities who received the letters weren’t too keen on the commotion the “Jellyfish” sighting was causing, so they confiscated every single letter and forbade any further references to the topic, leaving the case to be investigated by scientists in secret. They admitted whatever was going on was some kind of atmospheric phenomenon but wouldn’t clarify other than to confirm it wasn’t extraterrestrial. 

Over the next few decades, more Space Jellyfish would be reported across the world. From the Qing Xian Flying Jellyfish that was spotted over China in 1998, to the more recent sighting of the Dutch Flying Jellyfish over the Netherlands in 2015, it seems there is no shortage of Sky Squid floating around in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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What is a “Flying Jellyfish”?

Our trusty internet know-all Wikipedia tells us that a Space Jellyfish, also known sometimes as a Jellyfish UFO or Rocket Jellyfish, is a phenomenon caused by sunlight reflecting off the gases that are emitted when a rocket launches during the early morning or evening twilight hours. This means that whoever is lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a UFO Jelly is in darkness on the Earth, while the exhaust plumes that form the jellyfish are in direct sunlight. It’s how the Space Jelly gets its distinct appearance. 

The “Twilight Effect” is the scientific name for this phenomenon. Space experts used it to explain why the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on December 22, 2017, coincided with an abundance of UFO reports. That same evening, #alien was trending all over social media.

Space X Falcon 9 Launch, Dec 22, 2017 – CPR News

Was There a Rocket Launch on April 12, 2012?

When it comes to pinning down if a rocket could have caused the Toronto Flying Jellyfish, there is only one recorded launch on April 12, 2012, but there are some details about it that just don’t add up. The rocket was launched from North Korea, on the other side of the world. How could it have been seen by anyone in Toronto? The most concerning detail though, is that the rocket launch failed. Even if by some miracle, the contrails could be seen in a country over 10,000 kilometres away, the rocket exploded shortly after blasting off and fell to the ocean in pieces, just west of the Korean Peninsula. Could a rocket that never made it into orbit in North Korea be seen as a Floating Jellyfish in Canada? It doesn’t sound very likely. Could it have been some other top-secret launch or equipment testing? It is a possibility, but almost impossible to verify.

If we can’t pinpoint any one rocket launch matching the date the Toronto Jelly sighting happened, that leaves us sitting with an ongoing mystery. Maybe it’s not the mesmerizing light show of the Twilight Effect after all. UFOlogist Christopher Rutkowski is no stranger to unidentified objects flying in the Great North’s skies. He is one of our country’s experts on the subject and says that UFO sightings in Canada are actually a lot more common than most people realize. In an article posted on, Rutkowski mentions that there are “about 1,000 UFO reports filed in Canada every year.” With those statistics in mind, perhaps the idea of seeing any sort of UFO isn’t that far out of the ordinary. 

Even if the unsolved mystery of Toronto’s Flying Jellyfish does eventually get “solved”, I personally like the idea of a monstrous jellyfish bouncing around in the atmosphere keeping watch over the city. In any case, you may want to keep your eyes on the skies.

A drawing inspired by the story of Toronto's Flying Jellyfish by Felix, one of our talented tour guides in Ottawa!