Since the infamous sightings in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, people across North America have become more aware of strange lights, and unusual objects, in the night skies.
By the late 1960s in Perth Ontario, details of sightings were published in the local papers, and many credible witnesses reported their accounts of these strange events.
The night skies in Eastern Ontario became very active in the summer and fall of 1973, and some organizations reported that it was one of the largest number of U.F.O. sightings over North America, calling it the ‘Autumn of Aliens’.
In Lanark County, it all seemed to begin with a sudden hailstorm, on the Friday the 13th of July. The hailstorm came out of nowhere, and huge chunks of ice fell, many almost three inches in diameter. Hundreds of windows and car windshields were smashed by jagged pieces of ice. A Smiths Falls resident was cut on the head by a chunk of falling ice, and required seven stitches. No one was seriously injured, although there were a few farmers that got caught outside, working in the fields, and had to seek shelter from the large chunks of ice falling from the sky.
Barely 48 hours after the hailstorm, police departments in Perth and Smiths Falls received a number of calls from residents, claiming to have seen flying objects in the sky.
A local man reported that he and five others were on the Eighth Line near Balderson at 9:30 p.m., when a flying object appeared to be travelling south to north, then returned to the south. He observed that it was quite large, shaped like a tart. Another report came in from a resident of Sherbrooke Street in Perth, who saw the same object overhead. He said that his dog had howled constantly while the object appeared in the sky.
So many people had observed the same object that CJET radio station in Smiths Falls held a call-in show the following Monday, so that people could phone the show, and share reports of what they had seen.
“The Perth Courier”, Thursday, April 19, 1973
“The Perth Courier” , Thursday, July 19, 1973, page 1.
The next UFO sighting to be reported in the fall of 1973 took place in Beckwith Township. A young man was returning to Perth from Ottawa, driving along Highway 7 near Carleton Place, when his headlights suddenly went out. Concerned that he might be pulled over by the police with his headlights out he decided to take the back way, and turned onto Tennyson Road. The section of the road closest to Perth has swamp on both sides, and the lad noticed two large lights in the sky, hovering over the swamp. The object was in the sky just above the tree line. He pulled the car over to the side of the road, and as he stopped the car he noticed that the object stopped as well, and hovered over the swamp. He remained parked for a few minutes, and then started to drive again. When he began to move, so did the object, and it traveled parallel to him for a few more minutes, then disappeared. Early the next morning, when he pulled out of his driveway in Perth, his headlights were working again.
Another sighting in the late summer of 1973 was first reported by a young lad working at a gas station in Smiths Falls. He spotted a small sphere in the sky that appeared to be hovering in one fixed location. He reported seeing silver flames coming from both the top and the bottom of the craft. The lad was quick to call CJET radio station, and ask if anyone else had seen the odd sphere in the sky. The radio station confirmed that yes, indeed; they could see it as well. In the days that followed, at least 40 people in the Smiths Falls area came forward, stating that they had seen the object as well.
In the summer of 1974 people were once again talking about another strange object in the sky. It was a typical warm summer evening on the Rideau Lakes, and there were cottagers and residents alike, who saw more than they bargained for, on the night of August 12th. At around 10 p.m., many were sitting outside, enjoying the call of the loons, and listening to the water lapping on the shore. Suddenly, high in the night sky, a cigar-shaped object appeared. Some described it as a long, flat shape, orange in colour. Many said that it was more red than orange, and was shaped like a sphere. Everyone that saw it agreed that it was silent, and it hovered over the Big Rideau Lake, on the south side of Horseshoe Bay, for several minutes, and then vanished.
It wasn’t just in the Perth area that strange objects and lights appeared in the sky. Several residents of the town of Brockville, including some local police officers, confirmed the sightings of some odd lights moving in the night skies.
From “The Perth Courier”, January 3, 1979, front page, a sighting reported by George Shanks of Lanark, Ontario:
Cartoon printed in “The Perth Courier”, January 10, 1979, page 2
Strange sightings of unidentified flying objects were recorded in the Perth area as early as the late 1950s. Fiery balls of light, objects moving up and down, back and forth, quickly, in ways that airplanes were not able to maneuver. UFO tracking stations were established just outside of Ottawa, and rumours of government radio towers and underground facilities were heard up and down the concessions in Lanark County. Excavations were reported near Almonte, and government agents were testing the soil on several farms in Ramsay Township. When reporters attempted to investigate, the government representatives denied all, despite the fact that local men were working as labourers on many of the projects and could confirm what they had seen.
For more information on strange sightings in the night skies over Lanark County, and some of the government’s secret projects in the 1960s and 1970s, read the full story ‘Perplexed in Perth’, from the new book “Lanark County Classics: A Treasury of Tales from Another Time”.
Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm & Blackwood Originals in Perth, Perfect Books & Books on Beechwood in Ottawa, Arlie’s Books in Smiths Falls, Mill St. Books and Divine Consign in Almonte, or on http://www.staffordwilson.com