A mystery that has excited many of the rural residents of Maitland has come to be one of the principal topics of discussion in that hamlet and vicinity where strange lights high in the air have been seen on numerous occasions recently.
Maitland is 7 miles up the St. Lawrence from Ogdensburg on the Canadian side.
The general impression is that the lights are carried on airplanes that have been flying over at night but what an airplane could be doing high up on a dark night is something that makes the mystery more baffling.
The lights were first noticed the latter part of last week when people residing on the outskirts of the village told of seeing them passing over high up in the air and apparently quite a distance away. The lights as described by those who have seen them are like large and powerful automobile lights.
One farmer stated that the one he saw was more like a powerful search light and as he watched it the light was turned slightly to the left and right, throwing a long cone shaped ray far ahead.
Peter Cunningham a farmer residing east of Maitland in company with another farmer reported watching one of the strange lights passing high up in the air across country a few nights ago. He says that the lights seem to be far to the north, and that they were moving rapidly east to west towards the St. Lawrence river.
He declares the lights appeared to be moving at a rate that a rapidly moving airplane would make. He is convinced that the lights were attached to a flying machine of some description. He says that there were 2 lights and while he was not near enough to observe them, the rays the threw appeared like automobile lights at a distance.
Cunningham and his companions watched the lights until the went out of sight towards the west.
If it was an airplane he says he heard no motor but attaches no significance to that as the lights appeared to be 3 or 4 miles north of the place where they sighted them. Other farmers tell of having seen these strange little moving lights in the sky at night.
Reports from the vicinity of Prescott are similar to those that come from Maitland. One man a farmer residing near the village as well as the other people living in the neighborhood, have seen these strange lights in the sky on 2 or 3 occasions. He tells of coming from one of the lots towards the back of the farm where he had been looking after the planting when he noticed what he believes to have been 3 airplanes going over.
The head one he says carried a powerful searchlight that was turned downward once its bright rays falling on a pasture of a neighbor, where it frightened several horses and cattle and in the rats of the powerful light he could see them scurrying and stampeding.
The strangest story however comes from a woman residing a mile this side of Brockville, who claims that on 2 occasions she has seen strange lights in the sky during the past fortnight but that they stayed in one place in the darkness hundreds of feet from the ground. In the circle of light she says she saw the figure of a gigantic man with something resembling a rifle in his hands.
There is considerable speculation regarding the mysterious lights but the general theory appears that they are from airships which are being employed by smugglers to transport contraband. It is likely that unless a change is brought about the dry laws.