As a fan of the X-Files I have always believed that there is someone else out there in the skies. However, sometimes I thought my late father was nuts when he insisted I join him in a spaceship watch outside on his driveway. In the late 60’s he claimed to have seen something up in those starry skies on Miltimore Road hovering over the Brome Pond area– which I blamed it on too much exhaust coming out of his Ford Pinto. In 1974 it happened again and this time he made me sit for what seemed like hours to see what he claimed was another UFO. Of course I never saw anything unusual and usually handed him a glass of wine and told him to go watch The Rockford Files.
Today, going through the news archives I found out that there were indeed many UFO sightings in the Eastern Townships in that time frame and my father, Arthur Knight, might not have been so crazy after all. In the late 60’s many sightings in the Sherbrooke area have been documented and Michael Phelps sent a letter to the Sudbury Star in 1990 in response to a request by the newspaper for personal encounters.
The letter discussed a 1968 incident at an Ayer’s Cliff cottage on the shores of Lake Massawippi that his family was renting. Walking home one evening the whole sky was lit up like giant spotlights being turned on. He looked across the lake and saw 3 or 4 balls descend and after a few seconds they were gone. His sister had seen the same thing, but later they found out that it had not been a visit from beyond, rather it had been nothing but what they call ‘earthquake lights’. These lights in the sky are caused by electrical properties of certain rocks in specific settings. When nature stresses certain rocks, electric charges are activated, as if you switched on a battery in the Earth’s crust.
On the 15th of July in 1974, a UFO wave swept the Sudbury, Ontario and once again the Eastern Townships area. Among these were some UFOs that had a bell shape and that was what my father had insisted he had seen in his second encounter. In October of the same year a bell-shaped UFO was also seen between Deauville and Rock Forest, and in this case, the object was orange in colour.
So today I sit here, over 30 years later, and wonder what my father actually saw. Did he see spaceships, or was it natural mineral gas lights coming off nearby Gale Pond? For those that have no idea what I am talking about– Gale Pond, which is now called Lac Gale, sits on top of Gale Mountain in Bromont.
As a kid we used to climb the rough trail up the mountain where a former volcanic crater sat at the top, disguised as a natural lake. There we would mingle with the campers of Gale Camp that Reverend Peacock of the Anglican church in Cowansville had begun in 1944. Kids would swim off the dam on the south end of Gale Pond and the water warmed up faster than any other lake after a good rainstorm. But did we ever see any spaceships coming out of the water, or was there anything else that would have been labeled odd? Not that I remember! The only thing that would have had something similar to wild lights and burning speed would have been the Farr boy’s toboggan zipping down that trail coming from the top of Gale Mountain.
So what did my Dad see? Personally, I believe there are just two possibilities– either we are alone in this universe, or we are not. I guess we will never know– but after doing research for this story, more of my childhood came back in a flood of memories. It’s just so hard to forget an area that gave me so much to remember– even on the subject of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.