Years ago J. Sid Annable wrote a yarn about a mysterious red light that was seen moving high over the lower Mississippi Lake one summer. Had he and his friend caused any of the shenanigans?
For a week Sid and his friend ‘Peck” Wilkie constructed a huge box kite in an old shack. They built the frame of old cedar rail material from the line fence of Bill Duff’s farm. The kite was three feet wide and six feet long, covered with cheesecloth with glue sizing brushed on. The tail was six feet long. A wire was fastened to the nose to attach our twine and to make a perfect balance. To fly the kite as high as possible they bought five pounds of binder twine.They made a windlass with a crank on each side, placing a leather brake on to control it. A rack was made on the seat of their rowboat, they fastened the twine, rowed out on the lake and hoisted their kite in a successful test.
One night they attached a railroad lantern to the tail of the kite and sent her up. The red light showing brightly in the sky caused quite a sensation. After people were all in their beds they brought our kite down and tucked it away for another night’s fun. Next day everyone in Carleton Place was talking about the mysterious light in the sky over the lake. The Carleton Place papers had a front page story, and the next night people came from Almonte and nearby villages to investigate the strange phenomenon.
After a week of this, old Charlie Glover, crack rifle shot of the village, rowed up to Nagle’s Bay to take a pot shot at their mysterious light. They kept the kite moving and Glover wasted many shots before he made a lucky hit. Down came the kite into Mississippi Lake. The next morning Sid and his friend retrieved it in a rice bed, some distance in from the edge. Apparently, someone spoke out of turn and let the cat out of the bag.
The frame of this kite was in the attic of William Wilkie’s home for a long time. W. W. Cliff, editor of the Central Canadian, published the story in 1884, picturing ‘Peck’ Wilkie as the Peck’s bad boy of the village. Some years later Peck Wilkie was drowned in the pond on the Boston Common.
Phantom Light on Lakes Once Talk of the Town
Carleton Place Canadian, 07 March, 1963