GHOSTS OR ALIENS?: Lost Villages home to Canada's first paranormal tale

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The Lost Villages is home to one of Canada's first, perhaps the first, ghost stories.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Are you a believer?

A new report released recently suggests more than 14,000 oddities involving aliens, space craft and strange lights have been catalogued in the last 25 years - but the Cornwall area is home to what could be considered Canada's first such encounter.

A Winnipeg group known as Ufology Research has compiled and analyzed reported sightings of unidentified flying objects across Canada since 1989 - finding explanations or reasonable explanations for about half of the events.

But a close encounter of the weird kind occurred west of Cornwall back in the 1840s which continues to confound researchers and historians.

What became known as the 'Marsh Point Ghost' started out as strange lights on a September evening back in 1845. A farmer was walking home one night, along the banks of the Cornwall Canal west of community, when he spotted the phenomenon.

He spied strange lights dancing around the farm owned by Granny Marsh, 80, who lived with her daughter Clara, 60, on the property, which was located on the island of Milles Roches - which is now among the Lost Villages west of Cornwall.

Unsure what the strange dancing orbs to be, the farmer visited the farm the next morning to determine what kind of disaster had befallen the poor old ladies - but the women said they had seen and heard nothing.

"They were highly amused to hear that people with lights had been seen to be wandering around their place after dark," reported Rex Lambert, a CBC reporter who in the 1960s recounted the circumstances of the event.

Before long the unknown farmer heard from other residents who claimed to see the lightshow as well.

For the next several weeks countless people witnessed lights, some that seemed to move about the property, cross the canal waters and even climb trees, which were accompanied by the sounds of clanging and even small explosions.

Before long the old women who lived on the property became alarmed.

The phenomenon ended with the arrival of winter and never returned. Experts at the time concluded the event was unlikely to be a hoax, considering the fact that the victims appeared to be a pair of kingly elderly women who lived in a remote part of the country - hardly the best targets for such a prank.

The mystery of the event continues to this day - much of which has been lost to the passage of time.

"I'd never heard a word of this," said Lost Villages Historical society president Jim Brownell in an interview.

More on the event, including Lambert's CBC report, can be found here.

Organizations: Lost Villages Historical society

Geographic location: Cornwall, Canada, Ontario Winnipeg

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