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Mysterious Flashes of Light

Sudbury, Ontario, DAILY STAR, 14 October 1949, pages 1 & 5

MYSTERY FLASH IN NORTHERN SKIES
Brilliant Display Seen in Sudbury Yet Unexplained

Streak Travelled At Great Height From East

A mysterious, brilliant streak, seen in the Northern sky Thursday night, was visible to Sudburians - those not sound asleep - about midnight last night. Descriptions of the object ranged from a radio-controlled bomb to a flying saucer, jet-bomb, flying rocket or meteor.

The Dominion Weather Bureau Station at Lake Ramsay had a negative report on the flash. Vic Hirst, 305 Oak St., who was on duty at the bureau during the night, said nothing came over the teletype and he had not seen it himself.

Ken Dobson, of radio station CKSO, said he had seen the flash. "It had all the earmarks of a shooting star," he said.

Aime P. Regimbal, 17 O'Grady St., New Sudbury, who was walking on the Old Garson Road with his wife when the strange object flashed through the sky at 12:10 a.m., said:

"I watched the bright streak for several minutes and I'd say it was a twin-jet rocket. It could hardly have been a meteor as there were no sparks or pieces flying off."

"I'd say it was a twin-motor rocket, as it seemed to leave behind a double condensation stream in the sky, the same as a heavy airplane. In England, during the war, we watched heavy bombers forming up for a flight and each high-flying plane left four condensation streams in its wake."

"The object we saw last night was travelling from east to west, far to the north and at a great height. There was no sound. The streak did not fill our field of vision. Our attention was first drawn to the sky by the brilliance and then we watched the streak rush across the sky. There seemed to be an exceptionally bright spot at the start of the streak."

"It didn't disappear over the horizon, but slowly faded out. The streak seemed a greenish color on top and yellowish at the bottom. When it began to fade, it changed to red before disappearing. Before it went out completely I could see the air streams behind it waver and disburse."

Two employees at the Frood Open Pit, who had been on graveyard shift, said they hadn't seen anything unusual. The watchman at the main gate of the smelter plant at Copper Cliff hadn't seen anything either.

Sudbury firemen reported this morning they had received no calls from anxious people who might have thought the city was on fire.

"Such a flash would have no effect on the weather and it is doubtful if we would hear anything about it since it has nothing to do with our department," the weather bureau said.

Some Sudburians described the streak in the sky as a Chinese snake and one woman said she had seen it about 10:45 p.m. A second person said the light had made it possible to see the clouds and that there was smoke above them.

The light seemed to be directly over Copper Cliff, according to E. Vuori, a visitor from nearby Beaver Lake, who said "It was a high white streak in the sky, gradually turning milky."
______

See Blinding Light As Far South as Buffalo

Toronto, Oct. 14 (CP) - A strange and gigantic flash in the sky, described as blinding at Temagami, 300 miles north of here puzzled Ontario residents today.

The blue-white blaze of light, which one Temagami observer said resembled a monstrously-magnified short-circuit, occurred at midnight. It was also seen at Dunlap Observatory at nearby Richmond Hill and by a control officer at Malton Airport 17 miles northwest of here.

All observers stressed the strangeness of the light. One witness said it looked like a comet, another like a rocket. There was no immediate indication whether the phenomenon was natural or man-made.

Air force and army officials at Ottawa offer no explanation. An army spokesman said the army was not carrying out exercises that might account for the flash.

Walter A. Rukeyser, mining engineer on a visit to Temagami, said he saw the midnight sky "brilliantly lit up by a bluish, white flash."

"I've never seen anything quite like it," he said. "There was a sudden burst of light . . . I looked up and saw a snake-like flash . . . it was like a short-circuit, the biggest short-circuit I've ever seen. It remained perhaps six or seven minutes. After the first flash the sky remained brightly lighted."

"A tremendous area was covered. A luminescent glow covered the sky. Gradually, at the end of about five minutes, it began to die down. It had the appearance of a Chinese snake."

"No sound accompanied the light," said Constable James Tappenden, who saw it at Cobalt, 30 miles north of Temagami.

"It wasn't northern lights," said the provincial policeman. "I've seen them before. It was something I can't explain. It came like lightning."

"It was like nothing I've ever seen," said Don Stone, control officer at Malton airport. He said he plotted the course of the flash which he said was a light blue, tailing off to a whitish blue. It shot from about due north to northwest, travelling toward the earth at about a 45-degree angle.

"I may have been imagining it, but where the flash died out, there seemed to be a slight blur remaining. It had no definite form and I would not say it was an object," he said.

Residents at Canada's Chalk River atomic plant said the light was not seen there. Officials at Dorval airport near Montreal, and at Winnipeg also had no reports on the light.

A University of Toronto scientist said reports of Thursday night's flash seen across the Northern Ontario sky indicate it might have been a fireball, or very bright meteor but he said it will take some time before a final analysis can be made.

Prof. Hogg, at the university's Dunlap Observatory, said: "We can't truthfully say what the flash was until we get reports from several areas of the province."

Although some of his colleagues saw the flash from the observatory, they were unable to say definitely what caused it.

From as far away as Buffalo, airport tower observers said they had received three reports of "something flying through the sky," one from state police, one from the "Niagara Tower" and one from a Ransomville farmer.

Howard W. Blakeslee, Associated Press science editor, said in New York that the flash seen in the Northern Ontario sky "fits the description of a meteor, a shooting star."

Blakeslee said a meteor appears as a bright flash in the sky. "There is not often luminosity, or light in the sky, remaining after the meteor has passed, but sometimes a meteor leaves a luminous cloud trail behind."

"This cloud is supposed to be ionized particles. They glow the same as northern lights. These cloud trails are long and snake-like."

He said the flash, described as a blue-white blaze of light, could not possibly be a comet.


Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, DAILY STAR, 14 October 1949, Pages 1 & 2

Brilliant Flash In Sky Puzzles Ontario People

TORONTO - (CP) - A strange and gigantic flash in the sky, described as blinding at Temagami, 300 miles north of here, puzzled Ontario residents today.

The blue-white blaze of light, which one Temagami observer said resembled a monstrously-magnified short-circuit, occurred at midnight EST. It was also seen at Dunlap observatory at nearby Richmond Hill and by a control officer at Malton Airport, 17 miles northwest of here.

All observers stressed the strangeness of the light. One witness said it looked like a comet, another like a rocket. There was no immediate indication whether the phenomenon was natural or man-made.

Air force and army officials at Ottawa offer no explanation. An army spokesman said the army was not carrying out an exercise that might account for the flash.

Walter A. Rukeyser, mining engineer on a visit to Temagami, first reported the flash. In company with several friends, he saw the midnight sky "brilliantly lit up by a bluish, white flash."

"I've never seen anything quite like it," he said. "There was a sudden burst of light . . . I looked up and saw a snake-like flash . . . It was like a short-circuit, the biggest short-circuit I've ever seen. It remained perhaps six or seven minutes. After the first flash, the sky remained brightly lighted."

"A tremendous area was covered. A luminescent glow covered the sky. Gradually, at the end of about five minutes, it began to die down. It had the appearance of a Chinese snake."

FLASH NOT SEEN BY WEATHER BUREAU

Sault Michigan Weather Bureau officials said today that their observers on duty last night failed to see any flash in the sky possibly because of the heavy overcast surrounding this area. No reports to the station were received from anyone else in the immediate vicinity.

No sound accompanied the light, said Constable James Tappenden, who saw it at Cobalt, 30 miles north of Temagami.

"And it wasn't northern lights," said the provincial police officer. "I've seen them before. It was something I can't explain. I was walking down the main street some time after midnight when the sky lit up . . . The flash seemed to hang on, for maybe a minute or two. It came like lightning."

"It was like nothing I've ever seen," said Don Stone, control officer at Malton Airport. He said he plotted the course of the flash which he said was a light blue, tailing off to a whitish blue. It shot from about due north to north-northwest, travelling toward the earth at about a 45-degree angle.

"It seemed like a skyrocket that didn't explode," he said. "It vanished at about 45 degrees above the horizon. It had a band about eight to nine times the width of a shooting star."

"I doused the lights and put the glasses on the spot. I may have been imagining it, but where the flash died out, there seemed to be a slight light blur remaining. It had no definite form and I would not say it was an object."

Barry Gunn, observer on duty at Dunlap observatory, described the flash as a brilliant bluish-white light travelling across the zenith.

"It was too bright to be a meteor or fireball," he said. "For a moment, I thought a plane had crashed in the vicinity."

Residents at Canada's Chalk River atomic plant said the light was not seen there. Officials at Dorval Airport near Montreal and at Winnipeg also had no reports on the light.

Buffalo airport tower observers said they had received three reports of "something flying through the sky," one from state police, one from the "Niagara Tower" and one from a Ransomville farmer.

James Kelly of Cheektowaga, a Buffalo suburb, said he and his wife, Clarka, were driving along a road shortly before 2 a.m. EDT when:

"We saw it. It was a big ball of fire with a long tail. I've seen shooting stars, but this was something altogether different."


North Bay, Ontario, DAILY NUGGET, 14 October 1949, Pages 1 & 15

Blinding Flash of Light Mystifies Northern Ont.

The phenomenal flash of light which appeared over many parts of Norrthern Ontario shortly after midnight last night, has ousted the near-forgotten "Flying Saucers" incidents to become the country's latest "whatdunit" mystery.

Described by various persons as a "gigantic flash of light," the occurrence is believed to have first been seen at Temagami where its intensity was described as "blinding."

Walter Rukeyser, managing director of the Trebor Mine, near Temagami, was the first man to report the flash. He was standing outside Goddard's Hotel in Temagami chatting with friends when the light suddenly appeared in the sky. "It was a blinding light, and it seemed to be about 60,000 feet up," Rukeyser said later. "The main light lasted for about a minute, but there was a fluorescent glow, with a corkscrew effect, which lingered in the sky for about five minutes."

He said the bluish-white light was in a horizontal position and that its appearance was not accompanied by either noise or explosion.

"I've been in two wars, and I was an air observer in the last one, and I never saw anything like that in my life before," Rukeyser continued.

"There was a sudden burst of light; I looked up and saw a snake-like flash. It was like a short circuit. It remained perhaps six or seven minutes, and after the first bright flash, the sky remained brightly lighted."

The sky was mostly clear and starlit at the time of the incident.

A number of North Bay residents saw the flash, among them Lorne Rodgers, a taxi driver, and Jack Sullivan, of the airport meteorological office. Both men were on their way home after night shifts. "I was near the trestle on Cassells street, and the light lit the car up," Rodgers said. "It was a jagged flash that looked like lightning. After a minute, it started to fade away."

The strange light was also seen in in widely scattered places. Malton, near Toronto and Sudbury.

Puzzled Ontario people have categoried the phenomenon as everything from an over-enthusiastic "northern light" to the effects of a recent atomic explosion in Russia.

In Toronto, a university scientist said the said the flash might have been a "fireball" - a bright meteor - but it will take considerable investigation before a final opinion can be made.
_______

ALSO SEEN AT SUDBURY

SUDBURY, Oct. 14 - (CP) - The gigantic flash of light in the sky reported from Temagami Thursday night was also seen here.

E. Vuori, a visitor from nearby Beaver Lake, said "it was a high white streak in the sky, gradually turning milky."

Vuori said the light appeared to him to be directly over Copper Cliff, four miles from Sudbury and about 12 miles southwest of Temagami.

Weather observers further northwest, at Kapuskasing, Porquis and Earlton, said they had not seen the phenomenon.
_______

MAY HAVE BEEN VERY BRIGHT METEOR

TORONTO, Oct. 14 - (CP) - A University of Toronto scientist said today reports of Thursday night's flash seen across the Northern Ontario sky indicate it might have been a fireball, or very bright meteor, but he said it will take some time before a final analysis can be made.

Prof. S. Hogg, at the university's Dunlap observatory at nearby Richmond Hill, said in an interview "we can't truthfully say what the flash was until we get reports from several areas of the province."

Although some of his colleagues saw the flash from the observatory, they were unable to say definitely what caused it.

A meteor, Prof. Hogg said, is a small solid object, normally travelling at high speeds outside the earth's atmosphere - which ignites from the friction of the atmosphere when it enters the earth's orbit. He said a fireball is a bright meteor.

Two other meteors have been identified within Ontario this century, he said. In 1938, one fell into Georgian Bay and in 1903, one fell near Shelburn, about 50 miles northwest of Toronto. Falling stars, the professor said, are smaller objects which burn themselves out soon after they enter the atmosphere; if they were larger and lasted until they strike the earth, they too would be meteors.

Observatory officials today are trying to gather information from as many persons who saw last night's flash as possible so they may be able to definitely identify the cause of the brilliant light which lighted the northern sky for a few seconds.

No sound accompanied the light, said Constable James Tappenden, who saw it at Cobalt, 30 miles north of Temagami.

"And it wasn't Northern Lights," said the provincial police officer. "I've seen them before. It was something I can't explain. I was walking down the Main street some time after midnight when the sky lit up . . . The flash seemed to hang on, for maybe a minute or two. It came like lightning."

"It was like nothing I've ever seen," said Don Stone, control officer at Malton airport. He said he plotted the course of the flash which he said was a light blue, trailing off to a whitish blue. It shot from about due north to north-northwest, travelling toward the earth at about a 45-degree angle.

"It seemed like a skyrocket that didn't explode," he said. "It vanished at about 45 degrees above the horizon. It had a band about eight to nine times the width of a shooting star."

"I doused the lights and put the glasses on the spot. I may have been imaging it, but where the flash died out, there seemed to be a slight light blur remaining. It had no definite form and I would not say it was an object."

Barry Gunn, observer on duty at Dunlap Observatory, described the flash as a brilliant bluish-white light travelling across the zenith.

"It was too bright to be a meteor or fireball," he said. "For a moment, I thought a plane had crashed in the vicinity."

Residents at Canada's Chalk River atomic plant said the light was not seen there. Officials at Dorval Airport near Montreal and at Winnipeg also had no reports on the light.
_______

OTTAWA, Oct. 14 - (CP) - Dr. Peter Millman, the Dominion Observatory's expert on meteors, said today a gigantic flash of light over Northern Ontario Thursday night "must have been a very large fireball" or meteor.

From descriptions of the flash given by observers, he said, "there is not much doubt about what it was."

Dr. Millman said a fireball was a large meteor, a fragment of stone or metal entering the earth's atmosphere and ignited by the tremendous heat produced by the friction of the atmosphere.

"You can get all graduations of brightness as a result," he said. "Actually, meteors have been observed in rare cases which were as bright, or even brighter, than the sun."

Millions of small fragments entered the atmosphere every day, but most of them were too small to be noticed.

He said the observatory was anxious to obtain more complete descriptions of the phenomenon.


Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, DAILY STAR, 14 October 1949, Page 1

Phenomenon Seen In Sudbury Area

SUDBURY - (CP) - The "gigantic flash of light" in the sky reported from Temagami Thursday night was also seen here.

E. Vuori, a visitor from nearby Beaver Lake, said "it was a high white streak in the sky, gradually turning milky."

Vuori said the light appeared to him to be directly over Copper Cliff, four miles from Sudbury and about 75 miles southwest of Temagami.

Weather observers further northwest, at Kapuskasing, Porquis and Earlton, said they had not seen the phenomenon.


Sudbury, Ontario, DAILY STAR, 15 October 1949, pages 1 & 8

Flash in Northern Skies Causes Wide Speculation

Sudbury Residents Give Impressions of Bright Flash

Reports on the bluish-white streak or light seen above Sudbury on Thursday night were many and varied. As each person described the flash the picture became more and more confusing.

G. E. McDougall, 18 O'Grady St., who was travelling home with four other friends from work shortly after midnight, said he and other occupants of the car saw the flash and that they stopped the car to watch it.

"It came up so suddenly we didn't know what to expect next, so we all got out of the car," said McDougall.

Severe Lalonde, 472 Pine St., who attended an open air theatre with three friends, described the flash as blue and white and that it seemed to light up the whole sky over the city.

"We thought someone had turned car lights on for about 10 seconds but then there was a long, snake-like streak of white and it lasted about a minute and a half," he said.

D. Yawney, 453 Marion St., reported something quite different. He said he was working in the Frood Open Pit with three other men when the flash came.

"At first it was a long, bluish-white streak; then it snaked along and as it died out there was a large ring around it. It was quite similar to a halo. It happened about 12:04, I would say," Yawney explained.

G. M. Miller, K.C., 322 Laura Ave., said the flash was in the north sky and seemed to be like a rocket shooting along.

"I took it for a meteor for when it came into the atmosphere it was burning out," said Mr. Miller. "I don't know how the people in Buffalo saw it because it seemed to be closer to Sudbury."

Mr. Miller said that after it had burned out a heavy tail seemed to be in the sky. He said the flash only lasted a second or two but the residue remained in the sky for about 10 minutes.
______

Meteor or Fireball Is Explanation of Experts
(By The Canadian Press)

The gigantic flash of light in the northern skies Thursday night remains a problem for top astronomers who believe it must have been a very large fireball or meteor.

While the blinding blue-white flash continued a top topic in northern communities, astronomers are awaiting more detailed reports of observers. They seek to chart its course and possibly discover fragments from another planet.

"There is not much doubt about what it was, from descriptions given," said Dr. Peter Millman, the Dominion Observatory's top expert on meteors, at Ottawa.

A "fireball" is a large meteor, a piece of stone or metal entering the earth's atmosphere where it is ignited by friction with the air.

The blaze apparently was strongest over Temagami, a town 50 miles north of North Bay, but was seen as far away as Toronto and Buffalo, the latter 300 miles south of Temagami.

The bluish-white flash appeared to be horizontal. It was silent. Others agreed that the big flash was just that - over in less than a second - but the light in the sky remained several minutes, covering a tremendous area before it died down.

Constable James Tappenden, of the provincial police at Cobalt, said the flash "came like lightning, but there was no noise, not a sound." He said it definitely wasn't due to the northern lights, which he has seen many times.

The airport tower at Buffalo received three reports from that area of persons sighting the flash and it was charted at the Dunlap Observatory north of Toronto.

The flash of light which appeared over many parts of Northern Ontario ousted the near-forgotten "flying saucers" incidents as a topic for many North Bay residents.

Described by various persons as a "gigantic flash of light," the occurrence is believed to have first been seen at Temagami where its intensity was described as "blinding."


North Bay, Ontario, DAILY NUGGET, 15 October 1949, Pages 1 & 3

Flash in Sky Believed to Be Large "Fireball"

That gigantic flash of light in the northern sky Thursday night remains a problem for top astronomers who believe it must have been "a very large fireball - or meteor."

While the blinding blue-white flash continued a top topic in northern communities, astronomers are awaiting more detailed reports of observers. They seek to chart its course and possibly discover fragments from another planet.

"There is not much doubt about what it was, from descriptions given," said Dr. Peter Millman, the Dominion Observatory's top expert on meteors, at Ottawa.

A "fireball" is a large meteor, a piece of stone or metal entering the earth's atmosphere where it is ignited by friction with the air.

Strong at Temagami

The blaze apparently was strongest over Temagami, a town 60 miles north of North Bay, but was seen as far away as Toronto and Buffalo, the latter 300 miles south of Temagami.

Walter A. Rukeyser, managing director of the Trebor Mine near Temagami, was on a Temagami street talking to friends when the flash appeared.

"It was a blinding light, and it seemed to be about 60,000 feet up," he said. "The main light lasted for a minute, but there was a fluorescent glow with a corkscrew effect which lingered in the sky for about five minutes."

The bluish-white flash appeared to be horizontal. It was silent. Others agreed that the big flash was just that - over in less than a second - but the light in the sky remained several minutes, covering a tremendous area before it died down.

Constable James Tappenden of the Ontario provincial Police at Cobalt, 90 miles north of North Bay, said the flash "came like lightning, but there was no noise, not a sound." It definitely wasn't due to the northern lights, or aurora, which he has seen many times.

The airport tower at Buffalo received three reports from that area of persons sighting the flash and it was charted at the Dunlap Observatory just north of Toronto.


Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, DAILY STAR, 15 October 1949, Page 5

TWO GROUPS SEE FLASH OF LIGHT

Reports of seeing a flash of light in the sky Thursday night came from Ira Holmes of Richards Landing and employees of the Pioneer Construction Company working on St. Joe Island government roads.

The men were on the Pine Island ferry at the time, late that night. The streak of light lasted for a matter of seconds, Mr. Holmes said. Asked what he thought it was, Mr. Holmes said: "I didn't know what the heck it was."

Mrs. Murray Nelson, Mrs. Manley McMullin and Mrs. Joe Weigle saw the blue-white flash on their way home from a Women's Institute meeting in Tarentorus late Thursday night. The ladies said they saw the flash of light through an oval hole in the clouds. Unlike lightning, the flash went up instead of down, they said.

It is thought to be the same celestial phenomenon seen at the David Dunlap Observatory at Richmond Hill.


North Bay, Ontario, DAILY NUGGET, 27 October 1949, Pages 1 & 19

NEW "MYSTERIOUS LIGHT" SEEN IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO

TORONTO, Oct. 27 - (CP) - Officials at Dunlap observatory said the mysterious light which flashed across the Western Ontario sky Wednesday night was not visible here because of overcast skies. From descriptions given, it was their opinion the light was a meteor.

Reports from Oshawa, London, Galt and Brantford in Ontario and Buffalo, N.Y., told of seeing a "strange streak of fire" which gave off a bright light at about 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

Observatory officials said that meteors are visible almost any night the sky is clear but that it would have to be a "very bright meteor to have been seen by so many people in different parts."

Brantford citizens spoke of "streamers of light, colored purple" which seemed to explode in the sky.

In Oshawa, it was described as a white light "like a huge orange."

A housewife near London described a "giant rocket" which zoomed from west to east, followed by a "long trail of multi-colored flame."

Fans attending a football game in Galt said the light which first appeared white, seemed to explode above the clouds and break into a greenish tinted ball before it dropped.

Deputy Sheriff Charles Triodl of Buffalo said he saw "a big spot of blue."

"It turned white like the sun," he said. "It lasted long enough for me to have a good look. It was so big, it lit up a whole park and the street I was on as bright as day."

David E. Lewis, an amateur sky gazer, said he saw "a green ball of fire shooting through the sky and trailing sparks." It was in the southern sky, he said, and travelling from east to west.

 
 
News clippings courtesy of The Sault Star, The Timmins Daily Press, The Kirkland Lake Northern Daily News, The North Bay Nugget and The Sudbury Star.