The Mystery Of Candlewood Mountain – 1897

The Mystery Of Candlewood Mountain – 1897

     Candlewood Mountain is located in the town of New Milford, Connecticut, and is 971 feet tall.  

     The following newspaper article appeared in the Kansas City Journal, (Kansas City, Mo.), on November 19, 1897, Page 6.  It speaks of a three-year-old mystery associated with Candlewood Mountain, but doesn’t elaborate as to what the mystery was.  Presumably, the mystery had something to do with a bird-like flying machine allegedly shot at by a hunter.  Is this story based in fact, or fantasy?  The reader can decide.


Connecticut Hunter Runs Across Unexpected Game – Mystery Of Bewitched Mountain Explained 

    “The Mystery of Candlewood Mountain, which has puzzled the residents of New Milford, Conn. for more than three years has been solved.

     Some said the mountain was bewitched.  During these three years Fredrick T. Buck, of New Milford, has periodically disappeared.  Somehow people began to associate him with the mystery of Candlewood Mountain.  Sometimes Buck would appear in surrounding towns with a companion who talked and looked like a foreigner.  They would come into town with a team and make purchase of provisions, also wire, rope, canvas, chains, cog wheels, bars of steel, whalebone, electric supplies, gas stoves, and umbrellas.

     Two weeks ago Walter A. Logan of New Milford, who hunts with a telescope rifle instead of a shotgun, broke his telescope.  He sent it to a Bridgeport optician to be repaired.  By some misunderstanding, the optician affixed a lens five times stronger than the original one.

     Yesterday Logan was part way up Candlewood Mountain after partridge and quail.  Through his telescope he picked out some game, but when he fired he missed.  He kept on up the mountain and turned his telescope in all directions.  Suddenly he saw a monster flapping its wings.

     “Now,” said Logan, “I guess I can hit that.  It’s big enough.”

     So he pulled the trigger and expected to see the aerial monster show signs of pain.  Instead, it kept on flapping its wings.  He kept up a running fire for some time.   At last he saw through his telescope that the animated monster was held down by chains.

     Logan climbed on up and came upon a hut and shed nearby, in which were a grindstone and various mechanical tools.  Not far from the shed were several trees sawed off, and to the stumps were attached chains.  These fastenings led up to the flapping affair, which proved to be a flying machine.  Buck was standing on the ground, and in the machine was the foreigner.

     Buck was dismayed by Logan’s appearance.  He offered him all sorts of inducements to keep quiet.  Logan, however, could not keep the secret, and as soon as he got back to New Milford told his wife.  In less than an hour half of New Milford heard the news.”     

     One would think that such a tale would have been carried in numerous newspapers at the time, but this does not appear to be the case.  Furthermore, it could be surmised that if the story was published in a Kansas newspaper, it certainly would have been carried in local newspapers in the New Milford, Connecticut, area.  The New Milford Public Library has a newspaper microfilm collection which includes newspapers from 1897, yet no mention of this incident could be found.  The New Milford Historical Society doesn’t have anything about the incident in their archives either.  

     Considering the facts as presented in the newspaper article, certain questions arise.  For example, why was the “monster flapping its wings” being held earthbound by chains?  And why didn’t the “pilot” land immediately when the shooting started?  Furthermore, upon hearing about such a machine, it seems logical that half the citizens of New Milford would have made their way up the mountain to see this remarkable sight. 

    And finally, although there is no known connection, this story of Candlewood Mountain was published several weeks after a famous Connecticut inventor, Gustave Whitehead, gave a public exhibition of his flying machine in New Jersey.  Whitehead’s machine was called “The Condor”, and some-what resembled a bird.  Some newspapers even published illustrations of Whitehead’s invention.

     Newspaper reports of Whitehead’s exhibition include:

     New York Times, “New Airship Ready For Flight” – “Modeled After A Condor Called A Sure Thing”, October 6, 1897

     The World, “Will Try His Airship” -“Whitehead, An Old Maker Of Such Craft, Is The Inventor”, October 6, 1897

     New York Press, “Whitehead’s Flying Condor” – “Ambitious Designer Says He Will Imitate The Flight Of The Great Bird In The Air”, October 6, 1897

     New York Herald, “Whitehead’s Airship”, October 6, 1897

     Quincy Morning Whig, “Hopes To Fly Like A Condor”, October 7, 1897

     Other sources:

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