So, let’s turn to the original reports and find out what happened.
About four hundred years ago there were five or six hundred Indians living together somewheres south from Barrie, on what is now called "Pine Plains." These Indians had a big time at that place.
Two Indians walked up and looked around those plains. They went a little ways (about 200 yards) and saw somebody sitting on the grass. This was a man, so they went to see. The man put up his hand to keep them back, so they stopped and looked. After a while the man spoke and said, "I don’t belong to this land, I dropped down from above, yesterday, so I am here now." Those two men wanted him to go with them down home. "Yes,'' he said, "you go home and clean the place where I will stay, and come back again, then I will go with you in a few days."
The two men went home and told the people about it. They began to clean the place where they were to keep the Skyman for two days, then they went to get him. Skyman was a nice looking man, clean and shining bright. Just at sundown he looked up just like he was watching. He spoke sometimes in a clear voice. Just after dark he spoke. He said, "Stay in two days. I'll go up, something will come down and get me to go up."
This wise man said that he was running from where he came. There was an open place and he couldn't stop running, so he got in and dropped. The next day he said, "It's a nice country where we live, everything good. To-morrow noon I am going up, I will leave you, and you people all be good. Every Indian must be home to-morrow to see me go up."
Just after noon the next day he looked up and said. "It's coming." Everybody looked up but could see nothing for a long time. The man that kept Skyman at his home could see good, and saw something like a bright star shining away up. The other people didn't see anything till it came near the ground. This thing was the nicest thing ever seen in this world. Two men got hold of it and pulled down heavy, then Skyman got in and said, "All right." and away he went up happy. I guess he's living there yet.
So, let’s look at the content of the story itself. Far from a typical UFO, the object was shiny like a star (reflecting sunlight) but was small enough for two men to pull down (implying the existence of attached ropes). Given the time when this story was first told (the 1910s), I think that Colombo had it right when he stated that the story most likely describes a relatively recent encounter with a hot air balloon as filtered through traditional folk tales. Colombo notes that the area around where Laidlaw collected stories was home to an airfield with many balloons and small planes. A flying race from New York to Toronto had even been run in 1910. Additionally, small, unmanned weather balloons were known to have been launched in Toronto in 1910, and it does not take much imagination to see a story of a man rising up with the balloon becoming attached to even such a small, but unusual sight as a sphere that rose on its own. A balloon frenzy even erupted in September 1910 when a large kite (later recovered) floated across Lake Erie, causing a sensation from Detroit to Toronto, according to the Toronto Mail and Empire, as collected in Charles Fort's Lo! Boats went searching the lake, thinking a weird craft or large balloon was on the loose.
I will give alternative theorists credit for one thing: This time the story actually exists and really says what they claim it says!