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The 1896 Mystery Airship Sightings: A New Twist & Perspective

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posted on May, 25 2014 @ 07:57 AM
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First off, the 1890s wave of mystery airships over the U.S. never quite convinced me that something extraordinary was going on back then that couldn't be explained by early airborne vehicles of the time (eg. ballons, blimps or experimental craft).

... until I looked into some of the old articles myself, that is. That's when I noticed some very interesting parallels that seem to tie in rather well with later UFO reports and the ways how to "deal" with the phenomenon on behalf of the government. But before going into the details, let's have a look at the frontpage opener published in "The San Francisco Call" on 29 November 1896:

Full Frontpage & Articles


The above newspaper articles represent a climax in the wave of sightings which previously had become more and more frequent up to the point where it was just too obvious that something very unusual was up there in the skies troubling U.S. citizens over an extended period of time.

In November 1896, a sufficient amount of reliable witnesses was finally available to verify the existence of unknown aerial vehicles over densely populated areas in the U.S.:

Witness Testimony by Professor M.S. Cross:

What's interesting here is that Professor Cross was a recognized capacity across the U.S. and dean of the University of the Pacific. In the above quote he clearly rules out that the observed phenomenon is a balloon or any other type of known craft that moves in a similar way. He does remain open and confident that a new type of airship could have been around. However, the details of maneuverability he associates with the object indicates a technological level that far surpasses the engineering possibilities of the time.

Professor Cross' account is even more striking when considering that the first successful motorized flight (heavier-than-air) over a few meters took place only years later. Concepts for rigid airships and semi-rigid airships were very primitive at the time and IMO not even close to performing the maneuvers over vast distances as described by various witnesses across the states during the 1890s wave of sightings. But the most interesting part is yet to come ...


Witness Testimony by Mr Hooson:

Now here's a description that really rang a bell with me: electrical white light (as reported by many other witnesses) suddenly turns into red and green lights emitted by the craft. This is not only a 100% match with many UFO reports from the 1950s to present but also defies any explanation as to why aerial vehicles of the time should have changed colors at all.

Also, green and red lights were reported hundreds of times in more recent reports when UFOs were in a state of accelerating, ascending or descending (also see here, p. 148). IMO, a very interesting parallel! But it gets even better ...


Attorney General William H. Hart's Cover-Up Attempt:
Larger Version


Out of the blue, and at the height of the 1896 sightings, General Hart comes forward and claims to know one of the assistants of the airship inventor as well as all of the details related to the mystery craft. Coincidence? I don't think so. It's just too obvious, but let me explain: ever since articles were published during the 1890s wave, citizens were startled and puzzled by the mystery invaders in the sky. No explanation was at hand, but people wanted to know what's going on. Introducing Gen. Hart to this game seems to be just the right step to assure everyone that everything's OK and under control.

Clearly, official public institutions could never admit to not having a clue about what's troubling their citizens. The same is true for a feeling of not being "in control" of what's roaming the U.S. skies. A cover-up is needed! Just like in Roswell years later, we're here confronted with an official spokesperson, publicly stating that everything is alright (although Gen. Hart admits that the inventor must be insane to not promote his "airships" in order to get further funding for future developments).


Apparently, Hart's claims were not very convincing because citizens and witnesses were again very startled and completely baffled when the wave continued in 1897 with ever new reports about 'something' in the skies above the United States. Alternative explanations for these sightings reach from a secret & privately financed blimp project (aiming to develop safe passenger air travel via 'testflights') up to military projects that were to 'drop' bombs over Cuban territory. Whatever the case, nobody ever saw any of these things come down nor was there any direct evidence for these things being blimps or semi-rigid airships.

Utlimately, I think most of the above mentioned 'patterns' regarding both the observations as well as the behaviour of the local government are very similar to modern reports about flying saucers and the way of 'officially' dealing with UFOs.

So, is this just another episode of misunderstood technology or something more intriguing? You be the judge ... !


Sources & Links:
------------------------------------------
1. Mysterious Lights, The San Francisco Call, 29 November 1896
2. Airship Strikes Kansas, Sacramento D.U., 28 March 1897
3. Airship Visits Spokane, The San Francisco Call, 16 April 1897
4. Many See an Airship, The San Francisco Call, 10 April 1897
5. NICAP: UFO Color Change Cases, P. 148-152
6. Short Biography of William H.H. Hart
7. Mystery Airships in the 1890s




posted on May, 25 2014 @ 08:14 AM
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Nice read. IF there's one thing these accounts at this time period tell me.. its the people were a hell of a lot more observational and intelligent than alot of the people we have currently. They seemed to be able to see something and work out or come up with a practical idea of WHY it did that while being observed...

Given the same encounter (the first one) these days would describe a shapeshifting blob of light, rather than the idea of two lights being seen from different angles. Reminds me of a sighting in an old series of magzines mentioning a dark blob that changed shape in the sky seen by various people, an artist worked out a possible form from the various illustrations of the craft and it turned out it most likely was a large sort of bent dumbbell shape craft.

These days the first thing people think of is shapeshifting craft or living organism, rather than anything else and more realistic... kinda sad we've lost that ability to analytically think at that level.

Ultimately for me, alot of these old sightings show to me while the Balloon craze was going on there was most definitely some other forms of craft sharing the skies that where not balloons, or at least were far more advanced than the balloons common people knew about.

If anything as you say... this has been going on status quo for a hell of a lot longer than we realise.

edit on 25-5-2014 by BigfootNZ because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 08:55 AM
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I've read about those stories too, and some reports said that the airship looked like it was made of canvas painted with tar, and had a railway carriage underneath.

If you were wanting to build an airship quickly, then using the resources of a railway yard would seem the best bet. You'd have old railway carriages that would make good passenger compartments, access to workshops that could be used as as hangars. There would be scraps of old metal and tar that could be used to make surfaces airtight.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin seems to be the most likely candidate:

en.wikipedia.org...

The dates around 1894 and 1896 seem to be relevant, with the patents for the "airship-train".



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 09:25 AM
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originally posted by: BigfootNZ

Ultimately for me, alot of these old sightings show to me while the Balloon craze was going on there was most definitely some other forms of craft sharing the skies that where not balloons, or at least were far more advanced than the balloons common people knew about.

If anything as you say... this has been going on status quo for a hell of a lot longer than we realise.

Those were pretty exactly my thoughts as well. IMO there are many open questions regarding these sightings and it's interesting that all that took place at a time when the skies were more or less 'empty' and the term "UFO" still undefined.

I think the very least we can do is to once again review the plethora of witness testimonies (which I wanted to start with via this thread) and check if there's anything there that matches later patterns of UFO manifestations ... especially since the overall mystery could not (!) be solved up to this very day.



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 09:50 AM
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One of my favorite topics.

Reading those old newspapers is fascinating.

S&F



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 10:07 AM
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The idea that back then someone was using a battery to power a ship is nonsense! We are at present time just managing to obtain flight with our new modern light weight batteries and light weight motors, and even now we can only manage a few minutes before the batteries are depleted.

Back in those day, a battery capable of running an electric motor powerful enough to lift just a man and the motor of the ground would have been the size of a small house! Of course they still had the problem of lifting the battery!

Good read OP



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 11:26 AM
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originally posted by: stormcell

If you were wanting to build an airship quickly, then using the resources of a railway yard would seem the best bet. You'd have old railway carriages that would make good passenger compartments, access to workshops that could be used as as hangars. There would be scraps of old metal and tar that could be used to make surfaces airtight.

Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin seems to be the most likely candidate:

en.wikipedia.org...

The dates around 1894 and 1896 seem to be relevant, with the patents for the "airship-train".

F. v. Zeppelin certainly comes to mind but wouldn't he himself (or anyone he worked with) have confessed to being the culprit of those sightings on their deathbed?

Apart from that, functional prototypes were rather limited in terms of speed, lifting power and maneuverability at the time ... the patents are one thing, but making the vision a 'reality' was certainly another.

The first rigid airship constructed by D. Schwarz was destroyed during its maiden flight in November 1897. Most of the early semi-rigid airships also crashed or caught fire during their first flight. French engineer H. Giffard's steam-engine airship from 1852 demonstrated the problems with weight and wind and was rather a steerable ballon than anything else.

The development took a lot of time and wasn't really picking up before well into the 1900s. So yes, it's an option that someone was operating in secrecy ... but IMO not a very convincing one considering the lack of information regarding potential culprits/originators.

Also, let's not underestimate the money involved in that business (upon success) and, most of all, the witness testimonies describing the rapid speed (often against the wind), the lights/colors, the range, the lack of noise (in most cases) and the fact that nothing substantial ever came to light to prove that these sightings were indeed airships or blimps.
edit on 25-5-2014 by jeep3r because: text



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 11:27 AM
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I think the obvious answer is that for a long long time, the military/industrial complex (fueled by rich folks like Rockefellers, Carnegies, Fords, Rothschilds, Harrimans, etc) has always kept the extent of technological achievements hidden from the lower classes. The Wright brothers were just ordinary middle-class guys. Don't you think the rich upper class, who were able to buy off politicians and the military, and had their own well-equipped facilities had already developed things? They only reveal these things one drip at a time. Just enough they that can introduce it as the new wonder technology and make billions marketing it as the new wonder technology, while keeping the rest in vaults for their own securty. If I have a $1billion in gold bars, but I only need to sell $500,000 worth to live comfortably for the next 5 years, do I need to cash all of it in at once? No! And the elite financiers of the military industrial complex which create the technology which is eventually sold to the public think in just that way. They won't introduce the next level of technology to you until the price of what you're buying now drops to the point that they need to come out with something new. It's stored in a vault until then, and only a few privelged people get to play with it. When it's finally released the public will be all over it again and pay top dollar, even though it had been invented years ago. And the wheel keeps going round. I wouldn't be too surprised if there were some kind of simple planes at least 15 years before the Wright Brothers came out with Kittyhawk, but it was reserved for the most elite people of the world, or the military. People have no idea how much business and politics neccessitate the slow release of technology, and things are often far beyond what we are allowed to see.
edit on 25-5-2014 by brofjw because: Added details, fixed typos



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 11:29 AM
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a reply to: jeep3r

Jules Verne had some influential books out before that time. Likely hysteria or the papers trying to boost sales or both.

Believe the colored lights were common on trains so it would be normal for people to use the similar descriptions.



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 11:46 AM
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a reply to: jeep3r

Nice thread, very interesting read!!

I would say that most of today's UFO sightings are military aircraft. What's interesting here is that the lights are described as being red and green that's pretty darn crazy, coupled with the fact that this was pre-flight.

Interesting topic, off to read the rest of the sources. And thank you so much for posting this awesome thread.



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 12:59 PM
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Unless I have the wrong crash this gets better.At least some of this wreckage is STILL in the well it was dumped in in 1897.
Ive seen a TV doc.Wherein a deceased modern day owner of this property suffered ridiculous rheumatoid arthritis.He claims caused by radioactivity from the debris in the well.
The property was then acquired by a new owner who then proceeded to build a locked,concrete shed around the well.
Also,the crafts occupant was supposed to have been buried in the town cemetery but had been removed not very long ago.
So it seems this tale continues!



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 01:39 PM
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a reply to: TDawg61

You aren't wrong the Aurora Crash was covered in the History Channel's Texas Roswell



And also UFO Hunters




posted on May, 25 2014 @ 01:40 PM
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a reply to: TDawg61

glad you started this thread! like the other poster said, old newspapers are interesting to read.... don't think I had heard of this before.



posted on May, 25 2014 @ 02:00 PM
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a reply to: jeep3r

Nicely put together post and duly starred and flagged for the effort. This is a very interesting topic that I have taken a look at myself in the past.

These mystery airships were seen all over the world in the following decade and on into World War I. I think we can attribute at least some of these to the paranoia of the war. But not all.

Here in Britain they started to capture the public's interest in 1909. A Mr. C. Lethbridge who travelled about with a Punch & Judy show during the light evenings on a small cart. At around 11 pm on May 18th he was walking home over Caerphilly mountain in Wales. As he crossed the summit he saw a tube shaped contraption with two men working on something close by. They wore large heavy fur coats with tight fitting fur caps and seemed to converse in a foreign language. Lethbridge became quite nervous as he got closer and the noise of his cart appeared to startle the men as he got within 50-60 feet of them. Suddenly the object began to rise and show a small carriage suspended below powered by a large fan at the rear.

Sightings from across the nation peaked in 1909 with many reports of a huge powerful searchlight sweeping the countryside from the 'scareships' as they were dubbed . One theory was that Germany was sending Zeppelins across the channel to spy on Britain. At the time Britain only had 2 registered airships none of which had a searchlight. However the trip would have been a very risky one for the slow Zeppelins if they could even make it across the channel. No German records exist of any such flight and their airships did not seem to possess the ability to make such a long trip at the time.

The US and Britain were not alone. Sightings were also recorded in

Russia: 1892, 1912-3
Canada: 1896-7, 1914-7
South Africa: 1899, 1914
France: 1903, 1912
Denmark: 1908
New Zealand: 1909
Australia: 1909
Sweden: 1909
Belgium: 1913
Netherlands: 1913
Germany: 1913
Romania: 1913
Austria-Hungary: 1913
Norway: 1914-6


edit on 25/5/14 by mirageman because: edit



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 04:21 AM
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a reply to: jeep3r

I think there is a story that allures to sometime in the 1800s an airship of some type landing and being repaired by two gentleman in overalls when a prospector approached them and asked what kind of device the ship was one of the occupants told him it's an airship you will be seeing rather a lot of them soon.

www.keelynet.com...
edit on 26-5-2014 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 06:24 AM
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originally posted by: mirageman
a reply to: jeep3r

These mystery airships were seen all over the world in the following decade and on into World War I. I think we can attribute at least some of these to the paranoia of the war. But not all.

Thanks for adding those extra details to this thread.

I've always been aware of these sightings ever since I was a kid, but never really knew what to think of them let alone how to assess their potential importance considering that this was at a time where fully functional airships were not yet around, at least officially.

What's even more interesting is this: all of the early attempts of testflights in the past were usually accompanied by interested folks and extensive media coverage documenting the event. This was new, this was exciting and a lot of money could be made with a real airship industry.

But in this case, we haven't got a clue, no confessions, no proof of airships across the US back in the day ... could be worth digging even deeper! Who knows what other "parallels" we can find ...



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 06:30 AM
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originally posted by: TDawg61

Unless I have the wrong crash this gets better. At least some of this wreckage is STILL in the well it was dumped in in 1897. I've seen a TV doc.Wherein a deceased modern day owner of this property suffered ridiculous rheumatoid arthritis.He claims caused by radioactivity from the debris in the well.

The property was then acquired by a new owner who then proceeded to build a locked,concrete shed around the well.
Also,the crafts occupant was supposed to have been buried in the town cemetery but had been removed not very long ago. So it seems this tale continues!

Like many others, I was also wondering whether or not there could be a connection to the aurora incident. The previous wave of sightings certainly adds some more credibility to the possibility that something extraordinary may have crashed back then.

However, unless we dig up some hard evidence to substantiate the various claims & reports of those involved, it'll probably remain a popular urban legend. Would be great if anyone came forward with tangible evidence regarding the alleged aurora crash, but at this point I don't think that'll ever be the case ... but it's an interesting story, nonetheless!



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 07:43 AM
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originally posted by: jeep3r

But in this case, we haven't got a clue, no confessions, no proof of airships across the US back in the day ... could be worth digging even deeper! Who knows what other "parallels" we can find ...




It is interesting and is certainly worth digging into if you have the time. I've only really looked into the cases in Britain. The fact that these sightings appear to be of a technology a decade or two ahead of the current 'cutting edge' science of the day could suggest it was a secret weapons program (much like some of the later 20th century UFO sightings obviously were). But these strange airships were seen across the world and this leaves a rather intriguing mystery as to their origin.



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 09:47 AM
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a reply to: mirageman

They are seen internationally because
the illuminati controlled military industrial complex is an international organization. They've had a hand in forming all the governments of modern western nations. In a sense, kind of like the UN. And in each of these nations are powerful individuals who answer to them before they answer to their own.



posted on May, 26 2014 @ 10:25 AM
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Ballooning as a hobby has been somewhat popular in the United States since just before the American Civil War - there was a gentleman in the Union Army who pioneered the use of hot air balloons to spy on the enemy.

I tend to think that a lot of these instances have more to do with secretive military projects than space aliens, but frankly I don't know. Nobody does, we can only speculate as nobody living has seen one of these mystery airships.

Cool thread, very interesting subject. Star and flag.






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