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originally posted by: stormcell
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:
The dates around 1894 and 1896 seem to be relevant, with the patents for the "airship-train".
originally posted by: chunder
a reply to: Korg Trinity
Well since you're quoting wikipedia and if you really believe airships were being built in the US at that time then obviously the wikipedia airship history page needs a complete update.
Returning to Europe, Zeppelin further observed the use of balloons during the Siege of Paris, and, after seeing reports of the La France, he was convinced of the need for a German ship to counter the French.
So he petitioned the King of Württemberg for development support and worked fulltime with engineers to develop and refine his concept.
The result? The Luftschiff Zeppelin 1, or LZ 1, was launched before twelve thousand spectators on the banks of the Bodensee at 8 p.m. on the second of July, 1900. The Count himself was at the controls.
By July (1909) it was New Zealand’s turn. Over a two-month period, hundreds of New Zealanders saw strange lights which appeared to be attached to a dark cigar shape. There were also some daylight sightings of a cigar-shaped airship. The sightings started at the base of the South Island and eventually spread 1,750km to Dargaville, near the tip of the North Island, before suddenly stopping........
At 2am on 28 July, Mr McNeill, a Dunedin resident, was woken by a frightful noise that passed over his house. He hurried outside and saw a bright aerial searchlight at the base of which was a black body.....
On 27 July, about 10am, Allan Mitchell and Alex Rich had been working near the mouth of the Pomahaka River when they saw, at a distance of roughly 4km, an airship as it dipped up and down in the sky. It was distinctly boat-shaped and appeared to have a long pole on top.........
Aside from light-hearted suggestions that Martians were visiting, the main theories were that the airship was flown either by German spies or a secret New Zealand inventor....
analysis showed that 63 per cent of reports were made by three or more witnesses (making fraud less likely); 70 per cent were of nocturnal lights, 13 per cent of nocturnal objects, and 17 per cent of daylight objects.  New Zealand had a higher percentage of good daylight reports than similar waves in the USA (1897 and 1909), Canada (1909), and Great Britain (1909 and 1913). These are the hardest to explain, as meteors, planets, stars, and fire balloons can be ruled out.
Clark writes that attempts to "uncover the truth about the late 19th century airship scare comes up against some unhappy realities: newspaper coverage was unreliable; no independent investigators ('airshipologists') spoke directly with alleged witnesses or attempted to verify or debunk their testimony; and, with a single unsatisfactory exception, no eyewitness was ever interviewed even in the 1950s, when some were presumably still living."(Clark 1998, 37)
originally posted by: mirageman
a reply to: TDawg61
You aren't wrong the Aurora Crash was covered in the History Channel's Texas Roswell
And also UFO Hunters
originally posted by: raymundoko
a reply to: jeep3r
I have attempted on my own to verify he existed and found this reference that says he was the president of faculty from 1907-1909. And that he was Dean of Students in 1898. So it seems he was a real person. I am now adding this article to my "probably legit" list of modern UFO sightings.
originally posted by: JiggyPotamus
I think there are a couple of very important things to consider. The first is that these types of sightings predate balloons or blimps or airships of any kind.
As early as 1783, the Montgolfier brothers caused a huge sensation throughout the civilized world when, before a crowd including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, they heated the air inside an envelope of alum-varnished taffeta and launched a sheep, a duck and a rooster on an eight minute, two mile flight across the royal palace of Versailles, the first flight ever to carry a living creature. The Montgolfiers, subsequently, were rewarded for their efforts with elevation to the nobility, and standard hot air balloons are to this day known as Montgolfiers.
originally posted by: jeep3r
a reply to: Korg Trinity
I think JiggyPotamus meant that these kinds of sightings (or similar observations) already took place in the remote past, long before the first balloons were built. Ancient UFO reports, so to speak ... in that regard, I fully agree with what he said.
originally posted by: jeep3r
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).
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 f
So, is this just another episode of misunderstood technology or something more intriguing? You be the judge ... !