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Paijmans points out that as early as 1858, one journalist asked his readers “Do the Inhabitants of other Planets ever Visit this Earth?”; then matter of factly recounted what may be one of the earliest 19th century ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (CE-III) on record. One Henry Wallace had reported that on a clear day, a shadow was suddenly thrown over he and his friends, and when they looked up to see what had caused the anomaly they "beheld a large and curiously constructed vessel, not over one hundred yards from the earth." They could make out a large number of 'people' on the vessel, whose average height they estimated to be around twelve feet. Wallace described the strange craft as being "worked by wheels and other mechanical appendages, all of which worked with a precision and a degree of beauty never yet attained by any mechanical skill upon this planet..."
An even earlier report of strange phenomena in the sky came from a resident of Athens, Georgia, in 1849: “Mr. Editor, are you or your readers aware that a strange phenomenon is to be seen every night about half past ten, in the south?", the citizen wrote to his local newspaper. "It seems at first sight to be simply a star of reddish appearance – But look a moment, and you will see it blazing up, and then the light dying away. It is constantly moving, sometimes in an upward direction, and sometimes in a circle. It moves westward, and is seen for several hours. What is it?"