1897 airship reports per jacques vallee

The excerpt below is just some of the stuff about the 1897 airship reports in Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee.

I like that he called these sightings a “missing link” between folkloric visions and weirdness, and 20th century UFO sightings.

For more info: 1897 airship sightings and the Aurora, Texas, crash episode 1897 airship flap 1897 airship sightings and the Aurora, Texas, crash episode 1897 North Texas airships episode Appendix-Sightings from Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee Operation Trojan Horse by John Keel in 1897, the technology wasn’t there to make quick-moving air craft and dirigibles Thomas Edison on the UFO flap of 1897

from Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee (there are way more reports, this is just some of his writing about it):

It was a very great wonder, a sign, in heaven indeed, the marvelous airship that flew over the United States in the spring of 1897. And the rediscovery of the remarkable wave of reports it generated has provided a crucial missing link between the apparitions of older days and modern saucer stories.

On Donald Hanlon’s map reproduced with the photographs, all the airship reports have been plotted, with a special sign to denote landings. This map perhaps gives a measure both of the volume of data the students of American folklore have been missing and of the amount of work done in the last three years by researchers such as Hanlon, Jerome Clark, and Lucius Farish. The result of their investigations is astonishing.

In California, in November, 1896, hundreds of residents of the San Francisco area saw a large, elongated, dark object, which carried brilliant searchlights and was capable of flying against the wind. Between January and March, 1897, it vanished entirely. And suddenly a staggering number of observations of an identical object were made in the Midwest. Earlier in the book, we have seen how Alexander Hamilton described it: a craft with turbine wheels and a glass section with strange beings aboard looking down, a description not unlike that given by Barney Hill. In March, an object of even stranger appearance was seen by Robert Hibbard, a farmer living fifteen miles north of Sioux City, Iowa. Hibbard not only saw the airship, but an anchor hanging from a rope attached to the mysterious craft caught his clothes and dragged him several dozen feet, until he fell back to earth.

To present in an orderly fashion all the accounts of that period would itself take a book. My object here is only to review the most detailed observations of the behavior of the airship’s occupants on the ground. But first, how did the object itself behave? It maneuvered very much in the way UFO’s are said to maneuver, except that airships were never seen flying in formation or performing “aerial dances.” Usually, an airship flew rather slowly and majestically—of course, such an object, in 1897, ran no risk of being pursued—except in a few close-proximity cases when it was reported to depart “as a shot out of a gun.” Another difference from modern UFO’s lies in the fact that its leisurely trajectory often took it over large urban areas. Omaha, Milwaukee, Chicago, and other cities were thus visited; each time, large crowds gathered to watch the object. Otherwise, the airship exhibited all the typical activities of UFO’s: hovering, dropping “probes”—on Newton, Iowa, on April 10, for example—changing course abruptly, changing altitude at great speed, circling, landing and taking oft’ sweeping the countryside with powerful light beams.

The occupants of the airship were as variously described as arc UFO operators. Several reports could be interpreted to mean that dwarfs were among them, but it was not—to my present knowledge, at least—stated in so many words by witnesses. Alexander Hamilton says that the beings were the strangest he had ever seen, and that he did not care to sec them again. I am not aware of any detailed portrait of the creatures by the witnesses in the Leroy case. They were “hideous people”: two men, a woman, and three “children,” jabbering together.

All the operators who engaged in discussions with human witnesses were indistinguishable from the average American population of the time, This, for instance, is the experience related by Captain James Hooton (described in the Arkansas Gazette as “the well-known Iron Mountain railroad conductor”):

I had gone down to Texarkana to bring back a special, and knowing that I would have some eight to ten hours to spend in Texarkana, I went to I Ionian (Arkansas) to do a little hunting. It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I reached that place. The sport was good, and before I knew it, it was after 6 o’clock when I started to make my way back toward the railroad station. As I was tramping through the bush my attention was attracted by a familiar sound, a sound for all the world like the working of an air pump on a locomotive.

I went at once in the direction of the sound, and there in an open space of some five or six acres, I saw the object making the noise. To say that I was astonished would but feebly express my feelings. I decided at once that this was the famous airship seen by so many people about the country.

There was a medium-size looking man aboard and I noticed that he was wearing smoked glasses, lie was tinkering around what seemed to be the hack end of the ship, and as I approached I was too dumbfounded to speak. He looked at me in surprise, and said: “Good day, sir; good day.” I asked: “Is this the airship?” And he replied: “Yes, sir,” whereupon three or four other men came out of what was apparently the keel of the ship.

A close examination showed that the keel was divided into two parls, terminating in front like the sharp edge of a knife-like edge, while the side of the ship bulged gradually toward the middle, and then receded. There were three large wheels upon each side made of some bending metal and arranged so that they became concave as they moved forward.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” I said, “the noise sounds a great deal like a Westinghouse air brake.”

“Perhaps it does, my friend: we are using condensed air and aeroplanes, but you will know more later on.”

“All ready, sir,” someone called out, when the party all disappeared below. I observed that just in front of each wheel a two-inch tube began to spurt air on the wheels and they commenced revolving. The ship gradually arose with a hissing sound. The aeroplanes suddenly sprang forward, turning their sharp end skyward, then the rudders at the end of the ship began to veer to one side and the wheels revolved so fast that, one could scarcely see the blades. In less time than it takes to tell you, the ship had gone out of sight.

Captain Hooton adds that he could discover no bell or bell rope about the ship and was greatly shocked by this detail, since he thought “every well regulated air locomotive should have one.” He left a detailed drawing of the machine.

history - UFO - steampunk


Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.