1897 north texas airships episode appendix Sightings from passport to magonia by jacques vallee

I prepared this while working on the episode about the 1897 airship sightings and the Aurora, Texas, crash episode and 1897 UFO Flap in North Texas from Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee

Generally commentary from Jacques Vallee

1897 airship reports per Jacques Vallee:

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 off, sweeping the countryside with powerful light beams. . . .

All the operators who engaged in discussions with human witnesses were indistinguishable from the average American population of the time.

In the Flying Saucer Review, Jerome Clark observes that “the 1897 wave indicates the futility of any attempt to divorce flying objects from the general situation in which they operate.” This makes the study of such objects infinitely broader than the simple investigation, in scientific terms, of a new phenomenon; for if the appearance and behavior of the objects arc functions of our interpretation at any particular time in the development of our culture, then what chances can we have of ever knowing the truth?

1897 sightings in Texas

Rockland, Texas

Initial writeup of the Rockland sighting:

Apr. 22,1897 Rockland (Texas). John M. Barclay was intrigued when his dog barked furiously and a high-pitched noise was heard. He went out, saw a flying object circling 5 m above ground. Elongated with protrusions and blinding lights, it went dark when it landed. Barclay was met by a man who told him his purpose was peaceful and requested some common hardware items to repair the craft. He paid with a ten-dollar bill and took off “like a bullet out of a gun.” (192; Magonia)

More info on the Rockland sighting:

The Houston Post of April 22, 1897, has a further report:

Rockland: Mr. John M. Barclay, living near this place, reports that last night about 11 o’clock, after having retired, he heard his dog barking furiously, together with a whining noise. He went to the door to ascertain the trouble and saw something, he says, that made his eyes bulge out and but for the fact that he had been reading of an airship that was supposed to have been in or over Texas, he would have taken to the woods.

It was a peculiar shaped body, with an oblong shape, with wings and side attachments of various sizes and shapes. There were brilliant lights, which appeared much brighter than electric lights. When he first saw it, it seemed perfectly stationary about five yards from the ground. It circled a few times and gradually descended to the ground in a pasture adjacent to his house. He took his Winchester and went down to investigate. As soon as the ship, or whatever it might be, alighted, the lights went out. The night was bright enough for a man to be distinguished several yards, and when within about thirty yards of the ship he was met by an ordinary mortal, who requested him to lay his gun aside as no harm was intended. Whereupon the following conversation ensued: Mr. Barclay enquired: “Who are you and what do you want?” “Never mind about my name, call it Smith. I want some lubricating oil and a couple of cold chisels if you can get them, and some bluestone. I suppose the saw mill hard by has the two former articles and the telegraph operator has the bluestone. Here is a ten-dollar bill: take it and get us these articles and keep the change for your trouble.”

Mr. Barclay said: “What have you got down there? Let me go and see it.” He who wanted to be called Smith said: “No, we cannot permit you to approach any nearer, but do as we request you and your kindness will be appreciated, and we will call you some future day and reciprocate your kindness by taking you on a trip.” Mr. Barclay went and procured the oil and cold chisels, but could not get the bluestone. They had no change and Mr. Barclay tendered him the ten-dollar bill, but same was refused. The man shook hands with him and thanked him cordially and asked that he not follow him to the vessel. As he left Mr. Barclay called him and asked him where he was from and where he was going. He replied, “From anywhere, but we will be in Greece day after tomorrow.” He got on board, when there was again the whirling noise, and the thing was gone, as Mr. Barclay expresses it, like a shot out of a gun. Mr. Barclay is perfectly reliable.

Josserand, Texas

The same night, half-an-hour later (according to the Houston Post of April 26 and reported independently):

Josserand: Considerable excitement prevails at this writing in this usually quiet village of Josserand, caused by a visit of the noted airship, which has been at so many points of late. Mr. Frank Nichols, a prominent farmer living about two miles east of here, and a man of unquestioned veracity, was awakened night before last near the hour of twelve by a whirring noise similar to that made by machinery. Upon looking out he was startled upon beholding brilliant lights streaming from a ponderous vessel of strange proportions, which rested upon the ground in his cornfield. Having read the despatches, published in the Post of the noted aerial navigators, the truth at once flashed over him that he was one of the fortunate ones and with all the bravery of Priam at the siege of Troy [sic] Mr. Nichols started out to investigate. Before reaching the strange midnight visitor he was accosted by two men with buckets who asked permission to draw water from his well. Thinking he might be entertaining heavenly visitors instead of earthly mortals, permission was readily granted. Mr. Nichols was kindly invited to accompany them to the ship. He conversed freely with the crew, composed of six or eight individuals about the ship. The machinery was so complicated that in his short interview he could gain no knowledge of its workings. However, one of the crew told him the problem of aerial navigation had been solved. The ship or car is built of a newly-discovered material that has the property of selfsustenance in the air, and the motive power is highly condensed electricity. He was informed that five of these ships were built at a small town in Iowa. Soon the invention will be given to the public. An immense stock company is now being formed and within the next year the machines will be in general use. Mr. Nichols lives at Josserand, Trinity County, Texas, and will convince any incredulous one by showing the place where the ship rested.

Apr. 22,1897 Josserand (Texas). Franck Nichols, who lived 3 km east of Josserand and was one of its most respected citizens, was awakened by a machine noise. Looking outside, he saw a heavy, lighted object land in his wheat field. He walked toward it, was stopped by two men who asked permission to draw water from his well. He then had a discussion with a half-dozen men, the crew of the strange machine. He was told how it worked but could not follow the explanation. (193; Magonia)

Merkel, Texas

Apr. 25, 1897 evening Merkel (Texas). People returning from church observed a heavy object being dragged along the ground by a rope attached to a flying craft. The rope got caught in a railroad track. The craft was too high for its structure to be visible but protrusions and a light could be distinguished. After about 10 min a man came down along the rope, cut the end free, and went back aboard the craft, which flew away toward the northeast. The man was small and dressed in a light-blue uniform. (194; Magonia)

It is extracted from the April 28 edition of the Houston Daily Post:

Merkel, Texas, April 26. Some parties returning from church last night noticed a heavy object dragging along with a rope attached. They followed it until, in crossing the railroad, it caught on a rail. On looking up they saw what they supposed was the airship. It was not near enough to get an idea of the dimensions. A light could be seen protruding from several windows; one bright light in front like the headlight of a locomotive.

After some ten minutes, a man was seen descending the rope. He came near enough to be plainly seen; he wore a light blue sailor suit and was small in size, lie stopped when he discovered parties at the anchor, and cut the rope below him and sailed off in a northeast direction. The anchor is now on exhibition at the blacksmith shop of Elliot and Miller and is attracting the attention of hundreds of people.

Aquila-Hillsboro, Texas

Apr. 26,1897 Aquila-Hillsboro (Texas). Approximate date. A lawyer was surprised to see a lighted object fly over. His horse was scared and nearly toppled the carriage. When the main light was turned off, a number of smaller lights became visible on the underside of the dark object, which supported an elongated canopy. It went down toward a hill to the south, 5 km from Aquila. When the witness was on his way back one hour later, he saw the object rising. It reached the altitude of the cloud ceiling and flew to the northeast at a fantastic speed with periodic flashes of light. (195)

Later sightings in the North Texas

McKinney, Texas

Apr. 6,1956 McKinney (Texas). Two men saw a silvery, balloon-shaped craft about 2 m in diameter land in a field 100 m away from them, about 8 km east of McKinney, They stopped their car to investigate, but the object took off at fantastic speed. (Atic)

Unsure of location

Sept. 26,1957 sunset Yellow Falls (Texas). Three hundred people were said to have seen three elongated objects with a series of portholes, maneuvering at ground level in an area with many empty oil wells. One of these objects, said to be 150 m long and 20 m high, pearl-colored, glistening under the setting sun and showing a series of circles painted on its surface, landed for 20 min. An occupant emerged, observed the abandoned derricks and took off again. Observed through binoculars, he appeared as a “monster,” 1 m tall, moving with strange jumps. He picked up something from the ground. (Perego)

Justin, Texas

Aug. 2, 1965 Justin (Texas). Two deputy sheriffs of Tarrant County saw an object as bright as burning magnesium, which landed as they were on a patrol near Wagle Mountain Lake. Extensive investigation by the police led to negative results. (Atic)

Dallas, Texas

Aug. 4, 1965

Dallas (Texas). A man in a car observed a red and blue light, thought it came from a police car, then was passed by a huge, orange object flying at ground level. (Atic)

1897 airship flap [[ airships ]] history UFO steampunk


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