INTCAT 1897 - 1899

General evaluation

Image result for 1897 airship
The 1897 airship stories, which dominate this section, exist on the boundaries of the spontaneous and crafted imagination. Many are clearly newspaper hoaxes, though it is not always easy to say exactly which. Others may indeed be the products of dreams and dream like states. They fall well into the category of visionary rumours and clearly express the hopes and fears of a society faced with the coming of a new century and its new, disturbing technologies. The new technology is often given a fairy gloss and traditional folkloric motifs are often incorporated. This was still a largely oral society where story telling was a prized art.

1897. Afternoon. 
A small girl lifted a boulder and saw a tiny man about 45-60cm tall, with a brown, wrinkled and wizened face and wearing a pointed hat, doublet and shorts, probably red and blue in colour. After a few seconds the figure disappeared. The girl became confused and disorientated, a situation she remedied by the old folk tradition of turning her pockets inside out. 
  • Bord 1988 p169 citing Whitlock 1977 p33 citing Transactions of the Devonshire Association 1928, report from witness 
  • Chard 1979 citing Mr Coxhead in Transactions op cit
  • Theo Paijmans in Anomalist 13 p32 citing McKean Democrat 5 November 1897.

March 28 1897. (approx. date) Night.

Robert Hibbert, a farmer 25km north of Sioux City, was walking about his farm, hoping to see the airship , when he caught sight of a dark object, with incandescent lamps on either side, which flew in from the south at about 1,500m altitude. It came directly over Robert’s head, descended and a grapnel at the end of a drag rope caught his trousers. The object rose again, dragging Robert with it. He was only able to save himself by holding onto a sapling. The hook tore his trousers and the object continued on its way, leaving him in a dry run at the edge of a cow lot. 
  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 14, 5 p13
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p10
  • Lucius Farish in Fate (UK) April 1967 p 23 citing Topeka State Journal 29 March 1897.
  • Keel 1971a p 173)

March 28 1897. 2230hrs.
As church services were ending a number of the citizens in all parts of the city saw a large bright fireball, larger than a balloon, come from the south-east and pass over the city in 30 minutes, before disappearing behind the houses and bluffs to the north-west. It moved very slowly and appeared to be quite near to the earth. At 24th and Lake Streets it was watched by a large crowd. 
  • Lucius Farish in Fate (UK) April 1967 p222 citing Topeka State Journal 29 March 1897.
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p10
  • Vallee Case 12 citing Chicago Times-Herald 30 March 1897.

Early April 1897.
A group of farmers encountered two men carrying out repairs on a landed airship. They conversed with them men but learnt little other than the aeronauts were following the North-western Railway from the Pacific to the Atlantic and that the airship, which weighed 5000lbs, was made of a light substance, like aluminium. Known only 3rd hand. 
  • Robert G Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p61 citing Rockford Republic April 12 1897.

Early April 1897.
A boy living near Norway saw an aerial object land on a nearby farm and several occupants get out and fetch water, which they poured into something like a boiler. 
  • Rife 2001 p21

Early April 1897.
A man who did not wish his name to be used, saw an airship strike a flagpole and crash. Two seriously disfigured bodies were found. 
  • Randle 2010 p20
  • Evaluation - Simply an anonymous letter to a newspaper. Hoax

April 1 1897. 0230hrs.
A night watchman and a traveller on the High Bridge saw a bright light changing red, white, purple, blue, white in the southwest. It seemed to a luminous sphere, behind which was a dark shape. The object skirted trees before crashing with a thunderous roar. The witnesses rushed to the place from where they had seen the crash and heard a cry. Here they found something like a boat with sails in the trees. They also found a badly injured man who claimed to be the pilot of the thing. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p9 citing Muscatine Daily News-Tribune 1 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - April fools day joke

April 1 1897. 2100hrs.
Citizens of this town observed the airship for about 80 minutes, for a period of which the object descended below the clouds, which were illuminated by its powerful green-blue lights. The object was canoe shaped, 7.5-9m long. From the car four light wings were extended, two on either side, with triangular ends. Above the car, a large dark bulk was visible. When the object rose the lights dimmed and when it descended close to the earth, it became as bright as a locomotive. It flew swiftly to the horizon, swooped rapidly towards the earth and then swept away to the south. 
  • Lucius Farish in Fate (UK) April 1897 p23 citing Kansas City Times 2 April 1897
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p11)

April 1 1897. (approx. date) 
While walking along Skinner Avenue by Forest Park, Joseph Joslin encountered a landed object and a small humanoid creature. The being hypnotised Joslin into going on board its craft. He was away for three weeks but could not remember much of what happened on board or how he got back to earth. 
  • Cohen 1981 p58 citing St Louis Globe-Democrat 23 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - This first 'modern' abduction story is probably a newspaper joke, as it says Joslin’s experience “was diagnosed as alcoholism”

April 5 1897. 2230hrs.
An aerial object passed overhead at 800m altitude and 40kph. The next morning Joh Leib and Ira Davies reported that the airship had crashed on the farm belonging to J D Sims. Two mutilated bodies were found at the site and documents suggesting the object was an airship. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p10 citing St Joseph Daily Herald 6 + 9April 1897.
  • Evaluation Hoax

April 6 1897. 0200hrs.
JamesSouthard, rounding up his cattle saw a light on an island in the Missouri River. Approaching he saw it was a 60m long cigar shaped contraption, 15m at the widest, narrowing to a point, front and rear. At these ends were devises that looked like snail shells. With it were a group of men, who said that they had landed to repair a searchlight and the craft was loaded with dynamite to go to Cuba
  • Clark 1998 p54 + Rife 2001 p25 citing Auburn Granger 9 April 1897.

April 6 1897. 2300hrs.
Mr Trumball, the landlord of the Arlington Hotel, saw a dark object moving in the sky. Shortly afterwards a bright light was seen at the front of the thing, projecting a beam which seemed to sweep the area. From the sides of the object flashes of light were emitted. The thing moved back and forth at high speed and at one point it came close to the ground north of the city before rising again at high speed. 
  • Busby 2004 p31 citing Dallas Morning News + Galveston News both 8 April 1897. + Terrell Times Star 19 April 1897.

April 7 1897. 0015hrs.
Farmer Richard Butler was driving home when he observed a light in a field close to the road. He went to investigate. The light, which was like an electric lamp, shone through windows in a dark cylindrical object, resembling a box about 11m long and about3m diameter. Floating over this object was a cigar shaped bag of similar length, about 3m in diameter. Butler’s horses bolted, throwing him into a ditch. As Butler scrambled from the wreck, he saw the object ascend in a southerly direction at 45 degrees. 
  • Josephine Clark citing Quincy Morning Whig 13 April 1897
  • Clark 1998 p53 citing Marshalltown Evening News-Republican 9 April 1897.

April 9 1897. 0200hrs.
James Southard, a farmer south of Peru, was looking for a lost cow when he saw and approached a light by a river. It came from a cigar shaped object 60m long, 15m wide at the widest with steel apparatus at either end. He met the crew, who were doing repairs, and was invited on board. The crew said they were armed with dynamite and were going to bomb the Spanish in Cuba. 
  • Cohen 1981 p49 citing Auburn Granger 9 April 1897.

April 9 1897. (or following day) 2300hrs.
A bright light came down over the town, making a sound like a full railway train and getting brighter as it descended. It entered a reservoir by the railway, causing the water to hiss and become too hot to touch. 
  • Randle 2010 p20 citing Marshalltown Evening Times-Republican 13 April 1897.
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p8citing Times-Republican op cit + Iowa State Register 13 April 1897.
  • Evaluation Ball lighting? Meteorite? Or more likely another press hoax

April 10 1897. 0400hrs.
The sound of a loud explosion woke local residents, who saw a red light shoot into the sky. About 50 men went out in a snow storm to track the thing down. They found at the farm of Johann Fliegeltaub, 800m west of town, a cigar shaped object about 9m long, 2.7m wide, partly buried in the ground and was emitting a powerful red light. It had four side and one rear propeller and had a hole in its side, apparently caused by a collision with Johann’s lighting conductor.
Beside the object was a man dressed in clothes similar to those of classical Greece. Then stranger was taken in by Johann. A reporter, General F A Kerr, went to the scene and was so shocked by it that he had to take a grain and a half of morphine and take three cocaine tablets before he could inspect its four rooms, one of which contained its electrical propulsion system, the others being two bedrooms and a bathroom.Kerr was now able to speak to the pilot in the artificial language Volapuk and learn that he was part of an exploratory party from Mars. The being then returned to the machine, bent its torn side back into shape and mended the tear with a sort of paste, collected his comrades bodies and took off again, so that soon only the red light was visible. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p6 citing Daily Democrat 10 + 12 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - Needless to say this is an obvious newspaper joke on the airship, the reporter is General F A Kerr (FAKER!), who needs to drugs to report the story, the alien speaks Volapuk (associated with eccentricity) and has a badge with a coat of arms of "a shield with a bar sinister of link sausages and bearing a ham sandwich rampant". Note that the joke actually precedes the “genuine” reports of airship occupants and contains themes that appear again, such as the craft half embedded in the ground, supernormal lights, objects taking off and ending as just lights in the sky

April 10 1897.
A group of men working on the levee had their attention caught by a bright white light, which they thought was the light on a steamer, with red and green lights on either side, a short distance north of the bridge. The men then realised that the lights were on an object flying very low, which rose as they watched and went east of Riverview Park. After about 2km it circled to the south and then headed west again, hovering for a few minutes over Southern Park. The thing continued to circle, hovered again after 900m, and then smaller lights, revolving rapidly around the larger one. The object then shot off to the south. As it manoeuvred over the town at 120-150m altitude, they saw that it was an aluminium like metallic cigar shape, with wings coming from either side of the hull. These wings obscured some sort of superstructure above the hull. From the object’s front was projected a searchlight similar to those on steam boats. Estimates of the object’s length ranged from 15m to 40m. Some people thought they heard voices on it. 
  • Robert G Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p56 citing Quincy Whig 11 April 1897.

April 11 1897.
The occupant of an airship projected images on the side of farmer Charles Knowlton’s barn. 
  • Rife 2001p10 citing Indianapolis Journal 17 April 1897.
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p47 citing Logansport Daily Reporter 12 April 1897.

April 11 1897. Night.
Stuart Macroth, an employee of the Flour City National Bank was cycling to Minneapolis when he saw an aerial object, shaped rather like a boat, with an array of lights flying at about 400m altitude,. On it he could see men, women and children, moving about as if busy. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p52 citing Minneapolis Tribune 13 April 1897. p21

April 11 1897. Late.
Two men, both veterans, George M Somers and William Chadburn, were tending to a sick horse when they saw something illuminated at either end travelling at high speed. Shortly afterwards they heard the sound of a dull explosion followed by the sound of projectiles flying through the air. The following morning pieces of electrical equipment were found in one location and a propeller made of a light material in another. 
  • Busby 2004 p95 citing Detroit Evening News 13 April 1897. p4

April 12 1897. 0335hrs.
A local telegraph operator heard a noise like a cyclone and saw an object with flapping wings slowly landing and demolishing the wing of a frame house in the process. From the object came a being 60cm tall, with a huge pink beard, an headdress of something like ivory and clothed in robes of what looked like hippopotamus hide. It had two pieces of iron ore on its feet and a string of diamonds around its neck. It made gestures for food and drink and consumed two buckets of water and three sides of bacon. Others of its ilk came down from the machine by means of peculiar ropes, one carried a staff of gold. All were deaf and dumb. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p7 citing Dubuque Daily Times 13 April 1897.
  • Evaluation The second newspaper joke featuring Lanark. Why Lanark had become the butt of these jokes is probably lost to history

April 12 1897. Beore dawn.
Augustus Rodgers, a farmer, saw a large luminous rectangle at about 120m altitude and called his wife to see it. The thing passed over at about 160kph and an occupant could be seen in its front. 
  • Clark 1998 p54 citing Louisville Evening Post 3 April 1897.

April 12 1897. 1430hrs.
Frank Metcalf, Ed Teeples and William Street observed a cigar shaped object with a dome land on the property of Z Thacker, 1.5km north of Nilwood. It remained on the ground for 15 minutes and then moved off to the north. 
  • Robert G Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p 61 citing Chicago Times-Herald 14 April 1897.
  • Skylook 44 citing Quincy Morning Whig 15 April 1897.

April 12 1897. 1815hrs.
Paul F McCraner, the night operator of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, was alerted by the operator at Carlinville that the airship was passing over. He went outside and saw it pass over tin the direction of Nilwood. Accompanied by others, he ran towards it as it, as it descended at the miner’s camp at green Ridge, 3km south of Girard. The thing was a large cigar shaped object, tapering at both ends, with what looked like wings or oars on either side and a canopy like covering. A man could be seen walking around the machine as if conducting repairs. A large letter F could be seen on its side. As the witnesses approached the object rose to a high altitude and took off to the north. Figures could be seen in the boat like cabin. What looked like footprints were found on the ground. The case may be the same was the one above and they are connected in some accounts. 
  • Deneault and Lore 1969 p20 citing Chicago Daily News Tribune 14 April 1897.
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p62 citing Decatur Evening Republican 14 April 1897.+ Jerseyville Democrat 15 April 1897 + Carlinville Democrat 29 April 1897.
  • Skylook 44 citing Quincy Morning Whig 15 April 1897.
  • Vallee Case 15 citing Chicago Record 14 April 1897.

April 12 1897. 2030hrs.
An aerial object came in from the south east less than 60m above the treetops. The object was about 18m long and travelling about 15kph. It had coloured lights and wings that vibrated. From it came sounds like orchestral music. Townspeople hailed the object but it moved off to the north. The weather was cloudy and drizzly. Witnesses included J H Hulbert, S Shoemaker, J L McCampbell, D B Scott, and Mr McClure. 
  • Donald B Hanlon in FSR 12, 5 p9 citing Chicago Chronicle 13 April 1897.
April 12 1897. 2200hrs.
An aerial machine, first seen as a light on the north-eastern horizon, came over the town at less than 100m altitude and descended in a vacant lot, north of US Marshall Crenshaw’s house. Around it a crowd of almost the entire population of the town gathered. There was a pilot on board, who appeared to be swearing in Norwegian as he made repairs to a gill like flange in the top rear portion of the airship, but he would not speak with the witnesses. Inscriptions ion the airship appeared to be in Danish. After 30 minutes the repairs were completed and the airship and its pilot took off. 
  • Kingston Times 16 April 1897.
  • Lucius Farish in UFO Commentary 3,2

April 13 1897. Evening.
George Parks, a prosperous farmer, and his wife saw a bright object fly over their farm at 30m altitude. As the thing flew low over them something fell to the ground. The next day Parks dug up what looked like an aluminium turbine wheel 90cm in diameter. 
  • Lucius Farish and Jerome Clark in FSR 14,5 p 15 citing Saginaw Courier-Herald n.d. 
  • Keel 1971a p83 citing Detroit Evening News 15 April 1897.

April 13 1897. 0905hrs.
A silvery cigar shaped object landed on the court-house square, before a crowd estimated at 135,472 . After three minutes, an opening appeared in the side of the object and three beings stepped onto its bow. They were humanoids with huge gills like elephants ears, and with large fins on their backs, claw like hands, pointed feet and eyes “like boiled eggs”. 
  • Nigel Watson in Spencer and Evans 1988 p50 citing press sources
  • Evaluation - More of a newspaper joke than a hoax, this is an obvious satire on the airship stories
April 13 1897. Evening.
A dark aerial object with a brilliant light fell into the river causing the water to churn and boil. 
April 13 1897. 2300hrs.
Frederick Chamberlain and O I Jones were riding in a two horse buggy towards Hudson Wisconsin from Lakeland Minnesota when they saw a man with a lantern walking around in a clearing in the woods on the side of the road. As they drove towards the spot the lantern disappeared. They then heard crackling and rushing noises, and they saw a long, high, grey-white object, on which there were two rows of lights, four in two pairs, one of which was a red and green pair. The object, which seemed to have a canvass top, rose at a steep angle, clearing the treetops and as it did so they saw more lights, but were unable to make out any other features. The object then became hidden from sight behind trees. At the site they found 14 marks, in two rows of 7, each being 60cm long, 15cm wide. A farmer, Adam Thielen near Elmo saw a dark object, with red and green lights, in the sky. 
  • Rath 1998 p 31 + Clark 1998 p53 both citing St Paul Pioneer Press 15 April 1897.
April 14 1897. 
Joseph Singer, the captain of the Sea Wing was fishing with S H Davis of Detroit when they saw what they thought was a ship about 13m long, with a canopy, on the lake. A man who looked about 25 wearing a hunting jacket and cap was fishing from the deck of the object. Near him were a woman and a child of about 10. When the “Sea Wing” came close to the craft, a large coloured balloon rose from the latter, which flew up with it to an altitude of about 150m and circled like a hawk before flying away. 
  • Vallee Case 17 citing Chicago Tribune 16 April 1897.

April 14 1897. 0430hrs.

Farmers saw an aerial object maneuvering in the sky and then land 800m southwest of the town. When they came to the site they saw in the object a 2.85m tall naked humanoid. A farmer who approached the entity was struck and received a broken hip. Crowds came to the site. 
  • Clark 1998 p57 citing Saginaw Courier-Herald 17 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - Press hoax

April 14 1897. Early morning.

A group of workers returning from a night shift heard a sort of roaring sound and saw green and yellow lights through a break in the clouds. They were then dazzled by a brilliant white light and when their eyesight recovered saw a cigar shaped object with wings descending over the treetops. It hovered briefly and then shot off to the southeast making the same roaring sound. 
  • Clark 1998 p53 citing Indianapolis Sentinel 15 April 1897.

April 14 1897. Afternoon.

About 9.5km out of Marion, a cigar shaped object with large wings came out of the northwest and headed east. Six people were seen on board. 
  • Clark 1998 p54 citing Cincinnati Enquirer 15 April 1897.

April 14 1897. 1500hrs.

An object landed 2km south of Gas City on the property of John Roush, terrifying the farmers and causing the cattle and horses to stampede. Six occupants came out of the thing and seemed to make some repairs. Before the crowd could approach the object, it rose rapidly and disappeared toward the east. 
  • Vallee Case 16 citing Chicago Chronicle 15 April 1897.

April 14 1897. Evening.

A man going to milk his cow saw a bright light moving northwest-southeast. He took no notice and carried on with the milking but as he was nearly finished there was a terrific crash and a portion of the roof was torn off. He had time to see an aerial object moving off before he was knocked out by the frightened cow and suffered severe concussion. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p 65 citing Decatur Evening Republican 15 April 1897.

April 14 1897. Evening.
A farmer on the outskirts of Casstown was feeding his livestock when he heard a sound like a flock of geese. Looking up he saw a huge winged object with a large tail or rudder passing over at 50m altitude. The thing reminded him of a huge bird. He heard sounds like music and a human voice. 
  • Rife 2001 p8 citing Kenton News-Republican 16 April 1897.

April 14 1897. 2030hrs.
Near here an aerial object 30m long, 6m thick at the centre landed in a meadow. Inside two men carrying a lantern could be seen. They waved with the lantern as the object took off with a whirring sound. 
  • Clark 1998 p54 citing Burlington Hawkeye 16 April 1897.

April 14 1897. 2130hrs.
John Bailey, a farm hand, was returning home from Springfield when, at a point on the Jefferson Road, 5km west of the city, near the Reilly Estate Store, he saw an object in the sky with a large light. He thought that it was a balloon until it started descending. At this point he was joined by a local vineyard owner, Adolf Wenke, and they both watched the object land, with a hissing sound, 60m ahead. After a short time they overcame their fear and approached the object, where they met a bearded man who asked them where he was. On being told, he said that they had travelled from Quincy in just 30 minutes. Inside the object was a woman, who the “scientist” said was his wife, and another man. The “scientist” said they normally travelled by night to escape detection and would be heard from as soon as “Congress recognised Cuban (sic) belligerency” The object carried a powerful searchlight, not then in use, and they were using an ordinary locomotive headlight instead. The frame of the object was made of aluminium covered by canvas. When asked his name the “scientist” pointed to a large MM painted on the side of the airship. Saying goodbye, he re-entered the airship, sat down and pressed a button, whereupon the ship took off to the north. Several other people in West Springfield saw the aerial object. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p 63 citing Carlinville Democrat 22 April 1897, citing Springfield News + Galesburg Evening Mail + Decatur Evening Republican all 15 April 1897.
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 11,1 p31 + Clark and Coleman 1975 p145
  • Skylook 43 + 45 citing Quincy Daily Herald 15 +16 April 1897.

April 14 1897. 2330hrs.
I H Woolsey, T J Cushman and Edward Woods were returning from Curryville when, near Shelburn, they saw a brilliantly illuminated object, shaped like a barrel with a pointed front and some sort of apparatus at its rear, at 60m altitude. The thing was ringed with metallic looking bands 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p47 citing Terre Haute Evening Gazette 15 April 1897. p5

April 15 or 17 1897. 2200hrs.
Rabbi A Levy who farmed 3km from Beaumont heard that an airship had landed on a nearby farm. He went to investigate and encountered an object about 50m long, with wings 30m long on either side. The whole thing appeared to be made of some light material. He met one of the crew who had gone to a farmer’s house top get water. This man told Levy that the machine ran by electricity and though he told Levy who built it and where, Levy could not remember either of these. 
  • Busby 2004 p111 citing New Orleans Daily Picayune 25 April 1897. p7 
  • Chariton 1991 p73 gives date as 14th

April 15 1897.
Witnesses saw an aerial object, on board of which were two strange looking men with extremely long whiskers, who desperately tried to conceal themselves. 
  • Jacobs 1975 p 9

April 15 1897. Morning.
A large object was seen to fly slowly towards the north, seemingly as if to land. Five men (F G Ellis, James Evans, David Evans, Joe Croasky and Benjamin Durland) drove towards it. About 7km north of Linn Grove they came within 700m of the thing on the ground. As they approached it spread four huge wings and sped off to the north. Two men with extremely long hair seemed to be trying to hide. 
  • Vallee case 19 citing Chicago Times-Herald 16 April 1897.

April 15 1897. (approx date) 
An object was seen over town, going very slowly and hovering. Through windows in the side, people could be seen moving back and forth, and through telescopes it was seen there were two women on board, one of whom was tied to a chair and being threatened by a man with a revolver. The windows then darkened and the thing shot off into space at terrific speed (Cohen 1981p50 citing Table Rock Argus 16 Apr 1897.
  • Evaluation - Clearly a satire on the airship stories, but note motifs which occur in modern UFO reports

April 15 1897.
A airship crashed and an injured pilot was taken out of the wreckage. He said he was Pedro Sanchez from Cuba. The next day he had recovered enough to take the wreckage away. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p10 citing The [Atchison] Globe 17 April 1897
  • Randle 2010 p22
  • Evaluation - Newspaper hoax

April 15 1897.
Near Jefferson crashed into a farmer’s field on the north edge of town. A crowd gathered and next day a man was lowered down with a Volapuk dictionary and entered a “neat and clean” airship. 
  • Randle 2010 p23
  • Evaluation - Obvious newspaper joke. 

April 15 1897. 1800hrs.
The whole village saw a cigar shaped object come out of the south at high altitude and land. There were two men and a boy on board, one of the men giving orders to the other two. They talked with local residents for about an hour and then invited Mose Sparke and other members of the fire department on board and took the on a trip of 5km and back. After they had dropped these passengers off, the crew lit three lanterns, red, white and blue and the thing took off towards Camden. Some residents tried to follow it on their bicycles but could not keep up. 
  • Rife 2001 p24 citing Bluffton Chronicle 15 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - One of the more obvious press hoaxes of the period

April 15 1897. Evening.
Two people in a railway tower saw an object the size of a “wagon bed “ (sic), with a wing on each side and a propeller front and back. It had a red light in front and a yellow-green one at the rear and came down so low they could hear voices in it. 
  • Rife 200hrs.1 p8 citing  Lancaster Daily Eagle 16 April 1897.

April 15 1897. Just after dusk.
A train travelling between Howard and Artesian was paced for much of the journey by an aerial object, which was seen by conductor Joe Wright. The object came progressively closer to the ground until it disappeared from sight, as if it had landed. 
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12, 4 p12 citing Edison (SD) Sentinal n. d.)

April 15 1897. 2100hrs.
A passenger train on the Wabash Line going towards Quincy was followed for 15 minutes between Perry Springs and Hersman by an object with red and white lights. After Herman it flew ahead of the train and disappeared rapidly, although the train was then doing 65kph. The light was seen by all the passengers. 
  • Vallee Case 20 citing Chicago Times-Herald 16 April 1897.
  • Richard Heiden)

April 15 1897. Night.
Several people including J N Floyd , agent N S Newland and Mr Cady saw an airship moving in a southerly direction at surprising velocity, passing a few kilometres west of Garland. Floyd got a good look at the machine and saw an occupant operating the machinery. Newland saw the object as cigar shaped with two sets of wings on either side and one wing at the rear. The witnesses were considered reliable. 
  • Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897.
  • Busby 2004 p62 citing op cit

April 15 1897. Night.
A lawyer, J Spencer Bounds, was riding his buggy back from sealing a will when both he and his horse were starting by a brilliant flash overhead. As he looked, the light revolved around and he saw that it was a searchlight on a huge dark cigar shaped object flying at 300m altitude. The light came from something like the hull of a ship, which was attached underneath the cigar. The searchlight was then shut off, and a number of incandescent lights flashed around the lower edge of the thing, which was moving very slowly southwards. These lights went out and the object appeared to land on a hill 5km from Aquilla. About an hour later when the witness was within 1.5km of Hillsboro he saw the object take off rapidly and head towards Dallas at 160kph, sending out occasional brilliant sparks. The lawyer thought he had seen something from the devil. 
  • Donald B Hanlon in FSR 12,5 p8 + Chariton 1991 p72 both citing Dallas News 28 April 1897.
  • Busby 2004 p54 citing Dallas Morning News 17 April 1897. p8
  • Rife 2001 p25 citing Fort Worth Register 18 April 1897.

April 15 1897. Night.
William Megiverson was awakened by a tap on his window and a brilliant light, which nearly blinded him. As he stepped outside, a voice from above, claiming to be a crew member of a crippled airship, which was hovering a bank of cloud, hailed him and asked for egg shaped sandwiches and coffee. When William provided these, a large scoop, containing payment in Canadian quarters, was lowered from the clouds, and pulled up with the provisions. William was unable to see more than the outline of the object, which was gigantic and at 100m altitude. His requests to be taken on board were met with laughter and he got the impression the crew were drunk. About dawn the craft headed off towards the city. 
  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 14,5 p14 citing undated issue of Lansing State Republican

April 15 1897. Late night.
Telegraph repairman Patrick C Byrnes was cycling towards Cisco when his attention was caught by a light in a deserted area some distance from the railway track at the Delmar siding. He went to investigate and found a cigar shaped aerial machine 60m long, 15m wide at the widest, with steel shells at either end. Its crew were making repairs to its searchlight and they explained to Patrick the workings of their craft, and of their intention to go and bomb the Spanish out of Cuba. 
  • Cheriton 1991 p74
  • Busby 2004 p63 citing Fort Worth Register 18 April 1897. p11

April 15 1897. 2200hrs.
A conical aerial object was seen fighting against the wind. Three mutilated bodies were found in the wreckage and one of the witnesses was killed when his ploughing team bolted and he was killed by a harrow. The aerial crew were thought to be Japanese 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p10 citing “W J Wilkinson” in The (Champaign) Daily Gazette 16 April 1897.
  • Evaluation - Reported could not be traced, hoax

April 16 1897. (approx. date) Day
Henry Savidge was working in a field when an airship alighted near him. Six people disembarked, remained a few minutes and conversed with him. They then jumped on board, ascended and sailed away. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p 61 citing Chicago Times-Herald 17 April 1897.

April 16 1897. (approx date)
An airship landed and three crew members made repairs. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p51 citing Indianapolis Sentinel 17 April 1897. p6

April 16 1897. 1205hrs.
Young people at the Mandolin Club and others saw an aerial object made out of a bright material coming from Leroy, with a smaller object trailing behind it. On board the airship were occupants dressed in western style. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p59 citing Bloomington Pantograph 17 April 1897.)

April 16 1897. 1440hrs.
J. E. “Truthful” Scully was conductor on the Big Sandy-Hawkins train when, as they passed a clearing between Hawkins Tank and Hawkins, he obtained a brief glimpse of a landed object with wings in a clearing about 100m back from the track. Beside it was a tall thin man, who appeared to be making repairs with a hammer and chisel. The object’s bow was pointed towards the track. Scully said that Leroy Task, the superintendent of the railroad, had also seen the object. 
  • Dallas Morning News 17 April 1897. p8
  • Cheriton 1991 p76 : : Busby 2004 p70 citing Dallas Morning News op cit

April 16 1897. Afternoon.
While walking through the hills east of Springfield, W H Hopkins, a travelling salesman from St Louis, encountered an aerial machine, by which stood a man and woman, both naked. The woman, who was picking flowers, had golden hair tied by a jewelled band. She was talking in a foreign language, her voice being like “low silvery bells”. The man, who was nearer the ship, had dark shoulder length hair. Both occupants, who were of outstanding beauty, were fanning themselves with curiously shaped fans, as if suffering from the heat, though Hopkins found the weather cool enough for an overcoat. As Hopkins approached, the woman, who was of medium height, leapt back in terror and the man approached in a threatening manner. With difficulty Hopkins was able to persuade the pair of his friendly intentions and they showed him around the ship. There was a luxurious cabin, illuminated by a sphere, which gave off a soft white light when agitated. Similar spheres were attached each propeller and at various points along the sides. When struck, these began to revolve and brilliant lights of various colours were emitted by the sides of the ship. Finally the pilot struck the mechanism on the propellers and Hopkins sprung out as the craft rose up and rapidly vanished from sight. The occupants seemed baffled by Hopkins’ clothes and watch. And he got the impression that the pair came from Mars. Hopkins’ wife, friends and employer said he was a sober honest and churchgoing man. 
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p152 citing St Louis Post-Dispatch 19 April 1897.
  • Cohen 1981 p58 dates the newspaper story to 10th April)

April 16 1897. 2030hrs.
Over 100 people observed an aerial light for 30 minutes. Mayor Wells, who observed it through his telescope, saw that it resembled the body of a huge man swimming through the air with an electric light on his back. 
  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 14,6 p7 + Clark and Coleman 1975 p156 both citing an undated issue of Saginaw Courier-Herald

April 16 1897. 2030hrs.
Numerous people, including H A and BT Hambright, A J Jones, Nute Rivers and Elmer Helm saw an object like a small passenger coach with a white searchlight at the front and five illuminated windows on the side. It was travelling to the west at about 250kph at very low altitude. 
  • Busby 2004 p89 citing Fort Worth Register 18 April 1897. p1

April 16 1897. 2100hrs.
A dim light, the apparent size of a 50 cent piece of the period, was seen in the southwest. It was approaching at 100 kph or more, and some inhabitants thought that it was a cloudless tornado, others a large meteor. Soon it was hovering over the city. City Marshall Brown, who was making his rounds in the western part of the city, saw it pass over at 60m altitude. Inside he could see two men and a creature resembling a large Newfoundland dog. The men appeared to be conversing in a foreign language, which Brown thought was Spanish. 
  • Skylook 53 citing Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897.
  • Busby 2004 pp91, 109 citing Dallas Morning News op cit

April 16 1897. 2145hrs.
A number of people, including Captain J H Wright, C. P Witherspoon, and W H Howard, saw a cigar shaped object, the size of a box car, with wings on either side come over at 150m, descend to 100m and then take off at high speed to the south east. A sort of headlight came from its front, there were green lights along its sides and a red one at its rear. 
  • Busby 2004 p85 citing Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897. p40

April 16 1897. Night.
A group of young people saw a flash in the sky. Looking up they saw a large boat shaped dark object, about 12m long, passing low overhead and seemed to be able to hear voices coming from it. Three of the witnesses followed in a buggy to a point 5km from the town, where the thing had descended to ground level. When they got within 15m of the thing it took off into the night sky. 
  • Rife 2001 p8 citing Cleveland Plain Dealer 18 April 1897.

April 16 1897. 2350hrs.

Newspaper correspondent C G Williams was walking across a field when he was dazzled and frightened by a brilliant light. He tried to run away but his legs would not move. The lights then went out and he saw, in the moonlight, an immense cigar shaped vessel on the ground in front of him. Three men emerged from it, two to work on repairs, while the third called to Williams and asked him to post some letters. Williams began to write down what was happening, but the airman told him not to give away the secret and explained how they sailed from New York State. Williams was able to observe the object in more detail. It was cigar shaped, about 10m long, with large wings or fans on either side. On the front was a large wheel, like a steamboat paddle, made of some light material. At the rear was a huge fan like tail about 15m long. The aviator explained that the front wheel was turned by the wind to produce electricity. Williams promised not to give them away and they said that they would return and take him on a trip to South America. The men then re-entered the machine, which took off gracefully to the north, emitting a flash of light and a singing noise. 
  • Dallas Morning News 19 April 1897. p
  • Jacobs 1975 p9
  • Busby 2004 p89 citing Dallas Morning News op cit + Galveston Daily News 18 April 1897.

April 17 1897. 0030hrs.

Several people leaving a lodge meeting saw a large object coming in from the south at high altitude. As it approached it descended down to 15m. The thing was conical, about 15-25m long, 5-8m wide and was lit by a dull red glow. No means of propulsion was visible. 
  • Rife 2001 p7 + Clark 1998 p51 both citing Saginaw Evening News 17 April 1897.

April 17 1897. 0100hrs.
W. H. Patterson was looking for the airship along with John Phillips, when he observed an aerial object moving in the direction of Dallas at 120m altitude. It seemed to be piloted by a woman operating some machinery resembling a sewing machine. When the sails on the object were at a certain angle, a spotlight shone on the witnesses, who fled from the hotel where they had been observing it. Patterson believed that the object was from the devil. 
  • Dallas Morning Post 18 April 1897.
  • Busby 2004 p102 citing Dallas Morning Post op cit)

April 17 1897. Early hours.
A 12m long spiral shaped object, with huge wings and purple, yellow and green lights descended close to the ground and then took off to the north. 
  • Rife 2001 p9 citing New York Herald 20 April 1897.

April 17 1897. 0600hrs.
An aerial machine came low over the town, travelling north at about 15-20kph and hit Judge Proctor’s windmill and exploded. A strange being was found dead at the site and buried. Also found was strange writing and the ship appeared to have been made of an unknown silvery metallic material. 
  • Randle 1989a p107
  • David Clarke in Randles, Roberts and Clarke 2000 p25 citing Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897.
  • Busby 2004 p124 citing Dallas Morning News + Galveston News both 19 April 1897.
  • Evaluation A classic newspaper hoax, which again contains some early motifs, such as the mysterious alien pilot, the unknown script, the mysterious metal from which the craft is made.

April 17 1897. Morning. 
An aerial object landed about 2.5k south and west of Williamston. A being about 2.9m tall, almost naked and apparently suffering from the heat was on board. The thing spoke in a strange musical bellow and was so strong that its kick broke a man’s thigh. The object had been seen passing overhead the previous evening. 
  • Rife 2001 p58 citing Lansing State Republican 17 April 1897. 
  • Evaluation - An obvious press joke

April 17 1897. (approx. date) Day
Two farmers were working in adjacent fields when they were surprised by what looked like bodies falling from the skies, but when they looked closer this proved to be a man and six boys descending from the sky. They drifted down as easily and gently as birds until, they were within a few metres of the ground about 50m away. They remained stationary for a few seconds and then re-ascended. It was a clear day. 
  • Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897. p 4. 
  • Evaluation - The story was only known second or third hand. 

April 17 1897.
At an undisclosed location a prison official, supervising a gang of prisoners working on a farm, saw an aerial object hovering overhead and observed it through binoculars. The thing, which looked like a ship with wings and fins attached. The object then descended, emitting a humming sound and landed on a lake on the farm. It then produced coloured banners and flags and intense beams of white light. After a few minutes the object took off and went out of sight. 
  • Rife 2001 p18

April 17 1897.
Sam McLeary was travelling next to the Forked Deer River near Humbolt when he came across a metallic object 30m long, 9m wide, with pointed ends. The thing was partly impacted into the ground and partly hanging in the trees. It had a passenger compartment in which there was a single occupant, frozen solid, as was a water barrel on board, It was assumed that it was an airship that had flown too high. 
  • Nigel Watson in Magonia 43 p6 citing Nashville American 18 April 1897

April 17 1897. 1745hrs. 
Judge Love and his friend Mr Beatty were fishing in Chambers Creek when, as they moved off for a better spot, Beatty in front, they encountered a peculiar looking machine on the ground near a ravine. By the thing were nine oddly dressed men lounging around, smoking pipes. One of them invited the pair to come over and inspect the object. He spoke fairly good English. The object was 9.5m long, 4m wide. It was cigar shaped, with three pairs of ribbed wings, which the crew explained were designed to catch the air, and was under the control of a member of the crew. They claimed to be the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel living in a region of the North Pole, and to have been taught their use of English by various polar explorers who had become lost there. They explained their use of electricity and development of airships as they had neither coal nor timber and said that they were among a party of airships which would land at the Nashville Centenary Exposition. The airship crew then shook the duo’s hands and the airship took off towards Waco. 
  • Dallas Morning News 19 April 1897. p5
  • Jacobs 1975 p11
  • Busby 2004 p116 citing Dallas Morning News op cit + Galveston News 19 April 1897.

April 17 1897. Morning.
A prominent farmer, C L Mellhany, who lived 5km out of town, encountered an airship on the ground, with two men working on it. He summoned most of the prominent residents of the town to view it. It was cigar shaped, about 18m long, with two huge aeroplanes attached to it. It had a huge wheel at either end and the crew, who gave their names as S ED Tilman and A E Dolbear, said that the craft was operated by electricity, and that they were making an experimental trip from New York, under contract from certain capitalists in that state. Apart from saying that they were confident of success they refused to make further comment and continued with their repairs. They then re-boarded, waved to the crowd, and the object took off gently towards the southwest. 
  • Dallas Morning News 19 April 1897. p5
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p147
  • Jacobs 1975 p9
  • Busby 2004 p122 citing Dallas Morning News op cit + Galveston News 19 April 1897.

April 17 1897. 
The crew of a freight train running by the Scholes mine to collect coal (conductor Donnelly, baggage man Haley, brakeman Hardinberg) engineer Schem and fireman Mifford) encountered an object on the ground in a ravine, and some people near it/ They stopped the train and went to investigate/ The object, which was 8.5m long, 4m wide, appeared to be composed of two horizontal cigars of light metal, covered by canvass. On the front was a headlight, like those used on locomotives. There was a cabin at the front, armed with a gun, and a large wheel at the back. The crew consisted of three young men and a young woman, in blue uniforms. The crew, under pressure, explained that the machine, which was operated by electricity, was constructed in Ohio and was one of 5 being sent to Greece for military use. The crew seemed very interested in public reaction to the airship. They would not allow anyone to touch their craft and the train crew eventually left. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p 59 citing Peoria Herald 18 April 1897.

April 17 1897. Evening.
Three men observed a man aged about 40 get out from an aerial machine and fill a bucket from a stream. The witnesses tried to engage the stranger in conversation but he refused to reply to their questions, and re-entered the object, which took off again. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p56 citing Cincinatti Enquirer 19 April 1897. p5
  • Rife 2001 p22 citing Cincinnati Enquirer 18 August 1897.
  • Nunnelly 2017b p97

April 17 1897. Evening. 
An aerial object landed by a feed mill near here and a heavy –set man with long whiskers got out and purchased cattle feed. On re-entering the man pressed a button and the object took off. 
  • Rife 2001 p22 + Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p 51, both citing Upland Monitor 22 April 1897.)

April 17 1897. (approx date) Night. 
Just east of Muncie, farmer George Haskell was milking his cows when an aerial object landed in his yard. One of the men came from a cabin attached to the machine and asked George for milk. On being supplied the stranger pulled a cord and the object took off. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p51 citing Times (London) 29 April 1897 + Rife 2001 p22 both citing Chicago Inter-Ocean 26 April 1897.

April 17 1897. Night.
As he was coming home from uptown, Mr J F Wade saw an aerial object moving along at moderate speed, just above the rooftops. It was so low the Wade could see a passenger in the thing, who gestured at him. It was independently seen by Mr G M Duncan, who saw two white lights in the front and a green light in the rear. 
  • Dallas Morning News 18 April 1897. p4
  • Jacobs 1975 p9
  • Busby 2004 p84 citing Dallas Morning News op cit dates this to the 16th

April 18 1897. 
0300hrs. DALLAS (TEXAS : USA)
L G Smith the steward at the Hermitage Hospital was on the upper veranda looking south when his attention was caught by a huge shadow. This was projected by a rectangular object descending from the east. This object then seemed to rest on the spire of the Federal Building. Through windows in the craft Smith could see cabins and passengers, including women dressed in Easter costumes. Two men came out of the object, one descended to the steeple and the other appeared to be oiling the wings. Before Smith could wake his wife, the object had departed. 
  • Busby 2004 p139 citing Houston Post 22 April 1897. + Terrell Times-Star 30 April 1897
  • Evaluation - Clearly a newspaper joke!

April 18 1897. 1400hrs.
William Noll Jnr, B O Marshall and A Nussbaumer were hunting about 14.5km west of Dallas when they saw an airship on the ground. 
  • Busby 2004 p101 citing Dallas Morning News 20 April 1897.

April 18 1897. 2100hrs.
A citizen of this town saw an aerial object going from east to west and then landing at Bressler’s Mill, where it appeared to take on water. He was unable to see if any of the occupants got out of the ship. The object then rose to more than 500m and took off to the west. It was cigar shaped. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p60 citing Sterling Evening Gazette 21 April 1897.

April 18 1897.
An aerial machine landed on the Brazos River bottom near Caldwell to take on water and two of the crew kidnapped an African-American man who had been out working, allegedly as a punishment for working on Sunday. 
  • Chariton 1991 p91 citing Dallas Morning News n.d.
  • Busby 2004 p147 citing Galveston News 20 April 1897.)

April 18 1897. Night.
Station agent Dan Manley Jnr was dozing in the depot when he heard a sound like a distant train and went to investigate. At first he could see nothing but then lloked up to see an airship with rapidly rotating propellers, slowly descending to 50m. It seemed to be caught by the wind and drifted off to the west. Dan ran after the object, which descended near a duck pond. The occupants were making repairs and Dan went to their assistance. After 30 minutes they had finished. One of them made Dan a present of a black parrot in an iron cage. This bird spoke in a strange tongue. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 citing Warren Sentinel 21 April 1897.

April 18 1897. 2130HRS.
Book keeper J H Johnson saw an object 45-60m long, with a green light pass overhead, about 75m above the trees. In a conical undersection he could see what like a man moving about 
  • Chariton 1991 p92
  • Busby 2004 p148 citing Galveston News 22 April 1897. p4

April 18 1897. Night.
L E James saw an aerial object land in the city park and a being about 2.2m talk get out, fasten some ropes to the side of the thing, and then re-enter it. The object then took off into the night. 
  • Chariton 1991 p94
  • Busby 2004 p136 citing Dallas Times Herald 20 April 1897.

April 19 1897. (apprx date)
Charles Worthington and John Rodabaugh saw an aerial object with huge wings come to the ground. Its three occupants took on water and then the thing took off to the northeast. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p51 citing Rushville Republican 20 April 1897. p3

April 19 1897.
A man observed an aerial object with portholes, through which light came, and with lights on either end. He could hear voices inside as the thing passed over. 
  • Randles 1989a p107

April 19 1897. (or following day) 0100hrs.
J C Minkert and Dick Jones were at the surgery of dentist Dr Charles Edge, where Minkert was being attended to when Jones drew the others’ attention to a light coming through the window. This came from two lights on an aerial object that was descending at speed. As it came closer they saw that it was a cigar shaped contraption with a row of windows or openings from which emerged a pale light. It had large wings and a sort of fan at the rear. The object moved out of sight for a short time but then re-emerged and descended behind trees and houses.  The trio went to investigate and saw it close to the ground supported on pillars; its wings folded up like sails. Around it were a group of men working. The trio decided to retreat but before they could do so, were illuminated by the great searchlight, which had been turned on again, The trio were then captured by men who appeared to be foreigners and taken on board where they were told that this was an Anglo-French machine, powered by electricity. The thing took off with the men on board, but this turned out to be an illusion generated by a local hypnotist. 
  • Busby 2004 p165 citing Bryan Daily Eagle 20 April 1897. p4
  • Evaluation - A newspaper joke! (the hypnotist is named as Prof Boydgollybros for example) but which nevertheless introduces some of the modern abduction motifs

April 19 1897. 0555hrs.
A farmer saw an aerial object descend among woods. He ran towards the thing but it took off before he could reach it. Inside it were three men. 
  • Clark 1998 p54 citing Mankato Review 20 April 1897.

April 19 1897. 1200hrs.
A man out driving in his buggy saw an aerial object that approached rapidly. When it got within 800m it emiited a powerful whistle that terrified the horses, which bolted, throwing the witness to the ground. When he got to his feet he saw an aerial object coming to ground 30m away. Two men descended on a rope ladder and came to the witness’s aid and invited him on board, where he was taken to a 4m by 2.5m cabin in which there were reclining chairs. They told him about their propulsion system and gave their names as Warren and Wilson. 
  • Busby 2004 p171 citing Dallas Morning News 16 May 1897. 
  • Evaluation - according to the story the alleged witness died in a flood shortly afterwards, allowing the letter telling this story to be published, a typical fictional devise of the period

April 19 1897. Afternoon.
While out walking his dog along Taylor creek, M G Sisson, the editor and postmaster at Greenfield, saw an airship approaching at 45m altitude. It was about 30m long, with wings and a prominent deck. A woman was standing on this desk, catching pigeons in a long handled net. The occupants discovered Sisson’s presence and the thing rose rapidly and disappeared. 
  • Neeley in Journal of UFO Studies 1,1 p61 citing Carrollton Patriot 23 April 1897. citing an undated issue of St Louis Star
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p 145

April 19 1897. 2130hrs.
An aerial object was seen at high altitude. One man looked at it through binoculars and saw a man wearing a great coat on it. 
  • Clark 1998 p54 citing Logan Valley Sun 21 April 1897.

April 19 1897. 2230hrs.
Farmer Alexander Hamilton and his family and staff were awakened by a disturbance among the cattle. Thinking his dog was worrying them, Hamilton went to investigate and saw an aerial object slowly descending over his cow lot about 200m away With is son Wall and tenant Mr Heslip, they came within 50m of the object which was hovering about 10m above the ground.
The thing consisted of a cigar shaped object about 100m long, under which a transparent carriage was made of some glassy material, alternating with solid red strips. The interior was brilliantly lit, and there were three external lights, a brilliant headlight, which rotated around, and two smaller ones, one red, the other green. Inside were six strange beings, two men, a woman and three children, who spoke amongst each other in an unknown language.
The beings seemed startled by some noise and turned the beam on the witnesses, and a wheel, about 10m diameter, below the craft began to rotate making a humming sound. The thing rose to about 100m and hovered over a heifer, putting a red rope around it. Despite Hamilton and Heslip’s efforts the thing took off, taking the heifer with it, heading to the North West. The next day the hide, head and legs of the beast were found in a field about 5km away.
  • David Clarke in Randles, Roberts and Clarke 2000 p21 citing Kansas City Times 27 April 1897 citing Yates Center Farmer’s Advocate 23 April 1897.
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p12 citing Yates Centre Farmers Advocate 23 April 1897 + Burlington Daily News, n.d. April 1897.
  • Evaluation A fictional story apparently concocted for a 'liar’s club' competition, as admitted shortly afterwards by Hamilton. It is instructive to note that this fictional story contains some quite prevalent UFO motifs: the transparent cabin in which beings are seen; the powerful rotating beam, the cattle mutilation, crew speaking strange language. Most popular accounts omit the detail about the occupants being, a man, two women and three children. I rather suspect that beneath the surface humour Hamilton and/or his co-writer(s) had a more serious intention; the airship represents the technological future, with its new people who may be angels or devils. They take away the old agricultural society. (For background to exposure see Robert Rickard in Fortean Times 20 p5 citing research by Jerome Clark et al

April 19 1897. 2300hrs.
J. R. Ligon, the local agent of the Magnolia Brewery in Houston and his son Charley, were unhitching their horses after driving home when they observed lights in the Johnson pasture a few hundred metres distant. They encountered four men around a large dark object. The men came to the Ligon house to take on water. One of these men claimed his name was Wilson and that the object was one of five airships built in Iowa. Ligon Snr returned to the object with the men and saw that the craft was 42m by 6m, propelled by huge wings, two on either side and steered by propellers bow and stern. The occupants declared that the object was made of steel and described its workings to Ligon. 
  • UFO Commentary 2, 4 p 8 citing Liberty Vindicator 23 April 1897.
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p 149 citing Galveston Daily News 24 April 1897.
  • Chariton 1991 p99
  • Busby 2004 p169 citing Houston Daily Post 21 April 1897. + Bastrop Advertiser 24 Apr 1897 p6

April 19 1897. 2330hrs.
A crowd of people saw an aerial object coming from the southwest at high speed, dipping so low that it narrowly missed the show tent in front of Peay’s Hotel, and then rising up again. About 10 people could be seen on board and they spoke as it came close, but its speed was too great for any words to be made out. It was impossible to judge the dimensions of the thing. 
  • Donald Hanlon and Jacques Vallee in FSR 13,1 p23 citing Houston Post 22 April 1897
  • Busby 2004 p160 citing Houston Post op cit + Terrell Times-Star 30 April 1897.

Late April 1897.
Several citizens encountered an aerial machine “in the exact shape of a shad minus head and tail” resting on a mountain side near the city. Two crewmen were engaged on repairs, one of whom gave his name as “Professor Charles Davidson”. He said that the ship had left Sacramento the previous month and had been touring the country. 
  • Jacobs 1975 p 10 citing St Louis Post Dispatch 25 April 1897. p5
  • Clark and Coleman 1975  147
  • Cohen 1981 p56

April 20 1897. 0400hrs.
A cigar shaped object 25m long, with paddle wheels on the ends and sides landed on East Mountain and several local inhabitants spoke with the crew who said they were planning to fly from New York to Liverpool but were having trouble steering their airship. 
  • Busby 2004 p164 citing Dallas Times-Herald 20 April 1897.

April 20 1897. 1800hrs.
“Captain” James Hooton, a well-known conductor on the Iron Mountain railroad was returning to the station from a hunting expedition when he heard a sound like a locomotive air pump. Investigating, he observed, in a clearing, an object, the main body of which was divided into two parts, with a knife like point in front. Upon each side of the object, which bulged towards the middle and then receded, were three large wheels, made of a malleable metal, which bent as they moved forwards. On board, Hooton saw a medium sized man in dark glasses, and as the approached, two or three others came out of the object. These men informed Hooton that they were the crew of an airship operating on condensed air and aeroplanes. Someone called out that they were all ready and the men returned to the craft. A 5cm tube began to spurt air onto the wheels, which began to take off, the aeroplanes springing forward to present their sharp ends skyward. On the rear were rudders, which veered to one side as the ship took off. The wheels began to rotate very rapidly and the thing left at high speed. 
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p14
  • Lucius Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1968a p 23 + Fate (UK) April 1967 p24 both citing Arkansas Gazette 27 April 1897.
  • Vallee 1969 p 141)

April 20 1897. 2030hrs.
A prominent local citizen, who did not want his name used, was riding back to Lancaster from the village of Baltimore when his normally placid horse became agitated. Looking round he saw an object he compared to a full grown elephant in size, emitting brilliant white lights that illuminated the whole surroundings, landing no more than 100m away. On board were two men conversing in a foreign language. The witness approached the craft and saw that one of the occupants looked Asian and spoke in an unknown language. The other looked Caucasian and spoke good English. He told the witness they were secret inventors, and though he gave him a tour, would not directly explain how the thing worked. After the tour the thing took off 
  • Rife 2001 p42 citing Cincinnati Enquirer 25 April 1897.

April 20 1897. 2200hrs.
Sheriff H W Baylor had his attention caught by a bright light and strange voices in the alley behind his residence. Outside was an object with great wings and fins, along with three men, who procured water from a hydrant. One of the men claimed to be Wilson of Goshen New York and claimed acquaintance with Captain Ackers, a local resident. 
  • UFO Commentary 2,4 p9 + Clark and Coleman 1975 p149 both citing Galveston Daily News 24 April 1897.

April 21 1897.
An aerial object landed near here. On board were 8 giants, about 3.5m tall, with oversized heads. The beings told the witness they were exploring the earth. Their food was in the form of small pills and they “drank air”. After an hour the object took off. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 p61 +Rife 2001 p59 both citing Parsons Advocate 23 April 1897. p2
  • Evaluation - another press joke The heading “The worst one yet” says it all

April 21 1897. (or following day) 0100hrs.
A prominent local citizen, given the pseudonym “Ex-Senator Harris” was awakened by an unfamiliar noise and, looking out, saw a strange object in the west. He went out into the yard, to see an airship descend from the west, coming within a few metres of the ground a short distance away. On board was an elderly man, two younger men and a woman. The old man had dark whiskers, which hung down to his waist, jet black eyes and a “firm expression” “Harris” greeted the occupants, who took on fresh supplies of water. The elder told him that he, the elder, was the nephew of the man who had invested the craft almost 30 years before. It worked by anti-gravity and carried a terrible machine gun, which would be used to clear the Spaniards out of Cuba and to go to the aid of the Armenians. He also hoped to fly to Mars. He invited “Harris” in to take a ride, but “Harris” declined and the object took off. 
  • FSR 13,4 p22 + Lucius Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1969 p29 both citing Harrisburg Modern News 23 April 1897.
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p145
  • Fate June 1973 p99

April 21 1897. 2330hrs.
John H Barclay, who lived in the outskirts of Rockland, had just gone to bed when he heard his dog barking furiously and a whining noise. He went to the door to investigate and saw an oblong object with wings and side attachments of various shapes and sizes and carrying lights. When first seen the thing was stationary 5m from the ground. It circled a few times and gradually descended into a pasture adjacent to the house. John took his rifle and went out. When the craft touched down, the lights went out, but as John approached the night was light enough for him to see, after he had gone 30m, a man standing by the object. The stranger asked him to put his gun down. He said his name was Smith and asked for lubricating oil, chisels and some bluestones. He further said that the crew could not let the Rocklanders approach their airship, and on enquiries said they came from “anywhere”, but would be in Greece the day after next. The object made a whirring sound and shot off. 
  • Donald B Hanlon and Jacques Vallee in FSR 13,1 p23 citing Houston Post 22 April 1897. 
  • Lucius Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1969 p28
  • Vallee 1969 p144
  • Busby 2004 p196 citing Houston Post 25 April 1897. p13 gives witness’s name as Smith and dates the event to the 22nd

April 22 1897. 2355hrs.
Frank Nichols, a prominent farmer living 3km east of Josserand, was awakened by a whirring sound like machinery. On looking out, he saw a large object, emitting brilliant lights, in his cornfield. As he went to investigate he was met by two men carrying buckets, who asked permission to draw water from his well. He agreed and was allowed to approach their airship, which had a crew of 6-8. He was unable to gain any clear idea of its workings but one of the crew said that it was self-sustaining in air and was propelled by condensed electricity. They said that it was one of 5 airships built in Iowa and a great cooperative was being formed to get these machines into general use. 
  • Donald Hanlon and Jacques Vallee in FSR 13,1 p23 citing Houston Post 28 April 1897.
  • Lucius Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1969 citing same
  • Vallee 1969 145
  • Busby 2004 p198 citing Houston Post 26 April 1897.
  • Rife 2001 p41

April 23 1897. Early hours.

Restaurant proprietor G L Witherspoon and three of his customers were playing dominoes when three strangers entered. They claimed to be the crew of an airship, which had landed not far out of town. They said the ship had come from San Francisco and was bound for Cuba, and offered to show the witnesses around their craft. The witnesses declined, suspecting a joke, but about an hour later a brilliant aerial object passed over the town. 
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p146
  • Busby 2004 p193 citing Galveston Daily News 24 April 1897. p3

April 23 1897. 0930hrs.
While riding a streetcar past the city park, Woodford Brooks, the Secretary and Treasurer of the Polytechnic Street Railway saw an aerial object in the park by the river. He and the car’s motorman, Mr Edwards went to investigate. The y were approached by a man who gave his name as Randall and said he was the captain of the airship, which was propelled by electricity and was heading for Mexico City. 
  • Busby 2004 p203 citing Fort Worth Register 24 April 1897. p5

April 23 1897. Day.
Judge Lawrence A Byrne of Texarkana was surveying a tract of land when he saw a strange object on the ground in an opening in the thicket. By it were three oriental looking men, who spoke in a strange language. They beckoned to Byrne and showed him through the object. Inside was machinery made of aluminium. They said that the vehicle was operated by means of gas being pumped in and let out of an aluminium tank. 
  • Lucius Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1968a 

April 23 1897. 2030hrs.
Farmer H C Lagrone heard his horses snorting and bucking, and, on investigating, saw a bright white light circling the nearby fields, eventually landing in one of them. He approached and came across five men, three of whom talked with him, while the other two went for water, using rubber bags. The trio said that theirs was one of five airships, which had been constructed in Illinois and had recently landed at Beaumont and were now heading for St Louis. They refused to say how it worked, as it had not yet been patented. Lagrone noticed that the crew were well supplied with food beer, champagne and a supply of classical instruments. 
  • Jacobs 1975 p p14 citing Houston Post 30 April 1897.
  • Jerome Clark citing Peter Navarro
  • Busby 2004 p227 citing Houston Post op cit + Shreveport Times 24 April 1897.

April 24 1897.
Thomas J Casey was behind his home when he heard a buzzing sound and saw a cigar shaped object at about 60m altitude. At the rear of the object a man was standing and two others were sitting in the helm. The man at the rear looked at the witness, who responded by waving his hat. 
  • Bartholomew and Howard 1998 pp55 +Rife 2001 p11 citing Louisville Courier-Journal 24 April 1897.

April 24 1897. 2055hrs.
James J Jones and many other townsfolk saw a strange object 12m long, shaped like “an acute angle”, and apparently made of canvas, flashing a light. Through a telescope Jones saw two men on board. 
  • Chariton 1991 p107

April 24 1897. Night.
Alerted by local residents, sheriff R W Dowe investigated and found an aerial machine on the ground on the banks of the Rio Grande outside Duncan. There they found the object and a crew of three, who claimed to be searching for a buffalo herd. They offered to give Dowe a ride but he declined. 
  • Chariton 1991 p107
  • Busby 2004 p208 citing San Antonio Express 27 April 1897.

April 25 1897. Night.
A group of people coming out of church saw a heavy object dragging along with a rope attached. Looking up they saw an aerial object with several lighted windows and a powerful searchlight in front. After a short time a small man in a blue sailor suit descended the rope. When he saw there were spectators he cut the rope and the object headed off to the north east. The anchor was preserved in the blacksmith’s shop. 
  • Donald Hanlon in FSR 12,5 p10 +Busby 2004 p215 citing Houston Post 28 April 1897 + Terrell Times-Star 7 May 1897.
  • Evaluation A definite newspaper hoax, based on medieval tales of aerial ships and sailors releasing anchors

April 26 1897. Night.
While sitting on the boxcar brake of a speeding train, brakesman Harry Babcock was struck on the shoulder with great force. He also heard a humming sound, and looking around saw an aerial object with white wings speeding away to the west. 
  • Chariton 1991 p111

April 27 1897. (approx. date) 0200hrs.
Two people returning home from staying up with a sick neighbour were startled by a huge cigar shaped object, underneath which was a lighted basket, in the light of which the forms of three occupants could be made out. 
  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 15,1 p26

April 29 1897.
A huge lighted object came out of the north, slowed down and hovered over the bridge. It was about 100m long, with a 12m long tail, and about 30m diameter. People who came out into the street to investigate could hear loud talk and music as if of revellers during the object’s 55 minute stay. The tail then began t whirl and a grappling hook was dropped, which caught one of the viewers on the ground. The object then flew off with the man. The captured man returned from White Cloud the next day. 
  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 15,1 p26)

April 30 1897.
Two farmers Adam Gardner and Ed Swinehart shot at a hairy humanoid, apparently wounding it, which did not stop the creature running off with “rabbit like bounds”. Searches were fruitless. 
  • Newton 2006 p82 citing Indianapolis Star 1 May 1897.

May 3 1897. 0100hrs.
Edwin Shaffer was riding past a gravel pit when he saw in it a 12m long cigar shaped object. He was allowed on board and noted its “handsome fittings”. The thing was crewed by midgets who did not speak English 
  • Randle and Estes 2000 p34
  • Clark 1998 p58 citing Kokomo Daily Tribune 4 May 1897.

May 4 1897. 1930hrs.
When an aerial machine passed over the town, James Davis and two other men got on their bicycles and followed it. It landed by a spring next to a mountain. From it emerged two men, who gave their names as George Austerlitz and Joseph Eddleman. The pilots said that they lived off birds they captured in flight and offered to take the three witnesses for a trip. Only Davis accepted and he was taken to Huntington 25 away. 
  • Clark and Coleman 1975 p147 citing an undated issue of St Louis Post-Dispatch

May 5 1897. 2230hrs.
An object illuminating the sky with brilliant flashes of white and green lights was observed in the west, midway between horizon and zenith. Two or three occupants were seen, including a boy who threw hot ashes over the side. When the object was illuminated by the flashes it did not appear to cast a shadow. 
  • UFO Commentary 2,3 p12 citing Buffalo Evening News 6 May 1897.)

May 6 1897. Night.
Constable John J Sumpter and Deputy John McLemore were riding north from Hot Springs when they saw a brilliant light in the sky, which suddenly disappeared. After going about another 7km they again saw the light at a much lower altitude. They stopped and observed it descend behind a hill. They rode on another 800m when their horses refused to budge and they saw two people with lights moving around, 100k ahead. Drawing their rifles, they challenged the strangers, and a man with a long dark beard approached and told them that he and a young man and woman were travelling the country in an airship.
The two lawmen could see a dark cigar shaped object, about 20m long, with a man filling a large sack with water about 30m away, and a woman keeping back and holding an umbrella. It was a dark rainy night and the crew offered to take them men for a ride, but they declined. The “captain” also said that they kept turning the large light on and off to save power, and that he would like to stop and sample the baths but time was pressing and they intended to head for Nashville. The lawmen had to go about their business and when they returned 40 minutes later, the airship and its crew had gone. 
  • Lucius Farish in Fate (UK) April 1967 p26 citing Fort Smith Daily News Record 13 May 1897, citing an undated issue of Little Rock Democrat citing undated issue of Hot Springs Sentinel 
  • Jerome Clark in FSR 12,4 p15 citing press above + an undated issue of Arkansas Gazette

May 26 1897.
Charles Lukins and Bob Forner were cutting timber some distance from Rome when they encountered a hairy biped about 1.8m tall. They drove it off after a struggle. 
  • Clark 2012 p83 citing Lima Times Democrat n.d. citing Cleveland Plain Dealer n.d.
  • Newton 2011 p54 
  • Arment 2006 p229 citing Newark (O) Daily Advocate 7 June 1897, citing Plain Dealer op cit

Summer 1897. (approx. date) 1000hrs.
A man walking near the slate quarries on a sunny morning saw a group of little beings about 30-45cm tall dancing in a ring, They had grey, fungus like complexions, their bodies seemed swollen in front and appeared to be masculine. After a few moments they just vanished. He saw them again a couple of mornings later. 
  • Bord 1997 p132 citing Walter Gill A Second Manx scrapbook 1932

Summer 1897. Day.
Seven year old Mary was staying at Balruddie Farm (sic, probably Balruddery Farm, Fowlis, Angus), and was playing alone on a swing when she saw a small woman, about 60cm tall, dressed in a flowing blue dress come from the house and disappear into the raspberry bushes. At the spot where the figure had come from Mary heard a buzzing sound 
  • See Summer 1898 below

July 1897.
At a house off Sidwell Street on one night a dark figure was seen pacing up and down the back yard. A few days later a white figure like a woman was seen in the house. After some moments it turned into a bright light that illuminated the room for 5 minutes. 
  • Codd 2013 p87 citing Exeter Flying Post July 1897.

July 17 1897.
In a small town in Sweden a woman saw an aerial object which resembled a balloon with drag ropes and a net. A man was visible in the gondola.

  • Jerome Clark and Lucius Farish in FSR 15,1 p27 + Farish in Steiger and Whritenour 1969 34 both citing Dale Titler Wings of Mystery

August 1897. Night.
On a number of occasions a figure in a dark robe chased people. 
  • Theo Paijmans in Anomalist 13 p32 citing Dubuque Daily Herald 12 August 1897.

August 4 1897. 2200hrs.
A figure in white seemed to emerge from the ground and walked across an oat field, carrying a light like a lantern, and moving in bounds. It came within a metre or two of witnesses, moved the light around and then disappeared. It had been seen on some previous occasions. 
  • Theo Paijmans in Anomalist 13 p31 citing Syracuse Sunday Herald 1Aug 1897. + Fort Wayne News 5 August 1897.

Jack Pethridge (25) was out shooting game when he heard a rustling among the trees about 30m away. He then encountered a huge gorilla like creature,4.2m tall, with huge genitals, and a muscular body. The thing held a tree branch. Jack shot the creature in the chest but it kept coming at him, so he shot it in the head and killed it and then fled. 
  • Gilroy 1995 p199

A boy coming home from school saw a flat white fiery mass, the size of a soccer ball, so low that he felt he could have thrown his cap at it. He followed it for 10m, but it was too fast for him. It then vanished. 
  • Clarke 2012 citing letter from witness to a 1921 ball lightning survey in The National Archives TNA AIER 2/205

Rita Nukarinen (10) was walking in the forest near the lake when she saw a large sphere hovering over the treetops. Inside the thing Rita could see humanoid beings. 
  • Stonehill and Mantle 1998 p18
  • Mantle and Stonehill 2006 p49)

March 12 1898 2350hrs.
Father Allan McDonald was going to bed and was looking out to see that all was quiet when he saw a red light in the direction of the old disused church. It was visible for about three minutes, at what he estimated to be the height of the window, and then went out for a minute, before reappearing heading either west or south west. He also estimated that it was probably some way beyond the church. The weather which had been clear now turned cloudy. When he turned his light out, Father Allan noted that his matchbox, which was slightly luminous, seemed much brighter than usual. 
  • Father Allan McDonald in Hall and Campbell 1968 p304

June 22 1898 (approx. date) 2330hrs.
Four men from Danbury encountered a 2.7m tall “wild man” in the woods between High Rock Grove and Naugatuck. 
  • Arment 2006 p121 citing Naugatuck Daily News 29 June 1898

Summer 1898
A dazzling light, the apparent size of a table lamp was seen at Skelton and Greystoke, moving rapidly over hedges. At Greystoke the light moved in an undulating fashion and rose over hedges and above fir trees. It was seen several times. The same thing was seen in Autumn 1899. 
  • Clarke and Oldroyd 1985 p13 citing H D Rawnsley in The Times 14 January 1908

Summer 1898.
Mary (qv) now 8 was staying again at Balruddery Farm and had walked up a hill, barefoot part of the time. At the top she met an old woman, who said to her “hard clay must hurt feet but you have a harder road to travel” and revealed details of her future life. Mary then saw a group of little people, about 60cm tall, wearing brown clothes and caps coming from the water and passing diagonally in front of her. The woman restrained her from going towards them, but when Mary turned round the woman had disappeared. 
  • Oates and Wood 1998 p64 citing note made by Margaret Murray 17 December 1953 in MM/25 in the Margaret Murray collection in the Folklore Society Archives

October 4 1898 2110hrs.
E. W. Campbell and his 12 year old son George were riding 4km north of town along the “Eighty Foot Road” when the area was illuminated. A luminous fiery sphere 3m diameter came down to within about 1m of the ground hovered for a time and then took off at speed. It emitted a buzzing sound and a dazzling like, but the pair felt no heat from it. 
  • Theo Paijmans in Fortean Times 266 p30 + 286 p30 citing Dallas Morning News 6 October 1898 + Galveston Daily News 6 October 1898

William J Howard was guided by a local to a cave on Mt PelĂ©, where he found a pile of gold and a tall humanoid entity with horns, hooves for feet and its hands terminated in claws. The thing then fired a sort of ray at the gold, producing a great heat which melted some of it. William became unconscious and when he recovered the being had gone. He suffered from fevers after the incident. 
  • Theo Paijmans in Fortean Times 241 p32 citing Des Moines Daily Leader 29 June 1902 etc.
  • Evaluation - Probable press hoax

1899.    Night.
The traveller J. Shepley Part and his party were making their way along a forest road and had been travelling for some hours when they saw a light like a lantern in the bush. It consisted of a core of light, through an illuminated circle around itself. It kept pace with them but they were unable to catch up with it, or see anyone holding it. Just before they reached the town that was their destination it disappeared. 
  • Hilary Evans in INFO Journal 72 p6 citing J S Part in Proceedings of the SPR 14 p343

1899. Night.
Three women going home from work at Ponders End saw something like a stage coach pulled by horses rise out of the ground and move at speed just above the ground towards Brimsdown. Inside the illuminated object could be seen a man , and two women wearing large hats. 
  • John Bennett in Encounters 7 p16
  • Evaluation - Appears to lack contemporaneous documentation. Probable literary hoax

August 1899 2030hrs.
Mr T James, his wife, and daughter (12) and son (10) were walking along the bank of the Monmouthshire Canal, when at a spot called Ty-Part, about 7km from Abergavenny and 9km from Pontypool and had gone about 40m from a bridge over the canal, when they when they saw what looked like a tall woman, dressed in black, and wearing a shawl moving ahead of them. The children ran towards it, thinking it was their aunt come to meet them, but the parents called them back and the thing just faded away. 
  • Bennett 1939 p289 citing witnesses
October 1899 0000hrs. 
Dr Malcolm McKinnon (32) was returning from visiting a patient, when he saw to the north a brilliant disc, emitting a white light like that of an electric arc, which illuminated the surroundings. It was about 1m above the ground, 400m away to the north. It appeared to be about the size of an umbrella and was visible for 30 minutes. 
  • Aubeck and Shough 2015 p2398 citing Minneapolis Minnesota Journal 25 October 1899

December 1899 (Approx. date)
A tall figure was seen bounding into the air, reaching heights of more than 3m. On at least one occasion in jumped into a wagon, and farmer William Pithoud saw it as a figure armed with a large club, which attacked his horses and forced him to flee. 
  • Theo Pijmans in Anomalist 13 p33 citing Cripple Creek Morning Times 20 December 1899