UFO Conjecture(s)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More about the Gilles Fernandez Airship

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

Max B. Miller, in his 1957 mag/book, Flying Saucers: Fact or Fiction, had this about airships:

On the 22nd and 30th of November, 1896, a “cigar-shaped object with stubby wings”…appeared and was viewed by thousands of residents over the areas of Oakland. San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Chico, and other cities of Central California. But not until the following year did the phenomena receive nation-wide import and renown.

On March 29, 1897. Omaha reported a similar object, and Denver on the 30th.

Kansas City reported a “mysterious light” on April 1st. “It was directed toward the earth, traveling east at a rate of sixty miles an hour,” reported the New York Sun.

By April 9th, newspaper accounts had been dispatched from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

During the night of April 9-10, at Chicago until 2 a.m., “thousands of amazed spectators,” said the New York Herald on the 14th, “declared that the lights seen in the northwest were those of an airship, or some floating object….Some declare they saw two cigar-shaped objects and great wings.” And this was five years before the Wright Brothers made their historic flight in a h heavier-than-air craft. The Herald, of April 12th, reported the “cigar-shaped” object and framework had been photographed by a Chicagoan. [Page 10, Bold type, mine.]

Is this that photograph?


A 1910 photo by famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz of a “dirigible” (or so it is thought to be):




  • Hello,

    Thanx Rich for the infos.

    French investigator Dominique Caudron have collected several pre-wave "airships" prototypes (Imagery, Scientific American's articles, several patents, etc.) too.


    In our forum discussion about the Airships *, we dont think airships really flew in 1896/97, but the secret of the wave is probably something like a coktail adding "popular imagery" + "rumors" + "delusion" + "yellow journalism" + "no real investigations" + "misinterpretations" + "interpretations" + "hoaxes", etc.

    Maybe there were some models too ? Scale Models ? Some tests, etc. Dunno what Busby really find and if it is "concluding".

    In summerize a complex interactions between several conventionnal variables making it is still a "mystery".
    That's difficult to explain in English for me.

    We noticed several interesting remarks done by Jerome Clark, ie "with a single unsatisfactory exception, no eyewitness was ever interviewed even in the 1950’s, when some were presumably still living" (wikipage about the airship wave).
    It is a pity :(



    * http://ufo-scepticisme.forumactif.com/t2459-jean-sider-et-l-airship-de-1897

    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • Gilles,

    While the press exploited the mass hysteria, I think that something was originally seen, which sparked the later sightings, much in the way that myths evolved.

    Airships, like UFOs and flying saucers, had a progenitor, or had to have, in order for the "hallucinatory" reports to occur.

    A real airship or real airships were seen in the skies.

    Then the hysteria took over and the real and fake got co-mingled so we have no way of knowing what really was seen.

    That no one interviewed sighters is almost tragic.

    But I had the opportunity...

    When I lived in Florida in the 70s, an artist, who was in his nineties (a Mr. Hertz) told me he saw an airship.

    When I asked him for details, his wife interrupted to say "that was so long ago, how can he remember what he saw?"

    That was it. She didn't want him to talk about it, or was serious about the possibility that his memory was not intact.

    Either way, I got nothing more from Mr. Hertz, and we were friends too.

    It would have been good for someone to interview some airship witnesses, but as with Roswell, the memories would be tainted by age, senility, or intervening memories; it was, after all, 50+ years after the fact.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • Rich wrote: "Is this that photograph?"

    Nop, it is imho the "Alberto Santos Dumont Airship number 9" pictured here (? 1903 ?)





    By Blogger Gilles Fernandez, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • I was joking Gilles...

    But it would be interesting to find that photo mentioned by the newspaper and Miller.

    (One of our media guys in Chicago is going to try and track down the photo for us.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • According to my memory, the Chicago photograph was lost and a pen and ink drawing was commissioned to replicate the photograph. For what it's worth.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • I'll pass that info on to our Chicago guy, Bruce.



    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • It just occurred to me I think the print is at the Chicago Historical Society he might check there first.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

  • Danke BD...


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, October 11, 2012  

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