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Date:November 25, 1896
Time:06:00 p.m.
Place:Near Lodi, California
Narratives:


THREE STRANGE VISITORS
Who Possibly Came From the Planet Mars
Seen on a Country Road by Colonel H.G. Shaw and a Companion
They Boarded the Airship

For more than a week the papers all over the coast have been reporting the presence of an alleged airship or flying machine, which many reputable people claim to have seen on several occasions in the heavens at night. Whether or not there really is such a contrivance navigating the air the Mail is unable to satisfactorily determine, but some of the papers have taken the matter seriously and others have been disposed to make light of the statements. A couple of San Francisco attorneys have secured a lot of free advertising by claiming to have clients who have invented and tested successful flying ships, and the newspapers have filled several columns talking about the aerial mystery.

The Mail makes the above statement merely by way of preface to a most remarkable story which is related by Colonel H.G. Shaw of this city, formerly of the Mail editorial staff. Colonel Shaw is at present engaged in collecting an exhibit for the Stockton Commercial Association to be displayed at the Citrus Fair which will be held in Fresno during the coming month. The gentleman was very reticent about relating the circumstance, as he said he had no idea that it would believed by anyone, and he was loath to appear before the public as a romancer or as a man who had looked upon shoe-string when it was red. He tells the story as follows:

THREE STRANGE BEINGS

"Were it not for the fact that I was not alone when I witnessed the strange sight I would never have mentioned it at all. Wednesday afternoon I went out to Lodi and Lockeford in company with Camille Spooner, a young man recently arrived from Nevada. I went to the places mentioned in quest of material to form an exhibit to represent this county at the Fresno Citrus Fair. We left Lodi on the return trip, I should judge, shortly before 6 o'clock, and we were jogging along quietly when the horse stopped suddenly and gave a snort of terror."

"Looking up we beheld three strange beings. They resembled humans in many respects, but still they were not like anything I had ever seen. They were nearly or quite seven feet high and very slender. We were both somewhat startled, as you may readily imagine, and the first impulse was to drive on. The horse, however, refused to budge, and when we saw that we were being regarded more with an air of curiosity than anything else, we concluded to get out and investigate. I walked up to where the strange looking persons were and addressed them. I asked where they were from. They seemed not to understand me, but began – well, "warbling" expresses it better than talking. Their remarks, if such you would call them, were addressed to each other, and sounded like a monotonous chant, inclined to be guttural. I saw it was no use to attempt a conversation, so I satisfied myself with watching and examining them. They seemed to take great interest in ourselves, the horse and buggy, and scrutinized everything very carefully."

WEIGHED LESS THAN AN OUNCE EACH

"While they were thus engaged I was enabled to inspect them as well. As I have already stated, they were seven feet in height and very slender. I noticed, further, that their hands were quite small and delicate, and that their fingers were without nails. Their feet, however, were nearly twice as long as those of an ordinary man, though they were narrow, and the toes were also long and slender. I noticed, too, that they were able to use their feet and toes much the same as a monkey; in fact, they appeared to have much better use of their feet than their hands. I presently discovered that this was probably a provision of nature. As one of then came close to me I reached out to touch him, and placing my hand under his elbow pressed gently upward, and lo and behold I lifted him from the ground with scarcely an effort. I should judge that the specific gravity of the creature was less than an ounce. It was then that I observed him try to grasp the earth with his toes to prevent my lifting him. You can readily understand that their slight weight made such a provision necessary, or they might be blown away."

"They were without any sort of clothing, but were covered with a natural growth hard to describe; it was not hair, neither was it like feathers, but it was as soft as silk to the touch, and their skin was like velvet. Their faces and heads were without hair, the ears were very small, and the nose had the appearance of polished ivory, while the eyes were large and lustrous. The mouth, however, was small, and it seemed to me that they were without teeth. That and other things led me to believe that they neither ate nor drank, and that life was sustained by some sort of gas. Each of them had swung under the left arm a bag to which was attached a nozzle, and every little while one or the other would place the nozzle on his mouth, at which time I heard a sound of escaping gas. It was much the same sound as is produced by a person blowing up a football."

OF INDESCRIBABLE BEAUTY

"From the description I give I do not want you to get the idea that these creatures were hideous. In appearance they were markedly the contrary. They were possessed of a strange and indescribable beauty. I can express myself in no other way. They were graceful to a degree, and more divinely beautiful than anything I ever beheld."

"The strangest part of the story is yet to come. It is the lights they carried. Each held to his hand something about the size of a hen's egg. Upon holding them up and partly opening the hand, these substances emitted the most remarkable, intense and penetrating light one can imagine. Notwithstanding its intensity it had no unpleasant effect upon our eyes, and we found we could gaze directly at it. It seemed to me to be some sort of luminous mineral, though they had complete control of it."

"Finally they became tired of examining us and our horse and buggy, and then one of them, at a signal from one who appeared to be the leader, attempted to lift me, probably with the intention of carrying me away. Although I made not the slightest resistance he could not move me, and finally the three of them tried it without the slightest success. They appeared to have no muscular power outside of being able to move their own limbs."

STRANGE AIRSHIP

"Well, after trying in vain to move either of us they turned in the direction of the Woodbridge canal, near which we were, and as they flashed their lights towards the bridge we beheld a startling sight. There, resting in the air about twenty feet above the water, was an immense airship. It was 150 feet in length at least, though probably not over twenty feet in diameter at the widest part. It was pointed at both ends, and outside of a large rudder there was no visible machinery. The three walked rapidly toward the ship, not as you or I walk, but with a swaying motion, their feet only touching the ground at intervals of about fifteen feet. We followed them as rapidly as possible, and reached the bridge as they were about to embark. With a little spring they rose to the machine, opened a door in the side, and disappeared within. I do not know of what the affair was built, but just before it started I struck it with a rock and it gave no sound. It went through the air very rapidly and expanded and contracted with a muscular motion, and was soon out of sight."

"I have a theory, which, of course, is only a theory, that those we beheld were inhabitants of Mars, who haw been sent to the earth for the purpose of securing one of its inhabitants. I feel safe in asserting that the stories being told by certain San Francisco attorneys are clumsy fakes, and should not be given credence by anyone."

DASHES HERE AND THERE

Some practical jokers sent up a number of hot air balloons last night, as a take-off on the alleged airship. Several people saw the balloons and enjoyed a laugh. [1]


Jerome Clark indicates that the Stockton Evening Mail of Stockton, for November 27, 1896, told what could be the first case of abduction. The newspaper says that a certain Shaw ("formerly part of the leading personnel of our newspaper") is currently busy organizing an exhibit for Stockton which will be held in the Fresno fair during the month to come." Clark suspects that perhaps he sought the publicity.

Shaw claimed that he and a companion left Lodi around six o'clock on the 25th of November, 1896. and walked Tranquillement when the horse stopped suddenly with a snoar of terror. "Looking up we beheld three strange beings... They were nearly or quite seven feet high and very slender. The beings, which seemed more or less human, appeared friendly and strangely beautiful. Shaw asked where they came. They seemed to not understand, but started to "chirp". Shaw observed closely, noting their small, sensitive hands, without nails and their long feet. When he touched one of them under the shoulder, he discovered that the being was "wighed less than one ounce". Shaw continued:

"They were without any sort of clothing, but were covered with a natural growth hard to describe; it was not hair, neither was it like feathers, but it was as soft as silk to the touch, and their skin was like velvet. Their faces and heads were without hair, the ears were very small, and the nose had the appearance of polished ivory, while the eyes were large and lustrous. The mouth, however, was small, and it seemed to me that they were without teeth. That and other things led me to believe that they neither ate nor drank, and that life was sustained by some sort of gas. Each of them had swung under the left arm a bag to which was attached a nozzle, and every little while one or the other would place the nozzle on his mouth, at which time I heard a sound of escaping gas. It was much the same sound as is produced by a person blowing up a football."

Each of the beings transported a light of the size of an egg which, once opened, revealed "an intense but nonunpleasant light." They then attempted, according to Shaw, "to lift me, probably with the intent to take me away," but they did not have the force to move him or his companion. Giving up this attempt, they turned and directed their lights to a nearby bridge. The two men saw an airship of 150 feet hovering nearby. Shaw tols: "the three went quickly towards the ship... with a swinging movement, their feet touching only the ground at intervals of approximately 15 feet; with a small jump which made them rise towards the machine, they opened a door in the side, and disappeared inside."

The vessel then flew quickly out of the sight. Shaw finishes his report on the theory that "these were inhabitants of Mars, who were sent towards the Earth in order to seize him or one of its inhabitants." Clark notes that Shaw boldly protests against "the stories told by certain attorneys of San Francisco." These are "clumsy hoaxes" to which "nobody should give credence." [2]


"Perhaps even more intriguing is this early report of a "close encounter of the third kind": Two men told the Stockton Evening Mail that they had met three "strange people" on a road near Lodi, California. According to the story, the strange beings were very tall, with small delicate bands, and large, narrow feet. Each creature's head was bald with small ears and a small mouth, yet the eyes were big and lustrous. Instead of clothing, the creatures seemed to be covered with a natural silky growth. Conversation was impossible because the "strange people" could only utter a monotonous, guttural, warbling. Occasionally, one of the unusual beings would breathe deeply from a nozzle attached to a bag slung under an atm and in each band the creatures carried something the size of an egg that gave off an intense light. The weird encounter ended with an attempted kidnap of the two Californians, but failing to overpower the two men, the creatures fled to a cigar-shaped craft hovering nearby, jumped through a hatch, and zoomed away." [3]


In Patrick Huyghes' magazine "The Anomalist", Jerone Clark mentions that the first recorded contact with aliens was on November 25, 1896. It "involved a couple of people who were putting together an exhibition for a fair in Fresno, California and they were traveling by horse and carriage towards Stockton, California. It was late afternoon, all of a sudden the horse became terrorized and just froze in its tracks, and the two men looked up and they saw these three tall and very thin figures with small delicate hands. They had no hair, just a soft downy fur on their skin. They had very large eyes and both their mouths and ears were very small. The witnesses described these creatures as something with strange beauty. Curiously they each held a bag with a nozzle which they would put up to their mouths to breathe. They also carried an egg shaped light and they seemed to communicate with one another in kind of a monotonous chant. The witnesses claimed that these three creatures tried to take them away, but apparently these two humans were too heavy to be carried away by these very lightweight creatures. At one point the creatures turned their lights towards a nearby bridge, [and] when they did so they illuminated a cigar shaped craft hovering above the water. The craft was swaying back and forth, almost drifting off the ground, and the beings returned to this craft. They sprung into the air and floated down to a door on the side of the craft, and the craft just slipped away. The people who saw this thought that the beings had come from Mars. This was one of the first cases where you have strange beings, and strange craft, and people interpreting it as an ET basically." [4]


It was in connection with this 1896-1897 wave that the first published story of an abduction by extraterrestrials appeared in the Stockton, California, 'Evening Mail' on November 27, 1896. Two days earlier, Col. H.G. Shaw, a former editor of the newspaper, claimed that he and a friend, Camille Spooner, had encountered three tall, thin beings, 7 feet tall and nude, with small delicate hands and hairless except for a soft downy fur on the skin, as they were traveling near Lodi, California. The creatures had large eyes, but small mouths and ears. They carried bags with nozzles which they held to their mouths as if to breathe, and bright egg-shaped lamps. Shaw tried to converse with them, but the creatures did not understand him and only responded with a warbling, monotonous chant. The aliens tried to grab the two witnesses and drag them toward a nearby cigar- shaped airship, but because each weighed less than an ounce, they lacked the strength and finally retreated. Shaw believed that the creatures had come from Mars.(On 1896 Lodi incident: Patrick Huyghe, 'The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials' [New York: Avon Books, 1996], p. 66, citing Jenny Randles, 'Alien Contacts and Abductions' [New York: Sterling, 1994]; Jerome Clark, "From Mermaids to Little Gray Men: The Prehistory of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon, 'The Anomalist', No. 8, Spring 2000, p. 18) [5]


"Not surprisingly, the airship generated a great deal of advertising material. The promoters of the Fresno citrus fair wanted the inventor to exhibit his craft there. A Sacramento brewer was convinced that the "delegation from beyond the clouds ... came down to sample Ruhstaller's Gilt Edge Steam Beer." And a San Francisco merchant took out one-third of a page to portray Santa Claus as the airship's pilot bringing toys to his department store." [6]


Sources:

  • [1] Article in the newspaper "Stockton Evening Mail", of Stockton, California, page 1, November 27, 1896.
  • [2] Article in the newspaper "Stockton Evening Mail", Stockton, California, from "The UFO Book", book by Jerome Clark, Visible Ink Press, 1998.
  • [3] Article by Loren Gross in "The mammoth encyclopedia of extraterrestrial encounters", compiled by Ronald D. Story, Robinson publisher, 2001.
  • [4] "From Mermaids to Little Gray Men: The Prehistory of the UFO Abduction Phenomenon", article by Jerome Clark in "The Anomalist", N.8, page 18, spring 2000.
  • [5] "UFOs And Fairies/Legends/Supernatural - Pt. I", article by Terry W. Colvin, in "UFO Updates", March 18, 2004.
  • [6] "Close encounters of the earliest kind", article by Ron Genini, 2005.

And also:

  • "The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials", book by Patrick Huyghe, Avon Books publisher, page 66, 1996, citing "Alien Contacts and Abductions", book by Jenny Randles, Sterling publisher, 1994.
  • "Alien Contacts and Abductions", book by Jenny Randles, Sterling publisher, 1994.
Notes:-
Explanation:Only two rational explanation seem possible: either an invented story, or extraterrestrial beings and their apparatus.


Counts:

Type of report:
Newspaper report.
Number of witnesses:
2.
Number of named witnesses:
2.
Witnesses occupations:
Not indicated.
Type of location:
Country road.
Coordinates:
Lat. 38.130 N, Long. -121.271 W.
Coordinates precision:
20 kilometers.
Description of "UFO":
Cigar shaped, pointed at both ends, with a rudder, 150 feet long, 20 feet of diameter at the largest point, a door, no sound when hit by a stone.
Description of "manoeuvers":
Hovering 20 feet above the ground, then flies away fast.
Reactions:
Amazement, interest, experiments.
Occupants:
Yes, non humans.
Occupants keywords:
Aliens, light, large eyes, lightweight, hands, feet, breathing, gas, description.
Communication:
Yes, attempted.
Language:
Chirpy, monotonous, chant.
Content:
Not understood.
Daylight/nocturnal:
Daylight.
Weather:
Not indicated.
Observation devices:
None.
Strangeness:
High.
Reliability:
Medium.
Explanation(s) at the time:
Extraterrestrial beings and craft, from Mars.


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This page was last updated on February 4, 2006