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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.

July 25, 1813, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA, Edward Hansford and John L. Clarke:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

This story surfaced on the web and in print in 2010, when the Foundation dealing with the papers of the third US President, Thomas Jefferson II, found a letter sent to him; which they thought was "the first recorded UFO sighting".

One Edward Hansford, innkeeper and Carpenter, and one John L. Clarke, navy captain, wrote from Portsmouth, Virginia, on July 31, 1813, to Jefferson, asking his opinion on an "extraordinary phenomenon" they claimed they saw on the night of July 25.

They said they saw in the South a ball of fire as large as the sun at midday; which was "frequently obscured within the space of ten minutes by a smoke emitted from its own body, but ultimately retained its briliancy, and form during that period, but with apparent agitation. It then assumed the form of a Turtle which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke. It descended obliquely to the West, and raised again perpendicular to its original hight which was on or about 75 degrees. It then assumed the shape of a human skeleton which was frequently obscured by a like smoke and as frequently descended and ascended. It then assumed the form of a Scotch Highlander arrayed for battle and extremely agitated, and ultimately passed to the West and disappeared in its own smoke."

The President did not send his opinion.

As this reappered in a British tabloid 2018, websites about the paranormal and / or UFOs started to publish it too.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-001607
Date of event: July 25, 1813
Earliest report of event: July 31, 1813
Delay of report: 6 days.
Witness reported via: Letter to the US President.
First alleged record by: Letter to the US President.
First certain record by: Letter to the US President.
First alleged record type: Letter to the US President.
First certain record type: Letter to the US President.
This file created on: July 31, 2018
This file last updated on: July 31, 2018
Country of event: USA
State/Department: Virginia
Type of location: ?
Lighting conditions: ?
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: Yes
UFO/Entity Relation: Identical
Witnesses numbers: 2
Witnesses ages: Adults.
Witnesses types: tavern keeper carpenter, navy captain.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Skeleton then human
Entities height: Not reported
Entities outfit type: Skeleton then equipped Scotsman.
Entities outfit color: Skeleton then equipped Scotsman.
Entities skin color: Not reported.
Entities body: Skeleton then human.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not reported.
Entities mouth: Not reported.
Entities nose: Not reported.
Entities feet: Not reported.
Entities arms: Not reported.
Entities fingers: Not reported.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: Not reported.
Entities voice: None heard.
Entities actions: Came as UFO, changed to skeleton, then to Scotsman.
Entities/witness interactions: None.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed, went.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witness(es) interpretation: An extraordinary phenomenon.
Explanation category: Invention.
Explanation certainty: High.

Narratives:

[Ref. mt11:] MONTICELLE.ORG:

Monticello.org, the website of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Inc, USA, published in their "Featured letters" section, which provides letters from or to President Thomas Jefferson, a letter about an "atmospheric phenomenon", sent to the President by one Edward Hansford and one John L. Clarke, on July 31 July 1813.

The website says:

"A tavern keeper and a visitor from Baltimore send Thomas Jefferson what is perhaps the earliest recorded observation of a UFO in Virginia.

"They describe a fireball they had recently observed in the sky above Portsmouth, with its successive transformations into the shape of a turtle, a human skeleton, and a Scottish Highlander. Jefferson did not respond."

The letter itself says:


From Edward Hansford and John L. Clarke

Portsmouth Va July 31st 1813.most honorable Sir

We the subscribers most earnestly solicit, that your honor will give us your opinion, on the following extraordinary Phenomenon Viz:

At [] hour on the night of the 25th instant, we saw in the South a Ball of fire full as large as the sun at Maridian which was frequently obscured within the space of ten minutes by a smoke emitted from its own body, but ultimately retained its briliancy, and form1 during that period, but with apparent agitation. It then assumed the form of a Turtle which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke. It descended obliquely to the West, and raised again perpendicular to its original hight which was on or about 75 degrees. It then assumed the shape of a human skeleton which was frequently obscured by a like smoke and as frequently descended and ascended—It then assumed the form of a Scotch Highlander arrayed for battle and extremely agitated, and ultimately passed to the West and disappeared2 in its own smoke. we are honorable

Sir with Sentiments of very high respect & esteem Your most Obedient very humble Servts

Edward Hansford, Keeper of the Washington Tavern in the Town of Portsmouth Virginia—

John L. Clarke, of Baltimore


The footnotes are:

  1. Manuscript: "from."
  2. Reworked from "disappointed."

The letter was in an envelope signed by Hansford and Clarke; at head of text: "Thomas Jefferson M.A."; addressed: "Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia"; franked; postmarked Portsmouth, 1 Aug., and Charlottesville, 26 Aug.; it was received on September 14, 1813..

The website notes that Edward Hansford, tavern keeper, carpenter, and joiner, was harbormaster for the Norfolk and Portsmouth district by 1805 (Norfolk Co. Deed Book, 27:48–9; JHD, 1805 sess. (19 Dec. 1805), 36; DNA: RG 29, CS, Norfolk Co., Portsmouth, 1810).

John L. Clarke (ca. 1777–1816), a native of Newport, Rhode Island, had recently been discharged as a master or midshipman in the United States Navy. He was a sea captain residing in Baltimore at the time of his death (Callahan, U.S. Navy, 116; The United States Kalendar, and Army and Navy Register, for 1813 (New York, 1813), 44; The Baltimore Directory and Register for the Year 1816 (Baltimore, 1816), 42; Newport Mercury, 3 Feb. 1816).

The website posted the letter in February 2010. It was reprinted from The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, 6:340–1.

[Ref. ex1:] "EXPRESS.CO":

UFO alert: Letter to President Jefferson may be earliest recorded visit of ALIENS

FORMER US President Thomas Jefferson may have been sent the earliest recorded written observation of a UFO, according to a letter from 1813.

By SEAN MARTIN
PUBLISHED: 08:01, Sat, Jul 28, 2018

A tavern keeper in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a friend visiting from Baltimore believe they saw a UFO in the sky.

The two men, barkeeper Edward Hansford and Baltimore’s John Clarke, describe in their letter to President Jefferson how they saw a meteor-like object in the sky.

However, this object in the sky began to change shape, first taking on the form of a turtle "which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke."

The UFO then apparently "assumed the shape of a human skeleton" which ascended and descended quickly, according to the mail which was reprinted in 2010 in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.

The letter reads: ""We the subscribers most earnestly solicit, that your honour will give us your opinion on the following extraordinary phenomenon.

"We saw in the South a Ball of fire full as large as the sun at Maridian which was frequently obscured within the space of ten minutes by a smoke emitted from its own body, but ultimately retained its brilliancy, and form during that period, but with apparent agitation.

"It then assumed the form of a Turtle which also appeared to be much agitated and as frequently obscured by a similar smoke.

[Ref. po1:] "BLOG "PLANETE ODLA":

July 30, 2018

President Jefferson had received a letter on a UFO sighting

In 1813, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of US history, may have received the first handwritten letter regarding a UFO sighting.

An innkeeper from Portsmouth, Virginia, was visiting a friend who lived in Baltimore. Together, they believe they have seen a real UFO in the sky.

The two men, bartender Edward Hansford and John Clarke of Baltimore, describe in their letter to President Jefferson that they had observed a meteor-like object in the sky.

Strangely, this object in the sky began to change shape, first taking the form of a turtle. It "also seemed to be very agitated and, also, he was often obscured by a similar smoke."

The UFO would then have "taken the form of a human skeleton" that went up and down quickly in the sky, according to this famous letter that was reprinted in 2010 in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.

The letter reads: "We, citizens, most earnestly request that your honor give us your opinion on the following extraordinary phenomenon."

"We saw in the south at Maridian a fireball as big as the sun, which was frequently darkened by a smoke emitted from his own body in the space of ten minutes, but in the end ite kept all its brilliance, as well as its shape during all this period, always with apparent agitation."

"It then took the form of a turtle that seemed also very agitated and was often obscured by a similar smoke."

It then took the form of a human skeleton that was often obscured by a similar smoke, frequently descending and ascending, and then took the form of a Scottish Highlander arranged for battle and extremely agitated, before finally go west and disappear in his own smoke."

It is unclear whether President Jefferson had responded to this letter, but according to the Monticello website, "this may be the first recorded sighting of a UFO."

Source [Links to https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/995276/ufo-alert-sighting-news-aliens-extraterrestrial-thomas-jefferson-president]

Categories: exopolitic

Points to consider:

Portsmouth is a city in the state of Virginia in the United States.

Thomas Jefferson II was born on April 13, 1743 in Shadwell, Virginia, USA, and died July 4, 1826 in Monticello, Virginia. He was an American statesman, who became third president of the United States, in office from 1801 to 1809.

Obviously the "UFO" here was not a meteor, as meteors do not hide themselves in their own "smoke", and most certainly do not turn into skeletons then Scotsmen. This tory must be a pure invention, maybe a prank in attempts to ridicule the President, should he have answered.

Of course, one may wonder why this nonsensical story appears in this catalogue. Well, some UFO website did publish about it with no comment, as if it was a bona fide and very early close encounter of the third kind.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
-

Evaluation:

Invention.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:

Authoring

Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross July 31, 2018 Creation, [mt1], [ex1], [po1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 31, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 31, 2018.