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UFOs in the daily Press:

Airship stories in the 1897 US Press:

This article was published in the daily newspaper The Republican, Algona, Iowa, Wednesday, April 7, 1897.

Warning: the airship stories must not be taken at face value as "UFO sightings." Evaluation of such stories is under way here.


Monster Aerial Craft Sails Serenely Over the Eastside Village

It Was Headed for the Northwest – Seen By Good Reliable Citizens Who Testify It was No Bogus

Wesley, April 6 – Good reliable citizens of Wesley declare upon their honor, that on last Friday evening [April 2, 1897] they saw in the heavens what they supposed to be an air ship. It was traveling in a northwesterly direction. It had the appearance of a cone in shape with windows in the side through which shone bright lights and it did not travel as fast as meteors. They were not able to see in what manner the ship was propelled or what sustained it in the air.

This probably is the same mysterious airship that has been seen at various points of the Mississippi valley during the past month. The Register had a special a few days ago noting the passage of such a craft over Southern Iowa. Monday's Inter Ocean had a special from Rochelle, Ill., which says:

"The mysterious airship that has been seen at various points in the last few weeks made its appearance here Saturday night [April 3, 1897]. About 7:30 someone discovered a bright object coming toward the city from the southwest. Soon the news spread, and hundreds of people were watching the strange object."

"When first sighted it did not have the appearance of being more than a few hundred feet above the earth. As it came closer it appeared to rise higher. It traveled quite slowly at times, and again would move quite fast. It was in sight from this point about thirty minutes before it disappeared in an easterly direction."

"Glasses of all kinds were used to try and discover if possible the outlines of the strange ship, but all in vain. Some had the idea that they could hear a noise coming from the ship. Some went so far as to say that it was human voices, while others say that it was the sound of machinery."

It has not taken a close reader of current scientific periodicals to note that there is great activity among inventors in the line of practical aerial navigation, and that the old notion, that man is by the laws of nature not to be circumvented confined strictly to the surface of the globe, is in the face of the activity of these bright minds gradually losing its hold. A few months ago it was given out from California that complete success had at last been attained, and a practical air vessel set afloat in the upper atmosphere. It has seemed to be the purpose of the inventors, however, to surround their wonderful mechanisms with a veil of mystery and to ward off scrutiny, and so it happens that these brief glimpses, such as Wesley and Rochelle people have gained of these ships passing in the night through the upper space are all that have been practicable so far.

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