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UFOs in the daily Press:

The "mysterious airship" wave in the New Zealand Press, 1909:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper Auckland Star, New Zealand, Volume XL, Issue 189, page 7, August 10, 1909.





"Seeing airships" is still afflicting the people of New Zealand, and last night, notwithstanding the dissolution into thin air of so many of these visitants of late, some good people of Mount Roskill were loth to believe that a couple of prismatic fire balloons that drifted luminously athwart the stars were not of man's many inventions for conquering the air in flight. Another group of imaginists gathered on the wharf in the cool of the evening, and gazed expectantly at our planetary neighbour Mars, whose 30,000,000 mile message struck the frosty ether so illuminantly that the watchers gaped with invitation, and declared one to another that the time had arrived for discoveries. But Mars is still a long way off, and the half-dozen million miles or so that he in his orbit will diminish between himself and the coquettish earth between this and the latter part of next month will yet leave a tolerable gap to bridge.


(By Telegraph — Own Correspondent.)

WAIHI, Monday.

A mysterious "airship" of some description has evidently arrived in Waihi, and has been the object of considerable speculation during the evening. It was last seen to-night travelling in an easterly direction, carrying two powerful lights. The two lights were some distance apart, and evidently attached to a centre body. At times the "airship" could be seen swinging round, one light disappearing, but coming into view shortly afterwards. Early in the evening it was over Waihi in a westerly direction. Some residents state that they saw this mysterious "vessel" approaching Waihi from the direction of Tauninga this morning. Numbers of people were taking stock of the mysterious visitor from Upper Seddon-street. After watching it for some time, the conclusion was arrived at that it was not under control, and was influenced by the prevailing winds. There was no possibility of confusing it with adjacent lights or with the stars, for it was plainly visible and was slowly moving. There was but little wind blowing, and the night was perfectly clear.



"Have you seen the airship?" queried the "Oamaru Mail" representative of Mr. Clement Wragge, astronomer, lecturer, humorist, and sun spot expert." Mr. Wragge was disposed to treat the subject somewhat humorously, but he was reminded by the pressman that the subject was really a serious one in Oamaru.

"Seriously, then," said Mr. Wragge, I believe that these lights are due to one of two causes — either to local airship trials — and all honour to inventive New Zealand if so — or else they arise from cosmic luminous dust of meteoric or cometary origin, which I have noticed."

"Does Mars come into the problem at all?"

"In that careful attitude known as the semi-serious, and reflecting that few sane people nowadays rely for proof or reputation on the blessed word 'impossible', I would suggest that we may be honoured with a visitor from Mars. In the first place, I would advance that explanation by reason of the fact that Mars is rapidly becoming more favourable for observation, and is getting nearer to the sun and earth. Secondly, it must be remembered that civilisation on Mars is probably three millions of years ahead of that of our earth, and inventions and possibilities there are consequently much greater than here. Our neighbours may have stored or bottled up, or compressed, their peculiar Martian air in, say, aluminium cylinders fitted to an 'airship' by which they can explore the solar system, and in which they can live by the means aforesaid. I can imagine the Martian airship landing at Oamaru, and the people scooting in all directions at the strange apparition. The parson climbs up a tree to be out of danger's way, and mutters an 'Ave'; the firebell clangs — some make for the secret 'locker' to fortify themselves; the stationmaster hides in the smoke-box of a stationary locomotive; and the postmaster sends wires all over the country. Down by special train come a host of reporters from the Otago "Daily Times" and "Evening Star," and never was there such a commotion. The Salvation Army offers special prayers for safety, and the lassie in hysteria bangs the tambourine louder than ever.

"Meantime the plucky Mayor, as portentous and dignified as possible, with the aid of the heroic "Oamaru Mail" man, learns that the Martians have long been watching the earth, wondering if, migrating by a special fleet of their spaceships, they would be considered desirable emigrants to 'God's Own Country.'

"Why should they leave the fleshpots of Mars?"

"Because their own world is dying of thirst, and is approachine a condition like that of the moon. Their seas have already become swamps, great flat deserts reach across the planet (Mars), and are increasing in their terrible drought. In their extremity they have established irrigated areas by a gigantic system of canals, which link together the two Poles right across the planet, many of which have been duplicated and are over twelve miles wide. The people realise that Mars is doomed, and are doing all they can to prolong their physical lives and the life of the planet; yet realising that they are fighting against tremendous odds, and that their only hope is in migration to 'Seddon-land.' Hence the pioneers in the airships."

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