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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 Champaign Daily Gazette, Champaign, Illinois, April 16, 1897.

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

THAT AIRSHIP

A Report That it Has Been The Cause of Disaster In the Vicinity of Philo

It is all over now, the airship has at last been discovered and is being held captive in Champaign county, a twisted and broken mass, with the members of its crew fit subjects for an investigation by the coroner. The following to the Chicago Record, of this morning, under a Philo date, tells the whole story, but there is fear in this city that someone has stepped in and taken the position vacated by the Tolono liar in that neighborhood:

"Norman McLeod passed through this place at 2 o'clock today on route for Urbana for the coroner. He reports that at about 10 o'clock a large cone shaped airship or balloon was observed coming from the east, tacking and veering against the heavy west gale. When just south of Bouse's grove the craft became unmanageable and came down with a crash on Jeff Shafer's farm, about 100 feet from where George Shafer was disking. The team took fright and ran away, throwing young Shafer in front of the harrow which passed over him, cutting him all to pieces. In the wreck of the ship, which covered a space nearly 100 feet square, were found the mutilated remains of three persons. They were partially imbedded in the soft ground and covered with blood, so that it was impossible to identify them, but from what McLeod could see he judged them to be Japanese. This place is in great excitement and every available means of conveyance is being called in to use. Many are leaving from the scene of the wreck on foot, horseback or anyway. The particulars can be more fully told after the inquest tomorrow."
"W.J. Wilkinson."

The Gazette has been unable to find out who this man "Wilkinson" is, and from all accounts, there is no such man living in Philo. The names of the people he uses in the account are genuine, and those of prominent people, but it is evident that they were not consulted before the account was sent away.

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