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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 New Zealand Tablet, page 1089, July 15, 1909.


The Spy Mania

Rabelais tells of people who tickle themselves in order to laugh. There are others who conjure up imaginary ghosts and hobgoblins to scare themselves withal. To a section of the British press there have lately been wisions about' wisions' of German spies, and German invaders, and fleets of German military airships (more correctly termed 'scareships') whirring over the land o' nights and scaring the Harmsworth combine out of its seven senses. It turns out that the German 'scareships' were nothing more substantial than toy balloons, plus (it is said) a solitary British experimental airship, and that the rest of the Rawhead-and-Bloody-bones business was (to adapt a couplet of Samuel Butler's) merely

'Writ for regulation Of scaring to inform the nation.'

Most peoples get occasional fits of funk or panic or piety. The 'Prussian spy' mania during a critical period of the Franco-German war cost the lives of many quiet and respectable and innocent persons. The recent German scare in England was, happily, mostly a newspaper one. The Harmsworth terrors do not seem to have awakened — at least, to any notable extent — a responsive panic in the breasts of the usually phlegmatic British public. Such newspaper terrorists, however, do infinite mischief, and their aberrations are a real menace to international peace. Lord Northcliffe's manifesto served as a much-needed cold douche to sundry journalists in newspaper offices which should have, as part of their regular equipment, an ice-bag each for their editors' heads.

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