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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 Otago Witness, New Zealand, Issue 2890, page 33, August 4, 1909.



The appearance of a particularly luminous body in the eastern sky attracted the attention of many Dunedin people on Saturday night. Some were disposed to regard it as one of those many mysteriou lights that have been observed during the past week or more, and the airship and tire ballon theories were freely advanced. An explanation of the presence of the light, which we obtained from an astronomical authority, shows it to have been the planet Mars. This planet is now rising bright and red at about 9.30 p.m. Other lights were also observed between 10 and 11 o'clock, and as these, from all authentic accounts, moved rapidly across the sky, it may be assumed that they were fire balloons. A number of residents of Balclutha witnessed on Friday night, at about 7.15, what they regarded as a mysterious light hovering in the air over the township. It first appeared from over the bill on the north side of the river, and with a graceful motion, glided over the river, finally disappearing to the south-west. Sometimes it remained almost stationary. Then it would rise and fall, until it glided away. The description of its appearance and movements corresponds with what has been described as seen in other parts. Several of those who saw it jumped to the conclusion that they had seen the airship or mysterious light, but in reality the thing was nothing more nor less than an ordinary fire balloon, with a kite attached. It would have made its appearance earlier in the week, but the weather was not suitable, and even on Friday night the conditions were not favourable, but those behind the joke could restrain their impatience no longer, and, besides, the airship theory was fast-dying one. It is safe to say (says our correspondent) that nine-tenths of the people have never regarded the mysterious light seriously. From Kelso comes a story of something seen, but any number of people assert that it was a flock of swans flying steadily from the Blue Mountains in the direction of Dusky. It is prophesied that within a few nights a far more mysterious light will be seen if the weather is favourable, as the inventive genius of the small boy and the practical joker has not yet exhausted itself.

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