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UFOs in the daily Press:

phenomenon in Wisconsin, USA, 1904:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper The Washington Times, USA, April 21, 1904.


Wisconsin Man and Companions Almost
Overcome by Fumes Arising From Earth
After Ball of Fire Descended

JANESVILLE, Wis., April 21. -- A. H. Smith, a farmer near the blind institute, awakened members of J. O. Selleck's family, and told them a story of having encountered a wave of gaseous matter a few rods away that had almost overcome him and his family. Mr. Selleck, George Clark, his son-in-law, R. C. Miltmor, and son, and Mr. Smith drove to the scene to discover the cause of the trouble.

When the party reached the road where the gas had been the strongest, they saw a dense, foglike substance, which was so thick they could not see their hands in front of their faces. This extended several rods along the road, and in places was more dense than others. The fumes were almost suffocating.

Although the party remained in the vicinity of the supposed meteor for several hours they were unable to discover the meteor itself. Next morning a party scoured the fields in the vicinity in a vain search, and again the afternoon a large party tried to locate the meteor.

Mr. Smith says that as he and his family were driving home from the city at about 9:30 o'clock they noticed a huge starlike light appear suddenly in the sky. It became brighter and brighter, and suddenly seemed to swoop down and be swallowed up in the snowbanks that lined the road near the blind institute. As they turned on the road after leaving the bridge the smell of a strange gas became so strong that Mr. Smith was nearly overcome and with difficulty was able to turn about and drive back.

Prof. Comstock at the Washburn Observatory, in Madison, was asked regarding the phenomenon, and said:

"It was undoubtedly a meteor. What caused the smell I cannot say. That is some special condition of the soil in which it struck. Were it in an oil or coal country it could be explained, but, as I do not know the land about Janesville, I cannot state what it was. Under ordinary conditions the smell would have been only that of a steam arising from a hot substance, like metal falling into a tub of water."

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