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Date:November 22, 1896
Time:06:00 p.m.
Place:Sacramento, California


So Says the Inventor's Attorney
Its Lights Seen Last Night
Said to be an Oroville Invention
It Was Seen Over Oakland on Saturday
Statement of a San Francisco Lawyer
The Inventor is His Client
Only the Lights Could be Seen Last Night

The mysterious aerial visitor that has been causing so much discussion and agitation since Tuesday last again gave Sacramento a call last evening, and the reputation of the whisky dispensed here bids fair to be vindicated.

About 6 o'clock the air-ship (which it now seems to be) passed over this city, or the southern end of it, and slowly sailed away and disappeared in the mists and darkness of the southeastern sky. That is, a large and bright electric light was seen by any number of persons, including those of the "Record-Union" office. It was not near enough, and the sky was too black to enable anyone to distinguish anything more than the large bright light carried by the air-ship, and which is evidently produced by an electric battery. It is unlike any other light, being clear and sharp.

The light came from the east at an elevation apparently of 500 or 600 feet, going in a southeasterly direction. It was in sight for over an hour, except that for intervals of a few minutes it would suddenly disappear, as if being obscured by some part of the flying machine to which it is supposed to be attached.

Ed Carragher of the Saddle Rock Restaurant states that by the aid of a night glass he was able to make out a dark object above the light, and the outline of the supposed air-ship.

[...] [1]

[On november 22, 1896] "a strange cigar-shaped object is seen again ... in Sacramento, ..." [2]

"In a mail published in the Sacramento Bee on November 24, a citizen who gave his initial as being " W.A " stated his conviction that the observed phenomenon [of November 22, 1896 in Sacramento] could only be due to the visit of a spaceship from planet Mars on mission of exploration. He expressed the conviction that the extraterrestrial vessel was made of a very light metal and actuated by a certain kind of electric force, giving to the Martien vessel the aspect of a ball of fire in flight. He imagined that the speed of an interplanetary machine was to be "thousands of miles a second." [3]

"It looked as though the wondrous airship of the seventeenth [of November, 1896, in Sacramento] was about to be drowned in a flood of ridicule and debunking, but then on Sunday November 22 [,1896], it came back."

"The evening was a dark and overcast one, just as the evening of the 17th had been. The light came out of the northwest at about five thirty, and headed directly for the center of Sacramento. It could not have been a balloon for it was moving against the wind, albeit slowly. People viewing the thing with the naked eye saw primarily a light, "fully twice the candle power of an ordinary arc light," shining from a great height."

"Isaac Gough claimed he was the first person in the city to see it. He was walking near Second and K streets when he looked up and saw the light. He ran down the street shouting and urging people to come out and look at it. Come they did by the score. Word of the marvel raced through the town, spread in part by motormen who had come to think they had a special relationship to the airship."

"One Jacob Zemansky, who was described in the press as "the well-known downtown cigar man," had a small telescope through which he could view the marvel. "If it was not an electric arc light of intense power, then I never saw one," Zemansky said. "Looking at it with the naked eye it seemed to move in a straight line, but looking at it through the glass it rose and fell like a boat on a gently swelling tide."

"Edward Carragher, a restaurant owner, viewed it through field glasses and thought that he saw a dark body above the light."

"Walter Mallory, Sacramento's deputy sheriff, described what he had seen: "It was a strong white light, seemingly moving, I thought as if it was attached to a balloon. But on a closer observation, I thought I recognized a dark body immediately over the light, somewhat of a different shape than a balloon. The more I observed it, the more puzzled I became as to what it was."

"District Attorney Frank D. Ryan saw it and began talking of signs and wonders in the heavens, and the "advent of the millenium." But then he came down to a less alarming level. "That thing is too deep for me. I don't understand it. It might be that aerial travel has been accomplished. It seems as strange and improbable as were the inventions of the telephone, phonograph and the electric power applied to streetcars."

"The passage of the "light" over the city of Sacramento proceeded from northwest to southwest. When it reached the southern edge of the city it turned due west and then south again, after which it disappeared. Its passage had been slow and majestic, taking about half an hour in all. During that time it was viewed by thousands. Some were unimpressed, assuming that the light was just a natural phenomenon. No one heard voices this time, and no one reported seeing the crew pedaling madly to keep the craft aloft, as ex-trolleyman Lowery had reported on the 17th. But the slowly moving light was quite enough to convince many of the residents of Sacramento that the problem of air travel had been solved." [4]

"But on November 22, the "mystery airship" came back. It passed over Sacramento ..." [5]


  • [1] Article in the newspaper "Sacramento Daily Record-Union", Sacramento, California, page 2 column 1-4, November 23, 1896.
  • [2] "La chronique des OVNIS", book by Michel Bougard, Delarge publisher, 1977.
  • [3] Article in the newspaper "Sacramento Bee", November 24, 1896, from the article by Loren Gross in "The mammoth encyclopedia of extraterrestrial encounters", compiled by Ronald D. Story, Robinson publisher, 2001.
  • [4] "The Great Airship Mystery", book by Daniel Cohen, Mead, Dodd and Company publishers, page 8, 1981.
  • [5] "The Amazing Airship of 1896", article by James L. Cambias.


Type of report:Newspaper.
Number of witnesses:Many
Number of named witnesses:4.
Witnesses occupations:Not indicated.
Type of location:Not indicated.
Coordinates:Lat. 38.70 Long. 121.60
Coordinates precision:10 kilometers.
Description of "UFO":Bright Light.
Description of "manoeuvers":.
Reactions:Not indicated.
Occupants keywords:N/A
Weather:Dark and overcast.
Observation devices:Field glasses for 1 witness.
Explanation(s) at the time:Airship. No airship. Just light.

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This page was last updated on January 13, 2006