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Date:March 26, 1880
Place:Galisteo Junction, Lamy, New Mexico

6 - March 26, 1880 evening, Lamy (New Mexico).

Four men walking near Galisteo Junction were surprised as they heard voices coming from a "strange balloon, " which flew over them. It was shaped like a fish and seemed to be guided by a large fanlike device. There were eight to ten figures aboard. Their language was not understood. The object flew low over Galisteo Junction and rose rapidly toward the east. (FSR 65, 3) [2]" [3]

March 26, 1880 was a quiet Friday night in tiny Galisteo Junction, N. Mex. (now the town of Lamy). The train from nearby Santa Fe had come and gone and the railroad agent, his day's work finished, routinely locked up the depot and set out with a couple of friends for a short walk.

Suddenly they heard voices which seemed to be coming from the sky. The men looked up to see an object, "monstrous in size," rapidly approaching from the west, flying so low that elegantly-drawn characters could be discerned on the outside of the peculiar vehicle. Inside, the occupants, who numbered 10 or so and looked like ordinary human beings, were laughing and shouting in an unfamiliar language and the men on the ground also heard music coming from the craft. The craft itself was "fish-shaped" -- like a cigar with a tail -- and it was driven by a huge "fan" or propeller.

As it passed overhead one of the occupants tossed some objects from the car. The depot agent and his friends recovered one item almost immediately, a beautiful flower with a slip of fine silk-like paper containing characters which reminded the men of designs they had seen on Japanese chests which held tea.

Soon thereafter the aerial machine ascended and sailed away toward the east at high speed.

The next morning searchers found a cup -- one of the items the witnesses had seen thrown out of the craft but had been unable to locate in the darkness.

"It is of very peculiar workmanship," the Santa Fe Daily New Mexican reported, "entirely different to anything used in this country."

The depot agent took the cup and the flower and put them on display. Before the day was over, however, this physical evidence of the passage of the early unidentified object had vanished.

In the evening a mysterious gentleman identified only as a "collector of curiosities" appeared in town, examined the finds, suggested they were Asiatic in origin and offered such a large sum of money for them that the agent had no choice but to accept. The "collector" scooped up his purchases and never was seen again. [4]

"Several precocious flying machines sailed the skies during 1880. In late March several citizens of the unlikely place of Galisteo Junction, New Mexico heard voices overheard and saw a fish-shaped balloon driven by a fan-like apparatus."

"A cup and several other artifacts fell from the ship as it passed, but the next day a collector of curiosities, a man unknown in town, appeared and paid a large sum of money for the items."

The story ends on this note of mystery, BUT THE FOLLOWING WEEK another installment CLARIFIED THESE STRANGE PROCEEDINGS.

A party of tourists which included a wealthy young Chinaman stopped in the vicinity and found the stranger engaged in archaeological work. The young man grew excited on seeing the articles dropped from the airship, because among them was a note in his fiancee's hand, and he explained that

CHINESE EXPERIMENTS IN FLYING HAD AT LAST SUCCEEDED, meaning the airship which crossed the skies of Galisteo Junction was THE FIRST FLIGHT OF a CHINA-TO-AMERICA airline. [5]

One of the earliest man-made airship stories appeared in the Santa Fe Daily New Mexican of March 26, 1880. It told of an enormous airship that swept over this tiny town of Galisteo Junction. It was cigar shaped with a tail and was driven by a huge propellor. The occupants were described as inebriated and a couple of items were thrown overboard - a beautiful rose fastened with a slip of fine silk-like paper containing what was thought to have been "Oriental characters" and a cup "of very peculiar workmanship."

The next morning the items were on display at the railroad depot. That evening a stranger appeared, pronounced them of Asian origin and made the "owner" a financial deal he could not refuse. The man and objects then disappeared as would happen again and again in the future of UFOs. [6]

Case 10: Galisteo Junction (now Lamy), New Mexico, USA - March 1880

Three men heard loud noises from a 'large balloon the shape of a fish, which approached rapidly from the west. The object appeared to be entirely under the control of 8-10 occupants 'in a car[riage]' slung below it, and guided by a fanlike apparatus. It was monstrous in size - see Figure 9. [6]


  • [1] Article in the newspaper "Santa Fe New Mexican", March 26, 1880, according to [4] and [6].
  • [2] "Flying Saucer Review" (FSR), 65-3, May 1961, according to Jacques Vallée in [3].
  • [3] "Magonia", UFO landing listing, in "Passport to Magonia: A Century of Landings", page 180, citing Flying Saucer Review, May 1961.
  • [4] "Mystery Airships of the 1800's", by Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman, in "Fate" magazine, May 1973.
  • [5] "Mysteries in the Eye of the Beholder", chapter 10 of "Loose in an Airship - The Age of Phantom Dirigibles and Ghost Airplanes, 1880-1946", doctoral dissertation by Thomas E. Bullard, page 205, 1982.
  • [6] "The Great Airship Inventors - Fact and Fancy", in "Aero club in the mid 1850", article by Jimmy Ward, part 6, page 2, December 1, 1991.
  • [7] "Cloud cigars and cigar shaped UFOs", article by Sowiak-Rudej, in UFO REPORTER, UFO Research New South Wales, Australia, Vol.1, N.2, June 1992.
Notes:Vallée intended to take into account the landings in his catalogue, however in this event there is no landing per se.

Originally named Galisteo Junction, the village of Lamy was formed in 1880 by the junction of the Santa Fe branch line with the AT&SF main line there, 18 miles from Sante Fe. It was renamed after Jean-Baptiste Lamy, a French Catholic priest who arrived in New Mexico in 1851 and became archbishop of the Territory and played a major role in the region's development.

The picture on the left is the station depot mentioned in the airship story.


Type of report:Second hand from non reproduced local newspaper.
Number of witnesses:3 or 4.
Number of named witnesses:0.
Witnesses occupations:1 railway service man, others not indicated.
Type of location:Not indicated.
Coordinates:Lat. 35.48 Long. -105.88
Coordinates precision:Estimated 10 kilometers.
Description of "UFO":Dirigible airship of Girard type with carriage and propeller.
Description of "manoeuvers":None.
Occupants:About 10 human beings.
Occupants keywords:Human. Laughters. Music. Voice. Shouts.
Language:Human language not understood.
Weather:Not indicated.
Observation devices:None.
Strangeness:Very high.
Explanation(s) at the time:Dirigible, or Chinese dirigible, transpacific.

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