This article was published in the daily newspaper The Times-Herald, Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, April 13, 1897.
Warning: the airship stories must not be taken at face value as "UFO sightings." Evaluation of such stories is under way here.
"AIR SHIP" IS SPEEDY
COVERS VAST AREA OF GROUND
Is Seen Simultaneously in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan by Persons Whose Veracity is Unquestioned.
Waukegan, Ill., April 12. Several young people here who were out late last night claim to have seen the air ship. Harry Detweller and a few friends, who were taking a stroll, had their attention attracted by a mysterious moving light in the heavens, which, from description, they at once believed to be the famous air ship. "Ted" Wheeler was another who saw it. He describes it as a brilliant red light, which moved north in a vacillating course at quite a speed, and was not at all like a star or comet. He watched it for an hour.
Kenosha, Wis., April 12. Citizens of Kenosha are certain that they saw the airship at between 7:15 and 8 o'clock Sunday evening [April 11, 1897]. That the much seen and talked about affair passed here is based upon the story of R.H. Slosson, who was elected judge at the recent judicial election. He says that at 7:15 o'clock he sighted a huge white light with a small green light an either side. Its progress was slow and hardly discernible. The center light resembled a huge star except that it moved. The green lights were much smaller, and moved steadily with the big white light in the same relative position.
New Carlisle, Ind., April 12. One hundred prominent citizens of this place saw an air ship going in a northwesterly direction at 8:30 o'clock last night. The vessel was probably 500 feet above the earth and moving very rapidly. At one time it rose very slowly and afterward seemed to drop along distance. In addition to the headlight, spectators claimed to have noticed smaller lights of blue, green and red behind, indicating that the vessel is of considerable size. It was in sight at least ten minutes.
Grand Rapids, Wis., April 12. The mysterious airship which has puzzled the people of Missouri Valley and other points much passed over here at 9 o'clock last evening, and was watched by 100 reputable citizens. A peculiar red light was clearly visible, moving rapidly in the western heavens. A few excited persons claimed to have discerned plainly a framework of some sort surrounding the red light, which shone with flickering luster. Be it balloon, air ship or meteor, it was distinctly seen.
Clinton, Iowa, April 12. There was considerable excitement here to-night when a thousand people were looking at the air ship. Professor Freenheim, an astronomer here of much note, put his large glass on it and found it to be the planet Venus, which is very brilliant now.
Elkhart, Ind., April 12. A large number of persons here claim to have seen the air ship passing over this city from 10 to 12 o'clock last night. It presented all the peculiarities that have been so generally described.
Ripon, Wis., April 12. The air ship, or whatever may be the object that has caused so much sky gazing of late, was distinctly seen last night by about 200 or more of Ripon's inhabitants. On their way home 100 or more stopped at the home of ex-State Land Commissioner Jerre Dobbs, who called their attention to the ship.
Battle Creek, Mich., April 12. What is believed to be the mysterious air ship visited this city to-night at 9 o'clock. It was two miles west of the city and a mile high when first noticed. It emitted a shower of red sparks similar to a skyrocket, the sparks seeming to follow a loud report. The outlines of the object were then plainly visible. Fully fifty people from different parts of the city have reported seeing the strange visitor. Among those who saw it are L.E. Clawson, attorney; W.A. Cady, jeweler; Dr. McGuffin, Dr. McNeal, J.H. Dorsey, manager of the Western Union Telegraph Company; Thomas Barry, ex-alderman; M.J. Loomis, photographer, and many guests at the sanitarium.
F.W. Alex, Joseph B. Durand and Frank Ray, all reputable citizens of Lake Forest, say they saw the airship Sunday night, and, though none is absolutely sure that what he saw was not a star, they are equally unwilling to state positively that it was not an air ship. It was seen between 8 and 9 o'clock in the northwest part of the heavens.
R.J. Thompson secretary of the Illinois commission to the Tennessee Centennial says the commission will pay $25,000 for an actual air ship to exhibit at the exposition.