TEXAS - A general belief is that interest in UFO’s began with an incident in 1940’s when aviator Kenneth A. Arnold spotted nine flying disc like objects near Mount Rainier, Washington. That theory is a misconception. While the crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico, and earlier sightings during World War II generated much speculation and circulated new phrases such as "Flying Saucer," and "UFO" into mass consciousness the roots of the mysteries are far older than you would think. Christopher Columbus while standing on the deck of the Santa Maira at night spotted unknown objects in 1492. Beginning in November 1896 and ending in May 1897 a strange, unidentified object was spotted by literally thousands of people from the West Coast, to the Great Lakes, and even the Gulf of Mexico. Deepening the mystery is the fact that air travel would not be revolutionized until 1904 at Kitty Hawk. The Airplane, commonly put forth as an explanation for mysterious sightings in the sky, had not even been thought of in the 1890’s. The craft first reported in California was slow paced, and cigar shaped. This airship moved silently through the night as dazed witness on the ground marveled at the sight. For them this ship must have indeed been a wonder, although Airships had been tried in France between 1852 and 1884, no study of such craft would be seen in American until 1914. (See http://inventors.about.com)
|Cigar Shaped UFO (from the website Lights in the Texas Sky)|
In Denton, Texas on the night of April 13, 1897 two independent witnesses reported sightings of the Airship. One witness described the ship as being about fifty feet long, with two great "mugs" thrust out on each side, a broad tail or steering sail behind, and a long beak or blade resembling a cut-water on a ship in front. The long craft had a powerful searchlight as well as smaller lights that seemed to shine out of windows on the side. The detail in this report can be explained as the observer had been standing in his yard watching the stars through a pair of marine field glasses. While the second witness was not able to provide the same amount of detail as the first their accounts strongly resembled each other’s and it was not long before the story began to circulate across the state. Soon their stories were matched again and again, as across Texas the Airship was spotted by huge numbers of people. Newspapers ran stories on the Airship including the Dallas Times Herald, and The Austin Daily Statesman as well as smaller papers such as The Bastrop Advisor. The last sighting was in Forth Worth on May 12, 1897. While opinions and speculation on the mystery were put forth at the time no one has ever offered any proof or a solution.