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stereologist

The New England Airship of 1909

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stereologist

In 1909 an inventor named Tillinghast claimed to have built a plane that could fly 300 miles at 120 miles per hour. He went on to tell people that he was testing the plane. Soon people began to report the plane flying overhead. They heard the sound of the plane. People saw the plane. Some people even reported that they saw the pilot.

Reports came in across the test area of New England. Credible sightings were made by policemen, businessmen, politicians, and judges all reported seeing the plane. In fact, reports drew in foreign dignitaries that wanted to determine for themselves if this plane would boost their own country's economy.

Below are some of the wonderful witness reports from that time.

Quote

Fully 2000 people stood on Main street tonight and watched a mysterious light which traveled from 80 to 1000 feet above the earth, for a time passing up and down over the entire city from east to west and later describing circles nearly over City Hall. When the light appeared there was a slight fall of snow and the moon and stars were not visible. The conditions remained about the same up to 9 o’clock, when the light disappeared to the southwest.

Quote

The light on the southeast looked like a powerful searchlight. Because of its size and the rays it threw out it attracted wide attention. It remained stationary for a few minutes and then it seemed to shoot upwards, then circled around as though the person manipulating it was trying to get his bearings.

Quote

The mysterious aviator, again presumably Wallace E. Tillinghast of Worcester, who circled his home city Wednesday night, startled the people of greater Boston and of many towns and cities in eastern Massachusetts last night with his marvelous airship, which circled about Boston, East Boston, Lynn, Nahant and many other places between this city and in the west to that unknown “somewhere” where he keeps his wonderful monoplane hidden.

New England Airship event of 1909

This falls under the category of the mystery airship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_airship#1909–1913

 

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stereologist

More witness reports.

Quote

On the night of December 22, thousands of people reported seeing the craft flying above the town of Worcester. It supposedly hung "hawk-like over the city" sweeping the ground below with a powerful searchlight. One man claimed he could see the frame of the airship "quite plainly." Another man spotted two men sitting in the airship.

On the night of Christmas Eve there were thirty-three separate sightings of the airship throughout New England. Thousands of people in Boston stood outside, straining to see it. Many insisted they had seen something.

The Worcester AeroPlane

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stereologist

Here is a link to the first page of an article on the subject in JSTOR

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1559788?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

According to a new book outon the subject, around 50,000 witnesses reporting seeing the plane. That's a lot of witnesses especially for a plane that never existed.

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stereologist

When it comes to UFOs about all that exists is witness statements. What history tells us is that witness statements are pretty worthless.

The 1909 incident has everything UFO believers appeal to:

1. Loads of witnesses

2. Credible witnesses

 

 

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Merc14
Posted (edited)

Take the above level of mass delusion and couple it with communication abilities of the time and then think of today with the internet and people's ability to make "enhanced" videos and you can see why the number of believers has skyrocketed in these modern times.

Edited by Merc14
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psyche101

This reminds me of the mystery airship of 1896.

http://www.unmuseum.org/airship.htm

I always thought there must have been some prototype runs that got a lot of attention. 

 

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Hammerclaw
Posted (edited)

Newspaper hoaxes of that sort were all the rage in that era, harmless and titillating fiction, inspired by the writings  of Jules Verne and other authors of the fantastical. They certainly sold a lot of copies and were copied by other papers across the country.

Edited by Hammerclaw

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stereologist

The airship hoax of 1909 doe s not appear to be a newspaper hoax. It did  not originate with the newspapers. It was reported by newspapers.

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psyche101
35 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Newspaper hoaxes of that sort were all the rage in that era, harmless and titillating fiction, inspired by the writings  of Jules Verne and other authors of the fantastical. They certainly sold a lot of copies and were copied by other papers across the country.

Considering they well reflect current technologies of the era I suspect prototype flights seem more likely. 

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Hammerclaw
2 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Considering they well reflect current technologies of the era I suspect prototype flights seem more likely. 

Considering the fictional accounts in print at the time, I'd say nothing but more fiction.                                         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robur_the_Conqueror

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psyche101
9 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Considering the fictional accounts in print at the time, I'd say nothing but more fiction.                                         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robur_the_Conqueror

I have no doubt that influenced a great many but there seems to be quite some witnesses which makes me think at least some saw prototypes. 

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Hammerclaw
Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

I have no doubt that influenced a great many but there seems to be quite some witnesses which makes me think at least some saw prototypes. 

Much easier to dismiss them as hoaxes and deceptions. If you know of anyone in the States or Canada with the resources to pull it off, I'll be glad to read about them. This is what it took to actually get the job done.                                                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_von_Zeppelin

Edited by Hammerclaw

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psyche101
4 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Much easier to dismiss them as hoaxes and deceptions. If you know of anyone in the States or Canada with the resources to pull it off, I'll be glad to read about them. This is what it took to actually get the job done.                                                                          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_von_Zeppelin

You don't find a great many corroborating witnesses convincing? 

From the link I left about the 1896 mystery airship :

The title "airship" soon stuck. Other papers were more reserved and reported a "mysterious light" or "wandering apparition." A few ridiculed the stories suggesting that the whole thing had been a hoax or the result of a natural effect like glowing swamp gas. The story soon faded.

 

 

airsac.jpg

An eyewitness sketch of the "airship" over Sacramento on November 17, 1896.

 

 

Then, five days after its first appearance, the "airship" came back.

It was Sunday night and weather conditions were as before: dark and overcast. The light appeared from the northwest and when straight over the town, running against the wind. One witness, Jacob Zemansky, had a small telescope and reported the lamp was "an electric arc light of intense power." He also observed that the light didn't move in a straight line, but seemed to bob in the wind up and down. Another witness with field glasses, Edward Carragher, reported seeing a dark body above the light.

It took thirty minutes for the thing to cross the city and disappear to the southwest. During this time thousands of people observed it including the city's deputy sheriff and a district attorney.

That same night the "airship" also appeared above San Francisco some 90 miles away. There it was observed by hundreds, including the mayor. It cruised as far as the Pacific Ocean, above the famous Cliff House, where its searchlight, a beam that stretched out over 500 feet, reportedly frightened the seals on Seal Rock sending them plunging into the safety of the sea.

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Sir Wearer of Hats
5 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Considering the fictional accounts in print at the time, I'd say nothing but more fiction.                                         https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robur_the_Conqueror

Which was only about ten years old at the time of the first sightings, how wel lknown outside of France was Verne?

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stereologist

It has been well established that people reported the airship of 1909 just as people report UFOs today. 

Quote

While large portions of entire states temporarily believed the rumors, tens of thousands of stolid, responsible citizens actually reported sighting the vessel in the night-time sky. The rumors and subsequent sightings triggered an extensive search to uncover the vessel’s whereabouts. No abandoned farmhouse or local eccentric escaped inquiry from the determined army of inquisitive reporters. Journalists from across the United States and as far away as Europe, soon converged on Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, where the majority of observations were reported. At the height of the episode, even representatives of foreign governments arrived in order to assess the potential commercial and military applications of such a vessel.

Pretty amazing that people all saw or heard what was not there.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1559788?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

https://daily.jstor.org/phantom-flying-machines/

Before that event and after the airship hoax of 1909 there were mass sightings of flying objects in the sky in the US and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

I think it is telling about UFO reports. What started out as a hoax by one person became a sudden shared and of course imaginary experience for many.

What this shows is that the mysterious flying objects seen are also of the type that the viewer expects to see.

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Hammerclaw
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Which was only about ten years old at the time of the first sightings, how wel lknown outside of France was Verne?

Translations of Verne into English began in 1852, so he was quite well known and popular in the English speaking world.                                 http://www.julesverne.ca/vernebooks/jvbkrobur.html

Edited by Hammerclaw
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Hammerclaw
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, psyche101 said:

You don't find a great many corroborating witnesses convincing? 

From the link I left about the 1896 mystery airship :

The title "airship" soon stuck. Other papers were more reserved and reported a "mysterious light" or "wandering apparition." A few ridiculed the stories suggesting that the whole thing had been a hoax or the result of a natural effect like glowing swamp gas. The story soon faded.

 

 

airsac.jpg

An eyewitness sketch of the "airship" over Sacramento on November 17, 1896.

 

 

Then, five days after its first appearance, the "airship" came back.

It was Sunday night and weather conditions were as before: dark and overcast. The light appeared from the northwest and when straight over the town, running against the wind. One witness, Jacob Zemansky, had a small telescope and reported the lamp was "an electric arc light of intense power." He also observed that the light didn't move in a straight line, but seemed to bob in the wind up and down. Another witness with field glasses, Edward Carragher, reported seeing a dark body above the light.

It took thirty minutes for the thing to cross the city and disappear to the southwest. During this time thousands of people observed it including the city's deputy sheriff and a district attorney.

That same night the "airship" also appeared above San Francisco some 90 miles away. There it was observed by hundreds, including the mayor. It cruised as far as the Pacific Ocean, above the famous Cliff House, where its searchlight, a beam that stretched out over 500 feet, reportedly frightened the seals on Seal Rock sending them plunging into the safety of the sea.

Reports in papers appeared. I don't think you realize the pervasiveness of "yellow journalism" of that era. It's the same sort of sensationalization that happened with the UFO craze when the papers first coined the term "flying saucers". 

Edited by Hammerclaw
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stereologist

Every source I've encountered says that the reports were made. I take it that any claims to the contrary are unsupported statements.

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psyche101
7 hours ago, Hammerclaw said:

Reports in papers appeared. I don't think you realize the pervasiveness of "yellow journalism" of that era. It's the same sort of sensationalization that happened with the UFO craze when the papers first coined the term "flying saucers". 

I dont doubt that the 'thousands' claimed is probably closer to 'hundreds ' perhaps even dozens but that the descriptions well reflect technology that would officially appear over the ensuing decades strikes me that it seems likely that some were privileged to witness prototype flying machines.

The original black ops UFOs sort of thing.

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Hammerclaw
On ‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 4:49 PM, stereologist said:

In 1909 an inventor named Tillinghast claimed to have built a plane that could fly 300 miles at 120 miles per hour. He went on to tell people that he was testing the plane. Soon people began to report the plane flying overhead. They heard the sound of the plane. People saw the plane. Some people even reported that they saw the pilot.

Reports came in across the test area of New England. Credible sightings were made by policemen, businessmen, politicians, and judges all reported seeing the plane. In fact, reports drew in foreign dignitaries that wanted to determine for themselves if this plane would boost their own country's economy.

Below are some of the wonderful witness reports from that time.

New England Airship event of 1909

This falls under the category of the mystery airship.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_airship#1909–1913

 

Unsubstantiated and no material evidence, thousands saw The Sacred Virgin at Fatima, too. It falls in,the category of yellow journalism nothing ever turned up supporting the prototype theory and considering the time material, capital manpower it took to build the real thing, something would have been found by now, someone involved would have spilled their guts about it over the years. Fake news sells papers, even today

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stereologist
1 hour ago, Hammerclaw said:

Unsubstantiated and no material evidence, thousands saw The Sacred Virgin at Fatima, too. It falls in,the category of yellow journalism nothing ever turned up supporting the prototype theory and considering the time material, capital manpower it took to build the real thing, something would have been found by now, someone involved would have spilled their guts about it over the years. Fake news sells papers, even today

I see you still have no evidence to support your guess.

There were thousands of witnesses.  None of your unsubstantiated guesses have altered that.

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stereologist

What seems so hard for people to understand is that there thousands of people that claimed to have seen something, yet they didn't.

There were also thousands of witnesses for the events at Fatima. Regardless of what they experienced there were thousands of people that said they did.

So far there has zero evidence for yellow journalism.

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psyche101
1 hour ago, Hammerclaw said:

Unsubstantiated and no material evidence, thousands saw The Sacred Virgin at Fatima, too. It falls in,the category of yellow journalism nothing ever turned up supporting the prototype theory and considering the time material, capital manpower it took to build the real thing, something would have been found by now, someone involved would have spilled their guts about it over the years. Fake news sells papers, even today

Stories from Fatima had no consistency, interestingly it is still considered that 'something' may have happened. Professor Meessen contends that retinal after-images produced after brief periods of sun gazing are a likely cause of the observed dancing effects. Similarly, Meessen concluded that the color changes witnessed were most likely caused by the bleaching of photosensitive retinal cells. Which seems plausible. 

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stereologist

The issue is not whether the original story was a hoax but whether there were people that claimed to have seen the plane.

There were plenty of people that claimed they saw something at Fatima. Did they? That's a different issue.

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Hammerclaw
2 hours ago, stereologist said:

I see you still have no evidence to support your guess.

There were thousands of witnesses.  None of your unsubstantiated guesses have altered that.

Yellow or tabloid journalism was/ is quite real.                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

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