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The Apparition of the Air November 24th, 1896

on Nov 24th, 2009
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Mysterious Airship of 1896 - San Francisco Call

Mysterious Airship of 1896 - San Francisco Call

San Francisco Call November 24th, 1896 pg.1 col. 1

Another Lawyer Who Was Informed of the Alighting of the Flier 

Dr. Benjamin Disclaims the Invention — Mayor Sutro’s Testimony and That of Other Reputable Citizens Offered 
Testimony concerning the existence of an airship which is supposed to be navigating the air over the bay cities by night and hiding from observation in some secluded place before daybreak came in yesterday from many sources. Many persons saw mysterious lights moving overhead. But the projectors of the phenomenon which has caused intense and general interest seem to revel in mystery.

Among those who yesterday told of seeing the lights carried about by an aerial visitor were Mayor Sutro, Colonel Menton, the excursion agent of the Southern Pacific Company; Samuel Foliz, advertising manager of The Call; Professor C. H. Murphy of the Polytechnic High School, also many others. What they saw or heard from others who saw the moving light is told in the subjoined account. They all tell practically the same story, which is that the light appeared quite high overhead and that it moved very fast. They did not all observe it to be moving in the same direction. 

Dr. Benjamin, who has been supposed to have invented a flying machine or airship, which is supposed to be the cause of the phenomena observed overhead during the past few nights, was in the City yesterday, and last evening was interviewed by The Call. Dr. Benjamin said that he did not know anything about the airship. At the same time he conceded that if he did know of such an invention of his own, he would consider it wise not to give any information concerning it until he had secured his patents.

Dr. Benjamin said that Mr. Collins is his attorney, and admitted that he visited Mr. Collins yesterday afternoon. This, in connection with the fact that Mr. Collins admitted that he is attorney for a man who claims to have invented an air ship, must be taken for what it is worth. 

Concerning this mystery it should be clearly understood that The Call does not aver that an airship has been invented, nor does it deny that such is the fact. There is no intention on the part of The Call to deceive its readers. The statements which have been made by reputable citizens are given, and these will undoubtedly be carefully considered and the consensus of public opinion will place the true value upon the different circumstances. There are several theories to account for the mysterious moving light, which do not necessarily imply the existence of a flying machine or airship. 

There is no doubt that many people firmly believe in the airship. There were many such who sat up late last night to watch for the appearance of such a vessel. Many stood on roofs and in other elevated places, in the rain, until late, hoping to get a glimpse of it. At the hour of going to press the whole matter remained a mystery. 

Henry W. Bradley of the law firm of Stanly, Hayes & Bradley made a very interesting statement which will be widely read. The most circumstantial story yet told came from Oakland last night. Passengers on a streetcar claim to have been attracted by the light overhead and looking upward they saw distinctly the outlines of an airship, which resembled a huge bird in its outlines and which seemed to rise and fall in its course. Many residents of Oakland say that they, also, discerned the outlines of the vessel. 

What Spectators Across the Bay Say That They Saw

OAKLAND, Cal., Nov. 23. There is a general impression in this city that the airship which has been seen so often recently is being housed somewhere in Alameda County when it is not being tested by its inventor. The whole population is about equally engaged between discussing the qualities of airships and looking at the sky expecting to see the winged machine parting the clouds. Reports are continually being received of its being seen in the neighborhood of Berkeley and Hayward’s, as though the inventor were confining his experiments to the low land between the hills that skirt the northern boundary of the county and the bay. Several people saw the light over Hayward’s last night, and the number of people who have seen it in North Oakland is constantly increasing. 

Last evening the conductor wearing badge No. 26 of the Alameda electric line reported seeing the affair over Fruitvale. He says it had a powerful headlight and there appeared to be several smaller lights on board. 

Mayor Davie is a firm believer in the existence of the airship. “I doubted the story of those who declared they had seen it,” said the Mayor to-day, “but when I looked through the names of the reputable people who unhesitatingly assert that they have seen it I doubt it no longer.” 

“I have always believed in the practicability of airships, and a few years ago old Dr. Freeling had a model that closely resembled the picture published of this invention, and he told me before he died that when aluminum was brought into use the secret of air-flying would be solved.” 

“I have no doubt that someone has built a machine, because many of those who have seen it are certainly entitled to credit.” 

Attorney A. A. Moore heard the story of the airship a few days ago. “I did not talk with Mr. Collins,” he said, “but I was talking with a friend, an attorney, who told me that Collins had talked with him about a client who had invented an airship.”

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