UFO Delight in the 1896 SKY SHOW

Last Updated on June 9, 2020 by admin

November 26, 1991



This file shared with KeelyNet courtesy of Chuck Henderson.


The source for this file is the February 1965 issue of

Flying Saucers magazine, published and edited by

Ray Palmer. Flying Saucers magazine is now



Flying Saucers magazine was, towards the end of the ’70s,

incorporated into Palmer Publication’s SEARCH magazine.

Then SEARCH magazine was sold to Owl Press.

If you might be interested in subscribing to this interesting

journal, their mailing address, etc…is:

Owl Press

PO Box 81

Rosholt, WI 54473

(715) 677-3420

Please mention that you found this on KeelyNet, thanks.


from Flying Saucers, February 1965


By Ted Rathbone

In November of  1896,  the  astonished  citizenry  up  and  down the

Sacramento Valley of California were favored with a manifestation

of scientific achievement the like of which was not to gain public

notice again for three quarters of a century.

A “flying machine”‘ whose origin is still in dispute, maneuvered

purposefully and mysteriously from Oroville to San Francisco,

and from Oakland to Sacramento, unrestrained by darkness, rain,

wind, or the hue and cry of aroused observers.

The astute San Francisco Call ran a full front page on the 19th

of November on the sightings. A couple of scooped rival newspapers

questioned the veracity of the many reports, but only for a day.

As their offices became overrun with subscribers and others who

“saw it with (their) own eyes,” the two papers changed their minds,

investigated, and were forced to take the story seriously. But

none of the papers discovered anything at all about the history,

workings, or the purpose of the strange craft. 1896 was no different

from any other  year in history in that unknown objects explored the

skies of earth and been observed,  wondered at, and reported; and in

the thrust and squeeze of mortal progress, generally forgotten.

There was great  talk  at the time of the strange machine  being  of

local invention, originating   in  the  Table  Mountain  area  above

Oroville. This is  so  highly  a   proposition   as   to  be  called

impossible, although the top of Table Mountain would certainly have

provided a secluded and safe temporary landing site for an alien

visitor from the sky.

Names were inevitably  associated  with the advent  of  the  strange

craft. There was a Dr. Benjamin who allegedly did the inventing.

Then there was one George Collins, his attorney, who offered to

the press a description of the sky machine although he obviously

had not as  yet  seen  the  actual  vehicle. But one is forced to question which came first, the advent or the association. The sky vehicle which visited Northern California in 1896 employed the vertical maneuverability and hover ability of a present day helicopter, but without a sign of the ungainly and hungry rotor. It swooped and soared over the roof tops of San Francisco and glided neatly and precisely over the mining shacks of Cherokee in Butte County, without benefit of wings. The Collins story has the airship with crude, inept flappers. In all pictures, however, the background is rain swept and cloud torn, and although the craft was undoubtedly wingless, the 1896 outlook would most certainly have added wings in the recounting. To be sure, there were lighter-than-air craft in operation at the time on an experimental basis, but the movements of these were about as decisive and determined as the wanderings of the spider watching the treetops slip by below her as she clings to her strands of silken web. Some of these pictures in which wings are shown not only have a stormy backdrop, but all pictures clearly delineate powerful searchlights. On this all witnesses agree, even to the extent that with the Sacramento (1896) observations some hundreds of citizens who gaped, open mouthed and startled, were partially and temporarily blinded by the brilliance of the “great lights” emanating from the sky object. The ship obviously had access to a source of power incompatible with the heavy glass jar batteries and even heavier dynamos with which the world prided itself in that day. It seems that November of 1896 in Northern California, there was manifestation of the same type of phenomena which startled Kenneth Arnold near Mt. Ranier in 1947. Call it or them what you will, but their existence cannot be denied. The strange sky craft visited Oakland. On Monday the 23rd of November of that year when the bare electric bulb in the kitchen was still a novelty and a marvel, horses, buggies and spellbound people mingled in the confusion and wonderment on dark streets as the “monster of the air” swung low over the housetops. It inspected building, street, and the startled life of the metropolis in the glare of its blinding light beams. And of course, the revealing lights were made still more dramatic as the unknown vehicle came down through the clouds of a rainy, stormy night to view the city. Among the many reputable observers of the unknown machine were Oakland’s Mayor Davies, and Mayor Sutro of San Francisco. Mayor Sutro witnessed the slow approach of the sky vehicle as it sailed toward the Golden Gate from somewhere above the Pacific Ocean. He and his family and all the servants made their way hastily out onto the lawn at Sutro Heights Manor to watch the progress of the object coming in from the direction of the sea. This, too, was an evening visit, and San Franciscans hurriedly climbed ladders and stairs to get a roof top view as the light beams from the sky played about over their city. The seals on Seal Rocks found themselves illuminated, causing them to protest with grunts and squeals and retreat into the water. The sky car cruised leisurely past the eminences of Twin Peaks, its bright rays passing lightly over the pines and rhododendron, and the formal gardens of the area. Brakes on the cable cars were locked and destinations forgotten as passengers and crew piled off to wonder at this dark sky chariot with the bright lights which was passing through the sky above them. One newspaper account said its “frame” was like “the body of a bird,” yet still no mention of anything even resembling wings as we know them. Undoubtedly because the ship had no wings, nor had any need of them. At about 9:15 of that same evening, Van Ness Avenue was treated to a little longer display as the “glowing giant” hovered at about 400 feet above the thoroughfare while the people on the street looked. A few no doubt gazed in fear, others in boiling curiosity. The next morning the city hall and all municipal offices were besieged by excited men and women, all demanding an explanation of just what it was they had seen the night before flying around over the city, shining its lights everywhere and scaring horses and people half out of their wits. A special meeting of The Board of Supervisors was called to cope with the questions of the populace. In the matter of an unknown sky vehicle however, it is not known just what The Board’s answers were, but we can be sure that in this instance they saw the limits of their supervision. One 1896 newspaper cut shows the strangely familiar rounded outline of the ship inspecting St. Mary’s College, Oakland. The shape of the object in the air is remindful of other, more recent phenomena which a government department have found highly unpalatable, and to whom the UFO and its viewing has become anathema and grounds for excommunication. The illustration shows four air screws arranged around the lower rim of the oval, hanging from the underside, which would certainly be an unhandy place for them. The propellers can be nothing but the viewer’s assumption that such were necessary for propulsion because the ship was flying and something had to make it fly. But if whirling propellers were the motivation it would have required an eye faster than human to identify them and determine they had four blades. Notable in the description is the absence of any reference to a roar, whir, or sound of any sort coming from the strange machine, whereas in any propeller driven aircraft most of the noise heard on the ground comes from the blades churning the air. The propellers go with the wings: ready answers for the unknown. During this same time, over in Camptonville which lies a couple of ridges and a river to the west of Oroville, one of Camptonville’s leading citizens, a Mr. Meek, reported on a landing made by, it is presumed, this same ship. The unknown craft settled to the earth on a level spot just out of town, whereupon five of the strongest and bravest of the town’s young men ventured out to investigate. There was no hostility from the only crew member they saw, but unfortunately conversation lagged because neither party understood the other. No doubt there were many on those wet windy November evenings in Oakland and San Francisco who knew an unvoiced longing as they watched the departure of the strange craft heading out. Then as now, the new and wonderful possibilities of which they had been given a glimpse must have sent a surge to the hearts and inflamed the imaginations of many of those observers. But the Spanish-American War was even then a-brewing, and the never neglected direction of public sentiment was under way. The excitement caused by the unknown visitor from the sky was crowded out by the induced fever of mundane strife and politics, and the story then, as similar stories now, became officially forgotten. If such effortless and manageable power were available as that demonstrated by the unknown vehicle, it is difficult to conceive of it being immune to exploitation. In fact, a powerful California Railroad Entity threw money and manpower into an effort to discover the origin and workings of the sky vehicle, but in vain. The “in vain” is as conclusive proof as any of the unassailability of the secret of this ungravitating visitor from the sky. Or of it not being “local invention.” Besides the railroad, the government investigated also, thinking perhaps it was An Implement of Spanish Aggression. Here too, as with so many other authenticated UFO sightings, all they found was mystery, and no answers, but a lot of eyewitnesses. ——————————————————————– Vanguard note… The AERO series on KeelyNet has some people asking why we would “waste” our time on such old and “unproveable” information. For those who choose to look beyond the blinders and with an “integrating” eye, there are many interesting leads and tie-ins with Keely (most publicly available on KeelyNet, others as we find time to place them on the system). For starters, we are finding that there were apparently two main (possibly three) groups working on aerial devices in the 1800’s. The Western group was based on the work of the German immigrants who founded the Aero Club (controlled or influenced by the mysterious NYMZA group from the East). Someone in that group had discovered a (currently unknown) gas with incredible lifting power. We at Vangard Sciences believe this gas to be a COMPONENT of hydrogen or more precisely a direct indication of elements with LESS MASS than hydrogen. The Eastern group (Keely Country) had aerial devices and technologies using magnetic or neutral center principles as discovered by Keely and possibly others who might have been either in association with him or working independent of Keely. Comments from the Western group indicate that attempts were made to join forces with the Eastern group since the Eastern group had the greatest potential for military uses. The Western group was Pacificist to the extreme which forced secrecy and even death to members who even hinted of any desires to capitalize, release or otherwise promote their discoveries as a group. Both the Eastern and Western groups DID NOT confine their researches to aerial technologies alone. Unfortunately, because of the secrecy involved, much of the information is lost or intentionally destroyed to prevent its use for “negative” purposes. There is a great possibility that the groups survived into modern times and might still be playing a part in many of the UFO-type phenomena that continues today. If such is the case, that the groups did not die out but in fact continued to advance their researches, they could by this time be at a point in their developments which would make them appear to us as advanced beings. Would it not be to this mysterious group or groups advantage to intentionally influence those working in such areas to create outlandish stories in order to help discredit the real researchers? And would you not also take the necessary steps to silence those coming too close to the truth? The Airships of 1897 have long been of interest to us here at Vanguard Sciences and was further accelerated by Wally Chariton’s book “The Great Texas Airship Mystery.” We had the privilege of meeting with Wally and discussing the subject. Wally had never heard of Keely or his airship or aerial navigation experiments at that time. A recent call to Wally about the Dellschau notebooks was received excitedly and he wants to be kept abreast of what turns up. At this point, we are looking into gas properties, Russell’s Octave Periodic Table of the Elements and such diverse areas as diffusion, osmosis and catalysts. Thanks to the sharing of information from people like Jim Shaffer, Jimmy Ward and Pete Navarro, this information will not be relegated to the wastebasket and might indeed lead to new discoveries. We at Vanguard Sciences will continue to integrate and distribute what we find on the AEROS and other related subjects through KeelyNet. Thanks for your support!