That Mysterious Light

Sacramento (CA) Daily Record-Union, p. 8 (1), jeudi 19 novembre 1896

Was It an Air-Ship or a Will-o'-the-Wisp?
Stories That are Floating Around Concerning the Supposed Floating Visitor.

Regarding the aerial visitor that passed over Sacramento Tuesday evening, and which was described at the time as being a pure white light of about double the power of an electric arc light, many queer stories are told.

Whether the light was a meteor, or attached to a balloon, or whether it was a genuine flying machine, is not positively known, though ninety-nine out of 100 men in the city regard the matter in the light of a huge hoax. The stories told by some of the parties who saw the light follow, and the reader can pay his money and take his choice:

R. L. Lowry, who was formerly in the employ of the street railway company in this city, but who has been absent for some time and only recently returned, says he was near East Park and saw the apparatus when it was not more than fifty feet from the ground. He declared that the machine was cigar-shaped and was operated by four men who sat aside the cigar and moved as though they were working their passage on a bicycle. He stated that the machine was fitted with wing-like propellers after the fashion of those of an ocean steamer.

T. P. De Long, whose residence is not mentioned in the city directory, said he saw the light and heard voices, but couldn't hear what was said.

Daniel Curl, a horse-trainer, is authority for the statement that he not only saw the light, but heard someone suggest that "they go up higher."

F. E. Briggs, a motorman on a G-street car, said he saw the light and called attention to it. His passengers requested him to stop, which he did. He heard singing which appeared to come from the direction of the light, and seemed to be wafted down in gusts

M. F. Shelley, a motorman on a G-street car, saw the light and heard a voice shouting orders.

C. H. Lusk, Secretary of the street-car company, noticed the light. He said it had an up-and-down and side-to-side motion.

G. C. Snider, foreman of the street-car barn, saw the light, and gave it as his opinion that it was an aerial machine of some kind.

Frank A. Ross, Assistant Manager of the street railway company, said he had talked with many persons concerning the matter, and, having seen the light, is fully assured that it was some kind of a flying machine.

Thomas Allen stated very seriously that a flying machine, the invention of a citizen of Sacramento, actually did ascend from the vicinity of Oak Park, and that four men, among whom was Nat Liebling, ascended with it. The machine, he related, was fastened to the earth with a cable, which broke and let the aerial wonder float away. It would not, owing to a defect in the steering apparatus, be guided, and sailed around at random. First it made for Suisun, but after having accomplished half the journey veered around, once more passed over the city, and is now at a point near Arcade Station, ten miles northeast of this city.

It puzzles one to understand how the machine could have started from Oak Park, which is southeast of the city, and passed over from the northeast to the southwest, and it is also puzzling to know how Nat Liebling could have taken such a wild, wild ride, when he was seen near the Postoffice only two hours later.

There are other puzzling things also, but the average citizen will choose what he wishes, and the burning question still is, "What was it?"