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The Chattanooga Times

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 13 January 1910, page 7


Many See Strange Craft Pass Over Chattanooga.

An unknown airship passed over Chattanooga yesterday morning about 9:30 o'clock, proceeding in a northeasterly direction and in a straight course, as if on a long journey. The unusual sight was witnessed by many people in this city. Starting point or destination of the mysterious aerial craft is not known.

Some who saw it described the vessel as cigar-shaped, which would indicate that it was a dirigible balloon. These people say they did not see it through rings of cigar smoke, either, and that they were not victims of a pipe dream.

The airship seen yesterday above the city is thought to be at least the second to pass over this region within a few weeks. Some Chattanoogans saw a strange object in the sky recently and strongly leaned to the opinion that it, like the unknown visitor of yesterday, was an aerial machine.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 14 January 1910, page


Wonder If Aviator Has Sinister Designs Upon Chattanooga Territory.

Another flying machine. or perhaps the same one, was seen to pass over the city yesterday. Those who saw it said it came from the southwest, and after maneuvering around, sailed away toward the north, keeping parallel with Walden's ridge. From all that can be learned of the craft, it appeared to be a dirigible balloon similar to that one which passed over this section Wednesday morning. Many think it is the same one, and are at a loss to account for its visitations. Some are inclined to think that the mysterious airship is the craft of a sky pirate who has sinister designs upon Chattanooga. At any rate, the aeronautically inclined gentleman (end of article)

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 15 January 1910, page

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 15 January 1910, page


KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 14 - Several citizens report having seen a dirigible airship which passed over the city shortly before 7 o'clock tonight ___ in a southerly direction. The outline of the air craft could plainly be seen and the noise of the motors could be heard. Fast speed was being made on its trip across the city occupied __ few minutes time. The machine was under perfect control.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 17 January 1910, page


It Alighted Yesterday in the Ninth Ward.


With Other Small Boys He Fooled People for Whole Week - Nothing But Paper Balloons Sent Skyward for Fun.

Airships, aeroplanes, dirigible balloons, biplanes and aerial craft of all kinds, must take a tumble in the minds of Chattanoogans for the time being. Those things in the sky which thousands of people in this city and vicinity have been accepting as the real, genuine all-wool and a yard wide airship were not real airships at all. They were no more than toys sent up as a practical joke. The perpetrator was Squire Ed Bass and some more of the small boys out in South Chattanooga.

The squire and a very few others who must have been "on" have had lots of un. The gullibles whose name is legion, may have enjoyed the stunt, too, but just how much they will appreciate the humor of the situation now remaineth to be seen. It will depend largely on the temperament of the victim. A joke's a joke, but when the victim gets wise the effect is more or less doubtful. Doubtless the joking 'squire's ears will burn with an exceeding warmth today, because of the many he so thoroughly fooled there will be some to express themselves plainly, forgetting the Sunday school lesson yesterday.

Murder will out, doncherknow, and other matters not as serious do not always remain a mystery. The cat has scratched and chewed her way clean out of the bag of the dirigible balloon business. Truth once more reigns supreme and sits at the tiller of the aeroplane, having ousted the spirit of humor and falsity which has been steering the airships all over the sky in the region roundabout Chattanooga. The cat got out of the bag and the genus at the steering gear gave way to the truth yesterday when a cigar-shaped paper balloon, some fifteen feet long and four feet through, at the maximum, alighted calmly, peacefully, without shame or embarrassment, in the neighborhood of the Ninth ward fire hall.

It was not long before the presence of the strange object was discovered by the natives, and they began to congregate.

There was much interest and amusement manifested, coupled with a certain form of admiration of whoever it was who had succeeded in fooling the people for so long. For it was very apparent that in the collapsed paper structure lay the secret of the airships which had been seen over the city.

Now, the good people of Highland Park who saw the paper balloon and realized its significance did not know who was back of the joke. Even before the discovery in Highland Park The Times had learned the identity of the juveniles who perpetrated the joke and was preparing to inform its readers on the subject. Then came word that the inevitable Ninth ward had come again to the fore and had material evidence of the nature of the airships which have been causing so much commotion and talk for the last few days.

My, what people in a dry town will see, and, seeing, what mountains they will make out of mole hills that come into their line of vision. Chattanooga can console itself in the knowledge that other towns, dry like Chattanooga, have been victimized lately in the matter of sky-craft. Dry Knoxville has been a seein' airships lately. Dry Huntsville has been peering aloft to the detriment of its necks and collars at strange craft in the big dome.

Amid the commotion caused by the frequent appearance of the what seemed to be an airship with a strong liking for this vicinity. 'Squire Bass and his fellow conspirators have been saying nothing and laughing up their sleeves at the mystification of their townspeople: Like Mr. Hyde, they have stood around among the wondering victims and hearing accounts of their Dr. Jekyll doings.

'Squire Bass, arch-conspirator of them all, perhaps had the biggest share of amusement in this way. It was no unusual thing for him to hear people describe the airship in the minutest detail. His amusement was in their gullibleness, and the power of their optics. Some of them declared that the craft was a biplane and that they could plainly discern the man at the steering gear, and even hear the chug-chug of the machinery.

That so many people were successfully deceived by the toy balloon was due to optical delusion. Tricks which the eye will play in certain circumstances are certainly delusions and snares.

In reality a 14-foot affair, the little balloon, perhaps a few hundred feet high, looked like a monster affair. And, then, too, like looking at the Pleiades, the more one looked the more there was to see. The man in the rigging, and other details described by some, were natural consequences.

'Squire Bass' joke was simply that and nothing more - a practical joke. It has been the opinion of many that the alleged airship, or whatever it was, would resolve itself finally into some sort of an advertising dodge. But the worthy 'squire has no brand of soap, panacea, cigar or breakfast food to hoist upon a purchasing public, so far as known. The craft which ambled into the camp of the Highland Parkers yesterday bore no advertisement. It was very inconsiderate of that balloon to land in an enlightened community like Highland Park, anyway. Had it gone further the 'squire's joke might have lasted longer. But in the midst of thousands of wide-awake and strenuous folk it could only result in discovery and limelight. It was a case of "If we're discovered we're lost," as 'Squire Bass may have said.

'Squire Bass' balloon was not made lighter than air by the use of hot air about the prison commissioner's job, either. The balloon which landed among the Parkites owed its powers of navigation to the gases arising from a bunch of waste soaked in some liquid, presumably gasoline, kerosene, benzine, or some other old sene, and ignited.

By perpetrating such a joke upon an unsuspecting public, especially as the joke was so successful, 'Squire Bass lays himself open to a variety of more or less succulent and pithy flings. Any time today it will be pertinent to eject sarcasm and hitting sentences about the airship man. There will be some to say that he was trying to get high enough up to get his grasp on the prison commissioner plum. Others may hint that he was looking around for more love-smitten couples in order that he might join their two lives in one, and get a nice fee.

The balloons of the Bass persuasion were sent up from the rear of Stong's drug store, Main street. The forests, mountains and streams of the vicinity could probably divulge the landing place of the others, the ones turned loose before that which opened the Ninth warders' eyes.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 26 June 1924, page


Charles Fort Seeks Information From Chattanoogans.


Writes From London on Strange Aircraft Observed Here in January, 1910 - Author of "New Lands."

Chattanoogans who remember the "mysterious airship" reported to have hovered over this city for three days in January, 1910, will be interested in a letter received by The Times from one Charles Fort, of 39 Marchmont street, Russell Square, London, England. Mr. Fort, who has written a "spooky" book called "New Lands," suggests that the strange aircraft seen here was a visitor from some other planet. His letter to The Times follows:

To The Chattanooga Times:

Dear Sir - I don't know whether you will think that the letter which I enclose is preposterous or not. I think, myself, that it so seems. But I think you will agree with me that the effect of preposterousness, or affront to preconceptions is no criterion. Of course I do not reason in the other extreme and favor an idea simply because it seems preposterous.

I hope that you will not think that I am hoaxing. My latest book, "New Lands," which was published last October, in New York, is filled with similar data. The introduction to the book is by Booth Tarkington. Other persons, who would not be accused of being wild-minded, are interested in this new research.

If you will publish the letter, I shall be very much obliged to you. I have tried to make it interesting enough, and some new data may be forthcoming to justify considerable space, and I think that speculation upon other worlds, stimulated by the approaching opposition of the planet Mars, make the subject timely. Very truly. CHARLES FORT. 19 Marchmont Street, Russell Square, London, England, June 11, 1924.

Accompanying the above communication was the following:

According to the New York Tribune, Jan. 13, 1910, an unknown airship was seen in the sky, upon three successive days, at Chattanooga. Upon the 10th of January, it was seen traveling southward again, disappearing over Missionary ridge.

A reason for thinking that this object was no airship of terrestrial origin, is that it was reported also from Huntsville, Ala., seventy-five miles from Chattanooga. In this period, aeronautics upon this earth was of development so small that, in the middle of December, 1909, somebody won a prize for sailing in a dirigible from St. Cyr to the Eiffel tower, Paris, and back, a distance of less than twenty-five miles.

I am spending my time collecting data that indicate that there are other, inhabited worlds, perhaps not the visible planets; not inaccessibly remote; and that explorers from them have many times been seen in the sky. In the newspapers, this work has been called "epoch-making," also otherwise, according to various opinions and emotions - "rather crazy," for instance. Of many accounts of seeming explorers from other worlds, in the sky of this earth, I pick out one that is not especial for its convincingness, but that is convenient as to date, because the occurence was at a time when dirigible airships of this earth could not have sailed even from St. Cyr to Paris.

In the Journal des Debats (Paris) April 12, 1905, is reported a luminous object, or an object bearing lights, which had been appearing every night since April 1, over the city of Cherbourg, France. In the "Bull Soc. Astro. de France," 19-243, Flammarion says that the object must have been the planet Venus; he therefore derides the descriptions of it as having sometimes moved in various directions, saying that such supposed observations were illusions. In Le Figaro, April 13, it is said that the prefet maritime, of Cherbourg, had commisioned Commander de Kerillis, of the "Chasseloup-Laubat," to investigate. The results of this officer's investigations are published; that the object was not in the position of the planet Venus, and that it did not have the cresentic disk of Venus.

The last observations upon this object, at Cherbourg, were upon the night of the 11th. There is a datum to support the idea that something had been exploring locally over Cherbourg, and had then sailed away, and had been seen sailing away. In Le Figaro, April 15, it is said that, upon the night of the eleventh, the guards of La Blanche Lighthouse had seen something like a lighted balloon in the sky, and had started to signal to it, but that it had disappeared. It is said that the lighthouse had been out of communication with the mainland, and that the guards had not heard of the object that had been exciting the people of Cherbourg.

There are data which indicate that the observations upon an unknown vessel in the sky of Tennessee and Alabama, January, 1910, were upon something that had ben exploring in various parts of the sky of this earth. To some minds the data may seem unrelated: almost everything that has even been found out has been developed by organizing the seemingly unrelated.

In the New York Tribune, Dec 21, 1909, it is said that, at 1 o'clock, morning of the 21st, Immigration Inspector Hoe, of Boston, had seen "a bright light passing over the harbor," and had concluded that he had seen an airship of some kind. In following issues of the Tribune, and other newspapers, it is said that two nights later, the streets of Worcester, Mass., were thronged with crowds, watching "a mysterious visitor" in the sky. Upon the night of the 23rd, a dark object, bearing lights moved in the sky, over Boston. "As it flew away to the north, queries began to pour into the newspaper offices and the police stations, regarding the remarkable visitations."

Upon the night of the 24th there were no such observations reported upon anything in the sky of New England.

According to data, this may be because some exploring construction from some other world had swiftly moved across the Atlantic ocean.

In the English Mechanic, 104-71, James Fergusen, a well-known writer upon scientific subjects, writes from Rossbrien, Limerick, Ireland, that, at 8:30 o'clock, night of Dec. 24, he saw a luminous object appear above the northeastern horizon, and for twenty minutes sail southward, then turning around, retracing, and, at two minutes past nine, disappearing at the point whence it had come.

I am gathering material for as extensive an investigation of this whole subject as is possible. If readers of this newspaper, who saw the object that was reported from Tennessee,in January, 1910, will send accounts to me (33 marchmont Street, Russell Square, London, England) it may be that we can learn more about these appearances than could the Aztecs, for instance, when they heard of "moving lights at sea," and probably thought the reports preposterous, or thought that nothing but torches in canoes had been seen, or thought virtually nothing upon the subject, and they did a great deal of thinking later.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 26 June 1924, page


A veteran Chattanooga policeman claims that he can account for the "mysterious airship" reported to have hovered over this city for a period of three days during January, 1910, referred to in a letter received by The Times and printed in the issue of Tuesday from Charles Fort, of 39 Marchmont street, Russell square, London, England. This policeman asserts that he and a fellow policeman, now dead, and a salesman set loose three balloons shortly after Christmas, 1909, and caused the excitement.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 19 June 1924, page


COLUMBUS GROVE, O., June 18. - The mysterious red light, which for two weeks has attracted thousands of persons to Deakin grove, northeast of here, has been solved. Fifteen thousand persons who had traveled miles to see it last night learned that instead of a "ghost" it came from a lantern carried by Sammie Busick, 13, while hunting worms.

Various theories were advanced, to account for the nightly reappearance of the light. The crowds increased until the lonely hotel was unable to accommodate them.

Examination of the soil by a chemist brought his announcement that the red glow was caused by phosphorous rising from the ground and coming in contact with light rays through which it passed.

Busick admitted that he carried a red lantern in hunting night crawlers from the sale of which at $1 a gallon he hoped to purchase a roadster. When talk started about the "spooks" Sammie said he kept quiet fearing he would lose his business and prospective automobile.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 29 June 1924, page

A Message to Mars.

America being a big country, we consider it incumbent on us to do things on a big scale, and our latest project is certainly ambitious enough.

Prof. Goddard, who has been experimenting for some years, and has perfected rockets which soar to amazing heights, is now going to turn his artillery on the moon. He believes that he can devise a firing apparatus which will give his rocket the muzzle velocity necessary to overcome the pull of the earth's gravitation. After that, by successive explosions en route, the rocket will, it is hoped, develop sufficient power to reach the moon, when the impact, the rocket being provided with a charge of flash powder, should produce a flare visible by the aid of an ordinary astronomical telescope.

After thus shooting the moon, the professor is to turn his attention to Mars. But if, as certain people believe, Mars is inhabited, its citizens are hardly likely to relish this means of interplanetary communication, and may reply in kind, in which case even the league of nations will find difficulty in securing arbitration between the two parties to the argument.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, TIMES, 13 July 1924, page

Martians of Huge Size?
(R. H. Platt, Jr., in the World's Work.)

One prominent astronomical authority has allowed his imagination to play with the possible effect of gravity on the appearance of the Martians. His vision is interesting, and it fits the problem presented by such a huge engineering feat as represented by the canals.

It is known that gravity on Mars is only one-third of what it is on the earth. That means that three times as much work could be done (as for example, the digging of a canal) by the same expenditure of muscular effort. With ourselves the average size of men conforms with the most efficient activity in our gravity. If the same were true on Mars, nature would build her Martians three times the size of men. Such a being would have three dimensions, height, breadth and thickness: therefore, on earth, he would weigh twenty-seven times as much as the average man, but on Mars, where gravity is only one-third of that of the earth, he would weigh nine times as much as we weigh in our sphere.

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