Previously, I looked at the details of the 25 October 1910, Minderoo Station, Western Australia, "airship" sighting and found it remained mysterious after a re-examination of the known details (click here).
Since that post, I recalled the great "airship" wave of 1896-1897 in the USA. There were literally hundreds of reported sightings during that wave, reported in hundreds, if not thousands of newspaper articles.
Folklorist Thomas E Bullard, and others, spent much time locating and examining newspaper article on this wave. What did Bullard make of them? Are they evidence for UFOs before 1947?
In his book "The Myths and Mystery of UFOs", published in 2010 by the University Press of Kansas, Laurence, Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1729-6, Bullard writes:
"The great airship wave of 1896-1897 makes a striking impression on anyone who reads the newspaper reports as they unfold from day to day, but a disappointment lurks beneath the surface, not one of the thousand or so reports seems to describe a genuine UFO. Most accounts say nothing more than "...the airship was seen last night," while sightings reported at greater depth resolve into accurate descriptions of conventional phenomena or spectacular appearances due to hoaxes." (p.111.)
"In other cases where people saw multiple lights or structured features, a fire balloon or a kite bearing a paper lantern was the likely culprit." (p.112.)
"With questions overshadowing this remainder of quality reports, the authenticity of even one phantom airship seems doubtful." (P.113.)
For an excellent review of Australian "airships" take a look at at this link (click here.) (Thanks to Bill Chalker for pointing out this web site's articles.)