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Message Subject Update!!!!! - Ufo's Over Lake Erie - Ten Consecutive Night's In A Row - Cleveland
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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[link to strangegrub.blogspot.com]

Lake Erie: UFOs, Alien Bases, and the Wizard Lights

An article in this morning's Cleveland, Ohio Plain Dealer, concerning UFOs and alleged alien bases in the vicinity of Lake Erie, called to mind a couple of articles in my collection, from the 1860s, addressing strange, luminous phenomena on/over the lake. The first, from 1860, is a short article from the Scientific American of that day, covering a report from the Cleveland, Herald, that notes a report of a ship burning out on the lake, when in fact no ship was burning. The second article I include is from the Brooklyn, Eagle, dating from 1867, and again reporting what resembled a burning vessel upon the lake, as well as discussing reports dating from as much as 50 years earlier.

This demonstrates yet again that the 20th century never had a monopoly on unexplained luminous phenomena; the principle ways that the 20th (from 1947 onwards), and now the 21st, centuries differ from the 19th century and earlier, are:

1.) Not long after Kenneth Arnold's landmark sighting in 1947 and the ensuing wave of saucer reports, the label "UFO" was affixed to "the phenomenon," a term which was then widely adopted, and which came to mean everything from unidentified aerial phenomena to extraterrestrial spacecraft in droves.

2.) A lot of people began to make all manner and variety of conclusions (many mutually exclusive) about what such "UFOs" were, and were not, often loosely based upon "data" that never qualified as "data" in the scientific sense (this is still going on, as in the most recent article I link to below).

3.) In the 20th and now the 21st century, those that don't toe the various "party" lines arising as a result of number two, are almost universally either ignored, or "demonized."

I include the full text of the two articles from the 1860s, below the excerpt from today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. Note, as you are reading these articles, that the phenomenon is never called "UFOs" (obviously, the term didn't even exist yet), nor are alien bases or extraterrestrial spacecraft mentioned, nor is any paranormal phenomenon, whatsoever, advanced as a possible explanation.

If you feel so inclined, ponder on what that could mean, if anything.


Lake Erie a UFO sighting hotbed

Friday, March 02, 2007
Whatever Michael Lee Hill filmed from a lakefront Willowick park last August, he wasn't the first to spot something unusual in the skies over or near Lake Erie.

The shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is something of a hot spot for UFO sightings, so much so that some theorize aliens have an underwater base in the lake.

Read more

Also see here, for a related story.


Scientific American, New Series, Volume 3, Issue 8 (Aug 18, 1860)

OPTICAL ILLUSION ON LAKE ERIE.--The Cleveland, Ohio, Herald says that a tremendous thunder shower passed over that city on the night of the 3d inst., and adds :-- "Between three and four o’clock next morning the appearance of a vessel on fire was seen far out on the lake. Some persons thought they could distinguish the sails. During a heavy gust of wind the light disappeared. Such appearances are not unfrequent on the lake, and the more experienced men along the dock think there has been no vessel burnt."


"A Curious Phenomenon on Lake Erie," Brooklyn Eagle, Thursday, December 12, 1867

A Mystery on the Lakes--The Wizard
Lights--A Curious Phenomenon on
Lake Erie

I notice in the Dispatch, of the 11th inst.*, the following paragraph:--

"The statement that a vessel was seen burning off Erie on Tuesday night, is corroborated by several persons living on the highlands south of the city, who say they saw it."

On the Tuesday evening mentioned, Oct. 29th, at about 7 o'clock, my attention was called by one of my family to a bright light on the lake, having very much the appearance of a vessel on fire. Bringing several objects into range, I watched the light forsome time to ascertain whether there was any preceptible [sic] motion.

The wind was blowing hard at the time down the lake and a vessel would naturally drift rapidly to leeward, at all events as soon as the propelling power should be interfered with the fire. No motion, however, in any direction was to be discovered, and at once concluded that it was nothing more than the "mysterious light," which for many years past, at longer or shorter intervals, has been seen by the inhabitants at this point on the lake shore. The light has made its appearance generally, if not always, in the fall of the year, and usually in the month of November, and almost always during or immediately after a heavy blow from the southwest. The most brilliant exhibition of the light I have ever seen was during the night of the 24th or 25th, as nearly as I can recollect, of November, 1852. It had been my fortune to witness the burning of the steamer Erie, near Silver Creek, several years before, and the resemblance which this light bore to that of the burning steamer was so strong that I confidently expected the arrival of the boats from the wreck during the night. Others with myself watched the light for perhaps two hours, and with the aid of a good night-glass obtained what seemed to be a very distinct view of the burning vessel.

The object appeared to be some 200 or more feet in length upon the water, and about as high above the water as an upper cabin steamer, such as was in use upon the Lake twenty years ago. At times the flames would start up in spires or sheets of light, then away from side to side, and then die away, precisely as would be the case with a large fire exposed to a strong wind; and two or three times there was the appearance of a cloud of sparks, as if some portion of the upper works had fallen into the burning mass below. The sky and water were beautifullly irradiated by the light during its great brilliancy.The light gradually subsided, with occasional flashes until it disappeared altogether. The light of Tuesday evening, although very brilliant for a time, was not nearly so brilliant nor of so long duration as that of 1852.

I am told that this light was seen by mariners on the lakes as long as fifty years ago, but I am not aware that it has ever been made the subject of philosophical speculation or investigation, or, in fact, has ever obtained the notoriety of a newspaper paragraph before. The only theory approaching plausibility I have heard is that the shifting of the sands caused by the continued and heavy winds of autumn has opened some crevices or seams in the rock of the lake bottom through which gas escapes, and that this gas, owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere with which it comes in contact, becomes luminous, or perhaps ignited, and burning with a positive flame. That there are what are called "gas springs" in the water along this portion of the lake shore is a well-known fact, and that highly inflammable gas in large quantities exist at a comparatively shallow depth on the shore, has been sufficiently proved by the boring of wells at different points, as at Erie, Walnut Creek, and Lock Haven, and by natural springs at Westfield and Fredonia.

But whatever the cause, the light is a curious fact, and well worthy the attention of those interested in the investigation of the phenomenon of nature.
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