In 1888, a 15 year old boy was living with his widowed mother and sisters on a small farm near the now extinct town of Grundy, Texas. While working in the garden he heard what he thought was a clap of thunder. Before he could look up from his weeding, things began to fall around him, hard little pieces of metal, larger pieces and many heavy objects which struck the ground. He fled for cover in the house.
After things stopped falling, he went back outside and walked over to a large object on the ground, which moved, and proved to be a man. He was badly hurt, having fallen quite a distance to earth. His mother and sisters arrived and helped him move the man into the house, out of the hot Texas sun.
The people at Grundy heard the noise and some men rode out from town to investigate. At the farm they found out about the "man who fell from the sky." Some doubted, some laughed; yet they all had a look at this man. And they told the mother and her children that the man was not to be moved until the Sheriff could be summoned to the farm. The Sheriff was not at Grundy and it would take a couple of days to fetch him. The man regained consciousness that evening and he spoke to them, but they could not understand his language. They offered him food, but the only things he accepted were water and a piece of
melon. A few hours later he died. The family was afraid to move the body until the Sheriff came, so they wrapped him in a blanket and left his body on the bed.
This story may be considered a pure figment of the imagination, but several years later, in 1944, this teen-age boy, now an elderly man, told the story to some friends. Their faces must have shown doubt because he suddenly rose, left the house and returned a few minutes later with several pieces of metal, one he handed out for examination and the rest he placed on the wood stove.
The first piece was very light, about 1/2 inch thick and, roughly, 6" by 9", concave on one side, convex on the other. The edges looked like they had been "torn", with a crystal structure at right angles to the face. The metal was a silver-gray color. It could not be scratched with a file nor dented with a hammer, even on the edges.
The old man then took the pieces of metal from the stovetop with his bare hands and passed them around. It was heavier than the first piece and of smaller dimensions. It was a dark bluish color. And it was NOT hot, although it had laid on the stove top long enough to be VERY hot! Though of obvious different composition, this piece could not be scratched or dented either. When his friends commented that they must be pieces of some new metal for airplanes, the old man laughed and said he'd had those fragments since HE WAS A KID!
1896 - A large airship flew over the small town of Camptonville, Yuba County, California and landed nearby at 9:00 p.m. Five men went out to investigate, and found the ship with its sole occupant, a bearded man who appeared to be deaf and mute. Some written communication was attempted, in response the man produced an "alphabet" and spelled out a message saying he lived in the Montezuma Mountains with his wife and two children. He declined to answer any further questions, so the five men left. The craft was seen flying off the next day.
The airship disappeared from the West Coast after causing a brief flurry in Tacoma. In April of 1897 it—or others like it—were sighted in six Midwestern and Southern states. No wreckage was ever found, nor was a similar ship ever reported again.
The question remains: What, if anything, was it? Technically, a craft answering to its description could conceivably have been built in that era; after all, Count Zeppelin was only four years away from launching his first great dirigible. The speeds attributed to it, however, would surely have been impossible for any man-made aircraft. On the night of November 24, 1896, for instance, it was reported at Eureka, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, San Francisco, San Jose, Visalia, Sacramento, and Placerville—a total distance of 680 air miles in five hours. To cover all that ground, the ship would have had to clip along at 136 miles per hour, a speed record that would not be broken until 1926. [link to www.textfiles.com]