utorak, 19. ožujka 2013.

Charles Dellschau - Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club

Tajanstveni crteži još tajanstvenijih (steampunk) letjelica koje su 1850-ih konstruirali članovi supertajnog Sonora Aero Cluba. Jesu li to vizije uspinjanja u nebo nakon smrti,  umišljena aeronautička enciklopedija opičenog samoukog umjetnika, crteži zbiljskih letjelica koje je pokretao tajanstveni "antigravitacijski" plin ili podvala izvanzemaljaca? Neovisno o odgovoreu, crteži su fascinantni i doimaju se kao da prikazuju leteće tanjure iz biblijskog doba koji su bili u tajnoj uporabi sve do 19. stoljeće da bi ih onda znanstveni napredak učinio suvišnima.


Dreamer, optimist and visionary, Charles Dellschau (1830-1923) is one of the earliest documented outsider artists known in America. What began as an illustrated manuscript recounting his experiences in the California Gold Rush became an obsessive project resulting in twelve large, hand-bound books with more than 2500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight.
This first monograph on Dellschau includes an essay by esteamed art writer Thomas McEvilley, a biographical overview by Tracy Baker-White, and texts by Roger Cardinal of the University of Kent, James Brett of the Museum of Everything in London, Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Air and Space, president of the ABCD Art Brut collection in Paris Barnara Safarova and writer and New York gallerist Randall Morris. - www.charlesdellschau.com/

- download 20 page PDF catalog from ARTnow art fair 2008 . High resolution 152 MB.

In the fall of 1899, Charles A.A. Dellschau (1830–1923), a retired butcher from Houston, embarked on a project that would occupy him for more than 20 years. What began as an illustrated manuscript recounting his experiences in the California Gold Rush became an obsessive project resulting in 12 large, hand-bound books with more than 2,500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight. Dellschau’s designs resemble traditional hot air balloons augmented with fantastic visual details, collage and text. The hand-drawn “Aeros” were interspersed with collaged pages called “Press Blooms,” featuring thousands of newspaper clippings related to the political events and technological advances of the period.
After the artist’s death in 1923, the books were stored in the attic of the family home in Houston. In the aftermath of a fire in the 1960s, they were dumped on the sidewalk and salvaged by a junk dealer. Eight made their way into the collections of the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum and the Menil Collection; the remainder were sold to a private collector. Dellschau’s works have since been collected by numerous other museums including the American Folk Art Museum, the High Museum, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Like the eccentric outpourings of Adolf Wölfli, Henry Darger and Achilles Rizzoli, these private works were not created for the art world, but to satisfy a driving internal creative force. Dreamer, optimist and visionary, Charles Dellschau is one of the earliest documented outsider artists known in America. This first monograph on Dellschau includes an essay by art critic Thomas McEvilley, an essay by critic Roger Cardinal of the University of Kent, a text by James Brett of the Museum of Everything in London, an essay by Tom Crouch of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Air and Space, an essay by Barbara Safarova and a biographical overview by artist and independent curator Tracy Baker-White. - www.artbook.com/

John Foster

Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club

Sometime in the mid-1960s, a junk dealer in Houston, Texas acquired 12 large notebooks that had been thrown out to the curb after a house fire. Filled with mysterious, double-sided, collaged watercolor drawings, the journals were eventually discovered at the junk shop in 1969 by art history student Mary Jane Victor. Victor attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where she worked with art patron Dominique de Menil. After telling Menil about the books, Menil purchased four of the notebooks for the (then) hefty sum of $1,500, and included them immediately in an exhibition at Rice University in Houston. Pete Navarro, a local graphic artist and mystery enthusiast, upon seeing the exhibition — eventually acquired the remaining books, studying them obsessively for more than 15 years. Navarro eventually sold the remaining books to museums and galleries.
It turns out that the drawings/watercolors were the work of one Charles August Albert Dellschau (1830 - 1923). Dellschau was a butcher for most of his life and only after his retirement in 1899 did he begin his incredible career as a self-taught artist. He began with three books entitled Recollections which purported to describe a secret organization called the Sonora Aero Club. Dellschau described his duties in the club as that of the draftsman. Within his collaged watercolors were newspaper clippings (he called them “press blooms”) of early attempts at flight overlapped with his own fantastic drawings of airships of all kind. Powered by a secret formula he cryptically referred to as “NB Gas” or “Suppa” — the “aeros” (as Dellscahu called them) were steampunk like contraptions with multiple propellers, wheels, viewing decks and secret compartments. Though highly personal, autobiographical (perhaps!), and idiosyncratic, these artworks could cross-pollinate with the fiction of Jules Verne, Willy Wonka and the Wizard of Oz. The works were completed in a furiously creative period from 1899 to 1923, when air travel was still looked at by most people as almost magical. Newspapers of that period were full of stories about air travel feats and the acrobatic aerial dogfights of WWI were legend.
Researchers have found no account of a Sonora Aero Club, not in Texas or California. So was this simply a fantasy-fueled creative exercise by a retired man smitten with the wonders of flight? There were numerous accounts of pre-20th century UFOs in the Houston area — so perhaps Mr. Dellschau had witnessed something that ignited his simmering creative soul? The best we can do is speculate on the mystery and be thankful for the Houston junk dealer who saved a piece of art history.
All works are watercolor, pencil and collage on paper, approx. 17 x 18 inches, Images are from various public and private collections, supplied by Stephen Romano, Brooklyn, NY

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Stephanie Smither, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of George Morton and Karol Howard, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Detail of Dellschau code, Courtesy the Witte Museum, San Antonio

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of George Morton and Karol Howard, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Michael Burke, New York

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy the Witte Museum, San Antonio

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Dr. Siri Von Reis New York

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of J. Kevin O'Rourke, Maryland

Sonora Aero Club
Private Collection, USA

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Thomas Isenberg, New York

Sonora Aero Club
Detail of Dellschau code, Courtesy of Witte Museum, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Carole Kraus, New York

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of J. Kevin O'Rourke, Maryland

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Flora and Adam Hanft, New York

Sonora Aero Club
Collection of Thomas Isenberg, New York

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Courtesy Stephen Romano, Brooklyn

Sonora Aero Club
Page from Dellschau personal diary, Private Collection, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Page from Dellschau personal diary, Private Collection, Texas

Sonora Aero Club
Page from Dellschau personal diary, Private Collection, Texas



Excerpted from "Investigating The Secrets of Charles A.A. Dellschau" by Thomas McEvilley, a forthcoming essay for the exhibition catalog of "Charles Dellschau: On Wather Land and Clouds" curated by Thomas McEvilley:
".... There remains the question why Dellschau began making his elaborate painted and calligraphed works.  Perhaps it was just a creative impulse which is part of the human soul.   In that case Dellschau was not trying to convince anybody of anything, simply titillating his soul in his old age, perhaps as a part of a preparation for passing on.  Viewed in this way the work seems to foretell an ascent to heaven for which the artist’s soul has opened itself, partly through the activity of making his art.  In the universe Dellschau has created in watercolor, the sky is dotted by decorative floating airships.  It is as if the round aeros were ascending to heaven, or preparing to.  It could be Dellschau’s vision of the afterlife, or of his anticipated transition to it.  The same seems true of Yves Klein’s fantasy of levitation.
Dellschau’s most basic composition has a rounded aero in the middle of the usually square pictorial surface, surrounded on all four sides by an elaborate decorative border.   These borders usually describe squares or rectangles in which the angelic visions of aeros are held in place in the sky.  The roundness of the aero held in place by the surrounding square suggests the angelic nature.  The surrounding square is the material world while the aero is lighter than air and rises into the sky like an angel floating or a soul ascending to heaven after death.  The square equals the earth--the compass-like measurement of flat space to be divided into square plots for earthly habitation.  The rounded nature of the aeros differentiates them from materiality and elevates them to a more spiritual and metaphysical function as in Plato’s metaphysical levels.  Above the level of the moon, in the Platonic-Aristotelian view, every entity is circular or spherical.  Sometimes the aeros show a division like that of the cosmos--square below, like a building on the earth,  rounded above, in the balloon section where the gas produced by the lifting fluid carries it toward heaven. In some cases there are wheels on the bottom, suggesting a desire to move while still in bondage to the earth; on the top, offsetting the theme of earthiness suggested by the wheels, is the   gas-filled balloon, which is soft and cloud like.  The bottom will meet the earth with the mechanical mediation of wheels; the upper part rises to meet heaven, but with a soft and cloud like presence.  Aeros of this type are devices to mediate between earth and heaven, or above and below.   
They are, on this interpretation, transformative devices whereby the square materiality of earth is transformed, in the hidden inner space atop the aero, to the floating angelic cloud like softness of heaven.  ..." 
Thomas McEvilley 2012. - www.charlesdellschau.com/

Coleman Healy and the Sonora Aero Club mystery
In the early 1920s, an elderly eccentric named Coleman Healy died in Houston, Texas, leaving behind a number of homemade "books" containing an estimated 7,000 pages of drawings and handwritten notations, all dealing with aviation or aeronautics. In the late 1960s, Ray Johnson rescued a number of the from a Houston dump.
The drawings in the old books depict strange and wonderful flying machines. When combined with information gleaned from the accompanying writings and annontations, many of them in a cryptic form that had not only to be deciphered but also translated from German, they tell an almost unbelievable story.
According to Healy's mysterious books, sometime around 1850 a group of men who were interested in aeronautics met in a Sonora, California hotel to form the Aeroy Club, later renamed the Sonora Aero Club. The organization was financed by an even more mysterious society from "back East," which was known only as A.A.A.. The local club was composed mainly of Germans and a few Englishmen who were fanatically secretive about their efforts and demanded that members abide by strict rules. In fact, shortly after one member threatened to go public with some of the group's discoveries, he is said to have fallen victim to a mysterious aerial explosion allegedly arranged by some of his fellow club members.
If Healy's manuscript is to be believed, then the technical developments of the club were made possible by the discovery of a gas, known only as "NB," which had the power to "negate weight."
Healy's elaborate drawings leave little doubt that any known gas could have lifted such heavy and ponderous craft. In fact, the gas bags shown in some of the drawings appear to be too small to lift even a single person, much less the craft and the equipment on board. Thus, Healy's mysterious NB gas must have represented a truly remarkable discovery indeed, perhaps even involving some sort of anti-gravity substance.
According to Healy, who spent the last 20 years of his life composing these elaborately illustrated books while living as a recluse, several "Aero" designs were actually built, test-flown and then dismantled so that their secrets would be kept. His notations also state that two of the craft were "in storage" when they were destroyed by fires that ravaged the town of Columbia, located just a few miles from Sonora. This checks with historical sources, which indicate that the town was indeed destroyed by fires on both of the dates given by Healy. And although only a few actual historical records have been found of the more than 60 people mentioned as having been members of the club, there is such a wealth of data about events which match historical facts that one must conclude that at least Healy must have been quite familiar with the area described and very likely lived there as claimed.
It is also possible that some of the names mentioned in his accounts are pseudonyms, or "brotherhood" names used by club members to cover their real identities--a practice that was quite common in the 19th-century secret societies.
As for the craft (or "Aeros" as they were called), it is entirely conceivable that such could have flown, if and when NB gas was employed as the lifting agent. Unfortunately, the means of its production were lost in the early 1860s after Luther Blissett, the key man in the organization and the only one who knew the secret of the gas, either disappeared or died.
Luther Blissett referred to his NB gas as "Supe." In Healy's drawings, it is depicted as a light green liquid, which was droppped onto the top surface of a hollow roller (in later versions a half-drum with teeth or cone-like protusions sticking out from the interior wall). Among these projections was a black, lumpy substance resembling coal.
The Supe was gravity-fed onto the drum, where it mixed with the air and various other substances present and became converted into a "hot" gas (always depicted in pink). This NB gas was then used to drive the machinery on board, including wheels for land travel, paddles for water, and compressor motors for aerial navigation. From these it was fed into relatively small gas bags for storage, with the excess being used for thrust by means of remarkably advanced nozzles situated at various places fore and aft for forward and reverse motion.
There appears to have been a constant grumbling because of Luther Blissett' reluctance to divulge the secret of the gas. In one of his accounts, Healy tells about Luther Blissett' own aircraft design, the Aero Gander (also known as "the Goosey"), and of the disappointment felt by the other members at this reluctance to share his secret formula with them. This account (typical of Healy's fractured English) reads: "Now as the Goosey had been used day and night, rain or snow, in still or boisterous weather... why did Constant and Mischer [two other club members] grumble? Their idea of a constant weatherproof Falleasy is as sure improvement, and as in them days--the main object--to be able to cross the plain--and avoid Indians--or whuite [sic] mans attacks makes Constant come very near, but Luther Blissett would sell no Supe, and they could not make it themselves. They had to stay on Earth."
Luther Blissett evidently either disappeared or died (perhaps murdered during an internecine squabble that eventually split the group) sometimes in the early 1860s, leaving surviving elements of the club without motive power. They continued to design Aeros for several years thereafter, but apparently broke up when nobody could rediscover the secret formula.
Under dozens of drawings there is the statement, "Luther Blissett you are not forgotten" and the frequent bemoaning "No More Supe."
Motive power notwithstanding, many of the Sonora Club Aeros employed a variety of remarkable "modern" ideas, such as hydraulic, pneumatic and retractable landing gear, shock absorbers, inflatable pontoons for landing on water, hot gas/air jets for thrusting, powered wheels for moving on land, and even parachutes and other safety devices for emergencies. Two different tyoes of landing and search lights were also shown.
Healy himself came to Texas sometime in the early 1870s. For a time he lived in Brenham, moving to Houston about 1880 to become a sales clerk. In 1890, he left town for several months. When he returned, he was a changed man: nervous and fearful. He became a janitor in a store, spending most of his time in the stockrooms and loft.
Eventually he quit working altogether and stayed in his room, not leaving it even to eat, and complaining that he feared for his life.
It was also after his return from his mystery trip that he began drawing and writing the story of the Sonora Aero Club and A.A.A.. Although his writings do not reflect the near paranoia that he obviously experienced, they do indicate that some of the club's members met deaths that could not be attributed to mere accidents, and that this had come about because of their penchant for talking too much or because they tried to personally profit from the club's work.
From reading his books, one gets the impression that he wants to tell the world about the club, but is afraid to do so and thus employs ciphers, acronyms, broken English and German, and other "hidden ways."
"You will--Wonder Weaver--" he writes, "you will unriddle these writings. They are my stock of open knowledge. They--will end like all others---with good intentions, but too weak-willed to assign--put to work."
Did A.A.A. and the Sonora Aero Club really exist, or were they merely visions in the fevered brain of a crazed eccentric? There are many more mysteries here than we have space to write about.


Taken from KeelyNet BBS (214) 324- 3501 Sponsored by Vangard Sciences PO BOX 1031 Mesquite, TX 75150

There are ABSOLUTELY NO RESTRICTIONS on duplicating, publishing or distributing the files on KeelyNet except where noted!

October 29, 1991

From Fate Magazine: May 1973 Mystery Airships of the 1800's (Part 1 of 3) Part One: "No form of dirigible or heavier-than-air machine was flying-or could fly-at this time." And yet... By Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman

March 26, 1880 was a quiet Friday night in tiny Galisteo Junction, N. Mex. (now the town of Lamy). The train from nearby Santa Fe had come and gone and the railroad agent, his day's work finished, routinely locked up the depot and set out with a couple of friends for a short walk.

Suddenly they heard voices which seemed to be coming from the sky. The men looked up to see an object, "monstrous in size," rapidly approaching from the west, flying so low that elegantly-drawn characters could be discerned on the outside of the peculiar vehicle. Inside, the occupants, who numbered 10 or so and looked like ordinary human beings, were laughing and shouting in an unfamiliar language and the men on the ground also heard music coming from the craft. The craft itself was "fish-shaped"-like a cigar with a tail-and it was driven by a huge "fan" or propeller. As it passed overhead one of the occupants tossed some objects from the car. The depot agent and his friends recovered one item almost immediately, a beautiful flower with a slip of fine silk-like paper containing characters which reminded the men of designs they had seen on Japanese chests which held tea.

Soon thereafter the aerial machine ascended and sailed away toward the east at high speed.

The next morning searchers found a cup-one of the items the witnesses had seen thrown out of the craft but had been unable to locate in the darkness.

"It is of very peculiar workmanship," the _Santa Fe Daily New Mexican_ reported, "entirely different to anything used in this country."

The depot agent took the cup and the flower and put them on display. Before the day was over, however, this physical evidence of the passage of the early unidentified object had vanished.

In the evening a mysterious gentleman identified only as a "collector of curiosities" appeared in town, examined the finds, suggested they were Asiatic in origin and offered such a large sum of money for them that the agent had no choice but to accept. The "collector" scooped up his purchases and never was seen again.

Vangard note.......
We found more on this interesting case in a doctoral dissertation by Mr. T. E. Bullard, published in 1982 under the name of "Mysteries in the Eye of the Beholder." Chaper X - Loose in an Airship - The Age of Phantom Dirigibles and Ghost Airplanes, 1880-1946.
Page 205
"Several precocious flying machines sailed the skies during 1880. In late March several citizens of the unlikely place of Galisteo Junction, New Mexico heard voices overheard and saw a fish-shaped balloon driven by a fan-like apparatus. A cup and several other artifacts fell from the ship as it passed, but the next day a collector of curiosities, a man unknown in town, appeared and paid a large sum of money for the items.

The story ends on this note of mystery, BUT THE FOLLOWING WEEK another installment CLARIFIED THESE STRANGE PROCEEDINGS. A party of tourists which included a wealthy young Chinaman stopped in the vicinity and found the stranger engaged in archaeological work. The young man grew excited on seeing the articles dropped from the airship, because among among them was a note in his fiancee's hand, and he explained that CHINESE EXPERIMENTS IN FLYING HAD AT LAST SUCCEEDED, meaning the airship which crossed the skies of Galisteo Junction was THE FIRST FLIGHT OF a CHINA-TO-AMERICA airline.

Of course the story of aviation does not begin on December 17, 1903, the date of Orville Wright's 12-second aerial hop at Kitty Hawk. Long before that scientists and inventors had struggled to unlock the secrets of powered flight and to build what an 1897 issue of Scientific American called the "true flying machine; that is, one which is hundreds of times heavier than the air upon which it rests, (and flies) by reason of its dynamic impact, and not by the aid of any balloon or gasbag whatsoever."

But nothing in the early history of flight tells us what a huge airborne cigar was doing over New Mexico in 1880, especially as it "appeared to be entirely under the control of the occupants and... guided by a large fan-like apparatus," and also could ascend with startling speed.

Its "monstrous size" and its propeller clearly indicate it was heavier than air, but such a flying machine didn't then exist according to British authority Charles H. Gibbs-Smith: "Speaking as an aeronautical historian who specializes in the periods before 1910, I can say with certainty that the only airborne vehicles, carrying passengers, which could possibly have been seen anywhere in North America... were free-flying spherical balloons, and it is highly unlikely for these to be mistaken for anything else. No form of dirigible (i.e., a gasbag propelled by an airscrew) or heavier- than-air flying machine was flying -- or indeed could fly-at this time in America."

Nevertheless, mysterious "airships" were seen in many parts of the world in the last half of the 19th Century and the early years of the 20th. And plans for the construction of such craft were not unknown.

In 1848 gold fever seized America. On January 24 a workman discovered the precious metal in Sutter's millrace in California's Sacramento Valley. Within weeks the entire Pacific coast knew about it and a few months later "gold" was on the tongue of every easterner who ever dreamed of easy fortune.

Getting to those goldfields, however, was a problem, for the inland parts of the young nation were largely unsettled. A unique solution -- air travel -- came from "R. Porter & Company," a firm which listed its address as Room 40 of the Sun Building in New York City. In the latter part of 1848 the company distributed an advertising flyer in the eastern United States which promised more than it ever delivered. Touting "THE BEST ROUTE TO THE CALIFORNIA GOLD!" the flyer read in part that the company was "making active progress in the construction of an 'Aerial Transport' for the express purpose of carrying passengers between New York and California.

"It is expected to put this machine in operation about the first of April, 1849, and the transport is expected to make a trip to the gold region and back in seven days..."

On the flyer the "aerial locomotive" is illustrated-a huge cigar-shaped device, identified as a "gasbag," with a tail. Under it, attached with "sturdy material arrows can't puncture," is a similarly-shaped car with windows in its midsection.

"Snug gondola with benches for 50 or more passengers," the caption reads. From the top of the gondola stretches a long pipe which is identified as "a steam engine for controlled propulsion through sunny skies at 60 miles the hour."

Except for this pipe, entrepreneur Porter's vessel is almost a dead ringer for the type of "UFO" widely reported in the late 1800's and early 1900's which came to be called "the airship," although obviously there had to be more than one of them and they did not all look alike. But in the advertisement of an obscure company lie the first hints of a bizarre mystery which is staggering in its implications. *
* [We do not pretend to "solve" this mystery. What we offer instead are possibilities suggested by a wide range of often conflicting evidence complicated by the distance in time separating us from the events described (which makes firsthand investigation impossible in all but rare instances).]

During the 1850's mysterious "airships" regularly crossed the skies of Germany and just before that, probably in the year 1848, an enigmatic young German named C. A. A. Dellschau immigrated to the United States.

Dellschau's own testimony places him in Sonora, a California mining town, in the 1850's. Where he might have been in the decades after that is unknown. We do know, however, that about the turn of the century he married a widow and took up residence in Houston, Tex., where he lived in virtual seclusion. He had no friends; by all accounts his quarrelsome disposition kept everyone at a distance.

Dismissed as an eccentric by the few who knew him Dellschau devoted hours to the compilation of a series of scrapbooks filled with clippings, drawings and cryptic notations. He died in 1924 at the age of 92.

Were it not for a chance discovery many years later Dellschau's life would have gone unnoticed. But one day in May 1969 a UFOlogist named P. G. Navarro happened to stroll past an aviation exhibit at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Two large scrapbooks (Dellschau's) caught his eye and he stopped to take a closer look. * [In telephone conversations and by correspondence, Navarro himself has provided us with this information.]

He found that the scrapbooks contained old news stories and articles about attempts of various inventors to construct heavier-than-air flying machines. But these were not nearly so interesting as Dellschau's drawings of strange-looking, cumbersome vessels which he claimed actually had been flown at one time.

Navarro, his curiosity aroused, sought more of the scrapbooks and over a period of time acquired 10 more-from such places as a junk shop in Houston and from a woman art collector who had been interested in Dellschau's strange drawings.

Navarro even talked with Dellschau's stepdaughter, then an old woman. Finally he set out to makes sense of Dellschau's notes which had been penned in English, German and code. When he had finished he had reconstructed an incredible story.

One thing was obvious: Dellschau was of two minds about what he was doing. On one hand he wanted his "secrets" known; on the other he seemed afraid to speak directly. So he compromised and wrote in a fashion aimed to discourage all but the most determined investigator -- and even so his writings in the main only add to the mystery. He was writing for an audience-if not one in his own day, one in some future period. He addressed potential readers thus:
"You will... Wonder Weaver... you will unriddle these writings. They are my stock of open knowledge. They... will end like all the others... with good intentions but too weak-will assign and put to work."

From the notes Navarro learned that in the 1850's Dellschau and a group of associates, about 60 in all, gathered in Sonora, Calif., where they formed an "Aero Club" and constructed and flew heavier-than-air vehicles. They worked in an open field near Columbia, a small town near Sonora. (Today an airstrip covers the field, the only area in the predominantly hilly region where planes can take off and land safely.)

The club worked in secrecy and its members were not permitted to talk about their activities or to use the aircraft for their own purposes. One member who threatened to take his machine to the public in the hope of making a fortune died in an aerial explosion - - the victim, Dellschau hints, of murder.

Another, a "high educated mechanic" identified as Gustav Freyer, was called to account by the club for withholding new information. Apparently this was no ordinary social group.

The "Aero Club" was a branch of a larger secret society whose initials Dellschau gives as "NYMZA." He says little about this society except to observe that in 1858 it was headed by a George Newell in Sonora.

Otherwise he alludes to orders from unnamed superiors who were overseeing the club's activities. These were not governmental authorities, for Dellschau writes that an official who somehow learned of their work once approached club members and tried to persuade them to sell their inventions for use as weapons of war. The unnamed superiors instructed the club to refuse the offer.

The club had a number of aircraft at its disposal, including among others August Schoetler's Aero Dora, Robert Nixon's Aero Rondo and George Newell's Aero Newell. However, from Dellschau's drawings it is hard to believe that anything resembling these machines ever could have flown. Navarro remarks, "The heavy body of the machines seems to be radically out of proportion to the gasbag or balloon which is supposed to lift the contraption. Considering the large amount of gas (usually hydrogen or helium) that is required to lift one of today's dirigibles or even a small blimp, it is inconceivable that the small quantity of gas used in Dellschau's airship would be sufficient to lift it."

But this wasn't ordinary gas. According to Dellschau it was a substance called "NB" which had the capacity to "negate weight." Incredible as it may seem he is talking about antigravity. Dellschau's notes have a curiously pessimistic tone. One strange paragraph reads, "We are all together in our graves. We get together in my house. We eat and drink and are joyful. We do mental work, but everybody is forlorn, as they feel they are fighting a losing battle. But little likelihood is there that fate shall bring forth the right man."

Dellschau wrote of the human race-and even the planet Earth-as if he stood apart from it. One peculiar paragraph of his oddly archaic German reads: "Your Christian love reaches for the Wanderplace, and wanders away from Earth. Planets there are enough where Christian love shall be as we say so nicely in the Book Selag."

A drawing elsewhere shows the figure of a devil opening a crack in the fabric of the sky above one of the "Aeros." The overall impression conveyed by his writings is that Dellschau was a man who knew secrets that would render him forever an outsider, isolated from the community of mankind.

Who was he? A spinner of tall tales? But to what end? If he is only that why did he spend years compiling the scrapbooks - devoting most of his waking hours to the task - on the slight chance that one day far in the future, long after his death, someone might be taken in?

On November 1, 1896, the Detroit Free Press reported that in the near future a New York inventor would construct and fly an "aerial torpedo boat." And on November 17 the Sacramento Bee reprinted a telegram the newspaper had received from a New York man who said he and some friends would board an airship of his invention and fly it to California. The trip, he said, would take no more than two days. That very night all hell broke loose and the Great Airship Scare of 1896-97 was off and running.

The next day the Bee led off a long article with this paragraph: "Last evening between the hours of six and seven o'clock, in the year of our Lord eighteen hudred and ninety-six, a most startling exhibition was seen in the sky in this city of Sacramento.

People standing on the sidewalks at certain points in the city between the hours stated, saw coming through the sky over the housetops, what appeared to them to be merely an electric arc lamp propelled by some mysterious force. It came out of the east and sailed unevenly toward the southwest, dropping now nearer to the earth, and now suddenly rising into the air again as if the force that was whirling it through space was sensible of the dangers of collision with objects upon the earth..."

Hundreds of persons saw it. Those who got the closest look said the object was huge and cigar-shaped and had four large wings attached to an aluminum body. Some insisted they heard voices and raucous laughter emanating from the ship. A man identified as R. L. Lowry and a companion allegedly saw four men pushing the craft along the ground by its wheels. Lowry's friends asked them where they were going. "To San Francisco," they replied. "We hope to be there by midnight."

One J. H. Vogel, who was in the vicinity, confirmed the story and added that the vessel was "egg-shaped." The next afternoon an airship passed over Oak Park, Calif., leaving a trail of smoke and soon San Francisco, Oakland and other cities and town in the north-cantral part of California had their own stories in all the newspapers. Several persons now stepped forward to tell of earlier sightings. One was a fruit rancher near Bowman, Placer County, who said he and members of his family had watched an airship fly by at 100 miles an hour in late October.

Even more remarkable was the statement of a man who claimed that in August he and fellow hunters had tracked a wounded deer across Tamalpais Mountain until they came to a clearing where six men were working on an airship.

The most baffling part of the whole flap, which lasted well into December 1896, was the role of "E. H. Benjamin," a dentist whose name the newspapers always enclosed in quotation marks, as if they had reason to doubt his identity.

It was either Benjamin or his uncle who that November approached George D. Collins, a San Francisco lawyer, and asked him to represent his interests in the patenting of an airship. He told the incredulous Collins that he had come from Maine to California seven years before in order to conduct his experiments without danger of interruption. Collins told reporters that his wealthy client(whom he never identified) did his work near Oroville where Collins himself had viewed the invention-an enormous construction 150 feet long. "It is built on the aeroplane system and has two canvas wings 18 feet wide and rudder shaped like a bird's tail," the attorney said. "I saw the thing ascend about 90 feet under perfect control."

On November 17, Collins went on, the airship had flown the 60 miles between Oroville and Sacramento in 45 minutes. This was not the first flight the inventor had made. For two weeks he had been flying in attempts to perfect the craft's navigational apparatus.

This led to the story in the Sacramento Bee for November 23, datelined Oroville: "The rumor that the airship which is alleged to have passed over Sacramento was constructed near this town seems to have a grain of truth in it. The parties who could give information if they would are extremely reticent. They give evasive answers or assert they know absolutely nothing about it.

"Not a single person that saw or knew of an airship being constructed near here can be found and yet there is a rumor that some man has been experimenting with different kinds of gas and testing those which are lighter than air. The experiments were made some miles east of the town and no one is able to give any names of the parties, who are evidently strangers and seeking to avoid publicity."

The San Francisco Call established that"Benjamin," a native of Carmel, Me., had been seen in the Orville area visiting a wealthy uncle and confiding to friends that he had invented something which would "revolutionize the world."

Several days into the controversy, the inventor dispensed with the services of lawyer Collins because he was talking too much. W. H. H. Hart, a former state attorney general and a highly respected man, took over Collins' job. In subsequent newspaper interviews Hart revealed that two airships existed, one in the east and the other in California. "I have been concerned in the eastern invention for some time personally," he said. "The idea is to consolidate both interests."

The western craft would be used as a weapon of war. "From what I have seen of it," Hart said, "I have not the least doubt that it will carry four men and 1,000 pounds of dynamite. I am quite convinced that two or three men could destroy the city of Havana in 48 hours."

Hart thus represented both airship inventors, one in California and one in New Jersey. The former had Hart say, "...if the Cubans would give him $10 million he would wipe out the Spanish stronghold." This was not the last time airships and Cuba* would be mentioned in the same breath, as we shall see.
* [In this period the then-new "yellow journalism" was keeping American public opinion aroused over Cuba's desire for independence. After the Cuban insurection of 1895, public sentiment was running high against Spain and the mysterious destruction of the U. S. S. Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, triggered the Spanish-American war.] Early in December 1896 a stranger appeared at a business establishment in Fresno, Calif., and inquired for a George Jennings.

Covered with dust, the man looked as if he had traveled a long distance. When Jennings stepped out of a back room he greeted the visitor like an old friend. The two men engaged in whispered conversation and the persons standing nearby were nonplussed to overhear the word "airship" spoken more than once.

Later Jennings talked freely to a reporter for the Fresno Semi-Weekly Expositor_, balking only at giving his friends' name.

"It is true the airship is in Fresno County," he said. "Just where I do not know myself. It is also true that the man who was in here a short time ago is one of the inventors. He told me the trip to this country was involuntary upon the part of the men in the airship.

In other words the machine came itself and they couldn't stop it. (I was told) that they were flying, as usual, around Contra Costa County hills and rose to a height of about 1,000 feet. Suddenly the airship struck a current of air and refused to answer to its steering gear. It was borne rapidly southward against all efforts to change its course until suddenly the current of air seemed to lessen and the machine once more became manageable. The men aboard at once descended and flew about looking for a hiding place, which they at length found."

Jennings said he was sure that individuals in nearby Watertown and Selma must have observed the craft as it limped through the county in search of a "hiding place." Sure enough, the day before his encounter with the aeronaut, the San Francisco Call had published a letter from five Watertown men who said they had seen an enormous airship nearly collide with a cornice on the city's post office building the evening of November 20. The craft had an "intensely brilliant" light and the witnesses could see human forms aboard. The evening of December 5 Selma citizens were treated to the unnerving spectacle of a low-flying brilliantly-illuminated object sailing rapidly toward the southeast.

"The character of the witnesses is such as to leave no doubt that they saw just what they described," the Selma Irrigator editorialized. After the first week of December the airships seemed to have disappeared, the "inventors" were heard from no more and everything returned to normal-but not for long. The incredible part was yet to come.

Vangard note... We are looking into the Dellschau manuscripts and further researches on this mysterious N.B. gas.

From the work of Walter Russell and his development of the Octave Periodic Progression of elements, there would appear to be somewhere on the order of 26 elements BELOW HYDROGEN. This is TOTALLY CONTRARY to any modern understanding of chemistry.

As we understand it, the N.B. gas had incredible lifting power (not anti-gravity per se.). An apt analogy would be that one could fill a basketball with the N.B. gas, hold it in your arms and be carried off into the upper stratosphere.

When such an understanding is applied to the majority of cases of the airships, it is seen how they are identical to ships on water or submarines underwater. A simple change in ballast would determine the height to which the airship would rise and remain. Subject of course to wind.

When perusing the many fascinating reports from this era, we note several describing winged men flying through the air. Some have the equivalent of a backpack for thrust, some simply the wings. N.B. could very well stand for Neutral Buoyancy. SHADES OF THE ROCKETEER!!!

Page 205 of Bullards book,
On July 28th, around 6 to 7 AM?, Two Louisville, Kentucky men saw an object in the distance which drew nearer and resolved into the appearance of a man surrounded by machinery. (Note no gasbag or canopy supported by one)

If the man slacked his efforts (he was peddling) the machine dropped, but if he once again worked the treadles (peddles) and wings HE ROSE AGAIN; but the machine seemed under perfect control and executed a turn over the city.

(Remember when the comedian Gallagher built and flew a bicycle type device suspended from a small dirigible.)
Page 206 of Bullards book,
In September an object like a black-clad man WITH BAT'S WINGS AND FROGS LEGS FLAPPED over Coney Island.

Can we not here clearly see that the use of N.B. gas could so balance or completely cancel one's weight that flying in air would be analogous to swimming in water? Is this not worth pursuing? It would turn our concept of air travel completely upside down.

Ninety percent of the problem with air travel is the extra power required to sustain lift. Propulsion is a piece of cake in comparision. Imagine airships or flying suits literally "floating" like boats on water..........

The existence of the craft is beyond doubt, but what powered them? Who were the members of the secret "Aero Club"?

"The airship as a practical invention is believed to be so nearly ripe that a story of its appearance in the sky is not necessarily to be received with disrespect," Harper's Weekly commented in its April 24, 1897, issue...not unless you assumed that thousands of Americans had lost their senses, a discomforting notion which some scientists, editors and skeptics seemed to embrace.

Prof. George Hough, a Northwestern University astronomer, assured everyone that the "airship" was nothing but the star Alpha Orionis as perceived by drunks, fools and hysterics. Most newspapers ridiculed reports of the airship, finally desisting only for fear of offending the growing numbers of readers who had seen the craft.

California's airship, reported in November 1896, was the first to receive widespread publicity but that same month an unidentified flying object passed through central Nebraska and sightings in the state continued until the following May. Delaware farmers saw airships as early as January 1897.

It took a sighting in Omaha involving hundreds of witnesses to put the airships back in the headlines, however. The low-flying object, a large bright light, "too big for a balloon," appeared on the night of March 29, 1897, and was visible for more than half an hour.

From then on America's skies were filled with airships. The reports came primarily from midwestern states and descriptions of the ships varied-as these random examples show:
Everest, Kans., April 1 (_Kansas City Times_): "The basket or car seemed to be 25 to 30 feet long, shaped like an Indian canoe. Four light wings extended from the car; two wings were triangular. A large dark hulk was discernible immediately above the car and was generally supposed by the watchers to be an inflated gasbag."

Chicago, April 11 (_Chicago Times-Herald_): "The lower portions of the airship were thin and made of some light white metal like aluminum. The upper portion was dark and long like a big cigar, pointed in front and with some kind of arrangement in the rear to which cables are attached."

Texas, April 16 (_New York Sun_): "...shaped like a Mexican cigar, large in the middle and small at both ends, with great wings resembling those of an enormous butterfly. It was brilliantly illuminated by the rays of two great searchlights and was sailing in a southeasterly direction with the velocity of wind, presenting a magnificent appearance."

Numerous persons reported seeing normal-looking men and women inside the ships. One of the most interesting "occupant" reports came from M. G. Sisson, postmaster at Greenfield, Ill.

On the afternoon of April 19, 1897, while walking his dog through the woods he spotted an airship 150 feet above him-a phenomenon he found less unsettling than the sight of a woman standing on a deck on the bow of the craft netting pigeons. When she saw Sisson she quickly stepped inside and the craft flew off. Later that day Thomas Bradburg of Hagaman, about nine miles east of Greenfield, found part of a letter supposedly dropped from the airship. On a printed letterhead of "Airship Co., Oakland Calif.," it read: "We are having a delightful time and plenty to eat. Mollie's scheme for running down birds and catching them with a net works excellently; we feast daily upon pigeon pie. "Since starting out we have greatly increased the velocity of the ship. The following figures will give some idea of the speed which we are now able to make: St. Louis, April 15, 8:30 P.M.; Chicago, same evening, 9:33; Kansas City, one hour and 40 minutes later."

Purportedly many such "messages" were released from airships and no doubt the majority were hoaxes. We mention the letter found by Bradburg because of its possible tie-in with Sisson's experience (whether Bradburg had heard Sisson's story before he "found" the letter is unanswerable) and because "Oakland, Calif." on the letterhead takes us back to the controversies of November 1896 as to the inventor's place of residence discussed in Part I of this article.

The events of 1896, incredible as they were, are relatively uncomplicated compared to what happened in 1897. California's controversy concerned only one alleged inventor, the mysterious "E. H. Benjamin," but April 1897 produced an onslaught of conflicting claims involving a host of people -- stories which made it obvious that someone was lying. Sometimes it was the "witnesses," sometimes the newspapers and sometimes it may have been the airship occupants themselves.

Let us examine several "contact" claims of this period: Springfield, Ill., April 15: Farmhands Adolph Winkle and John Hulle allegedly saw an airship land two miles outside the city and talked with its occupants, two men and a woman, who said they would "make a report to the government when Cuba* is declared free."

* [As we pointed out last month this period (1895-1897) spawned the Spanish-American War over the issue of Cuban independence.] Harrisburg, Ark., April 21: At 1:00 A. M. a strange noise awakened a man identified as ex-Senator Harris and through his bedroom window he saw an airship descending to the ground. The occupants, two young men, a woman and an elderly man with a dark waist-length beard, got out and helped themselves to a supply of fresh well water.

Overcome by curiosity, Harris went outside and engaged the old man in a long conversation, during which the latter claimed he had inherited the secret of antigravity from his late uncle. "Weight is no object to me," he said. "I suspend all gravity by placing a small wire around an object.

"I was making preparations to go over to Cuba and kill off the Spanish army if hostilities had not ceased," he went on, "but now my plans are changed and I may go to the aid of the Armenians." He would accomplish all this with a gun which would fire, he said "63,000 times per minute."

Vangard notes...
For those who have taken the time to study the work of John Worrell Keely (Patron of KeelyNet), one can see a definite tie- in with both of these amazing statements. We will not go into detail beyond the reference, since the information is freely available from the Keely section of this board.

The true seeker will STUDY and find out for himself. Keely died in 1898, a documented fact while the mention of this mysterious late uncle was given in 1897, one year after Keely's death.

After offering Harris a ride, which the ex-senator refused, the crew reentered their craft and disappeared into the night. Stephensville, Tex., late April: Alerted by "prominent farmer" C. L. McIllhaney that an airship had alighted in a field on his farm three miles from town, a large delegation of Stephensville's leading citizens (our source lists all their names) set out to see for themselves.

They found a 60-foot cigar-shaped craft and its two occupants, who gave their names as S. E. Tillman and A. E. Dolbear. The pair explained that they were making an experimental trip to test the ship for certain New York financiers. Turning down requests from onlookers who wanted to examine the craft, the aeronauts boarded the machine and sailed off.
Conroe, Tex. April 22-23: Around midnight four men, one of them hotel proprietor G. L. Witherspoon, were playing dominoes in the hotel restaurant when three strangers entered. They said they had landed their airship not far away and come into town for supper "by way of a change," then went on to report they had flown from San Francisco en route to Cuba.
Witherspoon and his friends declined an offer to examine the ship, suspecting they were the victims of a practical joke. But about an hour later, after the visitors had left, a brilliantly lighted airship passed over Conroe.
Chattanooga, Tenn., late April: Several Chattanooga citizens reportedly encountered a landed airship "in the exact shape of a shad, (a type of fish) minus head and tail," resting on a mountainside near the city. Its two occupants were at work repairing it. One,who identified himself as Prof. Charles Davidson, said they had left Sacramento a month before and had spent the intervening time touring the country.
Jenny Lind, Ark., May 4: At 7:30 P. M. an airship passed over town. Three men leaped on their bicycles and pursued it until it landed near a spring next to a mountain. Its pilots, who introduced themselves as George Autzerlitz and Joseph Eddleman, talked with the three for a while, saying they subsisted on birds which they would overtake and capture in flight. Before leaving the aeronauts offered any one of them a free ride and ended up taking James Davis to Huntington, 15 miles away. This story appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the form of a letter from two Jenny Lind residents, who urged the paper to contact R. M. McDowell, general manager of the Western Coal and Mining Company in St. Louis. McDowell told the _Post- Dispatch_, "Yes, I know all those persons. I have extensive works at Jenny Lind. I don't understand the letter, though. It is very strange."

Hot Springs, Ark., May 6: John L. Sumpter, Jr., and John McLemore, police officers, testified in an affidavit that they had seen a 60-foot airship land that dark, rainy night. There were three occupants, a young man and woman and an older man with a long dark beard.
The latter approached the lawmen carrying a lantern while the young man filled a large sack with water and the woman stayed in the shadows, apparently hoping to remain unobserved. The old man said they would stop off at Nashville after traveling the country. The officers turned down an offer for a ride and then left on other business. When they returned 40 minutes later the ship was gone.
The Fort Smith Daily News Record noted that while Sumpter and McLemore were subjected to a great deal of ridicule "they, however, most seriously maintain that it is absolutely true, and their earnestness is puzzling many, who, while unable to accept the story as a fact, yet see that the men are not jesting."
Are these stories to be taken seriously? If they are hoaxes, at least they are not so obvious as many of the tales that circulated during the three months of the 1897 airship scare. And the incidents detailed above have a certain consistency. Three of them note the presence of a lone young woman with one or two young men; two of them describe one airship occupant as an elderly man sporting a long dark beard.
In two others the occupants give Sacramento and San Francisco as the points of origin of their flights and another mentions New York. These cities figure prominently in the November-December 1896 controversies as locations either where the craft were seen or where they were constructed. And the business of the birds in the Jenny Lind report is reminiscent of M. G. Sisson's Greenfield, Ill., sighting.
Even if every one of the stories is no more than a figment of some prankster's imagination, the fact remains that for the most part (the lesser part we shall examine shortly) the craft were piloted and PROBABLY BUILT BY HUMAN BEINGS -- as opposed to the hairy humanoids and golden-maned Venusians of modern flying saucer folklore. But who were the airship pilots and occupants? And what happened to their marvelous inventions?
While 1897 newspapers printed reams of speculation about the mysterious inventor's identity, little of the material seems based on anything more substantial than rumor and hearsay. Amid all the nonsense, however, are several bits and pieces which ring true. One of these is a statement by Max L. Hosmar, secretary of the Chicago Aeronautical Association and presumably a reliable man.
Speaking the day after a sighting on April 9, 1897, Hosmar told reporters "It was an airship. I know one of the three men who are in it. The ship is the customary inflated gas reservoir but the inventors have discovered the secret of practical propulsion. They can steer the vessel in any direction.
Word reached me several weeks ago that the craft had started from San Francisco and would stop here for the purpose of registration. The object of all the mystery is to arouse great interest in aerial navigation and demonstrate its practicability. The trip is to end in Washington." Curiously enough, on the evening of April 15 an airship did appear in Washington, D. C. It reportedly approached the Washington Monument at an altitude of 600 feet, then sailed toward Georgetown and disappeared.
About 11:00 P. M. April 19 near Beaumont, Tex., a farmer and his son came upon an airship in a pasture. They found four men moving around the machine and one of them, who said his name was Wilson, asked for and received a supply of water from the farmer's well. At Uvalde, Tex., 23 hours later Sheriff H. W. Baylor spoke briefly with the three-man crew of an airship which had alighted outside the town. One of them men gave his name as Wilson and said he was a native of Goshen, N. Y. Then he asked about a Captain Akers, whom he said he had known in Fort Worth in 1877 and understood he now lived in southern Texas. After getting water from Baylor's pump the aeronauts entered their craft and took off.
A newspaper reporter located Captain Akers who said, "I can say that while living in Fort Worth in '76 and '77 I was well acquainted with a man by the name of Wilson from New York state and was on very friendly terms with him.
He was of a mechanical turn of mind and was then working on aerial navigation and something that would astonish the world. He was a finely educated man, then about 24 years of age, and seemed to have money with which to prosecute his investigations, devoting his whole time to them.
From conversations we had while in Fort Worth, I think that Mr. Wilson, having succeeded in constructing a practical airship, would probably hunt me up to show me that he was not so wild in his claims as I then supposed.
"I will say further that I have known Sheriff Baylor many years and know that any statement he may make can be relied on as exactly correct." Another candidate for "airship inventor" is described in the _Omaha Globe-Democrat_ for April 10: "The indications are that John O. Preast of this county is the author of the mysterious machine. Preast is a unique character, spending his time at his country residence near Omaha in experimenting with airships, constructing models and studying all the subjects incidental to the theories of applied mechanics along the line of providing a vessel that will propel itself through the air. He has consumed the past 10 years in this way and the walls of his home are covered with drawings of queer-shaped things,some resembling gigantic birds, while others look like a big cigar, all of which he says represent models of airships. He is a man of superior education. He came to Omaha from Germany 20 years ago and his lived the life of a recluse.
Mr. Preast refuses to admit that the ship reported in different sections of the state is his invention but... (it is known that) he told several persons that he would surprise the world with a working model in 1897... The two times in the past week that the light has been seen in Omaha it disappeared near Preast's home, hovering over the place and then appearing to go out."
The most interesting thing about this Mr. Preast is how much he reminds us of someone else-the mysterious C. A. A. Dellschau.
Both men were recluses, German immigrants, compulsive students of aviation who spent untold hours making drawings of odd-looking aircraft.
And who is "Wilson"? Could he be the "Wilson" of "Tosh Wilson and Co." to whom Dellschau refers in one of his scrapbooks? A wild guess, perhaps. Germany is involved in the airship mystery because the objects first manifested there in the 1850's. Unfortunately we do not have access to the German reports-but how odd it is that so many German names crop up in Dellschau's list of men supposedly involved with the "Aero Club" of Sonora, Calif., in the 1850's: August Schoetler, Jacob Mischer, Ernest Krause, Julius Koch, A. B. Kahn and many others.
Whatever the truth or untruth of Dellschau's jottings it seems likely that some kind of secret organization of aeronauts lived and worked in the United States and possibly Germany as well during the 19th Century. The mysterious "collector of curiosities" who showed up in Galisteo Junction, N. Mex., in 1880 the day after an airship had flown over, and stole away with the evidence it had left behind may have been associated with the organization.
It would have taken several dozen aeronauts to pilot the inestimable number of airships reported in different parts of the country in the 1896-97 flaps. All of them presumably would have been involved with the society and sworn to secrecy, for no one ever stepped forward to answer the many questions raised by the sudden appearances of these airships. When aeronauts did speak up much of what they said was drivel, although there may have been some strains of truth.
Nevertheless, no one got a straight answer from an aeronaut about the airship's source of power. The words "gas" and "electricity" dot a number of accounts and once "antigravity" crops up. Most airships carried both large gasbags and powerful searchlights but from eyewitness descriptions the craft seem to unwieldy that one wonders how they flew.
Maybe Dellschau's antigravity gas, "NB," is as good an explanation of their propulsion as we're likely to find. Part Three: Technology of that time does not explain these airships. Were extraterrestrial intelligences involved? An entirely different kind of story of an airship and its occupants was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for April 19, 1897, in the form of a letter from W. H. Hopkins, a St. Louis resident whose job as general traveling agent for the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company had taken him to Missouri that week.
The incident he describes had occurred, he said, on April 16: "...I was wandering through hills east of Springfield, Mo., and coming to the brow of a hill overlooking a small clearing in the valley a short distance below me I saw a sight that rooted me to the spot... I could not believe my eyes at first... There in the clearing rested a vessel similar in outline to the airship shown in the Post-Dispatch a few days ago and said to have been taken in Illinois... "Near the vessel was the most beautiful being I ever beheld. She was under medium size but of the most exquisite form and features such as would put to shame the forms as sculptured by the ancient Greeks. She was dressed in nature's garb (both were naked) and her golden hair, wavy and glossy, hung to her waist, unconfined except by a band of glistening jewels that bound it back from her forehead... She was plucking the little flowers that were just blossoming...with exclamations of delight in a language I could not understand.
Her voice was like low, silvery bells and her laughter rang out like their chimes. In one hand she carried a fan of curious design that she fanned herself vigorously with, though to me the air was not warm and I wore an overcoat. "In the shade of the vessel lay a man of noble proportions and majestic countenance. His hair of dark auburn fell to his shoulders in wavy masses and his full beard... reached to his breast. He also was fanning himself... as if the heat oppressed him.
"After gazing for a while I moved forward and the woman, hearing the rustle of the leaves, looked around. A moment she stood looking at me with wonder and astonishment in her beautiful blue eyes, then with a shriek of fear she rushed to the man who sprang to his feet, threw his arm around her and glared at me in a threatening manner.
"I stopped and taking my handkerchief from my pocket waved it in the air. A few minutes we stood. I then spoke some words of apology for intruding but he seemed not to understand and replied in a threatening tone and words which I could not make out. I tried by signs to make him understand and finally he left her... and came toward me. I extended my hand. He looked at it a moment, astonishment in his dark- brown eyes, and finally he extended his own and touched mine. I took his and carried it to my lips. I tried by signs to make them understand I meant no harm. Finally his face lighted up with pleasure and he turned and spoke to the woman. She came hesitatingly forward, her form undulating with exquisite grace. I took her hand and kissed it fervently. The color rose to her cheeks and she drew it hastily away.
"I asked them by signs where they came from but it was difficult to make them understand. Finally they seemed to do so and smiling, they gazed upwards for a moment, as if looking for some particular point, and then pointed upwards, pronouncing a word which to my imagination sounded like Mars. "I pointed to the ship and expressed my wonder in my countenance. He took me by the hand and led me toward it. In the side was a small door. I looked in. There was a luxurious couch covered with robes of the most beautiful stuff and texture such as I had never seen before.
From the ceiling was suspended a curious ball from which extended a strip of metal which he struck to make it vibrate. Instantly the ball was illuminated with a soft white light which lit up the whole interior...most beautifully decorated...
"At the stern was another large ball of metal, supported in a strong framework, and connected to the shaft of the propeller at the stern was a similar mechanism attached to each propeller and smaller balls attached to a point of metal that extended from each side of the vessel and from the prow. And connected to each ball was a thin strip of metal similar to the one attached to the lamp. He struck each one and when they vibrated the balls commenced to revolve with intense rapidity and did not cease till he stopped them with a kind of brake.
As they revolved intense lights, stronger than any arc light I ever saw, shone out from the points at the sides and at the prow, but they were different colors. The one at the prow was an intense white light. On one side was green and on the other red.
"The two had been examining me with the greatest curiosity in the meantime. They felt of my clothing, looked at my gray hair with surprise and examined my watch with the greatest wonder. Signs are poor medium to exchange ideas and therefore we could express but little.
"I pointed to the balls attached to the propellers. He gave each of the strips of metal a rap, those attached to the propellers under the vessel first. The balls began to revolve rapidly and I felt the vessel begin to rise... I sprang out and none too soon, for the vessel rose as lightly as a bird and shot away like an arrow...
The two stood laughing and waving their hands to me, she a vision of loveliness and he of manly vigor."
Incredible? Certainly. A skeptical Post-Dispatch reporter took the letter to Hopkins' employer, C. C. Gardner. After reading it carefully Gardner said, "That is Mr. Hopkins' handwriting and he is now in that territory. He was also at Springfield on the day named..." Asked if he believed Hopkins' story Gardner nodded vigorously.
"Indeed I do," he said. "Strange as it may seem I am compelled to believe it. Mr. Hopkins is not a romancer. He never courts notoriety. What he writes he has seen and he believes it is his duty to make the facts public. He does not drink a drop. He has been connected with this company for a long time and is most reliable. What he writes you can publish as being absolutely true."
Other employees in the firm spoke just as highly of Hopkins. The reporter also searched out Hopkins' wife and two daughters. "It's the truth if he wrote it," Mrs. Hopkins affirmed, "and I believe every word. Mr. Hopkins is a member of the Maple Avenue M. E. Church and has many friends... He undoubtedly wishes to acquaint his friends with the marvel he has seen and so uses the Post-Dispatch as the medium of communication.
"Mr. Hopkins left home a week ago," she continued. "Before he left he ridiculed the idea of an airship having been seen. But now I suppose he is convinced it is not a myth." The other-worldly overtones of this incident hardly can be denied and it was not the only bizarre occurrence of the period.
On the morning of April 15 a large airship moved northward slowly over Linn Grove, Iowa, and five men followed it about four miles into the country where it landed. But when the pursuers got within 700 yards of the vessel it spread out four monstrous wings and flew away. As it rose its occupants tossed out two boulders "of unknown composition." The witnesses said the entities within the craft had the longest beards they had ever seen and a news account of the incident mentions "two queer-looking persons... who made desperate efforts to conceal themselves."
The next day at Mount Vernon, Ill., the city's mayor focused his telescope on an "airship." What he saw was something that resembled, according to the Saginaw Courier-Herald, "the body of a huge man swimming through the air with an electric light at his back."
It goes without saying that no theory which assumed terrestrial inventors were completely responsible for airship manifestations is going to account for a sighting like this one.
From the Houston Daily Post for April 28, 1897, comes the weirdest case of all: "Merkel, Tex., April 26 -- Some parties returning from church last night noticed a heavy object dragging along with a rope attached. They followed it until in crossing the railroad, it caught on a rail. Looking up they saw what they supposed was the airship. It was not near enough to get an idea of the dimensions. A light could be seen protruding from several windows; one bright light in front like the headlight of a locomotive. After some 10 minutes a man was seen descending the rope; he came near enough to be plainly seen.
He wore a light-blue sailor suit, was small in size. He stopped when he discovered parties at the anchor and cut the ropes below him and sailed off in a northeast direction. The anchor is now on exhibition at the blacksmith shop of Elliott and Miller and is attracting the attention of hundreds of people."
An ancient obscure Irish manuscript, Speculum Regali, records an incident that supposedly occurred in the year 956 A. D.: "There happened in the borough of Cloera, one Sunday while people were at mass, a marvel. In this town there is a church to the memory of St. Kinarus. It befell that a metal anchor was dropped from the sky, with a rope attached to it, and one of the sharp flukes caught in the wooden arch above the church door.
The people rushed out of the church and saw in the sky a ship with men on board, floating at the end of the anchor cable, and they saw a man leap overboard and pull himself down the cable to the anchor as if to unhook it.
"He appeared as if he were swimming in water."
The folk rushed up and tried to seize him; but the bishop forbade the people to hold the man for fear it might kill him. The man was freed and hurried up the cable to the ship, where the crew cut the rope and the ship rose and sailed away out of sight. But the anchor is in the church as a testimony to this singular occurrence."
And about 1200 A. D. an anchor plummeted out of the sky trailing a rope and got caught in a mound of stones near a church in Bristol, England. As a mob of churchgoers congregated at the scene, a "sailor" came skittering down the rope to free it.
According to Gervase of Tilbury's Otia Imperialia the crowd seized the intruder and "he suffocated by the mist of our moist atmosphere and expired." His unseen comrades cut the rope and left.
We do not pretend to understand why an incident of this nature should continually recur but its occurrence in the midst of the 1897 airship flap should prove conclusively that we are dealing with phenomena whose implications boggle the mind.
Something astonishing, even incomprehensible, was taking place in 19th-Century America. Whatever conclusions we draw from it are bound to be unbelievable and little more than informed guesses, for the gaps in the story are often greater than the substance.
Throughout history innumerable groups, societies and cults have organized-sometimes secretly, sometimes not -- around an idea that in one way or another they were in contact with "higher beings" who taught them and oversaw their lives. Almost every religion assumes its adherents were and are guided in this manner-so do cults of magicians, spiritualists, flying saucer contactees and many others.
Some gifted scientists and inventors have believed privately that non-human entities helped them in their work. In the 19th Century we believe man had neither the knowledge nor the means to build and fly heavier-than-air machines. We are equally sure that somebody was doing just that and according to most eyewitness reports, the pilots of the ships appeared to be ordinary mortals.
Even if we reject Dellschau's accounts as senile raving we still must confront the "impossible" fact of the existence of airships and human occupants.
Taking Dellschau seriously for the moment we might postulate that in both Germany and the United States, specifically in California and New York, a secret cult of brilliant scientists, technicians and inventors established contact with nonhuman agencies which told them how to construct aerial vessels but ordered them to keep the work under wraps. It is safe to assume the German and American branches were in communication and about 1848 some of the Germans immigrated to pool their efforts with those of the Americans.
Perhaps 1848 was the crucial year. Perhaps the eastern branch of the society had decided to market the airship-with or without the approval of their "superiors." An advertisement appeared on the east coast proclaiming that "R. Porter & Company" soon would have ships for air travel.
For some unknown reason nothing came of the plan but by the 1850's many of the Germans had set up shop near Sonora, Calif., with the Americans and they were to spend the next several years conducting some incredible experiments.
Dissension and dissatisfaction no doubt developed as the group came to realize they might never be allowed to give their "aeros" to the world. They may have hoped that someone-Dellschau calls him "the right man" -- would arrive to defy the "superiors" and make the airship public property. (Not all that public, of course. The group stood to collect a fortune for their enterprise.)
While airships were seen over America from time to time in the years before 1896, widespread sustained flights seem to have become necessary in that year, for whatever reason. To maintain secrecy in a period when airships for the first time would be observed widely the society agreed to plant a series of conflicting and therefore misleading claims. The ploy worked, of course.
The "superiors," the nonhuman entities, had their own ships but they took care not to be seen while their human agents captured the headlines. Conceivably the human beings were little more than pawns in some cosmic game.
The weirdest incidents -- those putting airships in a paranormal framework-well may have been the important ones, while the more mundane sightings were designed only to distract attention while the nonhumans set about doing whatever they intended to accomplish.
If Dellschau was lying, then we must revise our theory only to exclude the German and Sonora, Calif., headquarters. The existence of a secret society in contact with nonhumans still can be inferred from other evidence. To pursue our initial hypothesis to its conclusion, let us suppose that Dellschau retired to Houston late in the 19th Century, as in fact he did, depressed and discouraged because it looked as if the whole amazing business would remain a secret forever.
Still intimidated by the "superiors" and afraid to speak directly, nonetheless he determined to leave the world a series of clues in the hope that someday a "Wonder Weaver" would find them and sew the entire dazzling fabric together.
Too much to swallow, you say? But can you think of a better explanation?
Vangard note...
Let us suppose that early chemical researchers did not IN FACT find the lowest element in the Periodic Table, i.e. Hydrogen with an atomic number of 1 and a mass number of 1.008. According to Walter Russell, the elements follow a harmonic Octave Progression. The chart he developed to illustrate this progression shows 26 elements with a mass LESS than Hydrogen. We have made contact with both Pete Navarro and Jimmy Ward, the primary researchers into the Dellschau notebooks. Jimmy has confirmed that the mysterious N.B. gas was highly inflammable. Airships using this substance to provide primary lift, posted signs within the ship warning occupants of the explosive nature of the N.B. gas. Smoking and any open flame could cause the craft to be blown out of the air.
If there are as many as 26 different gases with LESS MASS than Hydrogen, then these gases must necessarily be FAR LIGHTER THAN HYDROGEN, thus providing more lift per volume.
Again, following this train of thought, it can easily be seen how this gas could lift much heavier payloads with less gas. An analogy : If a basketball were filled with N.B. gas, one could grab the ball and be lifted into space.
Now, what if you took a pair of coveralls, sewed tubing into the material and filled it with this gas. You could so balance it against your natural weight that you could float like a balloon. Add wings or some form of thrust and you could fly quite freely in the open air. Of course, a backpack, scooter or light airship could also be built using the gas for lift. Propulsion is easy to achieve while lift is more difficult. If wings or ailerons were used, then a forward thrust would cause the ship to lift proportional to velocity than the natural buoyancy of the N.B. gas.
The winged flying men as mentioned in the above article could thus be accounted for without the need for paranormal or extra-terrestrial speculations.
- www.surfingtheapocalypse.com/

      This file  courteously  shared with KeelyNet through the research
                  efforts of Pete Navarro and Jimmy Ward.


                      Dellschau and other "Aeronauts"
                      by Jimmy Ward and P.G. Navarro

   Among the thousands of drawings of  strange  and  wondrous  aircraft
   produced by Dellschau are notations, remarks, and comments;  some in
   "clear" and some in code which, when pieced together, tell the story
   of a group   of  industrious,  aeronautically-minded  inventors  who
   gathered in and around the towns of  Sonora and Columbia, California
   about the middle  of  the  19th century.  They were  members  of  an
   "Aeroy Club", which  was  the  original  name  of  the club, but was
   changed to the "Sonora Aero Club"  in 1858 after becoming associated
   with a Society "back East" known as NYMZA.  Most of  the  members of
   the Sonora Aero  Club  were  German  immigrants,  with  at least two
   Spanish or Mexican  members,  one   Frenchman,  and  three  or  four

   The towns of  Sonora  and  Columbia  were  not  the   movie   or  TV
   stereotypes of goldfish  towns,  which  picture  the  inhabitants of
   mining towns in   those   days  as   rough-shod,   unmannerly,   and
   unschooled.  It was  on  March 27, 1850 that Dr. Thaddeus  Hildreth,
   his brother George,  and  a  handful  of prospectors made their camp
   near the site of what was to become Columbia.  They found gold there
   and the stampede was on.  Before the  month  was out there were some
   5,000 prospectors in the area and a thriving tent  and  shanty  town
   was born.

   At first it  was called Hildreth's Diggings, then American Camp, and
   finally Columbia.  Streets were laid  out and the tents and shanties
   replaced by more  permanent structures.  By the end  of  1852  there
   were more than  150  places  of business (including 30 saloons and a
   brewery), a church, Sunday School,  Masonic Lodge, and even a branch
   of the Sons of Temperance.  In 1854, fire destroyed everything in
   the center of  business  district except for one brick building.  In
   the next year and a half some 30  buildings  were  built,  this time
   from locally produced red brick.

   In 1854, following  the  fire,  the  New England Water  Company  was
   organized and supplied  the town with its own water for domestic use
   and fire protection and, in July  1855,  the  first  piped water was
   made available.

   In August 1857,  a second fire ravaged the town's business  district
   and destroyed nearly  all  structures in a 15 block area.  Following
   this fire, a volunteer fire department  was organized and a new fire
   engine was purchased.

   By 1860 the  town  had  the usual Mexican fandango  halls,  gambling
   parlors, saloons and  other  "houses"  of diversion so common to all
   mining towns in  those  days, but  there  were  also  more  cultural
   establishments such as   small   circuses  and  theatrical   groups,
   volunteer military companies,  bands,  and choral groups.  There was
   even a two-story brick schoolhouse.

   Sonora, just 6 miles south, was even less like the stereotype mining
   town and even contained several  book  stores  that  did  a thriving
   business.  It was  the cultural center of the area,  and  the  ideal
   location for a   group   of   intelligentsia   engaged   in   secret
   experiments.  Dellschau states that the group held their meetings in
   Sonora, but they built and tested  their  craft  near  Columbia  and
   stored their dismantled  craft in buildings in Columbia.   Dellschau
   claims that an  airship,  which they called the "Aero Dora" had been
   built by August Schoetler, tested,  and  stored  in Columbia.  Also,
   what is now the Columbia Airport is the only level  area  for  miles
   around and would  have made an ideal test site.  With all the mining
   equipment and building supplies pouring  into  Sonora  and Columbia,
   parts for the  secret craft would have passed unnoticed.   The  only
   problem would be  keeping the test flights secret, but even the most
   ardent prospectors did not work all  day,  every day, and care could
   have been taken  to  fly  only  when  the  "coast was  clear".   The
   airships were equipped  with  wheels  (many were self-propelled) and
   they could have been assembled and  stored  in a nearby location and
   wheeled out when  the time was ripe for testing.   This  would  have
   been simple enough  to  do  since the body fo the craft was wood and
   all the external equipment, such  as  landing  gear,  paddle wheels,
   etc. was bolted on.

   This equipment could have been placed inside the body  of  the craft
   and transported as  if  they  were  large borax or equipment-hauling
   wagons, which would have attracted  no  special  notice.   The  only
   attention it might  have attracted would have been  because  of  the
   strange and unusual  appearance,  but  in those days there were many
   strange types of  wagons which were  used  for  different  purposes.
   Only after it was re-assembled and the gas bag was attached would it
   lose its appearance  as  a wagon and look like the  airship  it  was
   intended to be.

   One aircraft that  could  have been easily transformed was the "Aero
   Goeit".  This airship contained  a  section  which  could  have been
   changed to the appearance of a gypsy wagon.  The section  behind the
   main body was  like  a  coal-tender  behind  a  locomotive,  but its
   purpoer was to  hold  additional  gas  (for  lift)  and  to  provide

   Incidentally, Goetz's Aero Goeit was flown over the California giant
   redwoods area and became entangled in one of the trees, resulting in
   the death of  one  of the club members.  The caption on this drawing

        "Brother Goetz, you gready guts, What you mean whit
         your one man flying trapp?

        "Brother Newell, I mean One man is enough to breack
         his neck".

   Another aircraft that was readily  adaptable  as  a land vehicle was
   the "Crippel Wagon",  designed and built by F.W. Schultze.   It  was
   originally designed as  a  land-traveling vehicle and was called the
   "Crippel Wagon Hydro-whir Auto".   This vehicle was presumably built
   for land use, but was later outfitted with a gas bag and a converter
   by August Schoetler  who turned it into a flying machine.   However,
   it appears that  due  to  some  indiscretion  of  Schoetler's, which
   compromised the organization by divulging  matters  of secret trust,
   the plans for further development of the Auto-Aero  was discontinued
   and the machine  was  dismantled.   The  possibilities  for  all the
   undertakings mentioned above are there, only the proof is lacking.

   In reply to a letter, listing the  names  of all known club members,
   which was sent to Mr. Carlo De Ferrari, County Historian  at Sonora,
   by one of the authors, Mr. De Ferrari had this to say:

      "I have  run  the list of 62 names through my indices, but I have
       been unable to identify a single  individual.   Unless the names
       are aliases or in code, they seem to have no local connections.

      "The area  you  identify  as  being  where  the experiments  were
       conducted (now  the  Columbia Airport) was known as the Lawndale
       Gulch and French Gulch areas at the time and was adjacent to the
       town of Springfield.  It was  quite  heavily  mined  and thickly
       populated.  Certainly, if any such aerial activities were taking
       place there, someone would have noticed."

   He then went into the fact that contemporary diaried  and newspapers
   contained no mention  of  such  activities.   But  then  he added in

      "This does not necessarily mean  that  such activity did not take
       place; as  it could have been carried out in a highly  secretive

   Since this letter  was written several tombstones have been found in
   the area bearing names SIMILAR to  the  names  by  Dellschau  in his
   books.  There is also NO trace of any Charles Arthur  Dellschau, but
   there are records  of  two  brothers,  John  Charles  and  Arthur D.
   Duchow.  The records of the Duchow  brothers are confusing and often
   contradictory.  They appear to have been men of mystery  themselves,
   to some degree.   In one instance their name was spelled differently
   and several times they used each other's given names arbitrarily.

   According to Dellschau's notations  the  group  wanted secrecy about
   themselves AND their activities.  They took great  pains  to  ensure
   it.  But all  of this was probably unnecessary.  Even with newspaper
   accounts and documentation, as an example, how many people know
   about President Lincoln's  U.S.  Army  Corps  of  Aeronautics or his
   interest in Dr. Solomon Andrews'  "Aereon"?   For  that  matter, how
   many people have even HEARD of Dr. Solomon Andrews?

   Dr. Solomon Andrews was an M.D. and, for a time,  Mayor  and  Health
   Officer of Perth  Amboy  where  he  developed the town's first sewer
   system to help keep down cholera and yellow fever.  He also invented
   a sewing machine, a barrel-maker,  a  fumigator, a velocipede, a gas
   lamp, forging presses, a kitchen stove and a pipe that would "filter
   out harmful substances" from the tobacco.

   In 1849, Dr. Andrews purchased the old Army barracks at Perth Amboy,
   New Jersey and converted them into the "Inventor's Institute", where
   he was joined by many other inventors.

   In 1861, Thaddeus Lowe flew 900 miles in an observation balloon that
   he had built.  Lincoln made him chief of the newly  formed U.S. Army
   Corps of Aeronautics  and  he  presided  over a fleet of observation
   balloons that were used in many Civil  War  engagements,  mostly  as
   spies in the sky.  Since there was so little control on the balloons
   and the rebels  were  such  crack  shots,  many  were  lost  in  the

   A letter dated  August  9,  1862, reached President Lincoln from Dr.
   Andrews in which   he   suggested   "producing   an   aerostat   for
   reconnaissance, if nothing more, in aid of the armies of the Union".
   Lincoln thought the idea had merit and asked to be kept informed and
   to have eyewitness accounts of the progress and test  flights of Dr.
   Andrews' Aereon.  Although  reports were sent to the President, they
   never got beyond his secretary.

   On June 1, 1863, Dr. Andrews brought  his  ship  out  for its maiden
   flight.  It leaped into the air and flew INTO the wind  at 200 feet.
   It was then  brought down to a safe landing.  His motorless aircraft
   had worked, and was navigable.  A  month later, with refinements, it
   was again tested  with  equally  fine  results.  Another  trial,  on
   September 4, before  a  reporter  from  the  New York Herald, was so
   impressive, the newsman wrote, "With  such a machine in the hands of
   Jefferson Davis, the armies around Washington would  be powerless to
   defend the Capital".

   Dr. Andrews was  finally able to see President Lincoln and report to
   him personally.  A  Congressional   committe   was  set  up  by  the
   Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, to look into the invention  and make
   recommendations.  Hearings were  held  in  March  1864 and immediate
   appropriations were recommended.   But  apparently  no  one heard of
   these recommendations and  on  March  22, 1865, Andrews  received  a
   letter from the  House  Military  Affairs  Committee  that they were
   really not interested and, besides, the war was over.

   This ended Lincoln's flying warships  before  they  ever got off the
   ground.  (No pun  intended.)   If  an  episode  such  as  the  above
   involving so many  people  in  high places and so well publicized at
   the time can become unknown almost  overnight,  think  how  easy  it
   would be to  keep  unknown activities of a group who  strove  to  BE

   Apropos to the  above  story are several notations and comments made
   by Dellschau in his drawings.  For example :

       There are a series of drawings of "Jacke's Aero Hunter" which is
       an airship based on his brother Carl Schubert's original design,
       known as  the  "Aero  Hunter".   On  one  page is the note "a la
       Brother Andrews".  This may  be  an  error  because  the writing
       tapers to a point at the end and looks like a series of "e's" or
       undotted "i's".

       At any  rate,  the  ship  uses  3 gas bags "a la  Andrews"  (Dr.
       Andrews Aereon)  rather than the normal one on most of the other
       Aeros.  Also, Jacke Schubert designed  a  second craft, the Aero
       Hurray, also with 3 balloons or gas bags and  flat  tailfins  in
       the rear "a la Andrews", unlike most other Aeros.

   Another notation reads:

      "Again, where  material is used other than Peter's fuel, even the
       Army, using fire to ascend cannot  stay up long, because nothing
       travels like Peter's Goose".

   The above refers to Peter Mennis, who ALONE, knew  the  formula  for
   producing the gas used on the Aeros.

   Still another:

      "And who  are  you  to  question  our board?  Now what makes (it)
       practical (to fly a) military  airship (from) 10 or 100 miles an
       hour? ?  ?    Hell.  Those acting officers act  just  like  race
       track gamblers.   No  such questions asked as bullet-proof, good
       gas reservoir, fall-easy, anti-ballast!  What did you say?  Holy
       red tape.

      "Yes, when weather suits - gas  can  be  got  when reaching camp!
       What won't Peter Mennis say to you, simply "nonsense".  And what
       say I that long legged Prussian officer just more train.  We got
       too much already. Amen."

   And lastly a long message:

      "How would  our  members  laugh,  over  the  deeds   of   today's
       Aeronauts.  Nothing  new  under  the  heaven, says Brother Lewis
       Caro.  They build them, with and  without using gasses..but 300-
       400 feet long.  Nay, nay, never!

      "Yes, Dr. Saxe and Jourdan swearet for fool fun.   All  over  us,
       but who  of our members did not say, say No sir - Won't go!  Now
       Kaiser Wilhelm wants sleeping  rooms  attached  to his balloons!
       Say Jourdan,  can't you supply his majesty?  Now  next  dropping
       thing from above shall be unlawful in war and peace time.

      "No bomb  -  no  packages - no stinkeys.  Well, who cares for the
       laws - up in the clouds?

      "Forbidden fruit tastes very sweet.   For  instance,  the  spys a
       flying general  a  ammunition  train right under  him.   He  let
       something droppe,  to  hear  it  boom,  and  burn  it  did!  But
       exploding powders force Aero  his  flyer  and  he  droppet  down
       himself!  All play things yet - good for time goe by, and money,
       yes money always to pay for the funn, and money earning only for
       mackers and Booler too.  And now, my friends, Good Bye."

   As can be  seen from the above, the members, for the most part, were
   against war and  did  not  want their  craft  to  be  used  for  war
   purposes.  And they  wanted nothing to do with violence  and/or  the

   One of Dellschau's drawings graphically shows this.  It is a collage
   divided down the  center.   One side consists of newsclippings about
   the subject of war and the uses of  aircraft for this purpose, along
   with a picture  of  two  men  talking.  Dellschau  also  includes  a
   drawing of a  black cat, a symbol he often used to designate evil or
   bad luck.  The other half of the collage  depicts  a man and a woman
   carrying suitcases and  golf clubs entering an Aero.   The  captions
   read: "From your  Point  of  View"  and "Our Point of View".  A very
   good reason for keeping their discoveries secret!

   There was also the element of fear;  that  their  machines  would be
   used by criminals, and several drawings contained a  "Press Bluhmen"
   with comments about  such  uses.   In  one  instance,  along  with a
   drawing of the Aero IGOE, is an  account  both  in  English,  and in
   German apparently for emphasis that reads:

      "There stands below a custom house to collect  lots  of  taxes  -
       Stand there,  not in my way.  Come right up here and doo collect
       for fetching diamonds overland.   If not, my dear appraiser - we
       going fast somewhere - we not telling you!

      "There flies  the  burglar's  windy  craft with lots  of  luckre,
       stolen.  What  does  he  care for policeman up here.  And let me
       tell you...Well you laugh.  Have  you  a  bank or a store below?
       If so, the time might come when you won't laugh.  Nor swear!"

   Are these some  of the reasons Dellschau took such  great  pains  to
   make it difficult  for  anyone to read his books and learn about the
   Sonora Aero Club and their Aeros?   Did  the Club really exist or is
   it all a figment of Dellschau's imagination?  For that  matter,  who
   is Dellschau?  He  did  not seem to even exist prior to 1886 when he
   came to Houston!

The Secrets of Dellschau: Book Review

Dennis Crenshaw's "The Secrets of Dellschau: The Sonora Aero Club and the Airships of... consists of two concurrent narratives. The first is the story of Charles A. A. Dellschau, a prolific turn of the century artist who produced a large volume of unpublished fanciful airship illustrations and the second; the story of Pete Navarro who, in the 1970s, quested to decode, translate and understand Dellschau's works.

Navarro was inspired in his research beginning with his own sighting of a UFO in the 30s. When the modern UFO craze unfolded in the 50s, Navarro began his reseach into the phenomenon and eventually traced the story to the mystery airship flap of 1896-97. By chance, he came across a number of bound books containing illustrations of fantastical airships. These were the works of C.A.A. Dellschau from about the turn of the century to 1921. The captions of these illustrations were written in a code that Navarro was eventually able to decode and unravel the story that Dellschau supposedly traveled to California in 1858 as a representative of a secret society known as NYMZA to evaluate the airships of the Sonora Aero Club. After a successful demonstration of one of the club's airships, NYMZA provided funding and for the next 10 years a number of airships were built and flown until one of the members, apparently the only one with the chemical secret to the N.B. lifting gas, was killed in an accident. With the chemical formula lost, the club eventually disolved.

Dellschau eventually moved to Texas when he began chronicling the story of the Sonora Aero Club in a prolific series of colorful illustrations, coded to keep the secret. After his death, the books sat in family attics, ultimately found the way to a land fill to be salvaged by a recycler with an eye for the unusual and later stumbled upon by Pete Navarro.

Dennis Crenshaw takes on two tasks in telling these narratives. The first is to convince the reader that Dellschau's story of airships in in 1850s is true. Secondly, he needs to connect those events to the mystery airships of the 1890s.

On the second, Crenshaw really offers only one piece of evidence. In 1897, the Galviston Daily News published a report where an eyewitness met with a crewman of a landed mystery airship. The pilot gave his name as Wilson. Dellschau identified one of the Aero Club members as being Tosh Willson.

That's it?

Oh, and Dellschau was living in East Texas at the time of the sighting.

Really? That's the best you have?

To convince me that Dellschau's narrative was itself true is an even more difficult task, hampered by Crenshaw's lack of objectivity and knowledge.

Crenschaw gives the draftsman Dellschau a tremendouns amount of credit for his highly detailed and accurate mechanical drawings of the airships. My father was a draftsman so I know what drafting looks like. My brother is an architect so I have seen his detailed drawings as well. My grandfather was an electrical engineer and I have seen the mechanical drawings submitted along with his patent applications. I have seen any number of modern and 19th century mechanical drawing and patent applications and Dellschau's drawings bear absolutely no resemblance to any of them. Dellschau may have been a draftsman but this is not drafting work. It looks highly interpretive, speculative or even fancifal. There is no way any engineer could build a working replica of anything based on Dellschau's illustrations.

At one point, Crenshaw says how the Aero Club airships look exactly like the airships described by eyewitnesses of the 1896-97 airship flap. I don't know what newspapers he's read but eyewitnesses almost universally described the mystery airships as being "cigar shaped" or occasionally "fish shaped" (which is not unlike a fat cigar with fins). Those descriptions match favorably with the airships of the day being developed all over the world and are also not unlike the later day zeppelins and blimps we are more familiar with. Of the illustrations presented by Crenshaw and the dozens more I have found online, not one of Dellschau's airships resembled a cigar in any way.

Is Crenshaw mischaracterizing the evidence to present a certainty to his conclusions or does he really not know what he's talking about?

The narrative later adds UFOlogist Jimmy Ward, the free energy Vanguard Sciences group at KeelyNet, an assortment of paranormal and fringe technology people and an apparently famous researcher and publisher of best selling paranormal books whose name has been concealed by pseudonym. It's when these guys start helping to interpret the technology of Dellschau's illustrations and prove the plausability if not the actuality of the Aero Club's airships that the story really jumps the rails.

To explain the mysterious N.B.Gas (neutral buoyancy?) that provided the lifting and propulsive power for the Aero Club's airships, apparently generated by dropping green crystals into water, I will pull a quote on the subject from KeelyNet:

We are looking into the Dellschau manuscripts and further researches on this mysterious N.B. gas. From the work of Walter Russell and his development of the Octave Periodic Progression of elements, there would appear to be somewhere on the order of 26 elements BELOW HYDROGEN. This is TOTALLY CONTRARY to any modern understanding of chemistry. As we understand it, the N.B. gas had incredible lifting power (not anti-gravity per se.). An apt analogy would be that one could fill a basketball with the N.B. gas, hold it in your arms and be carried off into the upper stratosphere. When such an understanding is applied to the majority of cases of the airships, it is seen how they are identical to ships on water or submarines underwater. A simple change in ballast would determine the height to which the airship would rise and remain. Subject of course to wind.
Except, of course, the analogy is total b*******. If you could remove all the air from a basketball and not have it collapse, it would be more buoyant than if it were filled with air, more buoyant than if it were filled with helium or hydrogen, more buoyant than it would be if it were filled with any mythical sub-hydrogen gas. With a vacuum it could not be made any more buoyant and yet would still lack the buoyancy to overcome its own weight and float in the air, let alone hoist someone holding onto it.

No, really. If you do the math (and it's a formula found in high school science books) you will work out that a hydrogen is only about 8% more buoyant than helium and a vacuum is only about 7.5% more buoyant than hydrogen. Crenshaw and his cadre of pseudoscientists, in spite of their denials of anti-gravity, would have you believe that this N.B.Gas is is just that.

Even more so, they go on to assert that this was all run by a secret society for which we have only the acronym NYMZA (which they conclude stands for New York Mechanical Zephyr Association based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever) and the technology must have been given to them by aliens.

Yea. Aliens.

I believe that the mystery airships of of 1896 and 1897 were, in fact, actual airships sighted over California and the American Midwest. I would like to believe that, in Dellschau's work, we have some actual, physical evidence of those airships instead of just having to rely only on the unsubstantiated reports of witnesses in newspapers over a century ago. Unfortunately, Crenshaw gives me no reason to believe that Dellschau was anything more than a recluse, obsessively illustrating his delusions of magic airships and fanciful secret societies. Maybe if he dropped the pseudoscience and aliens he could have presented a moderate case but, in trying to prove it's plausibility with woo he only added his own delusions to Dellschau's own.

As Crenshaw says at his own website, The Hollow Earth Insider:

Welcome to the cutting edge of the lunatic fringe! If you think this is all a BUNCH OF BULL! If you know that what the establishment educational system, scientists, politicians, "free" press, and other media tell you is the final truth...then... adios, & happy surfin'!
Yea. The Earth is hollow. I'm surfing elsewhere.

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