Thursday, March 6, 2014

An 18th-Century UFO?

During the course of his research for an article and book on logbooks as a source of theological thought, a researcher at the G.W Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport came across a most unusual passage in a local logbook from 1743. While sailing from Stonington, Connecticut to Suriname (located just east of Venezuela and north of Brazil), Captain Samuel Capron aboard the little sloop PRUDENCE reported the following, as transcribed (verbatim, so please note the creative spelling) by the researcher:

"About 10 Minutes after Sun Set saw a very remarkable thing in the NE the first 
appearance of it was like the shooting of a Star wt a long continued Stream of 
fire from it this continued in a streight line & of a fiery colour the space of one 
minute ten chang'd to a purple its form then alter'd to that of a Snake w. a tale at 
ye upper end having a motion like a pendat at a Vessels masthead then chang'd to 
a light blue & alter'd its form nearly resembling a W this continued in sight 15 
minutes & keeps its places wtout moveing in ye air.2"

The following image is from the actual log, the date being Sunday, July 31, 1743.

Log 692, G.W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
You can see Steve Berry's article in the latest issue of CORIOLIS: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies.

It is interesting to note that there were relatively few such sightings reported in the 18th century, although there is mention of an observation by a farmer and servant of an unusual flying object "in the shape of a ship" in Holyhead, England in the same year.

If you try to use the latitude and longitude listed in the log,be prepared to be confused as the standardized use of the prime meridian in Greenwich as zero longitude is still well over a century away.

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