- The National UFO Reporting Center
- Letter to Scientific American Magazine
December 18, 1886
- Preface: One of the questions frequently
asked in ufology is how long the UFO phenomenon has been around. This letter-to-editor
of Scientific American, although proof of nothing, seems highly suggestive
of some of the more recent, and well-documented sightings, e.g. the Cash-Landrum
Case of December 29, l980, near Houston, Texas. The letter was published
in the December 18, 1886, issue of that magazine.
- CURIOUS PHENOMENON IN VENEZUELA
- To the Editor of the Scientific American:
- The following brief account of a recent
strange meteorological occurrence may be of interest to your readers as
an addition to the list of electrical eccentricities:
- During the night of the 24th of October
last, which was rainy and tempestuous, a family of nine persons, sleeping
in a hut a few leagues from Maracaibo, were awakened by a loud humming
noise and a vivid, dazzling light, which brilliantly illuminated the interior
of the house.
- The occupants completely terror stricken,
and believing, as they relate, that the end of the world had come, threw
themselves on their knees and commenced to pray, but their devotions were
almost immediately interrupted by violent vomitings, and extensive swellings
commenced to appear in the upper part of their bodies, this being particularly
noticeable about the face and lips.
- It is to be noted that the brilliant
lights was not accompanied by a sensation of heat, although there was a
smoky appearance and a peculiar smell.
- The next morning, the swellings had subsided,
leaving upon the face and body large black blotches. No special pain was
felt until the ninth day, when the skin peeled off, and these blotches
were transformed into virulent raw sores.
- The hair of the head fell off upon the
side which happened to be underneath when the phenomenon occurred, the
same side of the body being , in all nine cases, the more seriously injured.
- The remarkable part of the occurrence
is that the house was uninjured, all doors and windows being closed at
- No trace of lightning could afterward
by observed in any part of the building, and all the sufferers unite in
saying that there was no detonation, but only the loud humming already
- Another curious attendant circumstance
is that the trees around the house showed no signs of injury until the
ninth day, when they suddenly withered, almost simultaneously with the
development of the sores upon the bodies of the occupants of the house.
- This is perhaps a mere coincidence, but
it is remarkable that the same susceptibility to electrical effects, with
the same lapse of time, should be observed in both animal and vegetable
organisms. I have visited the sufferers, who are now in one of the hospitals
of this city; and although their appearance is truly horrible, yet it is
hoped that in no case will the injuries prove fatal.
- Warner Cowgill. U. S. Consulate, Maracaibo,
Venezuela November 17, 1886