Airship Viewed by Telescope
Date: April 15, 1897
Location: St Louis, MO
The airship visited St. Louis again Thursday night. This time the bright searchlight was not only seen by thousands, but the object was observed through a telescope and the outlines of the craft were seen. The observer was a medical doctor. Dr. Caplan is a dabbler in astronomy and frequently gazes at the heavenly bodies. He knows that he did not see a star:
I was walking to my home on Washington avenue last night about 7:45 p.m., when I saw a bright light almost overhead. It was northwest of the zenith. But the moment I saw this light I realized it was something unusual and I hastened home, ran to the roof and brought my telescope to bear on the object. Before taking a sight I noticed the light was swaying from side to side. The effect was exactly that of a searchlight that was being manipulated. The moment I looked through the glass I discovered a long black body behind the light. It was exactly the cigar shape that has been described.
I thought something must be the matter with the lens and I turned the telescope on different stars and planets. There was no unnatural effect evident and I brought the glass to bear again on the mysterious visitor. At first I could not locate the light, then I found that it had moved several degrees to the north. When I caught it again I once more made out the cigar-shaped craft. The airship moved over considerable space in five minutes, and I followed it all the time. It took a northwesterly course, then veered to the West and finally to North. Then it darted off in that direction and was lost to sight. I had the light in view fully ten minutes from the time I first saw it on the street.
It could not have been a star? No sir. I looked at Venus, at Sirius and other bright stars several times, then back at the mysterious object. Besides, through my glass the object behind the light was distinctly visible.