Pat Shingleton: "What the Heck is That?"
Pilots have reported unusual objects criss-crossing their flight paths. An unidentified flying object was
not part of the lexicon when folks looked to the skies years ago. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the
only "flight objects" were balloons. On November 17, 1896, hundreds in Sacramento watched three lights,
illuminating a dark and stormy sky. The unusual object traveled 350 yards as it skirted rooftops. Five days
later a similar object took a half-hour to cross another town where spectators claimed that the image
replicated two men, peddling a bicycle-type frame, that was attached to the top of the object. Later that
night another similar object was sighted above San Francisco and was witnessed by thousands. The airship
cruised above the Cliff House and was identified by a searchlight. Numerous sightings of airships were reported
until May, 1897. It was the Mongolfier brothers who began flight balloons in 1783. The Wright brothers experimented
with flights in 1896 with their first flight in 1903.