Saturday, December 29, 2018

Jefferson Airship - A Brief Update


For those who have been wondering, yes, I chose the name for the articles, “Jefferson Airship,” because the 1960s band, Jefferson Airplane which became Jefferson Starship and the just Starship. What would you have called a story
Jefferson Herald and the
Airship Crash, 2018
about the Great Airship crashing near Jefferson, Iowa? Just seemed to make sense to me.

Andrew McGinn, the editor of the Jefferson Herald, which had been the Jefferson Bee, supplied a little additional information. He wrote:

Just thought you'd like to know that, while letters to the editor attributed to "George Washington" and "Truthful James" scream FAKE NEWS, one name in the main report, Mahlon Head, was very much a real resident of Jefferson at the time. In fact, he would be considered a city father. Maybe THE city father, in fact. The ship was said to have crashed in his "celery patch."
It makes me wonder if he was in on the hoax or was aghast at his name being used.
Mahlon served multiple terms in the Iowa Legislature. His brother Albert was at one time Speaker of the Iowa House.
Reading the stories and letters as a whole, it's so clearly a hoax. Those letters, in particular, are just too crazy. The Aurora story was just bare-bones enough, I think, to fuel curiosity and create a legend. Plus, in Aurora, they supposedly were able to bury a body!
The next step would be to check the Waterloo newspaper to see if any of the men involved with that hoax are identified. After more than 120 years, drawing a connection between them and the people in Jefferson is probably going to be nearly impossible. Since we know that both “sightings” are hoaxes, it is more about curiosity than it is with UFO investigation. Sometimes, when you learn a lead isn’t working or a story is faked, there is little reason to continue the research.

Still, it is an interesting challenge and I’ll see what I can learn.

PS: Yes, I just said the name of the real guy out loud...

Just so you don't think that I swallowed this without looking it up, having said the name out loud... this from an official Iowa government website. It just proves that some names are laugh out loud funny but belong to real people... though I have never found anyone actually named Moses Lahn (yes, read that out loud).

Oh, and I'm informed that it is pronounced May Lon rather than Mellon... still, pretty funny.

1 comment:

Theo Paijmans said...

The yarn was exposed in the Iowa, Waterloo, Waterloo Courier editions of 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, and 28 April, 1897. The Mexico Weekly Ledger of Mexico, Missouri of 22 April 1897 ran the story, as did the Iowa, Des Moines, Des Moines Register of 20 August 1922. On 20 June 1954, the Waterloo Daily Courier rehashed the story again.

Best regards,

Theo Paijmans