What do you do when you discover a hole in the ground and you have a rabbit problem? Do you go down the rabbit hole, armed?

The hole in question, this time, is an ostensible hoax story from 1890s America: the airship mystery, as reported (?) in multiple newspapers over the course of one year. I first read about the airship stories in The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, by Thomas M. Disch, who called them straight-out lies.

But he offered no evidence that they were lies. Disch just assumed they were.

And, based purely upon their obviously stefnal, pre-steam-punk character, Disch’s prejudice sure appears sound.

Trouble is, however, these news stories did not come out of nowhere, did not appear in the realm of American journalism as utterly new and anomalous. There were precedents, including a strange 1863 newspaper story involving President Abraham Lincoln and numerous witnesses in the press to an airshow, an aerial demonstration. During the Civil War. The story is told, in part, here:

I have not done my own investigation yet, nor have I even read the books on the subject by Michael Busby and Walter Bosley (the latter speaking in the video directly above). And I have not even given the Dellschau mss. a look. Not really.

So why not just dismiss the tall tales as such, reflexively relegating them to hoax status, as in the case of Edgar Allen Poe’s hypnosis story?

Well, that sort of bigotry seems less and less honorable or even likely to prove correct, what with the number of contemporary “scientific consensus” paradigms dissolving in front of us, in real time.

Besides, the ongoing UFO disclosure provides us with an impetus to go looking for other-than-extraterrestrial explanations.

And stories that our betters insist are mere hoaxes, like the 19th century giants’ skeletons reportage and this airship mystery, may provide clues as to the nature of reality that was previously and persistently denied.

So I try to keep an open mind.

Whether that means I must plunge into the depths, Pellucidar-wise, or merely stay above ground with an eye to subterranean access points, I am not yet sure.