Mirages of Cities and Towns

Story Complied by Marguerite L.M. Wolf
From the Works of Charles H. Fort

In June of 1801, a mirage of an unknown city appeared for more than an hour in Youghal County, Cork, Ireland. It was "a representation of mansions, surrounded by shrubbery and white palings--- forests behind. In October, 1796, a mirage of a walled town had been seen distinctly for half an hour at Youghal. Upon March 9, 1797, had been seen a mirage of a walled town." (Page 391) In Country Queries and Notes, 1-328, it is said that, upon Aug.2, 1908, at Ballyconneely, Connemara coast of Ireland, was seen a phantom city of different-sized houses, in different styles of architecture; visible three hours."

In the summer of 1847, a man (M.Grellois) reported "...that he was traveling between Ghelma and Bone, when he saw, to the east of Bone, upon a gently sloping hill, 'a vast and beautiful city, adorned with monuments, domes, and steeples.' There was no resemblance to any city known to M.Grellios." (Page 421) On September 27, 1846, a city appeared in the sky over Liverpool, England. "The apparition is said to have been a mirage of Edinburgh. This 'identification' seems to have been the product of suggestion: at the time a panorama of Edinburgh was upon exhibition in Liverpool."

On October 10, 1881, the mirage of a village appeared at Rugenwalde, Pomerania. The mirage-village was described as having "...snow-covered roofs from which hung icicles; human forms distinctly visible. It was believed that the mirage was a representation of the town Nexo, on the island of Bornholm. Rugenwalde is on the Baltic, and Nexo is about 100 miles northwest, in the Baltic." (Page 444) On March 16, 1890, in the sky over Ashland, Ohio, appeared "...a representation of a large, unknown city. By some persons it was supposed to be a mirage of the town of Mansfield, thirty miles away; other observers thought that they recognized Sandusky, sixty miles away. 'The more superstitious declared that it was a vision of the New Jerusalem'."

"In the English Mechanic, Sept.10, 1897, a correspondent to the Weekly Times and Echo is quoted. He had just returned from the Yukon. Early in June, 1897, he had seen a city pictured in the sky of Alaska. "Not one of us could form the remotest idea in what part of the world this settlement could be. Some guessed Toronto, others Montreal, and one of us even suggested Pekin. ...This wonderful mirage occurs from time to time yearly, and we were not the only ones who witnessed the spectacle. ...According to this correspondent, the 'mirage' did not look like any of the cities named, but like 'some immense city of the past'. In the New York Tribune, Feb.17, 1901, it is said that Indians of Alaska had told of an occasional appearance, as if of a city, suspended in the sky, and that a prospector, named Willoughby, having heard the stories, had investigated, in the year 1887, and had seen the spectacle.

It is said that, having several times attempted to photograph the scene, Willoughby did finally at least show an alleged photograph of an aerial city. ...For the first identification of the Willoughby photograph as a photograph of part of the city of Bristol, see the New York Times, Oct.20, 1889. That this photograph was somebody's hoax seems to be acceptable. But it was not similar to the frequently reported scene in the sky of Alaska, according to descriptions. In the New York Times, Oct.31, 1889, is an account, by Mr.L.B.French, of Chicago, of the spectral representation, as he saw it, near Mt.Fairweather. 'We could plainly see houses, well-defined streets, and trees. Here and there rose tall spires over huge buildings, which appeared to be ancient mosques or cathedrals...It did not look like a modern city--- more like an ancient European City.'"

In the Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, there is a report "that every year, between June 21 and July 10, a 'phantom city' appears in the sky over a glacier in Alaska; that features of it had been recognized as buildings in the city of Bristol, England, so that the 'mirage' was supposed to be a mirage of Bristol. It is said that for generations these repeating representations had been known to the Alaskan Indians, and that, in May 1901, a scientific expedition from San Francisco would investigate. It is said that, except for slight changes, from year to year, the scene was always the same."

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