Todmorden & District News, Friday 27 December 1901, page 7 (Available from The British Library)
REMARKABLE PHENOMENON AT HAWORTH
Early on Thursday morning week, some policemen on duty at Haworth and further down the valley saw something unusual. Police-sergeant John Johnson, stationed at Haworth, says: I was in Marsh-lane, along with Police-constable Clarke when we saw a very bright light in the sky. It came somewhere overhead, and on looking up we saw a very large body of some kind travelling along at about the same height as an ordinary mill chimney. The object was as big as the largest ship I ever saw, and it was rather pointed towards each end, resembling very much the “billet” that lads use in playing tip-cat. I took out my watch and found the time to be a quarter past one exactly. We stood there watching the thing, which was so bright that we could see every little crevice in the snow on the roadway. The light was bluish. and reddish and whitish as well. We listened attentively but could hear no noise, but the thing in travelling threw out sparks. We could see the smallest object, and electric light was nothing to it. The thing travelled from about east to west, and while we timed it, it was fully visible for 14 minutes. All I have seen before dropped, or seemed to do so, sooner or later, but this went on rising, and the last I saw of it was when it went out in the neighbourhood of the Seven Stars (the Pleiades).
I know, I know, it's 120 years old, it's possibly a complete fabrication by the journalist or (less likely?) the policeman, etc. My query is: Does this sound like a natural phenomenon of any known kind?
I recall that the idea of silent, glowing plasmas was favoured by the author of the MoD's Condign Report, but they were suggested to be extremely rare, small in size, and existing for just brief periods of time. 'All I have seen before dropped, or seemed to do so, sooner or later, but this went on rising,' is ambiguous, but it arguably suggests that the policeman had seen similar things before.
Airships were known at the time, but they were incredibly rare, and I can't find a reference to any trials in Yorkshire, especially not at quarter past one in the morning on a snowy December night in 1901 ('Thursday morning week' would be the 19th?).
An interesting historical curiosity if nothing else.
Tip-cat image from Twitter. Airship from Wikipedia.