'REMARKABLE PHENOMENON AT HAWORTH'

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.
 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
"The light was bluish. and reddish and whitish as well" -- how?

A kite with some fireworks on it might fit the description, or an unusual hot air balloon of some sort?
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I'd suspect bolide plus hyperbole, especially if the 14 minutes claim might be a mis-write of 14 seconds, which itself would be a misapprehension/exaggeration.

And I propose that,if we ever have a Metabunk convention or other get-together, a hearty game of tip-cat should be on the agenda.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
And I propose that,if we ever have a Metabunk convention or other get-together, a hearty game of tip-cat should be on the agenda.
Indeed, The Metabunk Major Meetup (3M) Vegas '22! Not that I care much for Las Vegas, but it's a good meet up town and easy to get to. Or we could all just head to Sacramento and crash Mick's place;).

FWIW, I knew exactly what tip-cat was, because it's tradition this time of year to watch the old Laurel & Hardy Christmas movie, March of the Wooden Soldiers in which Stan calls the billit a pee-wee and demonstrates how it's used.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Haworth is just down the road from Bingley, where I grew up. I now live in Sacramento, which in 1896 was the start of the "Mystery Airship" flap.

Article:
The Sacramento Bee and the San Francisco Call reported the first sighting on November 18, 1896. Witnesses reported a light moving slowly over Sacramento on the evening of November 17 at an estimated 1,000-foot elevation. Some witnesses said they could see a dark shape behind the light. A witness named R.L. Lowery reported that he heard a voice from the craft issuing commands to increase elevation in order to avoid hitting a church steeple.


And there were a bunch of similar flaps over the next decade or so. The Haworth one just seems like something similar, a tall tale - possibly sparked by a bolide, or even just a bonfire up the hill. The region is characterized by fairly steep-sided valleys, which were uphill in both directions.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Indeed, The Metabunk Major Meetup (3M) Vegas '22! Not that I care much for Las Vegas, but it's a good meet up town and easy to get to. Or we could all just head to Sacramento and crash Mick's place;).
vegas is a germ infested cess pool. and half our members are in the uk or austrailia etc. we should go to that Bigfoot place in New York. which would also be more conducive to a game of tip-cat.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The Haworth one just seems like something similar, a tall tale - possibly sparked by a bolide, or even just a bonfire up the hill.
didn't we have a thread about a guy from the days of old who hiked up a mountain and saw a spaceship (were there multiple colored lights?) and he went back down the mountain and made his wife hike up with him the next day... and i cant remember if she saw it too. can't remember if it was the uk though, and cant find the thread.
 

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
vegas is a germ infested cess pool. and half our members are in the uk or austrailia etc. we should go to that Bigfoot place in New York. which would also be more conducive to a game of tip-cat.
No disagreement on Vegas, haven't been there in years, though my wife was there pre-COVID for work and concurs with you.

But come on, Bigfoot in upstate New York? If we're going with a Bigfoot themed meet-up, it's going to have to be near Willow Creek CA, the only place an actual real life Bigfoot was filmed (the Patterson-Gimlin Film):D. We can crash Mick's place and then head north to Willow Creek.

We are so off topic.
 
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