Back in 1896-1987, the country was besieged with weird objects in the sky, that the media dubbed “airships.”

These sightings began in California, and from there spread across the country until it hit Michigan.

On the evening of April 10, 1897, the first Michigan airship sighting occurred in Alma. The next night, residents in Benton Harbor reported seeing airships floating over Lake Michigan for about 15 minutes before they faded out of sight. Witnesses from Benton Harbor and nearby St. Joseph claim these objects had flickering blue, red, and green lights.

The next Michigan report came from Black Lake near Holland, who claimed to have actually seen this ‘machine.’ More claims poured in: notably, Battle Creek, Charlotte, Comstock, Hart, Hudson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Mendon, Middleville, Niles, Olivet, and Pavillion.

Townspeople began claiming to find bits and pieces of these machines, like a wheel and a letter dropped from the sky.

When Lansing residents started saying they saw this airship, the identity of these ‘lights’ ended up being just ‘fire balloons,’ paper balloons with candles to generate hot air to make them float. Afterward, anyone who boasted about seeing these UFO’s were immediately ridiculed…but the sightings continued throughout the state. Saginaw, Manistee, Marshall, Marquette, Saline, and Flint were among the latest cities where these mysterious ships were reported to be seen.

The few who say they actually saw the airship said it looked like a blimp, was around 100-300 feet long, and had wings that flapped like bird wings. One particular hard-to-believe sighting involved an actual landing in Reynolds, Michigan. Just like in the film “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” a very tall alien exited the airship and greeted the earth inhabitants.

Most of these were possibly just faked reports, with people wanting to cash in the notoriety that others across the country were receiving. Or was there actually some weird aircraft over Michigan? In 1897, yet?

California and most states that lead to Michigan all had claims of seeing this strange airship as it/they headed eastward across the nation. You can find out more about this in “Michigan and the Great Mass Hysteria Episode of 1897” by Robert E. Bartholomew by CLICKING HERE.


Michigan's "Chamber of Horrors", 1890s

Five Michigan Locations Where You Can Defy Gravity

The Mysterious Mr. Rover

The Michigan Railroad That Was Never Used


More From 107.7 WRKR-FM