Close Encounters Of The Earliest Kind

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In any event, the ship caused its stir and vanished, leaving many Californians wondering where its peculiarly shy inventor had fled to.

Fifty years later, in 1946, “strange lights” were again reported, and newspapers were once more full of accounts of fantastic airships coursing across the night skies. But the half century that had elapsed since the California sightings apparently had eroded most people’s faith in individual genius and enterprise. This time the vessels were seen as the work of beings from another solar system—nobody thought to look for a Yankee mechanic cobbling together an airship in his barn.