A possible abduction in 1899
By John LeMay
Author and historian
Thanks in large part to our own alleged Roswell UFO Incident of 1947, aliens are typically depicted as short humanoids with large black eyes. As time progressed, these strange beings were reported more frequently, usually in the case of alien abductions.
On Sept. 9, 1899, the Des Moines News printed a letter from a young girl describing a strange dream that she had. The “dream” had all the traits of an alien abduction as we would come to know them from the 1940s onward.
Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.
Support Local Journalism
Rosena Kelsey was 13 years old when she wrote the letter to her local paper about the daydream she had in class. For 1899 — a time when neither space travel nor the depiction of grey aliens was common — this little girl describes both far too accurately to dismiss.
Her letter, entitled “A Dream,” begins with the girl studying her geography lesson on a “sultry afternoon.” She writes, “Looking out the window I saw a cloud, shaped like a horn of plenty. As I watched, it came nearer until suddenly I found myself being carried away in the strange airship.”
Note that the young girl doesn’t say just how she was carried away, nor does she say that the airship landed and that she boarded it. Back in the 19th century, many people would mention how the airships would land and people would emerge. No such detail is given here, just the girl stating that she was “carried away” in the craft. This could imply what many modern abductees experience where they are levitated into one of the crafts.
Her story continues, “I seemed to be the only passenger, but, looking around, I spied a funny little man sitting astride the horn.” Don’t worry, she’ll eventually divulge to us just how “funny” this little man looked. She describes the man working the horn as though it were a rudder “to guide us through the air.” She describes how they slowly move upwards until at the last moment she could see the flagpole of her schoolhouse vanishing from view.
Her next detail is also startling as she describes the air growing colder as they go higher. For a 13-year-old schoolgirl in 1899 to know that the air grows colder the higher one ascends is unlikely. She writes, “as it grew colder, I envied the little man, his fur collar and coat which left only his eyes visible. To add to my fright, it suddenly grew dark. Just as I was wishing myself at home, we found ourselves floating through lovely moonlight.” One has to wonder just what she means by floating. Could she have been implying a loss of gravity?
“Before I had finished wondering at this, my little pilot cried out, ‘here we are,’ and I found myself in a strange land among strange people.”
And here is where her story becomes truly eyebrow-raising for modern ufologists. Her description of the aliens sounds spot-on for the so-called “grays.” Keep in mind, the grays were by no means in the public consciousness back in 1899. This girl could not have read about such creatures, and obviously she could not have seen them on television. Relatively speaking, alien grays were totally unknown at this time.
The girl writes, “They gathered about me talking very fast and motioning with their hands. They were a funny-looking people, short, with large round heads and round eyes. Their mouths were wide and smiling. Their language was enough like my own, so I learned that they were hurrying me to the great teacher of the country before the long night set in. Then I felt sure I was in the cold regions of the north. But when I looked for the ice and snow, I saw only bare grounds, and here and there mountain peaks and ranges. There seemed to be no water anywhere which may account for the dark skin of the people.”
And just where is the strange place that she is describing? As we will later learn, the girl was on the moon. Again, the moon landing would not happen for another 70 years. The girl had no idea what the moon would actually look like, or that it would be completely devoid of water. For 1899, this is a pretty apt description of the moon, all things considered.
As her journey continues, she enters a large cave “where more people were assembled listening to a man whose large round face was very familiar. He seemed delighted to see me and beamed on me so cordially I felt less afraid. He explained to the curious people that I probably came from the planet they saw when night came on. That it was 50 times larger than their world. That its diameter was 8,000 miles. That it was about 200,000 miles distance and turned on its axis once, while their world turned 30 times. Then I knew they were talking about the earth, and I, where was I? Darkness came suddenly upon us and it grew so cold I dared not move, nor could I cry out.”
The girl then describes the teacher leading her to a high place where he told her to look into the distance. There she saw a “bright ball resembling our moon, but much larger. I soon discovered on its surface a gold dome. There was the capital and home, and without another thought, I gave one great leap. I felt myself falling, falling, falling, and then heard a familiar voice say, ‘Seventh grade,’ I awoke with a start to find my class passing into the recitation room and I gladly followed.”
But, was this a dream, or perhaps a repressed memory of an alien abduction that appeared in her dream?
The girl ended her letter by stating, “When I went home and told Mama of my strange journey, she said I must have been on the moon, and too hearty a dinner sent me there.”