Sunday, June 16, 2013


(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)

I'm on vacation this week. Below is a news story you may have missed previously or maybe would like to read again. The Time Machine will be back with some "new" items from our past next Sunday.- tk

January, 1885
(The Freeborn County Standard- Albert Lea, Minnesota)


Remarkable Mirage Seen From The Decks Of A Steamer In Chesapeake Bay

From The Baltimore Herald. "At the time I discovered it," said Captain Wilson of the steamer Tangier "we were off Watts Island on the Pocomoke Sound. The day was clear and bright. I was standing on the hurricane deck forward with a passenger, and we were commenting on the strange action of a dense line of smoke which rose perpendicularly from the stack of a saw mill in Pocomoke City, which lay to the east of us. My attention was suddenly called to the distinct outlines of a three-masted schooner which appeared above the line where the smoke spread out and disappeared. I could hardly believe my senses, and, calling my attention to the gentleman who was with me to the strange sight, I rushed into the pilot house and got my glasses. Through them I discovered more clearly the outlines of the vessel. There was evidently no breeze, as the sails were lying inboard. Then I scanned the horizon on either side of the smoke with the glasses and discovered four additional schooners, all of them similarly rigged and all wearing a full set of sails which were also inboard. They were more or less distinct as they were nearer or farther from the shore. Three of them pointed north and two south. The vessels were enveloped in what appeared to be a transparent haze, which I at once supposed to be the ocean. Fringing the lower edge of the haze were the outlines, perfectly distinct of the Atlantic coast between Chncoteague and Cobbs Islands. Even the inlets and small capes were discernible. Next appeared the broad waters between the outer bar and the mainland. This was also depicted as a haze, the land dovetailing into it here and there. Skirting the lower edge of the haze was the mainland, with open fields and clumps of trees. The mirage extended down to the meeting line of the land and the eastern horizon. I called all the passengers up from the lower deck and saloon, and all of them gazed at the phenomenon with wonder and admiration. The sight lasted about twenty minutes and gradually disappeared from view."

Captain Wilson stated that a land breeze had prevailed for several days previous to the mirage, and the phenomenon is accounted for on the ground that there was unusual retraction of the lower strata of the atmosphere. This is the first known instance of a mirage being seen in the lower Chesapeake. This phenomenon, however, is not infrequent in the Chesapeake, and Captain Wilson states that he once saw Cove point light from the lower end of Tangier Island, a distance of 38 miles. He calculated the distance of the mirage of a few days ago to be 30 miles.

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!

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