Wednesday, 15 January 1913

This post is part of a series post-blogging the phantom airship scare of 1913. See here for an introduction to the series, and here for a conclusion.

There is nothing about phantom airships in the papers today. However, the Daily Mirror has a very brief note about the strange light seen near Ballybay in Ireland. It adds very little but does say, p.4, that the 'mysterious light [...] is keeping the inhabitants of Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, in their homes at night-time as they believe it to be some uncanny manifestation'. This makes it quite clear that the lights, whatever they may be, are being interpreted as something supernatural, not technological.

There is also a letter from A. H. Tulloch of Eastbourne to the editor of the Standard which refers, p. 13, to an article appearing in a previous issue. It's not clear what that article was about but it was entitled 'Moving lights' and mentioned 'St Elmo's Fire'. It might have been about the Ballybay light, or it might have been about the Bristol Channel lights, or something else. At any rate Tulloch's letter is not itself about any scareships but rather a strange phenomenon he himself witnessed 'on the banks of the Mahanuddy, Orissa, India' (when is not said):

The light in question had nothing 'flickering' about it, nor was there a flash of any kind; it had the appearance of a remarkably large and bright lantern, and moved with a slight swaying motion, just as if it was, indeed, one being carried by hand. We saw two of these lights approach and pass each other upon the bund above the river, at a distance from about seventy yards from us, and when the one that was coming toward us drew near, sure enough it did turn out to be a man with a lantern. Asked if anyone carrying a light had passed him on the pathway he said 'No.' Whereupon we climbed up the bund and followed the light, which still kept ahead with the same little swinging movement. Suddenly it floated off the bund, smoothly but very swiftly, right across the open country to a grove of trees half a mile away, where it danced up and down vigorously. An hour later it was still dancing.

Tulloch adds that 'The mail runners' called the phenomenon '"fire ghosts," and told tales of having been chased by them across the sand of the river bed'. The same lights were also 'frequently seen on the banks of the Mahanuddy outside the station of Cuttack, on a bit of ground used as a burning ghat'.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

3 thoughts on “Wednesday, 15 January 1913

  1. Pingback:

  2. Roberto Labanti

    A. H. Tulloch refers to the following article:

    Moving Lights (1913, January 11). The London Standard, 5

    (based upon "several stories" "circulated during the past week of mysterious moving lights which it is said have been seen at Lough Erne in Norfolk, and Suffolk, and among the mountains of Piedmont and Savoy". At least some of those and other stories appeared on "Daily Mail" between December 17 (not seen) and January 6).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *