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September 3, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

Ghost Ship Over Arvonia?

Slate River Ramblings_Buckingham County_Ghost Zeppelin

In December of 1914, as trenches were being dug in Europe and fears of a German invasion of North America began to grow, the Richmond Times-Dispatch ran this “special” news from Buckingham County:


That, or German Machine Reconnoitering –

Anyway, Some Kind of Aerial Visitor Has Excited Buckingham.

ARVONIA, VA. December 19. All the northeastern end of Buckingham County is excited over a most remarkable aerial visitation of some kind, which occurred on Thursday night about 10 o’clock and created such a noise that whole countrysides were aroused and alarmed. Many stoutly contend that it was an aeroplane or Zeppelin, as lights fore and aft were observed, and the chug of engines could be heard. Why they were sailing at night and in such cold is a mystery. Others say they heard vast volleying of shooting in the heavens, like a company of fifty men firing simultaneously. Others say the noise was that of thunder. Several say they saw at least three distinct lights pass in the heavens.

Three men, who were passing in the road at a late hour, say they saw the air craft, and that it fell with a loud noise in a field between Arvonia and New Canton. They did not investigate the matter, but instead went to the other direction rapidly.

The phenomena could not have been a hoax or anything like an aerial toy, as it was seen and observed over a wide extent of territory, and everywhere it created intense excitement.

Some think it was an aeroplane, others say it was a Zeppelin airship. Many who know little of geographical conditions say they are certain it was a German aircraft reconnoitering. Still others, who are superstitiously inclined, say it was a phantom airship, perhaps the ghost of one of those destroyed in the European war. The best informed think it was a most remarkable aerolite or meteor accompanied by noise like that of shooting.

The United States Weather Bureau had been asked to investigate the matter and determine, if possible, just what the strange occurrence could have been.

Nobody mentioned visitors from outer space?

Thanks to Mary Carolyn Mitton for discovering this Buckingham County mystery!


Leave a Comment
  1. Linda Doerger / Sep 3 2015 9:17 pm

    What an interesting mystery! I wonder if a follow-up article was ever written after the Weather Bureau did their investigation.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 4 2015 8:49 am

      As with today’s news, the media in 1914 liked to report the excitement but rarely the resolution. So far, I have yet to find a follow-up story. If I do, I will post it!

  2. Gene / Sep 3 2015 3:12 pm

    Perhaps a UFO? 🙂

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 3 2015 5:32 pm

      Gene, I’m with you. Why didn’t someone suggest UFO?

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