The stage has been set where things have been put in place to present the story as it appeared in it’s day. Here is the Evening Mail Article, Nov 27, 1896:
THREE STRANGE VISITORS
Who possibly came from the Planet Mars
Seen on a country road by Colonel H.G. Shaw and a companion-
they boarded the Airship
For more than a week the papers all over the coast have been reporting the presence of an alleged airship or flying machine which many reliable people claim to have seen on several occasions in the heavens at night. Whether or not there really is such a contrivance navigating in the air, the Mail is unable to satisfactorily determine, but some of the papers have taken the matter seriously and others have disposed to make light of the statements. A couple of San Francisco attorneys have secured a lot of free advertising by claiming to have clients who have invented and tested successful flying ships, and the newspapers have filled several columns talking about the aerial mystery.
The Mail makes the above statement merely by way of preface to a most remarkable story which is related by Colonel H.G.Shaw of this city, formerly of the mail editorial staff. Colonel Shaw is at present engaged in collecting an exhibit for the Stockton Commercial Association to be displayed at the Citrus Fair which will be held in Fresno during the coming month. The gentleman was very reticent about relaying the circumstance, as he was loath to appear before the public as a romancer or as a man who looked upon shoe-string when it was red. He tells the story as follows: