Recently discovered journals written by the secretary for the Royal Society nearly 300 years ago document a slow-moving unidentified flying object over London.
Cromwell Mortimer, a British physician and the second secretary of the Royal Society, tracked what appeared to be a slow-moving UFO for 30 seconds on Dec. 16, 1742, as it soared over central London shortly before 9 p.m., according to the Daily Express.
“I saw a light arise from behind the trees and houses in the south by west point,” Mortimer described, according to the outlet. “When it had risen to the height of about 20 degrees, it took a motion nearly parallel to the horizon and went over the houses.”
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He tracked the object as it flew over what he believed to be the Bloomsbury district of London, over Queen’s Square, toward the canal on the adjacent side, according to the Mirror. The physician documented he lost sight of the UFO “over the Haymarket,” but had time to “contemplate its appearance fully,” the outlet noted.
Mortimer’s sketches and details were first published in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. XLIII in 1746, the Mirror reported. The newly-discovered documents feature a diagram of the object and what he assumed were mechanics of the device, according to the outlet.
“A: seemed to be a light flame, turning backwards from the resistance the air made to it,” Mortimer wrote, according to the Mirror. “BB. a bright fire like burning charcoal, enclosed as it were in an open case of which the frame CCC was quite opaque: like bands of iron.” (RELATED: Watch This Footage Of A Suspected UFO ‘Above The Clouds’ In The UK)
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“At D issued forth a train, or tail of light flame, more bright at D, and growing gradually fainter at E, so as to be transparent more than half its length,” he continued in his details, noting that the degrees and thickness of the remaining elements, according to the Mirror.
“It is the first of it’s kind,” British UFO expert Steve Mera said told The Sun, “Folk stood out on a balcony witnessed it. They were well to do, which encouraged proper research into it.” Some have theorized the phenomenon to be a meteor or ball lightning, but the particular event lasted longer than the two, the Mirror noted.