Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Silent City - L.B. French

Despite having reported that a San Franciscan reporter had identified the cityscape in Prof. Dick Willoughby's Silent City photograph as Bristol, England, the New York Times ran an account from a Mr. L.B. French, who claimed to have seen the Silent City for himself.

French told the newspaper he saw a misty cloud around 5am sometime in early July from which the Silent City emerged. He described it in luscious detail, noting that it did not appear as a modern city, as Willoughby had said, but an ancient one. He described trees, rooftops, and ancient mosques or cathedrals.

French said the Eskimo guides accompanying the expedition fled as he and a companion struggled to setup their camera equipment. By the time they were prepared to shoot, the mirage had receded. L.B. French estimated the Silent City was visible for some 25 minutes.

It should be noted the article was published on Halloween, 1889. Also, all of the features French (who appears to have disappeared from history) describes are visible in Willoughby's faked photograph of the Silent City.

© C Harris Lynn, 2011

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