On May 24, 1850, the Henry Grinnel Expedition set sail with two ships, the "Advance" and the "Resolute," in a belated search for Sir John Franklin, a pioneer Arctic explorer who had sailed with two ships in search of a northwest passage in 1845. The Franklin expedition had not been heard from since July, 1845.
On board the "Advance" in Wellington Channel, a part of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canada's northernmost extremity, the senior medical officer of the Grinnel Expedition, Dr. Elisha Kent Kane, made this entry in his diary on September 15, 1850:
"This afternoon, at 6h. 20m., a large spheroidal mass was seen floating in the air at an unknown distance to the north. It undulated for a while over the ice-lined horizon of Wellington Channel; and after a little while, another, smaller than the first, became visible a short distance from it. They receded with the wind from the southward and eastward, but did not disappear for some time. Captain De Haven at first thought it a kite; but, independently of the difficulty of imagining a kite flying without a master, and where no master could be, its outline and movement convinced me it was a balloon. The "Resolute" dispatched a courier balloon on the second; but that could never have survived the storms of the past week. I therefore suppose it must have been sent up by some English vessel to the west of us.
"The balloon was to leeward, nearly due north of us, more so than could be referred to the course of the wind as we observed it, supposing it to have set out from any vessel of whose place we were aware. It appeared to me, the principal one, about 2 feet long by 18 inches broad; its appendage larger than an ordinary dinner plate. This incident interested us much at the time, and I have not seen anything in the published journals of the English searchers that explains it." 10
The keeper of this diary, Elisha Kent Kane, was born in Philadelphia on February 3, 1820. After attaining his medical degree at the age of twenty-one, he entered the U.S. Navy as a surgeon. He then traveled extensively and served a stint in the Army during the war with Mexico. In February, 1849, he was presented with a sword by the city of Philadelphia. More travel followed. Then he became the Grinnel Expedition's surgeon. During a later unsuccessful expedition in search of Franklin, Kane managed to collect valuable data later published in volumes ten to thirteen of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, 1858. In October, 1855, he traveled to Cuba because of poor health and died in Havana in 1857.11
Note #10: Elisha Kent Kane, M.D., U.S.N., The U.S. Grinnel Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin (New York: Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1854), p. 190.
Note #11: The Encyclopedia Britannica, op. cit., XIII, 837.
Reference for the above text is: Mysteries of the Skies by Gordon I. R. Lore and Harold H. Deneault, pp. 44-45, © 1968
UFOCAT PRN - 79592
UFOCAT URN – 79592 Mysteries of the Skies by Gordon I. R. Lore and Harold H. Deneault, pp. 44-45, © 1968
North America – Canada, Nunavut
Wellington Channel Latitude 75-28-00 N, Longitude 93-12-00 W (D-M-S)
Lies between Cornwallis Island and Devon Island in the Queen Elizabeth Islands chain.-CF-
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