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An Aeronaut's Fearful Journey

An Aeronaut's Fearful Journey image
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John II. Shearer, the aeronaut recently made a frightful journey through tho clouds in a snow storm from Pottstown to Coopersburgh, Lehigh county, along the line of the North Pennsylva'nia Bailroad, a dÍ3tance of forty miles, in leas than an hour. The aeronaut used no basket, but ascended to the clouds revolving upon a slender trapeze bar dangling from the netting of his large balloon. Shearer is a young man about thirty years of age, and by occupationis a clerk in ono of the leading hotels in Reading. For some time past he has been paying considerable attention to ballooning, and sinco his first trip to cloudland he has made nearly a dozen ascensions. He has discontinued the use of a basket altogether, and now he ascends on a trapeze bar hanging by two slender ropes attached to the balloon netting. His last ascensión carne very near proving fatal. He says : " When I ascended out of sight of the people at Pottstown, the air suddenly became cold, and the rain descended. The wind blew fearfully, and when I had ascended to an altitude of three thousand feet I noticed that it was snowing. When the barometer indicated flte thousand feet above the level of the sea, a furious 8now storm set in. My balloon shifted to a northwestern wind current, and was wafted along at a frightful rate of speed. The balloon swayed backward and forward, and I then mounted from tbe trapeze and took a seat in the iron concentrated ring. I made an effort to put on my heavy clothing, but fouud it utterly impossible. Tho balloon was swaying and rolling about in the air at an altitude of over a niile, and I did not dare to dress myself for fear that a sudden twist or jerk of' the balloon would hurl me headlong down. " The storm became more furious. I must have traveled a mile a minute. Fiually I pulled the valve rope. It required considerable Btrength to pull it. My hands were numb, but I soon succeeded in opening the valve, and I could plainly hear the gas rushing out at the top. The balloon descended. The wind was blowing a gale as I approached the earth. It swept the balloon down toward a denso wood with frightful rapidity, and carried me craahing into the tree tops. How I became extricated I cannot teil. I confess the journey was a frightful one, but I shall try it over and over again."


Old News
Michigan Argus