Fear of Floating
Diagnosis: Collective Panic Attack. Cause: Count von Zeppelin.
- By Dan Vergano
- Air & Space magazine, July 2009
(Page 3 of 3)
At the beginning of the century, de Syon says, “people had a sense the world was changing, and the airships were a harbinger of things to come.”
A second wave of sightings would afflict the United Kingdom in 1912 and 1913, and then the story takes a grim turn. In World War I, zeppelins did reach London. “The Zeppelins have come at last,” reported the January 1915 London Graphic, “for three of them visited the Norfolk coast on Tuesday night and dropped bombs in the darkness. ‘The Graphic’ anticipated an air-raid so long ago as May 22, 1909, though the present raid was made more fearsome by explosive bombs which killed four peaceful people, two of whom were women.” By the end of the war, zeppelin-dropped bombs had killed 557 people and injured 1,358. Concludes de Syon: “The airship scares were just a little neurosis before
the actual psychosis of the first World War.”
Dan Vergano is a reporter for USA Today.