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Home>Polar Scientists...>The Mystery of Andree>TWO YEARS IN...

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Again Andree Has Been Heard From, and This Time Herr. Adolphus Claeson Will Go to Rescue Him.

It is nearly two years since Prof. Andree, with two companions, waved a joyful farewell to his friends who had gathered on the northern coast of Europe to see him off, and, cutting the ropes which bound his balloon to earth, sailed away in a brisk wind toward the Pole.

It was his intention to cross the Pole in three hours and to return in three hours more, making a trip of six hours' duration.

Many of his friends believed that he would do so, and for six hours they waited from him, confident and joyous. When he did not return at the end of the six hours, nor all that night, nor the next day, they were disappointed; but when another day passed away and still a third without tidings of the bold balloonist, their disappointment gave way to apprehension, which deepened into a gloom which has not since been dispelled by any tidings from him.

Almost immediately relief expeditions started for the Pole to rescue Andree. One of his admirers, from the height of a very lofty balloon, announced that he could see a great mountain peak directly in the course which Andree had taken, and he declared that the balloon had struck the peak and been injured. If only he could reach the peak and climb it, he would find Andree and his companions alive and well, and cheerfully living on the top.

Kink (sic) Oscar of Sweden, who contributed so largely to Herr Andree's expeditions, gave to this enterprise, and so did the Rothschilds. In fact, so much money was reased (sic) that for two years the Norwegian and French exploring societies have constantly sent out expeditions at intervals of less than three months.

Most of these have returned unsuccessful, others are living in regions of the northland, waiting for such tidings of Andree as may be brought south by the natives. The latest is that he has been heard from north of Iceland.

Now, after two years, there rises a balloonist who wishes to undertake the rescue of Andree in the same kind of a vehicle which Andree himself used for the journey into the clouds. M..(sic) Adolphus Claeson desires to go in a balloon from Copenhagen toward the North Pole, and he is as positive as Andree ever was that he can reach the Pole and return the same day.

He proposes to sail from a civilized point, reasoning that it will be easier to return to it.

From his observations M. Claeson declares that the topography of the earth, from an elevated position, is wholly different from the earth when viewed on the level of the eye, and that he (sic) entire surface of the earth is so changed that even an expert geographer would have difficulty in following his own charts.

M. Claeson goes so far as to state that many of the elevations which we call are highest mountains are really depressions, when viewed from the height of a few thousand feet, and that the tallest mountain in Norway rises from a dell so deep that its peak is really not as high in the air as many of the level portions.

Faulty Instruments.

The failure of geographers to note this, he claims, is due to faulty instruments, which are built to register, according to a falsely constructed idea of aerial pressure, and not according to the actual atmosphere as it exists above the mountain tops

The first time Prof. Claeson rose to observe the topography of the country he was astonished to find the errors which existed in his own maps, and he immediately made another ascension in order to correct his own drawings. After that he ascended many times for the purpose of observing the country, and he is now so familiar with it that he declares he could recognize if from any distance.

The most powerful telescopes are to be mounted in his balloon, so that he can catch sight of his home when still hundreds of miles away. The professor has made the discovery that it is possible to see much farther in a balloon ithan (sic) on land, thought the reverse has generally been thought to be the case. Petrof, Lilienthal, and even Andree himself, had declared in print that it is impossible to see clearly far above the surface of the earth. With the clouds scurrying to and fro, crossed by wind and storm currents, the aeronaut was blinded, and received the mistaken impression that he could not see in such a cloud of mist.

But the late experiments, particularly those of M. Claeson, have demonstrated that the eye can travel an immense distance through this seemingly opaque medium. As for its greenness and grayness, it is as blinding as smoke; but as you continue to gaze you soon see that the haze is a mountain, and that which you supposed to be a bank of mist is really a mountain peak.

Claeson's Balloon

All colors get gray as the distance increases and you can only tell what they are by the degrees of grayness. Thus, a snow-capped mountain will be nearly colorless; a brown plateau merely a dull spot, an ambitious gray crag only a speck on the horizon. But by study it all becomes clear, and just as concentration reveals the colors of the prism, so study points out the landscape.

With his eye trained for great distances, Prof. Claeson is positive that he will stand a very good chance of discovering Andree. So thoroughly has he acquainted himself with the appearance of the arctic region that the slightest foreign body, provided it were not so small an object as to be invisible, would be discovered. Certainly so large a body as Andree, with his immense carriage, could not escape notice.

Prof. Claeson's balloon in itself is worthy of note. It is a splendid silk affair, covered with a very strong netting, to which the car is attached. There is an arrangement for covering the car, should such a thing as an aerial rain arise.

A unique feature is the sail, which is of enormous dimensions, capable of being flung in every direction. The sail guides the balloon as though it were a yacht. In fact, the "air yacht" is the name which Prof. Claeson has given his vehicle. There is a drag rope, which is of the greatest service when it comes to a descent.

Reproduced with permission: L.L. Dyche, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.


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Original Source:

Toledo Journal, Toledo, OH. May 21, 1899

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Patrick Harper
University of Kansas

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