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Observations placeholder

Charles Fort - Sightings of single large UFOs



Type of Spiritual Experience



Other examples exist from historical times mentioned in the reports of reliable sources

1. 99 BC, Tarquinia, Viterbo Province, Italy - A flying shield GD [Tarquinia was 52 Roman miles Northwest of Rome.

In Tarquinia, over a wide area, a fiery object was seen, which flew away quickly. "At sunset a round shield (orbis clypeus) flew west to east. "   Source: Lycosthenes, Julii Obsequentis Prodigiorum Liber... per Conradum Lycosthenem Rubeaquensem integrati suae restitutus (Basel, 1552).

2. 91 BC, Spoletium in Umbria, N. Rome, Italy - Globe, flying up!

"Near Spoletium a gold-colored fireball rolled down to the ground, increased in size; seemed to move off the ground toward the east and was big enough to blot out the sun. "   Source: Obsequens, Prodigiorum, op. cit., eh. 114; Paulus Orosius, Historiarum Adversum Paganos, Book V.

3. Circa June 76 BC, China, exact location unknown - Mysterious candle star

"The fifth year of the Yiian-feng reign period, in the fourth month (12th May to 9th June, 76 BC), a candle star appeared between K 'uei and Lou."  Chapter 26: 1292 of the same History defines the term thus: "A candle star resembles Venus. It remains stationary from sight right after its appearance. Riot is expected in cities and districts over which it shone." A candle star was one of the 18 irregular "stars" defined in Chinese records.
Source: History of the Han Dynasty, eh. 26: 1307; quoted by Y. L. Huang, "The Chinese Candle Star of 76 BC," The Observatory 107 (1987): 213. The History of the Han Dynasty was part of "Astrological Treatise," compiled by Ma Hsu around 140 AD.

4. 76 BC, Rome, Italy: Maneuvering "torch" in the sky

 "In the consulship of Gnaeus Octavius and Gaius Scribonius a spark was seen to fall from a star and increase in size as it approached the earth, and after becoming as large as the moon it diffused a sort of cloudy daylight, and then returning to the sky changed into a torch; this is the only record of this occurring. It was seen by the proconsul Silanus and his entourage."  Source: Pliny the Elder, Natural History, trans. Harris Rackham (Harvard University Press, 1963).

5. 989, Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey - Erratic "comet"

"The star appeared in the west after sunset; it rose in the evening and had no fixed place in the sky. It spread bright rays, visible from a great distance, and kept moving, appearing further north or further south, and once when it rose changed its place in the sky, making sudden and fast movements. The people who saw the comet (sic) were stunned, in awe, and believe that such strange movements are an evil omen. And just as people expected, something happened: in the evening of the day when they usually celebrated the memory of Velikomuchenik (a martyr of early Christianity), a tremendous earthquake brought down the towers of Byzantium..." 
Comment:  It seems to us today that an object that "changes its place in the sky, making sudden and fast movements," cannot be a comet if the description is accurate.  Wonders In The Sky - Unexplained Aerial Objects From Antiquity To Modern Times - and Their Impact on Human Culture, History, and Beliefs - Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck

6.  637, Japan: The Barking of the celestial dog

A great star floated from East to West and there was a noise, like that of thunder. The people of that day said it was the sound of the falling star. Others said that it was earth- thunder. Hereupon the Buddhist Priest, Bin, said, "It is not the falling star but the Celestial Dog, the sound of whose barking is like thunder."  Source: Nihongi or Chronicles of Japan (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1956). Quoted by W. Raymond Drake in Gods and Spacemen in the Ancient East (London: Sphere, 1973)

7. 3 July 1642, Olesa de Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain - Globe, changing its appearance

Joseph Aguilera and others saw a globe changing to "three moons," later an enormous light seen for one hour.  Source: Guijarro, Josep, Guia de la Cataluha Magica (Barcelona: Ediciones Martinez Roca, 1999), 48.

8. 1650, Limerick, Ireland: Flying globe with light beam

A luminous globe brighter than the Moon shed a vertical light on the city, and then it faded as it passed over the enemy camp.   Source: Dominic O'Daly, History of the Geraldines (1665).

9.  May 1652, Near Rome, Italy - Huge object drops strange matter

A single luminous object, 80 meters in size, was seen in the air. A mass of "gelatinous matter" fell to the ground. Source: Edinburgh Philosophical Journal I (October 1819): 234.

10. 1 Dec. 1660, Hounsditch, England: Unknown moon

At 5 A.M. an inhabitant of Hounsditch saw an unexplained, bright object the size of the moon in the eastern sky. Source: Mirabilis Annus (1661).


A description of the experience

From The Book of the Damned - Charles Fort

It's quite in accord with our general expression: not that there is an Intra-Mercurial planet, but that there are different bodies, many vast things; near this earth sometimes, near the sun sometimes; orbitless worlds, which, because of scarcely any data of collisions, we think of as under navigable control--or dirigible super-constructions.


Astrophysical Journal, 1-127:

A light-reflecting body, or a bright spot near Mars: seen Nov. 25, 1894, by Prof. Pickering and others, at the Lowell Observatory, above an unilluminated part of Mars--self-luminous, it would seem--thought to have been a cloud--but estimated to have been about twenty miles away from the planet.

Monthly Notices of the R.A.S

Luminous spot seen moving across the disk of Mercury, in 1799, by Harding and Schroeter. (Monthly Notices of the R.A.S., 38-338.)

Lowell Observatory

In the first Bulletin issued by the Lowell Observatory, in 1903, Prof. Lowell describes a body that was seen on the terminator of Mars, May 20, 1903. On May 27, it was "suspected." If still there, it had moved, we are told, about 300 miles--"probably a dust cloud."

Popular Astronomy

Very conspicuous and brilliant spots seen on the disk of Mars, October and November, 1911. (Popular Astronomy, Vol. 19, No. 10.)

Monthly Notices, 20-98

In 1859, Dr. Lescarbault, an amateur astronomer, of Orgères, France, announced that, upon March 26, of that year, he had seen a body of planetary size cross the sun. Dr. Lescarbault wrote to Leverrier, who hastened to Orgères--

We are told that Leverrier "satisfied himself as to the substantial accuracy of the reported observation." The story of this investigation is told in Monthly Notices, 20-98.

Leverrier gave the name "Vulcan" to the object that Dr. Lescarbault had reported.

Astronomische Nachrichten, No. 3477

Dr. Brendel, of Griefswald, Pomerania, writes that Postmaster Ziegler and other observers had seen a body … crossing the sun's disk. The duration here indicates something far from the earth, and also far from the sun. This thing was seen a quarter of an hour before it reached the sun. Time in crossing the sun was about an hour. After leaving the sun it was visible an hour.

Annual Register, 9-120

According to the Annual Register, 9-120, upon the 9th of August, 1762, M. de Rostan, of Basle, France, was taking altitudes of the sun, at Lausanne. He saw a vast, spindle-shaped body, about three of the sun's digits in breadth and nine in length, advancing slowly across the disk of the sun, or "at no more than half the velocity with which the ordinary solar spots move." It did not disappear until the 7th of September, when it reached the sun's limb.

It is recorded that another observer, at Paris, watching the sun, at this time, had not seen this object:

But that M. Croste, at Sole, about forty-five German leagues northward from Lausanne, had seen it, describing the same spindle-form, but disagreeing a little as to breadth. Then comes the important point: that he and M. de Rostan did not see it upon the same part of the sun. This, then, is parallax, and, compounded with invisibility at Paris, is great parallax--or that, in the course of a month, in the summer of 1762, a large, opaque, spindle-shaped body traversed the disk of the sun, but at a great distance from the sun. The writer in the Register says: "In a word, we know of nothing to have recourse to, in the heavens, by which to explain this phenomenon

Observation, of July 26, 1819, by Gruthinson—

but that was of two bodies that crossed the sun together--

Nature, 14-469:

That, according to the astronomer, J.R. Hind, Benjamin Scott, City Chamberlain of London, and Mr. Wray, had, in 1847, seen a body similar to "Vulcan" cross the sun.
Similar observation by Hind and Lowe, March 12, 1849 (L'Année Scientifique, 1876-9).

Two other observations noted by Hind and Denning--London Times, Nov. 3, 1871, and March 26, 1873.

Nature, 14-505:

Body of apparent size of Mercury, seen, Jan. 29, 1860, by F.A.R. Russell and four other observers, crossing the sun.

L'Année Scientifique, 1865-16:

That another amateur astronomer, M. Coumbray, of Constantinople, had written to Leverrier, that, upon the 8th of March, 1865, he had seen a black point, sharply outlined, traverse the disk of the sun. It detached itself from a group of sun spots near the limb of the sun, and took 48 minutes to reach the other limb. Figuring upon the diagram sent by M. Coumbray, a central passage would have taken a little more than an hour.

Observation upon another such body, of April 4, 1876, by M. Weber, of Berlin. As to this observation, Leverrier was informed by Wolf, in August, 1876 (L'Année Scientifique, 1876-7).

Monthly Notices of the R.A.S., 20-100:

Standacher, February, 1762; Lichtenberg, Nov. 19, 1762; Hoffman, May, 1764; Dangos, Jan. 18, 1798; Stark, Feb. 12, 1820. An observation by Schmidt, Oct. 11, 1847, is said to be doubtful: but, upon page 192, it is said that this doubt had arisen because of a mistaken translation, and two other observations by Schmidt are given: Oct. 14, 1849, and Feb. 18, 1850--also an observation by Lofft, Jan. 6, 1818. Observation by Steinheibel, at Vienna, April 27, 1820 (Monthly Notices, 1862).

Haase had collected reports of twenty observations like Lescarbault's. The list was published in 1872, by Wolf. Also there are other instances like Gruthinsen's:

Amer. Jour. Sci., 2-28-446:

Report by Pastorff that he had seen twice in 1836, and once in 1837, two round spots of unequal size moving across the sun, changing position relatively to each other, and taking a different course, if not orbit, each time: that, in 1834, he had seen similar bodies pass six times across the disk of the sun, looking very much like Mercury in his transits.

In the London Times, Jan. 10, 1860,

 is Benjamin Scott's account of his observation:

That, in the summer of 1847, he had seen a body that had seemed to be the size of Venus, crossing the sun. He says that, hardly believing the evidence of his sense of sight, he had looked for someone, whose hopes or ambitions would not make him so subject to illusion. He had told his little son, aged five years, to look through the telescope. The child had exclaimed that he had seen "a little balloon" crossing the sun. Scott says that he had not had sufficient self-reliance to make public announcement of his remarkable observation at the time, but that, in the evening of the same day, he had told Dr. Dick, F.R.A.S., who had cited other instances. In the Times, Jan. 12, 1860, is published a letter from Richard Abbott, F.R.A.S.: that he remembered Mr. Scott's letter to him upon this observation, at the time of the occurrence.

Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-77:

That, at Cherbourg, France, Jan. 12, 1836, was seen a luminous body, seemingly two-thirds the size of the moon. It seemed to rotate on an axis. Central to it there seemed to be a dark cavity.  For other accounts, all indefinite, but distortable into data of wheel-like objects in the sky, see Nature, 22-617; London Times, Oct. 15, 1859; Nature, 21-225; Monthly Weather Review, 1883-264.

Greg's Catalogue

The next datum is one of the most sensational we have, except that there is very little to it. A dark object that was seen by Prof. Heis, for eleven degrees of arc, moving slowly across the Milky Way. (Greg's Catalogue, Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1867-426.)

From New Lands by Charles Fort

New York Herald, April 20

—that, upon the 19th, about 9 P.M., at Sistersville, W. Va., a luminous object had approached the town from the northwest, flashing brilliant red, white, and green lights."An examination with strong glasses left an impression of a huge cone-shaped arrangement 180 feet long, with large fins on either side."

New York Herald, April 11

—that, at Chicago, night of April 9-10, "until two o'clock in the morning, thousands of amazed spectators declared that the lights seen in the northwest were those of an airship, or some floating object, miles above the earth.… Some declare they saw two cigar-shaped objects and great wings." It is said that a white light, a red light, and a green light had been seen.

There does seem to be an association between this object and the planet Venus, which upon this night was less than three weeks from nearest approach to this earth. Nevertheless this object could not have been Venus, which had set hours earlier. Prof. Hough, of the Northwestern University, is quoted—that the people had mistaken the star Alpha Orionis for an airship. Prof. Hough explains that astronomeric effects may have given a changing red and green appearance to this star. Alpha Orionis as a northern star is some more astronomy by the astronomers who teach astronomy daytimes and then relax when night comes. That atmospheric conditions could pick out this one star and not affect other brilliant stars in Orion is more astronomy. At any rate the standardized explanation that the thing was Venus disappears.

Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst.

Jan. 6, 1818—an unknown body that crossed the sun, according to Loft, of Ipswich; observed about three hours and a half (Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 5-117).

An. Sci. Disc

Five unknown bodies that were seen, upon June 26, 1819, crossing the sun, according to Gruithuisen (An. Sci. Disc., 1860-411). Also, upon this day, Pastorff saw something that he thought was a comet, which was then somewhere near the sun, but which, according to Olbers, could not have been the comet (Webb, Celestial Objects, p. 40).

Comptes Rendus

Feb. 7, 1802—an unknown body that was seen, by Fritsch, of Magdeburg, to cross the sun (Observatory, 3-136).

Oct. 10, 1802—an unknown dark body was seen, by Fritsch, rapidly crossing the sun (Comptes Rendus, 83-587).

1820 - Unknown bodies in the sky, in the year 1820, February 12 and April 27 (Comptes Rendus, 83-314).

1823 - More unknowns, in the year 1823—see Comptes Rendus, 49-811 and Webb's Celestial Objects, p. 43.

An. Sci. Disc

Oct. 23, 1822—two unknown dark bodies crossing the sun; observed by Pastorff (An. Sci. Disc., 1860-411).


An unknown, shining thing—it was seen, by Webb, May 22, 1823, near the planet Venus (Nature, 14-19).

1831 - From Sept. 6 to Nov. 1, 1831, an unknown luminous object was seen every cloudless night, at Geneva, by Dr. Wartmann and his assistants (Comptes Rendus, 2-307). It was reported from nowhere else.

1835 - An unknown, luminous object that was seen, from May 11 to May 14, 1835, by Cacciatore, the Sicilian astronomer (Amer. Jour. Sci., 31-158).

Sept. 12, 1857—Ohrt's unknown world; seemed to be about the size of Mercury (C. R., 83-623)

Aug. 1, 1858-unknown world reported by Wilson, of Manchester (Astro. Reg., 9-287).

Jan. 29, 1860—unknown object, of planetary size, reported from London, by Russell and three other observers (Nature, 15-505).

1862 - An unknown world, reported by Loomis, of Manchester, March 20, 1862 (Monthly Notices, 22-232)

1865 - unknown that was seen, March 18, 1865, at Constantinople (L’Ann. Sci., 1865-16)

unknown "cometic objects" that were seen, Nov. 4, 9, and 18, 1865 (Monthly Notices, 26-242).

Nov. 6, 1866—an account, in the London Times, Jan. 2, 1867, by Senor De Fonblanque, of the British Consulate, at Cartagena, U. S. Colombia, of a luminous object that moved in the sky. "It was of the magnitude, color, and brilliance of a ship's red light, as seen at a distance of 200 yards." The object was visible three minutes, and then disappeared behind buildings. De Fonblanque went to an open space to look for it, but did not see it again.

March 17, 1877. - In Nature, 15-451, a correspondent writes that, at 8:55 P.M., he saw a large red star in Serpens, where he had never seen such an appearance before—Gunnersbury, March 17, 1877. Ten minutes later, the object increased and decreased several times, flashing like the revolving light of a lighthouse, then disappearing. ….. In the Observatory, 1-20, Capt. Tupman writes that, at 9:57 o'clock, a great meteor was seen first at Frome, Tetbury, and Gunnersbury. The red object might not have been in the local sky of Gunnersbury; might have been in the constellation Serpens, unseen in all the rest of the world.

Aug. 28, 1883 - Knowledge, 4-173, Capt. Noble writes that, at 10:35 o'clock, night of Aug. 28, 1883, he saw in the sky something "like a new and most glorious comet." First he saw something like the tail of a comet, or it was like a searchlight, according to Capt. Noble's sketch of it in Knowledge. Then Capt. Noble saw the nucleus from which this light came. It was a brilliant object.

August 29 1883  - Upon page 207, W. K. Bradgate writes that, at 12:40 A.M., August 29, at Liverpool, he saw an object like the planet Jupiter, a ray of light emanating from it.

September 21 1883 - In Knowledge, 4-219, Mrs. Harbin writes that, upon the night of September 21, at Yeovil, she saw the same brilliant searchlight-like light that had been seen by Capt. Noble, but that it had disappeared before she could turn her telescope upon it. And several months later (November, 1883) a similar object was seen obviously not far away, but in the local sky of Porto Rico and then of Ohio (Amer. Met. Jour., 1-110, and Sci. Amer., 50-40, 97). It may be better not to say at this time that we have data for thinking that a vessel carrying something like a searchlight, visited this earth, and explored for several months over regions as far apart as England and Porto Rico. Just at present it is enough to record that something that was presumably not a fire-balloon appeared in the sky of England, close to this earth, if seen nowhere else, and in two hours traversed the distance of about 200 miles between Sussex and Liverpool.

Aug. 22, 1885—Saigon, Cochin-China—according to Lieut. Réveillère, of the vessel Guiberteau—object like a magnificent red star, but larger than the planet Venus—it moved no faster than a cloud in a moderate wind; observed 7 or 8 minutes, then disappearing behind clouds (C. R., 101-680).

February, 1892 -  a luminous thing traveled back and forth, exploring for ten hours in the sky of Sweden. The story is copied from a newspaper, and ridiculed, in the English Mechanic, 55-34.

March 7, 1893 -  a luminous object shaped like an elongated pear was seen in the sky of Val-de-la-Haye, by M. Raimond Coulon (L’Astro., 1893-169).

March 2, 1899, a luminous object in the sky, from 10 A.M., until 4 P.M., was reported from El Paso, Texas. Mentioned in the Observatory, 22-247—supposed to have been Venus, even though Venus was then two months past secondary maximum brilliance. This seems reasonable enough, in itself, but there are other data for thinking that an unknown, luminous body was at this time in the especial sky of the southwestern states. In the U. S. Weather Bureau Report (Ariz. Sec., March, 1899) it is said that, at Prescott, Arizona, Dr. Warren E. Day had seen a luminous object, upon the 8th of March, "that traveled with the moon" all day, until 2 P.M. It is said that, the day before, this object had been seen close to the moon, by Mr. G. O. Scott, at Tonto, Arizona. Dr. Day and Mr. Scott were voluntary observers for the Weather Review. This association with the moon and this localization of observation are puzzling.

Nov. 11, 1899 - La Nature (Sup.) Nov. 11, 1899—that at Luzarches, France, upon the 28th of October, 1899, M. A. Garrie had seen, at 4:50 P.M., a round, luminous object rising above the horizon. About the size of the moon. He watched it for 15 minutes, as it moved away, diminishing to a point. It may be that something from external regions was for several weeks in the especial sky of France. In La Nature (Sup.) Dec. 16, 1899, someone writes that he had seen, Nov. 15, 1899, 7 P.M., at Dourite (Dordogne) an object like an enormous star, at times white, then red, and sometimes blue, but moving like a kite. It was in the south. He had never seen it before. Someone, in the issue of December 30th, says that without doubt it was the star Formalhaut, and asks for precise position. Issue of Jan. 20, 1900—the first correspondent says that the object was in the southwest, about 35 degrees above the horizon, but moving so that the precise position could not be stated. The kite-like motion may have been merely seeming motion—object may have been Formalhaut, though 35 degrees above the horizon seems to me to be too high for Formalhaut—but, then, like the astronomers, I'm likely at times to expose what I don't know about astronomy. Formalhaut is not an enormous star. Seventeen are larger.

July 19th and 26th , Aug. 9, 1903 – Argenteuil and Chatou, France

In Cosmos, n.s., 49-259, M. Desmoulins writes, from Argenteuil, that, upon Aug. 9, 1903, at 11 P.M., moving from north to south, he saw a luminous object. The planet Venus was at primary greatest brilliance upon Aug. 13, 1903. In three respects it was like other objects that have been observed upon this earth at times of the nearest approach of Venus: it was a red object; it appeared only in a local sky, and it appeared in the time of the visibility of Venus. With M. Desmoulins were four persons, one of whom had field glasses. The object was watched twenty minutes, during which time it traveled a distance estimated at five or six kilometers. It looked like a light suspended from a balloon, but, through glasses, no outline of a balloon could be seen, and there were no reflections of light as if from the opaque body of a balloon. It was a red body, with greatest luminosity in its nucleus.
The Editor of Cosmos writes that, according to other correspondents, this object had been seen, at 11 P.M., July 19th and 26th, at Chatou. Argenteuil and Chatou are 4 or 5 miles apart, and both are about 5 miles from Paris. All three of these dates were Sundays, and even though nothing like a balloon had been seen through glasses, one naturally supposes that somebody near Paris had been amusing himself sending up fire-balloons, Sunday evenings. The one great resistance to all that is known as progress is what one "naturally supposes."

March 29, 1905 - Cardiff and other parts of Wales

In the English Mechanic, 81-220, Arthur Mee writes that several persons, in the neighborhood of Cardiff, had, upon the night of March 29, 1905, seen in the sky, "an appearance like a vertical beam of light, which was not due (they say) to a searchlight, or any such cause."
There were other observations, and they remind us of the observations by Noble and Bradgate, Aug. 28-29, 1883: then upon an object that cast a light like a searchlight; this time an association between a light like a searchlight, and a luminosity of definite form.
In the Cambrian Natural Observer, 1905-32, are several accounts of a more definite-looking appearance that was seen, this night, in the sky of Wales—"like a long cluster of stars, obscured by a thin film or mist." It was seen at the time of the visibility of Venus, then an "evening star"—about 10 P.M. It grew brighter, and for about half an hour looked like an incandescent light. It was a conspicuous and definite object, according to another description—"like an iron bar, heated to an orange-colored glow, and suspended vertically."

Cherbourg, France April 1905

….something appeared in the sky of Cherbourg, France—L’Astre Cherbourg— night after night, in the sky of the city of Cherbourg, at a time when the planet Venus was nearest (inferior conjunction April 26, 1905).  In Cosmos, n.s., 42-420, months after the occurrence, it is said that many correspondents had written to inquire as to L’Astre Cherbourg. ……………the newspapers of the time reported a luminous object that appeared, night after night, only over the city of Cherbourg, as the name by which it was known indicates. It was a reddish object.

In the Journal des Debats, the first news is in the issue of April 4, 1905. It is said that a luminous body was appearing, every evening, between 8 and to o'clock, over the city of Cherbourg…………….In the Journal, it is said that L’Astre Cherbourg had an apparent diameter of 15 centimeters, and a less definite margin of 75 centimeters—seemed to be about a yard wide—meaningless of course. In the Bull. Soc. Astro. de France, it is said that, according to reports, its form was oval. In the journal des Debats, we are told that at first the thing was supposed to be a captive balloon but that this idea was given up because it appeared and disappeared.

Journal des Debats, April 12:  That every evening the luminous object was continuing to appear above Cherbourg; that many explanations had been thought of: by some persons that it was the planet Jupiter, and by others that it was a comet but that no one knew what it was. The comet-explanation is of course ruled out. The writer in the journal expresses regret that neither the Meteorological Bureau nor the Observatory of Paris had sent anybody to investigate, but says that the préfet maritime of Cherbourg had commissioned a naval officer to investigate.

The report of Commander de Kerillis, of the Chasseloup-Laubut—that the position of L’Astre Cherbourg was not the position of Venus, and that the disc did not look like the crescentic disc of Venus, …. the commander and his colleagues did not offer a final opinion.

Every night, from the first to the eleventh of April, a luminous body appeared in the sky of Cherbourg. Then it was seen no longer…………. In Le Figaro, April 15, it is said that, upon the night of the eleventh of April, the guards of La Blanche Lighthouse had seen something like a lighted balloon in the sky. Supposing it was a balloon, they had started to signal to it, but it had disappeared. It is said that the lighthouse had been out of communication with the mainland, and that the guards had not heard of L’Astre Cherbourg.

May 1, 1908, between 8 and 9 P.M., at Vittel, France—an object, with a nebulosity around it, diameter equal to the moon's, according to a correspondent to Cosmos, n.s., 58-535. At 9 o'clock a black band appeared upon the object, and moved obliquely across it, then disappearing.


The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

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