|Thomas Atherton Bramwell|
Strangely, the story of Bramwell and the Ephemerozoa begins with an event that would at first appear to be entirely unrelated but would have profound repercussions On April 10, 1897 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a story reporting that a Mr. W. H. Hopkins (Kansas City resident and member of the Missouri Horticultural Society) encountered an airship and its occupants, thought to be from the planet Mars, about 20 feet in length and 8 feet in diameter near the outskirts of Springfield, Missouri. Bramwell, at that time living in St. Louis and reading of the event, quickly began a correspondence with Hopkins in hopes of gaining some insight into the workings of the craft. Bramwell suspected that certain invisible rays emanating from the vessel were responsible for its powers of levitation and flight, and he had already begun experiments with a machine patterned after Nikola Tesla's High-Intensity Discharge Lamp design of 1894 in hopes of creating such rays. Eventually, Hopkins tired of Bramwell's confusingly technical questions (and perhaps sensed Bramwell's abrasive personality) and brusquely began ignoring his letters later that year. Undaunted, Bramwell speculated that the extraterrestrial visitors had some reason to visit Southwest Missouri and, perhaps, would return. Packing his electrical equipment and a newly purchased camera, Bramwell moved to the little town of Springfield in January of 1898 in hopes of photographing the airship. What he instead discovered were creatures that were, though terrestrial, far stranger!
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