The work of an immigrant German butcher who wrote about secret societies and created 100's of designs of flying contraptions years before the Wright Brothers made their first flight, has been rediscovered. What made him do it?
The Wright Brothers wouldn’t even make their famous first flight until 1903, but Dellschau draws dapperly-dressed men piloting brightly-colored airships and helicopters with revolving generators and retractable landing gear.
The works were completed in a furiously creative period from 1899 to 1923, when air travel was still looked at by most people as almost magical. Dellschau lived in California and Texas till he passed in 1923, never acknowledged for his curious work.
The journals seemed to be in part a visual journal of his youth. He called the first three books, Recollections and recounts a secret society of flight enthusiasts which met in California in the mid-19th century.
Pete Navarro, graphic artist and UFO researcher wrote a book about Dellschau. He believed there was a connection between Dellschau’s drawings and mysterious mass of “airship” sightings at the turn of the century across 18 states from California to Indiana. i.e. aliens.
The journals were locked in an attic till the late 1960's, thrown out and then rediscovered in a junk shop. Some pieces were sold to museums, others to private collectors and some remain with the original buyer.
Dellschau literally spent the last 20 years of his life closeted away in an attic apartment, creating a fantastical body of art. Today, Dellschau is recognized as one of America's leading visionary artists, books have been written about him and his work - but the man - remains a mystery.