The Mysterious Fading Man

September 24, 1890. The last known photograph of Edward T. Harrison: linguist, civil war general, inventor, hot air balloonist, and time traveler. Harrison was last seen boarding his hot air balloon, “The Omnivagum II” in Aberdeen, South Dakota for its maiden voyage around the world (and through time). His last words as he floated away through the blue Dakota sky remain unrecorded as they were drowned out by the shifting winds of the plain and the music of the Aberdeen Municipal Brass Band (led by a young John Philips Sousa). In attendance that historic day was L. Frank Baum, reporter for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer and eventual author of the beloved Wizard of Oz. Baum would later cite Harrison as his model for the character of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, noting that both men – Harrison and the Wizard – were “humbugs.”


  1. John R. Oster ca. 1887 seen here moments after a three buggy accident on the street in front his home. Moments after the photograph was taken, Mr. Oster demonstrated the bizzare genetic neck-turning capabilities and thus gave birth to the modern term "Rubber Necking".

  2. I love these! I actually thought this one was real until I read the disclaimer! Keep up the good work!