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charles a.a. dellshau

︎Artist, Painting   
︎ Ventral Is Golden


In 1899, Charles Dellschau (a butcher living in Houston) began documenting the ideas of a covert aeronautics club. His vast watercolour diary of inventions and flying machines was found some years later under a pile of disgarded carpet.


Dellshau began his first visual diary of expressive watercolour imagery and newspaper clippings (or Press Blooms as he called them) of then-current news articles about aeronautical advancements and disasters.
Over a period of twenty one years, he would collate his esoteric interests into around twelve handmade journals, documenting the strange technologies that dominated the minds of both Dellschau and the alleged secret association of American engineers and philosophers with whom he was supposedly connected.


NYMZA, believed to be a pseudonym, or larger organisation of the Sonora Aero Club, operating from California, was occupied by the ideas of navigable 'Aeros' or aircraft, in a time where the most advanced aerial technology was the balloon. Dellschau, a member of the Sonora Aero Club, through his secret records, depicted a codified schema, highlighting that during the years of 1850 - 1858, several of the Aeros were designed and tested around the area which is now an airfield outside the town of Columbia.

One of the members had also purportedly discovered the formula for an anti-gravity fuel, which he named 'NB Gas'. Their mission was to design and build the first navigable aircraft using the NB Gas for lift and propulsion. Dellschau did not claim to be a pilot of any of the airships; he did however, identify himself as a draftsman for the Sonora Aero Club.







"Despite exhaustive research, including searches of census records, voting rosters, and death records, nothing has been found to substantiate the existence of this group except for a few gravestones in the Columbia Cemetery where several of the surnames are found. It is speculated that, like the voluminous "Realms of the Unreal" notebooks by outsider artist Henry Darger (1882-1973), the Sonora Aero Club is a fiction by Dellschau. However, according to UFO writer Pete Navarro, a coded story is hidden throughout the drawings, which he interprets to mean that the Sonora Aero Club was a branch of a larger secret society known only as NYMZA."



“According to UFO writer Pete Navarro, a coded story is hidden throughout the drawings, which he interprets to mean that the Sonora Aero Club was a branch of a larger secret society known only as NYMZA.”


Peter Navarro, a UFO investigator and extensive researcher of Dellshau, offered many hypotheses as to the meaning of NYMZA based on the watercolours of Dellshau that contained the encryptions and the coded equation DM = XØ. They have postulated that it could be a reference to Peter Mennis, 'the man with the technology', who is said to have invented the first aeroplane, 'Aero Goosey'.
Another possible meaning of the acronym NYMZA, through Egyptian, Greek, Latin and German appropriation, points to the meaning of 'Those Who Are Not Named'. This is derived from the Egyptian NYM, meaning 'name' and ZA 'to take' or ZAHN 'tooth' in German, relating to the action of chewing and consuming.

(More theories of technological breakaway civilisations relating to NYMZA can be seen here)



Dellschau is regarded as one of America's earliest visionary artists. His work has been interpreted as a testimony to the sense of optimism that new technologies inspire as they change the way people see the world. Flight, up until that time, had been a metaphor for man's pathos - or his inability to accomplish what he was not meant to.

The journals and watercolours were stored in the attic of a relative's home, where Dellschau made most of his documentation. They were kept there until as late as 1960, afterwhich the house burned down, destroying large segments of the works. Subsequently the majority of the body of work was eventually found in a landfill site in Houston, Texas, where it is unknown who salvaged them. The drawings then found their way into the hands of furniture dealer, Fred Washington, who took them to his warehouse where they ended up under a pile of discarded carpets.



Whether you have a penchant for conspiracy theories, or a distrust of the modern applications of spiritual technologies that lead to skewed modern pseudo military superman fraternities such as Scientology, they are nevertheless indications of the human capacity to break the boundaries of what is considered possible.
CG Jung for example, along with later interpretations by Terence McKenna, believed that the UFO was a mental phenomena, a projection of the human mind's effort to communicate with nature through technology, but a kind of technology that ran against the overbearing separations that modern science dictated. Namely that we are alone within the cosmos, and that nature is an artefact without consciousness. For McKenna, this alien intelligence was nature itself, to be communicated with through the technology of language inducing psychedelics. For Dellschau it might have been through the application of navigating the sky, an idea originally within the realms of the unimaginable.

In the next 100 years, what kinds of journals and artefacts will the future purveyors of charity shops find underneath piles of discarded carpet, that will help them understand the battles that our generation underwent, in trying to map the potential of new technologies such as telepathy, (a kind of psychological digital flying through cyberspace) realised inside the medium of the internet, in a time when the most advanced technologies are materially based.
Or are we to resurface as the fringe conspiracy theory of a writer, looking backwards in an attempt to discover the future?





Further Reading ︎
Mysterious Scrap Books, Article
NYMZA AEROS, The Airships of the 1850's, Article
Houston Press, Article
In depth book on the work of Dellshau, PDF


Mark