Jean Micromegas Carayan

From Kook Science

Jean Micromegas[i] Carayan was, according to press reports out of northern California in 1894, a French inventor and wingist who was claimed to have devised a personal flying machine that consisted essentially of wearable wings and a tail piece, this apparatus being supposed to allow the flier to travel some 500 miles per hour through the air. Carayan was reported by the Stockton Evening Mail to have been a cook at the Delmonico Restaurant at No. 375 Hunter street in Stockton for a time, and that he developed his flying machine through a study of the anatomy of bats.[ii]

Carayan's first public flight was promoted for the 30th of June 1894, to be launched from Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, but this was cancelled just days before the event; in a letter to the San Francisco Examiner explaining the delay, Carayan stated the flight was postponed in light of the recent assassination of Sadi Carnot, President of France, who had died after being stabbed by Italian anarchist Sante Geronimo Caserio. There is no indication that Carayan made another attempt following the cancellation nor does he appear to have engaged in any further public activities in the area of flying machines.

Further to his grandiose claims regarding his flying machine, Carayan was also reported to have expressed his belief that there was an opening at the North Pole into the hollow earth, and that his invention would enable him to enter and make an exploration of it.[iii]

Press Coverage

Contemporary (1890s)

Later (1920s)


  1. The name Micromégas is presumably from the Voltaire novella, published c. 1852, a commentary that uses the narrative device of two implausibly large extraterrestrials who make a tour of the solar system and happen upon a boat of philosophers while standing on the Earth.
  2. Classified advertisements offering 50 cents each for two or three bats, "dead or alive," were printed with the contact person listed as J. Carayan at the Delmonico on Hunter st. in the February and March 1894 issues of Stockton newspaper. Ref:
  3. One might examine these claims in the light of Bulwer-Lytton's then-popular novel The Coming Race (1871), which featured a subterranean people known as the Vril-ya who, among other advanced technologies, used artificial wings to move from place to place.