Charles Fort: A Fortean Chronology, 1885.

Year 1885 (MDCCCLXXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar.


  • January 4: The first successful appendectomy is performed by Dr. William W. Grant on Mary Gartside.
  • January 20: L.A. Thompson patents the roller coaster.
  • January 26: Troops loyal to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad conquer Khartoum.



  • February 5: King Léopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo Free State as a personal possession.
  • February 7: The play La vida alegre y muerte triste by dramatist José Echegaray opens.
  • February 9: The first Japanese arrive in Hawaii.
  • February 19: Within the lunar crater Hercules, a "dull, deep, reddish appearance" is noticed. (Books443)
  • February 21: A reddish smoke or mist is seen in the lunar crater of Cassini, not far from the crater of Hercules. (Books443)
  • February 21: United States President Chester A. Arthur dedicates the Washington Monument.
  • February 23: A British executioner fails to hang John 'Babbacombe' Lee. Lee, sentenced for the murder of Emma Keyse, has his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. (Books1052) 
  • February 24: Between Yokohama and Victoria, the captain of the Innerwich watches as the sky turns fiery red and a blindingly bright fiery mass fell into the sea. (Books273)
  • February 26: The final act of the Berlin Conference regulates European colonization and trade in Africa.
  • February 28: February concludes without having a full moon.



  • March-May: The North-West Rebellion is suppressed in Canada.
  • March 3: A subsidiary of the American Bell Telephone Company, American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), is incorporated in New York.
  • March 4: Grover Cleveland succeeds Chester A. Arthur as President of the United States.
  • March 5-6: An object, very hard and weighing several tons fell from the sky near Chico, California. (Books535) 
  • March 14: W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's The Mikado opens at the Savoy Theatre.
  • March 26: The Times reports that "A lady well-known in literary and scientific circles" has been cremated by the Cremation Society in Woking, Surrey. Jeannette C. Pickersgill is the first person to be officially cremated in the United Kingdom.
  • March 26: The Prussian government, motivated by Otto von Bismarck, expels all ethnic Poles and Jews without German citizenship from Prussia in the Prussian deportations.
  • March 30: The Battle for Kushka triggers the Panjdeh Incident, which nearly gives rise to war between the British Empire and Russian Empire.



  • April 2: The battle of Frog Lake, Alberta between the Cree and mounties.
  • April 3: Gottlieb Daimler is granted a German patent for his 1-cylinder water-cooled engine design.
  • April 30: A bill is signed in the New York State legislature forming the Niagara Falls State Park.



  • May 2: Good Housekeeping Magazine goes on sale for the first time.
  • May 2: North-West Rebellion, Battle of Cut Knife: Cree and Assiniboine warriors win their largest victory over Canadian forces.
  • May 2: The Congo Free State is established by King Léopold II of Belgium.
  • May 9-12: Battle of Batoche, Canadian government forces inflict a decisive defeat on Métis rebels.
  • May 11: Two lights are seen upon the moon. (Books443)
  • May 22: Gothland, Sweden - a mirage - mountains about a town with a large vessel to the fore. (Books445) 



  • June 13: In a closed room in Pondicherry, Madras, India a man sat. A mist appeared near him, at the same time there was a violent explosion. (Books 945-946)
  • June 15: Near Oxelosund, Sweden is seen a mirage of two islands, a construction upon one of them and two warships. (Books445)
  • June 17: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.
  • June 24: Randolph Churchill becomes Secretary of State for India.



  • July 6: Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies. The patient is Joseph Meister, a boy who was bitten by a rabid dog.
  • July 14: Sarah E. Goode is the first female African-American to apply for and receive a patent, for the invention of the hideaway bed.
  • July 15: The Reservation at Niagara Falls opens, enabling access to all for free. Thomas V. Welch is the first Superintendent of the Park.
  • July 28: Louis Riel's trial for treason begins in Regina.
  • July 28: At Luchon, during a storm fell a brownish substance. (Books74) 



  • August 10: Something fell at Grazac, France, when burned it gave off a bituminous odor. (Books77)
  • August 27: Over Bermuda is seen a "strange object in the clouds." It was of triangular shape, about the size of a pilot-boat mainsail; with chains attached to the bottom of it. (Books263)



  • September 2: The Rock Springs Massacre occurs in Rock Springs, Wyoming; 150 white miners attack their Chinese coworkers, killing 28, wounding 15, and forcing several hundred more out of town.
  • September 6: Eastern Rumelia declares its union with Bulgaria, completing the Unification of Bulgaria.
  • September 12: A "remarkable mirage" at Valla, Norway, cloud-forms of a crocodile, a spouting whale and other wonders. (Books445).
  • September 15: A train wreck of the P.T. Barnum Circus kills giant elephant Jumbo.
  • September 18: The union of Eastern Rumelia with Bulgaria is proclaimed at Plovdiv.
  • September 29: More mirages at Valla, Norway, animals, dancers and a forest appear amongst other remarkable sights. (Books445) 
  • September 30: A British force abolishes the Boer republic of Stellaland and adds it to British Bechuanaland.





  • November: The Third Burmese War begins.
  • November: An object four or five times the size of the moon is seen moving across the sky near Adianople (Edirne), Turkey. (Books 288) 
  • November 7: Canadian Pacific Railway: In Craigellachie, British Columbia, construction ends on a railway extending across Canada. Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald considers the project to be vital to Canada due to the exponentially greater potential for military mobility.
  • November 14-November 28: Serbo-Bulgarian War: Serbia declares war against Bulgaria but is defeated in the Battle of Slivnitsa on November 17-November 19.
  • November 16: Louis Riel, Canadian rebel leader of the Métis, is executed for high treason.



  • December 1: The U.S. Patent Office acknowledges this date as the day Dr Pepper is served for the very first time; the exact date of Dr Pepper's invention is unknown.
  • December 28: 72 Indian lawyers, academics and journalists gather in Bombay to form the Congress Party.