The Book of the Damned
by Charles Fort
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In the Times, Oct. 1, 1885, Charles Harding, of the R.M.S., argues that if it had been a balloon from Europe, surely it would have been seen and reported by many vessels. Whether he was as good a Briton as the General or not, he shows awareness of the United States—or that the thing may have been a partly collapsed balloon that had escaped from the United States.

General Lefroy wrote to Nature about it (Nature, 33-99), saying—whatever his sensitivenesses may have been—that the columns of the Times were "hardly suitable" for such a discussion. If, in the past, there had been more persons like General Lefroy, we'd have better than the mere fragments of data that in most cases are too broken up very well to piece together. He took the trouble to write to a friend of his, W.H. Gosling, of Bermuda—who also was an extraordinary person. He went to the trouble of interviewing Mrs. Bassett and Mrs. Lowell. Their description to him was somewhat different:

An object from which nets were suspended—

Deflated balloon, with its network hanging from it—

A super-dragnet?

That something was trawling overhead?

The birds of Baton Rouge.

Mr. Gosling wrote that the item of chains, or suggestion of a basket that had been attached, had originated with Mr. Bassett, who had not seen the object. Mr. Gosling mentioned a balloon that had escaped from Paris in July. He tells of a balloon that fell in Chicago, September 17, or three weeks later than the Bermuda object.

It's one incredibility against another, with disregards and convictions governed by whichever of the two Dominants looms stronger in each reader's mind. That he can't think for himself any more than I can is understood.

My own correlates:

I think that we're fished for. It may be that we're highly esteemed by super-epicures somewhere. It makes me more cheerful when I think that we may be of some use after all. I think that dragnets have often come down and have been mistaken for whirlwinds and waterspouts. Some accounts of seeming structure in whirlwinds and waterspouts are astonishing. And I have data that, in this book, I can't take up at all—mysterious disappearances. I think we're fished for. But this is a little expression on the side: relates to trespassers; has nothing to do with the subject that I shall take up at some other time—or our use to some other mode of seeming that has a legal right to us.

Nature, 33-137:

"Our Paris correspondent writes that in relation to the balloon which is said to have been seen over Bermuda, in September, no ascent took place in France which can account for it."

Last of August: not September. In the London Times there is no mention of balloon ascents in Great Britain, in the summer of 1885, but mention of two ascents in France. Both balloons had escaped. In L'Aeronaute, August, 1885, it is said that these balloons had been sent up from fetes of the fourteenth of July—44 days before the observation at Bermuda. The aeronauts were Gower and Eloy. Gower's balloon was found floating on the ocean, but Eloy's balloon was not found. Upon the 17th of July it was reported by a sea captain: still in the air; still inflated.

But this balloon of Eloy's was a small exhibition balloon, made for short ascents from fetes and fair grounds. In La Nature, 1885-2-131, it is said that it was a very small balloon, incapable of remaining long in the air.

As to contemporaneous ballooning in the United States, I find only one account: an ascent in Connecticut, July 29, 1885. Upon leaving this balloon, the aeronauts had pulled the "rip cord," "turning it inside out." (New York Times, Aug. 10, 1885.)

To the Intermediatist, the accusation of "anthropomorphism" is meaningless. There is nothing in anything that is unique or positively different. We'd be materialists were it not quite as rational to express the material in terms of the immaterial as to express the immaterial in terms of the material. Oneness of allness in quasiness. I will engage to write the formula of any novel in psycho-chemic terms, or draw its graph in psycho-mechanic terms: or write, in romantic terms, the circumstances and sequences of any chemic or electric or magnetic reaction: or express any historic event in algebraic terms—or see Boole and Jevons for economic situations expressed algebraically.

I think of the Dominants as I think of persons—not meaning that they are real persons—not meaning that we are real persons—

Or the Old Dominant and its jealousy, and its suppression of all things and thoughts that endangered its supremacy. In reading discussions of papers, by scientific societies, I have often noted how, when they approached forbidden—or irreconcilable—subjects, the discussions were thrown into confusion and ramification. It's as if scientific discussions have often been led astray—as if purposefully—as if by something directive, hovering over them. Of course I mean only the Spirit of all Development. Just so, in any embryo, cells that would tend to vary from the appearances of their era are compelled to correlate.

In Nature, 90-169, Charles Tilden Smith writes that, at Chisbury, Wiltshire, England, April 8, 1912, he saw something in the sky—

"—unlike anything that I had ever seen before."

"Although I have studied the skies for many years, I have never seen anything like it."

He saw two stationary dark patches upon clouds.

The extraordinary part:

They were stationary upon clouds that were rapidly moving.

They were fan-shaped—or triangular—and varied in size, but kept the same position upon different clouds as cloud after cloud came along. For more than half an hour Mr. Smith watched these dark patches—

His impression as to the one that appeared first:

That it was "really a heavy shadow cast upon a thin veil of clouds by some unseen object away in the west, which was intercepting the sun's rays."

Upon page 244, of this volume of Nature, is a letter from another correspondent, to the effect that similar shadows are cast by mountains upon clouds, and that no doubt Mr. Smith was right in attributing the appearance to "some unseen object, which was intercepting the sun's rays." But the Old Dominant that was a jealous Dominant, and the wrath of the Old Dominant against such an irreconcilability as large, opaque objects in the sky, casting down shadows upon clouds. Still the Dominants are suave very often, or are not absolute gods, and the way attention was led away from this subject is an interesting study in quasi-divine bamboozlement. Upon page 268, Charles J.P. Cave, the meteorologist, writes that, upon April 5 and 8, at Ditcham Park, Petersfield, he had observed a similar appearance, while watching some pilot balloons—but he describes something not in the least like a shadow on clouds, but a stationary cloud—the inference seems to be that the shadows at Chisbury may have been shadows of pilot balloons. Upon page 322, another correspondent writes upon shadows cast by mountains; upon page 348 someone else carries on the divergence by discussing this third letter: then someone takes up the third letter mathematically; and then there is a correction of error in this mathematic demonstration—I think it looks very much like what I think it looks like.

But the mystery here:

That the dark patches at Chisbury could not have been cast by stationary pilot balloons that were to the west, or that were between clouds and the setting sun. If, to the west of Chisbury, a stationary object were high in the air, intercepting the sun's rays, the shadow of the stationary object would not have been stationary, but would have moved higher and higher with the setting of the sun.

I have to think of something that is in accord with no other data whatsoever:

A luminous body—not the sun—in the sky—but, because of some unknown principle or atmospheric condition, its light extended down only about to the clouds; that from it were suspended two triangular objects, like the object that was seen in Bermuda; that it was this light that fell short of the earth that these objects intercepted; that the objects were drawn up and lowered from something overhead, so that, in its light, their shadows changed size.

If my grope seem to have no grasp in it, and, if a stationary balloon will, in half an hour, not cast a stationary shadow from the setting sun, we have to think of two triangular objects that accurately maintained positions in a line between sun and clouds, and at the same time approached and receded from clouds. Whatever it may have been, it's enough to make the devout make the sign of the crucible, or whatever the devotees of the Old Dominant do in the presence of a new correlate.

Vast, black thing poised like a crow over the moon.

It is our acceptance that these two shadows of Chisbury looked, from the moon, like vast things, black as crows, poised over the earth. It is our acceptance that two triangular luminosities and then two triangular patches, like vast black things, poised like crows over the moon, and, like the triangularities at Chisbury, have been seen upon, or over, the moon:

Scientific American, 46-49:

Two triangular, luminous appearances reported by several observers in Lebanon, Conn., evening of July 3, 1882, on the moon's upper limb. They disappeared, and two dark triangular appearances that looked like notches were seen three minutes later upon the lower limb. They approached each other, met and instantly disappeared.

The merger here is notches that have at times been seen upon the moon's limb: thought to be cross sections of craters (Monthly Notices, R.A.S., 37-432). But these appearances of July 3, 1882, were vast upon the moon—"seemed to be cutting off or obliterating nearly a quarter of its surface."

Something else that may have looked like a vast black crow poised over this earth from the moon:

Monthly Weather Review, 41-599:

Description of a shadow in the sky, of some unseen body, April 8, 1913, Fort Worth, Texas—supposed to have been cast by an unseen cloud—this patch of shade moved with the declining sun.

Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1854-410:

Account by two observers of a faint but distinctly triangular object, visible for six nights in the sky. It was observed from two stations that were not far apart. But the parallax was considerable. Whatever it was, it was, acceptably, relatively close to this earth.

I should say that relatively to phenomena of light we are in confusion as great as some of the discords that orthodoxy is in relatively to light. Broadly and intermediatistically, our position is:

That light is not really and necessarily light—any more than is anything else really and necessarily anything—but an interpretation of a mode of force, as I suppose we have to call it, as light. At sea level, the earth's atmosphere interprets sunlight as red or orange or yellow. High up on mountains the sun is blue. Very high up on mountains the zenith is black. Or it is orthodoxy to say that in inter-planetary space, where there is no air, there is no light. So then the sun and comets are black, but this earth's atmosphere, or, rather, dust particles in it, interpret radiations from these black objects as light.

We look up at the moon.

The jet-black moon is so silvery white.

I have about fifty notes indicating that the moon has atmosphere: nevertheless most astronomers hold out that the moon has no atmosphere. They have to: the theory of eclipses would not work out otherwise. So, arguing in conventional terms, the moon is black. Rather astonishing—explorers upon the moon—stumbling and groping in intense darkness—with telescopes powerful enough, we could see them stumbling and groping in brilliant light.

Or, just because of familiarity, it is not now obvious to us how the preposterousnesses of the old system must have seemed to the correlates of the system preceding it.

Ye jet-black silvery moon.

Altogether, then, it may be conceivable that there are phenomena of force that are interpretable as light as far down as the clouds, but not in denser strata of air, or just the opposite of familiar interpretations.

I now have some notes upon an occurrence that suggests a force not interpreted by air as light, but interpreted, or reflected by the ground as light. I think of something that, for a week, was suspended over London: of an emanation that was not interpreted as light until it reached the ground.

Lancet, June 1, 1867:

That every night for a week, a light had appeared in Woburn Square, London, upon the grass of a small park, enclosed by railings. Crowds gathering—police called out "for the special service of maintaining order and making the populace move on." The Editor of the Lancet went to the Square. He says that he saw nothing but a patch of light falling upon an arbor at the northeast corner of the enclosure. Seems to me that that was interesting enough.

In this Editor we have a companion for Mr. Symons and Dr. Gray. He suggests that the light came from a street lamp—does not say that he could trace it to any such origin himself—but recommends that the police investigate neighboring street lamps.

I'd not say that such a commonplace as light from a street lamp would not attract and excite and deceive great crowds for a week—but I do accept that any cop who was called upon for extra work would have needed nobody's suggestion to settle that point the very first thing.

Or that something in the sky hung suspended over a London Square for a week.


Knowledge, Dec. 28, 1883:

"Seeing so many meteorological phenomena in your excellent paper, Knowledge, I am tempted to ask for an explanation of the following, which I saw when on board the British India Company's steamer Patna, while on a voyage up the Persian Gulf. In May, 1880, on a dark night, about 11:30 P.M., there suddenly appeared on each side of the ship an enormous luminous wheel, whirling around, the spokes of which seemed to brush the ship along. The spokes would be 200 or 300 yards long, and resembled the birch rods of the dames' schools. Each wheel contained about sixteen spokes, and, although the wheels must have been some 500 or 600 yards in diameter, the spokes could be distinctly seen all the way round. The phosphorescent gleam seemed to glide along flat on the surface of the sea, no light being visible in the air above the water. The appearance of the spokes could be almost exactly represented by standing in a boat and flashing a bull's eye lantern horizontally along the surface of the water, round and round. I may mention that the phenomenon was also seen by Captain Avern, of the Patna, and Mr. Manning, third officer.

"Lee Fore Brace.

"P.S.—The wheels advanced along with the ship for about twenty minutes.—L.F.B."

Knowledge, Jan. 11, 1884:

Letter from "A. Mc. D.":

That "Lee Fore Brace," "who sees 'so many meteorological phenomena in your excellent paper,' should have signed himself 'The Modern Ezekiel,' for his vision of wheels is quite as wonderful as the prophet's." The writer then takes up the measurements that were given, and calculates a velocity at the circumference of a wheel, of about 166 yards per second, apparently considering that especially incredible. He then says: "From the nom de plume he assumes, it might be inferred that your correspondent is in the habit of 'sailing close to the wind.'" He asks permission to suggest an explanation of his own. It is that before 11:30 P.M. there had been numerous accidents to the "main brace," and that it had required splicing so often that almost any ray of light would have taken on a rotary motion.

In Knowledge, Jan. 25, 1884, Mr. "Brace" answers and signs himself "J.W. Robertson":

"I don't suppose A. Mc. D. means any harm, but I do think it's rather unjust to say a man is drunk because he sees something out of the common. If there's one thing I pride myself upon, it's being able to say that never in my life have I indulged in anything stronger than water." From this curiosity of pride, he goes on to say that he had not intended to be exact, but to give his impressions of dimensions and velocity. He ends amiably: "However, 'no offense taken, where I suppose none is meant.'"

To this letter Mr. Proctor adds a note, apologizing for the publication of "A. Mc. D's." letter, which had come about by a misunderstood instruction. Then Mr. Proctor wrote disagreeable letters, himself, about other persons—what else would you expect in a quasi-existence?

The obvious explanation of this phenomenon is that, under the surface of the sea, in the Persian Gulf, was a vast luminous wheel: that it was the light from its submerged spokes that Mr. Robertson saw, shining upward. It seems clear that this light did shine upward from origin below the surface of the sea. But at first it is not so clear how vast luminous wheels, each the size of a village, ever got under the surface of the Persian Gulf: also there may be some misunderstanding as to what they were doing there.

A deep-sea fish, and its adaptation to a dense medium—

That, at least in some regions aloft, there is a medium dense even to gelatinousness—

A deep-sea fish, brought to the surface of the ocean: in a relatively attenuated medium, it disintegrates—

Super-constructions adapted to a dense medium in inter-planetary space—sometimes, by stresses of various kinds, they are driven into this earth's thin atmosphere—

Later we shall have data to support just this: that things entering this earth's atmosphere disintegrate and shine with a light that is not the light of incandescence: shine brilliantly, even if cold—

Vast wheel-like super-constructions—they enter this earth's atmosphere, and, threatened with disintegration, plunge for relief into an ocean, or into a denser medium.

Of course the requirements now facing us are:

Not only data of vast wheel-like super-constructions that have relieved their distresses in the ocean, but data of enormous wheels that have been seen in the air, or entering the ocean, or rising from the ocean and continuing their voyages.

Very largely we shall concern ourselves with enormous fiery objects that have either plunged into the ocean or risen from the ocean. Our acceptance is that, though disruption may intensify into incandescence, apart from disruption and its probable fieriness, things that enter this earth's atmosphere have a cold light which would not, like light from molten matter, be instantly quenched by water. Also it seems acceptable that a revolving wheel would, from a distance, look like a globe; that a revolving wheel, seen relatively close by, looks like a wheel in few aspects. The mergers of ball-lightning and meteorites are not resistances to us: our data are of enormous bodies.

So we shall interpret—and what does it matter?

Our attitude throughout this book:

That here are extraordinary data—that they never would be exhumed, and never would be massed together, unless—

Here are the data:

Our first datum is of something that was once seen to enter an ocean. It's from the puritanic publication, Science, which has yielded us little material, or which, like most puritans, does not go upon a spree very often. Whatever the thing could have been, my impression is of tremendousness, or of bulk many times that of all meteorites in all museums combined: also of relative slowness, or of long warning of approach. The story, in Science, 5-242, is from an account sent to the Hydrographic Office, at Washington, from the branch office, at San Francisco:

That, at midnight, Feb. 24, 1885, Lat. 37 deg. N., and Long. 170 deg. E., or somewhere between Yokohama and Victoria, the captain of the bark Innerwich was aroused by his mate, who had seen something unusual in the sky. This must have taken appreciable time. The captain went on deck and saw the sky turning fiery red. "All at once, a large mass of fire appeared over the vessel, completely blinding the spectators." The fiery mass fell into the sea. Its size may be judged by the volume of water cast up by it, said to have rushed toward the vessel with a noise that was "deafening." The bark was struck flat aback, and "a roaring, white sea passed ahead." "The master, an old, experienced mariner, declared that the awfulness of the sight was beyond description."

In Nature, 37-187, and L'Astronomie; 1887-76, we are told that an object, described as "a large ball of fire," was seen to rise from the sea, near Cape Race. We are told that it rose to a height of fifty feet, and then advanced close to the ship, then moving away, remaining visible about five minutes. The supposition in Nature is that it was "ball lightning," but Flammarion, Thunder and Lightning, p. 68, says that it was enormous. Details in the American Meteorological Journal, 6-443—Nov. 12, 1887—British steamer Siberian—that the object had moved "against the wind" before retreating—that Captain Moore said that at about the same place he had seen such appearances before.

Report of the British Association, 1861-30:

That, upon June 18, 1845, according to the Malta Times, from the brig Victoria, about 900 miles east of Adalia, Asia Minor (36 deg. 40' 56", N. Lat.: 13 deg. 44' 36" E. Long.), three luminous bodies were seen to issue from the sea, at about half a mile from the vessel. They were visible about ten minutes.

The story was never investigated, but other accounts that seem acceptably to be other observations upon this same sensational spectacle came in, as if of their own accord, and were published by Prof. Baden-Powell. One is a letter from a correspondent at Mt. Lebanon. He describes only two luminous bodies. Apparently they were five times the size of the moon: each had appendages, or they were connected by parts that are described as "sail-like or streamer-like," looking like "large flags blown out by a gentle breeze." The important point here is not only suggestion of structure, but duration. The duration of meteors is a few seconds: duration of fifteen seconds is remarkable, but I think there are records up to half a minute. This object, if it were all one object, was visible at Mt. Lebanon about one hour. An interesting circumstance is that the appendages did not look like trains of meteors, which shine by their own light, but "seemed to shine by light from the main bodies."

About 900 miles west of the position of the Victoria is the town of Adalia, Asia Minor. At about the time of the observation reported by the captain of the Victoria, the Rev. F. Hawlett, F.R.A.S., was in Adalia. He, too, saw this spectacle, and sent an account to Prof. Baden-Powell. In his view it was a body that appeared and then broke up. He places duration at twenty minutes to half an hour.

In the Report of the British Association, 1860-82, the phenomenon was reported from Syria and Malta, as two very large bodies "nearly joined."

Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-77:

That, at Cherbourg, France, Jan. 12, 1836, was seen a luminous body, seemingly two-thirds the size of the moon. It seemed to rotate on an axis. Central to it there seemed to be a dark cavity.

For other accounts, all indefinite, but distortable into data of wheel-like objects in the sky, see Nature, 22-617; London Times, Oct. 15, 1859; Nature, 21-225; Monthly Weather Review, 1883-264.

L'Astronomie, 1894-157:

That, upon the morning of Dec. 20, 1893, an appearance in the sky was seen by many persons in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. A luminous body passed overhead, from west to east, until at about 15 degrees in the eastern horizon, it appeared to stand still for fifteen or twenty minutes. According to some descriptions it was the size of a table. To some observers it looked like an enormous wheel. The light was a brilliant white. Acceptably it was not an optical illusion—the noise of its passage through the air was heard. Having been stationary, or having seemed to stand still fifteen or twenty minutes, it disappeared, or exploded. No sound of explosion was heard.

Vast wheel-like constructions. They're especially adapted to roll through a gelatinous medium from planet to planet. Sometimes, because of miscalculations, or because of stresses of various kinds, they enter this earth's atmosphere. They're likely to explode. They have to submerge in the sea. They stay in the sea awhile, revolving with relative leisureliness, until relieved, and then emerge, sometimes close to vessels. Seamen tell of what they see: their reports are interred in scientific morgues. I should say that the general route of these constructions is along latitudes not far from the latitudes of the Persian Gulf.

Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 28-29:

That, upon April 4, 1901, about 8:30, in the Persian Gulf, Captain Hoseason, of the steamship Kilwa, according to a paper read before the Society by Captain Hoseason, was sailing in a sea in which there was no phosphorescence—"there being no phosphorescence in the water."

I suppose I'll have to repeat that:

"... there being no phosphorescence in the water."

Vast shafts of light—though the captain uses the word "ripples"—suddenly appeared. Shaft followed shaft, upon the surface of the sea. But it was only a faint light, and, in about fifteen minutes, died out: having appeared suddenly, having died out gradually. The shafts revolved at a velocity of about 60 miles an hour.

Phosphorescent jellyfish correlate with the Old Dominant: in one of the most heroic compositions of disregards in our experience, it was agreed, in the discussion of Capt. Hoseason's paper, that the phenomenon was probably pulsations of long strings of jellyfish.

Nature, 21-410:

Reprint of a letter from R.E. Harris, Commander of the A.H.N. Co.'s steamship Shahjehan, to the Calcutta Englishman, Jan. 21, 1880:

That upon the 5th of June, 1880, off the coast of Malabar, at 10 P.M., water calm, sky cloudless, he had seen something that was so foreign to anything that he had ever seen before, that he had stopped his ship. He saw what he describes as waves of brilliant light, with spaces between. Upon the water were floating patches of a substance that was not identified. Thinking in terms of the conventional explanation of all phosphorescence at sea, the captain at first suspected this substance. However, he gives his opinion that it did no illuminating but was, with the rest of the sea, illuminated by tremendous shafts of light. Whether it was a thick and oily discharge from the engine of a submerged construction or not, I think that I shall have to accept this substance as a concomitant, because of another note. "As wave succeeded wave, one of the most grand and brilliant, yet solemn, spectacles that one could think of, was here witnessed."

Jour. Roy. Met. Soc., 32-280:

Extract from a letter from Mr. Douglas Carnegie, Blackheath, England. Date some time in 1906—

"This last voyage we witnessed a weird and most extraordinary electric display." In the Gulf of Oman, he saw a bank of apparently quiescent phosphorescence: but, when within twenty yards of it, "shafts of brilliant light came sweeping across the ship's bows at a prodigious speed, which might be put down as anything between 60 and 200 miles an hour." "These light bars were about 20 feet apart and most regular." As to phosphorescence—"I collected a bucketful of water, and examined it under the microscope, but could not detect anything abnormal." That the shafts of light came up from something beneath the surface—"They first struck us on our broadside, and I noticed that an intervening ship had no effect on the light beams: they started away from the lee side of the ship, just as if they had traveled right through it."

The Gulf of Oman is at the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

Jour. Roy. Met. Soc., 33-294:

Extract from a letter by Mr. S.C. Patterson, second officer of the P. and O. steamship Delta: a spectacle which the Journal continues to call phosphorescent:

Malacca Strait, 2 A.M., March 14, 1907:

"... shafts which seemed to move round a center—like the spokes of a wheel—and appeared to be about 300 yards long. The phenomenon lasted about half an hour, during which time the ship had traveled six or seven miles. It stopped suddenly."

L'Astronomie, 1891-312:

A correspondent writes that, in October, 1891, in the China Sea, he had seen shafts or lances of light that had had the appearance of rays of a searchlight, and that had moved like such rays.

Nature, 20-291:

Report to the Admiralty by Capt. Evans, the Hydrographer of the British Navy:

That Commander J.E. Pringle, of H.M.S. Vulture, had reported that, at Lat. 26 deg. 26' N., and Long. 53 deg. 11' E.—in the Persian Gulf—May 15, 1879, he had noticed luminous waves or pulsations in the water, moving at great speed. This time we have a definite datum upon origin somewhere below the surface. It is said that these waves of light passed under the Vulture. "On looking toward the east, the appearance was that of a revolving wheel with a center on that bearing, and whose spokes were illuminated, and, looking toward the west, a similar wheel appeared to be revolving, but in the opposite direction." Or finally as to submergence—"These waves of light extended from the surface well under the water." It is Commander Pringle's opinion that the shafts constituted one wheel, and that doubling was an illusion. He judges the shafts to have been about 25 feet broad, and the spaces about 100. Velocity about 84 miles an hour. Duration about 35 minutes. Time 9:40 P.M. Before and after this display the ship had passed through patches of floating substance described as "oily-looking fish spawn."

Upon page 428 of this number of Nature, E.L. Moss says that, in April, 1875, when upon H.M.S. Bulldog, a few miles north of Vera Cruz, he had seen a series of swift lines of light. He had dipped up some of the water, finding in it animalcule, which would, however, not account for phenomena of geometric formation and high velocity. If he means Vera Cruz, Mexico, this is the only instance we have out of oriental waters.

Scientific American, 106-51:

That, in the Nautical Meteorological Annual, published by the Danish Meteorological Institute, appears a report upon a "singular phenomenon" that was seen by Capt. Gabe, of the Danish East Asiatic Co.'s steamship Bintang. At 3 A.M., June 10, 1909, while sailing through the Straits of Malacca, Captain Gabe saw a vast revolving wheel of light, flat upon the water—"long arms issuing from a center around which the whole system appeared to rotate." So vast was the appearance that only half of it could be seen at a time, the center lying near the horizon. This display lasted about fifteen minutes. Heretofore we have not been clear upon the important point that forward motions of these wheels do not synchronize with a vessel's motions, and freaks of disregard, or, rather, commonplaces of disregard, might attempt to assimilate with lights of a vessel. This time we are told that the vast wheel moved forward, decreasing in brilliancy, and also in speed of rotation, disappearing when the center was right ahead of the vessel—or my own interpretation would be that the source of light was submerging deeper and deeper and slowing down because meeting more and more resistance.

The Danish Meteorological Institute reports another instance:

That, when Capt. Breyer, of the Dutch steamer Valentijn, was in the South China Sea, midnight, Aug. 12, 1910, he saw a rotation of flashes. "It looked like a horizontal wheel, turning rapidly." This time it is said that the appearance was above water. "The phenomenon was observed by the captain, the first and second mates, and the first engineer, and upon all of them it made a somewhat uncomfortable impression."

In general, if our expression be not immediately acceptable, we recommend to rival interpreters that they consider the localization—with one exception—of this phenomenon, to the Indian Ocean and adjacent waters, or Persian Gulf on one side and China Sea on the other side. Though we're Intermediatists, the call of attempted Positivism, in the aspect of Completeness, is irresistible. We have expressed that from few aspects would wheels of fire in the air look like wheels of fire, but, if we can get it, we must have observation upon vast luminous wheels, not interpretable as optical illusions, but enormous, substantial things that have smashed down material resistances, and have been seen to plunge into the ocean:

Athenaeum, 1848-833:

That at the meeting of the British Association, 1848, Sir W.S. Harris said that he had recorded an account sent to him of a vessel toward which had whirled "two wheels of fire, which the men described as rolling millstones of fire." "When they came near, an awful crash took place: the topmasts were shivered to pieces." It is said that there was a strong sulphurous odor.


Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 1-157:

Extract from the log of the bark Lady of the Lake, by Capt. F.W. Banner:

Communicated by R.H. Scott, F.R.S.:

That, upon the 22nd of March, 1870, at Lat. 5 deg. 47' N., Long. 27 deg. 52' W., the sailors of the Lady of the Lake saw a remarkable object, or "cloud," in the sky. They reported to the captain.

According to Capt. Banner, it was a cloud of circular form, with an included semi-circle divided into four parts, the central dividing shaft beginning at the center of the circle and extending far outward, and then curving backward.

Geometricity and complexity and stability of form: and the small likelihood of a cloud maintaining such diversity of features, to say nothing of appearance of organic form.

The thing traveled from a point at about 20 degrees above the horizon to a point about 80 degrees above. Then it settled down to the northeast, having appeared from the south, southeast.

Light gray in color, or it was cloud-color.

"It was much lower than the other clouds."

And this datum stands out:

That, whatever it may have been, it traveled against the wind.

"It came up obliquely against the wind, and finally settled down right in the wind's eye."

For half an hour this form was visible. When it did finally disappear that was not because it disintegrated like a cloud, but because it was lost to sight in the evening darkness.

Capt. Banner draws the following diagram:


Text-books tell us that the Dhurmsalla meteorites were picked up "soon," or "within half an hour." Given a little time the conventionalists may argue that these stones were hot when they fell, but that their great interior coldness had overcome the molten state of their surfaces.

According to the Deputy Commissioner of Dhurmsalla, these stones had been picked up "immediately" by passing coolies.

These stones were so cold that they benumbed the fingers. But they had fallen with a great light. It is described as "a flame of fire about two feet in depth and nine feet in length." Acceptably this light was not the light of molten matter.

In this chapter we are very intermediatistic—and unsatisfactory. To the intermediatist there is but one answer to all questions:

Sometimes and sometimes not.

Another form of this intermediatist "solution" of all problems is:

Yes and no.

Everything that is, also isn't.

A positivist attempts to formulate: so does the intermediatist, but with less rigorousness: he accepts but also denies: he may seem to accept in one respect and deny in some other respect, but no real line can be drawn between any two aspects of anything. The intermediatist accepts that which seems to correlate with something that he has accepted as a dominant. The positivist correlates with a belief.

In the Dhurmsalla meteorites we have support for our expression that things entering this earth's atmosphere sometimes shine with a light that is not the light of incandescence—or so we account, or offer an expression upon, "thunderstones," or carved stones that have fallen luminously to this earth, in streaks that have looked like strokes of lightning—but we accept, also, that some things that have entered this earth's atmosphere, disintegrate with the intensity of flame and molten matter—but some things, we accept, enter this earth's atmosphere and collapse non-luminously, quite like deep-sea fishes brought to the surface of the ocean. Whatever agreement we have is an indication that somewhere aloft there is a medium denser than this earth's atmosphere. I suppose our stronghold is in that such is not popular belief—

Or the rhythm of all phenomena:

Air dense at sea level upon this earth—less and less dense as one ascends—then denser and denser. A good many bothersome questions arise—

Our attitude:

Here are the data:

Luminous rains sometimes fall (Nature, March 9, 1882; Nature, 25-437). This is light that is not the light of incandescence, but no one can say that these occasional, or rare, rains come from this earth's externality. We simply note cold light of falling bodies. For luminous rain, snow, and dust, see Hartwig, Aerial World, p. 319. As to luminous clouds, we have more nearly definite observations and opinions: they mark transition between the Old Dominant and the New Dominant. We have already noted the transition in Prof. Schwedoffs theory of external origin of some hailstones—and the implications that, to a former generation, seemed so preposterous—"droll" was the word—that there are in inter-planetary regions volumes of water—whether they have fishes and frogs in them or not. Now our acceptance is that clouds sometimes come from external regions, having had origin from super-geographical lakes and oceans that we shall not attempt to chart, just at present—only suggesting to enterprising aviators—and we note that we put it all up to them, and show no inclination to go Columbusing on our own account—that they take bathing suits, or, rather, deep-sea diving-suits along. So then that some clouds come from inter-planetary oceans—of the Super-Sargasso Sea—if we still accept the Super-Sargasso Sea—and shine, upon entering this earth's atmosphere. In Himmel und Erde, February, 1889—a phenomenon of transition of thirty years ago—Herr O. Jesse, in his observations upon luminous night-clouds, notes the great height of them, and drolly or sensibly suggests that some of them may have come from regions external to this earth. I suppose he means only from other planets. But it's a very droll and sensible idea either way.

In general I am accounting for a great deal of this earth's isolation: that it is relatively isolated by circumstances that are similar to the circumstances that make for relative isolation of the bottom of the ocean—except that there is a clumsiness of analogy now. To call ourselves deep-sea fishes has been convenient, but, in a quasi-existence, there is no convenience that will not sooner or later turn awkward—so, if there be denser regions aloft, these regions should now be regarded as analogues of far-submerged oceanic regions, and things coming to this earth would be like things rising to an attenuated medium—and exploding—sometimes incandescently, sometimes with cold light—sometimes non-luminously, like deep-sea fishes brought to the surface—altogether conditions of inhospitality. I have a suspicion that, in their own depths, deep-sea fishes are not luminous. If they are, Darwinism is mere jesuitism, in attempting to correlate them. Such advertising would so attract attention that all advantages would be more than offset. Darwinism is largely a doctrine of concealment: here we have brazen proclamation—if accepted. Fishes in the Mammoth Cave need no light to see by. We might have an expression that deep-sea fishes turn luminous upon entering a less dense medium—but models in the American Museum of Natural History: specialized organs of luminosity upon these models. Of course we do remember that awfully convincing "dodo," and some of our sophistications we trace to him—at any rate disruption is regarded as a phenomenon of coming from a dense to a less dense medium.

An account by M. Acharius, in the Transactions of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, 1808-215, translated for the North American Review, 3-319:

That M. Acharius, having heard of "an extraordinary and probably hitherto unseen phenomenon," reported from near the town of Skeninge, Sweden, investigated:

That, upon the 16th of May, 1808, at about 4 P.M., the sun suddenly turned dull brick-red. At the same time there appeared, upon the western horizon, a great number of round bodies, dark brown, and seemingly the size of a hat crown. They passed overhead and disappeared in the eastern horizon. Tremendous procession. It lasted two hours. Occasionally one fell to the ground. When the place of a fall was examined, there was found a film, which soon dried and vanished. Often, when approaching the sun, these bodies seemed to link together, or were then seen to be linked together, in groups not exceeding eight, and, under the sun, they were seen to have tails three or four fathoms long. Away from the sun the tails were invisible. Whatever their substance may have been, it is described as gelatinous—"soapy and jellied."

I place this datum here for several reasons. It would have been a good climax to our expression upon hordes of small bodies that, in our acceptance, were not seeds, nor birds, nor ice-crystals: but the tendency would have been to jump to the homogeneous conclusion that all our data in that expression related to this one kind of phenomena, whereas we conceive of infinite heterogeneity of the external: of crusaders and rabbles and emigrants and tourists and dragons and things like gelatinous hat crowns. Or that all things, here, upon this earth, that flock together, are not necessarily sheep, Presbyterians, gangsters, or porpoises. The datum is important to us, here, as indication of disruption in this earth's atmosphere—dangers in entering this earth's atmosphere.

I think, myself, that thousands of objects have been seen to fall from aloft, and have exploded luminously, and have been called "ball lightning."

"As to what ball lightning is, we have not yet begun to make intelligent guesses." (Monthly Weather Review, 34-17.)

In general, it seems to me that when we encounter the opposition "ball lightning" we should pay little attention, but confine ourselves to guesses that are at least intelligent, that stand phantom-like in our way. We note here that in some of our acceptances upon intelligence we should more clearly have pointed out that they were upon the intelligent as opposed to the instinctive. In the Monthly Weather Review, 33-409, there is an account of "ball lightning" that struck a tree. It made a dent such as a falling object would make. Some other time I shall collect instances of "ball lightning," to express that they are instances of objects that have fallen from the sky, luminously, exploding terrifically. So bewildered is the old orthodoxy by these phenomena that many scientists have either denied "ball lightning" or have considered it very doubtful. I refer to Dr. Sestier's list of one hundred and fifty instances, which he considered authentic.

In accord with our disaccord is an instance related in the Monthly Weather Review, March, 1887—something that fell luminously from the sky, accompanied by something that was not so affected, or that was dark:

That, according to Capt. C.D. Sweet, of the Dutch bark, J.P.A., upon March 19, 1887, N. 37 deg. 39', W. 57 deg. 00', he encountered a severe storm. He saw two objects in the air above the ship. One was luminous, and might be explained in several ways, but the other was dark. One or both fell into the sea, with a roar and the casting up of billows. It is our acceptance that these things had entered this earth's atmosphere, having first crashed through a field of ice—"immediately afterward lumps of ice fell."

One of the most astonishing of the phenomena of "ball lightning" is a phenomenon of many meteorites: violence of explosion out of all proportion to size and velocity. We accept that the icy meteorites of Dhurmsalla could have fallen with no great velocity, but the sound from them was tremendous. The soft substance that fell at the Cape of Good Hope was carbonaceous, but was unburned, or had fallen with velocity insufficient to ignite it. The tremendous report that it made was heard over an area more than seventy miles in diameter.

That some hailstones have been formed in a dense medium, and violently disintegrate in this earth's relatively thin atmosphere:

Nature, 88-350:

Large hailstones noted at the University of Missouri, Nov. 11, 1911: they exploded with sounds like pistol shots. The writer says that he had noticed a similar phenomenon, eighteen years before, at Lexington, Kentucky. Hailstones that seemed to have been formed in a denser medium: when melted under water they gave out bubbles larger than their central air spaces. (Monthly Weather Review, 33-445.)

Our acceptance is that many objects have fallen from the sky, but that many of them have disintegrated violently. This acceptance will co-ordinate with data still to come, but, also, we make it easy for ourselves in our expressions upon super-constructions, if we're asked why, from thinkable wrecks of them, girders, plates, or parts recognizably of manufactured metal have not fallen from the sky. However, as to composition, we have not this refuge, so it is our expression that there have been reported instances of the fall of manufactured metal from the sky.

The meteorite of Rutherford, North Carolina, is of artificial material: mass of pig iron. It is said to be fraudulent. (Amer. Jour. Sci., 2-34-298.)

The object that was said to have fallen at Marblehead, Mass., in 1858, is described in the Amer. Jour. Sci., 2-34-135, as "a furnace product, formed in smelting copper ores, or iron ores containing copper." It is said to be fraudulent.

According to Ehrenberg, the substance reported by Capt. Callam to have fallen upon his vessel, near Java, "offered complete resemblance to the residue resulting from combustion of a steel wire in a flask of oxygen." (Zurcher, Meteors, p. 239.) Nature, Nov. 21, 1878, publishes a notice that, according to the Yuma Sentinel, a meteorite that "resembles steel" had been found in the Mohave Desert. In Nature, Feb. 15, 1894, we read that one of the meteorites brought to the United States by Peary, from Greenland, is of tempered steel. The opinion is that meteoric iron had fallen in water or snow, quickly cooling and hardening. This does not apply to composition. Nov. 5, 1898, Nature publishes a notice of a paper by Prof. Berwerth, of Vienna, upon "the close connection between meteoric iron and steel-works' steel."

At the meeting of Nov. 24, 1906, of the Essex Field Club, was exhibited a piece of metal said to have fallen from the sky, Oct. 9, 1906, at Braintree. According to the Essex Naturalist, Dr. Fletcher, of the British Museum, had declared this metal to be smelted iron—"so that the mystery of its reported 'fall' remained unexplained."


We shall have an outcry of silences. If a single instance of anything be disregarded by a System—our own attitude is that a single instance is a powerless thing. Of course our own method of agreement of many instances is not a real method. In Continuity, all things must have resemblances with all other things. Anything has any quasi-identity you please. Some time ago conscription was assimilated with either autocracy or democracy with equal facility. Note the need for a dominant to correlate to. Scarcely anybody said simply that we must have conscription: but that we must have conscription, which correlates with democracy, which was taken as a base, or something basically desirable. Of course between autocracy and democracy nothing but false demarcation can be drawn. So I can conceive of no subject upon which there should be such poverty as a single instance, if anything one pleases can be whipped into line. However, we shall try to be more nearly real than the Darwinites who advance concealing coloration as Darwinism, and then drag in proclaiming luminosity, too, as Darwinism. I think the Darwinites had better come in with us as to the deep-sea fishes—and be sorry later, I suppose. It will be amazing or negligible to read all the instances now to come of things that have been seen in the sky, and to think that all have been disregarded. My own opinion is that it is not possible, or very easy, to disregard them, now that they have been brought together—but that, if prior to about this time we had attempted such an assemblage, the Old Dominant would have withered our typewriter—as it is the letter "e" has gone back on us, and the "s" is temperamental.

"Most extraordinary and singular phenomenon," North Wales, Aug. 26, 1894; a disk from which projected an orange-colored body that looked like "an elongated flatfish," reported by Admiral Ommanney (Nature, 50-524); disk from which projected a hook-like form, India, about 1838; diagram of it given; disk about size of the moon, but brighter than the moon; visible about twenty minutes; by G. Pettit, in Prof. Baden-Powell's Catalogue (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1849); very brilliant hook-like form, seen in the sky at Poland, Trumbull Co., Ohio, during the stream of meteors, of 1833; visible more than an hour: large luminous body, almost stationary "for a time"; shaped like a square table; Niagara Falls, Nov. 13, 1833 (Amer. Jour. Sci., 1-25-391); something described as a bright white cloud, at night, Nov. 3, 1886, at Hamar, Norway; from it were emitted brilliant rays of light; drifted across the sky; "retained throughout its original form" (Nature, Dec. 16, 1886-158); thing with an oval nucleus, and streamers with dark bands and lines very suggestive of structure; New Zealand, May 4, 1888 (Nature, 42-402); luminous object, size of full moon, visible an hour and a half, Chili, Nov. 5, 1883 (Comptes Rendus, 103-682); bright object near sun, Dec. 21, 1882 (Knowledge, 3-13); light that looked like a great flame, far out at sea, off Ryook Phyoo, Dec. 2, 1845 (London Roy. Soc. Proc., 5-627); something like a gigantic trumpet, suspended, vertical, oscillating gently, visible five or six minutes, length estimated at 425 feet, at Oaxaca, Mexico, July 6, 1874 (Sci. Am. Sup., 6-2365); two luminous bodies, seemingly united, visible five or six minutes, June 3, 1898 (La Nature, 1898-1-127); thing with a tail, crossing moon, transit half a minute, Sept. 26, 1870 (London Times, Sept. 30, 1870); object four or five times size of moon, moving slowly across sky, Nov. 1, 1885, near Adrianople (L'Astronomie, 1886-309); large body, colored red, moving slowly, visible 15 minutes, reported by Coggia, Marseilles, Aug. 1, 1871 (Chem. News, 24-193); details of this observation, and similar observation by Guillemin, and other instances by de Fonville (Comptes Rendus, 73-297, 755); thing that was large and that was stationary twice in seven minutes, Oxford, Nov. 19, 1847; listed by Lowe (Rec. Sci., 1-136); grayish object that looked to be about three and a half feet long, rapidly approaching the earth at Saarbruck, April 1, 1826; sound like thunder; object expanding like a sheet (Am. Jour. Sci., 1-26-133; Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 24-488); report by an astronomer, N.S. Drayton, upon an object duration of which seemed to him extraordinary; duration three-quarters of a minute, Jersey City, July 6, 1882 (Sci. Amer., 47-53); object like a comet, but with proper motion of 10 degrees an hour; visible one hour; reported by Purine and Glancy from the Cordoba Observatory, Argentina, March 14, 1916 (Sci. Amer., 115-493); something like a signal light, reported by Glaisher, Oct. 4, 1844; bright as Jupiter, "sending out quick flickering waves of light" (Year Book of Facts, 1845-278).

I think that with the object known as Eddie's "comet" passes away the last of our susceptibility to the common fallacy of personifying. It is one of the most deep-rooted of positivist illusions—that people are persons. We have been guilty too often of spleens and spites and ridicules against astronomers, as if they were persons, or final unities, individuals, completenesses, or selves—instead of indeterminate parts. But, so long as we remain in quasi-existence, we can cast out illusion only with some other illusion, though the other illusion may approximate higher to reality. So we personify no more—but we super-personify. We now take into full acceptance our expression that Development is an Autocracy of Successive Dominants—which are not final—but which approximate higher to individuality or self-ness, than do the human tropisms that irresponsibly correlate to them.

Eddie reported a celestial object, from the Observatory at Grahamstown, South Africa. It was in 1890. The New Dominant was only heir presumptive then, or heir apparent but not obvious. The thing that Eddie reported might as well have been reported by a night watchman, who had looked up through an unplaced sewer pipe.

It did not correlate.

The thing was not admitted to Monthly Notices. I think myself that if the Editor had attempted to let it in—earthquake—or a mysterious fire in his publishing house.

The Dominants are jealous gods.

In Nature, presumably a vassal of the new god, though of course also plausibly rendering homage to the old, is reported a comet-like body, of Oct. 27, 1890, observed at Grahamstown, by Eddie. It may have looked comet-like, but it moved 100 degrees while visible, or one hundred degrees in three-quarters of an hour. See Nature, 43-89, 90.

In Nature, 44-519, Prof. Copeland describes a similar appearance that he had seen, Sept. 10, 1891. Dreyer says (Nature, 44-541) that he had seen this object at the Armagh Observatory. He likens it to the object that was reported by Eddie. It was seen by Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, Sept. 11, 1891, in Nova Scotia.

But the Old Dominant was a jealous god.

So there were different observations upon something that was seen in November, 1883. These observations were Philistines in 1883. In the Amer. Met. Jour., 1-110, a correspondent reports having seen an object like a comet, with two tails, one up and one down, Nov. 10 or 12, 1883. Very likely this phenomenon should be placed in our expression upon torpedo-shaped bodies that have been seen in the sky—our data upon dirigibles, or super-Zeppelins—but our attempted classifications are far from rigorous—or are mere gropes. In the Scientific American, 50-40, a correspondent writes from Humacao, Porto Rico, that, Nov. 21, 1883, he and several other—persons—or persons, as it were—had seen a majestic appearance, like a comet. Visible three successive nights: disappeared then. The Editor says that he can offer no explanation. If accepted, this thing must have been close to the earth. If it had been a comet, it would have been seen widely, and the news would have been telegraphed over the world, says the Editor. Upon page 97 of this volume of the Scientific American, a correspondent writes that, at Sulphur Springs, Ohio, he had seen "a wonder in the sky," at about the same date. It was torpedo-shaped, or something with a nucleus, at each end of which was a tail. Again the Editor says that he can offer no explanation: that the object was not a comet. He associates it with the atmospheric effects general in 1883. But it will be our expression that, in England and Holland, a similar object was seen in November, 1882.

In the Scientific American, 40-294, is published a letter from Henry Harrison, of Jersey City, copied from the New York Tribune: that upon the evening of April 13, 1879, Mr. Harrison was searching for Brorsen's comet, when he saw an object that was moving so rapidly that it could not have been a comet. He called a friend to look, and his observation was confirmed. At two o'clock in the morning this object was still visible. In the Scientific American Supplement, 7-2885, Mr. Harrison disclaims sensationalism, which he seems to think unworthy, and gives technical details: he says that the object was seen by Mr. J. Spencer Devoe, of Manhattanville.


"A formation having the shape of a dirigible." It was reported from Huntington, West Virginia (Sci. Amer., 115-241). Luminous object that was seen July 19, 1916, at about 11 P.M. Observed through "rather powerful field glasses," it looked to be about two degrees long and half a degree wide. It gradually dimmed, disappeared, reappeared, and then faded out of sight. Another person—as we say: it would be too inconvenient to hold to our intermediatist recognitions—another person who observed this phenomenon suggested to the writer of the account that the object was a dirigible, but the writer says that faint stars could be seen behind it. This would seem really to oppose our notion of a dirigible visitor to this earth—except for the inconclusiveness of all things in a mode of seeming that is not final—or we suggest that behind some parts of the object, thing, construction, faint stars were seen. We find a slight discussion here. Prof. H.M. Russell thinks that the phenomenon was a detached cloud of aurora borealis. Upon page 369 of this volume of the Scientific American, another correlator suggests that it was a light from a blast furnace—disregarding that, if there be blast furnaces in or near Huntington, their reflections would be commonplaces there.

We now have several observations upon cylindrical-shaped bodies that have appeared in this earth's atmosphere: cylindrical, but pointed at both ends, or torpedo-shaped. Some of the accounts are not very detailed, but out of the bits of description my own acceptance is that super-geographical routes are traversed by torpedo-shaped super-constructions that have occasionally visited, or that have occasionally been driven into this earth's atmosphere. From data, the acceptance is that upon entering this earth's atmosphere, these vessels have been so racked that had they not sailed away, disintegration would have occurred: that, before leaving this earth, they have, whether in attempted communication or not, or in mere wantonness or not, dropped objects, which did almost immediately violently disintegrate or explode. Upon general principles we think that explosives have not been purposely dropped, but that parts have been racked off, and have fallen, exploding like the things called "ball lightning." Many have been objects of stone or metal with inscriptions upon them, for all we know, at present. In all instances, estimates of dimensions are valueless, but ratios of dimensions are more acceptable. A thing said to have been six feet long may have been six hundred feet long; but shape is not so subject to the illusions of distance.

Nature, 40-415:

That, Aug. 5, 1889, during a violent storm, an object that looked to be about 15 inches long and 5 inches wide, fell, rather slowly, at East Twickenham, England. It exploded. No substance from it was found.

L'Annee Scientifique, 1864-54:

That, Oct. 10, 1864, M. Leverrier had sent to the Academy three letters from witnesses of a long luminous body, tapering at both ends, that had been seen in the sky.

In Thunder and Lightning, p. 87, Flammarion says that on Aug. 20, 1880, during a rather violent storm, M.A. Trecul, of the French Academy, saw a very brilliant yellowish-white body, apparently 35 to 40 centimeters long, and about 25 centimeters wide. Torpedo-shaped. Or a cylindrical body, "with slightly conical ends." It dropped something, and disappeared in the clouds. Whatever it may have been that was dropped, it fell vertically, like a heavy object, and left a luminous train. The scene of this occurrence may have been far from the observer. No sound was heard. For M. Trecul's account, see Comptes Rendus, 103-849.

Monthly Weather Review, 1907-310:

That, July 2, 1907, in the town of Burlington, Vermont, a terrific explosion had been heard throughout the city. A ball of light, or a luminous object, had been seen to fall from the sky—or from a torpedo-shaped thing, or construction, in the sky. No one had seen this thing that had exploded fall from a larger body that was in the sky—but if we accept that at the same time there was a larger body in the sky—

My own acceptance is that a dirigible in the sky, or a construction that showed every sign of disrupting, had barely time to drop—whatever it did drop—and to speed away to safety above.

The following story is told, in the Review, by Bishop John S. Michaud:

"I was standing on the corner of Church and College Streets, just in front of the Howard Bank, and facing east, engaged in conversation with Ex-Governor Woodbury and Mr. A.A. Buell, when, without the slightest indication, or warning, we were startled by what sounded like a most unusual and terrific explosion, evidently very nearby. Raising my eyes, and looking eastward along College Street, I observed a torpedo-shaped body, some 300 feet away, stationary in appearance, and suspended in the air, about 50 feet above the tops of the buildings. In size it was about 6 feet long by 8 inches in diameter, the shell, or covering, having a dark appearance, with here and there tongues of fire issuing from spots on the surface, resembling red-hot, unburnished copper. Although stationary when first noticed, this object soon began to move, rather slowly, and disappeared over Dolan Brothers' store, southward. As it moved, the covering seemed rupturing in places, and through these the intensely red flames issued."

Bishop Michaud attempts to correlate it with meteorological observations.

Because of the nearby view this is perhaps the most remarkable of the new correlates, but the correlate now coming is extraordinary because of the great number of recorded observations upon it. My own acceptance is that, upon Nov. 17, 1882, a vast dirigible crossed England, but by the definiteness-indefiniteness of all things quasi-real, some observations upon it can be correlated with anything one pleases.

E.W. Maunder, invited by the Editors of the Observatory to write some reminiscences for the 500th number of their magazine, gives one that he says stands out (Observatory, 39-214). It is upon something that he terms "a strange celestial visitor." Maunder was at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Nov. 17, 1882, at night. There was an aurora, without features of special interest. In the midst of the aurora, a great circular disk of greenish light appeared and moved smoothly across the sky. But the circularity was evidently the effect of foreshortening. The thing passed above the moon, and was, by other observers, described as "cigar-shaped," "like a torpedo," "a spindle," "a shuttle." The idea of foreshortening is not mine: Maunder says this. He says: "Had the incident occurred a third of a century later, beyond doubt everyone would have selected the same simile—it would have been 'just like a Zeppelin.'" The duration was about two minutes. Color said to have been the same as that of the auroral glow in the north. Nevertheless, Maunder says that this thing had no relation to auroral phenomena. "It appeared to be a definite body." Motion too fast for a cloud, but "nothing could be more unlike the rush of a meteor." In the Philosophical Magazine, 5-15-318, J. Rand Capron, in a lengthy paper, alludes throughout to this phenomenon as an "auroral beam," but he lists many observations upon its "torpedo-shape," and one observation upon a "dark nucleus" in it—host of most confusing observations—estimates of height between 40 and 200 miles—observations in Holland and Belgium. We are told that according to Capron's spectroscopic observations the phenomenon was nothing but a beam of auroral light. In the Observatory, 6-192, is Maunder's contemporaneous account. He gives apparent approximate length and breadth at twenty-seven degrees and three degrees and a half. He gives other observations seeming to indicate structure—"remarkable dark marking down the center."

In Nature, 27-84, Capron says that because of the moonlight he had been able to do little with the spectroscope.

Color white, but aurora rosy (Nature, 27-87).

Bright stars seen through it, but not at the zenith, where it looked opaque. This is the only assertion of transparency (Nature, 27-87). Too slow for a meteor, but too fast for a cloud (Nature, 27-86). "Surface had a mottled appearance" (Nature, 27-87). "Very definite in form, like a torpedo" (Nature, 27-100). "Probably a meteoric object" (Dr. Groneman, Nature, 27-296). Technical demonstration by Dr. Groneman, that it was a cloud of meteoric matter (Nature, 28-105). See Nature, 27-315, 338, 365, 388, 412, 434.

"Very little doubt it was an electric phenomenon" (Proctor, Knowledge, 2-419).

In the London Times, Nov. 20, 1882, the Editor says that he had received a great number of letters upon this phenomenon. He publishes two. One correspondent describes it as "well-defined and shaped like a fish... extraordinary and alarming." The other correspondent writes of it as "a most magnificent luminous mass, shaped somewhat like a torpedo."


Notes and Queries, 5-3-306:

About 8 lights that were seen in Wales, over an area of about 8 miles, all keeping their own ground, whether moving together perpendicularly, horizontally, or over a zigzag course. They looked like electric lights—disappearing, reappearing dimly, then shining as bright as ever. "We have seen them three or four at a time afterward, on four or five occasions."

London Times, Oct. 5, 1877:

"From time to time the west coast of Wales seems to have been the scene of mysterious lights.... And now we have a statement from Towyn that within the last few weeks lights of various colors have been seen moving over the estuary of the Dysynni River, and out to sea. They are generally in a northerly direction, but sometimes they hug the shore, and move at high velocity for miles toward Aberdovey, and suddenly disappear."

L'Annee Scientifique, 1877-45:

Lights that appeared in the sky, above Vence, France, March 23, 1877; described as balls of fire of dazzling brightness; appeared from a cloud about a degree in diameter; moved relatively slowly. They were visible more than an hour, moving northward. It is said that eight or ten years before similar lights or objects had been seen in the sky, at Vence.

London Times, Sept. 19, 1848:

That, at Inverness, Scotland, two large, bright lights that looked like stars had been seen in the sky: sometimes stationary, but occasionally moving at high velocity.

L'Annee Scientifique, 1888-66:

Observed near St. Petersburg, July 30, 1880, in the evening: a large spherical light and two smaller ones, moving along a ravine: visible three minutes; disappearing without noise.

Nature, 35-173:

That, at Yloilo, Sept. 30, 1886, was seen a luminous object the size of the full moon. It "floated" slowly "northward," followed by smaller ones close to it.

"The False Lights of Durham."

Every now and then in the English newspapers, in the middle of the nineteenth century, there is something about lights that were seen against the sky, but as if not far above land, oftenest upon the coast of Durham. They were mistaken for beacons by sailors. Wreck after wreck occurred. The fishermen were accused of displaying false lights and profiting by wreckage. The fishermen answered that mostly only old vessels, worthless except for insurance, were so wrecked.

In 1866 (London Times, Jan. 9, 1866) popular excitement became intense. There was an investigation. Before a commission, headed by Admiral Collinson, testimony was taken. One witness described the light that had deceived him as "considerably elevated above ground." No conclusion was reached: the lights were called "the mysterious lights." But whatever the "false lights of Durham" may have been, they were unaffected by the investigation. In 1867, the Tyne Pilotage Board took the matter up. Opinion of the Mayor of Tyne—"a mysterious affair."

In the Report of the British Association, 1877-152, there is a description of a group of "meteors" that traveled with "remarkable slowness." They were in sight about three minutes. "Remarkable," it seems, is scarcely strong enough: one reads of "remarkable" as applied to a duration of three seconds. These "meteors" had another peculiarity; they left no train. They are described as "seemingly huddled together like a flock of wild geese, and moving with the same velocity and grace of regularity."

Jour. Roy. Astro. Soc. of Canada, November and December, 1913:

That, according to many observations collected by Prof. Chant, of Toronto, there appeared, upon the night of Feb. 9, 1913, a spectacle that was seen in Canada, the United States, and at sea, and in Bermuda. A luminous body was seen. To it there was a long tail. The body grew rapidly larger. "Observers differ as to whether the body was single, or was composed of three or four parts, with a tail to each part." The group, or complex structure, moved with "a peculiar, majestic deliberation." "It disappeared in the distance, and another group emerged from its place of origin. Onward they moved, at the same deliberate pace, in twos or threes or fours." They disappeared. A third group, or a third structure, followed.

Some observers compared the spectacle to a fleet of airships: others to battleships attended by cruisers and destroyers.

According to one writer:

"There were probably 30 or 32 bodies, and the peculiar thing about them was their moving in fours and threes and twos, abreast of one another; and so perfect was the lining up that you would have thought it was an aerial fleet maneuvering after rigid drilling."

Nature, May 25, 1893:

A letter from Capt. Charles J. Norcock, of H.M.S. Caroline:

That, upon the 24th of February, 1893, at 10 P.M., between Shanghai and Japan, the officer of the watch had reported "some unusual lights."

They were between the ship and a mountain. The mountain was about 6,000 feet high. The lights seemed to be globular. They moved sometimes massed, but sometimes strung out in an irregular line. They bore "northward," until lost to sight. Duration two hours.

The next night the lights were seen again.

They were, for a time, eclipsed by a small island. They bore north at about the same speed and in about the same direction as speed and direction of the Caroline. But they were lights that cast a reflection: there was a glare upon the horizon under them. A telescope brought out but few details: that they were reddish, and seemed to emit a faint smoke. This time the duration was seven and a half hours.

Then Capt. Norcock says that, in the same general locality, and at about the same time, Capt. Castle, of H.M.S. Leander, had seen lights. He had altered his course and had made toward them. The lights had fled from him. At least, they had moved higher in the sky.

Monthly Weather Review, March, 1904-115:

Report from the observations of three members of his crew by Lieut. Frank H. Schofield, U.S.N, of the U.S.S. Supply:

Feb. 24, 1904. Three luminous objects, of different sizes, the largest having an apparent area of about six suns. When first sighted, they were not very high. They were below clouds of an estimated height of about one mile.

They fled, or they evaded, or they turned.

They went up into the clouds below which they had, at first, been sighted.

Their unison of movement.

But they were of different sizes, and of different susceptibilities to all forces of this earth and of the air.

Monthly Weather Review, August, 1898-358:

Two letters from C.N. Crotsenburg, Crow Agency, Montana:

That, in the summer of 1896, when this writer was a railroad postal clerk—or one who was experienced in train-phenomena—while his train was going "northward," from Trenton, Mo., he and another clerk saw, in the darkness of a heavy rain, a light that appeared to be round, and of a dull-rose color, and seemed to be about a foot in diameter. It seemed to float within a hundred feet of the earth, but soon rose high, or "midway between horizon and zenith." The wind was quite strong from the east, but the light held a course almost due north.

Its speed varied. Sometimes it seemed to outrun the train "considerably." At other times it seemed to fall behind. The mail-clerks watched until the town of Linville, Iowa, was reached. Behind the depot of this town, the light disappeared, and was not seen again. All this time there had been rain, but very little lightning, but Mr. Crotsenburg offers the explanation that it was "ball lightning."

The Editor of the Review disagrees. He thinks that the light may have been a reflection from the rain, or fog, or from leaves of trees, glistening with rain, or the train's light—not lights.

In the December number of the Review is a letter from Edward M. Boggs—that the light was a reflection, perhaps, from the glare—one light, this time—from the locomotive's fire-box, upon wet telegraph wires—an appearance that might not be striated by the wires, but consolidated into one rotundity—that it had seemed to oscillate with the undulations of the wires, and had seemed to change horizontal distance with the varying angles of reflection, and had seemed to advance or fall behind, when the train had rounded curves.

All of which is typical of the best of quasi-reasoning. It includes and assimilates diverse data: but it excludes that which will destroy it:

That, acceptably, the telegraph wires were alongside the track beyond, as well as leading to Linville.

Mr. Crotsenburg thinks of "ball lightning," which, though a sore bewilderment to most speculation, is usually supposed to be a correlate with the old system of thought: but his awareness of "something else" is expressed in other parts of his letters, when he says that he has something to tell that is "so strange that I should never have mentioned it, even to my friends, had it not been corroborated... so unreal that I hesitated to speak of it, fearing that it was some freak of the imagination."


Vast and black. The thing that was poised, like a crow over the moon.

Round and smooth. Cannon balls. Things that have fallen from the sky to this earth.

Our slippery brains.

Things like cannon balls have fallen, in storms, upon this earth. Like cannon balls are things that, in storms, have fallen to this earth.

Showers of blood.

Showers of blood.

Showers of blood.

Whatever it may have been, something like red-brick dust, or a red substance in a dried state, fell at Piedmont, Italy, Oct. 27, 1814 (Electric Magazine, 68-437). A red powder fell, in Switzerland, winter of 1867 (Pop. Sci. Rev., 10-112)—

That something, far from this earth, had bled—super-dragon that had rammed a comet—

Or that there are oceans of blood somewhere in the sky—substance that dries, and falls in a powder—wafts for ages in powdered form—that there is a vast area that will some day be known to aviators as the Desert of Blood. We attempt little of super-topography, at present, but Ocean of Blood, or Desert of Blood—or both—Italy is nearest to it—or to them.

I suspect that there were corpuscles in the substance that fell in Switzerland, but all that could be published in 1867 was that in this substance there was a high proportion of "variously shaped organic matter."

At Giessen, Germany, in 1821, according to the Report of the British Association, 5-2, fell a rain of a peach-red color. In this rain were flakes of a hyacinthine tint. It is said that this substance was organic: we are told that it was pyrrhine.

But distinctly enough, we are told of one red rain that it was of corpuscular composition—red snow, rather. It fell, March 12, 1876, near the Crystal Palace, London (Year Book of Facts, 1876-89; Nature, 13-414). As to the "red snow" of polar and mountainous regions, we have no opposition, because that "snow" has never been seen to fall from the sky: it is a growth of micro-organisms, or of a "protococcus," that spreads over snow that is on the ground. This time nothing is said of "sand from the Sahara." It is said of the red matter that fell in London, March 12, 1876, that it was composed of corpuscles—

Of course:

That they looked like "vegetable cells."

A note:

That nine days before had fallen the red substance—flesh—whatever it may have been—of Bath County, Kentucky.

I think that a super-egotist, vast, but not so vast as it had supposed, had refused to move to one side for a comet.

We summarize our general super-geographical expressions:

Gelatinous regions, sulphurous regions, frigid and tropical regions: a region that has been Source of Life relatively to this earth: regions wherein there is density so great that things from them, entering this earth's thin atmosphere, explode.

We have had a datum of explosive hailstones. We now have support to the acceptance that they had been formed in a medium far denser than air of this earth at sea-level. In the Popular Science News, 22-38, is an account of ice that had been formed, under great pressure, in the laboratory of the University of Virginia. When released and brought into contact with ordinary air, this ice exploded.

And again the flesh-like substance that fell in Kentucky: its flake-like formation. Here is a phenomenon that is familiar to us: it suggests flattening, under pressure. But the extraordinary inference is—pressure not equal on all sides. In the Annual Record of Science, 1873-350, it is said that, in 1873, after a heavy thunderstorm in Louisiana, a tremendous number of fish scales were found, for a distance of forty miles, along the banks of the Mississippi River: bushels of them picked up in single places: large scales that were said to be of the gar fish, a fish that weighs from five to fifty pounds. It seems impossible to accept this identification: one thinks of a substance that had been pressed into flakes or scales. And round hailstones with wide thin margins of ice irregularly around them—still, such hailstones seem to me more like things that had been stationary: had been held in a field of thin ice. In the Illustrated London News, 34-546, are drawings of hailstones so margined, as if they had been held in a sheet of ice.

Some day we shall have an expression which will be, to our advanced primitiveness, a great joy:

That devils have visited this earth: foreign devils: human-like beings, with pointed beards: good singers; one shoe ill-fitting—but with sulphurous exhalations, at any rate. I have been impressed with the frequent occurrence of sulphurousness with things that come from the sky. A fall of jagged pieces of ice, Orkney, July 24, 1818 (Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin., 9-187). They had a strong sulphurous odor. And the coke—or the substance that looked like coke—that fell at Mortree, France, April 24, 1887: with it fell a sulphurous substance. The enormous round things that rose from the ocean, near the Victoria. Whether we still accept that they were super-constructions that had come from a denser atmosphere and, in danger of disruption, had plunged into the ocean for relief, then rising and continuing on their way to Jupiter or Uranus—it was reported that they spread a "stench of sulphur." At any rate, this datum of proximity is against the conventional explanation that these things did not rise from the ocean, but rose far away above the horizon, with illusion of nearness.

And the things that were seen in the sky July, 1898: I have another note. In Nature, 58-224, a correspondent writes that, upon July 1, 1898, at Sedberg, he had seen in the sky—a red object—or, in his own wording, something that looked like the red part of a rainbow, about 10 degrees long. But the sky was dark at the time. The sun had set. A heavy rain was falling.

Throughout this book, the datum that we are most impressed with:

Successive falls.

Or that, if upon one small area, things fall from the sky, and then, later, fall again upon the same small area, they are not products of a whirlwind, which though sometimes axially stationary, discharges tangentially—

So the frogs that fell at Wigan. I have looked that matter up again. Later more frogs fell.

As to our data of gelatinous substance said to have fallen to this earth with meteorites, it is our expression that meteorites, tearing through the shaky, protoplasmic seas of Genesistrine—against which we warn aviators, or they may find themselves suffocating in a reservoir of life, or stuck like currants in a blanc mange—that meteorites detach gelatinous, or protoplasmic, lumps that fall with them.

Now the element of positiveness in our composition yearns for the appearance of completeness. Super-geographical lakes with fishes in them. Meteorites that plunge through these lakes, on their way to this earth. The positiveness in our make-up must have expression in at least one record of a meteorite that has brought down a lot of fishes with it—

Nature, 3-512:

That, near the bank of a river, in Peru, Feb. 4, 1871, a meteorite fell. "On the spot, it is reported, several dead fishes were found, of different species." The attempt to correlate is—that the fishes "are supposed to have been lifted out of the river and dashed against the stones."

Whether this be imaginable or not depends upon each one's own hypnoses.

Nature, 4-169:

That the fishes had fallen among the fragments of the meteorite.

Popular Science Review, 4-126:

That one day, Mr. Le Gould, an Australian scientist, was traveling in Queensland. He saw a tree that had been broken off close to the ground. Where the tree had been broken was a great bruise. Near by was an object that "resembled a ten-inch shot."

A good many pages back there was an instance of over-shadowing, I think. The little carved stone that fell at Tarbes is my own choice as the most impressive of our new correlates. It was coated with ice, remember. Suppose we should sift and sift and discard half the data in this book—suppose only that one datum should survive. To call attention to the stone of Tarbes would, in my opinion, be doing well enough, for whatever the spirit of this book is trying to do. Nevertheless, it seems to me that a datum that preceded it was slightingly treated.

The disk of quartz, said to have fallen from the sky, after a meteoric explosion:

Said to have fallen at the plantation Bleijendal, Dutch Guiana: sent to the Museum of Leyden by M. van Sypesteyn, adjutant to the Governor of Dutch Guiana (Notes and Queries, 2-8-92).

And the fragments that fall from super-geographic ice fields: flat pieces of ice with icicles on them. I think that we did not emphasize enough that, if these structures were not icicles, but crystalline protuberances, such crystalline formations indicate long suspension quite as notably as would icicles. In the Popular Science News, 24-34, it is said that in 1869, near Tiflis, fell large hailstones with long protuberances. "The most remarkable point in connection with the hailstones is the fact that, judging from our present knowledge, a very long time must have been occupied in their formation." According to the Geological Magazine, 7-27, this fall occurred May 27, 1869. The writer in the Geological Magazine says that of all theories that he had ever heard of, not one could give him light as to this occurrence—"these growing crystalline forms must have been suspended a long time"—

Again and again this phenomenon:

Fourteen days later, at about the same place, more of these hailstones fell.

Rivers of blood that vein albuminous seas, or an egg-like composition in the incubation of which this earth is a local center of development—that there are super-arteries of blood in Genesistrine: that sunsets are consciousness of them: that they flush the skies with northern lights sometimes: super-embryonic reservoirs from which life-forms emanate—

Or that our whole solar system is a living thing: that showers of blood upon this earth are its internal hemorrhages—

Or vast living things in the sky, as there are vast living things in the oceans—

Or some one especial thing: an especial time: an especial place. A thing the size of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's alive in outer space—something the size of Central Park kills it—

It drips.

We think of the ice fields above this earth: which do not, themselves, fall to this earth, but from which water does fall—

Popular Science News, 35-104:

That, according to Prof. Luigi Palazzo, head of the Italian Meteorological Bureau, upon May 15, 1890, at Messignadi, Calabria, something the color of fresh blood fell from the sky.

This substance was examined in the public-health laboratories of Rome.

It was found to be blood.

"The most probable explanation of this terrifying phenomenon is that migratory birds (quails or swallows) were caught and torn in a violent wind."

So the substance was identified as birds' blood—

What matters it what the microscopists of Rome said—or had to say—and what matters it that we point out that there is no assertion that there was a violent wind at the time—and that such a substance would be almost infinitely dispersed in a violent wind—that no bird was said to have fallen from the sky—or said to have been seen in the sky—that not a feather of a bird is said to have been seen—

This one datum:

The fall of blood from the sky—

But later, in the same place, blood again fell from the sky.


Notes and Queries, 7-8-508:

A correspondent who had been to Devonshire writes for information as to a story that he had heard there: of an occurrence of about thirty-five years before the date of writing:

Of snow upon the ground—of all South Devonshire waking up one morning to find such tracks in the snow as had never before been heard of—"clawed footmarks" of "an unclassifiable form"—alternating at huge but regular intervals with what seemed to be the impression of the point of a stick—but the scattering of the prints—amazing expanse of territory covered—obstacles, such as hedges, walls, houses, seemingly surmounted—

Intense excitement—that the track had been followed by huntsmen and hounds, until they had come to a forest—from which the hounds had retreated, baying and terrified, so that no one had dared to enter the forest.

Notes and Queries, 7-9-18:

Whole occurrence well-remembered by a correspondent: a badger had left marks in the snow: this was determined, and the excitement had "dropped to a dead calm in a single day."

Notes and Queries, 7-9-70:

That for years a correspondent had had a tracing of the prints, which his mother had taken from those in the snow in her garden, in Exmouth: that they were hoof-like marks—but had been made by a biped.

Notes and Queries, 7-9-253:

Well remembered by another correspondent, who writes of the excitement and consternation of "some classes." He says that a kangaroo had escaped from a menagerie—"the footprints being so peculiar and far apart gave rise to a scare that the devil was loose."

We have had a story, and now we shall tell it over from contemporaneous sources. We have had the later accounts first very largely for an impression of the correlating effect that time brings about, by addition, disregard and distortion. For instance, the "dead calm in a single day." If I had found that the excitement did die out rather soon, I'd incline to accept that nothing extraordinary had occurred.

I found that the excitement had continued for weeks.

I recognize this as a well-adapted thing to say, to divert attention from a discorrelate.

All phenomena are "explained" in the terms of the Dominant of their era. This is why we give up trying really to explain, and content ourselves with expressing. Devils that might print marks in snow are correlates to the third Dominant back from this era. So it was an adjustment by nineteenth-century correlates, or human tropisms, to say that the marks in the snow were clawed. Hoof-like marks are not only horsey but devilish. It had to be said in the nineteenth century that those prints showed claw-marks. We shall see that this was stated by Prof. Owen, one of the greatest biologists of his day—except that Darwin didn't think so. But I shall give reference to two representations of them that can be seen in the New York Public Library. In neither representation is there the faintest suggestion of a claw-mark. There never has been a Prof. Owen who has explained: he has correlated.

Another adaptation, in the later accounts, is that of leading this discorrelate to the Old Dominant into the familiar scenery of a fairy story, and discredit it by assimilation to the conventionally fictitious—so the idea of the baying, terrified hounds, and forest like enchanted forests, which no one dared to enter. Hunting parties were organized, but the baying, terrified hounds do not appear in contemporaneous accounts.

The story of the kangaroo looks like adaptation to needs for an animal that could spring far, because marks were found in the snow on roofs of houses. But so astonishing is the extent of snow that was marked that after a while another kangaroo was added.

But the marks were in single lines.

My own acceptance is that not less than a thousand one-legged kangaroos, each shod with a very small horseshoe, could have marked that snow of Devonshire.

London Times, Feb 16, 1855:

"Considerable sensation has been caused in the towns of Topsham, Lymphstone, Exmouth, Teignmouth, and Dawlish, in Devonshire, in consequence of the discovery of a vast number of foot tracks of a most strange and mysterious description."

The story is of an incredible multiplicity of marks discovered in the morning of Feb. 8, 1855, in the snow, by the inhabitants of many towns and regions between towns. This great area must of course be disregarded by Prof. Owen and the other correlators. The tracks were in all kinds of unaccountable places: in gardens enclosed by high walls, and up on the tops of houses, as well as in the open fields. There was in Lymphstone scarcely one unmarked garden. We've had heroic disregards but I think that here disregard was titanic. And, because they occurred in single lines, the marks are said to have been "more like those of a biped than of a quadruped"—as if a biped would place one foot precisely ahead of another—unless it hopped—but then we have to think of a thousand, or of thousands.

It is said that the marks were "generally 8 inches in advance of each other."

"The impression of the foot closely resembles that of a donkey's shoe, and measured from an inch and a half, in some instances, to two and a half inches across."

Or the impressions were cones in incomplete, or crescentic basins.

The diameters equaled diameters of very young colts' hoofs: too small to be compared with marks of donkey's hoofs.

"On Sunday last the Rev. Mr. Musgrave alluded to the subject in his sermon and suggested the possibility of the footprints being those of a kangaroo, but this could scarcely have been the case, as they were found on both sides of the Este. At present it remains a mystery, and many superstitious people in the above-named towns are actually afraid to go outside their doors after night."

The Este is a body of water two miles wide.

London Times, March 6, 1855:

"The interest in this matter has scarcely yet subsided, many inquiries still being made into the origin of the footprints, which caused so much consternation upon the morning of the 8th ult. In addition to the circumstances mentioned in the Times a little while ago, it may be stated that at Dawlish a number of persons sallied out, armed with guns and other weapons, for the purpose, if possible, of discovering and destroying the animal which was supposed to have been so busy in multiplying its footprints. As might have been expected, the party returned as they went. Various speculations have been made as to the cause of the footprints. Some have asserted that they are those of a kangaroo, while others affirm that they are the impressions of claws of large birds driven ashore by stress of weather. On more than one occasion reports have been circulated that an animal from a menagerie had been caught, but the matter at present is as much involved in mystery as ever it was."

In the Illustrated London News, the occurrence is given a great deal of space. In the issue of Feb. 24, 1855, a sketch is given of the prints.

I call them cones in incomplete basins.

Except that they're a little longish, they look like prints of hoofs of horses—or, rather, of colts.

But they're in a single line.

It is said that the marks from which the sketch was made were 8 inches apart, and that this spacing was regular and invariable "in every parish." Also other towns besides those named in the Times are mentioned. The writer, who had spent a winter in Canada, and was familiar with tracks in snow, says that he had never seen "a more clearly defined track." Also he brings out the point that was so persistently disregarded by Prof. Owen and the other correlators—that "no known animal walks in a line of single footsteps, not even man." With these wider inclusions, this writer concludes with us that the marks were not footprints. It may be that his following observation hits upon the crux of the whole occurrence:

That whatever it may have been that had made the marks, it had removed, rather than pressed, the snow.

According to his observations the snow looked "as if branded with a hot iron."

Illustrated London News, March 3, 1855-214:

Prof. Owen, to whom a friend had sent drawings of the prints, writes that there were claw-marks. He says that the "track" was made by "a" badger.

Six other witnesses sent letters to this number of the News. One mentioned, but not published, is a notion of a strayed swan. Always this homogeneous-seeing—"a" badger—"a" swan—"a" track. I should have listed the other towns as well as those mentioned in the Times.

A letter from Mr. Musgrave is published. He, too, sends a sketch of the prints. It, too, shows a single line. There are four prints, of which the third is a little out of line.

There is no sign of a claw-mark.

The prints look like prints of longish hoofs of a very young colt, but they are not so definitely outlined as in the sketch of February 24th, as if drawn after disturbance by wind, or after thawing had set in. Measurements at places a mile and a half apart, gave the same inter-spacing—"exactly eight inches and a half apart."

We now have a little study in the psychology and genesis of an attempted correlation. Mr. Musgrave says: "I found a very apt opportunity to mention the name 'kangaroo' in allusion to the report then current." He says that he had no faith in the kangaroo-story himself, but was glad "that a kangaroo was in the wind," because it opposed "a dangerous, degrading, and false impression that it was the devil."

"Mine was a word in season and did good."

Whether it's Jesuitical or not, and no matter what it is or isn't, that is our own acceptance: that, though we've often been carried away from this attitude controversially, that is our acceptance as to every correlate of the past that has been considered in this book—relatively to the Dominant of its era.

Another correspondent writes that, though the prints in all cases resembled hoof marks, there were indistinct traces of claws—that "an" otter had made the marks. After that many other witnesses wrote to the News. The correspondence was so great that, in the issue of March 10th, only a selection could be given. There's "a" jumping-rat solution and "a" hopping-toad inspiration, and then someone came out strong with an idea of "a" hare that had galloped with pairs of feet held close together, so as to make impressions in a single line.

London Times, March 14, 1840:

"Among the high mountains of that elevated district where Glenorchy, Glenlyon and Glenochay are contiguous, there have been met with several times, during this and also the former winter, upon the snow, the tracks of an animal seemingly unknown at present in Scotland. The print, in every respect, is an exact resemblance to that of a foal of considerable size, with this small difference, perhaps, that the sole seems a little longer, or not so round; but as no one has had the good fortune as yet to have obtained a glimpse of this creature, nothing more can be said of its shape or dimensions; only it has been remarked, from the depth to which the feet sank in the snow, that it must be a beast of considerable size. It has been observed also that its walk is not like that of the generality of quadrupeds, but that it is more like the bounding or leaping of a horse when scared or pursued. It is not in one locality that its tracks have been met with, but through a range of at least twelve miles."

In the Illustrated London News, March 17, 1855, a correspondent from Heidelberg writes, "upon the authority of a Polish Doctor of Medicine," that on the Piashowa-gora (Sand Hill) a small elevation on the border of Galicia, but in Russian Poland, such marks are to be seen in the snow every year, and sometimes in the sand of this hill, and "are attributed by the inhabitants to supernatural influences."


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