The Book of the Damned (6)
Hordes upon hordes of them.
Beings massed like the clouds of souls, or the commingling whiffs of spirituality, or the exhalations of souls that Doré pictured so often.
It may be that the Milky Way is a composition of stiff, frozen, finally-static, absolute angels. We shall have data of little Milky Ways, moving swiftly; or data of hosts of angels, not absolute, or still dynamic. I suspect, myself, that the fixed stars are really fixed, and that the minute motions said to have been detected in them are illusions. I think that the fixed stars are absolutes. Their twinkling is only the interpretation by an intermediatist state of them. I think that soon after Leverrier died, a new fixed star was discovered—that, if Dr. Gray had stuck to his story of the thousands of fishes from one pail of water, had written upon it, lectured upon it, taken to street corners, to convince the world that, whether conceivable or not, his explanation was the only true explanation: had thought of nothing but this last thing at night and first thing in the morning—his obituary—another "nova" reported in Monthly Notices.
I think that Milky Ways, of an inferior, or dynamic, order, have often been seen by astronomers. Of course it may be that the phenomena that we shall now consider are not angels at all. We are simply feeling around, trying to find out what we can accept. Some of our data indicate hosts of rotund and complacent tourists in inter-planetary space—but then data of long, lean, hungry ones. I think that there are, out in inter-planetary space, Super Tamerlanes at the head of hosts of celestial ravagers—which have come here and pounced upon civilizations of the past, cleaning them up all but their bones, or temples and monuments—for which later historians have invented exclusionist histories. But if something
now has a legal right to us, and can enforce its proprietorship, they've been warned off. It's the way of all exploitation. I should say that we're now under cultivation: that we're conscious of it, but have the impertinence to attribute it all to our own nobler and higher instincts.
Against these notions is the same sense of finality that opposes all advance. It's why we rate acceptance as a better adaptation than belief. Opposing us is the strong belief that, as to interplanetary phenomena, virtually everything has been found out. Sense of finality and illusion of homogeneity. But that what is called advancing knowledge is violation of the sense of blankness.
A drop of water. Once upon a time water was considered so homogeneous that it was thought of as an element. The microscope—and not only that the supposititiously elementary was seen to be of infinite diversity, but that in its protoplasmic life there were new orders of beings.
Or the year 1491—and a European looking westward over the ocean—his feeling that that suave western droop was unbreakable; that gods of regularity would not permit that smooth horizon to be disturbed by coasts or spotted with islands. The unpleasantness of even contemplating such a state—wide, smooth west, so clean against the sky—spotted with islands—geographic leprosy.
But coasts and islands and Indians and bison, in the seemingly vacant west: lakes, mountains, rivers—
One looks up at the sky: the relative homogeneity of the relatively unexplored: one thinks of only a few kinds of phenomena. But the acceptance is forced upon me that there are modes and modes and modes of inter-planetary existence: things as different from planets and comets and meteors as Indians are from bison and prairie dogs: a super-geography—or celestiography—of vast stagnant regions, but also of Super-Niagaras and Ultra-Mississippis: and a super-sociology—voyagers and tourists and ravagers: the hunted and the hunting: the super-mercantile, the super-piratic, the super-evangelical.
Sense of homogeneity, or our positivist illusion of the unknown—and the fate of all positivism.
Astronomy and the academic.
Ethics and the abstract.
The universal attempt to formulate or to regularize—an attempt that can be made only by disregarding or denying.
Or all things disregard or deny that which will eventually invade and destroy them—
Until comes the day when some one thing shall say, and enforce upon Infinitude:
"Thus far shalt thou go: here is absolute demarcation."
The final utterance:
"There is only I."
In the Monthly Notices of the R.A.S., 11-48, there is a letter from the Rev. W. Read:
That, upon the 4th of September, 1851, at 9:30 A.M., he had seen a host of self-luminous bodies, passing the field of his telescope, some slowly and some rapidly. They appeared to occupy a zone several degrees in breadth. The direction of most of them was due east to west, but some moved from north to south. The numbers were tremendous. They were observed for six hours.
"May not these appearances be attributed to an abnormal state of the optic nerves of the observer?"
In Monthly Notices, 12-38, Mr. Read answers that he had been a diligent observer, with instruments. of a superior order, for about 28 years—"but I have never witnessed such an appearance before." As to illusion he says that two other members of his family had seen the objects.
The Editor withdraws his suggestion.
We know what to expect. Almost absolutely—in an existence that is essentially Hibernian—we can predict the past—that is, look over something of this kind, written in 1851, and know what to expect from the Exclusionists later. If Mr. Read saw a migration of dissatisfied angels, numbering millions, they must merge away, at least subjectively, with commonplace terrestrial phenomena—of course disregarding Mr. Read's probable familiarity, of 28 years’ duration, with the commonplaces of terrestrial phenomena.
Monthly Notices, 12-183:
Letter from Rev. W. R. Dawes:
That he had seen similar objects—and in the month of September—that they were nothing but seeds floating in the air.
In the Report of the British Association, 1852-235, there is a communication from Mr. Read to Prof. Baden-Powell:
That the objects that had been seen by him and by Mr. Dawes were not similar. He denies that he had seen seeds floating in the air. There had been little wind, and that had come from the sea, where seeds would not be likely to have origin. The objects that he had seen were round and sharply defined, and with none of the feathery appearance of thistledown. He then quotes from a letter from C. B. Chalmers, F.R.A.S., who had seen a similar stream, a procession, or migration, except that some of the bodies were more elongated—or lean and hungry—than globular.
He might have argued for sixty-five years. He'd have impressed nobody—of importance. The super-motif, or dominant, of his era, was Exclusionism, and the notion of seeds in the air assimilates—with due disregards—with that dominant.
Or pageantries here upon our earth, and things looking down upon us—and the Crusades were only dust clouds, and glints of the sun on shining armor were only particles of mica in dust clouds. I think it was a Crusade that Read saw—but that it was right, relatively to the year 1851, to say that it was only seeds in the wind, whether the wind blew from the sea or not. I think of things that were luminous with religious zeal, mixed up, like everything else in Intermediateness, with black marauders and from gray to brown beings of little personal ambitions. There may have been a Richard Coeur de Lion, on his way to right wrongs in Jupiter. It was right, relatively to 1851, to say that he was a seed of a cabbage.
Prof. Coffin, U.S.N. (Jour. Frank. Inst., 88-151):
That, during the eclipse of August, 1869, he had noted the passage, across his telescope, of several bright flakes resembling thistleblows, floating in the sunlight. But the telescope was so focused that, if these things were distinct, they must have been so far away from this earth that the difficulties of orthodoxy remain as great. one way or another, no matter what we think they were—
They were "well-defined," says Prof. Coffin.
Henry Waldner (Nature, 5-304):
That, April 27, 1863, he had seen great numbers of small, shining bodies passing from west to east. He had notified Dr. Wolf, of the Observatory of Zurich, who "had convinced himself of this strange phenomenon." Dr. Wolf had told him that similar bodies had been seen by Sig. Capocci, of the Capodimonte Observatory, at Naples, May 11, 1845.
The shapes were of great diversity—or different aspects of similar shapes?
Appendages were seen upon some of them.
We are told that some were star-shaped, with transparent appendages.
I think, myself, it was a Mohammed and his Hegira. May have been only his harem. Astonishing sensation: afloat in space with ten million wives around one. Anyway, it would seem that we have considerable advantage here, inasmuch as seeds are not in season in April—but the pulling back to earth, the bedraggling by those sincere but dull ones of some time ago. We have the same stupidity—necessary, functioning stupidity—of attribution of something that was so rare that an astronomer notes only one instance between 1845 and 1863, to an everyday occurrence—
Or Mr. Waldner's assimilative opinion that he had seen only ice crystals.
Whether they were not very exclusive veils of a super-harem, or planes of a very light material, we have an impression of star-shaped things with transparent appendages that have been seen in the sky.
Hosts of small bodies—black, this time—that were seen by the astronomers Herrick, Buys-Ballot, and De Cuppis (L’Année Scientifique, 1860-25); vast numbers of bodies that were seen by M. Lamey, to cross the moon (L’Année Scientifique, 1874-62); another instance of dark ones; prodigious number of dark, spherical bodies reported by Messier, June 17, 1777 (Arago, Œuvres, 9-38); considerable number of luminous bodies which appeared to move out from the sun, in diverse directions; seen at Havana, during eclipse of the sun, May 15, 1836, by Prof. Auber (Poey); M. Poey cites
a similar instance, of Aug. 3, 1886; M. Lotard's opinion that they were birds (L’Astronomie, 1886-391); large number of small bodies crossing disk of the sun, some swiftly, some slowly; most of them globular, but some seemingly triangular, and some of more complicated structure; seen by M. Trouvelet, who, whether seeds, insects, birds, or other commonplace things, had never seen anything resembling these forms (L’Année Scientifique, 1885-8); report from the Rio de Janeiro Observatory, of vast numbers of bodies crossing the sun, some of them luminous and some of them dark, from some time in December, 1875, until Jan. 22, 1876 (La Nature, 1876-384).
Of course, at a distance, any form is likely to look round or roundish: but we point out that we have notes upon the seeming of more complex forms. In L’Astronomie, 1886-70, is recorded M. Briguiere's observation, at Marseilles, April 15 and April 25, 1883, upon the crossing of the sun by bodies that were irregular in form. Some of them moved as if in alignment.
Letter from Sir Robert Inglis to Col. Sabine (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1849-17)
That, at 3 P.M., Aug. 8, 1849, at Gais, Switzerland, Inglis had seen thousands and thousands of brilliant white objects, like snowflakes in a cloudless sky. Though this display lasted about twenty-five minutes, not one of these seeming snowflakes was seen to fall. Inglis says that his servant "fancied" that he had seen something like wings on these—whatever they were. Upon page 18, of the Report, Sir John Herschel says that, in 1845 or 1846, his attention had been attracted by objects of considerable size, in the air, seemingly not far away. He had looked at them through a telescope. He says that they were masses of hay, not less than a yard or two in diameter. Still there are some circumstances that interest me. He says that, though no less than a whirlwind could have sustained these masses, the air about him was calm. "No doubt wind prevailed at the spot, but there was no roaring noise." None of these masses fell within his observation or knowledge. To walk a few fields away and find out more would seem not much to expect from a man of science, but it is one of our superstitions, that such a seeming trifle is just what—by the Spirit of an Era,
we'll call it—one is not permitted to do. If those things were not masses of hay, and if Herschel had walked a little and found out, and had reported that he had seen strange objects in the air—that report, in 1846, would have been as misplaced as the appearance of a tail upon an embryo still in its gastrula era. I have noticed this inhibition in my own case many times. Looking back—why didn't I do this or that little thing that would have cost so little and have meant so much? Didn't belong to that era of my own development.
That, at Kattenau, Germany, about half an hour before sunrise, March 22, 1880, "an enormous number of luminous bodies rose from the horizon, and passed in a horizontal direction from east to west." They are described as having appeared in a zone or belt. "They shone with a remarkably brilliant light."
So they've thrown lassos over our data to bring them back to earth. But they're lassos that cannot tighten. We can't pull out of them: we may step out of them, or lift them off. Some of us used to have an impression of Science sitting in calm, just judgment: some of us now feel that a good many of our data have been lynched. If a Crusade, perhaps from Mars to Jupiter, occur in the autumn—"seeds." If a Crusade or outpouring of celestial vandals is seen from this earth in the spring—"ice crystals." If we have record of a race of aerial beings, perhaps with no substantial habitat, seen by someone in India—"locusts."
This will be disregarded:
If locusts fly high, they freeze and fall in thousands.
Locusts that were seen in the mountains of India, at a height of 12,750 feet—"in swarms and dying by thousands."
But no matter whether they fly high or fly low, no one ever wonders what's in the air when locusts are passing overhead, because of the falling of stragglers. I have especially looked this matter up—no mystery when locusts are flying overhead—constant falling of stragglers.
Monthly Notices, 30-135:
"An unusual phenomenon noticed by Lieut. Herschel, Oct. 17 and 18, 1870, while observing the sun, at Bangalore, India."
Lieut. Herschel had noticed dark shadows crossing the sun—but away from the sun there were luminous, moving images. For two days bodies passed in a continuous stream, varying in size and velocity.
The Lieutenant tries to explain, as we shall see, but he says:
"As it was, the continuous flight, for two whole days, in such numbers, in the upper regions of the air, of beasts that left no stragglers, is a wonder of natural history, if not of astronomy."
He tried different focusing—he saw wings—perhaps he saw planes. He says that he saw upon the objects either wings or phantom-like appendages.
Then he saw something that was so bizarre that, in the fullness of his nineteenth-centuriness, he writes:
"There was no longer doubt: they were locusts or flies of some sort."
One of them had paused.
It had hovered.
Then it had whisked off.
The Editor says that at that time "countless locusts had descended upon certain parts of India."
We now have an instance that is extraordinary in several respects—super-voyagers or super-ravagers; angels, ragamuffins, crusaders, emigrants, aeronauts, or aerial elephants, or bison or dinosaurs—except that I think the thing had planes or wings—one of them has been photographed. It may be that in the history of photography no more extraordinary picture than this has ever been taken.
That, at the Observatory of Zacatecas, Mexico, Aug. 12, 1883, about 2,500 meters above sea level, were seen a large number of small luminous bodies, entering upon the disk of the sun. M. Bonilla telegraphed to the Observatories of the City of Mexico and of Puebla. Word came back that the bodies were not visible there. Because of this parallax, M. Bonilla placed the bodies "relatively near the earth." But when we find out what he called "relatively
near the earth"—birds or bugs or hosts of a Super-Tamerlane or army of a celestial Richard Coeur de Lion—our heresies rejoice anyway. His estimate is "less distance than the moon."
One of them was photographed. See L’Astronomie, 1885-349. The photograph shows a long body surrounded by indefinite structures, or by the haze of wings or planes in motion.
Signor Ricco, of the Observatory of Palermo, writes that, Nov. 30, 1880, at 8:30 o'clock in the morning, he was watching the sun, when he saw, slowly traversing its disk, bodies in two long, parallel lines, and a shorter, parallel line. The bodies looked winged to him. But so large were they that he had to think of large birds. He thought of cranes.
He consulted ornithologists, and learned that the configuration of parallel lines agrees with the flight-formation of cranes. This was in 1880: anybody now living in New York City, for instance, would tell him that also it is a familiar formation of aeroplanes. But, because of data of focus and subtended angles, these beings or objects must have been high.
Sig. Ricco argues that condors have been known to fly three or four miles high, and that heights reached by other birds have been estimated at two or three miles. He says that cranes have been known to fly so high that they have been lost to view.
Our own acceptance, in conventional terms, is that there is not a bird of this earth that would not freeze to death at a height of more than four miles: that if condors fly three or four miles high, they are birds that are especially adapted to such altitudes.
Sig. Ricco's estimate is that these objects or beings or cranes must have been at least five and a half miles high.
The vast dark thing that looked like a poised crow of unholy dimensions. Assuming that I shall ever have any readers, let him, or both of them, if I shall ever have such popularity as that, note how dim that bold black datum is at the distance of only two chapters.
Was it a thing or the shadow of a thing?
Acceptance either way calls not for mere revision but revolution in the science of astronomy. But the dimness of the datum of only two chapters ago. The carved stone disk of Tarbes, and the rain that fell every afternoon for twenty—if I haven't forgotten, myself, whether it was twenty-three or twenty-five days!—upon one small area. We are all Thomsons, with brains that have smooth and slippery, though corrugated, surfaces—or that all intellection is associative—or that we remember that which correlates with a dominant—and a few chapters go by, and there's scarcely an impression that hasn't slid off our smooth and slippery brains, of Leverrier and the "planet Vulcan." There are two ways by which irreconcilables can be remembered—if they can be correlated in a system more nearly real than the system that rejects them—and by repetition and repetition and repetition.
Vast black thing like a crow poised over the moon.
The datum is so important to us, because it enforces, in another field, our acceptance that dark bodies of planetary size traverse this solar system.
That the things have been seen:
Also that their shadows have been seen.
Vast black thing poised like a crow over the moon. So far it is a single instance. By a single instance, we mean the negligible.
In Popular Science, 34-158, Serviss tells of a shadow that Schroeter
saw, in 1788, in the lunar Alps. First he saw a light. But then, when this region was illuminated, he saw a round shadow where the light had been.
Our own expression:
That he saw a luminous object near the moon: that that part of the moon became illuminated, and the object was lost to view; but that then its shadow underneath was seen.
Serviss explains, of course. Otherwise, he'd not be Prof. Serviss. It's a little contest in relative approximations to realness. Prof. Serviss thinks that what Schroeter saw was the "round" shadow of a mountain—in the region that had become lighted. He assumes that Schroeter never looked again to see whether the shadow could be attributed to a mountain. That's the crux: conceivably a mountain could cast a round—and that means detached—shadow, in the lighted part of the moon. Prof. Serviss could, of course, explain why he disregards the light in the first place—maybe it had always been there "in the first place." If he couldn't explain, he'd still be an amateur.
We have another datum. I think it is more extraordinary than—
Vast thing, black and poised, like a crow, over the moon.
But only because it's more circumstantial, and because it has corroboration, do I think it more extraordinary than—
Vast poised thing, black as a crow, over the moon.
Mr. H. C. Russell, who was usually as orthodox as anybody, I suppose—at least, he wrote "F.R.A.S." after his name—tells in the Observatory, 2-374, one of the wickedest, or most preposterous, stories that we have so far exhumed:
That he and another astronomer, G. D. Hirst, were in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, N. S. W., and Mr. Hirst was looking at the moon—
He saw on the moon what Russell calls "one of those remarkable facts, which being seen should be recorded, although no explanation can at present be offered."
That may be so. It is very rarely done. Our own expression upon evolution by successive dominants and their correlates is against it. On the other hand, we express that every era records a few observations out of harmony with it, but adumbratory or preparatory to the
spirit of eras still to come. It's very rarely done. Lashed by the phantom-scourge of a now passing era, the world of astronomers is in a state of terrorism, though of a highly attenuated, modernized, devitalized kind. Let an astronomer see something that is not of the conventional, celestial sights, or something that it is "improper" to see—his very dignity is in danger. Some one of the corralled and scourged may stick a smile into his back. He'll be thought of unkindly.
With a hardihood that is unusual in his world of ethereal sensitivenesses, Russell says, of Hirst's observation:
"He found a large part of it covered with a dark shade, quite as dark as the shadow of the earth during an eclipse of the moon." But the climax of hardihood or impropriety or wickedness, preposterousness or enlightenment:
"One could hardly resist the conviction that it was a shadow, yet it could not be the shadow of any known body."
Richard Proctor was a man of some liberality. After a while we shall have a letter, which once upon a time we'd have called delirious—don't know that we could read such a thing now, for the first time, without incredulous laughter—which Mr. Proctor permitted to be published in Knowledge. But a dark, unknown world that could cast a shadow upon a large part of the moon, perhaps extending far beyond the limb of the moon; a shadow as deep as the shadow of this earth—
Too much for Mr. Proctor's politeness.
I haven't read what he said, but it seems to have been a little coarse. Russell says that Proctor "freely used" his name in the Echo, of March 14, 1879, ridiculing this observation which had been made by Russell as well as Hirst. If it hadn't been Proctor, it would have been someone else—but one notes that the attack came out in a newspaper. There is no discussion of this remarkable subject, no mention in any other astronomic journal. The disregard was almost complete—but we do note that the columns of the Observatory were open to Russell to answer Proctor.
In the answer, I note considerable intermediateness. Far back in 1879, it would have been a beautiful positivism, if Russell had said—
"There was a shadow on the moon. Absolutely it was cast by an unknown body."
According to our religion, if he had then given all his time to the maintaining of this one stand, of course breaking all friendships, all ties with his fellow astronomers, his apotheosis would have occurred, greatly assisted by means well known to quasi-existence when its compromises and evasions, and phenomena that are partly this and partly that, are flouted by the definite and uncompromising. It would be impossible in a real existence, but Mr. Russell, of quasi-existence, says that he did resist the conviction; that he had said that one could "hardly resist"; and most of his resentment is against Mr. Proctor's thinking that he had not resisted. It seems too bad—if apotheosis be desirable.
The point in Intermediatism here is:
Not that to adapt to the conditions of quasi-existence is to have what is called success in quasi-existence, but is to lose one's soul—
But is to lose "one's" chance of attaining soul, self, or entity. One indignation quoted from Proctor interests us:
"What happens on the moon may at any time happen to this earth."
That is just the teaching of this department of Advanced Astronomy:
That Russell and Hirst saw the sun eclipsed relatively to the moon by a vast dark body;
That many times have eclipses occurred relatively to this earth, by vast, dark bodies;
That there have been many eclipses that have not been recognized as eclipses by scientific kindergartens.
There is a merger, of course. We'll take a look at it first—that, after all, it may have been a shadow that Hirst and Russell saw, but the only significance is that the sun was eclipsed relatively to the moon by a cosmic haze of some kind, or a swarm of meteors close together, or a gaseous discharge left behind by a comet. My own acceptance is that vagueness of shadow is a function of vagueness of intervention; that a shadow as dense as the shadow of this earth is cast by a body denser than hazes and swarms. The information
seems definite enough in this respect—"quite as dark as the shadow of this earth during the eclipse of the moon."
Though we may not always be as patient toward them as we should be, it is our acceptance that the astronomic primitives have done a great deal of good work: for instance, in the allaying of fears upon this earth. Sometimes it may seem as if all science were to us very much like what a red flag is to bulls and anti-socialists. It's not that: it's more like what unsquare meals are to bulls and antisocialists—not the scientific, but the insufficient. Our acceptance is that Evil is the negative state, by which we mean the state of maladjustment, discord, ugliness, disorganization, inconsistency, injustice, and so on—as determined in Intermediateness, not by real standards, but only by higher approximations to adjustment, harmony, beauty, organization, consistency, justice, and so on. Evil is outlived virtue, or incipient virtue that has not yet established itself, or any other phenomenon that is not in seeming adjustment, harmony, consistency with a dominant. The astronomers have functioned bravely in the past. They've been good for business: the big interests think kindly, if at all, of them. It's bad for trade to have an intense darkness come upon an unaware community and frighten people out of their purchasing values. But if an obscuration be foretold, and if it then occur—may seem a little uncanny—only a shadow—and no one who was about to buy a pair of shoes runs home panic-stricken and saves the money.
Upon general principles we accept that astronomers have quasi-systematized data of eclipses—or have included some and disregarded others.
They have done well.
They have functioned.
But now they're negatives, or they're out of harmony—
If we are in harmony with a new dominant, or the spirit of a new era, in which Exclusionism must be overthrown; if we have data of many obscurations that have occurred, not only upon the moon, but upon our own earth, as convincing of vast intervening bodies, usually invisible, as is any regularized, predicted eclipse.
One looks up at the sky.
It seems incredible that, say, at the distance of the moon, there
could be, but be invisible, a solid body, say, the size of the moon. One looks up at the moon, at a time when only a crescent of it is visible. The tendency is to build up the rest of it in one's mind; but the unillumined part looks as vacant as the rest of the sky, and it's of the same blueness as the rest of the sky. There's a vast area of solid substance before one's eyes. It's indistinguishable from the sky.
In some of our little lessons upon the beauties of modesty and humility, we have picked out basic arrogances—tail of a peacock, horns of a stag, dollars of a capitalist—eclipses of astronomers. Though I have no desire for the job, I'd engage to list hundreds of instances in which the report upon an expected eclipse has been "sky overcast" or "weather unfavorable." In our Super-Hibernia, the unfavorable has been construed as the favorable. Some time ago, when we were lost, because we had not recognized our own dominant, when we were still of the unchosen and likely to be more malicious than we now are—because we have noted a steady tolerance creeping into our attitude—if astronomers are not to blame, but are only correlates to a dominant—we advertised a predicted eclipse that did not occur at all. Now, without any especial feeling, except that of recognition of the fate of all attempted absolutism, we give the instance, noting that, though such an evil thing to orthodoxy, it was orthodoxy that recorded the non-event.
Monthly Notices of the R.A.S., 8-132:
"Remarkable appearances during the total eclipse of the moon on March 19, 1848":
In an extract from a letter from Mr. Forster, of Bruges, it is said that, according to the writer's observations at the time of the predicted total eclipse, the moon shone with about three times the intensity of the mean illumination of an eclipsed lunar disk: that the British Consul, at Ghent, who did not know of the predicted eclipse, had written enquiring as to the "blood-red" color of the moon.
This is not very satisfactory to what used to be our malices. But there follows another letter, from another astronomer, Walkey, who had made observations at Clyst St. Lawrence: that, instead of an eclipse, the moon became—as is printed in italics—"most beautifully
illuminated" … "rather tinged with a deep red" … "the moon being as perfect with light as if there had been no eclipse whatever." I note that Chambers, in his work upon eclipses, gives Forster's letter in full—and not a mention of Walkey's letter.
There is no attempt in Monthly Notices to explain upon the notion of greater distance of the moon, and the earth's shadow falling short, which would make as much trouble for astronomers, if that were not foreseen, as no eclipse at all. Also there is no refuge in saying that virtually never, even in total eclipses, is the moon totally dark—"as perfect with light as if there had been no eclipse whatever." It is said that at the time there had been an aurora borealis, which might have caused the luminosity, without a datum that such an effect, by an aurora, had ever been observed upon the moon.
But single instances—so an observation by Scott, in the Antarctic. The force of this datum lies in my own acceptance, based upon especially looking up this point, that an eclipse nine-tenths of totality has great effect, even though the sky be clouded.
Scott (Voyage of the Discovery, vol. 11, p. 215):
"There may have been an eclipse of the sun, Sept. 21, 1903, as the almanac said, but we should, none of us, have liked to swear to the fact."
This eclipse had been set down at nine-tenths of totality. The sky was overcast at the time.
So it is not only that many eclipses unrecognized by astronomers as eclipses have occurred, but that intermediatism, or impositivism, breaks into their own seemingly regularized eclipses.
Our data of unregularized eclipses, as profound as those that are conventionally—or officially?—recognized, that have occurred relatively to this earth:
In Notes and Queries there are several allusions to intense darknesses that have occurred upon this earth, quite as eclipses occur, but that are not referable to any known eclipsing body. Of course there is no suggestion here that these darknesses may have been eclipses. My own acceptance is that if in the nineteenth century anyone had uttered such a thought as that, he'd have felt the blight of a Dominant; that Materialistic Science was a jealous god, excluding, as works of the devil, all utterances against the seemingly uniform,
regular, periodic; that to defy him would have brought on—withering by ridicule—shrinking away by publishers—contempt of friends and family—justifiable grounds for divorce—that one who would so defy would feel what unbelievers in relics of saints felt in an earlier age; what befell virgins who forgot to keep fires burning, in a still earlier age—but that, if he'd almost absolutely hold out, just the same—new fixed star reported in Monthly Notices. Altogether, the point in Positivism here is that by Dominants and their correlates, quasi-existence strives for the positive state, aggregating, around a nucleus, or dominant, systematized members of a religion, a science, a society—but that "individuals" who do not surrender and submerge may of themselves highly approximate to positiveness—the fixed, the real, the absolute.
In Notes and Queries, 2-4-139, there is an account of a darkness in Holland, in the midst of a bright day, so intense and terrifying that many panic-stricken persons lost their lives stumbling into the canals.
Gentleman's Magazine, 33-414:
A darkness that came upon London, Aug. 19, 1763, "greater than at the great eclipse of 1748."
However, our preference is not to go so far back for data. For a list of historic "dark days," see Humboldt, Cosmos, 1-120.
Monthly Weather Review, March, 1886-79:
That, according to the La Crosse Daily Republican, of March 20, 1886, darkness suddenly settled upon the city of Oshkosh, Wis., at 3 P.M., March 19. In five minutes the darkness equaled that of midnight.
I think that some of us are likely to overdo our own superiority and the absurd fears of the Middle Ages—
People in the streets rushing in all directions—horses running away—women and children running into cellars—little modern touch after all: gas meters instead of images and relics of saints.
This darkness, which lasted from eight to ten minutes, occurred in a day that had been "light but cloudy." It passed from west to east, and brightness followed: then came reports from towns to the
west of Oshkosh: that the same phenomenon had already occurred there. A "wave of total darkness" had passed from west to east.
Other instances are recorded in the Monthly Weather Review, but, as to all of them, we have a sense of being pretty well-eclipsed, ourselves, by the conventional explanation that the obscuring body was only a very dense mass of clouds. But some of the instances are interesting—intense darkness at Memphis, Tenn., for about fifteen minutes, at to A.M., Dec. 2, 1904—"We are told that in some quarters a panic prevailed, and that some were shouting and praying and imagining that the end of the world had come." (M.W.R., 32-522.) At Louisville, Ky., March 7, 1911, at about 8 A.M.: duration about half an hour; had been raining moderately, and then hail had fallen. "The intense blackness and general ominous appearance of the storm spread terror throughout the city." (M.W.R., 39-345.)
However, this merger between possible eclipses by unknown dark bodies and commonplace terrestrial phenomena is formidable.
As to darknesses that have fallen upon vast areas, conventionality is—smoke from forest fires. In the U.S. Forest Service Bulletin, No. 117, F. G. Plummer gives a list of eighteen darknesses that have occurred in the United States and Canada. He is one of the primitives, but I should say that his dogmatism is shaken by vibrations from the new Dominant. His difficulty, which he acknowledges, but which he would have disregarded had he written a decade or so earlier, is the profundity of some of these obscurations. He says that mere smokiness cannot account for such "awe-inspiring dark days." So he conceives of eddies in the air, concentrating the smoke from forest fires. Then, in the inconsistency or discord of all quasi-intellection that is striving for consistency or harmony, he tells of the vastness of some of these darknesses. Of course Mr. Plummer did not really think upon this subject, but one does feel that he might have approximated higher to real thinking than by speaking of concentration and then listing data of enormous area, or the opposite of circumstances of concentration—because, of his nineteen instances, nine are set down as covering all New England. In quasi-existence, everything generates or is part of its own opposite. Every attempt at peace prepares the way for war; all attempts
at justice result in injustice in some other respect: so Mr. Plummer's attempt to bring order into his data, with the explanation of darkness caused by smoke from forest fires, results in such confusion that he ends up by saying that these daytime darknesses have occurred "often with little or no turbidity of the air near the earth's surf ace"—or with no evidence at all of smoke—except that there is almost always a forest fire somewhere.
However, of the eighteen instances, the only one that I'd bother to contest is the profound darkness in Canada and northern parts of the United States, Nov. 19, 1819—which we have already considered.
Lights in the sky;
Fall of a black substance;
Shocks like those of an earthquake.
In this instance, the only available forest fire was one to the south of the Ohio River. For all I know, soot from a very great fire south of the Ohio might fall in Montreal, Canada, and conceivably, by some freak of reflection, light from it might be seen in Montreal, but the earthquake is not assimilable with a forest fire. On the other hand, it will soon be our expression that profound darkness, fall of matter from the sky, lights in the sky, and earthquakes are phenomena of the near approach of other worlds to this world. It is such comprehensiveness, as contrasted with inclusion of a few factors and disregard for the rest, that we call higher approximation to realness—or universalness.
A darkness, of April 17, 1904, at Wimbledon, England (Symons’ Met. Mag., 39-69). It came from a smokeless region: no rain, no thunder; lasted to minutes; too dark to go "even out in the open."
As to darknesses in Great Britain, one thinks of fogs—but in Nature, 25-289, there are some observations by Major J. Herschel, upon an obscuration in London, Jan. 22, 1882, at 10:30 A.M., so great that he could hear persons upon the opposite side of the street, but could not see them—"It was obvious that there was no fog to speak of."
Annual Register, 1857-132:
An account by Charles A. Murray, British Envoy to Persia, of a
darkness of May 20, 1857, that came upon Bagdad—"a darkness more intense than ordinary midnight, when neither stars nor moon are visible.…" "After a short time the black darkness was succeeded by a red, lurid gloom, such as I never saw in any part of the world."
"Panic seized the whole city."
"A dense volume of red sand fell."
This matter of sand falling seems to suggest conventional explanation enough, or that a simoon, heavily charged with terrestrial sand, had obscured the sun, but Mr. Murray, who says that he had had experience with simoons, gives his opinion that "it cannot have been a simoon."
It is our comprehensiveness now, or this matter of concomitants of darknesses that we are going to capitalize. It is all very complicated and tremendous, and our own treatment can be but impressionistic, but a few of the rudiments of Advanced Seismology we shall now take up—or the four principal phenomena of another world's close approach to this world.
If a large substantial mass, or super-construction, should enter this earth's atmosphere, it is our acceptance that it would sometimes—depending upon velocity—appear luminous or look like a cloud, or like a cloud with a luminous nucleus. Later we shall have an expression upon luminosity—different from the luminosity of incandescence—that comes upon objects falling from the sky, or entering this earth's atmosphere. Now our expression is that worlds have often come close to this earth, and that smaller objects—size of a haystack or size of several dozen skyscrapers lumped, have often hurtled through this earth's atmosphere, and have been mistaken for clouds, because they were enveloped in clouds
Or that around something coming from the intense cold of interplanetary space—that is of some regions: our own suspicion is that other regions are tropical—the moisture of this earth's atmosphere would condense into a cloud-like appearance around it. In Nature, 20-121, there is an account by Mr. S. W. Clifton, Collector of Customs, at Freemantle, Western Australia, sent to the Melbourne Observatory—a clear day—appearance of a small black cloud, moving
not very swiftly—bursting into a ball of fire, of the apparent size of the moon
Or that something with the velocity of an ordinary meteorite could not collect vapor around it, but that slower-moving objects—speed of a railway train, say—may.
The clouds of tornadoes have so often been described as if they were solid objects that I now accept that sometimes they are: that some so-called tornadoes are objects hurtling through this earth's atmosphere, not only generating disturbances by their suctions, but crushing, with their bulk, all things in their way, rising and falling and finally disappearing, demonstrating that gravitation is not the power that the primitives think it is, if an object moving at relatively low velocity be not pulled to this earth, or being so momentarily affected, bounds away.
In Finley's Reports on the Character of 600 Tornadoes very suggestive bits of description occur:
"Cloud bounded along the earth like a ball"—
Or that it was no meteorological phenomenon, but something very much like a huge solid ball that was bounding along, crushing and carrying with it everything within its field
"Cloud bounded along, coming to the earth every eight hundred or one thousand yards."
Here's an interesting bit that I got somewhere else. I offer it as a datum in super-biology, which, however, is a branch of advanced science that I'll not take up, restricting to things indefinitely called "objects"—
"The tornado came wriggling, jumping, whirling like a great green snake, darting out a score of glistening fangs."
Though it's interesting, I think that's sensational, myself. It may be that vast green snakes sometimes rush past this earth, taking a swift bite wherever they can, but, as I say, that's a super-biologic phenomenon. Finley gives dozens of instances of tornado clouds that seem to me more like solid things swathed in clouds, than clouds. He notes that, in the tornado at Americus, Georgia, July 18, 1881, "a strange sulphurous vapor was emitted from the cloud." In many instances, objects, or meteoritic stones, that have come from this earth's externality, have had a sulphurous odor. Why a wind effect
should be sulphurous is not clear. That a vast object from external regions should be sulphurous is in line with many data. This phenomenon is described in the Monthly Weather Review, July, 1881, as "a strange sulphurous vapor … burning and sickening all who approached close enough to breathe it."
The conventional explanation of tornadoes as wind-effects—which we do not deny in some instances—is so strong in the United States that it is better to look elsewhere for an account of an object that has hurtled through this earth's atmosphere, rising and falling and defying this earth's gravitation.
That, according to a correspondent to the Birmingham Morning News, the people living near King's Sutton, Banbury, saw, about one o'clock, Dec. 7, 1872, something like a haycock hurtling through the air. Like a meteor it was accompanied by fire and a dense smoke and made a noise like that of a railway train. "It was sometimes high in the air and sometimes near the ground." The effect was tornado-like: trees and walls were knocked down. It's a late day now to try to verify this story, but a list is given of persons whose property was injured. We are told that this thing then disappeared "all at once." These are the smaller objects, which may be derailed railway trains or big green snakes, for all I know—but our expression upon approach to this earth by vast dark bodies—
That likely they'd be made luminous: would envelop in clouds, perhaps, or would have their own clouds—
But that they'd quake, and that they'd affect this earth with quakes—
And that then would occur a fall of matter from such a world, or rise of matter from this earth to a nearby world, or both fall and rise, or exchange of matter—process known to Advanced Seismology as celestio-metathesis—
Except that—if matter from some other world—and it would be like someone to get it into his head that we absolutely deny gravitation, just because we cannot accept orthodox dogmas—except that, if matter from another world, filling the sky of this earth, generally, as to a hemisphere, or locally, should be attracted to this earth, it
would seem thinkable that the whole thing should drop here, and not merely its surface-materials.
Objects upon a ship's bottom. From time to time they drop to the bottom of the ocean. The ship does not.
Or, like our acceptance upon dripping from aerial ice-fields, we think of only a part of a nearby world succumbing, except in being caught in suspension, to this earth's gravitation, and surface-materials falling from that part
Explain or express or accept, and what does it matter? Our attitude is:
Here are the data.
See for yourself.
What does it matter what my notions may be?
Here are the data.
But think for yourself, or think for myself, all mixed up we must be. A long time must go by before we can know Florida from Long Island. So we've had data of fishes that have fallen from our now established and respectabilized Super-Sargasso Sea—which we've almost forgotten, it's now so respectable—but we shall have data of fishes that have fallen during earthquakes. These we accept were dragged down from ponds or other worlds that have been quaked, when only a few miles away, by this earth, some other world also quaking this earth.
In a way, or in its principle, our subject is orthodox enough. Only grant proximity of other worlds—which, however, will not be a matter of granting, but will be a matter of data—and one conventionally conceives of their surfaces quaked—even of a whole lake full of fishes being quaked and dragged down from one of them. The lake full of fishes may cause a little pain to some minds, but the fall of sand and stones is pleasantly enough thought of. More scientific persons, or more faithful hypnotics than we, have taken up this subject, unpainfully, relatively to the moon. For instance, Perrey has gone over 15,000 records of earthquakes, and he has correlated many with proximities of the moon, or has attributed many to the pull of the moon when nearest this earth. Also there is a paper upon this subject in the Proc. Roy. Soc. of Cornwall, 1845. Or, theoretically, when at its closest to this earth, the moon quakes the
face of this earth, and is itself quaked—but does not itself fall to this earth. As to showers of matter that may have come from the moon at such times—one can go over old records and find what one pleases.
That is what we now shall do.
Our expressions are for acceptance only.
We take them from four classes of phenomena that have preceded or accompanied earthquakes: Unusual clouds, darkness profound, luminous appearances in the sky, and falls of substances and objects whether commonly called meteoritic or not. Not one of these occurrences fits in with principles of primitive, or primary, seismology, and every one of them is a datum of a quaked body passing close to this earth or suspended over it. To the primitives there is not a reason in the world why a convulsion of this earth's surface should be accompanied by unusual sights in the sky, by darkness, or by the fall of substances or objects from the sky. As to phenomena like these, or storms, preceding earthquakes, the irreconcilability is still greater.
It was before 1860 that Perrey made his great compilation. We take most of our data from lists compiled long ago. Only the safe and unpainful have been published in recent years—at least in ambitious, voluminous form. The restraining hand of the "System"—as we call it, whether it has any real existence or not—is tight upon the sciences of today. The uncanniest aspect of our quasi-existence that I know of is that everything that seems to have one identity has also as high a seeming of everything else. In this oneness of allness, or continuity, the protecting hand strangles; the parental stifles; love is inseparable from phenomena of hate. There is only Continuity—that is in quasi-existence. Nature, at least in its correspondents’ columns, still evades this protective strangulation, and the Monthly Weather Review is still a rich field of unfaithful observation: but, in looking over other long-established periodicals, I have noted their glimmers of quasi-individuality fade gradually, after about 1860, and the surrender of their attempted identities to a higher attempted organization. Some of them, expressing Intermediateness-wide
endeavor to localize the universal, or to localize self, soul, identity, entity—or positiveness or realness—held out until as far as 1880; traces findable up to 1890—and then, expressing the universal process—except that here and there in the world's history there may have been successful approximations to positiveness by "individuals"—who only then became individuals and attained to selves or souls of their own—surrendered, submitted, became parts of a higher organization's attempt to individualize or systematize into a complete thing, or to localize the universal or the attributes of the universal. After the death of Richard Proctor, whose occasional illiberalities I'd not like to emphasize too much, all succeeding volumes of Knowledge have yielded scarcely an unconventionality. Note the great number of times that the American Journal of Science and the Report of the British Association are quoted: note that, after, say, 1885, they're scarcely mentioned in these inspired but illicit pages—as by hypnosis and inertia, we keep on saying.
Throttle and disregard.
But the coercion could not be positive, and many of the excommunicated continued to creep in; or, even to this day, some of the strangled are faintly breathing.
Some of our data have been hard to find. We could tell stories of great labor and fruitless quests that would, though perhaps imperceptibly, stir the sympathy of a Mr. Symons. But, in this matter of concurrence of earthquakes with aerial phenomena, which are as un-associable with earthquakes, if internally caused, as falls of sand on convulsed small boys full of sour apples, the abundance of so-called evidence is so great that we can only sketchily go over the data, beginning with Robert Mallet's Catalogue (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1852), omitting some extraordinary instances, because they occurred before the eighteenth century:
Earthquake "preceded" by a violent tempest, England, Jan. 8, 1704—"preceded" by a brilliant meteor, Switzerland, Nov. 4, 1704—"luminous cloud, moving at high velocity, disappearing behind the horizon," Florence, Dec. 9, 1731—"thick mists in the air, through which a dim light was seen: several weeks before the shock, globes of light had been seen in the air," Swabia, May 22, 1732—rain of
earth, Carpentras, France, Oct. 18, 1737—a black cloud, London, March 19, 1750—violent storm and a strange star of octagonal shape, Slavange, Norway, April 15, 1752—balls of fire from a streak in the sky, Augermannland, 1752—numerous meteorites, Lisbon, Oct. 15, 1755—"terrible tempests" over and over—"falls of hail" and "brilliant meteors," instance after instance—"an immense globe," Switzerland, Nov. 2, 1761—oblong, sulphurous cloud, Germany, April, 1767—extraordinary mass of vapor, Boulogne, April, 1780—heavens obscured by a dark mist, Grenada, Aug. 7, 1804—"strange, howling noises in the air, and large spots obscuring the sun," Palermo, Italy, April 16, 1817—"luminous meteor moving in the same direction as the shock," Naples, Nov. 22, 1821—fire ball appearing in the sky: apparent size of the moon, Thuringerwald, Nov. 29, 1831.
And, unless you be polarized by the New Dominant, which is calling for recognition of multiplicities of external things, as a Dominant, dawning new over Europe in 1492, called for recognition of terrestrial externality to Europe—unless you have this contact with the new, you have no affinity for these data—beans that drop from a magnet—irreconcilables that glide from the mind of a Thomson—
Or my own acceptance that we do not really think at all; that we correlate around super-magnets that I call Dominants—a Spiritual Dominant in one age, and responsively to it up spring monasteries, and the stake and the cross are its symbols: a Materialist Dominant, and up spring laboratories, and microscopes and telescopes and crucibles are its ikons—that we're nothing but iron filings relatively to a succession of magnets that displace preceding magnets.
With no soul of your own, and with no soul of my own—except that some day some of us may no longer be Intermediatisms, but may hold out against the cosmos that once upon a time thousands of fishes were cast from one pail of water—we have psycho-valency for these data, if we're obedient slaves to the New Dominant, and repulsion to them, if we're mere correlates to the Old Dominant. I'm a soulless and selfless correlate to the New Dominant, myself: I see what I have to see. The only inducement I can hold out, in my attempt to rake up disciples, is that some day the New will be fashionable: the new correlates will sneer at the old correlates. After
all, there is some inducement to that—and I'm not altogether sure it's desirable to end up as a fixed star.
As a correlate to the New Dominant, I am very much impressed with some of these data—the luminous object that moved in the same direction as an earthquake—it seems very acceptable that a quake followed this thing as it passed near this earth's surface. The streak that was seen in the sky—or only a streak that was visible of another world—and objects, or meteorites, that were shaken down from it. The quake at Carpentras, France: and that, above Carpentras, was a smaller world, more violently quaked, so that earth was shaken down from it.
But I like best the super-wolves that were seen to cross the sun during the earthquake at Palermo.
Or the loves of the worlds. The call they feel for one another. They try to move closer and howl when they get there.
The howls of the planets.
I have discovered a new unintelligibility.
In the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal—have to go away back to 1841—days of less efficient strangulation—Sir David Milne lists phenomena of quakes in Great Britain. I pick out a few that indicate to me that other worlds were near this earth's surface:
Violent storm before a shock of 1703—ball of fire "preceding," 1750—a large ball of fire seen upon day following a quake, 1755—"uncommon phenomenon in the air: a large luminous body, bent like a crescent, which stretched itself over the heavens, 1816—vast ball of fire, 1750—black rains and black snows, 1755—numerous instances of upward projection—or upward attraction?—during quakes—"preceded by a cloud, very black and lowering," 1795—fall of black. powder, preceding a quake, by six hours, 1837.
Some of these instances seem to me to be very striking—a smaller world: it is greatly racked by the attraction of this earth—black substance is torn down from it—not until six hours later, after an approach still closer, does this earth suffer perturbation. As to the extraordinary spectacle of a thing, world, super-construction, that was seen in the sky, in 1816, I have not yet been able to find out more. I think that here our acceptance is relatively sound: that this
occurrence was tremendously of more importance than such occurrence as, say, transits of Venus, upon which hundreds of papers have been written—that not another mention have I found, though I have not looked so especially as I shall look for more data—that all but undetailed record of this occurrence was suppressed.
Altogether we have considerable agreement here between data of vast masses that do not fall to this earth, but from which substances fall, and data of fields of ice from which ice may not fall, but from which water may drip. I'm beginning to modify: that, at a distance from this earth, gravitation has more effect than we have supposed, though less effect than the dogmatists suppose and "prove." I'm coming out stronger for the acceptance of a Neutral Zone—that this earth, like other magnets, has a neutral zone, in which is the Super-Sargasso Sea, and in which other worlds may be buoyed up, though projecting parts may be subject to this earth's attraction
But my preference:
Here are the data.
I now have one of the most interesting of the new correlates. I think I should have brought it in before, but, whether out of place here, because not accompanied by earthquake, or not, we'll have it. I offer it as an instance of an eclipse, by a vast, dark body, that has been seen and reported by an astronomer. The astronomer is M. Lias: the phenomenon was seen by him, at Pernambuco, April 11, 1860.
Comptes Rendus, 50-1197:
It was about noon—sky cloudless—suddenly the light of the sun was diminished. The darkness increased, and, to illustrate its intensity, we are told that the planet Venus shone brilliant. But Venus was of low visibility at this time. The observation that burns incense to the New Dominant is:
That around the sun appeared a corona.
There are many other instances that indicate proximity of other world's during earthquakes. I note a few—quake and an object in the sky, called "a large, luminous meteor" (Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 5-132); luminous body in the sky, earthquake, and fall of sand, Italy, Feb. 12 and 13, 1870 (La Science Pour Tous, 15-159); many reports upon luminous object in the sky and earthquake, Connecticut,
[paragraph continues] Feb. 27, 1883 (Monthly Weather Review, February, 1883); luminous object, or meteor, in the sky, fall of stones from the sky, and earthquake, Italy, Jan. 20, 1891 (L’Astronomie, 1891-154); earthquake and prodigious number of luminous bodies, or globes, in the air, Boulogne, France, June 7, 1779 (Sestier, "La Foudre," 1-169); earthquake at Manila, 1863, and "curious luminous appearance in the sky" (Ponton, Earthquakes, p. 124).
The most notable appearance of fishes during an earthquake is that of Riobamba. Humboldt sketched one of them, and it's an uncanny-looking thing. Thousands of them appeared upon the ground during this tremendous earthquake. Humboldt says that they were cast up from subterranean sources. I think not myself, and have data for thinking not, but there'd be such a row arguing back and forth that it's simpler to consider a clearer instance of the fall of living fishes from the sky, during an earthquake. I can't quite accept, myself, whether a large lake, and all the fishes in it, was torn down from some other world, or a lake in the Super-Sargasso Sea, distracted between two pulling worlds, was dragged down to this earth
Here are the data:
La Science Pour Tous, 6-191:
Feb. 16, 1861. An earthquake at Singapore. Then came an extraordinary downpour of rain—or as much water as any good-sized lake would consist of. For three days this rain or this fall of water came down in torrents. In pools on the ground, formed by this deluge, great numbers of fishes were found. The writer says that he had, himself, seen nothing but water fall from the sky. Whether I'm emphasizing what a deluge it was or not, he says that so terrific had been the downpour that he had not been able to see three steps away from him. The natives said that the fishes had fallen from the sky. Three days later the pools dried up and many dead fishes were found, but, in the first place—though that's an expression for which we have an instinctive dislike—the fishes had been active and uninjured. Then follows material for another of our little studies in the phenomena of disregard. A psycho-tropism here is mechanically to take pen in hand and mechanically write that fishes found on the ground after a heavy rainfall came from overflowing streams.
[paragraph continues] The writer of the account says that some of the fishes had been found in his courtyard, which was surrounded by high walls—paying no attention to this, a correspondent (La Science Pour Tous, 6-317) explains that in the heavy rain a body of water had probably overflowed, carrying fishes with it. We are told by the first writer that these fishes of Singapore were of a species that was very abundant near Singapore. So I think, myself, that a whole lakeful of them had been shaken down from the Super-Sargasso Sea, under the circumstances we have thought of. However, if appearance of strange fishes after an earthquake be more pleasing in the sight, or to the nostrils, of the New Dominant, we faithfully and piously supply that incense—An account of the occurrence at Singapore was read by M. de Castelnau, before the French Academy. M. de Castelnau recalled that, upon a former occasion, he had submitted to the Academy the circumstance that fishes of a new species had appeared at the Cape of Good Hope, after an earthquake.
It seems proper, and it will give luster to the new orthodoxy, now to have an instance in which, not merely quake and fall of rocks.. or meteorites, or quake and either eclipse or luminous appearances in the sky have occurred, but in which are combined all the phenomena, one or more of which, when accompanying earthquake, indicate, in our acceptance, the proximity of another world. This time a longer duration is indicated than in other instances.
In the Canadian Institute Proceedings, 2-7-198, there is an account, by the Deputy Commissioner at Dhurmsalla, of the extraordinary Dhurmsalla meteorite—coated with ice. But the combination of events related by him is still more extraordinary:
That within a few months of the fall of this meteorite there had been a fall of live fishes at Benares, a shower of red substance at Furruckabad, a dark spot observed on the disk of the sun, an earthquake, "an unnatural darkness of some duration," and a luminous appearance in the sky that looked like an aurora borealis—
But there's more to this climax:
We are introduced to a new order of phenomena:
The Deputy Commissioner writes that, in the evening, after the fall of the Dhurmsalla meteorite, or mass of stone covered with ice,
he saw lights. Some of them were not very high. They appeared and went out and reappeared. I have read many accounts of the Dhurmsalla meteorite—July 28, 1860—but never in any other of them a mention of this new correlate—something as out of place in the nineteenth century as would have been an aeroplane—the invention of which would not, in our acceptance, have been permitted, in the nineteenth century, though adumbrations to it were permitted. This writer says that the lights moved like fire balloons, but:
"I am sure that they were neither fire balloons, lanterns, nor bonfires, or any other thing of that sort, but bona fide lights in the heavens."
It's a subject for which we shall have to have a separate expression—trespassers upon territory to which something else has a legal right—perhaps someone lost a rock, and he and his friends came down looking for it, in the evening—or secret agents, or emissaries, who had an appointment with certain esoteric ones near Dhurmsalla—things or beings coming down to explore, and unable to stay down long
In a way, another strange occurrence during an earthquake is suggested. The ancient Chinese tradition—the marks like hoof marks in the ground. We have thought—with a low degree of acceptance—of another world that may be in secret communication with certain esoteric ones of this earth's inhabitants—and of messages in symbols like hoof marks that are sent to some receptor, or special hill, upon this earth—and of messages that at times miscarry.
This other world comes close to this world—there are quakes—but advantage of proximity is taken to send a message—the message, designed for a receptor in India, perhaps, or in Central Europe, miscarries all the way to England—marks like the marks of the Chinese tradition are found upon a beach, in Cornwall, after an earthquake—
Phil. Trans., 50-500:
After the quake of July 15, 1757, upon the sands of Penzance, Cornwall, in an area of more than 100 square yards, were found marks like hoof prints, except that they were not crescentic. We feel a similarity, but note an arbitrary disregard of our own, this
time. It seems to us that marks described as "little cones surrounded by basins of equal diameter" would be like hoof prints, if hoofs printed complete circles. Other disregards are that there were black specks on the tops of cones, as if something, perhaps gaseous, had issued from them; that from one of these formations came a gush of water as thick as a man's wrist. Of course the opening of springs is common in earthquakes—but we suspect, myself, that the Negative Absolute is compelling us to put in this datum and its disorders.
There's another matter in which the Negative Absolute seems to work against us. Though to super-chemistry, we have introduced the principle of celestio-metathesis, we have no good data of exchange of substances during proximities. The data are all of falls and not of upward translations. Of course upward impulses are common during earthquakes, but I haven't a datum upon a tree or a fish or a brick or a man that ever did go up and stay up and that never did come down again. Our classic of the horse and barn occurred in what was called a whirlwind.
It is said that., in an earthquake in Calabria, paving stones shot up far in the air.
The writer doesn't specifically say that they came down again, but something seems to tell me they did.
The corpses of Riobamba.
Humboldt reported that, in the quake of Riobamba, "bodies were torn upward from graves"; that "the vertical motion was so strong that bodies were tossed several hundred feet in the air."
I explain that, if in the center of greatest violence of an earthquake, anything ever has gone up, and has kept on going up, the thoughts of the nearest observers were very likely upon other subjects.
The quay of Lisbon.
We are told that it went down.
A vast throng of persons ran to the quay for refuge. The city of Lisbon was in profound darkness. The quay and all the people on it disappeared. If it and they went down—not a single corpse,
not a shred of clothing, not a plank of the quay, nor so much as a splinter of it ever floated to the surface.
The New Dominant.
I mean "primarily" all that opposes Exclusionism—
That Development or Progress or Evolution is Attempt to Positivize, and is a mechanism by which a positive existence is recruited—that what we call existence is a womb of infinitude, and is itself only incubatory—that eventually all attempts are broken down by the falsely excluded. Subjectively, the breaking down is aided by our own sense of false and narrow limitations. So the classic and academic artists wrought positivist paintings, and expressed the only ideal that I am conscious of, though we so often hear of "ideals" instead of different manifestations, artistically, scientifically, theologically, politically, of the One Ideal. They sought to satisfy, in its artistic aspect, cosmic craving for unity or completeness, sometimes called harmony, called beauty in some aspects. By disregard they sought completeness. But the light-effects that they disregarded, and their narrow confinement to standardized subjects brought on the revolt of the Impressionists. So the Puritans tried to systematize, and they disregarded physical needs, or vices, or relaxations: they were invaded and overthrown when their narrowness became obvious and intolerable. All things strive for positiveness, for themselves, or for quasi-systems of which they are parts. Formality and the mathematic, the regular and the uniform are aspects of the positive state—but the Positive is the Universal—so all attempted positiveness that seems to satisfy in the aspects of formality and regularity, sooner or later disqualifies in the aspect of wideness or universalness. So there is revolt against the science of today, because the formulated utterances that were regarded as final truths in a past generation, are now seen to be insufficiencies. Every pronouncement that has opposed our own acceptances has been
found to be a composition like any academic painting: something that is arbitrarily cut off from relations with environment, or framed off from interfering and disturbing data, or outlined with disregards. Our own attempt has been to take in the included, but also to take in the excluded into wider expressions. We accept, however, that for every one of our expressions there are irreconcilables somewhere—that final utterance would include all things. However, of such is the gossip of angels. The final is unutterable in quasi-existence, where to think is to include but also to exclude, or be not final. If we admit that for every opinion we have expressed, there must somewhere be an irreconcilable, we are Intermediatists and not positivists; not even higher positivists. Of course it may be that some day we shall systematize and dogmatize and refuse to think of anything that we may be accused of disregarding, and believe instead of merely accepting: then, if we could have a wider system, which would acknowledge no irreconcilables we'd be higher positivists. So long as we only accept, we are not higher positivists, but our feeling is that the New Dominant, even though we have thought of it only as another enslavement, will be the nucleus for higher positivism—and that it will be the means of elevating into infinitude a new batch of fixed stars—until, as a recruiting instrument, it, too, will play out, and will give way to some new medium for generating absoluteness. It is our acceptance that all astronomers of today have lost their souls, or, rather, all chance of attaining Entity, but that Copernicus and Kepler and Galileo and Newton, and, conceivably, Leverrier are now fixed stars. Some day I shall attempt to identify them. In all this, I think we're quite a Moses. We point out the Promised Land, but, unless we be cured of our Intermediatism, will never be reported in Monthly Notices, ourself.
In our acceptance, Dominants, in their succession, displace preceding Dominants not only because they are more nearly positive, but because the old Dominants, as recruiting mediums, play out. Our expression is that the New Dominant, of Wider Inclusions, is now manifesting throughout the world, and that the old Exclusion-ism is everywhere breaking down. In physics Exclusionism is breaking down by its own researches in radium, for instance, and in its
speculations upon electrons, or its merging away into metaphysics, and by the desertion that has been going on for many years, by such men as Gurney, Crookes, Wallace, Flammarion, Lodge, to formerly disregarded phenomena—no longer called "spiritualism" but now "psychic research." Biology is in chaos: conventional Darwinites mixed up with mutationists and orthogenesists and followers of Wisemann, who take from Darwinism one of its pseudo-bases, and nevertheless try to reconcile their heresies with orthodoxy. The painters are metaphysicians and psychologists. The breaking down of Exclusionism in China and Japan and in the United States has astonished History. The science of astronomy is going downward so that, though Pickering, for instance, did speculate upon a Trans-Neptunian planet, and Lowell did try to have accepted heretical ideas as to marks on Mars, attention is now minutely focused upon such technicalities as variations in shades of Jupiter's fourth satellite. I think that, in general acceptance, over-refinement indicates decadence.
I think that the stronghold of Inclusionism is in aeronautics. I think that the stronghold of the Old Dominant, when it was new, was in the invention of the telescope. Or that coincidentally with the breakdown of Exclusionism appears the means of finding out—whether there are vast aerial fields of ice and floating lakes full of frogs and fishes or not—where carved stones and black substances and great quantities of vegetable matter and flesh, which may be dragons' flesh, come from—whether there are inter-planetary trade routes and vast areas devastated by Super-Tamerlanes—whether sometimes there are visitors to this earth—who might be pursued and captured and questioned.
I have industriously sought data for an expression upon birds, but the prospecting has not been very quasi-satisfactory. I think I rather emphasize our industriousness, because a charge likely to be brought against the attitude of Acceptance is that one who only accepts must be one of languid interest and little application of energy. It doesn't seem to work out: we are very industrious. I suggest to some of our disciples that they look into the matter of messages upon pigeons, of course attributed to earthly owners, but said to be undecipherable. I'd do it, ourselves, only that would be selfish. That's more of the Intermediatism that will keep us out of the firmament: Positivism is absolute egoism. But look back in the time of Andrée's Polar Expedition. Pigeons that would have no publicity ordinarily, were often reported at that time.
In the Zoologist, 3-18-21, is recorded an instance of a bird (puffin) that had fallen to the ground with a fractured head. Interesting, but mere speculation—but what solid object, high in the air, had that bird struck against?
Tremendous red rain in France, Oct. 16 and 17, 1846; great storm at the time, and red rain supposed to have been colored by matter swept up from this earth's surface, and then precipitated (Comptes Rendus, 23-832). But in Comptes Rendus, 24-625, the description of this red rain differs from one's impression of red, sandy or muddy water. It is said that this rain was so vividly red and so blood-like that many persons in France were terrified. Two analyses are given (Comptes Rendus, 24-812). One chemist notes a great quantity of corpuscles—whether blood-like corpuscles or not—in the matter. The other chemist sets down organic matter at 35 per cent. It may be that an inter-planetary dragon had been slain somewhere, or that this red fluid, in which were many corpuscles, came from something not altogether pleasant to contemplate, about the size of the Catskill Mountains, perhaps—but the present datum
is that with this substance, larks, quail, ducks, and water hens, some of them alive, fell at Lyons and Grenoble and other places.
I have notes upon other birds that have fallen from the sky, but unaccompanied by the red rain that makes the fall of birds in France peculiar, and very peculiar, if it be accepted that the red substance was extra-mundane. The other notes are upon birds that have fallen from the sky, in the midst of storms, or of exhausted, but living, birds, falling not far from a storm-area. But now we shall have an instance for which I can find no parallel: fall of dead birds, from a clear sky, far-distant from any storm to which they could be attributed—so remote from any discoverable storm that—
My own notion is that, in the summer of 1896, something, or some beings, came as near to this earth as they could, upon a hunting expedition; that, in the summer of 1896, an expedition of super-scientists passed over this earth, and let down a dragnet—and what would it catch, sweeping through the air, supposing it to have reached not quite to this earth?
In the Monthly Weather Review, May, 1917, W. L. McAtee quotes from the Baton Rouge correspondence to the Philadelphia Times:
That, in the summer of 1896, into the streets of Baton Rouge, La., and from a "clear sky," fell hundreds of dead birds. There were wild ducks and cat birds, woodpeckers, and "many birds of strange plumage," some of them resembling canaries.
Usually one does not have to look very far from any place to learn of a storm. But the best that could be done in this instance was to say:
"There had been a storm on the coast of Florida."
And, unless he have psycho-chemic repulsion for the explanation, the reader feels only momentary astonishment that dead birds from a storm in Florida should fall from an unstormy sky in Louisiana, and with his intellect greased like the plumage of a wild duck, the datum then drops off.
Our greasy, shiny brains. That they may be of some use after all: that other modes of existence place a high value upon them as lubricants; that we're hunted for them; a hunting expedition to this earth—the newspapers report a tornado.
If from a clear sky, or a sky in which there were no driven clouds, or other evidences of still-continuing wind-power—or, if from a storm in Florida, it could be accepted that hundreds of birds had fallen far away, in Louisiana, I conceive, conventionally, of heavier objects having fallen in Alabama, say, and of the fall of still heavier objects still nearer the origin in Florida.
The sources of information of the Weather Bureau are widespread.
It has no records of such falls.
So a dragnet that was let down from above somewhere—
Or something that I learned from the more scientific of the investigators of psychic phenomena:
The reader begins their works with prejudice against telepathy and everything else of psychic phenomena. The writers deny spirit-communication, and say that the seeming data are data of "only telepathy." Astonishing instances of seeming clairvoyance—"only telepathy." After a while the reader finds himself agreeing that it's only telepathy—which, at first, had been intolerable to him.
So maybe, in 1896, a super-dragnet did not sweep through this earth's atmosphere, gathering up all the birds within its field, the meshes then suddenly breaking—
Or that the birds of Baton Rouge were only from the Super-Sargasso Sea—
Upon which we shall have another expression. We thought we'd settled that, and we thought we'd establish that, but nothing's ever settled, and nothing's ever established, in a real sense, if, in a real sense, there is nothing in quasiness.
I suppose there had been a storm somewhere, the storm in Florida, perhaps, and many birds had been swept upward into the Super-Sargasso Sea. It has frigid regions and it has tropical regions—that birds of diverse species had been swept upward, into an icy region, where, huddling together for warmth, they had died. Then, later, they had been dislodged—meteor coming along—boat—bicycle—dragon—don't know what did come along—something dislodged them.
So leaves of trees, carried up there in whirlwinds, staying there years, ages, perhaps only a few months, but then falling to this
earth at an unseasonable time for dead leaves—fishes carried up there, some of them dying and drying, some of them living in volumes of water that are in abundance up there, or that fall sometimes in the deluges that we call "cloudbursts."
The astronomers won't think kindly of us, and we haven't done anything to endear ourselves to the meteorologists—but we're weak and mawkish Intermediatists—several times we've tried to get the aeronauts with us—extraordinary things up there: things that curators of museums would give up all hope of ever being fixed stars, to obtain: things left over from whirlwinds of the time of the Pharaohs, perhaps: or that Elijah did go up in the sky in something like a chariot, and may not be Vega, after all, and that there may be a wheel or so left of whatever he went up in. We basely suggest that it would bring a high price—but sell soon, because after a while there'd be thousands of them hawked around—
We weakly drop a hint to the aeronauts.
In the Scientific American, 33-197, there is an account of some hay that fell from the sky. From the circumstances we incline to accept that this hay went up, in a whirlwind, from this earth, in the first place, reached the Super-Sargasso Sea, and remained there a long time before falling. An interesting point in this expression is the usual attribution to a local and coinciding whirlwind, and identification of it—and then data that make that local whirlwind unacceptable
That, upon July 27, 1875, small masses of damp hay had fallen at Monkstown, Ireland. In the Dublin Daily Express, Dr. J. W. Moore had explained: he had found a nearby whirlwind, to the south of Monkstown, that coincided. But, according to the Scientific American, a similar fall had occurred near Wrexham, England, two days before.
In November, 1918, I made some studies upon light objects thrown into the air. Armistice-day. I suppose I should have been more emotionally occupied, but I made notes upon torn-up papers thrown high in the air from windows of office buildings. Scraps of paper did stay together for a while. Several minutes, sometimes.
That, upon the 10th of April, 1869, at Autriche (Indre-et-Loire)
a great number of oak leaves—enormous segregation of them—fell from the sky. Very calm day. So little wind that the leaves fell almost vertically. Fall lasted about ten minutes.
Flammarion, in The Atmosphere, p. 412, tells this story.
He has to find a storm.
He does find a squall—but it had occurred upon April 3rd.
Flammarion's two incredibilities are—that leaves could remain a week in the air: that they could stay together a week in the air.
Think of some of your own observations upon papers thrown from an aeroplane.
Our one incredibility:
That these leaves had been whirled up six months before, when they were common on the ground, and had been sustained, of course not in the air, but in a region gravitationally inert; and had been precipitated by the disturbances of April rains.
I have no records of leaves that have so fallen from the sky in October or November, the season when one might expect dead leaves to be raised from one place and precipitated somewhere else. I emphasize that this occurred in April.
La Nature, 1889-2-94:
That, upon April 19, 1889, dried leaves, of different species, oak, elm, etc., fell from the sky. This day, too, was a calm day. The fall was tremendous. The leaves were seen to fall fifteen minutes, but, judging from the quantity on the ground, it is the writer's opinion that they had already been falling half an hour. I think that the geyser of corpses that sprang from Riobamba toward the sky must have been an interesting sight. If I were a painter, I'd like that subject. But this cataract of dried leaves, too, is a study in the rhythms of the dead. In this datum, the point most agreeable to us is the very point that the writer in La Nature emphasizes. Windlessness. He says that the surface of the Loire was "absolutely smooth." The river was strewn with leaves as far as he could see.
That, upon the 7th of April, 1894, dried leaves fell at Clairvaux and Outre-Aube, France. The fall is described as prodigious. Half
an hour. Then, upon the 11th, a fall of dried leaves occurred at Pontcarré.
It is in this recurrence that we found some of our opposition to the conventional explanation. The Editor (Flammarion) explains. He says that the leaves had been caught up in a cyclone which had expended its, force; that the heavier leaves had fallen first. We think that that was all right for 1894, and that it was quite good enough for 1894. But, in these more exacting days, we want to know how wind-power insufficient to hold some leaves in the air could sustain others four days.
The factors in this expression are unseasonableness, not for dried leaves, but for prodigious numbers of dried leaves; direct fall, windlessness, month of April, and localization in France. The factor of localization is interesting. Not a note have I upon fall of leaves from the sky, except these notes. Were the conventional explanation, or "old correlate" acceptable, it would seem that similar occurrences in other regions should be as frequent as in France. The indication is that there may be quasi-permanent undulations in the Super-Sargasso Sea, or a pronounced inclination toward France
That there may be a nearby world complementary to this world, where autumn occurs at the time that is springtime here. Let some disciple have that.
But there may be a dip toward France, so that leaves that are borne high there, are more likely to be held in suspension. than highflying leaves elsewhere. Some other time I shall take up Super-geography, and be guilty of charts. I think, now, that the Super-Sargasso Sea is an oblique belt, with changing ramifications, over Great Britain, France, Italy, and on to India. Relatively to the United States I am not very clear, but think especially of the Southern States.
The preponderance of our data indicates frigid regions aloft. Nevertheless such phenomena as putrefaction have occurred often enough to make super-tropical regions, also, acceptable. We shall have one more datum upon the Super-Sargasso Sea. It seems to me that, by this time, our requirements of support and reinforcement and agreement have been quite as rigorous for acceptance as ever
for belief: at least for full acceptance. By virtue of mere acceptance, we may, in some later book, deny the Super-Sargasso Sea, and find that our data relate to some other complementary world instead—or the moon—and have abundant data for accepting that the moon is not more than twenty or thirty miles away. However, the Super-Sargasso Sea functions very well as a nucleus around which to gather data that oppose Exclusionism. That is our main motive: to oppose Exclusionism.
Or our agreement with cosmic processes. The climax of our general expression upon the Super-Sargasso Sea. Coincidentally appears something else that may overthrow it later.
Notes and Queries, 8-12-228:
That in the province of Macerata, Italy (summer of 1897?) an immense number of small, blood-colored clouds covered the sky. About an hour later a storm broke, and myriad seeds fell to the ground. It is said that they were identified as products of a tree found only in Central Africa and the Antilles.
If—in terms of conventional reasoning—these seeds had been high in the air, they had been in a cold region. But it is our acceptance that these seeds had, for a considerable time, been in a warm region, and for a time longer than is attributable to suspension by wind-power:
"It is said that a great number of the seeds were in the first stage of germination."