The Book of the Damned (8)
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., I-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-I-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 I, 1826; sound like thunder; object expanding like a sheet (Am. Jour. Sci., 1-26133; 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 to 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 too 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. to, 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
[paragraph continues] 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." May 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.
That, Aug. 5, 1889, during a violent storm, an object that looked I 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’Année 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. Trécul, 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. Trécul'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-indefinitness 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’Année 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’Année 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.
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
[paragraph continues] "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
[paragraph continues] (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—
That they looked like "vegetable cells."
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 Mortrée, 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 to 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:
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—
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.
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 overshadowing, 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—
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" or "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.