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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 a.s.similates 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 b.a.l.l.s. Things that have fallen from the sky to this earth.
Our slippery brains.
Things like cannon b.a.l.l.s have fallen, in storms, upon this earth. Like cannon b.a.l.l.s are things that, in storms, have fallen to this earth.
Showers of blood.
Showers of blood.
Showers of blood.
Whatever it may have been, something like red-brick dust, or a red substance in a dried state, fell at Piedmont, Italy, Oct. 27, 1814 (_Electric Magazine_, 68-437). A red powder fell, in Switzerland, winter of 1867 (_Pop. Sci. Rev._, 10-112)--
That something, far from this earth, had bled--super-dragon that had rammed a comet--
Or that there are oceans of blood somewhere in the sky--substance that dries, and falls in a powder--wafts for ages in powdered form--that there is a vast area that will some day be known to aviators as the Desert of Blood. We attempt little of super-topography, at present, but Ocean of Blood, or Desert of Blood--or both--Italy is nearest to it--or to them.
I suspect that there were corpuscles in the substance that fell in Switzerland, but all that could be published in 1867 was that in this substance there was a high proportion of "variously shaped organic matter."
At Giessen, Germany, in 1821, according to the _Report of the British a.s.sociation_, 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 _Ill.u.s.trated 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 c.o.ke--or the substance that looked like c.o.ke--that fell at Mortree, France, April 24, 1887: with it fell a sulphurous substance. The enormous round things that rose from the ocean, near the _Victoria_. Whether we still accept that they were super-constructions that had come from a denser atmosphere and, in danger of disruption, had plunged into the ocean for relief, then rising and continuing on their way to Jupiter or Ura.n.u.s--it was reported that they spread a "stench of sulphur." At any rate, this datum of proximity is against the conventional explanation that these things did not rise from the ocean, but rose far away above the horizon, with illusion of nearness.
And the things that were seen in the sky July, 1898: I have another note. In _Nature_, 58-224, a correspondent writes that, upon July 1, 1898, at Sedberg, he had seen in the sky--a red object--or, in his own wording, something that looked like the red part of a rainbow, about 10 degrees long. But the sky was dark at the time. The sun had set. A heavy rain was falling.
Throughout this book, the datum that we are most impressed with:
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 over-shadowing, I think.
The little carved stone that fell at Tarbes is my own choice as the most impressive of our new correlates. It was coated with ice, remember.
Suppose we should sift and sift and discard half the data in this book--suppose only that one datum should survive. To call attention to the stone of Tarbes would, in my opinion, be doing well enough, for whatever the spirit of this book is trying to do. Nevertheless, it seems to me that a datum that preceded it was slightingly treated.
The disk of quartz, said to have fallen from the sky, after a meteoric explosion: