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New Lands, by Charles Fort, [1923], at


Upon page 287, Popular Astronomy, Newcomb says that it is beyond all "moral probability" that unknown worlds should exist in such numbers as have been reported, and should be seen crossing the solar disc only by amateur observers and not by skilled astronomers.

Most of our instances are reports by some of the best-known astronomers.

Newcomb says that for fifty years, prior to his time of writing (edition of 1878) the sun had been studied by such men as Schwabe, Carrington, Secchi, and Spörer, and that they had never seen unknown bodies cross the sun—

Aug. 30, 1863—an unknown body that was seen by Spörer to cross the sun (Webb, Celestial Objects, p. 45).

Sept. 1, 1859—two star-like objects that were seen by Carrington to cross the sun (Monthly Notices, 20-13, 15, 88).

Things that crossed the sun, July 31, 1826, and May 26, 1828—

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see Comptes Rendus, 83-623, and Webb's Celestial Objects, p. 40. From Sept. 6 to Nov. 1, 1831, an unknown luminous object was seen every cloudless night, at Geneva, by Dr. Wartmann and his assistants (Comptes Rendus, 2-307). It was reported from nowhere else. What all the other astronomers were doing, September-October, 1831, is one of the mysteries that we shall not solve. An unknown, luminous object that was seen, from May 11 to May 14, 1835, by Cacciatore, the Sicilian astronomer (Amer. Jour. Sci., 31-158). Two unknowns that, according to Pastorff, crossed the sun, Nov. 1, 1836, and Feb. 16, 1837 (An. Sci. Disc., 1860-410)—De Vico's unknown, July 12, 1837 (Observatory, 2-424)-observation by De Cuppis, Oct. 2, 1839 (C. R., 83-314)-by Scott and Wray, last of June, 1847; by Schmidt, Oct. 11, 1847 (C. R., 83-623)-two dark bodies that were seen, Feb. 5, 1849, by Brown, of Deal (Rec. Sci., 1-138)—object watched by Sidebotham, half an hour, March 12, 1849, crossing the sun (C. R., 83-622)—Schmidt's unknown, Oct. 14, 1849 (Observatory, 3-137)—and an object that was watched, four nights in October, 1850, by James Ferguson, of the Washington Observatory. Mr. Hind believed this object to be a Trans-Neptunian planet, and calculated for it a period of 1,600 years. Mr. Hind was a great astronomer, and he miscalculated magnificently: this floating island of space was not seen again (Smithson. Miscell. Cols., 20-20).

About May 30, 1853—a black point that was seen against the sun, by Jaennicke (Cosmos, 20-64).

A procession—in the Rept. B. A., 1855-94, R. P. Greg says that, upon May 22, 1854, a friend of his saw, near Mercury, an object equal in size to the planet itself, and behind it an elongated object, and behind that something else, smaller and round.

June 11, 1855—a dark body of such size that it was seen, without telescopes, by Ritter and Schmidt, crossing the sun (Observatory, 3-137). Sept. 12, 1857—Ohrt's unknown world; seemed to be about the size of Mercury (C. R., 83-623)—Aug. 1, 1858-unknown world reported by Wilson, of Manchester (Astro. Reg., 9-287).

I am not listing all the unknowns of a period; perhaps the object reported by John H. Tice, of St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 15, 1859, should not be included; Mr. Tice was said not to be trustworthy—but who has any way of knowing? However, I am listing enough

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of these observations to make me feel like a translated European of some centuries ago, relatively to a wider existence—lands that may be the San Salvadors, Greenlands, Madagascars, Cubas, Australias of extra-geography, all of them said to have crossed the sun, whereas the sun may have moved behind some of them

Jan. 29, 1860—unknown object, of planetary size, reported from London, by Russell and three other observers (Nature, 15-505). Summer of 1860—see Sci. Amer., 35-340, for an account, by Richard Covington, of an object that, without a telescope, he saw crossing the sun. An unknown world, reported by Loomis, of Manchester, March 20, 1862 (Monthly Notices, 22-232)—a newspaper account of an object that was seen crossing the sun, Feb. 12, 1864, by Samuel Beswick, of New York (Astro. Reg., 2-161)—unknown that was seen, March 18, 1865, at Constantinople (L’Ann. Sci., 1865-16)—unknown "cometic objects" that were seen, Nov. 4, 9, and 18, 1865 (Monthly Notices, 26-242).

Most of these unknowns were seen in the daytime. Several reflections arise. How could there be stationary regions over Irkutsk, Comrie, and Birmingham, and never obscure the stars—or never be seen to obscure the stars? A heresy that seems too radical for me is that they may be beyond the nearby stars. A more reasonable idea is that if nightwatchmen and policemen and other persons who do stay awake nights, should be given telescopes, something might be found out. Something else that one thinks of is that, if so many unknowns have been seen crossing the sun, or crossed by the sun, others not so revealed must exist in great numbers, and that instead of being virtually blank, space must be archipelagic.

Something that was seen at night; observer not an astronomer—

Nov. 6, 1866—an account, in the London Times, Jan. 2, 1867, by Senor De Fonblanque, of the British Consulate, at Cartagena, U. S. Colombia, of a luminous object that moved in the sky. "It was of the magnitude, color, and brilliance of a ship's red light, as seen at a distance of 200 yards." The object was visible three minutes, and then disappeared behind buildings. De Fonblanque went to an open space to look for it, but did not see it again.

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