Sacred Texts  Fortean  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Book of the Damned, by Charles Fort, [1919], at

p. 225


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.

The question:

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.

Our position:

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

p. 226

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

p. 227

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—

p. 228

"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

p. 229

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

p. 230

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

p. 231

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,

p. 232

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

p. 233

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

p. 234

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.

Its concomitants:

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

p. 235

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

p. 236

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

p. 237

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.

Nature, 7-112:

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

p. 238

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

p. 239

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.

Our data:

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

p. 240

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.

About 1880.

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

p. 241

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

p. 242

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.

They howled.

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

p. 243

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,

p. 244

[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.

p. 245

[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,

p. 246

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

p. 247

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.

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,

p. 248

not a shred of clothing, not a plank of the quay, nor so much as a splinter of it ever floated to the surface.

Next: 18