Archives for February 2011

As if branded with a hot iron

A “vast number” of prints were found in the snow on the morning of Feb. 8, 1855 by the inhabitants of Topsham, Lymphstone, Exmouth, Teignmouth and Dawlish in Devonshire. These were found 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.“ The marks were about 8 inches from each other, in straight lines, somewhat like longish hoof prints. The spacing did not vary from town to town. Suggestion was made that the culprit was a kangaroo. An observation by a Professor Owen was that "whatever it may have been that had made the marks, it had removed, rather than pressed, the snow.” The snow looked “as if branded with a hot iron.”

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p. 307-310 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

Their unison of movement

Three members of the crew of the U.S.S. Supply reported seeing, on Feb. 24, 1904, “three luminous objects, of different sizes, the largest having an apparent area of about six suns.” They appeared to be a height of a mile. Then they went up into the clouds below which they had first been seen, moving in unison. (Reported in the Monthly Weather Review, March, 1904-115.)

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p. 298 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

Between the ship and a mountain

On February 24, 1893, at 10 p.m., the officer of the watch of H.M.S. Caroline reported seeing globular lights between the ship and a 6,000 foot high mountain. THe ship was located between Shanghai and Japan. These were seen for about two hours, moving northward, "sometimes massed, but sometimes strung out in an irregular line.“

The next night, the lights were seen again for 7 ½ hours, moving north and moving in the same speed and direction as the Caroline. They cast a reflection. "A telescope,” the account in Nature, May 25, 1893, said, “brought out but few details: that they were reddish, and seemed to emit a faint smoke.”

The captain of another ship also saw the lights at the same time, but when he altered his course toward them, they fled or moved higher in the sky.

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p. 297 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

You would have thought it was an aerial fleet

On the night of Feb. 9, 1913, a luminous body was seen in Canada, the US, at sea, and in Bermuda. It had, according to accounts in Jour. Roy. Astro. Soc. of Canada, Nov. and Dec. 1913, a long tail, and was variously seen as single or as “composed of three or four parts, with a tail to each part.”

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.”

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p. 296-297 (The Complete Book of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

From the puritanic publication, Science

Science, 5-242, reports that on Feb. 24, 1885, the Innerwich was somewhere between Yokohama and Victoria. The captain was roused at midnight by his mate, who had seen “something unusual in the sky.” He went on deck and saw “the sky turning fiery red. ‘All at once, a large mass of fire appeared over the vessel, completely blinding the spectators.’” Then it fell into the sea, casting up enough water to cause a “deafening” noise. “The bark was struck flat aback, and a ‘roaring, white sea passed ahead.’”

The object was also described in Nature, 37-187, and L'Astronomie, 1887-76, as ‘a large ball of fire’ that rose out of the sea about fifty feet, came near the ship, then moved away, visible for about five minutes. While Nature concluded it was ball lightning, Flammarion, on p. 68 of Thunder and Lightning, says ‘that it was enormous.’

In writing of this datum, Fort says, “it’s from the puritanic publication, Science, which has yielded us little material, or which, like most puritans, does not go upon a spree very often.”

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p.273 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).