The Cruise of the Bacchante

Two young sons of the Prince of Wales (one of whom later became King George V) wrote in their book The Cruise of the Bacchante, of “a strange light, as if of a phantom vessel all aglow” between Melbourne and Sydney at 4 a.m., June 11, 1881. It was seen by twelve other crewmen. Five hours later, the lookout fell from the rigging and was killed.

–Charles Fort, Lo!, p. 637 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

A continent that went melodramatic

On Nov. 12, 1902, dust and mud fell from the sky over all of Australia except Queensland (and not New Zealand). Then the sky went dark and fireballs fell, setting fires throughout Victoria. “At Wycheproof,” Fort quotes, “‘the whole air seemed on fire.’” The next day, red dust fell on the entire continent, including Queensland. The Sydney Herald reported on the 14th, “'business suspended…nothing like it before, in the history of the colony…people stumbling around with lanterns.’” Fireballs also fell on the 13th in Boort, Allendale, Deniliquin, Langdale and Chiltern, as well as ashes with a sulphurous odor in New Zealand. Volcanic activity across the globe was particularly strong–Kilauea, Hawaii’s most violent eruption in 20 years started on Nov. 10. Eruptions occurred at Santa Maria, Guatemala (beginning Oct. 26), Colima, Mexico (Nov. 6), Savii, Samoa (Nov. 13), Windward Islands, West Indies (Nov. 14), Stromboli and Mt. Chullapata, Peru (Nov. 13).

–Charles Fort, Lo!, p.802ff (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).