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Said to have fallen at the plantation Bleijendal, Dutch Guiana: sent to the Museum of Leyden by M. van Sypesteyn, adjutant to the Governor of Dutch Guiana (_Notes and Queries_, 2-8-92).
And the fragments that fall from super-geographic ice fields: flat pieces of ice with icicles on them. I think that we did not emphasize enough that, if these structures were not icicles, but crystalline protuberances, such crystalline formations indicate long suspension quite as notably as would icicles. In the _Popular Science News_, 24-34, it is said that in 1869, near Tiflis, fell large hailstones with long protuberances. "The most remarkable point in connection with the hailstones is the fact that, judging from our present knowledge, a very long time must have been occupied in their formation." According to the _Geological Magazine_, 7-27, this fall occurred May 27, 1869. The writer in the _Geological Magazine_ says that of all theories that he had ever heard of, not one could give him light as to this occurrence--"these growing crystalline forms must have been suspended a long time"--
Again and again this phenomenon:
Fourteen days later, at about the same place, more of these hailstones fell.
Rivers of blood that vein alb.u.minous seas, or an egg-like composition in the incubation of which this earth is a local center of development--that there are super-arteries of blood in Genesistrine: that sunsets are consciousness of them: that they flush the skies with northern lights sometimes: super-embryonic reservoirs from which life-forms emanate--
Or that our whole solar system is a living thing: that showers of blood upon this earth are its internal hemorrhages--
Or vast living things in the sky, as there are vast living things in the oceans--
Or some one especial thing: an especial time: an especial place. A thing the size of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's alive in outer s.p.a.ce--something the size of Central Park kills it--
We think of the ice fields above this earth: which do not, themselves, fall to this earth, but from which water does fall--
_Popular Science News_, 35-104:
That, according to Prof. Luigi Palazzo, head of the Italian Meteorological Bureau, upon May 15, 1890, at Messignadi, Calabria, something the color of fresh blood fell from the sky.
This substance was examined in the public-health laboratories of Rome.
It was found to be blood.
"The most probable explanation of this terrifying phenomenon is that migratory birds (quails or swallows) were caught and torn in a violent wind."
So the substance was identified as birds' blood--
What matters it what the microscopists of Rome said--or had to say--and what matters it that we point out that there is no a.s.sertion that there was a violent wind at the time--and that such a substance would be almost infinitely dispersed in a violent wind--that no bird was said to have fallen from the sky--or said to have been seen in the sky--that not a feather of a bird is said to have been seen--
This one datum:
The fall of blood from the sky--
But later, in the same place, blood again fell from the sky.
_Notes and Queries_, 7-8-508:
A correspondent who had been to Devonshire writes for information as to a story that he had heard there: of an occurrence of about thirty-five years before the date of writing:
Of snow upon the ground--of all South Devonshire waking up one morning to find such tracks in the snow as had never before been heard of--"clawed footmarks" of "an uncla.s.sifiable form"--alternating at huge but regular intervals with what seemed to be the impression of the point of a stick--but the scattering of the prints--amazing expanse of territory covered--obstacles, such as hedges, walls, houses, seemingly surmounted--
Intense excitement--that the track had been followed by huntsmen and hounds, until they had come to a forest--from which the hounds had retreated, baying and terrified, so that no one had dared to enter the forest.
_Notes and Queries_, 7-9-18:
Whole occurrence well-remembered by a correspondent: a badger had left marks in the snow: this was determined, and the excitement had "dropped to a dead calm in a single day."
_Notes and Queries_, 7-9-70:
That for years a correspondent had had a tracing of the prints, which his mother had taken from those in the snow in her garden, in Exmouth: that they were hoof-like marks--but had been made by a biped.
_Notes and Queries_, 7-9-253:
Well remembered by another correspondent, who writes of the excitement and consternation of "some cla.s.ses." He says that a kangaroo had escaped from a menagerie--"the footprints being so peculiar and far apart gave rise to a scare that the devil was loose."
We have had a story, and now we shall tell it over from contemporaneous sources. We have had the later accounts first very largely for an impression of the correlating effect that time brings about, by addition, disregard and distortion. For instance, the "dead calm in a single day." If I had found that the excitement did die out rather soon, I'd incline to accept that nothing extraordinary had occurred.
I found that the excitement had continued for weeks.
I recognize this as a well-adapted thing to say, to divert attention from a discorrelate.
All phenomena are "explained" in the terms of the Dominant of their era.
This is why we give up trying really to explain, and content ourselves with expressing. Devils that might print marks in snow are correlates to the third Dominant back from this era. So it was an adjustment by nineteenth-century correlates, or human tropisms, to say that the marks in the snow were clawed. Hoof-like marks are not only horsey but devilish. It had to be said in the nineteenth century that those prints showed claw-marks. We shall see that this was stated by Prof. Owen, one of the greatest biologists of his day--except that Darwin didn't think so. But I shall give reference to two representations of them that can be seen in the New York Public Library. In neither representation is there the faintest suggestion of a claw-mark. There never has been a Prof. Owen who has explained: he has correlated.
Another adaptation, in the later accounts, is that of leading this discorrelate to the Old Dominant into the familiar scenery of a fairy story, and discredit it by a.s.similation to the conventionally fict.i.tious--so the idea of the baying, terrified hounds, and forest like enchanted forests, which no one dared to enter. Hunting parties were organized, but the baying, terrified hounds do not appear in contemporaneous accounts.
The story of the kangaroo looks like adaptation to needs for an animal that could spring far, because marks were found in the snow on roofs of houses. But so astonishing is the extent of snow that was marked that after a while another kangaroo was added.
But the marks were in single lines.
My own acceptance is that not less than a thousand one-legged kangaroos, each shod with a very small horseshoe, could have marked that snow of Devonshire.
London _Times_, Feb 16, 1855:
"Considerable sensation has been caused in the towns of Topsham, Lymphstone, Exmouth, Teignmouth, and Dawlish, in Devonshire, in consequence of the discovery of a vast number of foot tracks of a most strange and mysterious description."
The story is of an incredible multiplicity of marks discovered in the morning of Feb. 8, 1855, in the snow, by the inhabitants of many towns and regions between towns. This great area must of course be disregarded by Prof. Owen and the other correlators. The tracks were 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. There was in Lymphstone scarcely one unmarked garden. We've had heroic disregards but I think that here disregard was t.i.tanic. And, because they occurred in single lines, the marks are said to have been "more like those of a biped than of a quadruped"--as if a biped would place one foot precisely ahead of another--unless it hopped--but then we have to think of a thousand, or of thousands.
It is said that the marks were "generally 8 inches in advance of each other."
"The impression of the foot closely resembles that of a donkey's shoe, and measured from an inch and a half, in some instances, to two and a half inches across."
Or the impressions were cones in incomplete, or crescentic basins.
The diameters equaled diameters of very young colts' hoofs: too small to be compared with marks of donkey's hoofs.
"On Sunday last the Rev. Mr. Musgrave alluded to the subject in his sermon and suggested the possibility of the footprints being those of a kangaroo, but this could scarcely have been the case, as they were found on both sides of the Este. At present it remains a mystery, and many superst.i.tious people in the above-named towns are actually afraid to go outside their doors after night."
The Este is a body of water two miles wide.