The Book of the Damned

A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book

Edited and Annotated by Mr. X



Chapter III

SO then, it is our expression that Science relates to real knowledge no more than does the growth of a plant, or the organization of a department store, or the development of a nation: that all are assimilative, or organizing, or systematizing processes that represent different attempts to attain the positive state -- the state commonly called heaven, I suppose I mean.

There can be no real science where there are indeterminate variables, but every variable is, in finer terms, indeterminate, or irregular, if only to have the appearance of being in Intermediateness is to express regularity unattained. The invariable, or the real and stable, would be nothing at all in Intermediateness -- rather as, but in relative terms, an undistorted interpretation of external sounds in the mind of a dreamer could not continue to exist in a dreaming mind, because that touch of relative realness would be of awakening and not of dreaming. Science is the attempt to awaken to realness, wherein it is attempt to find regularity and uniformity. Or the regular and uniform would be that which has nothing external to disturb it. By the universal we mean the real. Or the notion is that the underlying super-attempt, as expressed in Science, is indifferent to the subject-matter of Science: that the attempt to regularize is the vital spirit. Bugs and stars and chemical messes: that they are only quasi-real, and that of them there is nothing real to know; but that systemization of pseudo-data is approximation to realness or final awakening --

Or a dreaming mind -- and its centaurs and canary birds that turn into giraffes -- there could be no real biology upon such subjects, but attempt, in a dreaming mind, to systematize such appearances would be movement toward awakening -- if better mental co-ordination is all that we mean by the state of being awake -- relatively awake.

So it is, that having attempted to systematize, by ignoring externality to the greatest possible degree, the notion of things dropping in upon this earth, from externality, is as unsettling and as unwelcome to Science as -- tin horns blowing in upon a musician's [25/26] relatively symmetric composition -- flies alighting upon a painter's attempted harmony, and tracking colors one into another -- suffragist getting up and making a political speech at a prayer meeting.

If all things are of a oneness, which is a state intermediate to unrealness and realness, and if nothing has succeeded in breaking away and establishing entity for itself, and could not continue to "exist" in intermediateness, if it should succeed, any more than could the born still at the same time be the uterine, I of course know of no positive difference between Science and Christian Science -- and the attitude of both toward the unwelcome is the same -- "it does not exist."

A Lord Kelvin and a Mrs. Eddy, and something not to their liking -- it does not exist.

Of course not, we Intermediates say: but, also, that, in Intermediateness, neither is there absolute non-existence.

Or a Christian Scientist and a toothache -- neither exists in the final sense: also neither is absolutely non-existent, and, according to our therapeutics, the one that more highly approximates to realness will win.

A secret of power --

I think it's another profundity.

Do you want power over something?

Be more nearly real than it.

We'll begin with yellow substances that have fallen upon this earth: we'll see whether our data of them have a higher approximation to realness than have the dogmas of those who deny their existence -- that is, as products from somewhere external to this earth.

In mere impressionism we take our stand. We have no positive tests nor standards. Realism in art: realism in science -- they pass away. In 1859, the thing to do was to accept Darwinism; now many biologists are revolting and trying to conceive of something else. The thing to do was to accept it in its day, but Darwinism of course was never proved:

The fittest survive.

What is meant by the fittest?

Not the strongest; not the cleverest --

Weakness and stupidity everywhere survive.

There is no way of determining fitness except in that a thing does survive.

"Fitness," then, is only another name for "survival." [26/27]


That survivors survive.

Although Darwinism, then, seems positively baseless, or absolutely irrational, its massing of supposed data, and its attempted coherence approximate more highly to Organization and Consistency than did the inchoate speculations that preceded it.

Or that Columbus never proved that the earth is round.

Shadow of the earth on the moon?

No one has ever seen it in its entirety. The earth's shadow is much larger than the moon. If the periphery of the shadow is curved -- but the convex moon -- a straight-edged object will cast a curved shadow upon a surface that is convex.

All the other so-called proofs may be taken up in the same way. It was impossible for Columbus to prove that the earth is round. It was not required: only that with a higher seeming of positiveness than that of his opponents, he should attempt. The thing to do, in 1492, was nevertheless to accept that beyond Europe, to the west, were other lands.

I offer for acceptance, as something concordant with the spirit of this first quarter of the 20th century, the expression that beyond this earth are -- other lands -- from which come things as, from America, float things to Europe.

As to yellow substances that have fallen upon this earth, the endeavor to exclude extra-mundane origins is the dogma that all yellow rains and yellow snows are colored with pollen from this earth's pine trees. Symons' Meteorological Magazine is especially prudish in this respect and regards as highly improper all advances made by other explainers.(1)

Nevertheless, the Monthly Weather Review, May, 1877, reports a golden-yellow fall, of Feb. 27, 1877, at Peckloh, Germany, in which four kinds of organisms, not pollen, were the coloring matter. There were minute things shaped like arrows, coffee beans, horns, and disks.(2)

They may have been symbols. They may have been objective hieroglyphics --

Mere passing fancy -- let it go --

In the Annales de Chimie, 85-288, there is a list of rains said to have contained sulphur.(3) I have thirty or forty other notes. I'll not use one of them. I'll admit that every one of them is upon a fall of pollen. I said, to begin with, that our methods would be the methods of theologians and scientists, and they always begin [27/28] with an appearance of liberality. I grant thirty or forty points to start with. I'm as liberal as any of them -- or that my liberality won't cost me anything -- the enormousness of the data that we shall have.

Or just to look over a typical instance of this dogma, and the way it works out:

In the American Journal of Science, 1-42-196, we are told of a yellow substance that fell by the bucketful upon a vessel, one "windless" night in June, in Pictou Harbour, Nova Scotia. The writer analyzed the substance, and it was found to "give off nitrogen and ammonia and an animal odor."(4)

Now, one of our Intermediatist principles, to start with, is that so far from positive, in the aspect of Homogeneousness, are all substances, that, at least in what is called an elementary sense, anything can be found anywhere. Mahogany logs on the coast of Greenland; bugs of a valley on top of Mt. Blanc; atheists at a prayer meeting; ice in India.(5) For instance, chemical analysis can reveal that almost any dead man was poisoned with arsenic, we'll say, because there is no stomach without some iron, lead, tin, gold, arsenic in it and of it -- which, of course, in a broader sense, doesn't matter much, because a certain number of persons must, as a restraining influence, be executed for murder every year; and, if detectives aren't able really to detect anything, illusion of their success is all that is necessary, and it is very honorable to give up one's life for society as a whole.

The chemist who analyzed the substance of Pictou sent a sample to the Editor of the Journal. The Editor of course found pollen in it.

My own acceptance is that there'd have to be some pollen in it: that nothing could very well fall through the air, in June, near the pine forests of Nova Scotia, and escape all floating spores of pollen. But the Editor does not say that this substance "contained" pollen. He disregards "nitrogen and ammonia, and an animal odor," and says that the substance was pollen. For the sake of our thirty or forty tokens of liberality, or pseudo-liberality, if we can't be really liberal, we grant that the chemist of the first examination probably wouldn't know an animal odor if he were janitor of a menagerie. As we go along, however, there can be no such sweeping ignoring of this phenomenon:

The fall of animal-matter from the sky. [28/29]

I'd suggest, to start with, that we'd put ourselves in the place of deep-sea fishes:

How would they account for the fall of animal-matter from above?

They wouldn't try --

Or it's easy enough to think of most of us as deep-sea fishes of a kind.

Jour. Franklin Inst., 90-11:(6)

That, upon the 14th of February, 1870, there fell, at Genoa, Italy, according to Director Boccardo, of the Technical Institute of Genoa, and Prof. Castellani, a yellow substance. But the microscope revealed numerous globules of cobalt blue, also corpuscles of a pearly color that resembled starch. See Nature, 2-166.(7)

Comptes Rendus, 56-972:(8)

M. Bouis says of a substance, reddish varying to yellowish, that fell enormously and successively, or upon April 30, May 1 and May 2, in France and Spain, that it carbonized and spread the odor of charred animal matter -- that it was not pollen -- that in alcohol it left a residue of resinous matter.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of this matter must have fallen.

"Odor of charred animal matter."

Or an aerial battle that occurred in inter-planetary space several hundred years ago -- effect of time in making diverse remains uniform in appearance --

It's all very absurd because, even though we are told of a prodigious quantity of animal matter that fell from the sky -- three days -- France and Spain -- we're not ready yet: that's all. M. Bouis says that this substance was not pollen; the vastness of the fall makes acceptable that it was not pollen; still, the resinous residue does suggest pollen of pine trees. We shall hear a great deal of a substance with a resinous residue that has fallen from the sky: finally we shall divorce it from all suggestion of pollen.

Blackwood's Magazine, 3-338:(9)

A yellow powder that fell at Gerace, Calabria, March 14, 1813. Some of this substance was collected by Sig. Simennini, Professor of Chemistry, at Naples. It had an earthy, insipid taste, and is described as "unctuous." When heated this matter turned brown, then black, then red. According to the Annals of Philosophy, 11-466, one of the components was a greenish-yellow substance, which, when dried, was found to be resinous.(10)

But concomitants of this fall: [29/30]

Loud noises were heard in the sky.

Stones fell from the sky.

According to Chladni, these concomitants occurred, and to me they seem -- rather brutal? -- or not associable with something so soft and gentle as a fall of pollen?(11)

* * *

Black rains and black snows -- rains as black as a deluge of ink -- jet-black snowflakes.

Such a rain as that which fell in Ireland, May 14, 1849, described in the Annals of Scientific Discovery, 1850, and the Annual Register, 1849.(12) It fell upon a district of 400 square miles, and was the color of ink, and of a fetid odor and very disagreeable taste.

The rain at Castlecommon, Ireland, April 30, 1887 -- "thick black rain." (Amer. Met. Jour., 4-193.)(13)

A black rain fell in Ireland, Oct. 8 and 9, 1907. (Symons' Met. Mag., 43-2).(14) It left a "most peculiar and disagreeable smell in the air."

The orthodox explanation of this rain occurs in Nature, March 2, 1908 -- cloud of soot that had come from South Wales, crossing the Irish Channel and all of Ireland.(15)

So the black rain of Ireland, of March, 1898: ascribed in Symons' Met. Mag., 33-40, to clouds of soot from the manufacturing towns of North England and South Scotland.(16)

Our Intermediatist principle of pseudo-logic, or our principle of Continuity is, of course, that nothing is unique, or individual: that all phenomena merge away into all other phenomena: that, for instance -- suppose there should be vast super-oceanic, or inter-planetary vessels that come near this earth and discharge volumes of smoke at times. We're only supposing such a thing as that now, because, conventionally, we are beginning modestly and tentatively. But if it were so, there would necessarily be some phenomenon upon this earth, with which that phenomenon would merge. Extra-mundane smoke and smoke from cities merge, or both would manifest in black precipitations in rain.

In Continuity, it is impossible to distinguish phenomena at their merging-points, so we look for them at their extremes. Impossible to distinguish between animal and vegetable in some infusoria -- but hippopotamus and violet. For all practical purposes they're distinguishable enough. No one but a Barnum or a Bailey would send one a bunch of hippopotami as a token of regard.

So away from the great manufacturing centers: [30/31]

Black rain in Switzerland, Jan. 20, 1911. Switzerland is so remote, and so ill at ease is the conventional explanation here, that Nature, 85-451, says of this rain that in certain conditions of weather, snow may take on an appearance of blackness that is quite deceptive.(17)

May be so. Or at night, if dark enough, snow may look black. This is simply denying that a black rain fell in Switzerland, Jan. 20, 1911.

Extreme remoteness from the great manufacturing centers:

La Nature, 1888, 2-406:(18)

That Aug. 14, 1888, there fell at the Cape of Good Hope, a rain so black as to be described as a "shower of ink."

Continuity dogs us. Continuity rules us and pulls us back. We seemed to have a little hope that by the method of extremes we could get away from things that merge indistinguishably into other things. We find that every departure from one merger is entrance upon another. At the Cape of Good Hope, vast volumes of smoke from great manufacturing centers, as an explanation, can not very acceptably merge with the explanation of extra-mundane origin -- but smoke from a terrestial volcano can, and that is the suggestion that is made in La Nature.(19)

There is, in human intellection, no real standard to judge by, but our acceptance, for the present, is that the more nearly positive will prevail. By the more nearly positive we mean the more nearly Organized. Everything merges away into everything else, but proportionately to its complexity, if unified, a thing seems strong, real, and distinct: so, in aesthetics, it is recognized that diversity in unity is higher beauty, or approximation to Beauty, than is simpler unity; so the logicians feel that agreement of diverse data constitute greater convincingness, or strength, than that of mere parallel instances: so to Herbert Spencer the more highly differentiated and integrated is the more fully evolved. Our opponents hold out for mundane origin of all black rains. Our method will be the presenting of diverse phenomena in agreement with the notion of some other origin. We take up not only black rains but black rains and their accompanying phenomena.

A correspondent to Knowledge, 5-190, writes of a black rain that fell in the Clyde Valley, March 1, 1884: of another black rain that fell two days later.(20) According to the correspondent, a black rain had fallen in the Clyde Valley, March 20, 1828: then again March 22, 1828. According to Nature, 9-43, a black rain fell at Marls- [31/32] ford, England, Sept. 4, 1873; more than twenty-four hours later another black rain fell in the same small town.(21)

The black rains of Slains:

According to Rev. James Rust (Scottish Showers):(22)

A black rain at Slains, Jan. 14, 1862 -- another at Carluke, 140 miles from Slains, May 1, 1862 -- at Slains, May 20, 1862 -- Slains, Oct. 28, 1863.

But after two of these showers, vast quantities of a substance described sometimes as "pumice stone," but sometimes as "slag," were washed upon the sea coast near Slains. A chemist's opinion is given that this substance was slag: that it was not a volcanic product: slag from smelting works. We now have, for black rains, a concomitant that is irreconcilable with origin from factory chimneys. Whatever it may have been the quantity of this substance was so enormous that, in Mr. Rust's opinion, to have produced so much of it would have required the united output of all the smelting works in the world. If slag it were, we accept that an artificial product has, in enormous quantities, fallen from the sky. If you don't think that such occurrences are damned by Science, read Scottish Showers and see how impossible it was for the author to have this matter taken up by the scientific world.

The first and second rains corresponded, in time, with ordinary ebullitions of Vesuvius.

The third and fourth, according to Mr. Rust, corresponded with no known volcanic activities upon this earth.(23)

La Science Pour Tous, 11-26:(24)

That between October, 1863, and January, 1866, four more black rains fell at Slains, Scotland.

The writer of this supplementary account tells us, with a better, or more unscrupulous, orthodoxy than Mr. Rust's, that of the eight black rains, five coincided with eruptions of Vesuvius and three with eruptions of Etna.

The fate of all explanation is to close one door only to have another fly wide open. I should say that my own notions upon this subject will be considered irrational, but at least my gregariousness is satisfied in associating here with the preposterous -- or this writer, and those who think in his rut, have to say that they can think of four discharges from one far-distant volcano, passing over a great part of Europe, precipitating nowhere else, discharging precisely over one small northern parish --

But also of three other discharges, from another far-distant vol- [32/33] cano, showing the same precise preference, if not marksmanship, for one small parish in Scotland.

Nor would orthodoxy be any better off in thinking of exploding meteorites and their debris: preciseness and recurrence would be just as difficult to explain.

My own notion is of an island near an oceanic trade-route: it might receive debris from passing vessels seven times in four years.

Other concomitants of black rains:

In Timb's Year Book, 1851-270, there is an account of "a sort of rumbling, as of wagons, was heard for upward of an hour without ceasing," July 16, 1850, Bulwick Rectory, Northampton, England. On the 19th, a black rain fell.(25)

In Nature, 30-6, a correspondent writes of an intense darkness at Preston, England, April 26, 1884: page 32, another correspondent writes of a black rain at Crowle, near Worcester, April 26: that a week later, or May 3, it had fallen again: another account of black rain, upon the 28th of April, near Church Stretton, so intense that the following day brooks were still dyed with it.(26) According to four accounts by correspondents to Nature there were earthquakes in England at this time.(27)

Or the black rain of Canada, Nov. 9, 1819. This time it is orthodoxy to attribute the black precipitate to smoke of forest fires south of the Ohio River --

Zurcher, Meteors, p.238:(28)

That this black rain was accompanied by "shocks like those of an earthquake."

Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 2-381:(29)

That the earthquake had occurred at the climax of intense darkness and the fall of black rain.

* * *

Red rains.


Sand blown by the sirocco, from the Sahara to Europe.

Especially in the earthquake regions of Europe, there have been many falls of red substance, usually, but not always, precipitated in rain. Upon many occasions, these substances have been "absolutely identified" as sand from the Sahara. When I first took this matter up, I came across assurance after assurance, so positive to this effect, that, had I not been an Intermediatist, I'd have looked no further. Samples collected from a rain at Genoa -- samples of [33/34] sand forwarded from the Sahara -- "absolute agreement" some writers said: same color, same particles of quartz, even the same shells of diatoms mixed in. Then the chemical analyses: not a disagreement worth mentioning.

Our intermediatist means of expression will be that, with proper exclusions, after the scientific or theological method, anything can be identified with anything else, if all things are only different expressions of an underlying oneness.

To many minds there's a rest and there's satisfaction in that expression "absolutely identified." Absoluteness, or the illusion of it -- the universal quest. If chemists have identified substances that have fallen in Europe as sand from African deserts, swept up in African whirlwinds, that's assuasive to all the irritations that occur to those cloistered minds that must repose in the concept of a snug, isolated, little world, free from contact with cosmic wickednesses, safe from stellar guile, undisturbed by inter-planetary prowlings and invasions. The only trouble is that a chemist's analysis, which seems so final and authoritative to some minds, is no more nearly absolute than is identification by a child or description by an imbecile --

I take some of that back: I accept that the approximation is higher --

But that it's based upon delusion, because there is no definiteness, no homogeneity, no stability, only different stages somewhere between them and indefiniteness, heterogeneity, and instability. There are no chemical elements. It seems acceptable that Ramsay and others have settled that. The chemical elements are only another disappointment in the quest of the positive, as the definite, the homogeneous, and the stable. If there were real elements, there could be a real science of chemistry.(30)

Upon Nov. 12 and 13, 1902, occurred the greatest fall of matter in the history of Australia.(31) Upon the 14th of November, it "rained mud," in Tasmania. It was of course attributed to Australian whirlwinds, but, according to the Monthly Weather Review, 32-365, there was a haze all the way to the Philippines, also as far as Hong Kong.(32) It may be that this phenomenon had no especial relation with the even more tremendous fall of matter that occurred in Europe, February, 1903.

For several days, the south of England was a dumping ground -- from somewhere.

If you'd like to have a chemist's opinion, even though it's only [34/35] a chemist's opinion, see the report of the meeting of the Chemical Society of London, April 2, 1903.(33) Mr. E.G. Clayton read a paper upon some of the substance that had fallen from the sky, collected by him. The Sahara explanation applies mostly to falls that occur in southern Europe. Farther away, the conventionalists are a little uneasy: for instance, the editor of the Monthly Weather Review, 29-121, says of a red rain that fell near the coast of Newfoundland, early in 1890: "It would be very remarkable if this was Sahara dust."(34) Mr. Clayton said that the matter examined by him was "merely wind-borne dust from the roads and lanes of Wessex." This opinion is typical of all scientific opinion -- or theological opinion -- or feminine opinion -- all very well except for what it disregards. The most charitable thing I can think of -- because I think it gives us a broader tone to relieve our malices with occasional charities -- is that Mr. Clayton had not heard of the astonishing extent of this fall -- had covered the Canary Islands, on the 19th, for instance. I think, myself, that in 1903, we passed through the remains of a powdered world -- left over from an ancient inter-planetary dispute, brooding in space like a red resentment ever since. Or, like every other opinion, the notion of dust from Wessex turns into a provincial thing when we look it over.

To think is to conceive incompletely, because all thought relates only to the local. We metaphysicians, of course, like to have the notion that we think of the unthinkable.

As to opinions, or pronouncements, I should say, because they always have such an authoritative air, of other chemists, there is an analysis in Nature, 68-54, giving water and organic matter at 9.08 per cent.(35) It's that carrying out of fractions that's so convincing. The substance is identified as sand from the Sahara.

The vastness of this fall. In Nature, 68-65, we are told that it had occurred in Ireland, too.(36) The Sahara, of course -- because, prior to Feb. 19, there had been dust storms in the Sahara -- disregarding that in that great region there's always, in some part of it, a dust storm. However, just at present, it does look reasonable that dust had come from Africa, via the Canaries.

The great difficulty that authoritativeness has to contend with is some other authoritativeness. When an infallibility clashes with a pontification --

They explain.

Nature, March 5, 1903:(37)

Another analysis -- 36 per cent organic matter. [35/36]

Such disagreements don't look very well, so, in Nature, 68-109, one of the differing chemists explains.(38) He says that his analysis was of muddy rain, and the other was of sediment of rain --

We're quite ready to accept excuses from the most high, though I do wonder whether we're quite so damned as we were, if we find ourselves in a gracious and tolerant mood toward the powers that condemn -- but the tax that now comes upon our good manners and unwillingness to be too severe --

Nature, 68-223:(39)

Another chemist. He says it was 23.49 per cent water and organic matter.

He "identifies" this matter as sand from an African desert -- but after deducting organic matter --

But you and I could be "identified" as sand from an African desert, after deducting all there is to us except sand --

Why we can not accept that this fall was of sand from the Sahara, omitting the obvious objection that in most parts the Sahara is not red at all, but is usually described as "dazzling white" --

The enormousness of it: that a whirlwind might have carried it, but that, in that case it would be no supposititious, or doubtfully identified whirlwind, but the greatest atmospheric cataclysm in the history of this earth:

Jour. Roy. Met. Soc., 30-56:(40)

That, up to the 27th of February, this fall had continued in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria; that in some instances it was not sand, or that almost all the matter was organic: that a vessel had reported the fall as occurring in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Southampton and the Barbados. The calculation is given that, in England alone, 10,000,000 tons of matter had fallen. It had fallen in Switzerland, (Symons' Met. Mag., March, 1903).(41) It had fallen in Russia (Bull. Com. Geolog., 22-48).(42) Not only had a vast quantity of matter fallen several months before, in Australia, but it was at this time falling in Australia (Victorian Naturalist, June, 1903) -- enormously -- red mud -- fifty tons per square mile.(43)

The Wessex explanation --

Or that every explanation is a Wessex explanation: by that I mean an attempt to interpret the enormous in terms of the minute -- but that nothing can be finally explained, because by Truth we mean the Universal; and that even if we could think as wide as Universality, that would not be requital to the cosmic quest -- which [36/37] is not for Truth, but for the local that is true -- not to universalize the local, but to localize the universal -- or to give to a cosmic cloud absolute interpretation in terms of the little dusty roads and lanes of Wessex. I can not conceive that this can be done: I think of high approximation.

Our Intermediatist concept is that, because of the continuity of all "things," which are not separate, positive, or real things, all pseudo-things partake of the underlying, or are only different expressions, degrees, or aspects of the underlying: so then that a sample from somewhere in anything must correspond with a sample from somewhere in anything else.

That, by due care in selection, and disregard for everything else, or the scientific and theological method, the substance that fell, February, 1903, could be identified with anything, or with some part or aspect of anything that could be conceived of --

With sand from the Sahara, sand from a barrel of sugar, or dust of your great, great grandfather.

Different samples are described and listed in the Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 30-57 -- or we'll see whether my notion that a chemist could have identified some one of these samples as from anywhere conceivable, is extreme or not:(44)

"Similar to brick dust," in one place; "buff or light brown," in another place; "chocolate-colored and silky to the touch and slightly iridescent"; "gray"; "red-rust color"; "reddish raindrops and gray sand"; "dirty gray"; "quite red"; "yellow-brown, with a tinge of pink"; "deep yellow-clay color."

In Nature, it is described as of a peculiar yellowish cast in one place, reddish somewhere else, and salmon-colored in another place.(45)

Or there could be real science if there were really anything to be scientific about.

Or the science of chemistry is like a science of sociology, prejudiced in advance, because only to see is to see with a prejudice, setting out to "prove" that all inhabitants of New York came from Africa.

Very easy matter. Samples from one part of town. Disregard for all the rest.

There is no science but Wessex-science.

According to our acceptance, there should be no other, but that approximation should be higher: that metaphysics is super-evil: that the scientific spirit is of the cosmic quest. [37/38]

Our notion is that, in a real existence, such a quasi-system of fables as the science of chemistry could not deceive for a moment: but that in an "existence" endeavoring to become real, it represents that endeavor, and will continue to impose its pseudo-positiveness until it be driven out by a higher approximation to realness;

That the science of chemistry is as impositive as fortune-telling --

Or no --

That, though it represents a higher approximation to realness than does alchemy, for instance, and so drove out alchemy, it is still somewhere between myth and positiveness.

The attempt at realness, or to state a real and unmodified fact here, is the statement:

All red rains are colored sands from the Sahara desert.

My own impositivist acceptances are:

That some red rains are colored by sands from the Sahara desert;

Some by sands from other terrestrial sources;

Some by sands from other worlds, or from their deserts -- also from aerial regions too indefinite or amorphous to be thought of as "worlds" or planets --

That no supposititious whirlwind can account for the hundreds of millions of tons of matter that fell upon Australia, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean and Europe in 1902 and 1903 -- that a whirlwind that could do that would not be supposititious.

But now we shall cast off some of our wessicality by accepting that there have been falls of red substance other than sand.

We regard every science as an expression of the attempt to be real. But to be real is to localize the universal -- or to make some one thing as wide as all things -- successful accomplishment of which I cannot conceive of. The prime resistance to this endeavor is the refusal of the rest of the universe to be damned, excluded, disregarded, to receive Christian Science treatment, by something else so attempting. Although all phenomena are striving for the Absolute -- or have surrendered to and have incorporated themselves in higher attempts, simply to be phenomenal, or to have seeming in Intermediateness is to express relations.

A river.

It is water expressing the gravitational relation of different levels.

The water of the river.

Expression of chemic relations of hydrogen and oxygen -- which are not final.

A city. [38/39]

Manifestation of commercial and social relations.

How could a mountain be without base in a greater body?

Storekeeper live without customers?

The prime resistance to the positivist attempt by Science is its relations with other phenomena, or that it only expresses those relations in the first place. Or that a Science can have seeming, or survive in Intermediateness, as something pure, isolated, positively different, no more than could a river or a city or a mountain or a store.

This Intermediateness-wide attempt by parts to be wholes -- which cannot be realized in our quasi-state, if we accept that in it the co-existence of two or more wholes or universals is impossible -- high approximation to which, however, may be thinkable --

Scientists and their dream of "pure science."

Artists and their dream of "art for art's sake."

It is our notion that if they could almost realize, that would be almost realness: that they would instantly be translated into real existence. Such thinkers are good positivists, but they are evil in an economic and sociologic sense, if, in that sense, nothing has justification for being, unless it serve, or function for, or express the relations of, some higher aggregate. So Science functions for and serves society at large, and would, from society at large, receive no support, unless it did so divert itself or dissipate and prostitute itself. It seems that by prostitution I mean usefulness.

There have been red rains that, in the middle ages, were called "rains of blood." Such rains terrified many persons, and were so unsettling to large populations, that Science, in its sociologic relations, has sought, by Mrs. Eddy's method, to remove an evil --

That "rains of blood" do not exist;

That rains so called are only of water colored by sand from the Sahara desert.

My own acceptance is that such assurances, whether fictitious or not, whether the Sahara is a "dazzling white" desert or not, have wrought such good effects, in a sociologic sense, even though prostitutional in the positivist sense, they were well justified;

But that we've gone on: that this is the twentieth century; that most of us have grown up so that such soporifics of the past are no longer necessary:

That if gushes of blood should fall from the sky upon New York City, business would go on as usual.

We began with rains that we accepted ourselves were, most likely, [39/40] only of sand. In my own still immature hereticalness -- and by heresy, or progress, I mean, very largely, a return, though with many modifications, to the superstitions of the past, I think I feel considerable aloofness to the idea of rains of blood. Just at present, it is my conservative, or timid purpose, to express only that there have been red rains that very strongly suggest blood or finely divided animal matter --

Debris from inter-planetary disasters.

Aerial battles.

Food-supplies from cargoes of super-vessels, wrecked in inter-planetary traffic.

There was a red rain in the Mediterranean region, March 6, 1888. Twelve days later, it fell again. Whatever this substance may have been, when burned, the odor of animal matter from it was strong and persistent. (L'Astronomie, 1888-205).(46)

But -- infinite heterogeneity -- or debris from many different kinds of aerial cargoes -- there have been red rains that have been colored by neither sand nor animal matter.

Annals of Philosophy, 16-226:(47)

That, Nov. 2, 1819 -- week before the black rain and earthquake of Canada -- there fell, at Blankenberge, Holland, a red rain. As to sand, two chemists of Bruges concentrated 144 ounces of the rain to 4 ounces -- "no precipitate fell." But the color was so marked that had there been sand, it would have been deposited, if the substance had been diluted instead of concentrated. Experiments were made, and various reagents did cast precipitates, but other than sand. The chemists concluded that the rain-water contained muriate of cobalt -- which is not very enlightening: that could be said of many substances carried in vessels upon the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever it may have been, in the Annales de Chimie, 2-12-432, its color is said to have been red-violet.(48) For various chemic reactions, see Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 9-202, and Edin. Phil. Jour., 2-381.(49)

Something that fell with dust said to have been meteoric, March 9, 10, 11, 1872: described in the Chemical News, 25-300, as a "peculiar substance," consisted of red iron ochre, carbonate of lime, and organic matter.(50)

Orange-red hail, March 14, 1873, in Tuscany. (Notes and Queries, 9-5-16.)(51)

Rain of lavender-colored substance, at Oudon, France, Dec. 19, 1903. (Bull. Soc. Met. de France, 1904-124.)(52)

La Nature, 1885-2-351:(53) [40/41]

That, according to Prof. Schwedoff, there fell, in Russia, June 14, 1880, red hailstones, also blue hailstones, also gray hailstones.

Nature, 34-123:(54)

A correspondent writes that he had been told by a resident of a small town in Venezuela, that there, April 17, 1886, had fallen hailstones, some red, some blue, some whitish: informant said to have been one unlikely to have heard of the Russian phenomenon; described as an "honest, plain countryman."

Nature, July 5, 1877, quotes a Roman correspondent to the London Times who sent a translation from an Italian newspaper: that a red rain had fallen in Italy, June 23, 1877, containing "microscopically small particles of sand."(55)

Or, according to our acceptance, any other story would have been an evil thing, in the sociologic sense, in Italy, in 1877. But the English correspondent, from a land where terrifying red rains are uncommon, does not feel this necessity. He writes: "I am by no means satisfied that the rain was of sand and water." His observations are that drops of this rain left stains "such as sandy water could not leave." He notes that when the water evaporated, no sand was left behind.

L'Année Scientifique, 1888-75:(56)

That, Dec. 13, 1887, there fell, in Cochin China, a substance like blood, somewhat coagulated.

Annales de Chimie, 85-266:(57)

That a thick, viscous, red matter fell at Ulm, in 1812.

We now have a datum with a factor that has been foreshadowed; which will recur and recur and recur throughout this book. It is a factor that makes for speculation so revolutionary that it will have to be re-enforced many times before we can take it into full acceptance.

Year Book of Facts, 1861-273:(58)

Quotation from a letter from Prof. Campini to Prof. Matteucci:

That, upon Dec. 28, 1860, at about 7 a.m., in the northwestern part of Siena, a reddish rain feel copiously for two hours.

A second red shower fell at 11 o'clock.(59)

Three days later, the red rain fell again.

The next day another red rain fell.

Still more extraordinarily:

Each fall occurred in "exactly the same quarter of the town." [41]

1. For example, see: J.W. Moore. "Pollen showers." Meteorological magazine, 14 (July 1879): 96.

2. "The somewhat rare phenomenon...." Monthly weather review, May 1877, 11.

3. Marcel de Serres. "Sur la chute des pierres, or sur les aérolithes." Annales de chimie, s.1, 85( 1813): 262-308 at 288. For an English translation of this article: Marcel de Serres. "Observations on the fall of stones from the clouds, or aerolites." Philosophical magazine, s.1, 44 (1814): 217-224, 253-260.

4. "Yellow showers of pollen." American journal of science, s.1, 42 (1842): 195-197. For the article referred to in this citation: "Lycopodium." American journal of science, s.1, 39 (1840): 399.

5. The bug on Mont Blanc was a Plusia gamma. Albert Müller. "On the dispersal of non-migrating insects by atmospheric agencies." Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London, 1871, 175-186, at 184. For the mahogany logs in Greenland: William Scoresby, Jr. An Account of the Arctic Regions. Edinburgh: A. Constable & Co., 1820. 2 vols., v. 1, 6-8. And: John Barrow. A Chronological History of Voyages into the Arctic Regions. London: John Murray, 1818, 334.

6. "A rain of solid matter." Journal of the Franklin Institute, s.3, 60: 11-12.

7. "A fall of yellow rain." Nature, 2 (June 30, 1870): 166.

8. J. Bouis. "Relation d'une pluie de terre tombée dans le midi de la France et en Espagne." Comptes Rendus, 56 (1863): 972-4. The fall occurred in 1863.

9. "Shower of red earth in Italy." Blackwood's Magazine, 3 (June 1818): 338-9. Correct name: Sementini.

10. "Shower of red earth in Italy." Annals of Philosophy, 11, 466-7.

11. E.F.F. Chladni. "Nouveau catalogue des chutes de pierres ou de fer; de poussières ou de substances molles, sèches ou humides, suivant l'ordre chronologique." Annales de Chimie et de Physique, s. 2, 31 (1826): 253-70, at 260. E.F.F. Chladni. "A new catalogue of the fall of stones, iron, dust, and soft substances, dry or moist, in chronological order." Annals of Philosophy, n.s., 12, 83-96, at 89: "1813, 14th March. -- Stones at Cutro, in Calabria, during the fall of a great quantity of red dust."

12. "Black rain in Ireland." Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1850, 348. "April 14. Curious phenomenon." Annual Register, 1849, pt.2: 39-40. For a local account of this rain: "Royal Dublin Society." Dublin Freeman's Journal, May 1, 1849, p.3 c.2-3.

13. "Shower of black rain." American Meteorological Journal, 4 (September 1887): 193.

14. "Black rain in Ireland, October 8th-9th, 1907." Symons' Meteorological Magazine, 43, 2-4.

15. "Notes." Nature, 77 (March 12, 1908): 442-6, at 445.

16. John Ringwood. "Black rain." Symons' Meteorological magazine, 33, 40-41. The date of this rain was March 30, 1898.

17. "Notes." Nature, 85 (February 2, 1911): 448-453, at 451. Fort marked "X" next to the first line, which probably was due to the date of January 20 being identified as the date of the snow fall rather than the date when the London Morning Post reported its occurrence of a recent black rain in the Lower Emmen Valley.

18. "Une pluie d'encre." Nature (Paris), 1888 v.2 (November 24): 406.

19. Sic, terrestrial volcano.

20. Lewis P. Muirhead. "Meteoric dust." Knowledge, 5 (March 21, 1884): 190.

21. E. Highton. "Black rains and dew ponds." Nature, 9 (November 20, 1873): 43.

22. James Rust. The Scottish Black Rain Showers and Pumicestone Shoals of the Year 1862 and 1863. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1864. "The Scottish showers and shoals" appears on the page ahead of the title page.

23. Rust writes: "I have heard nothing respecting that state of Vesuvius corresponding to the most recent of the Showers of Black Rain, -- namely, that one which fell on 28th October, 1863." Although Vesuvius had been active until December 31, 1861, it was apparently not in eruption again until February of 1864; and, Etna, which was not active since May of 1853, became active from July 7 to 25, 1863, and again in August of 1864. The attempt to correlate the black rains with the eruptions of these volcanoes would appear spurious. However, Fort does not mention Rust's speculation upon a relation with the brilliant meteors seen in January of 1862, including: "a large fiery ball" over Slains on January 14, at 9 p.m., (the date of the first black rain, which occurred from about 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.). Ibid, 43, 47. Tom Simkin et al. Volcanoes of the World. Stroudsburg, PA: Hutchinson Ross Publishing Co., 1981; 33, 36, 131-2.

24. "Pluie noire." Science Pour Tous, 11, 263-264. For an English report, claiming a relation between the rains and volcanic activity: Thos. Ratcliffe. "Black rain." Notes and Queries, s.4, 9 (March 30, 1872): 267. The copy of Rust's book, which belonged to the U.S. Weather Bureau had the following inscription on its back page: "Forty `showers' at least have been observed and published in various periodicals, as they fell. J.R." A similar inscription was written upon the copy in the New York Public Library: "Since these showers there have been more than 40 additional showers of Black Rain attested and publicly notified in various Periodicals. JR."

25. "A black shower." Timb's Year-Book of Facts in Science and Art, 1851, 270-271. Correct quote: " of waggons, was heard for upwards of an hour."

26. S.J. Perry. "Extraordinary darkness at midday." Nature, 30 (May 1, 1884): 6. "The remarkable sunsets." Nature, 30 (May 8, 1884): 32. And, for another article on the black rain: S.J. Perry. "Black rain." Nature, 30 (May 8, 1884): 32.

27. "The earthquake." Nature, 30 (May 1, 1884): 17-19. "The recent earthquake." Nature, 30 (May 8, 1884): 31-32. W. Topley. "The earthquake." Nature, 30 (May 15, 1884): 60-62.

28. Frédéric Zurcher, and, Elie Margollé. Meteors, Aërolites, Storms, and Atmospheric Phenomena. New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1871, 238. Correct quote: "...shocks similar to those felt during an earthquake...."

29. "Black rain." Edinburgh philosophical journal, 2, 381-382.

30. Fort's rejection of any "real science of chemistry" based upon the work of "Ramsay and others" is not far-fetched, considering the knowledge of its basis in Fort's time. In one aspect, Rayleigh and Ramsay's discovery of the element argon and the "noble gases," which are chemically inert, led Mendeleyev to state: "If we admit that the molecule of argon contains but one atom, there is no room for it in the periodic system; because, even if we suppose that its density is much below 20 (although this is very unlikely to be the case, and the contrary could rather be surmised), and that the atomic weight of argon should fall between the atomic weights of chlorine and potassium, the new body ought to be placed in the eighth group of the third series; but the existence of an eighth group in this series could hardly be admitted." When Bertholet claimed to have succeeded in producing a chemical reaction between argon and benzene, Mendeleyev claimed it as support for his "supposition that argon is a polymerised variety of nitrogen whose molecule contains N3, while ordinary nitrogen contain N2. ("Professor Mendeléeff on argon." Nature, 51 (April 4, 1895): 543. Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev. The Principles of Chemistry. New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1901, "Appendix III. Argon, a new constituent of the atmosphere," 491-9, at 498.) In another aspect, Ramsay posed the question of whether "elements" were final products. "The substances are classified as elements solely because no attempts to convert one into another have up till now been successful... and it has been often held that it is not impossible that all elements may consist of a primal substance -- `protyle,' as it has been called -- in different states of condensation." ("What is an element?" William Ramsay. Essays Biographical and Chemical. London: Archibald Constable & Co., 1909, 147-160, at 149.) In 1907 and 1908, Ramsay and Cameron attempted the atomic disintegration, or transmutation, of various elements with the radiation from radioactive substances. Ramsay believed that he had converted neon and argon from water and lithium from copper; but, with methods less likely to involve contamination, "it is generally accepted to-day that the evidence is against the transformations announced by Ramsay." E.N. Da C. Andrade. The Structure of the Atom. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1924, 57. Ramsay viewed chemistry as evolving: "This new chemistry is just at its commencement. It dates from 1896, when Becquerel showed that compounds or uranium evolved some sort of radiation which would impress a photographic plate. It is still too early to formulate any definite statement relating to its connection with the irregularity in the numerical sequence of the atomic weights; yet it may be permissable to speculate, aided by recent discoveries." "Periodic arrangement of elements." William Ramsay. Op.Cit., 161-178, at 175. Bohr's model of the hydrogen atom, which consisted of a single electron in orbit around a nucleus composed of a single proton, was valid for hydrogen but not for any other element nor any isotopes of hydrogen. Though Ramsay's experiments are now viewed as erroneous in their outcome, Rutherford won a Nobel prize for transmuting nitrogen into oxygen; and, not until Chadwick discovered the "neutron," for which he won a Nobel prize, did physicists and chemists emerge from decades of delusion and reconcile the disparity between the atomic numbers and the atomic weights in the elements. Even in giving his Nobel lecture, in 1935, Chadwick cautioned: "It seems at present useless to discuss whether the neutron and proton are elementary particles or not; it may be that they are two different states of the fundamental heavy particle." Niels H. de V. Heathcote. Nobel Prize Winners in Physics: 1901 -- 1950. New York: Henry Schuman, 1953, 335.

31. F. Chapman and H.J. Grayson. "On red rain with special reference to its occurrence in Victoria. With a note on Melbourne dust." Victorian Naturalist, 20 (June 1903): 17-32. Also, the fall began on November 11.

32. Andrew Noble. "Dust in the atmosphere during 1902-3." Monthly Weather Review, 32 (August 1904): 364-365.

33. Edwy Godwin Clayton. "Discoloured rain." Proceedings of the (Royal) Chemical Society of London, 19, (no. 264): 101-103.

34. "Dust storms and red rain." Monthly Weather Review, 29 (March 1901): 120-121.

35. T.E. Thorpe. "Red rain and the dust storm of February 22." Nature, 68 (May 21, 1903): 53-4.

36. "Notes." Nature, 68 (May 21, 1903): 64-8, at 65.

37. Rowland A. Earp. "Analysis of the red rain of February 22." Nature, 67 (March 5, 1903): 414-5.

38. "Notes." Nature, 68 (June 4, 1903): 106-11, at 109.

39. T.E. Thorpe. "Red rain and the dust storm of February 22." Nature, 68 (July 9, 1903): 222-3.

40. Hugh Robert Mill and R.G.K. Lempfert. "The great dust-fall of February 1903, and its origin." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society of London, 30 (January 1904): 57-91, at 57, 61, 73, 87-8. The fall of dust was most prominent on February 22, 1903, though it was noted in England and Europe from February 21 to 24; but, the fall may have been a repeated fall, in parts of England, for: "...there appears to be reason for supposing that a distinct renewal of the fall, though on a much smaller scale, occurred between the 25th and 27th," in England. One curious area where dust was reported to fall came from the S.S. Nubia, between Spain and Africa in the Mediterranean, on February 21; yet, Spain, Italy, and the south of France were scarcely affected by the fall of dust. The vessel was the R.M.S. Tagus.

41. "The great dustfall of February, 1903." Symons' Meteorological Magazine, 38 (March 1903): 21-5.

42. Fort's reference to Bull. Com. Geolog. could not be traced in the Bulletin de la Commission Geologique de Finlande nor in the Bulletin de la Comité Geologique de Russie (St. Petersburg), also later known as Izvetsiia Geologicheskago Komiteta. However, the fall of dust in Russia is reported elsewhere: W.J.S. Lockyer. "Dust-falls and their origins." Nature, 66 (May 8, 1902): 41. "Der grosse staubfall vom 9 bis 12 März 1901 in Nordafrika, Süd und Mittelerupoa," (book review).

Symons' Meteorological Magazine, 37 (1902): 24-6. (Johann Georg) Gustav Hellman and Wilhelm Meinardus. Der gross staubfall vow 9. bis 12. Marz 1901 in Nordafrika, Süd- und Mittel-europa. Berlin: A. Asher & Co., 1901; 28-29, and 76.

43. F. Chapman and H.J. Grayson. "On red rain with special reference to its occurrence in Victoria. With a note on Melbourne dust." Victorian Naturalist, 20 (June 1903): 17-32. In November of 1902, 50 tons per square mile was estimated; and, in March of 1903, 35.5 tons per square mile was estimated.

44. Hugh Robert Mill and R.G.K. Lempfert. "The great dust-fall of February 1903, and its origin." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society of London, 30 (January 1904): 56-91, at 61-2, 64-5.

45. Wm. Marriott. "Fall of coloured dust on February 22-23." Nature, 67 (February 26, 1903): 391. "Notes." Nature, 67 (February 26, 1903): 396-400, at 396.

46. Nicholas Camille Flammarion. "Pluie de sable des 6 et 18 Mars a Alexandrie." Astronomie, 8 (June 1889): 201-5, at 205. The rains of sand were described as varying from yellow to cinnamon in the colour of the samples collected by A. Pirona, director of the observatory at Alexandria, Egypt.

47. "Singular rain." Annals of Philosophy, 16, 226.

48. "Pluie rouge tombée à Blankenberge, le 2 novembre 1819." Annales de Chimie, s.2, 12 (1819): 431-3, at 432.

49. "Coloured rain." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Institute of Great Britain, 9, 201-202. "Red rain." Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 2, 381-382.

50. "Chemico-microscopic research of a peculiar substance which accompanied the meteoric dust which fell in Sicily on 9th, 10th, and 11th March last." Chemical News, 25 (June 21, 1872): 300. For the original report and analysis, reviewed above: O. Silvestri. "Studio chimico microscopico di una particolare pioggia accompagnnia da polvere meteorica, caduta in Sicilia nei giorni 9, 10 e 11 marzo 1872." Gazetta Chimica Italiana, 2 (1872): 83-8. For a English translation and review of this article: "Analysis of meteoric sand." Annual of Science and Industry, 1872, 119-20.

51. Fort notes: "BD/Ref showers No 9/6/516 should be 9/5/516" (Note SF-V-326). The correct reference is: R. Hedger Wallace. "Showers of snakes, fish, spiders, &c." Notes and Queries, s.9, 5 (June 30, 1900): 516.

52. "Sur une `pluie de sang' tombée à Oudon, près Ancenis (Loire-Inférierure)." Annuaire de la Société Météorologique de France, 1904 (May): 124-5.

53. "Grèle rouge." Nature (Paris), 1885 v.2 (October 31): 351.

54. A. Ernst. "A remarkable hailstorm." Nature, 34 (June 10, 1886): 122. The fall was at El Totumo, near Tinaco. Correct quote: "...honest and plain countryman of no literary education whatever...."

55. "Notes." Nature, 16 (July 5, 1877): 196-8, at 197-8. "Italy." London Times, June 26, 1877, p.5 c.5. No such quotes are found here; however, in Nature: "The sand fell in small perfectly spherical masses of about 1-25,000th of an inch in diameter, at a maximum." Also: "...I have washed the sky over with them, and have afterwards sluiced the paper with water from a sponge; yet there they remain. If sand they be, that material appears to have a most unusually tenacious affinity for the paper."

56. "Prétendue pluie de sang." Année Scientifique et Industrielle (Paris), 32 (1888): 75. Cochin China is now identified as Vietnam.

57. Marcel de Serres. "Sur la chute des pierres, or sur les aérolithes." Annales de Chimie et de Physique, s. 1, 85 (1813): 262-308, at 266. Marcel de Serres. "Observations on the fall of stones from the clouds, or aerolites." Philosophical Magazine, s. 1, 44 (1814): 217-24, 253-60, at 254. Fort notes: "BD. Ulm. 1802, not 1812," (Note SF-V-329). This fall occurred in 1802, (not 1812), according to Serres.

58. "Coloured rain." Timb's Year-Book of Facts in Science and Art, 1861, 273. Prof. Campani; not "Campini."

59. A third such shower fell at 2 p.m. on December 28.

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