The Book of the Damned

A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book

Edited and Annotated by Mr. X



Chapter VI

LEAD, silver, diamonds, glass.

They sound like the accursed, but they're not: they're now of the chosen -- that is, when they occur in metallic or stony masses that Science has recognized as meteorites. We find that resistance is to substances not so mixed in or incorporated.

Of accursed data, it seems to me that punk is pretty damnable. In the Report of the British Association, 1878-376, there is mention of a light chocolate-brown substance that has fallen with meteorites.(1) No particulars given; not another mention anywhere else that I can find. In this English publication, the word "punk" is not used; the substance is called "amadou." I suppose, if the datum has anywhere been admitted to French publications, the word "amadou" has been avoided, and "punk" used.

Or oneness of allness: scientific works and social registers: a Goldstein who can't get in as Goldstein, gets in as Jackson.

The fall of sulphur from the sky has been especially repulsive to the modern orthodoxy -- largely because of its associations with the superstitions or principles of the preceding orthodoxy -- stories of devils: sulphurous exhalations. Several writers have said that they have had this feeling. So the scientific reactionists, who have rabidly fought the preceding, because it was the preceding: and the scientific prudes, who, in sheer exclusionism, have held lean hands over pale eyes, denying falls of sulphur. I have many notes upon the sulphurous odor of meteorites, and many notes upon phosphorescence of things that come from externality. Some day I shall look over old stories of demons that have appeared sulphurously upon this earth, with the idea of expressing that we have often had undesirable visitors from other worlds; or that an indication of external derivation is sulphurousness. I expect some day to rationalize demonology, but just at present we are scarcely far enough advanced to go so far back.

For a circumstantial account of a mass of burning sulphur, about the size of a man's fist, that fell at Pultusk, Poland, Jan. 30, 1868, [66/67] upon a road, where it was stamped out by a crowd of villagers, see Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1874-272.(2)

The power of the exclusionists lies in that in their stand are combined both modern and archaic systematists.(3) Falls of sandstone and limestone are repulsive to both theologians and scientists. Sandstone and limestone suggest other worlds upon which occur processes like geological processes; but limestone, as a fossiliferous substance, is of course especially of the unchosen.

In Science, March 9, 1888, we read of a block of limestone, said to have fallen near Middleburgh, Florida.(4) It was exhibited at the Sub-tropical Exposition, at Jacksonville. The writer, in Science, denies that it fell from the sky. His reasoning is:

There is no limestone in the sky;

Therefore this limestone did not fall from the sky.

Better reasoning I cannot conceive of -- because we see that a final major premise -- universal -- true -- would include all things: that, then, would leave nothing to reason about -- so then that all reasoning must be based upon "something" not universal, or only a phantom intermediate to the two finalities of nothingness and allness, or negativeness and positiveness.

La Nature 1890-2-127:(5)

Fall, at Pel-et-Der (L'Aube) France, June 6, 1890, of limestone pebbles. Identified with limestone at Chateau Landon -- or up and down in a whirlwind. But they fell with hail -- which, in June, could not very well be identified with ice from Chateau-Landon. Coincidence, perhaps.

Upon page 70, Science Gossip, 1887, the Editor says, of a stone that was reported to have fallen at Little Lever, England, that a sample had been sent to him.(6) It was sandstone. Therefore it had not fallen, but had been on the ground in the first place. But, upon page 140, Science Gossip, 1887, is an account of "a large, smooth, waterworn, gritty sandstone pebble" that had been found in the wood of a full-grown beech tree.(7) Looks to me as if it had fallen red-hot, and had penetrated the tree with high velocity. But I have never heard of anything falling red-hot from a whirlwind --

The wood around this sandstone pebble was black, as if charred.

Dr. Farrington, for instance, in his books, does not even mention sandstone. However, the British Association, though reluctant, is less exclusive: Report of 1860, p. 107: substance about the size of a duck's egg, that fell at Raphoe, Ireland, June 9, 1860 -- date [67/68] questioned.(8) It is not definitely said that this substance was sandstone, but that it "resembled" friable sandstone.

Falls of salt have occurred often. They have been avoided by scientific writers, because of the dictum that only water and not substances held in solution, can be raised by evaporation. However, falls of salty water have received attention from Dalton and others, and have been attributed to whirlwinds from the sea.(9) This is reasonably contested -- quasi-reasonably -- as to places not far from the sea --

But the fall of salt that occurred high in the mountains of Switzerland --

We could have predicted that that datum could be found somewhere. Let anything be explained in local terms of the coast of England -- but also has it occurred high in the mountains of Switzerland.

Large crystals of salt fell -- in a hailstorm -- Aug. 20, 1870, in Switzerland. The orthodox explanation is a crime: whoever made it should have had his finger-prints taken. We are told (An. Rec. Sci., 1872) that these objects of salt "came over the Mediterranean from some part of Africa."(10)

Or the hypnosis of the conventional -- provided it be glib. One reads such an assertion, and provided it be suave and brief and conventional, one seldom questions -- or thinks "very strange" and then forgets. One has an impression from geography lessons: Mediterranean not more than three inches wide, on the map; Switzerland only a few more inches away. These sizable masses of salt are described in the Amer. Jour. Sci., 3-3-239, as "essentially imperfect cubic crystals of common salt."(11) As to occurrence with hail -- that can in one, or ten, or twenty instances be called a coincidence.

Another datum: extraordinary year 1883:

London Times, Dec. 25, 1883:(12)

Translation from a Turkish newspaper; a substance that fell at Scutari, Dec. 2, 1883; described as an unknown substance, in particles -- or flakes? -- like snow. "It was found to be saltish to the taste, and to dissolve readily in water."


"Black capillary matter" that fell, Nov. 16, 1857, at Charleston, S. C., (Amer. Jour. Sci., 2-31-459).(13)

Fall of small, friable, vesicular masses, from the size of a pea to size of a walnut, at Lobau, Jan. 18, 1835 (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-85).(14) [68/69]

Objects that fell at Peshawur, India, June, 1893, during a storm: substance that looked like crystallized nitre, and that tasted like sugar (Nature, July 13, 1893).(15)

I suppose sometimes deep-sea fishes have their noses bumped by cinders. If their regions be subjacent to Cunard or White Star routes, they're especially likely to be bumped. I conceive of no inquiry: they're deep-sea fishes.

Or the slag of Slains. That it was a furnace-product. The Rev. James Rust seemed to feel bumped. He tried in vain to arouse inquiry.

As to a report, from Chicago, April 9, 1879, that slag had fallen from the sky, Prof. E.S. Bastian (Amer. Jour. Sci., 3-18-78) says that the slag had been on the ground in the first place.(16) It was furnace-slag. "A chemical examination of the specimens has shown they possess none of the characteristics of true meteorites."

Over and over and over again, the universal delusion; hope and despair of attempted positivism; that there can be real criteria, or distinct characteristics of anything. If anybody can define -- not merely suppose, like Prof. Bastian, that he can define -- the true characteristics of anything, or so localize trueness anywhere, he makes the discovery for which the cosmos is laboring. He will be instantly translated, like Elijah into the Positive Absolute. My own notion is that, in a moment of super-concentration, Elijah became so nearly a real prophet that he was translated to heaven, or to the Positive Absolute, with such velocity that he left an incandescent train behind him. As we go along, we shall find the "true test of meteoric material," which in the past has been taken as an absolute, dissolving into almost utmost nebulosity. Prof. Bastian explains mechanically, or in terms of the usual reflexes to all reports of unwelcome substances: that near where the slag had been found, telegraph wires had been struck by lightning; that particles of melted wire had been seen to fall near the slag -- which had been on the ground in the first place. But, according to the N. Y. Times, April 14, 1879, about two bushels of this substance had fallen.(17)

Something that was said to have fallen at Darmstadt, June 7, 1846; listed by Greg (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1867-416) as "only a slag."(18)

Philosophical Magazine, 4-10-381:(19)

That, in 1855, a large stone was found far in the interior of a tree, in Battersea Fields. [69/70]

Sometimes cannon balls are found embedded in trees. Doesn't seem to be anything to discuss; doesn't seem discussable that any one would cut a hole in a tree and hide a cannon ball, which one could take to bed, and hide under one's pillow, just as easily. So with the stone of Battersea Fields. What is there to say, except that it fell with high velocity and embedded in the tree? Nevertheless, there was a great deal of discussion --

Because, at the foot of the tree, as if broken off the stone, fragments of slag were found.

I have nine other instances.

Slag and cinders and ashes, and you won't believe, and neither will I, that they came from the furnaces of vast aerial super-constructions. We'll see what looks acceptable.

As to ashes, the difficulties are great, because we'd expect many falls of terrestrially derived ashes -- volcanoes and forest fires.

In some of our acceptances, I have felt a little radical --

I suppose that one of our main motives is to show that there is, in quasi-existence, nothing but the preposterous -- or something intermediate to absolute preposterousness and final reasonableness -- that the new is the obviously preposterous; that it becomes the established and disguisedly preposterous; that it is displaced, after a while, and is again seen to be the preposterous. Or that all progress is from the outrageous to the academic or sanctified, and back to the outrageous -- modified, however, by a trend of higher and higher approximation to the impreposterous. Sometimes I feel a little more uninspired than at other times, but I think we're pretty well accustomed now to the oneness of allness; or that the methods of science in maintaining its system are as outrageous as the attempts of the damned to break in. In the Annual Record of Science, 1875-241, Prof. Daubrée is quoted: that ashes that had fallen in the Azores had come from the Chicago fire --(20)

Or the damned and the saved, and there's little to choose between them; and angels are beings that have not obviously barbed tails to them -- or never have such bad manners as to stroke an angel below the waist-line.

However this especial outrage was challenged: the Editor of the Record returns to it, in the issue of 1876: considers it "in the highest degree improper to say that the ashes of Chicago were landed in the Azores."

Bull. Soc. Astro. de France, 22-245:(21)

Account of a white substance, like ashes, that fell at Annoy, [70/71] France, March 27, 1908: simply called a curious phenomenon; no attempt to trace to a terrestrial source.

Flake formations, which may signify passage through a region of pressure, are common; but spherical formations -- as if of things that have rolled and rolled along planar regions somewhere -- are commoner:

Nature, Jan. 10, 1884, quotes a Kimberly newspaper:(22)

That, toward the close of November, 1883, a thick shower of ashy matter fell at Queenstown, South Africa. The matter was in marble-sized balls, which were soft and pulpy, but which, upon drying, crumbled at touch. The shower was confined to one narrow streak of land. It would be only ordinarily preposterous to attribute this substance to Krakatoa --

But, with the fall, loud noises were heard --

But I'll omit many notes upon ashes: if ashes should sift down upon deep-sea fishes, that is not to say that they came from steamships.

Data of falls of cinders have been especially damned by Mr. Symons, the meteorologist, some of whose investigations we'll investigate later -- nevertheless --

Notice of a fall, in Victoria, Australia, April 14, 1875 (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1875-242) -- at least we are told, in the reluctant way, that someone "thought" he saw matter fall near him at night, and the next day found something that looked like cinders.(23)

In the Proc. of the London Roy. Soc., 19-122, there is an account of cinders that fell on the deck of a lightship, Jan. 9, 1873.(24) In the Amer. Jour. Sci., 2-24-449, there is a notice that the Editor had received a specimen of cinders said to have fallen -- in showery weather -- upon a farm, near Ottowa, Illinois, Jan. 17, 1857.(25)

But after all, ambiguous things they are, cinders or ashes or slag or clinkers, the high priest of the accursed that must speak aloud for us is -- coal that has fallen from the sky.

Or coke:

The person who thought he saw something like cinders, also thought he saw something like coke, we are told.

Nature, 36-119:(26)

Something that "looked exactly like coke" that fell -- during a thunder storm -- in the Orne, France, April 24, 1887.

Or charcoal:

Dr. Angus Smith, in the Lit. and Phil. Soc. of Manchester Memoirs, 2-9-146, says that, about 1827 -- like a great deal in [71/72] Lyell's Principles and Darwin's Origin, this account is from hearsay -- something fell from the sky, near Allport, England.(27) It fell luminously, with a loud report, and scattered in a field. A fragment that was seen by Dr. Smith, is described by him as having "the appearance of a piece of common wood charcoal." Nevertheless, the reassured feeling of the faithful, upon reading this, is burdened with data of differences: the substance was so uncommonly heavy that it seemed as if it had iron in it; also there was "a sprinkling of sulphur." This material is said, by Prof. Baden-Powell, to be "totally unlike that of any other meteorite." Greg, in his catalogue (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-73) calls it "a more than doubtful substance" -- but again, against reassurance, this is not doubt of authenticity. Greg says that it is like compact charcoal, with particles of sulphur and iron pyrites embedded.(28)

Reassurance rises again:

Prof. Baden-Powell says: "It contains also charcoal, which might perhaps be acquired from matter among which it fell."

This is a common reflex with the exclusionists: that substances not "truly meteoritic" did not fall from the sky, but were picked up by "truly meteoritic" things, of course only on their surfaces, by impact with this earth.

Rhythm of reassurances and their declines:

According to Dr. Smith, this substance was not merely coated with charcoal; his analysis gives 43.59 per cent carbon.

Our acceptance that coal has fallen from the sky will be via data of resinous substances and bituminous substances, which merge so that they can not be told apart.

Resinous substance said to have fallen at Kaba, Hungary, April 15, 1887 (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-94).(29)

A resinous substance that fell after a fireball? at Neuhaus, Bohemia, Dec. 17, 1824 (Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1860-70).(30)

Fall, July 28, 1885, at Luchon, during a storm, of a brownish substance; very friable, carbonaceous matter; when burned it gave out a resinous odor (Comptes Rendus, 103-837).(31)

Substance that fell Feb. 17, 18, 19, 1841, at Genoa, Italy, said to have been resinous; said by Arago (Oeuvres, 12-469) to have been bituminous matter and sand.(32)

Fall -- during a thunderstorm -- July, 1681, near Cape Cod, upon the deck of an English vessel, the Albemarle, of "burning, bituminous matter" (Edin. New Phil. Jour., 26-86); a fall at Christiana, Norway, June 13, 1822, of bituminous matter, listed by Greg [72/73] as doubtful; fall of bituminous matter, in Germany, March 8, 1798, listed by Greg. Lockyer, (The Meteoric Hypothesis, p. 24) says that the substance that fell at the Cape of Good Hope, Oct. 13, 1838 -- about five cubic feet of it: substance so soft that it was cuttable with a knife -- "after being experimented upon, it left a residue, which gave out a very bituminous smell."(33)

And this inclusion of Lockyer's -- so far as findable in all books that I have read -- is, in books, about as close as we can get to our desideratum -- that coal has fallen from the sky. Dr. Farrington, except with a brief mention, ignores the whole subject of the fall of carbonaceous matter from the sky.(34) Proctor, in all of his books that I have read -- is, in books, about as close as we can get to duction to the Study of Meteorites," p. 53) excommunicates with the admission that carbonaceous has been found in meteorites "in very minute quantities" -- or my own suspicion is that it is possible to damn something else only by losing one's own soul -- quasi-soul, of course.(35)

Sci. Amer., 35-120:(36)

That the substance that fell at the Cape of Good Hope "resembled a piece of anthracite coal more than anything else."

It's a mistake, I think: the resemblance is to bituminous coal -- but it is from the periodicals that we must get our data. To the writers of books upon meteorites, it would be as wicked -- by which we mean departure from the characters of an established species -- quasi-established, of course -- to say that coal has fallen from the sky, as would be, to something in a barnyard, a temptation that it climb a tree and catch a bird. Domestic things in a barnyard: and how wild things from forests outside seem to them. Or the homeopathist -- but we shall shovel data of coal.

And, if over and over, we shall learn of masses of soft coal that have fallen upon this earth, if in no instance has it been asserted that the masses did not fall, but were upon the ground in the first place; if we have many instances, this time we turn down good and hard the mechanical reflex that these masses were carried from one place to another in whirlwinds, because we find it too difficult to accept that whirlwinds could so select, or so specialize in a peculiar substance. Among writers of books, the only one I know of who makes more than brief mention is Sir Robert Ball.(37) He represents a still more antique orthodoxy, or is an exclusionist of the old type, still holding out against even meteorites. He cites several falls of carbonaceous matter, but with disregards that make for reasonable- [73/74] ness that earthy matter may have been caught up by whirlwinds and flung down somewhere else. If he had given a full list, he would be called upon to explain the special affinity of whirlwinds for a special kind of coal. He does not give a full list. We shall have all that's findable, and we shall see that against this disease we're writing, the homeopathist's prescription availeth not. Another exclusionist was Prof. Lawrence Smith. His psycho-tropism was to respond to all reports of carbonaceous matter falling from the sky, by saying that this damned matter had been deposited upon things of the chosen by impact with this earth. Most of our data antedate him, or were contemporaneous with him, or were as accessible to him as to us. In his attempted positivism it is simply -- and beautifully -- disregarded that, according to Bethelot, Berzelius, Cloez, Wohler and others these masses are not merely coated with carbonaceous matter, but are carbonaceous throughout, or are permeated throughout. How any one could so resolutely and dogmatically and beautifully and blindly hold out, would puzzle us were it not for our acceptance that only to think is to exclude and include; and to exclude some things that have as much right to come in as have the included -- that to have an opinion upon any subject is to be a Lawrence Smith -- because there is no definite subject.(38)

Dr. Walter Flight (Eclectic Magazine, 89-71) says, of the substance that fell near Alais, France, March 15, 1806, that it "emits a faint bituminous substance" when heated, according to the observations of Berzelius and a commission appointed by the French Academy.(39) This time we have not the reluctances expressed in such words as "like" and "resembling." We are told that this substance is "an earthy kind of coal."

As to "minute quantities" we are told that the substance that fell at the Cape of Good Hope has in it a little more than a quarter of organic matter, which, in alcohol, gives the familiar reaction of yellow, resinous matter. Other instances given by Dr. Flight are:

Carbonaceous matter that fell in 1840, in Tennessee; Cranbourne, Australia, 1861; Montauban, France, May 14, 1864 (twenty masses, some of them as large as a human head; of a substance that "resembled a dull-colored earthy lignite"); Goalpara, India, about 1867 (about 8 per cent of a hydrocarbon); at Ornans, France, July 11, 1868; substance with "an organic, combustible ingredient," at Hessle, Sweden, Jan. 1, 1860.

Knowledge, 4-134:(40) [74/75]

That, according to M. Daubrée, the substance that had fallen in the Argentine Republic, "resembled certain kinds of lignite and boghead coal." In Comptes Rendus, 96-1764, it is said that this mass fell, June 30, 1880, in the province Entre Rios, Argentina: that it is "like" brown coal; that it resembles all the other carbonaceous masses that have fallen from the sky.(41)

Something that fell at Grazac, France, Aug. 10, 1885: when burned, it gave out a bituminous odor (Comptes Rendus, 104-1771).(42)

Carbonaceous substance that fell at Rajpunta, India, Jan. 22, 1911: very friable: 50 per cent of it soluble in water (Records Geol. Survey of India, 44-pt. 1-41).(43)

A combustible carbonaceous substance that fell with sand at Naples, March 14, 1818 (American Journal of Science, 1-1-309).(44)

Sci. Amer. Supp., 29-11798:(45)

That, June 9, 1889, a very friable substance, of a deep, greenish black color, fell at Mighei, Russia. It contained 5 per cent organic matter, which, when powdered and digested in alcohol, yielded, after evaporation, a bright yellow resin. In this mass was 2 per cent of an unknown mineral.

Cinders and ashes and slag and coke and charcoal and coal.

And the things that sometimes deep-sea fishes are bumped by.

Reluctances and the disguises or covered retreats of such words as "like" and "resemble" -- or that conditions of Intermediateness forbid abrupt transitions -- but that the spirit animating all Intermediateness is to achieve abrupt transitions -- because, if anything could finally break away from its origin and environment, that would be a real thing -- something not merging away indistinguishably with the surrounding. So all attempt to be original; all attempt to invent something that is more than mere extension or modification of the preceding, is positivism -- or that if one could conceive of a device to catch flies, positively different from, or unrelated to, all other devices -- up he'd shoot to heaven, or the Positive Absolute -- leaving behind such an incandescent train that in one age it would be said that he had gone aloft in a fiery chariot, and in another age that he had been struck by lightning --

I'm collecting notes upon persons supposed to have been struck by lightning. I think that high approximation to positivism has often been achieved -- instantaneous translation -- residue of negativeness left behind, looking much like effects of a stroke of lightning. Some day I shall tell the story of the Marie Celeste -- "properly," [75/76] as the Scientific American Supplement would say -- mysterious disappearance of a sea captain, his family, and the crew --(46)

Of positivists, by the route of Abrupt Transition, I think that Manet was notable -- but that his approximation was held down by his intense relativity to the public -- or that it is quite as impositive to flout and insult and defy as it is to crawl and placate. Of course, Manet began with continuity with Courbet and others, and then, between him and Monet there were mutual influences -- but the spirit of abrupt difference is the spirit of positivism, and Manet's stand was against the dictum that all lights and shades must merge away suavely into one another and prepare for one another.(47) So a biologist like De Vries represents positivism, or the breaking of Continuity, by trying to conceive of evolution by mutation -- against the dogma of indistinguishable gradations by "minute variations."(48) A Copernicus conceives of helio-centricity. Continuity is against him. He is not permitted to break abruptly with the past. He is permitted to publish his work, but only as "an interesting hypothesis."(49)

Continuity -- and that all that we call evolution or progress is attempt to break away from it --

That our whole solar system was at one time attempt by planets to break away from a parental nexus and set up individualities, and, failing, move in quasi-regular orbits that are expressions of relations with the sun and with one another, all having surrendered, being now quasi-incorporated in a higher approximation to system;

Intermediateness in its mineralogic aspect of positivism -- or Iron that strove to break away from Sulphur and Oxygen, and be real, homogeneous Iron -- failing, inasmuch as elemental iron exists only in text-book chemistry;

Intermediateness in its biologic aspect of positivism -- or the wild, fantastic, grotesque, monstrous things it conceived of, sometimes in a frenzy of effort to break away abruptly from all preceding types -- but failing, in the giraffe-effort, for instance, or only caricaturing an antelope --

All things break one relation only by the establishing of some other relation --

All things cut an umbilical cord only to clutch a breast.

So the fight of the exclusionists to maintain the traditional -- or to prevent abrupt transition from the quasi-established -- fighting so that here, more than a century after meteorites were included, no other notable inclusion has been made, except that of cosmic dust, [76/77] data of which Nordenskiold made more nearly real than data in opposition.

So Proctor, for instance, fought and expressed his feeling of the preposterous, against Sir William H. Thomson's notions of arrival upon this earth of organisms on meteorites --

"I can only regard it as a jest" (Knowledge, 1-302).(50)

Or that there is nothing but jest -- or something intermediate to jest and tragedy;

That ours is not an existence but an utterance;

That Momus is imagining us for the amusement of the gods, often with such success that some of us seem almost alive -- like characters in something a novelist is writing; which often to considerable degree take their affairs away from the novelist --

That Momus is imagining us and our arts and sciences and religions, and is narrating or picturing us as a satire upon the gods' real existence.

Because -- with many of our data of coal that has fallen from the sky as accessible then as they are now, and with the scientific pronouncement that coal is fossil, how, in a real existence, by which we mean a consistent existence, or a state in which there is real intelligence, or a form of thinking that does not indistinguishably merge away with imbecility, could there have been such a row as that which was raised about forty years ago over Dr. Hahn's announcement that he had found fossils in meteorites?

Accessible to anybody at that time:

Philosophical Magazine, 4-17-425:(51)

That the substance that fell at Kaba, Hungary, April 15, 1857, contained organic matter "analogous to fossil waxes."

Or limestone:

Of the block of limestone which was reported to have fallen at Middleburgh, Florida, it is said (Science, 11-118) that, though something had been seen to fall in "an old cultivated field," the witnesses who ran to it picked up something that "had been upon the ground in the first place."(52) The writer who tells us this, with the usual exclusion-imagination, known as stupidity, but unjustly, because there is no real stupidity, thinks he can think of a good-sized stone that had for many years been in a cultivated field, but that had never been seen before -- had never interfered with plowing, for instance. He is earnest and unjarred when he writes that this stone weighs 200 pounds. My own notion, founded upon my own experience in seeing, is that a block of stone weighing 500 pounds [77/78] might be in one's parlor twenty years, virtually unseen -- but not in an old cultivated field, where it interfered with plowing -- not anywhere -- if it interfered.

Dr. Hahn said that he had found fossils in meteorites. There is a description of the corals, sponges, shells, and crinoids, all of them microscopic, which he photographed, in Popular Science, 20-83.(53)

Dr. Hahn was a well-known scientist. He was better known after that.

Anybody may theorize upon other worlds and conditions upon them that are similar to our own conditions: if his notions be presented undisguisedly as fiction, or only as an "interesting hypothesis," he'll stir up no prude rages.

But Dr. Hahn said definitely that he had found fossils in specified meteorites: also he published photographs of them. His book is in the New York Public Library. In the reproductions every feature of some of the little shells is plainly marked. If they're not shells, neither are things under an oyster-counter. The striations are very plain: one sees even the hinges where bivalves are joined.(54)

Prof. Lawrence Smith (Knowledge, 1-258):(55)

"Dr. Hahn is a kind of half-insane man, whose imagination has run away with him."

Conservation of Continuity.

Then Dr. Weinland examined Dr. Hahn's specimens. He gave his opinion that they are fossils and that they are not crystals of enstatite, as asserted by Prof. Smith, who had never seen them.(56)

The damnation of denial and the damnation of disregard:

After the publication of Dr. Weinland's findings -- silence.(57) [78]

1. Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors during the year 1877-78." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1878, 258-377, at 377.

2. Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors during the year 1873-1874." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1874, 272. The fall of this substance took place at Proschwitz, not at Pultusk; and, "on examination at Breslau some remains of the substance proved to be pure sulphur."

3. Sic, is combined.

4. George F. Kunz. "A pseudo-meteorite." Science, n.s., 11 (March 9, 1888): 119.

5. "La pluie de pierres de Pel-et-Der." Nature (Paris), 1891 v. 2 (July 25): 127. The fall occurred on June 6, 1891, (not in 1890).

6. "The meteorite at Little Lever," and, "The `meteorite' at Little Lever." Hardwicke's Science Gossip, 23 (1887): 70.

7. Fort marked a line under "140" and wrote "70" in the margin, to indicate an error. Samuel Stowarth. "Stones in wood." Hardwicke's Science Gossip, 23 (1887): 142. Correct quote: "...waterworn, fine gritty...."

8. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 107.

9. John Dalton. "On the saline impregnation of the rain which fell during the late storm, December 5th, 1822." Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society Memoirs, s. 2, 4 (1824): 324-31, 363-72. For attribution to a whirlwind as the source: J. Webb. "Salt hailstones." Symons' Meteorological Magazine, 24, 105.

10. "Salt and pyrites in hail-stones." Annual Record of Science and Industry, 1871, 36-7. Correct quote: "...brought over the Mediterranean Sea from some part of Africa...."

11. "Hailstones of salt and sulphide of iron." American Journal of Science, s.3, 3 (1872): 239. Correct quote: "...essentially of common salt, mainly in imperfect crystals."

12. Henry O. Dwight. (Letter). London Times, December 25, 1883, p.9 c.6.

13. "Catalogue of the Meteoric Collection of Charles Upham Shepard...." American Journal of Science, s.2, 31 (1861): 456-9.

14. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 75. The fall occurred at Löbau.

15. Kanhaiyalal. "Peculiar hailstones." Nature, 48 (July 13, 1893): 248. The fall occurred at Peshawar, India, not at Peshawur.

16. E.S. Bastian. "The supposed meteorite of Chicago." American Journal of Science, s.3, 18 (1879): 78. Correct quote: "...has shown that they possess none of the characters of true meteorites."

17. "Chicago's celestial visitor." New York Times, April 14, 1879, p. 3 c. 4.

18. Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors, 1866-67." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1867, 288-430, at 416.

19. Roderick Impey Murchison. "On a supposed aërolite or meteorite found in the trunk of an old willow tree in the Battersea Fields." Philosophical Magazine, s. 4, 10 (1855): 381-387, at 384-5.

20. "Falling of atmospheric dust in Norway, March 29 and 30, 1875." Annual Record of Science and Industry, 1875, 241-2. For the original article, which mentions this as an example: Daubrée. "Chute de poussière observée sur une partie de la Suède et de la Norvége, dans la nuit du 29 au 30 mars 1875." Comptes Rendus, 80 (1875): 994-5.

21. "Pluie de cendres." Bulletin de la Société Astronomique de France, 22 (1908): 244-5. The fall occurred at Annonay, France, not at Annoy.

22. "The remarkable sunsets." Nature, 29 (January 10, 1884): 250-2, at 252. The shower occurred at Glen Grey, about twelve miles from Queenstown; and, "while it lasted, we are told, the surrounding atmosphere remained unchanged and clear, as it had been before."

23. Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors during the year 1874-75." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1875, 199-257, at 243-4.

24. Robin Allen. "Account of a meteor that fell on the `Seven Stones' lightship, in a letter from the Secretary to the Corporation of the Trinity House, addressed to the President." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 21 (1873): 122. The fall occurred on November 13, 1872, and not on January 9, 1873. After a shock, balls of fire were observed falling into the water, and the deck of the ship was covered with cinders.

25. "Supposed meteorite." American Journal of Science, s.2, 24 (1857): 449. The fall occurred on June 17, 1857, at Ottawa, Illinois, not in January, nor at Ottowa.

26. "Societies and academies." Nature, 36, 117-20, at 119, under "Academy of Sciences," (Paris). "Note sur un coup de foudre." Comptes Rendus, 104 (May 23, 1877): 1473-8.

27. Robert Angus Smith. "Description of a meteorite which fell at Allport in Derbyshire." Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society Memoirs, s.2, 9 (1851): 146-8. Correct quote: "The appearance is that of a piece of common wood charcoal...."

28. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 72-3.

29. Fort marked "57" in the margin next to line with the date of "1887" to indicate the Kaba meteorite fell in 1857. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 94.

30. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 70.

31. Stanislas Meunier. "Substance singulière recueillie à la suite d'un météore rapporté à la foudre." Comptes Rendus, 103 (1886): 837-40.

32. Dominique FranÇois Jean Arago. Oeuvres complètes de FranÇois Arago. Paris, 1857, v.12, 469-70. Arago does not indicate this material as being resinous nor as being of sand; however, he does give an analysis of it as a mixture of talc, quartz, carbonate of lime, serpentine, bituminous matter, and organic matter containing seeds from different plants.

33. Dominique FranÇois Jean Arago. "On thunder and lightning," Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 26 (1839): 81-144, 275-91, at 86. Arago relates part of the story from Robert Boyle, who provides details from the account by Increase Mather. The Albemarl, on July 24, about 100 leagues off Cape Cod, suffered considerably from the thunderstorm: "The lightning burnt the main-top-sail, split the main-cap in pieces, rent the mast all along. There was in special one dreadful clap of thunder, the report bigger than of a great gun, at which all the ship's company were amazed; then did there fall something from the clouds upon the stern of the boat, which broke into many small parts, split one of the pumps, the other pump much hurt also. It was a bituminous matter, smelling much like fired gunpowder. It continued burning in the stern of the boat; they did with sticks dissipate it, and poured much water on it, and yet they were not able by all they could do to extinguish it, until such time as all the matter was consumed." It was discovered in the night, when stars were again visible, that the ship's compasses had changed their polarity. Three of the magnetic needles had reversed their direction pointing south instead of north, while a fourth pointed west instead of north. Increase Mather. Remarkable Providences. London: Reeves and Turner, 1890, 64-5. Robert Boyle. Thomas Birch, ed. The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle in Six Volumes. London: W. Johnston et al, 1772, v. 5, 636-7. R.P. Greg. "A catalogue of meteorites and fireballs." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1860, 48-120, at 61, 68. For the Norwegian fall, Greg merely notes: "...a bituminous substance fell?" Joseph Norman Lockyer. The Meteoritic Hypothesis. London: Macmillan and Co., 1890, 24. Lockyer refers to the Cold Bokkeveld meteorite. Correct quote: "...after being experimented upon, left a residue which gave...." Thomas Maclear. "An account of the fall of a meteoric stone in the Cold Bokkeveld, Cape of Good Hope." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 129 (1839) 83-4.

34. Oliver Cummings Farrington. "Catalogue of the meteorites of North America, to January 1, 1909." Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 13, (1915).

35. Fort marked "X" in the margin next to this paragraph to indicate a typographical error, being the rogue line: duction to the Study of Meteorites," p. 53) excommunicates with. This line refers to Fletcher's book, not Proctor's; thus, the line is out of place, and probably one or two lines of text have been lost. Fletcher briefly mentions "A carbonaceous group," thus: "A few meteorites to this division are remarkable as containing carbon in combination with hydrogen and oxygen. Of these the Alais and Cold Bokkeveld meteorites are good examples: the former has a bituminous smell; it yields sulphates of magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium, if steeped in water." Lazarus Fletcher. An Introduction to the Study of Meteorites. London: British Museum Trustees, 11th ed., 1914, 46 (no.47).

36. Charles Augustus Young. "Meteorites." Scientific American, n.s., 35 (August 19, 1876): 119-20. This refers to the Cold Bokkeveld meteorite.

37. For Ball's description of the carbonaceous Orgueil meteorite: Robert Ball. The Story of the Heavens. Rev. ed. New York: Cassell and Co., 1905, 398-9.

38. "On the carbonaceous matter in meteorites." American Journal of Science, s.2, 47 (1869): 130. Daubrée. "Note sur les météorites tombées le 14 mai aux environs d'Orgueil (Tarn-et-Garonne)." Comptes Rendus, 58 (1864): 984-90. Bertholet. "Sur la matière charbonneuse des météorites." Comptes Rendus, 67 (1868): 849. Those, who have reported carbonaceous matter in meteorites, include Stanislas Cloëz, Friedrich Wöhler, Joens Jakob Friherre Berzelius, Michael Faraday, and Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger.

39. Walter Flight. "Meteorites and the origin of life," Eclectic Magazine, 89, 711-8, at 715. Correct quote: "...emits a faint bituminous odor," and, "The stones have the appearance of an earthy variety of coal." The fall at Alais was investigated by Thénard and the commission in 1806, and it was again analyzed by Berzelius in 1834. The Cold Bokkeveld meteorite, which fell at the Cape of Good Hope, on October 13, 1838, was analyzed by Harris in 1859, who reported "more than 0.25 per cent. of an organic substance soluble in alcohol," not 25 per cent. Cranbourne, (County Mornington, Victoria), is near Melbourne, Australia; and, the meteorite was found in 1854. The analysis by Tschermak of the Goalpara meteorite found "0.85 per cent of a hydrocarbon," not 8 per cent. No quote of "organic" appears regarding the Hessle meteorite which fell on January 1, 1869, not in 1860; however, the "combustible ingredient" appeared to be composed of the hydrocarbon C9H4O2.

40. "A carbonaceous meteorite." Knowledge, 4 (August 31, 1883): 134. "A carbonaceous meteorite." Engineering (London), 36 (July 13, 1883): 44. Correct quote: "The meteorite recalls certain kinds of lignite and clay coals, such as the boghead coal."

41. Daubrée. "Météorite charbonneuse tombée le 30 juin 1880, dans la républic Argentine, non loin de Nogoga (province d'Entre-rios)." Comptes Rendus, 96 (1883): 1764-76. Two types of carbonaceous meteorites are suggested in the article: the first type being similar to the Orgueil and Alais meteorites, and the second type being similar to the Cold-Bokkeveld and Kaba meteorites, which this Argentine meteorite was supposed to resemble.

42. Daubrée, and, Stanislas Meunier. "Observations sur la météorite de Grazac; type charbonneux nouveau qu'elle représente." Comptes Rendus, 104 (June 20, 1887): 1771-2. Alfred Caraven-Cachin. "Sur un essaim météorique tombé, le 10 âout 1885, aux environs de Grazac et de Montpelegry (Tarn)." Comptes Rendus, 104 (1887): 1813-4.

43. W.A.K. Christie. "A carbonaceous aërolite from Rajputana." Records of the Geological Survey of India, (Calcutta), 44, pt.1, 41-51, at 41, 50. In the analysis of the Rajputana meteorite, not Rajpunta, "0.5 per cent of the stone consists of matter soluble both in chloroform and water...," not 50 per cent.

44. "Red rain." American Journal of Science, s.1, 1 (1820): 309-10. There is no mention of sand falling with the substance in this article.

45. "A singular meteorite." Scientific American Supplement, 29 (February 22, 1890): 11798.

46. "The Kentucky shower of flesh." Scientific American Supplement, 2 (July 1, 1876): 426. The quoted word was "proper."

47. In French painting, Édouard Manet was considered a precurser to the Impressionists, Claude Monet was the leader of the Impressionists, and Gustave Courbet was the leader of the Realists.

48. Hugo De Vries developed the "mutation theory" of evolution and was responsible for resurrecting the genetic researches of G. Mendel.

49. The emphasis of the hypothetical nature of De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was made anonymously in its preface by Andreas Osiander. Copernicus retained the ancient system of planetary spheres and the circular orbits of the planets. Also, there was little more than a reduction in the number of calculations to be performed for a lesser number of epicycles and deferents, an improved lunar theory, and more accurate astronomical constants to recommend the Copernican system; or, as stated by Koyré: " is a fact, that Ptolemy's astronomy is relatively satisfactory, whilst that of Copernicus is hardly much better in practice for calculating the positions of planets, when one takes into account the very large margin of error inherent in the star catalogues then available." Alexandre Koyré. R.E.W. Maddison, trans. The Astronomical Revolution. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1973; 23, 34-8, 81.

50. "Fossils in meteorites." Knowledge, 1 (February 3, 1882): 302. Lord Kelvin, (though, at the time, still Sir William H. Thomson), stated in an Inaugural Address: "The hypothesis that life originated on this earth through moss-grown fragments from the ruins of another world may seem wild and visionary; all I maintain is that it is not unscientific." "The British Association meeting at Edinburgh." Nature, 4 (August 3, 1871): 261-78, at 269-70. "Address of Sir William Thomson, Knt., LL.D., F.R.S., President." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1871, lxxxiv-cv, at civ-cv.

51. E. Atkinson. "Chemical notices from foreign journals." Philosophical Magazine, s.4, 17 (June 1859): 422-30, at 425. Correct quote: "The substance had most analogy with the fossil waxes, as ozokerite...."

52. George F. Kunz. "A pseudo-meteorite." Science, n.s., 11 (March 9, 1888): 119. The second quotation is Fort's usual paraphrase and not from this article.

53. Francis Bingham. "The discovery of organic remains in meteoric stones." Popular Science, 20 (November 1881): 83-7.

54. Otto Hahn. Die Meteorite (Chondrite) und Ihre Organismen. Tubingen: H. Laupp, 1880. The book was accessible in the Science Reading Room, Room 121, of the New York Public Library, under the catalog marking OSX+. The meteorites specified by Hahn include the Knyahinya, Siena, Parnallée, Moung County, Cabarras, Tabor, and Borkut.

55. "No organic matter in meteors." Knowledge, 1 (January 20, 1882): 257-8. The quote attributed to John Lawrence Smith was part of a reply by Prof. Hawes of the Smithsonian Institution, after inquiries about Hahn, and reads: "He is a kind of half-insane man, whose imagination has run wild with him."

56. David Friedrich Weinland. "Korallen in Meteorsteinen." Das Ausland, 54 (April 17, 1881): 301-3. David Friedrich Weinland. "Weiteres über die Tierreste in Meteoriten." Das Ausland, 54 (June 27, 1881): 501-8. David Friedrich Weinland. Ueber die in Meteoriten entdeckten Thierreste. Essingen, 1882.

57. Many years later, fossils of bacteria, algae, and other material, (including sponge and cellulose fibre), would again be suggested to explain microscopic structures and elements in the Orgueil, Ivuna, Holbrook, and Bruderheim meteorites. George Claus, and, Bartholomew Nagy. "A microbiological examination of some carbonaceous chondrites." Nature, 192 (November 18, 1961): 594-6.

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