The Book of the Damned
A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book
Edited and Annotated by Mr. X
VAST and black. The thing that was poised, like a crow over the moon.
Round and smooth. Cannon balls. Things that have fallen from the sky to this earth.
Our slippery brains.
Things like cannon balls have fallen, in storms, upon this earth. Like cannon balls are things that, in storms, have fallen to this earth.
Showers of blood.
Showers of blood.
Showers of blood.
Whatever it may have been, something like red-brick dust, or a red substance in a dried state, fell at Piedmont, Italy, Oct. 27, 1814 (Electric Magazine, 68-437).(1) A red powder fell, in Switzerland, winter of 1867 (Pop. Sci. Rev., 10-112)--(2)
That something, far from this earth, had bled -- super-dragon that had rammed a comet --
Or that there are oceans of blood somewhere in the sky -- substance that dries, and falls in a powder -- wafts for ages in powdered form -- that there is a vast area that will some day be known to aviators as the Desert of Blood. We attempt little of super-topography, at present, but Ocean of Blood, or Desert of Blood -- or both -- Italy is nearest to it -- or to them.
I suspect that there were corpuscles in the substance that fell in Switzerland, but all that could be published in 1867 was that in the substance there was a high proportion of "variously shaped organic matter."(3)
At Giessen, Germany, in 1821, according to the Report of the British Association, 5-2, fell a rain of a peach-red color.(4) In this rain were flakes of a hyacinthine tint. It is said that this substance was organic: we are told that it was pyrrhine.
But distinctly enough, we are told of one red rain that it was of corpuscular composition -- red snow, rather. It fell, March 12, 1876, near the Crystal Palace, London (Year Book of Facts, [287/288] 1876-89; Nature, 13-414).(5) As to the "red snow" of polar and mountainous regions, we have no opposition, because that "snow" has never been seen to fall from the sky: it is a growth of micro-organisms, or of a "protococcus," that spreads over snow that is on the ground. This time nothing is said of "sand from the Sahara." It is said of the red matter that fell in London, March 12, 1876, that it was composed of corpuscles --
That they looked like "vegetable cells."
That nine days before had fallen the red substance -- flesh -- whatever it may have been -- of Bath County, Kentucky.
I think that a super-egoist, vast, but not so vast as it had supposed, had refused to move to one side for a comet.
We summarize our general super-geographical expressions:
Gelatinous regions, sulphurous regions, frigid and tropical regions: a region that has been Source of Life relatively to this earth: regions wherein there is density so great that things from them, entering this earth's thin atmosphere, explode.
We have had a datum of explosive hailstones. We now have support to the acceptance that they had been formed in a medium far denser than the air of this earth at sea-level. In the Popular Science News, 22-38, is an account of ice that had been formed, under great pressure, in the laboratory of the University of Virginia.(6) When released, and brought into contact with ordinary air, this ice exploded.
And again the flesh-like substance that fell in Kentucky: its flake-like formation. Here is a phenomenon that is familiar to us: it suggests flattening, under pressure. But the extraordinary inference is -- pressure not equal on all sides. In the Annual Record of Science, 1873-350, it is said that, in 1873, after a heavy thunderstorm in Louisiana, a tremendous number of fish scales were found, for a distance of forty miles, along the banks of the Mississippi River: bushels of them picked up in single places: large scales that were said to be of the gar fish, a fish that weighs from five to fifty pounds.(7) It seems impossible to accept this identification: one thinks of a substance that had been pressed into flakes or scales. And round hailstones with wide thin margins of ice irregularly around them -- still, such hailstones seem to me more like things that had been stationary: had been held in a field of thin ice. In the [288/289] Illustrated London News, 34-546, are drawings of hailstones so margined, as if they had been held in a sheet of ice.(8)
Some day we shall have an expression which will be, to our advanced primitiveness, a great joy:
That devils have visited this earth: foreign devils: human-like beings, with pointed beards: good singers: one shoe ill-fitting -- but with sulphurous exhalations, at any rate. I have been impressed with the frequent occurrence of sulphurousness with things that come from the sky. A fall of jagged pieces of ice, Orkney, July 24, 1818 (Trans. Roy. Soc. Edin., 9-187).(9) They had a strong sulphurous odor. And the coke -- or the substance that looked like coke -- that fell at Mortrée, France, April 24, 1887: with it fell a sulphurous substance.(10) The enormous round things that rose from the ocean, near the Victoria.(11) Whether we still accept that they were super-constructions that had come from a denser atmosphere and, in danger of disruption, had plunged into the ocean for relief, then rising and continuing on their way to Jupiter or Uranus -- it was reported that they spread a "stench of sulphur." At any rate, this datum of proximity is against the conventional explanation that these things did not rise from the ocean, but rose far away above the horizon, with illusion of nearness.
And the things that were seen in the sky July, 1898: I have another note. In Nature, 58-224, a correspondent writes that, upon July 1, 1898, at Sedberg, he had seen in the sky -- a red object -- or, in his own wording, something that looked like the red part of a rainbow, about 10 degrees long.(12) But the sky was dark at the time. The sun had set. A heavy rain was falling.
Throughout this book, the datum that we are most impressed with:
Or that, if upon one small area, things fall from the sky, and then, later, fall again upon the same small area, they are not products of a whirlwind, which though sometimes axially stationary, discharges tangentially --
So the frogs fell at Wigan. I have looked that matter up again. Later more frogs fell.
As to our data of gelatinous substance said to have fallen to this earth with meteorites, it is our expression that meteorites, tearing through the shaky, protoplasmic seas of Genesistrine -- against which we warn aviators, or they may find themselves suffocating in a reservoir of life, or stuck like currants in a blanc mange -- that [289/290] meteorites detach gelatinous, or protoplasmic, lumps that fall with them.
Now the element of positiveness in our composition yearns for the appearance of completeness. Super-geographical lakes with fishes in them. Meteorites that plunge through these lakes, on their way to this earth. The positiveness in our make-up must have expression in at least one record of a meteorite that has brought down a lot of fishes with it --
That, near the bank of a river, in Peru, Feb. 4, 1871, a meteorite fell. "On the spot, it is reported, several dead fish were found, of different species." The attempt to correlate is -- that the fishes "are supposed to have been lifted out of the river and dashed against the stones."
Whether this be imaginable or not depends upon each one's own hypnoses.
That the fishes were found among the fragments of the meteorite.
Popular Science Review, 4-126:(15)
That one day, Mr. L. Le Gould, an Australian scientist, was traveling in Queensland. He saw a tree that had been broken off close to the ground. Where the tree had been broken was a great bruise. Near by was an object that "resembled a ten-inch shot."
A good many pages back there was an instance of overshadowing, I think. The little carved stone that fell at Tarbes is my own choice as the most impressive of our new correlates. It was coated with ice, remember. Suppose we should sift and sift and discard half the data in this book -- suppose only that one datum should survive. To call attention to the stone of Tarbes would, in my opinion, be doing well enough, for whatever the spirit of this book is trying to do. Nevertheless, it seems to me that a datum that preceded it was slightingly treated.
The disk of quartz, said to have fallen from the sky, after a meteoric explosion:
Said to have fallen at the plantation Bleijendal, Dutch Guiana: sent to the Museum of Leyden by M. van Sypesteyn, adjutant to the Governor of Dutch Guiana (Notes and Queries, 2-8-92).(16)
And the fragments that fall from super-geographic ice fields: flat pieces of ice with icicles on them. I think that we did not emphasize enough that, if these structures were not icicles, but crystalline protuberances, such crystalline formations indicate long [290/291] suspension quite as notably as would icicles. In the Popular Science News, 24-34, it is said that in 1869, near Tiflis, fell large hailstones with long
protuberances.(17) "The most remarkable point in connection with the hailstones, is the fact that, judging from our present knowledge, a very long time must have been occupied in their formation." According to the Geological Magazine, 7-27, this fall occurred May 27, 1869.(18) The writer in the Geological Magazine says that of all theories that he had ever heard of, not one could give him light as to this occurrence -- "these growing crystalline forms must have been suspended a long time" --
Again and again this phenomenon:
Fourteen days later, at about the same place, more of these hailstones fell.
Rivers of blood that vein albuminous seas, or an egg-like composition, in the incubation of which this earth is a local center of development -- that there are super-arteries of blood in Genesistrine: that sunsets are consciousness of them: that they flush the skies with northern lights sometimes: super-embryonic reservoirs from which life-forms emanate --
Or that our whole solar system is a living thing: that showers of blood upon this earth are its internal hemorrhages --
Or vast living things in the sky, as there are vast living things in the oceans --
Or some one especial thing: an especial time: an especial place. A thing the size of the Brooklyn Bridge. It's alive in outer space -- something the size of Central Park kills it --
We think of ice fields above this earth: which do not, themselves, fall to this earth, but from which water does fall --
Popular Science News, 35-104:(19)
That, according to Prof. Luigi Palazzo, head of the Italian Meteorological Bureau, upon May 15, 1890, at Messignadi, Calabria, something the color of fresh blood fell from the sky.
This substance was examined in the public-health laboratories of Rome.
It was found to be blood.
"The most probably explanation of this terrifying phenomenon is that migratory birds (quails or swallows) were caught and torn in a violent wind."
So the substance was identified as birds' blood --
What matters it what the microscopists of Rome said -- or had [291/292] to say -- and what matters it that we point out that there is no assertion that there was a violent wind at the time -- and that such a substance would be almost infinitely dispersed in a violent wind -- that no bird was said to have fallen from the sky -- or said to have been seen in the sky -- that not a feather of a bird is said to have been seen --
This one datum:
The fall of blood from the sky --
But later, in the same place, blood again fell from the sky. 
1. Fort marked "X" in the margin next to this paragraph to indicate the error in the serial, being the Eclectic Magazine, not the "Electric Magazine." Edwin Dunkin. "Colored rain and snow." Eclectic Magazine, 68, 435-40, at 437.
2. "Meteoric dust in snow." Popular Science Review, o.s., 10 (1871): 112.
3. "Meteoric dust among snow." Chemical News, 22 (November 25, 1870): 262. "Notes." Nature, 2 (June 30,1870): 168-9, at 169.
4. Charles Daubeny. "Report on the present state of our knowledge...." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1836, 1-95, at 2.
5. "Red snow near London." Timb's Year-Book of Facts in Science and Art, 1876, 89. "Notes." Nature, 13 (March 23, 1876): 413-5, at 415. According to these articles, the red snow was discovered already on the ground, and no one had seen it fall.
6. "Explosive ice." Popular Science News, 22, 38.
7. "Alleged shower of fish scales." Annual Record of Science and Industry, 1873, 350-1.
8. "Remarkable hailstorm." Illustrated London News, 34 (June 4, 1859): 546.
9. Patrick Neill. "Notice respecting a remarkable shower of hail which fell in Orkney on the 24th of July 1818." Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 9, 187-99.
10. "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.
11. James Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors, 1860-1861." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1861, 1-44, at 30. See back to chapter 21 for the account.
12. A.J.K. Martyn. "Monochromatic rainbow." Nature, 58 (July 7, 1898): 224. The observation was made at Sedbergh, (not Sedberg).
13. "Notes." Nature, 3 (April 27, 1871): 511-3, at 512.
14. "Notes." Nature, 4, 167-70, at 169. The date given for this event, at Pichicani, Peru, was February 12, 1871; and, the note states: "Similar phenomena had been observed near Huacochullo and Atucachi."
15. "An enormous aërolite...." Popular Science Review, o.s., 4 (1865): 126-7. "Le Gould" is the only name given in this article, and he is not identified as being an Australian scientist.
16. J.H. Van Lennep. "Celtic remains in Jamaica." Notes and Queries, s.2, 8 (July 30, 1859): 91-3, at 92. The plantation was located at Bleijendaal, Dutch Guiana, not at Bleijendal; and, the object was sent to the Leyden Museum of Antiquities.
17. "Extraordinary hailstones." Popular Science News, 24, 34. The hail was said to have fallen at "Bjeloi-Kliutsch," located twenty miles southwest to Tbilisi (Tiflis), Georgia, on June 9, 1867.
18. "On some remarkable forms of hailstones recently observed in Georgia," (extracted from a letter by Straatsrath Abich). Geological Magazine, 7, 27-9. The second fall was that of June 9, 1869, thirteen days later. Correct quote: "The growing crystalline mass must have been suspended for a long time in a very cold stratum of aqueous vapour before it reached the earth."
19. "A rain of bird blood." Popular Science News, 35 (May 1901): 104.
Or, go to:
Chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28
Return to Mr. X's Fortean Web-Site
Communications, (preferably in English), may be sent to Mr. X by electronic
mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by letters to: Box 1598, Kingston, Ontario K7L 5C8 CANADA.
© X, 1999