New Lands

A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book

Edited and Annotated by Mr. X





EXPLODING monasteries that shoot out clouds of monks into cyclonic formations with stormy nuns similarly dispossessed — or collapsing monasteries — sometimes slowly crumbling confines of the cloistered — by which we typify all things: that all developments pass through a process of walling-away within shells that will break. Once upon a time there was a shell around the United States. The shell broke. Some other things were smashed.

The doctrines of great distances among heavenly bodies, and of a moving earth are the strongest elements of Exclusionism: the mere idea of separations by millions of miles discourages thoughts of communication with other worlds; and only to think that this earth shoots through space at a velocity of 19 miles a second puts an end to speculation upon how to leave it and how to return. But, if these two conventions be features of a walling-away like that of a chick within its shell, or that the United States within its boundaries, and if some day all such confinements of the embryonic break, our own prophecy, in the vague terms of all successful prophecies, is that a matured view of astronomic phenomena will be from a litter of broken demonstrations.

Our expression now is upon the function of Isolation in Development. Specially it is not ours, because I think we learned it from the biologists, but we are applying it generally. If the general expression be accepted, we conceive that functionally have the astronomers taught that planets are millions of miles away, and that this earth moves at such terrific velocity that it is encysted with speed. Whether isolations function or not, that exclusions that break down are typical of all developments is signified by data upon all growing things, beginning with the aristocratic seeds, which, however, liberalize to intercourse with mean materials or die. All animal-organisms are at first walled away. [155/156] In human circumstances conditions are the same. The development of every science has been a series of temporary exclusions, and the story of every industry tells of inventions that were resisted, but that were finally admitted. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Hegel published his demonstration that there could be only seven planets: too late to recall his work, he learned that Ceres had been discovered. It is our expression that the mental state of Hegel partook of a general spirit of his time, and that it was necessary, or that it functioned, because early astronomers could scarcely have systematized their doctrine had they been bewildered by seven or eight hundred planetary bodies; and that, besides the functions of the astronomers, according to our expressions, there was also their usefulness in breaking down the walls of the older, and outlived, orthodoxy. We conceive that it is well that a great deal of experience should be withheld from children, and that, any way, in their early years, they are sexually isolated, for instance, and our idea is that our data have been held back by no outspoken conspiracy, but by an inhibition similar to that by which a great deal of biology, for instance, is not taught to children. But, if we think of something of this kind, equally acceptable is it that even in the face of orthodox principles, these data have been preserved in orthodox publications, and that, in the face of supposed principles of Darwinism, as applied generally they have survived, though not in harmony with their environment.

Tons of paper have been consumed by calculations upon the remoteness of stars and planets. But I can find nothing that has been calculated, or said, that is sounder than Mr. Shaw's determination that the moon is 37 miles away.(1) It is that the Vogels and the Struves and the Newcombs have been functionally hypnotized and have usefully spread the embryonic delusion that there is a vast, untraversible expanse of space around this earth, or that they have had some basis that it has been my misfortune to be unable to find, or that there is no pleasant and unaccusatory way of explaining them.

April 10, 1874 — a luminous object that exploded in the sky of Kuttenburg, Bohemia. It is said that the glare was like sunlight, and that the "terrifying flash" was followed by a detonation that [156/157] rumbled about a minute. April 9, 1876 — an explosion that is said to have been violent, near the town of Rosenau, Hungary. See Rept. B.A., 1877-147.(2)

These two objects which appeared in virtually the same local sky of this earth — point of explosion 250 miles apart — came from virtually the same point in the sky: constellation of Cassiopeia; different by two degrees in right ascension, and with no difference in declination. About the same time in the evening: one at 8.9 P.M., and the other at 8.20 P.M. Same night in the year, according to extra-terrestrial calendars: the year 1876 was a leap year.

If they had been ordinary meteors, by coincidence two ordinary meteors of the same stream might, exactly two years apart, come from almost the same point in the heavens and strike almost the same point over this earth. But they were two of the most extraordinary occurrences in the records of explosions in the sky. Coincidences multiply, or these objects did come from the not far-distant constellation of Cassiopeia, and their striking so closely together indicates that this earth is stationary; and something of the purposeful may be thought of. Serially related to these events, or representing some more coincidence, there had been, upon June 9, 1866, a tremendous explosion in the sky of Knysahinya, Hungary, and about a thousand stones had fallen from the sky (Report B. A., 1867-430).(3) Rosenau and Knyahinya are about 75 miles apart. Of course one can very much extend our own circumscribed little notions, and think of firing projectiles from beyond the stars, just as one can think of unknown lands as being not in the immediate sky of Servia or Birmingham or Comrie, but as being beyond the nearby stars, reducing everything more than we have reduced — but the firing of stones to this earth seems crude to me. Of course, objects, or fragments of objects made of steel, like the manufactured steel of this earth, have fallen to this earth, and are now in collections of "meteorites." There is a story in a book that is not very accessible to us, because it can't be found along with C.R., or Eng. Mec., or L'Astro., of tablets of stone that were once upon a time fired to this earth. It may be that inhabitants of this earth have been receiving instructions ever since, engravings arriving very badly damaged, however.


I have data upon repeating appearances, said to have been "auroral," in a local sky. If they were auroral, repetitions at regular intervals and so localized are challengers to the most resolute of explainers. If they were of extra-mundane origin, they indicate that this earth is stationary. The regularity is suggestive of signalling. For instance — a light in the sky of Lyons, N.Y., Dec. 9, 1891, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, Feb. 29, March 27, April 23, 1892. In the Scientific American, May 7, 1892, Dr. M. A. Veeder writes that, from December 9, 1891, to April 23, 1892, there had been a bright light that he calls "auroral" in the sky of Lyons, every 27th night.(4) He associates the lights with the sun's synodic period, and says that upon each of the days preceding a nocturnal display, there had been a disturbance in the sun. How a disturbance in the sun could, at night, sun somewhere near the antipodes of Lyons, New York, so localize its effects, one can't clear up. In Nature, 46-29, Dr. Veeder associates the phenomena with the synodic period of the sun, but he says that this period is of 27 days, 6 hours, and 47 minutes, noting that this period is inconsistent with the phenomena at Lyons, making more than a day's difference in the time of his records.(5) This precise determination is more of the "exact science" that is driving some of us away from refinements into hoping for caves. Different parts of the sun move at different rates: I have read of sun spots that moved diagonally across the sun.

In Nature, 15-451, a correspondent writes that, at 8:55 P.M., he saw a large red star in Serpens, where he had never seen such an appearance before — Gunnersbury, March 17, 1877.(6) Ten minutes later, the object increased and decreased several times, flashing like the revolving light of a lighthouse, then disappearing. This correspondent writes that, about 10 P.M., he saw a great meteor. He suggests no relation between the two appearances, but there may have been relation, and there may be indication of something that was stationary at least one hour over Gunnersbury, because the object said to have been a "meteor" was first seen at Gunnersbury. In the Observatory, 1-20, Capt. Tupman writes that, at 9.57 o'clock, a great meteor was first seen at Frome, Tetbury, and Gunnersbury.(7) The red object might not have been in [158/159] the local sky of Gunnersbury; might have been in the constellation Serpens, unseen in all the rest of the world.

There is a great field of records of "meteors" that, with no parallax, or with little parallax, or with little parallax that may be accounted for by supposing that observations were not quite simultaneous, have been seen to come as if from a star or from a planet, and that may have come from such points, indicating that they are not far away. For instance, Rept. B. A., 1879-77 — the great meteor of Sept. 5, 1868.(8) It was seen, at Zurich, Switzerland, to come from a point near Jupiter; at Tremont, France, origin was so close to Jupiter that this object and the planet were seen in the same telescopic field; at Bergamo, Italy, it was seen five or six degrees from Jupiter. Zurich is about 140 miles from Bergamo, and Tremont is farther from Zurich and Bergamo than that.

So there are data that indicate that objects have come to this earth from planets or from stars, enforcing our idea that the remotest planet is not so far from this earth as the moon is said, conventionally, to be; and that the stars, all equi-distant from this earth might be reached by travelling from this earth. One notices that I always conclude that, if phenomena repeatedly occur in one local sky of this earth, their origin is traceable to a fixed place over a stationary earth. The fixed place over this earth is indicated, but that fixed place — island of space, foreign coast, whatever it may be — may be conceived of as accompanying this earth in its rotations and revolutions around the sun. Accepting that nothing much is known of gravitation; that gravitational astronomy is a myth; that attraction may extend but a few miles around this earth, if I can think of something hanging unsupported in space, I always think of an island, say, over Birmingham, or Irkutsk, or Comrie, as soon flying off by the centrifugal force of a rotating earth, or as being soon left behind in a rush around the sun. Nevertheless there is good room for discussion here. But when it comes to other orders of data, I find one convergence toward the explanation that this earth is stationary. But the subject is supposed to be sacred. One must not think that this earth is stationary. One must not investigate. [159/160] To think upon this subject, except as one is told to think, is, or seems to be considered, impious.

But how can one account for an earth that moves?

By thinking that something started it and that nothing ever stopped it.

Earth that doesn't move?

That nothing ever started it.

Some more sacrilege.


1. George Bernard Shaw. "The conflict between science and common sense." Humane Review, 1 (April 1900): 3-15, at 12-3. See back to part 2, chapter 2.

2. James Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors during the year 1876-77." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1877, 98-193, at 146-8. The report identifies the site of the explosion, near Rosenau, as Eperies and Iglö, Hungary. Rosenau is now identified as Roznava, Slovakia; and, Iglö is now identified as Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia.

3. 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 430. This is now identified as the Knyahinya meteorite, (not Knysahinya).

4. Major Albert Veeder, (M.D.). "The aurora." Scientific American, n.s., 66 (May 7, 1892): 293.

5. M.A. Veeder. "Aurora." Nature, 46 (May 12, 1892): 29. There were twenty-eight days between January 5 and February 2, and, there were twenty-six days between March 27 and April 23, 1892. Veeder gives the synodic revolution of the sun as "twenty-seven days, six hours, and forty minutes," (not "47 minutes").

6. W.M. "Strange star. — Meteor." Nature, 15 (March 22, 1877): 451.

7. G.L. Tupman. "The meteor of March 17." Observatory, 1 (1877-78): 19-20. The article also states: "From Tetbury red matter was seen falling after the body of the meteor was extinguished."

8. James Glaisher et al. "Report on observations of luminous meteors during the year 1878-79." Annual Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1879, 76-131, at 77-9. Zurich, Switzerland, is about 130 miles from Bergamo, Italy; and, Trémont (Saone et Loire), France, is about 420 miles west of Zurich.

Next Chapter

Or, go to:


Part One 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Part Two 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Return to Mr. X's Fortean Web-Site Valid CSS!Valid HTML 3.2!

© X, 1998, 1999, 2004