New Lands

A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book

Edited and Annotated by Mr. X





FEB. 7, 1922 — an explosion "of startling intensity" in the sky of the northwestern point of the London Triangle (Nature, Feb. 23, 1922).(1)

Repeating phenomena in a local sky — in L'Astronomie, 36-201, it is said that, at Orsay (Seine-et-Oise) Feb. 15, 1922, a detonation was heard in the sky, and that 9 hours later a similar sound was heard, and that an illumination was seen in the sky.(2) It is said that, 10 nights later, at Verneuil, in the adjoining province, Oise, a great, fiery mass was seen falling from the sky.

March 12, 1922 — rocks that had been falling "from the clouds," for three weeks, at Chico, a town in an "earthquake region" in California (New York Times, March 12, 1922).(3) Large, smooth rocks that "seemed to come straight from the clouds."

In the San Francisco Chronicle, in issues dating from the 12th to the 18th of March — clippings sent to me by Mr. Maynard Shipley, writer and lecturer upon scientific subjects, if there be such subjects — the accounts are of stones that, for four months, had been falling intermittently from the sky, almost always upon the roofs of two adjoining warehouses, in Chico, but, upon one occasion, falling three blocks away: "a downpour of oval-shaped stones;" "a heavy shower of warm rocks."(4) San Francisco Call, March 16 — "warm rocks."(5) It is said that crowds gathered, and that upon the 17th of March a "deluge" of rocks fell upon a crowd, injuring one person.(6) The police "combed" all surroundings: the only explanation that they could think of was that somebody was firing stones from a catapult.(7) One person was suspected by them, but, upon the 14th of March, a rock fell when he was known not to be in the neighborhood.(8)

The circumstances point to one origin of these stones, stationary in the sky, above the town of Chico.

Upon the first of January, 1922, the attention of Marshal J. A. [244/245] Peck, of Chico, had been called to the phenomena. After investigating more than two months, he said (San Francisco Examiner, March 14): "I could find no one through my investigations who could explain the matter. At various times I have heard and seen the stones. I think someone with a machine is to blame."(9)

Prof. C.K. Studley, vice-president of the Teachers' College, Chico, is quoted in the Examiner:

"Some of the rocks are so large that they could not be thrown by any ordinary means. One of the rocks weighs 16 ounces. They are not of meteoric origin, as seems to have been hinted, because two of them show signs of cementation, either natural or artificial, and no meteoric factor was ever connected with a cement factory."

Once upon a time, dogmatists supposed, asserted, angrily declared sometimes, that all stones that fall from the sky must be of "true meteoric material." That time is now of the past. See Nature, 105-759 — a description of two dissimilar stones, cemented together, seen to fall from the sky, at Cumberland Falls, Ky., April 9, 1919.(10)

Miriam Allen de Ford (P.O. Box 573, San Francisco, Cal. — or see the Readers' Guide) has sent me an account of her own observations. About the middle of March, 1922, she was in Chico, and investigated. Went to the scene of the falling rocks; discussed the subject with persons in the crowd. "While I was discussing it with some bystanders, I looked up at the cloudless sky, and suddenly saw a rock falling straight down, as if becoming visible when it came near enough. This rock struck the roof with a thud, and bounced off on the track beside the warehouse, and I could not find it." "I learned that the rocks had been falling since July, 1921, though no publicity arose until November."

There have been other phenomena at Chico. In the New York Times, Sept. 2, 1878, upon the 20th of August, 1878, according to the Chico Record, a great number of small fishes fell from the sky, at Chico, covering the roof of a store, and falling in the streets, upon an area of several acres.(11) Perhaps the most important observation is that they fell from a cloudless sky. Several occurrences are listed as earthquakes, by Dr. Holden, in [245/246] his Catalog; but the detonations that were heard in Oroville, a town near Chico, Jan. 2, 1887, are said, in the Monthly Weather Review, 1887-24, to have been in the sky.(12) Upon the night of March 5-6, 1885, according to the Chico Chronicle, a large object, of very hard material, weighing several tons, fell from the sky, near Chico (Monthly Weather Review, March, 1885).(13) In the year 1893, an iron object, said to be meteoritic, was found at Oroville (Mems. Nat. Acad. Sci., 13-345).(14)

My own idea is either that there is land over the town of Chico, and not far away, inasmuch as objects from it fall with a very narrow distribution, or that far away, and therefore invisible, there may be land from which objects have been carried in a special current to one very small part of this earth's surface. If anyone would like to read an account of stones that fell intermittently for several days, clearly enough as if in a current, or in a field of special force, of some kind, at Livet, near Clavaux, France, December, 1842, see the London Times, Jan. 13, 1843.(15) There have been other such occurrences. Absurdly, when they were noticed at all, they were supposed to be psychic phenomena. I conceive that there is no more of the psychic to these occurrences than there is to the arrival of seeds from the West Indies upon the coast of England.(16) Stones that fell upon a house, near the Pantheon, Paris, for three weeks, January, 1849 — see Dr. Wallace's Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, p. 284.(17) Several times, in the course of this book, I have tried to be reasonable. I have asked what such repeating phenomena in one local sky do indicate, if they do not indicate fixed origins in the sky. And if such occurrences, supported by many data in other fields, do not indicate the stationariness of this earth, with new lands not far away — tell me what it is all about. The falling stones of Chico — new lands in the sky — or what?

Boston Transcript, March 21, 1922 — clipping sent to me by Mr. J. David Stern, Editor and Publisher of the Camden (N.J.) Daily Courier

"Geneva, March 21 — During a heavy snow-storm in the Alps recently thousands of exotic insects resembling spiders, caterpillars and huge ants fell on the slopes and quickly died. Local naturalists are unable to explain the phenomenon, but one theory is [246/247] that the insects were blown in on the wind from a warmer climate."(18)

The fall of unknown insects in a snow storm is not the circumstance that I call most attention to. It is worth noting that I have records of half a dozen similar occurrences in the Alps, usually about the last of January, but the striking circumstance is that insects of different species and of different specific gravities fell together. The conventional explanation is that a wind, far away, raised a great variety of small objects, and segregated them according to specific gravity, so that twigs and grasses fell in one place, dust some other place, pebbles somewhere else, and insects farther along somewhere. This would be very fine segregation. There was no very fine segregation in this occurrence. Something of a seasonal, or migratory, nature, from some other world, localized in the sky, relatively to the Alps, is suggested.

May 4, 1922 — discovery, by F. Burnerd, of three long mounds in the lunar crater Archimedes. See the English Mechanic, 115-194, 218, 268, 278.(19) It seems likely that these constructions had been recently built.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, May 18, 1922 (Associated Press) — particles of matter falling continuously for several days.(20) "The phenomenon is supposed here to be of volcanic origin, but all the volcanoes of the West Indies are reported as quiet."

New York Tribune, July 3, 1922, that, for the fourth time in one month, a great volume of water, or a "cloudburst," had poured from one local sky, near Carbondale, Pa.(21)

Oct. 15, 1922 — a large quantity of white substance that fell upon the shores of Lake Michigan, near Chicago. It fell upon the clothes of hundreds of persons, fell upon the campus of Northwestern University, likely enough fell upon the astronomical observatory of the University. It occurred to one of these hundreds, or thousands, or persons to collect some of this substance. He is Mr. L.A. Hopkins, 111 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago. He sent me a sample. I think that it is spider web, because it is viscous: when burned it chars with the crinkled effect of burned hair and feathers, and the odor is similar. But it is strong, tough substance, of a cottony texture, when rolled up. The interesting circumstance to me is that similar substance has fallen frequently [247/248] upon this earth, in October, but that, in terrestrial terms, seasonal migration of aëronautical spiders can not be thought of, because in the tropics and in Australia, as well as in the United States and in England, such showers have occurred in October. Then something seasonal, but seasonal in an extra-mundane sense, is suggested. See the Scientific Australian, Sept., 1916 — that, from October 5 to 29, 1915, an enormous fall of similar substance occurred upon a region of thousands of square miles, in Australia.(22)

Time after time, in data that I have only partly investigated, occur declarations that, during devastations commonly known as "earthquakes," in Chile, the sky has flamed, or that "strange illuminations" in the sky have been seen. In the Bull. Seis. Soc. Amer., for instance, some of these descriptions have been noted, and have been hushed up with the explanation that they were the reports of unscientific persons.(23)

Latest of the great quakes in Chile — 1,500 dead "recovered" in one of the cities of the Province of Atacama. New York Tribune, Nov. 15, 1922 — "Again, today, severe earthquakes shook the Province of Coquimbo and other places and strange illuminations were observed over the sea off La Serena and Copiapo."(24)

Back to Crater Mountain, Arizona, for an impression — but far more impressive are similar data as to these places of Atacama and Copiapo, in Chile. In the year 1845, M. Darlu, of Valparaiso, read, before the French Academy, a paper, in which he asserted that, in the desert of Atacama, which begins at Copiapo, meteorites are strewn upon the ground in such numbers that they are met at every step. If these objects fell all at one time in this earthquake region, we have another instance conceivably of mere coincidence between the aërial and the seismic. If they fell at different times, the indications are of a fixed relationship between this part of Chile and a center somewhere in the sky of falling objects commonly called "meteorites" and of cataclysms that devastate this part of Chile with concussions commonly called "earthquakes." There is a paper upon this subject in Science, 14-434. Here the extreme abundance asserted by M. Darlu is questioned: it is said that only thirteen of these objects were known to science.(25) But, according to descriptions, four of them are stones, or stone-irons, differing so that, in the opinion of the writer, and not [248/249] merely so interpreted by me, these four objects fell at different times. Then the nine others are considered. They are nickel-irons. They, too, are different, one from another. So then it is said that these thirteen objects, all from one place, were, with reasonable certainty, the products of different falls.

Behind concepts that sometimes seem delirious, I offer — a reasonable certainty —

That, existing somewhere beyond this earth, perhaps beyond a revolving shell in which the nearby stars are openings, there are stationary regions, from which, upon many occasions, have emanated "meteors," sometimes exploding catastrophically over Atacama, Chile, for instance. Coasts of South America have reeled, and the heavens have been afire. Reverberations in the sky — the ocean has responded with islands. Between sky and earth of Chile there have been flaming intimacies of destruction and slaughter and woe —

Silence that is conspiracy to hide past ignorance; that is imbecility, or that is the unawareness of the profoundest hypnosis.

Hypnosis —

That the seismologists, too, have functioned in preserving the illusion of this earth's isolation, and by super-embryonic processes have been hypnotized into oblivion of a secret that has been proclaimed with avalanches of fire from the heavens, and that has babbled from brooks of the blood of crushed populations, and that is monumentalized in ruins.



1. "Fireball observed in sunshine." Nature, 109 (February 23, 1922): 249. Also: "Fireball observed in sunshine." Nature, 109 (February 16, 1922): 217. The phenomenon occurred in Warwickshire, which is actually outside of the London Triangle as earlier described by Fort.

2. "Bolides." Bulletin de la Société Astronomique de France, 36 (1922): 201.

3. "Rival ghost on Pacific." New York Times, March 12, 1922, s. 1 p. 14 c. 3. The quotes are not from this article.

4. "Ghostly bombers chase crowds as Chico's shower of rocks is renewed." San Francisco Chronicle, March 12, 1922, p. 1 c. 2. "Farm girl Antigonish ghost; Chico sprayed by hot rocks." San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 1922, p. 1 c. 2-3. In addition to these previous and following cited articles, Fort may have received: "Rock storm sends crowds to Chico." San Francisco Chronicle, March 13, 1922, p. 1 c. 5 & p. 2 c. 5. "Negro youths Chico's ghosts, new rock clue." San Francisco Chronicle, March 14, 1922, p. 1 c. 5 & p. 2 c. 3.

5. Vincent Jones. "Rock hurling Chico spooks baffle S.F. psychic." San Francisco Call, March 13, 1922, p. 3 c. 3.

6. "Rock hurling ghost at Chico peppers crowd with missiles." San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 1922, p. 1 c. 2.

7. "Warrant out for Chico rock ghost." San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 1922, p. 1 c. 2. Sheriff William Alexander had come from Oroville, on March 16, and, that night, was "combing the district surrounding the Charge warehouse....," (not "combed").

8. "Ghost continues to assail Chico." San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 1922, p. 1 c. 4.

9. "Scientists study Chico mystery...." San Francisco Examiner, March 14, 1922, p. 9 c. 2-3. Correct quote: "...with a cement plant."

10. "An interesting meteorite." Nature, 105 (August 12, 1920): 759.

11. "Singular phenomenon." New York Times, September 2, 1878, p. 5 c. 5. The Chico Record article is no longer extant but was reproduced in the weekly edition: "Singular phenomenon." Butte Weekly Record (California), August 24, 1878, p. 3 c. 5.

12. Edward S. Holden. "Catalogue of earthquakes on Pacific Coast, 1769 to 1897." Miscellaneous Collections of the Smithsonian Institute, 37, (art. 5 n. 1087, II): 57 (January 27, 1861), 97 (January 24, 1875), 136 (June 19, 1889), 180 (April 19, 1892), and 189 (April 21, 1892). "Meteors." Monthly Weather Review, 15 (January 1887): 24.

13. "Meteors." Monthly Weather Review, 13 (March 1885): 77. This appears to be a spurious newspaper account. The Chico Chronicle, which is cited, is no longer extant. I have found no other record of this large meteorite being found, and the report of its fall was dismissed, as a newspaper fraud, by a rival newspaper in Oroville.

14. Oliver Cummings Farrington. "Catalogue of the meteorites of North America, to January 1, 1909." Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 (1915): 345-6, c.v. "Oroville." This is now identified as the Oroville meteorite.

15. "Aerolites." London Times, January 13, 1843, p. 3 c. 3.

16. Maury, with regard to the influence of the Gulf Stream, wrote: "Drift-wood, trees, and seeds from the West India islands, are often cast up on the shores of Europe, but rarely on the Atlantic shores of this country." Matthew Fontaine Maury. John Leighly, ed. The Physical Greography of the Sea and Its Meteorology. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963; 52, c.v. sec. 111 ("111").

17. Alfred Russel Wallace. Miracles and Modern Spiritualism. London: 1893 (3rd rev.), 1896, 1901.

18. "Exotic insects pelt down and die on frigid Alps." Boston Transcript, March 21, 1922, p. 12 c. 1. Correct quote: "...blown in from a warmer climate."

19. F. Burnerd. "Archimedes." English Mechanic, 115 (May 12, 1922): 194. G.P.B. Hallowes. "Archimedes." English Mechanic, 115 (May 26, 1922): 218. A. Stanley Williams. "Archimedes." English Mechanic, 115 (June 23, 1922): 268. G.P.B. Hallowes. "Archimedes." English Mechanic, 115 (June 30, 1922): 278-9.

20. "Dust storm in West Indies." New York Times, May 19, 1922, p. 10 c. 1. Correct quote: "...all of the volcanoes in the West Indies...."

21. "Fourth flood in month sweeps Carbondale, Pa." New York Tribune, July 3, 1922, p. 5 c. 7.

22. W.J. Rainbow. "The gossamer spider." Scientific Australian, 22 (September 1916): 1-3. "A large area of Western Australia" is stated, (not an area measured in thousands of square miles).

23. Montesses De Ballore. "The so-called luminous phenomena of earthquakes, and the present state of the problem." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 3 (December 1913): 187-90, at 188-9.

24. "Chile quake toll increases as one city reports 1,500 dead." New York Tribune, November 15, 1922, p. 2 c. 2-3. Correct quote: "Again to-day severe earth tremors shook the Province of Coquimbo and other places and strange illuminations were observed last night over the sea off La Serena and at Copiapo."

25. "Supposed showers of meteorites in the desert of Atacama." Science, n.s., 14 (December 27, 1889): 433-4. Meteorites from the Atacama include: the Barranca Blanca, the Cachiyuya, the Calderilla, the Copiapo, the Corrizatillo, the Galleguillos, the Ilimaes iron and stone meteorites, the Ilimac, Joel's Iron, the Juncal, Lutaschaunig's Stone, the Pan De Azucar, the Puquios, the Ternera, and the Vaca Muerta.

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