A Hypertext Edition of Charles Hoy Fort's Book
Edited and Annotated by Mr. X
OVER the town of Noirfontaine, France, one day in April, 1842, there was a cloudless sky, but drops of water were falling. See back to data upon repetitions. The water was falling, as if from a fixed appearing-point, somewhere above the ground, to a definite area beneath. The next day water was still falling upon this one small area, as mysteriously as if a ghost aloft were holding the nozzle of an invisible hose.
I take this account from the journal of the French Academy of Sciences (Comptes Rendus) vol. 14, p. 664.(1)
What do I mean by that?
I don't mean anything by that. At the same time, I do mean something by the meaninglessness of that. I mean that we are in the helpless state of a standard- [33/34] less existence, and that the appeal to authority is as much of a wobble as any other of our insecurities.
Nevertheless, though I know of no standards by which to judge anything, I conceive -- or accept the idea -- of something that is The Standard, if I can think of our existence as an Organism. If human thought is a growth, like all other growths, its logic is without foundation of its own, and is only the adjusting constructiveness of all other growing things. A tree can not find out, as it were, how to blossom, until comes blossom-time. A social growth cannot find out the use of steam engines, until comes steam-engine-time. For whatever is supposed to be meant by progress, there is no need in human minds for standards of their own: this is in the sense that no part of a growing plant needs guidance of its own devising, nor special knowledge of its own as to how to become a leaf or a root. It needs no base of its own, because the relative wholeness of the plant is relative baseness to its parts. At the same time, in the midst of this theory of submergence, I do not accept that human minds are absolute nonentities, just as I do not accept that a leaf, or a root, of a plant, though so dependent upon a main body, and so clearly only a part, is absolutely without something of an individualizing touch of its own.
It is the problem of continuity-discontinuity, which perhaps I shall have to take up sometime.
London Times, April 26, 1821 -- that the inhabitants of Truro, Cornwall, were amused, astonished, or alarmed, "according to nerve and judgment," by arrivals of stones, from an unfindable source, upon a house in Carlow Street.(2) The mayor of the town visited the place, and was made so nervous by the rattling stones that he called out a military guard. He investigated, and the soldiers investigated, and the clatter [34/35] of theorists increased the noise. Times, May 1 -- stones still rattling, theorists still clattering, but nothing found out.(3)
Flows of frogs -- flows of worms -- flows of water -- flows of stones -- just where do we expect to draw a line? Why not go on to thinking that there have been mysterious transportations of human beings?
We'll go on.
A great deal of the opposition to our data is connotative. Most likely when Dr. Gilbert rubbed a rod and made bits of paper jump on a table, the opposition to his magic was directed not so much against what he was doing as against what it might lead to. Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name.
We hear much of the conflict between science and religion, but our conflict is with both of these. Science and religion always have agreed in opposing and suppressing the various witchcrafts. Now that religion is inglorious, one of the most fantastic of transferences of worships is that of glorifying science, as a beneficent being. It is the attributing of all that is of development, or of possible betterment to science. But no scientist has ever upheld a new idea, without bringing upon himself abuse from other scientists. Science has done its utmost to prevent whatever science has done.
There are cynics who deny the existence of human gratitude. But it seems that I am no cynic. So convinced am I of the existence of gratitude that I see in it one of our strongest oppositions. There are millions of persons who receive favors that they forget: but gratitude does exist, and they've got to express it somewhere. They take it out by being grateful to science for all that science has done for them, a gratitude, which, according to their dull perceptions won't cost them anything. So there is economic indignation against any- [35/36] body who is disagreeable to science. He is trying to rob the people of a cheap gratitude.
I like a bargain as well as does anybody else, but I can't save expenses by being grateful to Science, if for every scientist who has perhaps been of benefit to me, there have been many other scientists who have tried to strangle that possible benefit. Also, if I'm dead broke, I don't get benefits to be grateful for.
Resistance to notions in this book come from persons who identify industrial science, and the good of it, with the pure, or academic, or aristocratic sciences that are living on the repute of industrial science. In my own mind there is distinguishment between a good watchdog and the fleas on him. If the fleas, too, could be taught to bark, there'd be a little chorus that would be of some tiny value. But fleas are aristocrats.
London Times, Jan. 13, 1843 -- that, according to the Courrier de l'Isére, two little girls, last of December, 1842, were picking leaves from the ground, near Clavaux (Livet), France, when they saw stones falling around them.(4) The stones fell with uncanny slowness. The children ran to their homes, and told of the phenomenon, and returned with their parents. Again stones fell, and with the same uncanny slowness. It is said that relatively to these falls the children were attractive agents. There was another phenomenon, an upward current, into which the children were dragged, as if into a vortex. We might have had data of mysterious disappearances of children, but the parents, who were unaffected by the current, pulled them back.
In the Toronto Globe, Sept. 9, 1880, a correspondent writes that he had heard reports of most improbable occurrences upon a farm, near the township of Wellesley, Ontario.(5) He went to the place, to interview the farmer, Mr. Manser. As he approached the farmhouse, he saw that all the windows were boarded up. [36/37] He learned that, about the end of July, windows had begun to break, though no missiles had been seen. The explanation by the incredulous was that the old house was settling. It was a good explanation, except for what it overlooked. To have any opinion, one must overlook something. The disregard was that, quite as authentic as the stories of breaking windows, were stories of falls of water in the rooms, having passed through walls, showing no trace of such passage. It is said that water had fallen in such volumes, from appearing-points in rooms, that the furniture of the house had been moved to a shed. In all our records openness of phenomena is notable. The story is that showers fell in rooms, when the farmhouse was crowded with people. For more details see the Halifax Citizen, Sept. 13, 1880.(6)
I omit about sixty instances of seeming teleportations of stones and water, of which I have records. Numerousness hasn't any meaning, as a standard to judge by.
The simplest cases of seeming teleportations are flows of stones, into open fields, doing no damage, not especially annoying anybody, and in places where there were no means of concealment for mischievous or malicious persons. There is a story of this kind, in the New York Sun, June 22, 1884.(7) June 16th -- a farm near Trenton, N.J. -- two young men, George and Albert Sanford, hoeing in a field -- stones falling. There was no building anywhere near, and there was not even a fence behind which anybody could hide. The next day stones fell again. The young men dropped their hoes and ran to Trenton, where they told of their experiences. They returned with forty or fifty amateur detectives, who spread out and tried to observe something, or more philosophically sat down and arrived at conclusions without observing anything. Crowds [37/38] came to the cornfield. In the presence of crowds, stones continued to fall from a point overhead. Nothing more was found out.
A pig and his swill --
Or Science and data --
Or that the way of a brain is only the way of a belly --
We can call the process that occurs in them either assimilative or digestive. The mind-worshipper might as well take guts for his god.
For many strange occurrences there are conventional explanations. In the mind of a conventionalist, reported phenomena assimilate with conventional explanations. There must be disregards. The mind must reject some data. This process, too, is both alimentary and mental.
The conventional explanation of mysterious flows of stones is that they are peggings by neighbors. I have given data as I have found them. Maybe they are indigestible. The conventional explanation of mysterious flows of water is that they are exudations from insects. If so there must sometimes be torrential bugs.
New York Sun, Oct. 30, 1892 -- that, day after day, in Oklahoma, where for weeks there had been a drought, water was falling upon a large cottonwood tree, near Stillwater.(8) A conventionalist visited this tree. He found insects. In Insect Life, 5-204, it is said that the Stillwater mystery had been solved.(9) Dr. Neel, Director of the Agricultural Experimental Station, at Stillwater had gone to the tree, and had captured some of the insects that were causing the precipitation. They were Proconia undata Fab.
And how am I going to prove that this was a senseless, or brutal, or anyway mechanical, assimilation?
We don't have proofs. We have expressions.
Our expression is that this precipitation in Okla- [38/39] homa was only one of perhaps many. We find three other recorded instances, at this time, and if they be not attributable to exudations from insects -- but we'll not prove anything. There is a theorem that Euclid never attempted. That is to take Q.E.D. as a proposition.
In Science, 21-94, Mr. H. Chaplin, of Ohio University, writes that, in the town of Akron, Ohio -- about while water was falling upon a tree in Oklahoma -- there had been a continuous fall of water, during a succession of clear days.(10) Members of the faculty of Ohio University investigated, but had been unable to solve the problem. There was a definite and persistent appearing-point from which to a small area near a brickyard, water was falling. Mr. Chaplin, who had probably never heard of similar occurrences far from damp places, thought that vapors from this brickyard were rising, and condensing, and falling back. If so there would often be such precipitations over ponds and other bodies of water.
About the same time, water was mysteriously appearing at Martinsville, Ohio, according to the Philadelphia Public Ledger, Oct. 19, 1892.(11) Behind a house, a mist was falling upon an area not more than a dozen feet square. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Nov. 19 -- that, in Water Street, Brownsville, Pa., there was a garden, in which was a peach tree, upon which water was falling.(12) As to the insect-explanation, we note that statement that the water "seemed to fall from some height above the tree, and covered an area about 14 feet square."
For all I know, some trees may have occult powers. Perhaps some especially gifted trees have power to transport water, from far away, in times of need. I noted a drought in Oklahoma, and then I looked up conditions in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Rainfall was [39/40] below normal. In Ohio, according to the Monthly Weather Review, of November, there was a drought.(13) A watery manna came to chosen trees.
There is no sense in trying to prove anything, if all things are continuous, so that there isn't anything, except the inclusive of all, which may be Something. But æsthetically, if not scientifically, there may be value in expressions, and we'll have variations of our theme. There were, in places far apart, simultaneous flows of water from stationary appearing-points, in and around Charleston, S.C., in the period of the long series of earthquake shocks there. Later I shall touch more upon an idea that will be an organic interpretation of falls of water in places that have been desolated by catastrophes. About the middle of September, 1886, falling water from "a cloudless sky," never falling outside a spot 25 feet wide, was reported from Dawson, Georgia. This shower was not intermittent. Of course the frequently mentioned circumstance of the "cloudless sky" has no significance. Water falling all the way from the sky, even at time of slight breezes, cannot be thought of as localizing strictly upon an area a few yards in diameter. We think of appearing-points a short distance above the ground. Then showers upon a space 10 feet square were reported from Aiken, S.C. There were similar falls of water at Cheraw, S.C. For particulars, see the Charleston News and Courier, Oct. 8, 21, 25, 26.(14) For an account of falls of water, "from a cloudless sky," strictly to one point, in Charlotte, N.C., according to investigations by a meteorologist, see Monthly Weather Review, Oct., 1886.(15) In the New York Sun, Oct. 24, it is said that, for 14 days, water had been falling from "a cloudless sky," to a point in Chesterfield County, S.C., falling so heavily that streams of it had gushed from roof pipes.(16) [40/41]
Then came news that water was falling from a point in Charleston.
Several days before, in the News and Courier, had been published the insect-explanation of falls of water. In the News and Courier, Nov. 5, a reporter tells that he had visited the place in Charleston, where it is said that water was falling, and that he had seen a fall of water. He climbed a tree to investigate. He had seen insects.(17)
But there are limits to what can be attributed, except by the most desperate explainers, to insects.
In the Monthly Weather Review, Aug., 1886, it is said that, in Charleston, Sept. 4th, three showers of hot stones had been reported.(18)
"An examination of these stones, shortly after they had fallen, forced the conviction that the public was being made the victim of a practical joke."
How an examination of stones could demonstrate whether they had been slung humorously or not, is more than whatever brains I have can make out. Upon Sept. 4th, Charleston was desolated. The great earthquake had occurred upon Aug. 31st, and continuing shocks were terrorizing the people. Still, I'd go far from my impressions of what we call existence, if I'd think that terror, or anything else, was ever homogeneous at Charleston, or anywhere else. Battles and shipwrecks, and especially diseases, are materials for humorists, and the fun of funerals never will be exhausted. I don't argue that in the midst of desolation and woe, at Charleston, there were no jokers. I tell a story as I found it recorded in the Charleston News and Courier, Sept. 6, and mention my own conclusion, which is that wherever jocular survivors of the catastrophe may have been cutting up capers, they were not concerned in this series of occurrences.(19)
At 2.30 o'clock, morning of Sept. 4th, stones, which [41/42] were found to be "warm," fell near the News and Courier building, some of them bounding into the press room. Five hours later, when there was no darkness to hide mischievous survivors, more stones fell. It was a strictly localized repetition, as if one persisting current of force. At 1.30 o'clock in the afternoon again stones fell, and these were seen, coming straight down from a point overhead. If any conviction was forced, it was forced in the same old way as that in which for ages convictions have been forced, and that is by forcing agreements with prior convictions. Other details were published in the Richmond Whig: it is told that the stones, which were flint pebbles, ranging from the size of a grape to the size of a hen's egg, had fallen upon an area of 75 square feet, and that about a gallon of them had been picked up.(20) In A Descriptive Narrative of the Earthquake of August 31, 1886, Carl McKinley, an editor of the News and Courier, tells of two of these showers of stones, which, according to him, "undoubtedly fell."(21)
The localized repetitions of showers of stones are so much like the localized repetitions of showers of water, that one, inclusive explanation, or expression, is called for. Insects did them? Or the fishmonger of Worcester had moved to South Carolina?
A complication has been developing. Little frogs fell upon Mr. Stoker and his horses, but we had no reason to think that either Mr. Stoker or his horses had anything to do with bringing about the precipitation. But the children of Clavaux did seem to have something to do with showers of stones, and trees did seem to have something to do with the precipitations of water.
Rand Daily Mail, May 29, 1922 -- that Mr. D. Neaves, living near Roodeport, employed as a chemist in Johannesburg, having for several months endured [42/43] showers of stones, had finally reported to the police.(22) Five constables, having been sent to the place, after dark, had hardly taken positions around the house, when a stone crashed on the roof. Phenomena were thought to associate with the housemaid, a Hottentot girl. She was sent into the garden, and stones fell vertically around her. This is said to have been one of the most mysterious of the circumstances: stones fell vertically, so that there was no tracing them to an origin. Mr. Neaves' home was an isolated building, except for outhouses. These outhouses were searched, but nothing to suspect was found. The stones continued to fall from an unknown source.
Police Inspector Cummings took charge. He ordered all members of the family, servants, and newspaper men to remain in the house for a while: so everybody was under inspection. Outside were constables, and all around were open fields, with no means of concealment. Stones fell on the roof. Watched by the police, the Hottentot girl went to the well. A large stone fell near her. She ran back to the house, and a stone fell on the roof. It is said that everything that could be done was done, and that the cordon of police was complete. More stones fell. Convinced that in some way the girl was implicated, the Inspector tied her hands. A stone fell on the roof.(23)
Then everything was explained. A "civilian," concealed in one of the outhouses, had been caught throwing a stone. If so, whoever wrote this account did not mention the name of the culprit, and it is not said that the police made any trouble for him for having made them work.(24)
Then everything is explained again. It was said that the girl, Sara, had been taken to the police station, where she had confessed. "It is understood that Sara admits being a party to all the stone-throwing, [43/44] and has implicated two other children and a grown native. So ends the Roodeport ghost story, shorn of all its alleged supernatural trappings."(25)
Though usually we do not think piously of the police, their stations are confessionals. But they're confessionals more in the scientific than in the religious sense. When a confessor holds a club over a conscience, he can bully statements with the success of any scientist who slugs data with a theory. There is much brutality in police stations and in laboratories, but I can't say that we're trying to reform anything; and if there never has been a Newton, or a Darwin, or an Einstein -- or a Moses, or a Christ, or a St. Augustine -- who has practised other than the third degree upon circumstances, I fear me that sometimes we are not innocent of one or two degrees, ourselves.
However, the story reads more as if the girl had been taken to a barber shop. Her story was shorn, we read. It was clipped bald of all details, such as the cordon of police, search of the outhouses, and the taking of precautions, such as will not fit in with this yarn of the tricky kids. In this book we shall note much shearing.(26)
The writer, in the Monthly Weather Review, is not the only clipper who forces a conviction, when he can. There was a case, in another part of South Africa, not long before the bombardments at Roodeport began. In the Klerksdorp Record, Nov. 18, 1921, it is said that for several weeks there had been "mysterious stonethrowing by invisible agencies" at the houses of Mr. Gibbon Joseph and Mr. H.J. Minnair, in North Street.(27) A detective was put upon the case. He was a logician. It was a ghost story, or it was a case of malicious mischief. He could not pinch a ghost. So he accused two Negroes, and arrested them. The Negroes were tried upon testimony given by two boys [44/45] of their race. But the boys contradicted each other, and it was brought out that they were lying. They admitted that the logical detective had promised them five shillings to substantiate his syllogisms.
In the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 12-260, is published a letter from Mr. W.G. Grottendieck, telling that, about one o'clock, one morning in September, 1903, at Dortrecht, Sumatra, he was awakened by hearing something fall on the floor of his room.(28) Sounds of falling objects went on. He found that little, black stones were falling, with uncanny slowness, from the ceiling, or the roof, which was made of large, overlapping, dried leaves. Mr. Grottendieck writes that these stones were appearing near the inside of the roof, not puncturing the material, if through this material they were passing. He tried to catch them at the appearing point, but, though they moved with extraordinary slowness, they evaded him. There was a coolie boy, asleep in the house, at the time. "The boy certainly did not do it, because at the time that I bent over him, while he was sleeping on the floor, there fell a couple of stones." There was no police station handy, and this story was not finished off with a neat and fashionable cut.
I point out that these stories of flows of stones are not conventional stories, and are not well known. Their details are not standardized, like "clanking chains" in ghost stories, and "eyes the size of saucers," in sea serpent yarns. Somebody in France, in the year 1842, told of slow-moving stones, and somebody in Sumatra, in the year 1903, told of slow-moving stones. It would be strange, if two liars should invent this circumstance --
And that is where I get, when I reason.
If strangeness be a standard for unfavorable judgment, I damn at a swipe most of this book. [45/46]
But damnation is nothing to me. I offer the data. Suit yourself.
Nobody can investigate the reported phenomena that we're taking up, without noticing the number of cases in which boys and girls, but a great preponderance of girls, appear. An explanation by those who disregard a great deal -- or disregard normally -- is that youngsters are concerned so much, because it is their own mischief. Poltergeist-phenomena, or teleportation of objects, in the home of Mr. Frost, 8 Ferrostone Road, London, for several months, early in the year 1921, can not be so explained. There were three children. Phenomena so frightened one of them that, in a nervous breakdown, she died (London Daily Express, April 2, 1921).(29) Another, in a similar condition, was taken to the Lewisham (London) Hospital (London Daily News, April 30, 1921).(30)
In attempting to rationalize various details that we have come upon, or to assimilate them, or to digest them, the toughest meal is swallowing statements upon mysterious appearances in closed rooms, or passages of objects and substances through walls of houses, without disturbing the material of the walls. Oh, yes, I have heard of the "fourth dimension," but I am going to do myself some credit by not lugging in that particular way of showing that I don't know what I'm writing about. There's a story in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Jan. 27, 1888 -- large stones that were appearing and "falling slowly" in closed rooms in the home of Mr. P.C. Martin, Caldwell County, North Carolina.(31) Madras (India) Mail, March 5, 1888 -- pieces of brick that, in the presence of many investigators, were falling in a schoolroom, in Pondicherry.(32)
I can understand this phenomenon, or alleged phenomenon, of appearances in closed rooms, no more than I can understand the passage of a magnetic field [46/47] of force through the wall of a house, without disturbing the material. But lines of this force do not transport objects through a dense material. Then I think of X-rays, which do something like this, if it be accepted that X-rays are aggregations of very small objects, or particles. X-rays do, or sometimes do, disturb materials penetrated by them, but this disturbance is not evident until after long continuance.
If there is Teleportation, it is in two orders, or fields: electric and non-electric -- or phenomena that occur during thunderstorms, and phenomena that occur under a "cloudless sky," and in houses. In the hosts of stories that I have gathered -- but with which I have not swamped this book -- of showers of living things, the rarest of all statements is of injury to the falling creatures. Then, from impressions that have arisen from other data, we think that the creatures may not have fallen all the way from the sky, but may have fallen from appearing points not high above the ground -- or may have fallen a considerable distance under a counter-gravitational influence.
I think that there may be a counter-gravitational influence upon transported objects, because of the many agreeing accounts -- more than I have told of -- of slow-falling stones, by persons who had probably never heard of other stories of slow-falling stones, and because I have come upon records of similar magic, or witchcraft, in what will be accepted as sane and sober meteorological observations.
See the Annual Register, 1859-70 -- an account by Mr. E.J. Lowe, a meteorologist and an astronomer, of a fall of hailstones, at Nottingham, England, May 29, 1859.(33) Though the objects were more than an inch across, they fell slowly. In September, 1873, near Clermont-Ferrand, France, according to La Nature, 7-289, hailstones, measuring from an inch to an inch [47/48] and a half across fell.(34) They were under an unknown influence. Notwithstanding their size, they fell so slowly that they did no damage. Some fell upon roofs, and rebounded, and it was as if these shook off the influence. Those that rebounded then fell faster than fell those that came down in an unbroken fall. For other records of this phenomenon, see Nature, 36-445; Illustrated London News, 34-546; and, Bull. Soc. Astro. de France, June 19, 1900.(35)
If in the general conditions of a thunderstorm there be sometimes a counter-gravitational effect upon objects, somebody might find out how counter-gravitationally to electrify aircraft and aviators. If all work is opposition to gravitation, somebody may make a big discovery of benefit to general laziness. Elevators in skyscrapers might be run with half the power now needed. Here is an idea that may revolutionize industry, but just now I am too busy revolutionizing everything else, and I give this idea to the world, with the generosity of somebody who bestows something that isn't any good to him.
But mysterious disappearances?
Our data have been upon mysterious appearances.
If I could appeal to what used to be supposed to be known as common sense, I'd ask whether something that mysteriously appears somewhere had not mysteriously disappeared somewhere else.
Annals of Electricity, 6-499 -- Liverpool, May 11th, 1842 -- "not a breath of air."(36) Suddenly clothes on lines on a common shot upward. They moved away slowly. Smoke from chimneys indicated that above ground there was a southward wind, but the clothes moved away northward.
There was another instance, a few weeks later. London Times, July 5th, 1842 -- a bright, clear day, at Cupar, Scotland, June 30th -- women hanging out clothes on [48/49] a common.(37) There was a sharp detonation, and the clothes on lines shot upward. Some fell to the ground, but others went on and vanished. There was a seeming of selection, which, because of possible bearing upon various observations of ours interests me. Though this was a powerful force, nothing but the clothes it seized was affected. I wonder about the detonation, largely because it is in agreement with a detail of still another story.
The closeness in time of these two occurrences attracts my attention. They were a few weeks apart, and I have no other such record, until seventy-seven years later. A sensible suggestion is that somebody, in Cupar, having read the Liverpool story, had faked a similar story from his town. A suggestion that is not so sensible is that, in this year 1842, somebody had learned the secrets of teleportation, and to avoid attracting much attention in any one place was experimenting in places far apart. It seems likely enough to me that, if there be teleportation, human beings may have come upon knowledge of it, and may have used it.
"Likely enough?" a spiritualist would say. "Has he never heard of apports?"
But whether it's narrowness and bigotry, upon my part, or not, I do not go to séances for data. I have collected notes upon "mysterious robberies," wondering whether a teleportative power has ever been used criminally. As to apports, if a medium could transport sea shells from the sea to his cabinet, he could abstract funds from a bank to his pocket. If he could, but would not, how account for his being a medium? Looking through newspapers, I have had a searching eye for something like an account of a medium, who had become mysteriously rich, in a town where there had been shortages of funds: clerks accused of embezzlement, and convicted, but upon evidence that was not al- [49/50] together satisfactory. Although usually I can find data to "prove" anything that I want to "prove," I have come upon no such account, and I am sceptical as to apports, and think that mediums are like most of the rest of us, who are not criminals, having no exceptional abilities. However, there may be criminal adepts who are not known mediums.
There was, in June, 1919, at Islip, Northampton, England, an occurrence like the occurrences at Liverpool and Cupar. London Daily Express, June 12, 1919 -- a loud detonation -- basketful of clothes shooting into the air.(38) Then the clothes came down. There may be ineffective teleportative seizures.
London Daily Mail, May 6, 1910 -- phenomenon near Cantillana, Spain.(39) From ten o'clock in the morning until noon, May 4th, stones shot up from a spot in the ground. Loud detonations were heard. "Traces of an extinct volcano are visible at the spot, and it is believed that a new crater is being formed." But there is no findable record of volcanic activity in Spain, at this time -- nor at any other time. I am reminded of the loud noises that often accompany poltergeist disturbances.
In Niles' Weekly Register, Nov. 4, 1815, there is an account of stones that had been watched rising in a field, near Marbleton, Ulster County, New York -- that these stones had been seen to rise three or four feet from the ground, then moving horizontally, from thirty to sixty feet.(40)
Out in open fields, there have been showers of water, strictly localized, and of unknown origin. A Dr. Neel will be heard from.(41) He has captured, not indefinitely alluded to insects, but Proconia undata Fab. Every mystery has its fishmonger. Considered figuratively, he need not be a seller of fish. His name may be Smith, or O'Brien, or it may be Proconia Undata Fab. [50/51]
But presumably in the winter-time, in England, members of the Proconia family are not busy and available for explanations. In the Chorley (Lancashire) Standard, Feb. 15, 1873, is a story of excitement in the town of Eccleston.(42) At Bank House, occupied by two elderly women and their niece, streams of water started falling, about the first of February, seemingly from ceilings. Furniture was soaked, and the occupants of the house were alarmed. The falls seemed to come from the ceiling, but "probably the most singular feature of the affair is that ceilings were apparently quite dry." See back to Mr. Grottendieck's story of objects that were appearing near a ceiling, or roof, with no signs of penetrating the material. Workmen had been called to the house, and had investigated, but were unable to explain. Openness again. House packed with neighbors, watching the showers. These data would make trouble for spiritualistic mediums and their requirements for special, or closed, conditions, and at least semi-darkness, if mediums were bothered by more than unquestioning or, occasionally politely questioning, faith. If some of them have been knocked about a bit, they were relatively few. Nobody in this house sat in a cabinet. Nobody was a logician. Nobody reasonably argued that chemists, for instance, must have special conditions, or their reactions will not work out. "For instance," said nobody, "how could you develop a photograph, except in the special conditions of darkness, or semi-darkness?"
The look to me is that, throughout what is loosely called Nature, teleportation exists, as a means of distribution of things and materials, and that sometimes human beings have command, mostly unconsciously, though perhaps sometimes as a development from research and experiment, of this force. It is said that in savage tribes there are "rain makers," and it may be [51/52] that among savages there are teleportationists. Some years ago, I'd have looked superior, if anybody had said this to me but a good many of us are not so given to the "tut-tut!" as we used to be. It may be that in civilized communities, because of their storages, a power to attract flows of water, being no longer needed, has virtually died out, still appearing occasionally, however.
It could be that, in reading what most persons think are foolish little yarns of falling stones, we are, visionarily, in the presence of cosmic constructiveness -- or that once upon a time this whole earth was built up by streams of rocks, teleported from other parts of an existence. The crash of falling islands -- the humps of piling continents -- and then the cosmic humour of it all -- or utmost spectacularlity functioning, then declining, and surviving only as a vestige -- or that the force that once heaped the peaks of the Rocky Mountains now slings pebbles at a couple of farmers, near Trenton, N.J.(43)
So I'd conceive of the existence of a force, and the use of it, unconsciously mostly, by human beings. It may be that, if somebody, gifted with what we think we mean by "agency," fiercely hates somebody else, he can, out of intense visualizations, direct, by teleportation, bombardments of stones upon his enemy.
Water falls on a tree, in Oklahoma. It is told of in an entomological magazine. Water falls in a house in Eccleston. I read that in a spiritualists' periodical, though I went to a newspaper for the data. These are the isolations, or the specializations, of conventional treatments. I tell of water falling upon a tree, in Oklahoma, and of water falling in a house in Eccleston, and think that both phenomena are manifestations of one force.(44) It is my attempt to smash false demarcations: to take data away from narrow and exclusive [52/53] treatments by spiritualists, astronomers, meteorologists, entomologists: also denying the validity of usurpations of words and ideas by metaphysicians and theologians. But my interest is not only that of a unifier: it is in bringing together seeming incongruities, and finding that they have affinity. I am very much aware of the invigoration of products of ideas that are foreign to each other, if they mate. This is exogamy, practiced with thoughts -- to fertilize a volcanic eruption with a storm of frogs -- or to mingle the fall of an edible substance from the sky with the unexplained appearance of Cagliostro. But I am a pioneer and no purist, and some of these stud-stunts of introducing vagabond ideas to each other may have about the eugenic value of some of the romances in houses of ill fame. I can not expect to be both promiscuous and respectable. Later, most likely, some of these unions will be properly licensed.
Sometimes, in what I call "teleportations," there seems to be "agency" and sometimes not. That the "agency" is not exclusively human, and has nothing to do with "spirits of the departed" is indicated, I suppose, if we accept that sometimes there are "occult powers" of trees. Some other time I may be able more clearly to think out an expression upon flows of pigeons to their homes, and flows of migratory birds, as teleportative, or quasi-teleportative. My suggestion as to the frequently reported "agency" of children, is that "occult forces" were, in earlier times of human affairs, far more prevalent, and far more necessary to the help and maintenance of human communities than they are now, with political and economic mechanisms somewhat well-established, or working, after a fashion; and that, wherein children are atavistic, they may be in rapport with forces that mostly human beings have outgrown.
Though just at present I am no darling of the popes, [53/54] I expect to end up holy, some other time, with a general expression that all stories of miracles are not lies, or are not altogether lies; and that in the primitive conditions of the middle ages there were hosts of occurrences that now, considerably, though not altogether, have been outgrown. Anybody who broadly accepts the doctrine of relativity should accept that there are phenomena that exist relatively to one age, that do not, or do not so pronouncedly, exist in another age. I more or less accept a great deal that religionists piously believe. As I see myself, I represent a modernization of the old-fashioned atheist, who so sweepingly denied everything that seemed to interfere with his disbeliefs.
There are of course other explanations of the "occult powers" of children. One is that children, instead of being atavistic, may occasionally be far in advance of adults, foreshadowing coming human powers, because their minds are not stifled by conventions. After that, they go to school and lose their superiority. Few boy-prodigies have survived an education.
The outstanding suggestion, which, however, like many other suggestions, I cannot now develop, is that, if Teleportation exists, it may be used. It may be criminally used, or it may be used commercially. Cargoes, without ships, and freights, without trains, may be of traffics of the future. There may be teleportative voyages from planet to planet.
Altogether, so many of our data are bound up with jokes, hoaxes, and flippant treatments that I think of the toy and play genesis of many practical inventions. Billions of dollars are to-day seriously drawing dividends from toys and games that were put to work. Billions of laughs and jeers have preceded solemn expressions of satisfaction with fat bank accounts. But this is only reasoning, and is nothing but logic and argu- [54/55] ment, and there have been billions of laughs that never turned into anything more satisfactory -- though where do I get the idea that there is anything more satisfactory than a laugh?
If, in other worlds, or in other parts of one relatively little existence, there be people who are far ahead of terrestrians, perhaps, teleportatively, beings from other places have come to this earth. And have seen nothing to detain them. Or perhaps some of the more degraded ones have felt at home here, and have hung around, or have stayed here. I'd think of these fellows as throw-backs: concealing their origin, of course; having perhaps only a slightly foreign appearance; having affinity with our barbarisms, which their own races had cast off. I'd think of a feeling for this earth, in other worlds, as corresponding to the desire of most of us, now and then, to go to a South Sea Island and be degraded. Throw-backs, translated to this earth, would not, unless intensely atavistic, take to what we regard as vices, but to what their own far-advanced people regard as perhaps unmentionable, or anyway, unprintable, degradations. They would join our churches, and wallow in pews. They'd lose all sense of decency and become college professors. Let a fall start, and the decline is swift. They'd end up as members of Congress.
There is another view, for which I am now gathering material --
New York Times, Dec. 6, 1930 -- "Scores die; 300 stricken by poison fog in Belgium; panic grips countryside. Origin complete mystery. War scenes recalled."(45) It may be that it was war.
Mostly, explanations by the scientists were just about what one would expect, but, in the New York Telegram, Dec. 6, Prof. H.H. Sheldon was quoted -- "If there is a widespread, lethal fog in the Meuse [55/56] Valley, the conclusion of science would be that it is being deliberately caused by men or women."(46)
It may be that inhabitants of other worlds, or other parts of one, organic existence, have declared war upon this earth, and have discharged down here, sometimes under cover of fogs, volumes of poisonous gases. I have other records that may indicate something of this kind, but, reluctantly, I give up this interesting notion, as applied to the occurrence of Dec. 5, 1930, because it associates with another phenomenon, of which I shall tell later.
Only two weeks after the tragedy in Belgium, appeared the fishmonger. The writer of an editorial, in the New York Herald Tribune, Dec. 19, 1930, started the conventionalizing and the minimizing and the obscurizing that always cloak events that are inconsistent with a main norm of supposed knowledge.(47) "One may suspect that a sensational newspaper man, counting up the deaths, some dark day, in the smoky steel towns on the Allegheny River, could produce a story not far behind that from Belgium."
Seventy-seven men and women were struck dead in Belgium. Oh, there's
always some commonplace explanation for these occurrences, if we only use
our common sense. 
1. Bodson De Noirfontaine. "Note sur de la pluie observée par un ciel complétement serein." Comptes Rendus, 14 (1842): 663-4. The first rain was on April 21, 1842, for two-and-a-half hours; and, on the next day, at the same time, it fell again. It was a repetition and not a continuous fall for two days.
2. "Ghost." London Times, April 26, 1821, p. 3 c. 1. The location of the house was near Carclew-street, (not Carlow Street). Correct quote: "...according to the different degrees of nerve and judgment...."
3. "The ghost whose vagaries we noticed...." London Times, May 1, 1821, p. 3 c. 3. Fort's account errs considerably, as it was the military which suffered the depredations and which called upon the civil authorities for assistance. The local newspaper source, (cited by the London Times), did report upon the confession of one of the soldiers' children, in the last of the following articles: "Ghost." West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, (Truro), April 20, 1821, p. 2 c. 6, and, p. 3 c. 1. "The ghost whose vagaries...." West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, April 27, 1821, p. 3 c. 1. "A reward has been offered...." West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, May 4, 1821, p. 3 c. 1. L.H. Potts. "Discovery of the Truro ghost." West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, May 11, 1821, p. 2 c. 5-6.
4. "Aerolites." London Times, January 13, 1843, p. 3 c. 3. Livet is the commune where the phenomenon was reported, and it was said to be "near Clavaux." There is no report of an "upward current" in the article, as Fort suggests; rather people who held the hand of a child "found themselves, to their great surprise, drawn within the sphere of attraction, and perceived the stones just above their heads, which, the moment after, fell on them, and rolled to the ground."
5. "Remarkable phenomena." Toronto Globe, September 9, 1880, p.7 c.2.
6. "The Crosshill mystery." Halifax Citizen and Evening Chronicle, (Nova Scotia), September 13, 1880, p.2 c.4-5. For additional articles: "The Crosshill mystery." Toronto Globe, September 10, 1880, p.12 c.1-2. The farmer's name was George Manser.
7. "Mysterious stone throwing." New York Sun, June 22, 1884, p. 1 c. 6. The location of the farm was about half a mile north of Trenton, New York, (not New Jersey).
8. "Rain tree." New York Sun, October 30, 1892, p. 4 c. 6.
9. "Another weeping tree." Insect Life, 5 (January 1893): 204. J.C. Neal, (not Neel), examined two "weeping trees," one being a Cottonwood and the other being a Box-elder. For earlier articles on this subject: "The weeping tree mystery." Insect Life, 2 (November 1889): 160-1. "The weeping tree phenomenon." Insect Life, 3 (June 1891): 415.
10. H.E. Chapin. "Continuous rain." Science, o.s., 21 (February 17, 1893): 94. The phenomenon was observed at Athens, Ohio, (not Akron).
11. "Varities." Philadelphia Public Ledger, October 19, 1892, p.5 c.9. The location was Martinsburg, Ohio, not Martinsville.
12. Fort's citation appears to be erroneous. However, there is such an article in the previous issue, though not for the incident related by Fort: "Rained continuously on one spot." St. Louis Globe-Democrat, November 18, 1892, p. 4 c. 6. A dispatch from Magnolia, Arkansas, dated November 17, told of rains that had fallen in the front yard of a preacher's house, located in Hempstead County, "every day for more than three months" during a drought.
13. "State weather services." Monthly Weather Review, 20 (November 1892): 307-9, at 308, (c.v. "Ohio").
14. "A very strange phenomenon." Charleston News and Courier, October 8, 1886, p. 2 c. 1. "A phenomenal rainfall." Charleston News and Courier, October 24, 1886, p. 1 c. 1. "The telegrams of Saturday." Charleston News and Courier, October 25, 1886, p. 2 c. 1. "More rain from a cloudless sky." Charleston News and Courier, October 26, 1886, p. 6 c. 2.
15. "Rain from cloudless sky." Monthly Weather Review, 14 (October 1886): 287. The original report in Charlotte Chronicle, of October 21, 1886, is no longer extant.
16. "Earthquake phenomena." New York Sun, October 24, 1886, p. 1 c. 5. The rain was reported to have been falling for "ten or twelve days," (not fourteen).
17. Charleston News and Courier, Nov. 5, 1886.
18. T.C. Mendenhall. "Report on the Charleston earthquake." Monthly Weather Review, 14 (August 1886): 233-5, at 234. Correct quote: "An examination of some of these shortly after they had fallen forced...."
19. "Shower of pebbles." Charleston News and Courier, September 6, 1886, p. 5 c. 2. "Some of them bounding into the press room" refers to the second shower of stones at 7:30 A.M.; but, press men seeking mischievious pranksters found no one. The initial fall at 2:30 A.M. occurred across the street in a vacant lot; and, the third fall at 1:30 P.M. covered a large area encompassing the two earlier falls and the space between them. Stones from all three falls were said to be "warm."
20. "A strange phenomena." Richmond Whig, September 5, 1886, p. 2 c. 2. Also: "The earthquake's work." Richmond Whig, September 5, 1886, p. 1 c. 5-6. These "water-stones" were said to be "from a half to an inch thick," (with no mention of grapes or eggs).
21. Carl McKinley. A Descriptive Narrative of the Earthquake of August 31, 1886. Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Co., 1887, 16.
22. "Strange story of spirit rapping." Rand Daily Mail, May 29, 1922, p. 7 c. 7-8. The location of the Neaves' home was at Roodepoort, South Africa, (not Roodeport); and, it was not said that the outhouses were searched, in these articles.
23. "Mystery incidents at Roodepoort." Rand Daily Mail, May 30, 1922, p.7 c.7-8.
24. "Police look for the ghost." Rand Daily Mail, May 31, 1922, p.8 c.5.
25. For additional articles on this incident: "Stones thrown from the air." Rand Daily Mail, June 1, 1922, p.8 c.5. "The ghost makes a confession." Johannesburg Star, June 2, 1922, p. c.3.
26. D. Neaves. "Haunted house again." Rand Daily Mail, June 6, 1922, p.3 c.8. Neaves did believe that "Sara" was partly responsible for the disturbances but protested the claims that the mystery had been solved, as claimed by the Johannesburg Star. He wrote: "That the Hottentot girl in my employ has been at the bottom of the whole trouble both the police and myself have known for some time; but who does the stone-throwing when her wrists are tied together and she is under observation? This is the one who has never been seen or heard, despite the utmost vigilance."
27. "Mysterious missiles." The Record of Klerksdrop and the Western Transvaal, November 18, 1921, p. 2 c. 6. Correct quote: "...stories of stone throwing by invisible agencies...."
28. "A poltergeist case." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 12 (May 1906): 260-6. Correct quote: "...at the same time...on the floor, to awake him, there fell...."
29. "Ghosts cause a child's death." London Daily Express, April 2, 1921, p.5 c.2. The child was Muriel Parker, the five-year-old niece of Mr. Frost.
30. "Agitated milk can at Hornsey." London Daily News, April 30, 1921, p.5 c.3. For additional reports from local newspapers: "Hornsey house of flying tables." Bowes Park Weekly News, (Enfield, London), February 19, 1921, p.5 c.4. "Hornsey's house of mystery." Bowes Park Weekly News, (Enfield, London), March 5, 1921, p.3 c.1-4. "A haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, February 18, 1921, p.8 c.5. "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, March 11, 1921, p.8 c.4. J. Lockart. "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, March 25, 1921, p.3 c.2. "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, April 8, 1921, p.8 c.3. "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, April 15, 1921, p.8 c.3. "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, May 13, 1921, p.7 c.1-2): "The haunted house at Hornsey." Hornsey Journal, May 20, 1921, p.8 c.5. "Haunted coal." North Middlesex Chronicle, February 12, 1921, p.3 c.2. "Hornsey house of flying tables." North Middlesex Chronicle, February 19, 1921, p.4 c.5. "Hornsey's house of mystery." North Middlesex Chronicle, February 26, 1921, p.3 c.5. "Hornsey's house of mystery." North Middlesex Chronicle, March 12, 1921, p.4 c.5. "Hornsey's house of mystery." North Middlesex Chronicle, March 19, 1921, p.4 c.4. "The haunted house at Hornsey." North Middlesex Chronicle, March 26, 1921, p.4 c.5. "Death at haunted house." North Middlesex Chronicle, April 2, 1921, p.4 c.4. "Hornsey's haunted house." North Middlesex Chronicle, April 16, 1921, p.3 c.6. "Hornsey's haunted house." North Middlesex Chronicle, May 14, 1921, p.3 c.5.
31. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, January 27, 1888, (Not found here).
32. "A mystery at Pondicherry." Madras Mail, March 5, 1888, p.4 c.5.
33. "Extraordinary hailstorm." Annual Register, 1859, pt.2, 70-1. The hailstones were said to have fallen "gently," (not "slowly").
34. "Grelons extraordinaire." Nature (Paris), 1876, 2 (October 7): 296-8. The fall of hail occurred at Gazeries, Puy-de-Dôme, France. No reference is made to the size of the hail in this article.
35. "Remarkable hailstorm." Illustrated London News, 34 (June 4, 1859): 546. "Remarkable hailstones." Nature, 36 (May 12, 1887): 44-5. "Une curieuse grêle." Bulletin de la Société Astronomique de France, 14 (June 1900): 285.
36. "Whirlwind in Liverpool." Annals of Electricity, 8, 499.
37. "Singular phenomenon." London Times, July 5, 1842, p.5 c.6. The occurrence was said, by the Fife Herald, to take place on Wednesday, and was later copied by the Times; thus, the date was not June 30, 1842, but more probably June 15, 22, or 29, 1842. No mention is made of clothes-lines, but clothes along "a belt, as it were, running across the green"; and, "at the moment of the report," cattle in a nearby field were frightened and "continued cowering together in evident terror" afterwards.
38. "Laundry in the air." London Daily Express, June 12, 1919, p.1 c.3. Islip is near Northampton, but not part of it.
39. "Dead volcano's freak." London Daily Mail, May 6, 1910, p.7 c.6.
40. "Unprecedented phenomenon." Niles' Weekly Register, (Baltimore), 9 (n.10; November 4, 1815): 171-2.
41. Dr. Neal, (not Neel).
42. "A singular affair at Eccleston." Chorley Standard and District Advertiser, (Chorley), February 15, 1873, p.3 c.5.
43. Trenton, New York, (not New Jersey).
44. Fort marked "X" in the margin next to this line.
45. "Scores die, 300 stricken by poison fog in Belgium, panic grips countryside." New York Times, December 6, 1930, p. 1 c.1-2, and, p. 11 c. 1-2. Correct quote: "War scenes are recalled."
46. "Scientist thinks some one has losed poison gas." New York Telegram, December 6, 1930, p.2 c.2-3.
47. "Poison fogs and foggy minds." New York Herald Tribune, December 19, 1930, p.22 c.2.
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