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The Book of the Damned

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Author Topic: The Book of the Damned  (Read 3617 times)
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« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2009, 01:24:18 pm »

aerial regions too indefinite or amorphous to be thought of as "worlds" or planets—

That no supposititious whirlwind can account for the hundreds of millions of tons of matter that fell upon Australia, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean and Europe in 1902 and 1903—that a whirlwind that could do that would not be supposititious.

But now we shall cast off some of our own wessicality by accepting that there have been falls of red substance other than sand.

We regard every science as an expression of the attempt to be real. But to be real is to localize the universal—or to make some one thing as wide as all things—successful accomplishment of which I cannot conceive of. The prime resistance to this endeavor is the refusal of the rest of the universe to be damned, excluded, disregarded, to receive Christian Science treatment, by something else so attempting. Although all phenomena are striving for the Absolute—or have surrendered to and have incorporated themselves in higher attempts, simply to be phenomenal, or to have seeming in Intermediateness is to express relations.

A river.

It is water expressing the gravitational relation of different levels. The water of the river.

Expression of chemic relations of hydrogen and oxygen—which are not final.

A city.

Manifestation of commercial and social relations.

How could a mountain be without base in a greater body?

Storekeeper live without customers?

The prime resistance to the positivist attempt by Science is its relations with other phenomena, or that it only expresses those relations in the first place. Or that a Science can have seeming, or survive in Intermediateness, as something pure, isolated, positively different, no more than could a river or a city or a mountain or a store.

This Intermediateness-wide attempt by parts to be wholes—which cannot be realized in our quasi-state, if we accept that in it the

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« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2009, 01:24:29 pm »

co-existence of two or more wholes or universals is impossible—high approximation to which, however, may be thinkable—

Scientists and their dream of "pure science."

Artists and their dream of "art for art's sake."

It is our notion that if they could almost realize, that would be almost realness: that they would instantly be translated into real existence. Such thinkers are good positivists, but they are evil in an economic and sociologic sense, if, in that sense, nothing has justification for being, unless it serve, or function for, or express the relations of, some higher aggregate. So Science functions for and serves society at large, and would, from society at large, receive no support, unless it did so divert itself or dissipate and prostitute itself. It seems that by prostitution I mean usefulness.

There have been red rains that, in the middle ages, were called "rains of blood." Such rains terrified many persons, and were so unsettling to large populations, that Science, in its sociologic relations, has sought, by Mrs. Eddy's method, to remove an evil—

That "rains of blood" do not exist;

That rains so called are only of water colored by sand from the Sahara Desert.

My own acceptance is that such assurances, whether fictitious or not, whether the Sahara is a "dazzling white" desert or not, have wrought such good effects, in a sociologic sense, even though prostitutional in the positivist sense, that, in the sociologic sense, they were well justified;

But that we've gone on: that this is the twentieth century; that most of us have grown up so that such soporifics of the past are no longer necessary:

That if gushes of blood should fall from the sky upon New York City, business would go on as usual.

We began with rains that we accepted ourselves were, most likely, only of sand. In my own still immature hereticalness—and by heresy, or progress, I mean, very largely, a return, though with many modifications, to the superstitions of the past, I think I feel considerable aloofness to the idea of rains of blood. Just at present, it is my conservative, or timid purpose, to express only that there

p. 39

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« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2009, 01:24:48 pm »

have been red rains that very strongly suggest blood or finely divided animal matter—

Débris from inter-planetary disasters.

Aerial battles.

Food-supplies from cargoes of super-vessels, wrecked in interplanetary traffic.

There was a red rain in the Mediterranean region, March 6, 1888. Twelve days later, it fell again. Whatever this substance may have been, when burned, the odor of animal matter from it was strong and persistent. (L’Astronomie, 1888-205.)

But—infinite heterogeneity—or débris from many different kinds of aerial cargoes—there have been red rains that have been colored by neither sand nor animal matter.

Annals of Philosophy, 16-226:

That, Nov. 2, 1819—week before the black rain and earthquake of Canada—there fell, at Blankenberge, Holland, a red rain. As to sand, two chemists of Bruges concentrated 144 ounces of the rain to 4 ounces—"no precipitate fell." But the color was so marked that had there been sand, it would have been deposited, if the substance had been diluted instead of concentrated. Experiments were made, and various reagents did cast precipitates, but other than sand. The chemists concluded that the rain-water contained muriate of cobalt—which is not very enlightening: that could be said of many substances carried in vessels upon the Atlantic Ocean. Whatever it may have been, in the Annales de Chimie, 2-12-432, its color is said to have been red-violet. For various chemic reactions, see Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 9-202, and Edin. Phil. Jour., 2-381.

Something that fell with dust said to have been meteoric, March 9, 10, 11, 1872: described in the Chemical News, 25-300, as a "peculiar substance," consisted of red iron ocher, carbonate of lime, and organic matter.

Orange-red hail, March 14, 1873, in Tuscany. (Notes and Queries 9-5-16.)

Rain of lavender-colored substance, at Oudon, France, Dec. 19, 1903. (Bull. Soc. Met. de France, 1904-124.)

La Nature, 1885-2-351:

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« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:00 pm »

That, according to Prof. Schwedoff, there fell, in Russia, June 14, 1880, red hailstones, also blue hailstones, also gray hailstones. Nature, 34-123:

A correspondent writes that he had been told by a resident of a small town in Venezuela, that there, April 17, 1886, had fallen hailstones, some red, some blue, some whitish: informant said to have been one unlikely ever to have heard of the Russian phenomenon; described as an "honest, plain countryman."

Nature, July 5, 1877, quotes a Roman correspondent to the London Times who sent a translation from an Italian newspaper: that a red rain had fallen in Italy, June 23, 1877, containing "microscopically small particles of sand."

Or, according to our acceptance, any other story would have been an evil thing, in the sociologic sense, in Italy, in 1877. But the English correspondent, from a land where terrifying red rains are uncommon, does not feel this necessity. He writes: "I am by no means satisfied that the rain was of sand and water." His observations are that drops of this rain left stains "such as sandy water could not leave." He notes that when the water evaporated, no sand was left behind.

L’Année Scientifique, 1888-75:

That, Dec. 13, 1887, there fell, in Cochin China, a substance like blood, somewhat coagulated.

Annales de Chimie, 85-266:

That a thick, viscous, red matter fell at Ulm, in 1812.

We now have a datum with a factor that has been foreshadowed; which will recur and recur and recur throughout this book. It is a factor that makes for speculation so revolutionary that it will have to be reinforced many times before we can take it into full acceptance.

Year Book of Facts, 1861-273:

Quotation from a letter from Prof. Campini to Prof. Matteucci:

That, upon Dec. 28, 1860, at about 7 A.M., in the northwestern part of Siena, a reddish rain fell copiously for two hours.

A second red shower fell at 11 o'clock.

Three days later, the red rain fell again.

The next day another red rain fell.

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« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:10 pm »

Still more extraordinarily:

Each fall occurred in "exactly the same quarter of town."

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« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:23 pm »

It is in the records of the French Academy that, upon March 17, 1669, in the town of Châtillon-sur-Seine, fell a reddish substance that was "thick, viscous, and putrid." American Journal of Science, 1-41-404:

Story of a highly unpleasant substance that had fallen from the sky, in Wilson County, Tennessee. We read that Dr. Troost visited the place and investigated. Later we're going to investigate some investigations—but never mind that now. Dr. Troost reported that the substance was clear blood and portions of flesh scattered upon tobacco fields. He argued that a whirlwind might have taken an animal up from one place, mauled it around, and have precipitated its remains somewhere else.

But, in volume 44, page 216, of the Journal, there is an apology. The whole matter is, upon newspaper authority, said to have been a hoax by Negroes, who had pretended to have seen the shower, for the sake of practicing upon the credulity of their masters: that they had scattered the decaying flesh of a dead hog over the tobacco fields.

If we don't accept this datum, at least we see the sociologically necessary determination to have all falls accredited to earthly origins—even when they're falls that don't fall.

Annual Register, 1821-687:

That, upon the 13th of August, 1819, something had fallen from the sky at Amherst, Mass. It had been examined and described by Prof. Graves, formerly lecturer at Dartmouth College. It was an object that had upon it a nap, similar to that of milled cloth. Upon removing this nap, a buff-colored, pulpy substance was found. It had an offensive odor, and, upon exposure to the air, turned to a vivid red. This thing was said to have fallen with a brilliant light.

Also see the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 5-295. In the Annales

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« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:34 pm »

de Chimie, 1821-67, M. Arago accepts the datum, and gives four instances of similar objects or substances said to have fallen from the sky, two of which we shall have with our data of gelatinous, or viscous matter, and two of which I omit, because it seems to me that the dates given are too far back.

In the American Journal of Science, 1-2-335, is Professor Graves’ account, communicated by Professor Dewey:

That, upon the evening of August 13, 1819, a light was seen in Amherst—a falling object—sound as if of an explosion.

In the home of Prof. Dewey, this light was reflected upon a wall of a room in which were several members of Prof. Dewey's family.

The next morning, in Prof. Dewey's front yard, in what is said to have been the only position from which the light that had been seen in the room, the night before, could have been reflected, was found a substance "unlike anything before observed by anyone who saw it." It was a bowl-shaped object, about 8 inches in diameter, and one inch thick. Bright buff-colored, and having upon it a "fine nap." Upon removing this covering, a buff-colored, pulpy substance of the consistency of soft-soap, was found—"of an offensive, suffocating smell."

A few minutes of exposure to the air changed the buff color to "a livid color resembling venous blood." It absorbed moisture quickly from the air and liquefied. For some of the chemic reactions, see the Journal.

There's another lost quasi-soul of a datum that seems to me to belong here:

London Times, April 19, 1836:

Fall of fish that had occurred in the neighborhood of Allahabad, India. It is said that the fish were of the chalwa species, about a span in length and a seer in weight—you know.

They were dead and dry.

Or they had been such a long time out of water that we can't accept that they had been scooped out of a pond, by a whirlwind—even though they were so definitely identified as of a known local species

Or they were not fish at all.

I incline, myself, to the acceptance that they were not fish, but

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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:45 pm »

slender, fish-shaped objects of the same substance as that which fell at Amherst—it is said that, whatever they were, they could not be eaten: that "in the pan, they turned to blood."

For details of this story see the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1834-307. May 16 or 17, 1834, is the date given in the Journal.

In the American Journal of Science, 1-25-362, occurs the inevitable damnation of the Amherst object:

Prof. Edward Hitchcock went to live in Amherst. He says that years later, another object, like the one said to have fallen in 1819, had been found at "nearly the same place." Prof. Hitchcock was invited by Prof. Graves to examine it. Exactly like the first one. Corresponded in size and color and consistency. The chemic reactions were the same.

Prof. Hitchcock recognized it in a moment.

It was a gelatinous fungus.

He did not satisfy himself as to just the exact species it belonged to, but he predicted that similar fungi might spring up within twenty-four hours—

But, before evening, two others sprang up.

Or we've arrived at one of the oldest of the exclusionists’ conventions—or nostoc. We shall have many data of gelatinous substance said to have fallen from the sky: almost always the exclusionists argue that it was only nostoc, an Alga, or, in some respects, a fungous growth. The rival convention is "spawn of frogs or of fishes." These two conventions have made a strong combination. In instances where testimony was not convincing that gelatinous matter had been seen to fall, it was said that the gelatinous substance was nostoc, and had been upon the ground in the first place: when the testimony was too good that it had fallen, it was said to be spawn that had been carried from one place to another in a whirlwind.

Now, I can't say that nostoc is always greenish, any more than I can say that blackbirds are always black, having seen a white one: we shall quote a scientist who knew of flesh-colored nostoc, when so to know was convenient. When we come to reported falls of gelatinous substances, I'd like it to be noticed how often they are described as whitish or grayish. In looking up the subject, myself,

p. 44

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« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2009, 01:25:57 pm »

 I have read only of greenish nostoc. Said to be greenish, in Webster's Dictionary—said to be "blue-green" in the New International Encyclopedia—"from bright green to olive-green" (Science Gossip, 10-114); "green" (Science Gossip, 7-260); "greenish" (Notes and Queries, 1-11-219). It would seem acceptable that, if many reports of white birds should occur, the birds are not blackbirds, even though there have been white blackbirds. Or that, if often reported, grayish or whitish gelatinous substance is not nostoc, and is not spawn if occurring in times unseasonable for spawn.

"The Kentucky Phenomenon."

So it was called, in its day, and now we have an occurrence that attracted a great deal of attention in its own time. Usually these things of the accursed have been hushed up or disregarded—suppressed like the seven black rains of Slains—but, upon March 3, 1876, something occurred, in Bath County, Kentucky, that brought many newspaper correspondents to the scene.

The substance that looked like beef that fell from the sky. Upon March 3, 1876, at Olympian Springs, Bath County, Kentucky, flakes of a substance that looked like beef fell from the sky—"from a clear sky." We'd like to emphasize that it was said that nothing but this falling substance was visible in the sky. It fell in flakes of various sizes; some two inches square, one, three or four inches square. The flake-formation is interesting: later we shall think of it as signifying pressure—somewhere. It was a thick shower, on the ground, on trees, on fences, but it was narrowly localized: or upon a strip of land about 100 yards long and about 50 yards wide. For the first account, see the Scientific American, 34-197, and the New York Times, March 10, 1876.

Then the exclusionists.

Something that looked like beef: one flake of it the size of a square envelope.

If we think of how hard the exclusionists have fought to reject the coming of ordinary-looking dust from this earth's externality, we can sympathize with them in this sensational instance, perhaps. Newspaper correspondents wrote broadcast and witnesses were quoted, and this time there is no mention of a hoax, and, except by one scientist, there is no denial that the fall did take place.

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« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2009, 01:26:09 pm »

It seems to me that the exclusionists are still more emphatically conservators. It is not so much that they are inimical to all data of externally derived substances that fall upon this earth, as that they are inimical to all data discordant with a system that does not include such phenomena—

Or the spirit or hope or ambition of the cosmos, which we call attempted positivism: not to find out the new; not to add to what is called knowledge, but to systematize.

Scientific American Supplement, 2-426:

That the substance reported from Kentucky had been examined by Leopold Brandeis.

"At last we have a proper explanation of this much talked of phenomenon."

"It has been comparatively easy to identify the substance and to fix its status. The Kentucky 'wonder' is no more or less than nostoc."

Or that it had not fallen; that it had been upon the ground in the first place, and had swollen in rain, and, attracting attention by greatly increased volume, had been supposed by unscientific observers to have fallen in rain—

What rain, I don't know.

Also it is spoken of as "dried" several times. That's one of the most important of the details.

But the relief of outraged propriety, expressed in the Supplement, is amusing to some of us, who, I fear, may be a little improper at times. Very spirit of the Salvation Army, when some third-rate scientist comes out with an explanation of the vermiform appendix or the os coccygis that would have been acceptable to Moses. To give completeness to "the proper explanation," it is said that Mr. Brandeis had identified the substance as "flesh-colored" nostoc.

Prof. Lawrence Smith, of Kentucky, one of the most resolute of the exclusionists:

New York Times, March 12, 1876:

That the substance had been examined and analyzed by Prof. Smith, according to whom it gave every indication of being the "dried" spawn of some reptile, "doubtless of the frog"—or up from

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« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2009, 01:26:33 pm »

one place and down in another. As to "dried," that may refer to condition when Prof. Smith received it.

In the Scientific American Supplement, 2-473, Dr. A. Mead Edwards, President of the Newark Scientific Association, writes that, when he saw Mr. Brandeis' communication, his feeling was of conviction that propriety had been re-established, or that the problem had been solved, as he expresses it: knowing Mr. Brandeis well, he had called upon that upholder of respectability, to see the substance that had been identified as nostoc. But he had also called upon Dr. Hamilton, who had a specimen, and Dr. Hamilton had declared it to be lung-tissue. Dr. Edwards writes of the substance that had so completely, or beautifully—if beauty is completeness—been identified as nostoc—"It turned out to be lung tissue also." He wrote to other persons who had specimens, and identified other specimens as masses of cartilage or muscular fibers. "As to whence it came, I have no theory." Nevertheless he endorses the local explanation—and a bizarre thing it is:

A flock of gorged, heavy-weighted buzzards, but far up and invisible in the clear sky—

They had disgorged.

Prof. Fassig lists the substance, in his "Bibliography," as fish spawn. McAtee (Monthly Weather Review, May, 1918) lists it as a jelly-like material, supposed to have been the "dried" spawn either of fishes or of some batrachian.

Or this is why, against the seemingly insuperable odds against all things new, there can be what is called progress—

That nothing is positive, in the aspects of homogeneity and unity:

If the whole world should seem to combine against you, it is only unreal combination, or intermediateness to unity and disunity. Every resistance is itself divided into parts resisting one another. The simplest strategy seems to be—never bother to fight a thing: set its own parts fighting one another.

We are merging away from carnal to gelatinous substance, and here there is an abundance of instances or reports of instances. These data are so improper they're obscene to the science of today, but we shall see that science, before it became so rigorous, was not so prudish. Chladni was
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« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2009, 01:26:48 pm »

not, and Greg was not.

p. 47

I shall have to accept, myself, that gelatinous substance has often fallen from the sky—

Or that, far up, or far away, the whole sky is gelatinous?

That meteors tear through and detach fragments?

That fragments are brought down by storms?

That the twinkling of stars is penetration of light through something that quivers?

I think, myself, that it would be absurd to say that the whole sky is gelatinous: it seems more acceptable that only certain areas are.

Humboldt (Cosmos, 1-119) says that all our data in this respect must be "classed amongst the mythical fables of mythology." He is very sure, but just a little redundant.

We shall be opposed by the standard resistances:

There in the first place;

Up from one place, in a whirlwind, and down in another.

We shall not bother to be very convincing one way or another, because of the over-shadowing of the datum with which we shall end up. It will mean that something had been in a stationary position for several days over a small part of a small town in England: this is the revolutionary thing that we have alluded to before; whether the substance were nostoc, or spawn, or some kind of a larval nexus, doesn't matter so much. If it stood in the sky for several days, we rank with Moses as a chronicler of improprieties—or was that story, or datum, we mean, told by Moses? Then we shall have so many records of gelatinous substance said to have fallen with meteorites, that, between the two phenomena, some of us will have to accept connection—or that there are at least vast gelatinous areas aloft, and that meteorites tear through, carrying down some of the substance.

Comptes Rendus, 3-554:

That, in 1836, M. Vallot, member of the French Academy, placed before the Academy some fragments of a gelatinous substance, said to have fallen from the sky, and asked that they be analyzed. There is no further allusion to this subject.

Comptes Rendus, 23-542:

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« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2009, 01:27:00 pm »

That, in Wilna, Lithuania, April 4, 1846, in a rainstorm, fell nut-sized masses of a substance that is described as both resinous and

p. 48

gelatinous. It was odorless until burned: then it spread a very pronounced sweetish odor. It is described as like gelatine, but much firmer: but, having been in water 24 hours, it swelled out, and looked altogether gelatinous—

It was grayish.

We are told that, in 1841 and 1846, a similar substance had fallen in Asia Minor.

In Notes and Queries, 8-6-190, it is said that, early in August, 1894, thousands of jellyfish, about the size of a shilling, had fallen at Bath, England. I think it is not acceptable that they were jellyfish: but it does look as if this time frog spawn did fall from the sky, and may have been translated by a whirlwind—because, at the same time, small frogs fell at Wigan, England.

Nature, 87-10:

That, June 24, 1911, at Eton, Bucks, England, the ground was found covered with masses of jelly, the size of peas, after a heavy rainfall. We are not told of nostoc, this time: it is said that the object contained numerous eggs of "some species of Chironomus, from which larvae soon emerged."

I incline, then, to think that the objects that fell at Bath were neither jellyfish nor masses of frog spawn, but something of a larval kind—

This is what had occurred at Bath, England, 23 years before.

London Times, April 24, 1871:

That, upon the 22nd of April, 1871, a storm of glutinous drops neither jellyfish nor masses of frog spawn, but something of a [line missing here in original text. Ed.] railroad station, at Bath. "Many soon developed into a wormlike chrysalis, about an inch in length." The account of this occurrence in the Zoologist, 2-6-2686, is more like the Eton-datum: of minute forms, said to have been infusoria; not forms about an inch in length.

Trans. Ent. Soc. of London, 1871-proc. xxii:

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« Reply #43 on: April 21, 2009, 01:27:13 pm »

That the phenomenon has been investigated by the Rev. L. Jenyns, of Bath. His description is of minute worms in filmy envelopes. He tries to account for their segregation. The mystery of it is: What could have brought so many of them together? Many other

p. 49

falls we shall have record of, and in most of them segregation is the great mystery. A whirlwind seems anything but a segregative force. Segregation of things that have fallen from the sky has been avoided as most deep-dyed of the damned. Mr. Jenyns conceives of a large pool, in which were many of these spherical masses: of the pool drying up and concentrating all in a small area; of a whirlwind then scooping all up together—

But several days later, more of these objects fell in the same place.

That such marksmanship is not attributable to whirlwinds seems to me to be what we think we mean by common sense:

It may not look like common sense to say that these things had been stationary over the town of Bath, several days—

The seven black rains of Slains;

The four red rains of Siena.

An interesting sidelight on the mechanics of orthodoxy is that Mr. Jenyns dutifully records the second fall, but ignores it in his explanation.

R. P. Greg, one of the most notable of cataloguers of meteoritic phenomena, records (Phil. Mag.: 4-8-463) falls of viscid substance in the years 1652, 1686, 1718, 1796, 1811, 1819, 1844. He gives earlier dates, but I practice exclusions, myself. In the Report of the British Association, 1860-63, Greg records a meteor that seemed to pass near the ground, between Barsdorf and Freiburg, Germany: the next day a jelly-like mass was found in the snow—

Unseasonableness for either spawn or nostoc.

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« Reply #44 on: April 21, 2009, 01:27:25 pm »

Greg's comment in this instance is: "Curious if true." But he records without modification the fall of a meteorite at Gotha, Germany, Sept. 6, 1835, "leaving a jelly-like mass on the ground." We are told that this substance fell only three feet away from an observer. In the Report of the British Association, 1855-94, according to a letter from Greg to Prof. Baden-Powell, at night, Oct. 8, 1844, near Coblenz, a German, who was known to Greg, and another person saw a luminous body fall close to them. They returned next morning and found a gelatinous mass of grayish color.

According to Chladni's account (Annals of Philosophy, n.s., 12-94) a viscous mass fell with a luminous meteorite between Siena and

p. 50

[paragraph continues] Rome, May, 1652; viscous matter found after the fall of a fire ball, in Lusatia, March, 1796; fall of a gelatinous substance, after the explosion of a meteorite, near Heidelberg, July, 1811. In the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 1-234, the substance that fell at Lusatia is said to have been of the "color and odor of dried, brown varnish." In the Amer. Jour. Sci., 1-26-133, it is said that gelatinous matter fell with a globe of fire, upon the island of Lethy, India, 1718.

In the Amer. Jour. Sci., 1-26-396, in many observations upon the meteors of November, 1833, are reports of falls of gelatinous substance:

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