Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/274

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262
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

CORRESPONDENCE.



HUMAN FOOT-PRINTS IN STRATIFIED ROCK.

Messrs. Editors:

NEAR the mouth of the Little Cheyenne River, in Dakota Territory, there is a rock on which are some curious indentations. The rock lies on the north slope of a bowlder-covered hill, and is itself an erratic. It is about twelve feet long by seven or eight feet wide, and rises above the surface of the ground about eighteen inches. Its edges are angular, its surface flat, and it shows but little, if any, effect of ice-action. It appears to be magnesian limestone, and its size and whiteness make it a conspicuous object.

On the surface, near the southeast corner of it, is a perfect foot-print as though made by the left, moccasined foot of a woman, or boy of, say, fourteen years. The toes are toward the north. The indentation is about half an inch deep. About four and a half feet in front of it and in line with it, near the middle of the rock, is a deeper indentation made with the right foot, the heel being deeper than the rest of the foot. And again, about five and a half feet in front of this, and in line with both the others, is a third foot-print, this time with the left foot.

The three foot-prints are of the same size, and are such as would apparently be made by a person running rapidly. The foot-print of the right foot is an inch deep at the heel, and three quarters of an inch at the ball. The third foot-print is about three quarters of an inch in depth. In all three the arch of the instep is well defined, and the toes faintly indicated. The rock is hard, and not of uniform texture, having vein-like markings about a quarter of an inch wide running through it, which, weathering harder than the body of the rock, present slightly raised surfaces. This difference in the weathering of the rock is the same in the bottom of the foot-prints as on the surface of the rock.

From Mr. Le Beau, a "squaw-man," who has lived in that region for twenty-six years, I learned that it is known to the Indians as a "medicine"-rock, and that they worship it. He says that none of the present Indians know anything of the origin of the foot-prints. A town has been recently started within half a mile of it, called Waneta, and white children playing about it have found numerous beads and other trinkets, probably placed there as offerings.

I had heard of the rock several weeks previous to my visit, and expected to find either the work of nature with only a fancied resemblance, or the rude sculpturing of the Indians. The uniformity in size and direction discredits the former view, as the difference between the foot-prints seems to make the latter doubtful; and the possibility of the foot-prints having been made when the material of which the rock is composed was in a soft state presents itself as the best solution of the problem.

I trust that this communication may lead to its investigation by those competent to decide the matter.

Very truly yours,
Herbert P. Hubbell. 
 Winona, Minnesota, September 10, 1883.
 

 

ASTHMA AND ITS TREATMENT.

Messrs. Editors:

Your "Monthly" for September contains an article by Felix L. Oswald, M. D., on "Asthma." For many years I was a martyr to that distressing complaint; and know its character and symptoms from personal experience. Naturally, I have also gathered, from others who were similarly afflicted, results of their experience, to say nothing of what I have read in medical works on the subject. My own experience, and that of all whom I have known, is so different from what Dr. Oswald writes, that I am impelled, for the sake of many who may receive great injury, and perhaps even lose their lives by following his extreme doctrine, to write to you in criticism of what he has written.

There are many errors of statement in his article. He says "the most frequent proximate cause is violent mental emotion—fear, anxiety, and especially suppressed anger." I do not dispute that any one of these may cause asthma, but among the proximate causes that are far more frequent are an ordinary cold, a damp pillow, an ill-ventilated, stuffy room or berth, a, severe attack of indigestion. Indeed, as an asthmatic attack generally comes on in the early morning, the patient waking in a semi-nightmare to find the attack already begun, it is after a period of rest rather than passion or mental excitement that it supervenes.

"Asthma," he says, "is a warm weather disease." Perhaps it may be with some. There is a great variety in asthmatic cases. Some are better in cities, some in the country. There are no two cases alike in all their features. So far from asthma being a