Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/523

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507
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

width. Among the articles found were several tortoise-shells of beaten copper. One of these was about one sixty-fourth of an inch thick, two and one-eighth inches long, and thirteen-sixteenths of an inch in height; this was the largest one of three in the author's possession. Their shape is remarkably true, the workmanship evincing delicate skill. Each tortoise-shell appears to have been originally covered with several wrappings, first a woven cloth of vegetable fibre, then a softer, finer fabric of rabbit's hair apparently, next a membranaceous coating, finally a layer of non-striated muscular fibre—possibly intestine or bladder. Besides these singular objects are two specimens of the lower jaw of the deer, the part which contains the teeth being incased in a thin covering of copper, and the whole wrapped in the same manner as the tortoiseshells. Other relics found in the same mound—specimens of handicraft, sea-shells from the Gulf of Mexico, etc.—give evidence of the high grade of technical skill and the far-reaching intercourse of the prehistoric people who, in the long forgotten past, inhabited the Great American Bottom.

 

Age of the Ohio "Forest-Beds."—The "forest-bed" of the Ohio geological formation is a "layer of carbonaceous matter, with logs and stumps, and sometimes upright trees." It everywhere rests upon true glacial drift, and in it are found remains of mammoth, mastodon, and their contemporaries. The deposit overlying this "forest-bed" in Ohio is, by Dr. Newberry, described as lacustrine drift, but Mr. W. J. McGee, in the American Journal of Science, shows that in Northeastern Iowa this same "forest-bed" is overlaid by true glacial drift, and therefore that it must be of interglacial age. In the region just named the uppermost deposit, overlying the "forest-bed," is beyond the shadow of a doubt glacial drift very slightly or not at all modified, and exhibiting no distinct stratification. The only difference between the upper and lower parts is that the lower part contains a larger proportion of gravel and worn bowlders from the immediate vicinity. The upper part contains no bowlders, indeed, except those of granite, syenite, quartzite, and other metamorphic rocks from far to the northward. These, however, are quite abundant. In some fields it has been necessary to remove dozens of bowlders of one hundred pounds' weight and upward from each acre before the land could be ploughed. Some also are quite large, reaching scores of tons in weight. Glacier-marked bowlders are rare, however. Perhaps one in a thousand shows plainly grooves and deep scorings; but many others are less distinctly marked. Still not more than one-tenth exhibit any other marks of glacial action than a rounded form.

 

Medico-Psychological Rubbish.—Dr. Maudsley's Journal of Medical Science quotes the following passage from the British Medical Journal as an example of the rubbish that passes current in medico-psychological matters: "One of the most curious facts connected with madness is the utter absence of tears amid the insane. Whatever the form of madness, tears are conspicuous by their absence, as much in the depression of melancholia or the excitement of mania as in the utter apathy of dementia. If a patient in a lunatic asylum be discovered in tears, it will be found that it is either a patient commencing to recover, or an emotional outbreak in an epileptic who is scarcely truly insane; while actually insane patients appear to have lost the power of weeping; it is only returning reason which can once more unloose the fountains of their tears. Even when a lunatic is telling one in fervid language how she has been deprived of her children, or the outrages that have been perpretrated on herself, her eye is never even moist. The ready gush of tears which accompanies the plaint of the sane woman contrasts with the dry-eyed appeal of the lunatic. It would indeed seem that tears give relief to feelings which, when pent up, lead to madness. It is one of the privileges of reason to be able to weep. Amid all the misery of the insane, they can find no relief in tears."

 

The Devil and the Oak-Trees.—A legend current among the peasants of Unterinnthal (Tyrol) accounts as follows for the sinuous outline of oak-leaves (we translate the legend from Die Natur): The wicked old fiend one day would tempt the good God, and so asked