The Book of the Damned/Chapter 6
LEAD, silver, diamonds, glass.: They sound like the accursed, but they're not: they're now the chosen—that is, when they occur in metallic or stony masses that Science has recognized as meteorites. We find that resistance is to substances not so mixed in or incorporated.
Of accursed data, it seems to me that punk is pretty damnable. In the Report of the British Association, 1878-376, there is mention of a light chocolate-brown substance that has fallen with meteorites. No particulars given; not another mention anywhere else that I can find. In this English publication, the word "punk" is not used; the substance is called "amadou." I suppose, if the datum has anywhere been admitted to French publications, the word "amadou" has been avoided, and "punk" used.
Or oneness of allness: scientific works and social registers: a Goldstein who can't get in as Goldstein, gets in as Jackson.
The fall of sulphur from the sky has been especially repulsive to the modern orthodoxy—largely because of its associations with the superstitions or principles of the preceding orthodoxy—stories of devils: sulphurous exhalations. Several writers have said that they have had this feeling. So the scientific reactionists, who have rabidly fought the preceding, because it was the preceding: and the scientific prudes, who, in sheer exclusionism, have held lean hands over pale eyes, denying falls of sulphur. I have many notes upon the suphurous odor of meteorites, and many notes upon phosphorescence of things that come from externality. Some day I shall look over old stories of demons that have appeared sulphurously upon this earth, with the idea of expressing that we have often had undesirable visitors from other worlds; or that an indication of external derivation is sulphurousness. I expect some day to rationalize demonology, but just at present we are scarcely far enough advanced to go so far back.
For a circumstantial account of a mass of burning sulphur, about the size of a man's fist, that fell at Pultusk, Poland, Jan. 30, 1868, upon a road, where it was stamped out by a crowd of villagers, see Rept. Brit. Assoc., 1874-272.
The power of the exclusionists lies in that in their stand are combined both modern and archaic systematists. Falls of sandstone and limestone are repulsive to both theologians and scientists. Sandstone and limestone suggest other worlds upon which occur processes like geological processes; but limestone, as a fossiliferous substance, is of course especially of the unchosen.
In Science, March 9, 1888, we read of a block of limestone, said to have fallen near Middleburg, Florida. It was exhibited at the Sub-tropical Exposition, at Jacksonville. The writer, in Science, denies that it fell from the sky. His reasoning is:
There is no limestone in the sky;
Therefore this limestone did not fall from the sky.
Better reasoning I cannot conceive of—because we see that a final major premise—universal—true—would include all things: that, then, would leave nothing to reason about—so then that all reasoning must be based upon "something" not universal, or only a phantom intermediate to the two finalities of nothingness and allness, or negativeness and positiveness.
La Nature, 1890-2-127:
Fall, at Pel-et-Der (L'Aube), France, June 6, 1890, of limestone pebbles. Identified with limestone at Château-Landon—or up and down in a whirlwind. But they fell with hail—which, in June, could not wvery well be identified with ice from Château-Landon. Coincidence, perhaps.
Upon page 70, Science Gossip, 1887, the Editor says, of a stone that was reported to have fallen at Little Lever, England, that a sample had been sent to him. It was sandstone. Therefore, it had not fallen, but had been on the ground in the first place. But, upon page 140, Science Gossip, 1887, is an account of "a large, smooth, waterworn, gritty sandstone pebble" that had been found in the wood of a full-grown beech tree. Looks to me as if it had fallen red-hot, and had penetrated the tree with high velocity. But I have never heard of anything falling red-hot from a whirlwind—
The wood around this sandstone pebble was black, as if charred.
Dr. Farrington, for instance, in his books, does not even mention sandstone. However, the British Association, though reluctant, is less exclusive: Report of 1860, p. 197: substance about the size of a duck's egg, that fell at Raphoe, Ireland, June 9, 1860—date questioned. It is not definitely said that this substance was sandstone, but that it "resembled" friable sandstone.
Falls of salt have occurred often. They have been avoided by scientific writers, because of the dictum that only water and not substances held in solution, can be raised by evaporation. However, falls of salty water have received attention from Dalton and others, and have been attributed to whirlwinds from the sea. This is so reasonably contested—quasi-reasonably—as to places not far from the sea—
But the fall of salt that occurred high in the mountains of Switzerland—
We could have predicted that that datum could be found somewhere. Let anything be explained in local terms of the coast of England—but also has it occurred high in the mountains of Switzerland.
Large crystals of salt fell—in a hailstorm—Aug. 20, 1870, in Switzerland. The orthodox explanation is a crime: whoever made it, should have had his finger-prints taken. We are told (An. Rec. Sci., 1872) that these objects of salt "came over the Mediterranean from some part of Africa."
Or the hypnosis of the conventional—provided it be glib. One reads such an assertion, and provided it be suave and brief and conventional, one seldom questions—or thinks "very strange" and then forgets. One has an impression from geography lessons: Mediterranean not more than three inches wide, on the map; Switzerland only a few more inches away. These sizable masses of salt are described in the Amer. Jour. Sci, 3-3-239, as "essentially imperfect cubic crystals of common salt." As to occurrence with hail—that can in one, or ten, or twenty, instances be called a coincidence.