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Observations placeholder

Charles Fort - Earth tremors, explosions and sheep panic



Type of Spiritual Experience



A description of the experience

New Lands – Charles Fort

Nov. 20, 1887 - At 8:20 A.M., Nov. 20, 1887, was heard and felt something that was reported from many places in the region that is known to us as the London Triangle, as an earthquake, though in some towns it was thought that a great explosion, perhaps in London, had occurred. It was reported from Reading, and from four towns near Reading, and Reading is said to be one of the places where the concussion was greatest. There were several accounts of slight alarm among sheep, which are sensitive to meteors and earthquakes.

Nov. 3, 1888 - In Symons’ Met. Mag., 23-154, Dr. R. H. Wake writes that, upon the evening of Nov. 3, 1888, in a region about four miles wide and ten or fifteen miles long, in the Thames Valley (near Reading) flocks of sheep had rushed from their folds in a common alarm.
The details of the sheep-panic of Nov. 3, 1888, are extraordinary. The region affected was much greater than was supposed by this writer ….. It is said in another account in Symons’ Meteorological Magazine, that, in a tract of land twenty-five miles long and eight miles wide, thousands of sheep had, by a simultaneous impulse, burst from their bounds; and had been found the next morning, widely scattered, some of them still panting with terror under hedges, and many crowded into corners of fields. See London Times, Nov. 20, 1888. An idea of the great number of flocks affected is given by one correspondent who says that malicious mischief was out of the question, because a thousand men could not have frightened and released all these sheep. Someone else tries to explain that, given an alarm in one flock, it might spread to the others. But all the sheep so burst from their folds at about eight o'clock in the evening, and one supposes that many folds were far from contiguous, and one thinks of such contagion requiring considerable time to spread over 200 square miles. Something of an alarming nature and of a pronounced degree occurred somewhere near Reading, Berkshire, upon this evening. Also there seems to be something of special localization: the next year another panic occurred in Berkshire not far from Reading.

October 25th 1889 - About a year later, in the Chiltern Hills, which extend in a northeasterly direction from the Thames Valley, near Reading, there was another such occurrence. In the London Standard, Nov. 7, 1889, the Rev. J. Ross Barker, of Chesham, a town about 25 miles northeast of Reading, writes that, upon Oct. 25, 1889, many flocks of sheep, in a region of 30 square miles, had, by common impulse, broken from their folds. Mr. Barker asks whether anyone knew of a meteor or of an earthquake at the time.




The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps