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Observations placeholder

Charles Fort - Shadows across the sun



Type of Spiritual Experience



Other cases have been known in history:

1. January 195, Rome, Italy: Bright stars around the sun

"I shall now speak of what happened outside, and of the various rebellions. For three men at this time, each commanding three legions of citizens and many foreigners besides, attempted to secure the control of affairs - Severus, Niger, and Albinus. The last-named was governor of Britain, Severus of Pannonia, and Niger of Syria. These, then, were the three men portended by the three stars that suddenly came to view surrounding the sun when Julianus in our presence was offering the Sacrifices of Entrance in front of the senate-house.  These stars were so very distinct that the soldiers kept continually looking at them and pointing them out to one another, while declaring that some dreadful fate would befall the emperor. As for us, however much we hoped and prayed that it might so prove, yet the fear of the moment would not permit us to gaze up at them except by furtive glances."

Source: Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Dio's Rome: An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimus Severus, Geta and Caracal la, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus, trans. Herbert Baldwin Foster (Troy, New York, 1905), vol. 9, 151.

2. 29 June 1661, Eastberry, Berkshire, England - Dark objects

The Sun was obscured by a great number of dark balls passing in front of it. Other objects looked like crosses. Source: Mirabilis Annus Secundus ( 1 662).

A description of the experience

New Lands – Charles Fort

Upon page 287, Popular Astronomy, Newcomb says that it is beyond all "moral probability" that unknown worlds should exist in such numbers as have been reported, and should be seen crossing the solar disc only by amateur observers and not by skilled astronomers.  [Most of our instances are reports by some of the best-known astronomers.]   Newcomb says that for fifty years, prior to his time of writing (edition of 1878) the sun had been studied by such men as Schwabe, Carrington, Secchi, and Spörer, and that they had never seen unknown bodies cross the sun—

July 31, 1826, and May 26, 1828 - Things that crossed the sun, July 31, 1826, and May 26, 1828—  see Comptes Rendus, 83-623, and Webb's Celestial Objects, p. 40.

1845 - Rept. B. A.—see vol. 1849, p. 46—a stream of black objects, crossing the sun, watched, at Naples, May II, 1845, by Capocci and other astronomers

Sept. 1, 1859—two star-like objects that were seen by Carrington to cross the sun (Monthly Notices, 20-13, 15, 88).

About May 30, 1853—a black point that was seen against the sun, by Jaennicke (Cosmos, 20-64).

June 11, 1855—a dark body of such size that it was seen, without telescopes, by Ritter and Schmidt, crossing the sun (Observatory, 3-137).

Summer of 1860—see Sci. Amer., 35-340, for an account, by Richard Covington, of an object that, without a telescope, he saw crossing the sun.

Aug. 30, 1863—an unknown body that was seen by Spörer to cross the sun (Webb, Celestial Objects, p. 45).

Feb. 12, 1864 - A newspaper account of an object that was seen crossing the sun, Feb. 12, 1864, by Samuel Beswick, of New York (Astro. Reg., 2-161)

December 1882 - In the Dundee Advertiser, Dec. 22, 1882, it is said that, between 10 and 11 A.M., December 21, at Broughty Ferry, Scotland, a correspondent had seen an unknown luminous body near and a little above the sun. In the Advertiser, December 25, is published a letter from someone who says that this object had been seen at Dundee, also; that quite certainly it was the planet Venus and "no other." In Knowledge, 2-489, this story is told by a writer who says that undoubtedly the object was Venus. But, in Knowledge, 3-13, the astronomer J. E. Gore writes that the object could not have been Venus, which upon this date was 1 h. 33 m., R. A., west of the sun. The observation is reviewed in L’Astronomie, 1883-109. Here it is said that the position of Mercury accorded better. Reasonably this object could not have been Mercury: several objections are comprehended in the statement that superior conjunction of Mercury had occurred upon December 16.

1887 -In L’Astronomie, 1887-426, MM. Codde and Payan, both of them astronomers, well-known for their conventional observations and writings, publish accounts of an unknown body that appeared upon the sun's limb, for twenty or thirty seconds, after the eclipse of Aug. 19, 1887. They saw a round body, apparent diameter about one tenth of the apparent diameter of the sun, according to the sketch that is published. In L’Astronomie, these two observers write separately, and, in the city of Marseilles, their observations were made at a distance apart. But the unknown body was seen by both upon the same part of the sun's limb. So it is supposed that it could not have been a balloon, nor a circular cloud, nor anything else very near this earth. But many astronomers in other parts of Europe were watching this eclipse, and it seems acceptable that others, besides two in Marseilles, continued to look, immediately after the eclipse; but from nowhere else came a report upon this object, so that all indications are that it was far from the sun and near Marseilles, but farther than clouds or balloons in this local sky. I can draw no diagram that can satisfy all these circumstances

Others - Two unknowns that, according to Pastorff, crossed the sun, Nov. 1, 1836, and Feb. 16, 1837 (An. Sci. Disc., 1860-410)—De Vico's unknown, July 12, 1837 (Observatory, 2-424)-observation by De Cuppis, Oct. 2, 1839 (C. R., 83-314)-by Scott and Wray, last of June, 1847; by Schmidt, Oct. 11, 1847 (C. R., 83-623)-two dark bodies that were seen, Feb. 5, 1849, by Brown, of Deal (Rec. Sci., 1-138)—object watched by Sidebotham, half an hour, March 12, 1849, crossing the sun (C. R., 83-622)—Schmidt's unknown, Oct. 14, 1849 (Observatory, 3-137)

The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps