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Observations placeholder

Crosse, Andrew – 01 - Insects appearing under conditions usually fatal to animal life



Type of Spiritual Experience


Please note that we have no more idea than Andrew Crosse of why these insects appeared, but there may be a link to apporting, so we have added it

A description of the experience

Memorials, Scientific and Literary of Andrew Crosse, the Electrician – Cornelia and Andrew Crosse

The world was startled by the publication of an account of very unexpected appearances in some of Mr. Crosse's electrical experiments.

Insects, in fact, were found to have been developed under conditions usually fatal to animal life, namely, in highly caustic solutions and out of contact of atmospheric air. The circumstance certainly was extraordinary, and deserved, as it still does deserve, further inquiry.

The true spirit of philosophy lies in an equal mean between credulity and denial; but the prejudices acquired by education rarely allow us to observe the just medium. Mr. Crosse was no entomologist or physiologist, therefore he did not pretend to know whether these little animals, which had so strangely presented themselves between the poles of the voltaic circuit, were a new species or not (and it is still an open question, though they clearly belong to the Acarus tribe); he knew that under certain arrangements he could reproduce them at pleasure, and that unless these conditions were observed they did not appear.

He formed no theory in respect to their development, and he was far too honest to attempt an explanation of what he freely allowed he did not comprehend………………

I believe Southey was the first person to whom Andrew Crosse related the circumstance of their appearance. The latter was walking over the Quantock Hills, as was his wont, with his eyes fixed on the ground (a habit acquired from mineralising), and pondering with amazement on the strange development of what he had expected to be crystals into living animals.

Thus reflecting on the result of his experiment, he met Southey toiling up the hill behind a carriage which was to convey him to Mr. Poole's at Stowey. The poet and the philosopher were acquainted, and most friendly was their greeting.

Andrew Crosse, full of the subject occupying his thoughts, at once communicated the fact of the curious appearance he had met with,-holding Southey fast to hear the most minute details of the experiment, as the “Ancient Mariner" might have held the wedding-guest. "Well," said Southey, "I am the first traveller who has ever been stopped by so extraordinary an announcement."

The source of the experience

Crosse, Andrew

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps