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Observations placeholder

Fort, Charles - The Book of the Damned - Falls of Black 'leaves and feathers'



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Book of the Damned - Charles Fort

Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 1-379:
"In the year 1686, some workmen, who had been fetching water from a pond, seven German miles from Memel, on returning to their work after dinner (during which there had been a snowstorm) found the flat ground around the pond covered with a coal-black, leafy mass; and a person who lived near said he had seen it fall like flakes with the snow."
Some of these flake-like formations were as large as a table-top. "The mass was damp and smelt disagreeably, like rotten seaweed, but, when dried, the smell went off."
"It tore fibrously, like paper."

Classic explanation:  "Up from one place, and down in another."   

But …. according to Chladni, this was no little, local deposition that was seen to occur by some indefinite person living near a pond somewhere.  It was a tremendous fall from a vast sky-area.  At the same time, this substance was falling "in great quantities," in Norway and Pomerania. Or see Kirkwood, Meteoric Astronomy, p. 66:   "Substance like charred paper fell in Norway and other parts of northern  Europe, Jan. 31, 1686."

Annals of Philosophy, 16-68:
The substance that fell in January, 1686, is described as "a mass of black leaves, having the appearance of burnt paper, but harder, and cohering, and brittle."

Berzelius examined the substance. He could not find nickel in it. At that time, the presence of nickel was the "positive" test of meteoritic matter.

A writer in the Edinburgh Review, 87-194, says that, at the time of writing, he had before him a portion of a sheet of 200 square feet, of a substance that had fallen at Carolath, Silesia, in 1839—similar to cotton-felt,

Jour. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, 1847-pt. 1-193:
That March 16, 1846--about the time of a fall of edible substance in Asia Minor--an olive-gray powder fell at Shanghai. Under the microscope, it was seen to be an aggregation of hairs of two kinds, black ones and rather thick white ones. They were supposed to be mineral fibers, but, when burned, they gave out "the common ammoniacal smell and smoke of burnt hair or feathers." The writer described the phenomenon as "a cloud of 3800 square miles of fibers, alkali, and sand."

The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items


Activities and commonsteps