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Observations placeholder

Fort, Charles - The Book of the Damned - Falls of 'jelly'



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Book of the Damned - Charles Fort

We are moving away from carnal to gelatinous substance, and here there is an abundance of instances or reports of instances. These data are so improper they're obscene to the science of today, but we shall see that science, before it became so rigorous, was not so prudish. Chladni was not, and Greg was not.

I shall have to accept, myself, that gelatinous substance has often fallen from the sky--

Humboldt (Cosmos, 1-119) says that all our data in this respect must be "classed amongst the mythical fables of mythology." He is very sure, but just a little redundant.

Comptes Rendus 3-554:
That, in 1836, M. Vallot, member of the French Academy, placed before the Academy some fragments of a gelatinous substance, said to have fallen from the sky, and asked that they be analyzed. There is no further allusion to this subject.

Comptes Rendus, 23-542:
That, in Wilna, Lithuania, April 4, 1846, in a rainstorm, fell nut-sized masses of a substance that is described as both resinous and gelatinous. It was odorless until burned: then it spread a very pronounced sweetish odor. It is described as like gelatine, but much firmer: but, having been in water 24 hours, it swelled out, and looked altogether gelatinous--  It was grayish.
We are told that, in 1841 and 1846, a similar substance had fallen in Asia Minor.

In Notes and Queries, 8-6-190,
it is said that, early in August, 1894, thousands of jellyfish, about the size of a shilling, had fallen at Bath, England. ….. at the same time, small frogs fell at Wigan, England.

Nature, 87-10:
That, June 24, 1911, at Eton, Bucks, England, the ground was found covered with masses of jelly, the size of peas, after a heavy rainfall….  it is said that the object contained numerous eggs of "some species of Chironomus, from which larvae soon emerged."

London Times, April 24, 1871:
That, upon the 22nd of April, 1871, a storm of glutinous drops neither jellyfish nor masses of frog spawn, but something of a [line missing here in original text. Ed.] railroad station, at Bath. "Many soon developed into a worm-like chrysalis, about an inch in length." The account of this occurrence in the Zoologist, 2-6-2686, is more like the Eton-datum: of minute forms, said to have been infusoria; not forms about an inch in length.

Trans. Ent. Soc. of London, 1871-proc. xxii:
That the phenomenon has been investigated by the Rev. L. Jenyns, of Bath. His description is of minute worms in filmy envelopes. He tries to account for their segregation. The mystery of it is: What could have brought so many of them together? Many other falls we shall have record of, and in most of them segregation is the great mystery. A whirlwind seems anything but a segregative force. Segregation of things that have fallen from the sky has been avoided as most deep-dyed of the damned.
Mr. Jenyns conceives of a large pool, in which were many of these spherical masses: of the pool drying up and concentrating all in a small area; of a whirlwind then scooping all up together--  But several days later, more of these objects fell in the same place.  That such marksmanship is not attributable to whirlwinds seems to me to be what we think we mean by common sense:


R.P. Greg, one of the most notable of cataloguers of meteoritic phenomena, records (Phil. Mag.: 4-8-463) falls of viscid substance in the years 1652, 1686, 1718, 1796, 1811, 1819, 1844. He gives earlier dates, but I practice exclusions, myself. In the Report of the British Association, 1860-63, Greg records a meteor that seemed to pass near the ground, between Barsdorf and Freiburg, Germany: the next day a jelly-like mass was found in the snow--   Unseasonableness for either spawn or nostoc.

Greg's comment in this instance is: "Curious if true." But he records without modification the fall of a meteorite at Gotha, Germany, Sept. 6, 1835, "leaving a jelly-like mass on the ground." We are told that this substance fell only three feet away from an observer. In the Report of the British Association, 1855-94, according to a letter from Greg to Prof. Baden-Powell, at night, Oct. 8, 1844, near Coblenz, a German, who was known to Greg, and another person saw a luminous body fall close to them. They returned next morning and found a gelatinous mass of grayish color.

According to Chladni's account (Annals of Philosophy, n.s., 12-94) a viscous mass fell with a luminous meteorite between Siena and Rome, May, 1652; viscous matter found after the fall of a fire ball, in Lusatia, March, 1796; fall of a gelatinous substance, after the explosion of a meteorite, near Heidelberg, July, 1811. In the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, 1-234, the substance that fell at Lusatia is said to have been of the "color and odor of dried, brown varnish." In the Amer. Jour. Sci., 1-26-133, it is said that gelatinous matter fell with a globe of fire, upon the island of Lethy, India, 1718.

In the Amer. Jour. Sci., 1-26-396, in many observations upon the meteors of November, 1833, are reports of falls of gelatinous substance:  That, according to newspaper reports, "lumps of jelly" were found on the ground at Rahway, N.J. The substance was whitish, or resembled the coagulated white of an egg:

That Mr. H.H. Garland, of Nelson County, Virginia, had found a jelly-like substance of about the circumference of a twenty-five-cent piece:

That, according to a communication from A.C. Twining to Prof. Olmstead, a woman at West Point, N.Y., had seen a mass the size of a teacup. It looked like boiled starch:

That, according to a newspaper, of Newark, N.J., a mass of gelatinous substance, like soft soap, had been found. "It possessed little elasticity, and, on the application of heat, it evaporated as readily as water."

The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

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