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Observations placeholder

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



Type of Spiritual Experience




A description of the experience

The Book of the Damned - Charles Fort

1849 is notable for extraordinary falls, so far apart that a local explanation seems inadequate--not only the black rain of Ireland, May, 1849, but a red rain in Sicily and a red rain in Wales. Also, it is said (Timb's Year Book, 1850-241) that, upon April 18 or 20, 1849, shepherds near Mt. Ararat, found a substance that was not indigenous, upon areas measuring 8 to 10 miles in circumference. Presumably it had fallen there.

In 1829 (Timb's Year Book, 1848-235) in Persia fell a substance that the people said they had never seen before. As to what it was, they had not a notion, but they saw that the sheep ate it. They ground it into flour and made bread, said to have been passable enough, though insipid.

I have data of other falls, in Persia and Asiatic Turkey, of edible substances. They are all dogmatically said to be "manna"; and "manna" is dogmatically said to be a species of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor. The position that I take is that this explanation was evolved in ignorance of the fall of vegetable substances, or edible substances, in other parts of the world: that it is the familiar attempt to explain the general in terms of the local; that, if we shall have data of falls of vegetable substance, in, say, Canada or India, they were not of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor; that, though all falls in Asiatic Turkey and Persia are sweepingly and conveniently called showers of "manna," they have not been even all of the same substance. In one instance the particles are said to have been "seeds."

In Comptes Rendus,

the substance that fell in 1841 and 1846 is said to have been gelatinous, in the Bull. Sci. Nat. de Neuchatel, it is said to have been of something, in lumps the size of a filbert, that had been ground into flour; that of this flour had been made bread, very attractive-looking, but flavorless.

The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

Concepts, symbols and science items


Activities and commonsteps