Sunday, April 4, 2010
From the “Book of the Damned” by Charles Hoy Fort.
Black rain. Photocollage by Myriam B. Mahiques
Charles Hoy Fort (August 6, 1874 – May 3, 1932) was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena.
Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York. As a young man, Fort was a budding naturalist, collecting sea shells, minerals, and birds.
Fort wrote ten novels, although only one, The Outcast Manufacturers (1909), was published. In 1915, Fort began to write two books, titled X and Y, the first dealing with the idea that beings on Mars were controlling events on Earth, and the second with the postulation of a sinister civilization extant at the South Pole. They were a failure.
Disheartened, Fort burnt the manuscripts, but was soon renewed to begin work on the book that would change the course of his life, The Book of the Damned (1919).The title referred to "damned" data that Fort collected, phenomena for which science could not account and was thus rejected or ignored. (Adapted from Wikipedia.org)
Charles Hoy Fort. From
A Procession of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.
Battalions of the accursed, captained by pallid data that I have exhumed, will march. You'll read them—or they'll march. Some of them livid and some of them fiery and some of them rotten.
Some of them are corpses, skeletons, mummies, twitching, tottering, animated by companions that have been damned alive. There are giants that will walk by, though sound asleep. There are things that are theorems and things that are rags: they'll go by like Euclid arm in arm with the spirit of anarchy. Here and there will flit little harlots. Many are clowns. But many are of the highest respectability. Some are assassins. There are pale stenches and gaunt superstitions and mere shadows and lively malices: whims and amiabilities. The naïve and the pedantic and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile…….
Black rains and black snows—rains as black as a deluge of ink—jet-black snowflakes.
Such a rain as that which fell in Ireland, May 14, 1849, described in the Annals of Scientific Discovery, 1850, and the Annual Register, 1849. It fell upon a district of 400 square miles, and was the color of ink, and of a fetid odor and very disagreeable taste.
The rain at Castlecommon, Ireland, April 30, 1887—"thick, black rain." (Amer. Met. Jour., 4-193.)
A black rain fell in Ireland, Oct. 8 and 9, 1907. (Symons’ Met.
Mag. 43-2.) "It left a most peculiar and disagreeable smell in the air."
The orthodox explanation of this rain occurs in Nature, March 2, 1908—cloud of soot that had come from South Wales, crossing the Irish Channel and all of Ireland.
So the black rain of Ireland, of March, 1898: ascribed in Symons’ Met. Mag. 33-40, to clouds of soot from the manufacturing towns of North England and South Scotland.
Our Intermediatist principle of pseudo-logic, or our principle of Continuity is, of course, that nothing is unique, or individual: that all phenomena merge away into all other phenomena: that, for instance—suppose there should be vast celestial super-oceanic, or inter-planetary vessels that come near this earth and discharge volumes of smoke at times. We're only supposing such a thing as that now, because, conventionally, we are beginning modestly and tentatively. But if it were so, there would necessarily be some phenomenon upon this earth, with which that phenomenon would merge. Extra-mundane smoke and smoke from cities merge, or both would manifest in black precipitations in rain.
So away from the great manufacturing centers:
Black rain in Switzerland, Jan. 20, 1911. Switzerland is so remote, and so ill at ease is the conventional explanation here, that Nature, 85-451, says of this rain that in certain conditions of weather, snow may take on an appearance of blackness that is quite deceptive.
May be so. Or at night, if dark enough, snow may look black. This is simply denying that a black rain fell in Switzerland, Jan. 20, 191I.
Extreme remoteness from great manufacturing centers:
La Nature, 1888, 2-406:
That Aug. 14, 1888, there fell at the Cape of Good Hope, a rain so black as to be described as a "shower of ink."
Continuity dogs us. Continuity rules us and pulls us back. We seemed to have a little hope that by the method of extremes we could get away from things that merge indistinguishably into other things. We find that every departure from one merger is entrance upon another. At the Cape of Good Hope, vast volumes of smoke from great manufacturing centers, as an explanation, cannot very acceptably merge with the explanation of extra-mundane origin—but smoke from a terrestrial volcano can, and that is the suggestion that is made in La Nature.
Our opponents hold out for mundane origin of all black rains. Our method will be the presenting of diverse phenomena in agreement with the notion of some other origin. We take up not only black rains but black rains and their accompanying phenomena.
A correspondent to Knowledge, 5-190, writes of a black rain that fell in the Clyde Valley, March 1, 1884: of another black rain that fell two days later. According to the correspondent, a black rain had fallen in the Clyde Valley, March 20, 1828: then again March 22, 1828. According to Nature, 9-43, a black rain fell at Marls-ford, England, Sept. 4, 1873; more than twenty-four hours later another black rain fell in the same small town.
The black rains of Slains:
According to Rev. James Rust (Scottish Showers):
A black rain at Slains, Jan. 14, 1862—another at Carluke, 140
miles from Slains, May r, 1862—at Slains, May 20, 1862—Slains, Oct. 28, 1863.
But after two of these showers, vast quantities of a substance described sometimes as "pumice stone," but sometimes as "slag," were washed upon the sea coast near Slains. A chemist's opinion is given that this substance was slag: that it was not a volcanic product: slag from smelting works. We now have, for black rains, a concomitant that is irreconcilable with origin from factory chimneys. Whatever it may have been the quantity of this substance was so enormous that, in Mr. Rust's opinion, to have produced so much of it would have required the united output of all the smelting works in the world. If slag it were, we accept that an artificial product has, in enormous quantities, fallen from the sky. If you don't think that such occurrences are damned by Science, read Scottish Showers and see how impossible it was for the author to have this matter taken up by the scientific world.