Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Cosmic Chaos or Contrived Confusion?, part Three, I think.
Ivan Sanderson was fascinated with the tales of things falling from the skies, which at first impression should not be falling. He invented a word "Fafrotskies" to shorten up "Falls from the Skies". He collected a lot of incidents, and here he is [above] with about half or less of his computer paper listing of the "Things", as he liked to call such weirdoes.
Sanderson delighted in old sources like RPGreg's catalog of "meteors" and falls, which we have been discussing. Last time the topic was "slags" and other igneous stones. This time it's organic slimes/resins and "star jellies".
The top photo of the three is a bubbling bitumen pit. The next two are types of things sometimes called "star jellies", or just "blobs". Greg's catalog listed bitumen falls in 1796 [Northern Germany] and 1822 [ Christiana, Norway]. Bitumen is a heavy dark tar and pretty unlikely to have survived atmospheric entry under almost any circumstances. "Resin" is said to have fallen in 1824 [ Newhaus, Bohemia] and 1857 [ Kaba, Hungary]. In the Hungarian fall, the resin was described as running through the stone... peculiar indeed. In 1806 [ Alais, France], a "carbonaceous" [carbon-rich] stone fell, but it's properties were not listed. With the exception of the latter, none of these falls makes sense as a meteorite.
"Jellies" were seen to fall [allegedly] in 1718 [ Lethy, East Indies], 1803 [ Silesia], 1811 [ Heidelberg], 1819 [ Amherst, MA], and 1835 [ Gotha, Sweden]. The 1718 fall left a "jelly-like mass, silvery and scaly" --- make of that what you will. Could either of the star jellies pictured above be described as such?? Maybe. The 1803 fall fell on snow and proceeded to burn. After the burning was complete, the next day was found a "jelly-like mass" sitting on the snow. Weird-plus. The 1881 fall just says "a gelatinous substance fell" [Greg adds a "?"]. For Amherst 1819, there was a violent explosion after which "a gelatinous substance" was found. Gotha 1835 says flatly: the "jelly-like mass fell three feet from the observer on the ground with a loud noise". If that last case has strong "credibility", then we are in trouble trying to sweep the weirdness seeming to permeate these incidents away.
The "Star-Jelly" concept has always left me in an extremely doubtful stance. The "blobs' seem extremely unlikely candidates for surviving atmospheric entry, and some natural blobbishness IS known to exist in normal biology. But if the 1835 case would be true, all of a sudden I am in another nook and cranny of Out Proctor [translation: I haven't a clue as to what might be going on].
Let's add a few more anomalies from Greg and call a halt to this topic temporarily. I'm sure that you're getting tired of it as it's [perhaps] not as exciting as dragons, druids, or aliens --- but if you use your imagination, you can speculate that any or all of dragons, druids, or aliens did all of this. So it's your own fault if you're not excited.
As to other "falls": Greg lists some instances of extremely hot stones, but also two instances of very COLD stones. What can THAT be about? There are meteor-associated hail storms, where the hail contains at its core small stones, iron pyrites, or METAL !!
One meteorite fell so softly that it didn't shatter the ice beneath it. One landed and "rolled" along a meadow for a while. One just sat in a meadow glowing. One scorched the vegetation, another hit a cow and set a haystack on fire, another shattered a mast at sea. The idea that meteors don't strike people is controverted by the claims in the catalog as there are several such instances.
Also, and perhaps most pleasing to me, there are two Green Globes and one Blue one, which meander overhead, leaving no trail nor having any tail --- just a sharp Ball of Light. One of the French scientists is firmly convinced that some of these meteors are Earth-circling satellites and even calculates orbits. One set of optically aided triangulations [apparently] gave a size to one such "orbiter" of 200 miles in diameter. Your choice: a). he got it completely wrong; b). we just missed being really clobbered by a devastating asteroid; or c). The Mothership.
I'm through with Greg's catalog, but I want to add something. While thumbing around Ivan's Fafrotskies files, I came across a letter --- didn't seem to me to be Fafrotsky, but that's where Ivan had put it. I scanned Ivan's books Things, More Things, & Investigating The Unexplained and didn't see it used. He probably DID use it somewhere, but I've not found it. The letter holds no information on year or location, but Ivan apparently knew the author/observer [there's a hint that there's a cover letter which seems to be lost]. The incident goes thus:
This is noon outdoors in bright sunshine. "The thing appeared silently. It was just THERE at arm's length, right in front of my nose, buoyant like a soap bubble, but cellularly, semi-transparently solid. Bone white color, baroque shape, roughly 5"x6"x4 1/2", structured somewhat like clustered snowflakes or like crushed cornflakes loosely poured into a heap. Not vapor, not smoke, not ANYTHING when I placed my palm in connection with the underside. It floated in my hand. No sensation of touch. No heat nor cold; no NOTHING! It was just there. Of the senses, only vision registered. It tended to adhere, as though with very faint magnetic attraction.
"After several seconds and at various points of contact with my palm there appeared to be innumerable micro-explosions, or, shall we say, disintegrations that were completely soundless and were not felt at all, only a visual phenomenon. No detritus resulted. Had there been sound I think it would have been miniscule but with vigor as of Chinese firecrackers. With each "disintegration" the thing jerkily settled, if one can imagine a weightless blob responding to gravitational pull. After about 30 seconds there remained but a pinheads sized white sphere, apparently stable. Seconds later, as I started to touch the white ball, it disappeared".
Hmmmm.... weird plus? or something that we know, but has escaped my "education"? Seems extremely bizarre and well-witnessed.
I'll leave you with a folk legend. In the African culture of Togoland, the people have the belief that far back in their ancestors' time, "magic" stones fell from the sky. They appropriately called them "Skystones". They were pure white quartzite in composition and holed to wear as Good Fortune amulets. The above is from my own collection of odd artifacts, and although I don't wear it as an amulet, I've had a pretty fortunate life. Proof positive "data", eh?
Well, it's a nice thought....
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