Book of the Damned Chapter XIX
I HAVE industriously sought data for an expression upon birds, but the
prospecting has not been very quasi-satisfactory. I think I rather
emphasize our industriousness, because a charge likely to be brought
against the attitude of Acceptance is that one who only accepts must be
one of languid interest and little application of energy. It doesn't seem
to work out: we are very industrious. I suggest to some of our disciples
that they look into the matter of messages upon pigeons, of course
attributed to earthly owners, but said to be undecipherable. I'd do it,
ourselves, only that would be selfish. That's more of the Intermediatism
that will keep us out of the firmament: Positivism is absolute egoism. But
look back in the time of Andrée's Polar Expedition. Pigeons that would
have no publicity ordinarily, were often reported at that time.
In the Zoologist, 3-18-21, is recorded an instance of a bird
(puffin) that had fallen to the ground with a fractured head. Interesting,
but mere speculation--but what solid object, high in the air, had the bird
Tremendous red rain in France, Oct. 16 and 17, 1846; great storm at the
time, and red rain supposed to have been colored by matter swept up from
this earth's surface, and then precipitated (Comptes Rendus,
23-832). But in Comptes Rendus, 24-625, the description of this
red rain differs from one's impression of red, sandy or muddy water. It is
said that this rain was so vividly red and so blood-like that many persons
in France were terrified. Two analyses are given (Comptes Rendus,
24-812). One chemist notes a great quantity of corpuscles--whether
blood-like corpuscles or not--in the matter. The other chemist sets down
organic matter at 35 per cent. It may be that an inter-planetary dragon
had been slain somewhere, or that this red fluid, in which were many
corpuscles, came from something not altogether pleasant to contemplate,
about the size of the Catskill Mountains, perhaps--but the present datum
is that with this substance, larks, quail, ducks, and water hens, some of
them alive, fell at Lyons and Grenoble and other places.
I have notes upon other birds that have fallen from the sky, but
unaccompanied by the red rain that makes the fall of birds in France
peculiar, and very peculiar, if it be accepted that the red substance was
extra-mundane. The other notes are upon birds that have fallen from the
sky, in the midst of storms, or of exhausted, but living, birds, falling
not far from a storm-area. But now we shall have an instance for which I
can find no parallel: fall of dead birds, from a clear sky, far-distant
from any storm to which they could be attributed--so remote from any
discoverable storm that--
My own notion is that, in the summer of 1896, something, or some
beings, came as near to this earth as they could, upon a hunting
expedition; that, in the summer of 1896, an expedition of super-scientists
passed over this earth, and let down a dragnet--and what would it catch,
sweeping through the air, supposing it to have reached not quite to this
In the Monthly Weather Review, May, 1917, W. L. McAtee quotes
from the Baton Rouge correspondence to the Philadelphia Times:
That, in the summer of 1896, into the streets of Baton Rouge, La., and
from a "clear sky," fell hundreds of dead birds. There were wild ducks,
and cat birds, woodpeckers, and "many birds of strange plumage," some of
them resembling canaries.
Usually one does not have to look very far from any place to learn of a
storm. But the best that could be done in this instance was to say:
"There had been a storm on the coast of Florida."
And, unless he have psycho-chemic repulsion for the explanation, the
reader feels only momentary astonishment that dead birds from a storm in
Florida should fall from an unstormy sky in Louisiana, and with his
intellect greased like the plumage of a wild duck, the datum then drops
Our greasy, shiny brains. That they may be of some use after all: that
other modes of existence place a high value upon them as lubricants; that
we're hunted for them; a hunting expedition to this earth--the newspapers
report a tornado.
If from a clear sky, or a sky in which there were no driven clouds, or
other evidences of still-continuing wind-power--or, if from a storm in
Florida, it could be accepted that hundreds of birds had fallen far away,
in Louisiana, I conceive, conventionally, of heavier objects having fallen
in Alabama, say, and of the fall of still heavier objects still nearer the
origin in Florida.
The sources of information of the Weather Bureau are widespread.
It has no records of such falls.
So a drag net that was let down from above somewhere--
Or something that I learned from the more scientific of the
investigators of psychic phenomena:
The reader begins their work with prejudice against telepathy and
everything else of psychic phenomena. The writers deny
spirit-communication, and say that the seeming data are data of "only
telepathy." Astonishing instances of seeming clairvoyance--"only
telepathy." After a while the reader finds himself agreeing that it's only
telepathy--which, at first, had been intolerable to him.
So maybe, in 1896, a super-dragnet did not sweep through this earth's
atmosphere, gathering up all the birds within its field, the meshes then
Or that the birds of Baton Rouge were only from the Super-Sargasso
Upon which we shall have another expression. We thought we'd settled
that, and we thought we'd establish that, but nothing's ever settled, and
nothing's ever established, in a real sense, if, in a real sense, there is
nothing but quasiness.
I suppose there had been a storm somewhere, the storm in Florida,
perhaps, and many birds had been swept upward into the Super-Sargasso Sea.
It has frigid regions and it has tropical regions--that birds of diverse
species had been swept upward, into an icy region, where, huddling
together for warmth, they had died. Then, later, they had been
dislodged--meteor coming along--boat--bicycle--dragon--don't know what did
come along--something dislodged them.
So leaves of trees, carried up there is whirlwinds, staying there
years, ages, perhaps only a few months, but then falling to this earth at
an unseasonable time for dead leaves--fishes carried up there, some of
them dying and drying, some of them living in volumes of water that are in
abundance up there, or that fall sometimes in the deluges that we call
The astronomers won't think kindly of us, and we haven't done anything
to endear ourselves to the meteorologists--but we're weak and mawkish
Intermediatists--several times we've tried to get the aeronauts with
us--extraordinary things up there: things that curators of museums would
give up all hope of ever being fixed stars, to obtain: things left over
from whirlwinds of the time of the Pharaohs, perhaps: or that Elijah did
go up in the sky in something like a chariot, and may not be Vega, after
all, and that there may be a wheel or so left of whatever he went up in.
We basely suggest that it would bring a high price--but sell soon, because
after a while there'd be thousands of them hawked around--
We weakly drop a hint to the aeronauts.
In the Scientific American, 33-197, there is an account of
some hay that fell from the sky. From the circumstances we incline to
accept that this hay went up, in a whirlwind, from this earth, in the
first place, reached the Super-Sargasso Sea, and remained there a long
time before falling. An interesting point in this expression is the usual
attribution to a local and coinciding whirlwind, and identification of
it--and then data that make that local whirlwind unacceptable--
That, upon July 27, 1875, small masses of damp hay had fallen at
Monkstown, Ireland. In the Dublin Daily Express, Dr. J.W. Moore
had explained: he had found a nearby whirlwind, to the south of Monkstown,
that coincided. But according to the Scientific American, a
similar fall had occurred near Wrexham, England, two days before.
In November, 1918, I made some studies upon light objects thrown into
the air. Armistice-day. I suppose I should have been more emotionally
occupied, but I made notes upon torn-up papers thrown high into the air
from windows of office buildings. Scraps of paper did stay together for a
while. Several minutes, sometimes.
That, upon the 10th of April, 1869, at Autriche (Indre-et-Loire) a
great number of oak leaves--enormous segregation of them--fell from the
sky. Very calm day. So little wind that the leaves fell almost vertically.
Fall lasted about ten minutes.
Flammarion, in "The Atmosphere," p. 412, tells this story.
He has to find a storm.
He does find a squall--but it had occurred upon April 3rd.
Flammarion's two incredibilities are--that leaves could remain a week
in the air: that they could stay together a week in the air.
Think of some of your own observations upon papers thrown from an
Our one incredibility:
That these leaves had been whirled up six months before, when they were
common on the ground, and had been sustained, of course not in the air,
but in a region gravitationally inert; and had been precipitated by the
disturbances of April rains.
I have no records of leaves that have so fallen from the sky, in
October or November, the season when one might expect dead leaves to be
raised from one place and precipitated somewhere else. I emphasize that
this occurred in April.
La Nature, 1889-2-94:
That, upon April 19, 1889, dried leaves, of different species, oak,
elm, etc., fell from the sky. This day, too, was a calm day. The fall was
tremendous. The leaves were seen to fall fifteen minutes, but, judging
from the quantity on the ground, it is the writer's opinion that they had
already been falling half an hour. I think that the geyser of corpses that
sprang from Riobamba toward the sky must have been an interesting sight.
If I were a painter, I'd like that subject. But this cataract of dried
leaves, too, is a study in the rhythms of the dead. In this datum, the
point most agreeable to us is the very point that the writer in La
Nature emphasizes. Windlessness. He says that the surface of the
Loire was "absolutely smooth." The river was strewn with leaves as far as
he could see.
That, upon the 7th of April, 1894, dried leaves fell at Clairvaux and
Outre-Aube, France. The fall is described as prodigious. Half an hour.
Then, upon the 11th, a fall of dried leaves occurred at Pontcarré.
It is in this recurrence that we found some of our opposition to the
conventional explanation. The Editor (Flammarion) explains. He says that
the leaves had been caught up in a cyclone which had expended its force;
that the heavier leaves had fallen first. We think that that was all right
for 1894, and that it was quite good enough for 1894. But, in these more
exacting days, we want to know how wind-power insufficient to hold some
leaves in the air could sustain others four days.
The factors in this expression are unseasonableness, not for dried
leaves, but for prodigious numbers of dried leaves; direct fall,
windlessness, month of April, and localization in France. The factor of
localization is interesting. Not a note have I upon fall of leaves from
the sky, except these notes. Were the conventional explanation, or "old
correlate" acceptable, it would seem that similar occurrences in other
regions should be as frequent as in France. The indication is that there
may be quasi-permanent undulations in the Super-Sargasso Sea, or a
pronounced inclination toward France--
That there may be a nearby world complementary to this world, where
autumn occurs at the time that is springtime here.
Let some disciple have that.
But there may be a dip toward France, so that leaves that are borne
high there, are more likely to be held in suspension than high-flying
leaves elsewhere. Some other time I shall take up Super-geography, and be
guilty of charts. I think, now, that the Super-Sargasso Sea is an oblique
belt, with changing ramifications, over Great Britain, France, Italy, and
on to India. Relatively to the United States I am not very clear, but
think especially of the Southern States.
The preponderance of our data indicates frigid regions aloft.
Nevertheless such phenomena as putrefaction have occurred often enough to
make super-tropical regions, also, acceptable. We shall have one more
datum upon the Super-Sargasso Sea. It seems to me that, by this time, our
requirements of support and reënforcement and agreement have been quite as
rigorous for acceptance as ever for belief: at least for full acceptance.
By virtue of mere acceptance, we may, in some later book, deny the
Super-Sargasso Sea, and find that our data relate to some other
complementary world instead--or the moon--and have abundant data for
accepting that the moon is not more than twenty or thirty miles away.
However, the Super-Sargasso Sea functions very well as a nucleus around
which to gather data that oppose Exclusionism. That is our main motive: to
Or our agreement with cosmic processes. The climax of our general
expression upon the Super-Sargasso Sea. Coincidentally appears something
else that may overthrow it later.
Notes and Queries, 8-12-228:
That in the province of Macerata, Italy (summer of 1897?) an immense
number of small, blood-colored clouds covered the sky. About an hour later
a storm broke, and myriad seeds fell to the ground. It is said that they
were identified as products of a tree found only in Central Africa and the
If--in terms of conventional reasoning--these seeds had been high in
the air, they had been in a cold region. But it is our acceptance that
these seeds had, for a considerable time, been in a warm region, and for a
time longer than is attributable to suspension by wind-power:
"It is said that a great number of the seeds were in the first stage of