Book of the Damned Chapter XXVI
NOTES and Queries, 5-3-306:
About 8 lights that were seen in Wales, over an area of about 8 miles,
all keeping their own ground, whether moving together perpendicularly,
horizontally, or over a zigzag course. They looked like electric
lights--disappearing, reappearing dimly, then shining as bright as ever.
"We have seen them three or four at a time afterward, on four or five
London Times, Oct. 5, 1877:
"From time to time the West Coast of Wales seems to have been the scene
of mysterious lights....And now we have a statement from Towyn that within
the last few weeks lights of various colors have frequently been seen
moving over the estuary of the Dysynni river, and out to sea. They are
generally in a northerly direction, but sometimes they hug the shore, and
move at a high velocity for miles toward Aberdovey, and suddenly
L'Année Scientifique, 1877-45:
Lights that appeared in the sky, above Vence, France, March 23, 1877;
described as balls of fire of dazzling brightness; appeared from a cloud
about a degree in diameter; moved relatively slowly. They were visible
more than an hour, moving northward. It is said that eight or ten years
before similar lights or objects had been seen in the sky, at Vence.
London Times, Sept. 19, 1848:
That, at Inverness, Scotland, two large, bright lights that looked like
stars had been seen in the sky: sometimes stationary, but occasionally
moving at high velocity.
L'Année Scientifique, 1888-66:
Observed near St. Petersburg, July 30, 1880, in the evening: a large
spherical light and two smaller ones, moving along a ravine: visible three
minutes; disappearing without noise.
That, at Yloilo, Sept. 30, 1886, was seen a luminous object the size of
the full moon. It "floated" slowly "northward," followed by smaller ones
close to it.
"The False Lights of Durham."
Every now and then in the English newspapers, in the middle of the
nineteenth century, there is something about lights that were seen against
the sky, but as if not far above land, oftenest upon the coast of Durham.
They were mistaken for beacons by sailors. Wreck after wreck occurred. The
fishermen were accused of displaying false lights and profiting by
wreckage. The fishermen answered that mostly only old vessels, worthless
except for insurance, were so wrecked.
In 1866 (London Times, Jan. 9, 1866) popular excitement became
intense. There was an investigation. Before a commission, headed by
Admiral Collinson, testimony was taken. One witness described the light
that had deceived him as "considerably elevated above ground." No
conclusion was reached: the light were called "the mysterious lights." But
whatever the "false lights of Durham" may have been, they were unaffected
by the investigation. In 1867, the Tyne Pilotage Board took the matter up.
Opinion of the Mayor of Tyne--"a mysterious affair."
In the Report of the British Association, 1877-152, there is a
description of a group of "meteors" that traveled with "remarkable
slowness." They were in sight about three minutes. "Remarkable," it seems
is scarcely strong enough: one reads of "remarkable" as applied to a
duration of three seconds. These "meteors" had another peculiarity; they
left no train. They are described as "seemingly huddled together like a
flock of wild geese, and moving with the same velocity and grace of
Jour. Roy. Astro. Soc. of Canada, Nov. and Dec., 1913:
That, according to many observations collected by Prof. Chant, of
Toronto, there appeared, upon the night of Feb. 9, 1913, a spectacle that
was seen in Canada, the United States, and at sea, and in Bermuda. A
luminous body was seen. To it there was a long tail. The body grew rapidly
larger. "Observers differ as to whether the body was single, or was
composed of three or four parts, with a tail to each part." The group, or
complex structure, moved with a "peculiar, majestic dignified
deliberation." "It disappeared in the distance, and another group emerged
from its place of origin. Onward they moved, at the same deliberate pace,
in twos or threes or fours." They disappeared. A third group, or a third
Some observers compared the spectacle to a fleet of airships: others to
battleships attended by cruisers and destroyers.
According to one writer:
"There were probably 30 or 32 bodies, and the peculiar thing about them
was their moving in fours and threes and twos, abreast of one another; and
so perfect was the lining up that you would have thought it was an aerial
fleet maneuvering after rigid drilling."
Nature, May 25, 1893:
A letter from Capt. Charles J. Norcock, of the H. M. S. Caroline:
That, upon the 24th of February, 1893, at 10 p. m., between Shanghai
and Japan, the officer of the watch had reported "some unusual lights."
They were between the ship and a mountain. The mountain was about 6,000
feet high. The lights seemed to be globular. They moved sometimes massed,
but sometimes strung out in an irregular line. They bore "northward,"
until lost to sight. Duration two hours.
The next night the lights were seen again.
They were, for a time, eclipsed by a small island. They bore north at
about the same speed and in about the same direction as the speed and
direction of the Caroline. But they were lights that cast a
reflection: there was a glare upon the horizon under them. A telescope
brought out but few details: that they were reddish, and seemed to emit a
faint smoke. This time the duration was seven and a half hours.
Then Capt. Norcock says that, in the same general locality, and at
about the same time, Capt. Castle, of the H. M. S. Leander, had
seen lights. He altered his course and had made toward them. The lights
had fled from him. At least, they had moved higher in the sky.
Monthly Weather Review, March, 1904-115:
Report from the observations of three members of his crew by Lieut.
Frank H. Schofield, U. S. N., of the U. S. S. Supply:
Feb. 28, 1904. Three luminous objects, of different sizes, the largest
having an apparent area of about six suns. When first sighted, they were
not very high. They were below clouds of an estimated height of about one
They fled, or they evaded, or they turned.
They went up into the clouds below which they had, at first, been
Their unison of movement.
But they were of different sizes, and of different susceptibilities to
all forces of this earth and of the air.
Monthly Weather Review, Aug., 1898-358:
Two letters from C. N. Crotsenburg, Crow Agency, Montana:
That, in the summer of 1896, when this writer was a railroad postal
clerk--or one who was experienced in train-phenomena--while his train was
going "northward," from Trenton, Mo., he and another clerk saw, in the
darkness of a heavy rain, a light that appeared to be round, and of a
dull-rose color, and seemed to be about a foot in diameter. It seemed to
float within a hundred feet of the earth, but soon rose high, or "midway
between horizon and zenith." The wind was quite strong from the east, but
the light held a course almost due north.
Its speed varied. Sometimes it seemed to outrun the train
"considerably." At other times it seemed to fall behind. The mail clerks
watched until the town of Linville, Iowa, was reached. Behind the depot of
this town, the light disappeared, and was not seen again. All this time
there had been rain, but very little lightning, but Mr. Crotsenburg offers
the explanation that it was "ball lightning."
The Editor of the Review disagrees. He thinks that the light
may have been a reflection from the rain, or fog, or from leaves of trees,
glistening with rain, or the train's light--not lights.
In the December number of the Review is a letter from Edward
M. Boggs--that the light was a reflection, perhaps, from the glare--one
light, this time--from the locomotive's fire box, upon wet telegraph
wires--an appearance that might not be striated by the wires, but
consolidated into one rotundity--that it had seemed to oscillate with the
undulations of the wires, and had seemed to change horizontal distance
with the varying angles of reflection, and had seemed to advance or fall
behind, when the train rounded curves.
All of which is typical of the best quasi-reasoning. It includes and
assimilates diverse data: but it excludes that which will destroy it:
That, acceptably, the telegraph wires were alongside the track beyond,
as well as leading to Linville.
Mr. Crotsenburg thinks of "ball lightning," which, though a sore
bewilderment to most speculation, is usually supposed to be a correlate
with the old system of thought: but his awareness of "something else" is
expressed in other parts of his letters, when he says that he has
something to tell that is "so strange that I should never have mentioned
it, even to my friends, had it not been corroborated...so unreal that I
hesitated to speak of it, fearing that it was some freak of the