Newspaper Headline from 1803 Reports Anomalous Meteor Shower

Meteor illustration by Concejalía de Cultura del Ayto

In the tradition of Charles Fort, our good friend (and Darklore contributor) Blair MacKenzie Blake has collected a newspaper 'clipping' (more correctly, found an eBay listing for a collectable newspaper) that discusses an anomalous meteor shower way back in 1803.

This electrical phenomenon was observed on Wednesday morning last at Richmond, and its vicinity, in a manner that alarmed many, and astonished every person who beheld it. From one until three in the morning, those starry meteors seemed to fall from every point in the heavens, in such numbers as to resemeble a shower of sky rockets.

...Several of those shooting meteors, were accompanied with a train of fire, that illuminated the sky for a considerable distance. One in particular, appeared to fall from the Zenith, of the apparent size of a ball of eighteen inches in diameter, that lighted for several seconds the whole hemisphere.

...Since writing the above, we have been informed that several of the largest of these shooting meteors, were observed to descend almost to the ground before they exploded.

However, rather than being - as the eBay listing has it - an "1803 headline display newspaper UFO / Flying Saucers seen over RICHMOND Virginia", this report was likely witness testimony of a particularly magnificent manifestation of the Lyrid meteor shower. In fact, an article written about this newspaper story, which collated it with other witness reports, was published in Popular Astronomy in 1931 (click for a PDF of the article).

What I found interesting about the testimony, however, was the mention of the sounds heard:

Hissing meteors

During the continuance of this phenomenon, a hissing noise in the air was plainly heard, and several reports, resembling the discharge of a pistol.

The 1931 article also mentions a witness at another location as saying that "we distinctly heard a hissing in the air, but heard no reports".

This mention of a hissing sound (and pistol-like reports) reminded me of a fascinating article which appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (Volume 7, Issue 4), "Progress in Explaining the Mysterious Sounds Produced by Very Large Fireballs" (which I originally discussed in this Grail story). In it, author Colin Keay notes that "for about ten percent of those who do witness a very luminous meteor fireball, the mental impression is heightened by strange swishing, hissing and popping noises coincident with its passage across the sky. Such sounds are quite anomalous in that they imply acoustic propagation at the speed of light."

A suggested explanation for these anomalous sounds has been that the plasma trail produced by a fireball as it ionises the air in the atmosphere might be generating extra low frequency (ELF) radio waves. And in June this year a sky survey offered possible confirmation of this theory.

And to finish with an interesting sidenote regarding meteors and anomalous science: just a few days after the report above, a meteor shower in France occurred, the investigation of which (by Jean-Baptiste Biot) provided some solid evidence to the scientific establishment that rocks did actually fall from the heavens - marking a change from previous skepticism of eyewitness reports of this unlikely occurrence - and it is perhaps the event which could be said to have given birth to the science of meteoritics.

News Briefs 26-11-2014

Is it E-Prime Week? Why yes, it is.

Quote of the Day:

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.

Erich Fromm


News Briefs 25-11-2014

Wake me when the gamma ray burst is coming...

Quote of the Day:

Our age has generated, and continues to generate, mythical material almost unparalleled in quantity and quality in the rich records of human imagination.

Jacques Vallee (on the UFO phenomenon)

News Briefs 24-11-2014

Richard Dawkins definitely needs more cowbell...

Quote of the Day:

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

H.L. Mencken

Watch 'Beyond Our Sight', an Independently Produced Documentary on Near-Death Experiences

Can we survive death ? What is the nature of our consciousness ?
Beyond Our Sight is an excellently produced independent documentary created by Anthony Chene that talks about near-death experiences, human consciousness, and the possibility of communication with other dimensions. It features the testimony of a number of near-death experiencers, as well as our good friend Dean Radin.

If you enjoy the documentary, please consider making a small donation to the director with a small donation. As I always say, do your best to support independently produced content that explores the topics we are all fascinated with here on the Grail!

News Briefs 21-11-2014

” I think I am, therefore I am… I think.”

Quote of the Day:

“I put a dollar in a change machine… Nothing changed.”

George Carlin

The Art of Affecting Consciousness

Zep Tepi, by Cosmic Joker

When I was working on Darklore Volume 8, I happened to stumble across a piece of artwork that I instantly knew had to be the cover for the book. Upon looking further into the artist, I discovered a whole body of sacred geometry-based art - all created since just Deember 2012! - that absolutely blew my mind, such as the piece 'Zep Tepi' at the top of this post.

The artist, Steve "Cosmic Joker" Richards, told me that the urge to make art hit him in 2010, but then stopped shortly after, and then again in 2011, but in 2012 "I immediately knew it was staying and it wasn't going to just disappear". Along with this urge came a "throbbing" in Steve's forehead as well as tinnitus.

So for 6 months I just drew non stop bright vibrant pictures with colouring pencils...and then in Dec 2012 I picked up a fineliner [and] haven't stopped since!

My life long passions regarding the nature of reality, consciousness, ancient Egypt, synchronicity, cycles and symbols are themes I'm trying to put into my Art and finding ways of including information too, where symbolic, coded or literal. Trying to make information beautifull springs to mind.

Cosmici Joker Cross

Go check out Steve's "Art of Affecting Consciousness" website, and if you're on Facebook like his page as he is regularly posting images of stuff he's working on.

And if you want to support Steve in his passion, and get yourself something special in the process, be sure to browse his Etsy shop for something you like, or even get in contact with him about a commission if you have a specific idea you'd like 'encoded'.

Link: The Art of Affecting Consciousness

Link: The Cosmic Joker on Facebook

Link: Etsy Shop for The Cosmic Joker

News Briefs 20-11-2014

Where's our Mexican Mockingjay? We've had it with the seagulls!

Thanks to Katniss.

Quote of the Day:

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

~John F. Kennedy

News Briefs 19-11-2014

It has to be heroic.

Quote of the Day:

A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown.

Tom Hanks