The Cruise of the Bacchante

Two young sons of the Prince of Wales (one of whom later became King George V) wrote in their book The Cruise of the Bacchante, of “a strange light, as if of a phantom vessel all aglow” between Melbourne and Sydney at 4 a.m., June 11, 1881. It was seen by twelve other crewmen. Five hours later, the lookout fell from the rigging and was killed.

–Charles Fort, Lo!, p. 637 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

As large as the light at Girdleness

On Dec. 10, 1881, three men left from Bath in¬†the balloon Saladin. The balloon descended at Bridport on the coast of the English channel and two of the men got out. The balloon shot up into the air with one man, Walter Powell, still on board, and was apparently lost. However, reports came in about a luminous object seen on the evening of the 13th, according to the London Times, near Cherbourg, and on the 16th at Laredo and Bilbao, Spain. It was said in the Morning Post to have shot out sparks. A steamship off the coast of Scotland, 25 miles from Montrose, reported something seen in the sky in the morning of Dec. 15 (Standard, Dec. 16, 1881). Through glasses it seemed to be “a light attached to something thought to be the car of a balloon, increasing and decreasing in size–a large light–‘as large as the light at Girdleness.’” It moved opposite to the wind.

–Charles Fort, New Lands, p461-462 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

Through lenses rimmed with horizons

On Oct. 10, 1881, in Rugenwalde, Pomerania, the mirage of a village was seen, complete with snow-covered, icicle-adorned¬†roofs and distinctly visible human forms. Fort notes, “It was believed that the mirage was a representation of the town of Nexo, on the island of Bornholm…about 100 miles northwest…”.

–Charles Fort, New Lands, p444 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

No mention of the presence of spiders

Scientific American, 45-337, records the fall of a substance in the latter part of October 1881 in Milwaukee, Green Bay, Vesburge, Fort Howard, Sheboygan and Ozaukee, Wisconsin. It was described as “cobwebs.” “‘In all instances,’” Fort records the source as saying, “’the webs were strong in texture and very white.’ The Editor says: ‘Curiously enough, there is no mention in any of the reports that we have seen, of the presence of spiders.’”

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p62 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).