May not be fire-balloons

In December 1882, a discussion commenced in the Dundee Advertiser and later in Knowledge, 2-489, about an unknown luminous body near and a little above the sun. It was initially reported on Dec. 22, 1882. The sighting occurred between 10 and 11 a.m. by a correspondent at Broughty Ferry, Scotland. Another letter was published on Dec. 25 from someone who had also seen it, and said it was Venus. One writer in Knowledge also says it was Venus. But in a later issue, 3-13, an astronomer wrote that it could not be Venus, saying that Venus was at that time to the west of the sun.

–Charles Fort, New Lands, 435-436 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

There was no longer doubt

According to Monthly Notices, 30-135, Lieut. Herschel of Bangalore, India, reported that, for two days (Oct. 17 and 18, 1870), dark bodies passed across the sun in a continuous stream, “varying in size and velocity.” The lieutenant explains, “As it was, the continuous flight, for two whole days, in such numbers, in the upper regions of the air, of beasts that left no stragglers, is a wonder of natural history, if not of astronomy.” When focusing, he saw “either wings or phantom-like appendages.” As he watched, one of them paused, hovered, then whisked off. The lieutenant decided, “There was no longer doubt: they were locusts or flies of some sort.”

Fort notes that “If locusts fly high, they freeze and fall in thousands,” as noted in Nature, 47-581.

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, pp222-223 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).

A super-Zeppelin

On August 9, 1762, M. de Rostan of Basle, France, as recorded in the Annual Register, 9-120, observed a “vast, spindle-shaped body” while taking altitudes of the sun. It advanced slowly across the disk of the sun, and was “about three of the sun’s digits in breadth and nine in length.” The object did not disappear until September 7, when it “reached the sun’s limb.” M. Croste, at Sole, a distance of “forty-five German leagues northward from Lausanne,” also described the object.

–Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned, p199 (The Complete Books of Charles Fort, Dover, c1974).