The Magonia Exchange project, founded in 2003, is a private group for serious researchers in the field of Fortean phenomena. We exist to share and accumulate information on all kinds of events from antiquity to 1947, using primarily old newspapers, scientific publications, and so on, in any language.
This blog will present one item from our archive every day, drawing from the 15,000 we've catalogued to date. New members are always welcome. http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/magonia_exchange/
Monday, November 21, 2011
Bangor Daily Whig And Courier (Bangor, Maine) Thursday, February 1st 1849. Phenomenon Accounts have been published in various parts of the country of a phenomenon in the heavens, which is accurately described in the communication we give below from Stonington, Connecticut. The appearance of the strange planet. Aerolite, or whatever it may be, is not confined to any particular hour, but it has been seen as late as 12 o'clock at night, as we were yesterday informed, by persons in the vicinity of the city. Some evenings since, while in company with several ladies and gentlemen, we observed it about eight o'clock, on the very edge of the South-eastern horizon, and its appearance then was precisely what our correspondent describes it, as it seemed to him, excepting that to our view, it disappeared twice, re-appearing at intervals of thirty seconds or thereabouts. We supposed it was the evening star, and that some peculiarity of the atmosphere caused the reflection of the rays and the consequent changes. But its appearance late at night makes it somewhat singular. The editor of the Athens (Geo.) Banner saw it at 11 o'clock, PM, and stopped his press to say so. Our correspondent's use of 'feet' to measure distances of the sky, is decidedly worthy of mention. It conveys an idea to every mind which degrees and seconds never could. He says: -- 'Last evening, about half-past 8 o'clock, as I was returning from the depot, on passing by the head of one of the wharves, I noticed in the Western heavens what I supposed to be a planet. It was about the size of the planet Venus, and appeared at an angle of about 15° above the horizon. I did not consider whether there was any planet in that part of the heavens at that time but as I was passing down the street I noticed that it was apparently twinkling like a known star. I stopped, and the apparent planet was rapidly enlarging – it increased to three or four times its original size, and then changed color, from yellow to a bright red. It then gradually decreased like a revolving light in the light-house. It decreased to the size of a star of the 4th or 5th magnitude, and then again increased. I watched it thus for about five minutes, and it was continually changing. The changes were not all regular. Sometimes it would change instantly from its smallest size to a brilliant light, which was sometimes yellow and again red; it would then dart out rays of light in all directions, dazzling my eyes by its brilliancy. 'I thought that I might be laboring under an optical delusion, but after waiting about five minutes, Mr. ------ came along, and I asked him to notice it. He stopped, and was equally surprised with myself. While we both were looking at it, it moved slowly toward the South, then returned to the North, and then like a pendulum, swung back to the centre. The distance it moved North and South was apparently several feet; that is, it moved over 'several feet of sky.' I watched it for about fifteen minutes, when another gentleman came along. He stopped and he, too, was astonished; but while we looked, it decreased as it had before, and then suddenly disappeared. I saw it immediately over Wamph[…]k point or rather about one-third of the distance up the point. It could have been nothing connected with the land for several reasons. 1st. It was bright and light, and we could distinctly see objects on the point, and could have seen anything that could have caused the light. 2d. The point is distant about half a mile from where I stood, and had it been a light moved by hand, it must have moved at least a quarter of a mile back and forth in the space of ten seconds; for I saw it move five or six feet in the air, and that would have been a goodly distance when brought close up. 3d. When it moved, it swung as does a pendulum, which proved that it was moved (if attached to anything) by something above it and not below. 4th. It was too high in the sky to have been connected with the earth. Ergo, it was an appearance in the heavens and nothing else. Wamphassack is rather high land, and beyond it is the beach; low and sandy. – N. Y. J[…] Comm.