Friday, May 29, 2009

A Meteor Event of 1922: Antecedent to Colour Out of Space?

(Portion of article from Click the image and it should epand and be more readable.)

Lovecraft's Colour Out of Space isa horrific weird tale. However it's filled with tid bits of astronomy, chemistry, ad contains myriad allusions to his grandfather's descriptions of Idaho. Still, I've been in persuit of a eteor which may have specifically influenced his idea of a "meteor" as a key weird event. Over the years, I've listed numerous ancient meteor stories (and a number of current events, too).

Here's one that is significant, timed withing a few years of his setting pencil to paper, and would certainly have been one he'd be familiar with. Lovecraft mixes chemistry with the supernatural, alludes to perhaps both HG Wells and Ambrose Bierce stories, and finally states, "It was a metal, though, beyond a doubt. It was magnetic, for one thing; and after its immersion in the acid solvents there seemed to be faint traces of the Widmanstatten figures found on meteoric iron."

This meteor has been classified as the "Blackstone, Virginia meteor of 1922". More information below...

This iron meteorite (Figure 5) was found in 1922 or 1923 in a plowed field, some 3 miles southeast of Dungannon, Scott County, by Mr. C. W. Castle of Nickelsville, Virginia. Merrill(1923) describes the meteorite as follows: "As received, it more nearly resembled an irregular mass of terrestial limonite than a meteorite, though
occasional depressions or thumb. markings on the badly oxidized surface suggested its true nature. Oxidation had proceeded so far that in plowing it was broken into
450 feet of the impact area, and she heard the explosion directly overhead. The weight of the stone was 1,850 grams (approximately 4 pounds). No. 3 stone fell on
Mrs. Trutter's place making a hole 6 to 8 inches deep; it weighed 853 grams (approximately 1.9 pounds). About 50 to 75 people near a cemetery saw No. 4 stone fall. The stones show both primary and secondary encrustations. They are classified as spherulite chondrite.

Lovecraft to poet, and Lovecraft the atheist might have snuffed at the poem below, but it was attached to the scientific and mathematical article alluded to above, and has a nice romantic sentiment. It contrasts to Lovecraft's different brand of poetic brandishment. :)

I do not know fro whence we came or why,
Nor whither bound. 'Tis true there comes to me
Oft-times a whisper - imortality?
Ah, whisps of Beauty that enchant the eye:
The sunset flush, the stars, the morning sky,
The winds that blow across a sapphire sea.
I know I am, and all of these things be,
And more: that Beauty was not born to die.
If God created man from common clay,
For soul I think He must have found a cloud
With star-dust from the summer Milky Way
Caught in its misty summit rosy browed,
And mixed it with the dust of earthy gray -
I still look to the stars with head unbowed.

Sterling Bunch or Springtown, Texas

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