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If a cloud were moving at the rate of eight miles an hour, and one is seldom seen that is not moving faster than this, it would travel more than two hundred yards in one minute. If, therefore, only six seconds elapsed while the column was falling, its top should have struck the earth sixty feet in advance of where the bottom touched. Probably only one or two seconds elapsed while it was falling after it first touched the earth.

The most difficult question, however, is how such a mass of water was so collected in the atmosphere. We know very well that the watery vapor in the air is condensed into drops, but then these drops when they attain a size that renders them barely visible to the eye, descend to the earth, and when they are the size of the common pea they fall with considerable rapidity. One cubic yard of water weighs more than sixteen hundred pounds. If a cubic yard were collected in the atmosphere, why should it remain suspended there until ten thousand other yards joined it, so that they all might come down together?

It may be said that a violent wind sometimes raises timber and other substances having a specific gravity nearly as great as that of water, and that, therefore, the wind might have held up this cubic yard. But we know that air only seems capable of thus sustaining heavy bodies when it is in violent motion, and the tendency of such motion is to scatter water, rather than retain it in masses. Sand and dust, when raised by the wind, are scattered about instead of being collected into solid masses. Again, if water at a high elevation starts downward in a body before it falls far it divides into drops. The cascade at Lauter Brunnen, after a descent of nine hundred feet, falls in a shower, If, therefore, it be assumed that this water was in some mode collected together in the upper part of the highest cumulous cloud ever observed, in a descent of three or four miles through a moving and probably stormy atmosphere, how was it that it retained its compact form? But, then, to account for its having been collected in the upper regions is quite as difficult as to explain how it should be gotten together below. The air above being much more rarified would offer even less resistance to the passage of the water through it, and its fall therefore ought to be only the more rapid. To render this point clearer, let the following facts be considered: If air at a temperature of seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit be saturated with water, it would, if cooled down to thirty-five degrees, let go a portion of that water. It has been calculated that the amount thus liberated, compared with the volume of air, is so small that a single cubic yard of water will only be furnished by 62,500 yards of air. If we assume for the temperature of the air in that region seventy-five degrees, at the height of three thousand feet, we shall probably be not far out of the way. If that air, by being elevated to a great height, or by some other means, were cooled down to thirty-five degrees, or but little above freezing, it would give out its water in the proportion above stated. Let it be assumed, then, that a cloud, the base of which was three thousand feet above the sea, extending upwards for three miles. Then suppose a section of it in the form of a square pillar, the base of which was one yard square, to be extended up three miles, in this pillar there would

be contained five thousand two hundred and eighty cubic yards of air. If this were cooled down forty degrees, or from seventy-five degrees to thirty-five degrees, it would liberate a quantity of water. If all the water thus condensed were collected together it would be insufficient to make a cubic yard of water. In fact twelve such columns would be required to furnish, in this manner, one cubic yard of water. Again, when this first column had lost its water it must be moved out of its position to give the other columns an opportunity to take its place in succession, and in their turns give up their water to produce one single cubic yard.

Again, as to the water condensed in the upper portions of the air, some time must be allowed it to descend through three miles of space. A cannon shot moves at the rate of about one mile in five seconds, and would require fifteen seconds, therefore, to pass through three miles of space. But as we see even the larger drops descending near the earth it is evident that they are moving many times slower than this speed. Certainly they would require more than one minute to make this descent of three miles. But why should the drops in the lower part of the column not descend and fall in advance of the others, as we see the rain do? But again, this water in the lower part of the pillar must wait until each one of the twelve pillars has had time to thus give up its water, and this would require twelve minutes. And why, it may be asked, does the water at the lower part of the cloud wait in mass for this operation to be completed? And then when one cubic yard of water has been collected what is to sustain it until ten thousand more cubic yards join it before it commences its descent to the earth? To obtain this amount of ten thousand cubic yards of water a volume of air must be drained equal to a mass of three hundred and forty-seven yards square and three miles in height. How is all this water to be gotten together in a single mass?

It is said, however, that storms dash the clouds together and that the water is thus concentrated. But each portion of the air resists. pressure from that which surrounds it, and of course retains the drops of water suspended in it, so that however the clouds may be moved along by the wind the rain drops will be carried about with them. It is not seen that in stormy weather, at the surface of the earth, rain is any more concentrated than when it falls in calms. But as the clouds from which water-spouts fall often take the form of inverted cones, or are funnel-shaped, it is by some supposed that the water is thus collected and discharged at the point. A funnel made of metal or glass will collect drops that fall on it and convey them by the force of gravity down to the centre, but clouds have not manifested that capacity. On the contrary it is seen that drops of water fall through clouds, whatever may be their shape. There has been no mention of any cloud so dense that the water would run along its surface.

The point may be illustrated by this case: If a bucket be filled with muddy water and allowed to remain at rest for a while the mud will settle, but it will be seen to constitute a stratum over the bottom of the vessel. If, on the other hand, the water is shaken violently the mud remains diffused through the water. Even if a rotatory motion is

given to the water, by stirring it around with a stick, this motion will not cause the mud to form a column in the centre of the vessel. Why then should a cloud with a whirling centrifugal motion collect so great a mass of water together? In fact the centrifugal motion sometimes manifested would tend necessarily to throw the drops of water, by reason of their specific gravity, away from the centre of the moving mass. instead of bringing them together. If the whirling motions were so rapid as to produce a complete vacuum at the centre (a condition probably in fact never produced) all the water being denser than the air must be driven further outward by the centrifugal force. But even if it were miraculously collected in the centre, the particles, as they reached the vacuum, would only fall the more rapidly, in fact as fast as lead or any other heavy substance would do, instead of waiting there for other particles of water to join them before they started downward. These suggestions are made to render it evident that the mechanical force of whirling clouds is not sufficient to account for the phenomena observed.

We must find some force capable of bringing together instantly, as it were, the water contained in a large volume of air, or else an influence must be ascertained sufficiently potent to counteract the most constant and generally recognized force in nature, namely, the force of gravity. As the atmosphere is the only recognized source from which this water could be collected, it must, therefore, have been instantly drawn together, or if it were slowly collected, then the force of gravity must for a time have been suspended, or counteracted while the process was in progress, and until it was completed.

Several writers have attributed water spouts to electricity, and have referred to the fact that they were, in some instances, accompanied with remarkable displays of lightning. But it is also true that in other cases no extraordinary electrical phenomena were observed; and even if much electricity was manifested, there might be a question as to whether it might not be merely an effect, rather than a cause. Electricity, however, resembles water spouts in this respect: that they are both involved in mystery. Where a force is of such a character that it cannot be defined, or limited, there is room to exaggerate its powers. Sir Walter Scott said that every remarkable event in Scotland, the authorship of which was unknown, was attributed by the people either to Sir William Wallace, to the great magician, Michael Scott, or to the devil. Electricity and the Prince of Darkness have this common quality, that they are both enveloped in great mystery, and it might be added, too, that they possess this further resemblance, that close contact with either is shunned rather than courted.

From the fact that the leaves and like fragments of wood, close to the line of the opening, where the spout had fallen, were not moved, it was evident that there was no commotion in the atmosphere there. Any considerable disturbance or agitation that it underwent must have been at least above the tall trees standing around.

But the difficulty of explaining this is rather increased when we remember that probably more than fifty similar falls occurred on that day within an area of thirty miles in length by twenty broad. On the

opposite side of the Fishhawk mountain, and only a few hundred yards distant, there fell another water spout. Though I only saw its furrow or channel from a distance, yet it appeared to present, and is represented as showing, similar features to the one I have described. Two smaller ones fell two miles above Mr. Conley's. There were eleven in all that fell on the northern or north western side of the Blue Ridge, while credible persons tell me that there must have been forty or fifty that fell on its south side in portions of North and South Carolina. As far as they were described to me the features appeared to have been similar to the one I examined. Those on the south side of the Blue Ridge are represented to have fallen between the hours of twelve and one o'clock, while Mr. Conley and his wife said that which I examined fell at half-after three o'clock. The condition of the elements, which produced those phenomena, on that day extended over an area of six hundred square miles. That region has been settled by white people for more than fifty years, and within that period there have been many stormy days and many heavy rains, with freshets, and yet in that time no other water spouts had fallen. Even if such had fallen within the last three or four centuries the traces would be still visible. Why should such a condition have then existed on the 15th of June last? But, again, there has been one other remarkable fall of water spouts in the western part of North Carolina. On the 7th day of July, 1847, at a place in what is now Clay county, nearly due west from Mr. Conley's and about forty miles distant, there fell a number of water spouts.

Though I only have seen the channels cut by them at a distance, yet they have been well described to me. Silas McDowell, Esq., a highly intelligent gentleman of Macon county, visited the locality soon after the fall and gave me a minute description of the appearances, which he has since repeated to me. Four miles north of Fort Hembrie, in Clay county, is a little mountain known as Fires Mountain. It is probably three thousand feet high, but as I have not seen it for many years I may be mistaken. Mr. McDowell counted thirteen spouts which had fallen, at short distances from each other, around the top of the mountain. He described more particularly the largest one. There was, just where it fell, an opening ten or fifteen feet deep, cut perpendicularly to the solid rock. He said it seemed to have fallen with such force that lumps of mud had been thrown up on the trees standing around for some distance, but that just around the opening the ground showed no sign of disturbance, and he especially expressed his surprise at the fact that the leaves all around the opening, within less than a foot of it, and in fact at its very edge lay in their places. His statement corresponds with what I saw at the place near Conley's. Mr. McDowell said that he followed the course of the water to the foot of the mountain, and that it had carried away everything down to the solid rock. Some of the smaller spouts had joined this one, and at the base of the mountain there was a pile of timber, and other debris, an hundred feet high, in which were seen trees of one hundred feet long, some of them with their roots upward. Mr. McDowell says the furrows

made by these several spouts varied in width from sixty feet down to twelve feet.

Dr. B. W. Moore says that he and his brother counted a much larger number of these spouts, and that the ground over which they fell was two miles in length by one in breadth. He says that though he lived five miles from the place, and though no lightning struck near him, yet both he and his mother felt very much excited, as though they had been highly electrified. The day has been described as being hot, sultry and close until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when two clouds met at the top of the Fires Mountain. After they came together there was a whirling and spinning around in them, while they covered the top of the mountain, and presented a dark mass, and seemed to divide into fragments in whirling motion.

It seems from this statement that the phenomena were, in most respects, similar to those exhibited in the occurrences of last June. The fact, in both instances, that the leaves and light brush close around the openings were undisturbed, proves that there was no violent agitation of the air at the surface of the earth. When these facts are presented persons will, in some instances, be inclined to attribute the phenomena to the clouds striking against the mountains, but neither the Fishhawk nor the Fires Mountain is, perhaps, as much as four thousand feet in height, while there are in North Carolina several hundred higher, and not less than fifty which rise six thousand feet above the sea level, and yet none of these higher mountains have been thus visited, exposed as they are to storms and the contact of clouds. Again, it is well known that water spouts are seen more frequently at sea than on land.

So many facts similar to those I have described have been noticed that they cannot fairly be denied. A century ago so-called scientific men, because they could not account for such facts, denied that meteoric stones fell to the earth, and resorted to ingenious theories to explain how it happened that people imagined they had seen them fall. At this time no one doubts but that metallic and stony masses do fall to the earth. So now, if some satisfactory explanation can be given of the origin of water spouts, men will not only recognize the fact of their existence, but become ready to accept as true, perhaps, the statement of the fall of frogs, fish, and even of snakes, from the upper regions of the atmosphere. Until this has been done, however, these phenomena will rather remind men of the declaration in Genesis that the waters below the firmament were divided from the waters above it," and "that the windows of heaven were opened" at the period of the deluge.

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