Am continuing to flesh out the Charles Fort post, post-RSS publication. Made an addendum yesterday and here's a revised version of that:
It must be Fortean non-coincidence that two days before I posted (without my seeing it) the Smithsonian had an article about the connections of earthquakes and lights in the sky, a topic Fort covered extensively in his book Lo!, published in 1931. At that point science had more excuses than explanations for a phenomenon eyewitnesses had been reporting for centuries, so Fort took the ball and ran with a wild theory of connections among earthquakes, lights in the sky, and stars that went nova around the same time. In order to make this work we had to believe that scientists were also misleading us about the speed of light and that's where Fort's thought experiment fell apart. Nevertheless, science still has only its own untested fancies about why lights in the sky appear before, during, or after an earthquake. Fort would have had great fun with this passage from the Smithsonian article:
“The process starts deep in the crust, where rocks are subjected to high stress levels, prior to the stress being released to produce an earthquake,” Thériault says. In certain types of rock, Freund has shown in lab experiments, this stress can break apart pairs of negatively-charged oxygen atoms that are linked together in peroxy bonds.
When this happens, each of the oxygen ions are released, and these can flow through cracks in the rock, towards the surface. At that point, the thinking goes, high-density groups of these charged atoms will ionize pockets of air, forming a charged gas (a plasma) that emits light. [emphasis added]
"The thinking goes." Peroxy bonds.. plasma... And we are also told of luminous owls.
It's somewhat mind-blowing that Fort was writing about the Smithsonian's topic 80 years ago, based on solitary, assiduous research of newspaper accounts, and institutional science is only just getting around to acknowledging a connection. The learned professors still aren't being humble about barely having a clue of an explanation, something Fort complains about throughout his books.