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one yard or more from it, were nearest to the wall, and their heads the farthest off. That their flesh appeared very black. That their clothes were burnt and scorched in many parts, and their belts shrivelled up, as if they had been exposed to a large fire. That Captain Dibden, and other people, felt a disagreeable kind of an electric shock, at the same instant that the soldiers were killed.
Captain Dibden gave an account also, that he was lately at Vir. ginia, 1763 : that the inhabitants of Norfolk had changed their opinions in respect to fixing of wires and small rods of iron on the tops of their houses; from the frequent instances they have lately had of their being melted, or destroyed, by the violence of the lightning: and that now they adopted, in their stead, rods of iron from half an inch thick to three.fourths of an inch thick, or more. That those rods ended in a point at the top, and extended from three feet above their houses down to the ground; and that many houses had one of these conducting irons at each end. The Capt. added, that though the pine trees are considerably higher than the oaks in the American woods, yet the oaks are the oftenest attacked by the lightning: and that he does not remember any oaks grow. ing among the pine trees, when the latter have suffered by light. ping, which must be owing to the greater resistance arising from the unctuous nature of the pine trees.
[Phil. Trans. 1764.
Thunder-storms remarkable from their violence, or the pecu.
liarity of their effects.
1. Strange effect of Thunder and Lightning on Wheat and
Rye in the Granaries of Dantzic.
By M. Christopher Kirby.
You doubtless know how much this city is famed for its nume. rous and convenient granaries, it being the repository of all sorts of grain the fruitful kingdom of Poland affords. In those grana. ries are laid up chiefly wheat and rye, in parcels of twenty to
thirty and sixty lasts in one chamber, according to its size, and the dryness of the corn; which they turn over three, four, five, six times a week, as need requires, to keep it sweet and fit for shipping. Now it happened, that about the latter end of March and April last, we had much and violent thunder and lightning, which had this unhappy effect on all the parcels of wbeat and rye of the last year's growth, that, though over night they were dry, sweet, and fit for shipping, the next morning they had lost all these good qualities, and were become clammy and stinking, and consequently unfit to be shipped away for the present; so that the owners were forced to cause it to be turned over two or three times a day, and yet it required six weeks, if not longer, before it was recovered.
This is a thing which often happens to corn that has not lain in the granary a whole year, or not sweat thoroughly in the straw before it be thrashed out. An accident little noted, yet in my judgment worth the enquiring into; for, though the alterations caused by thunder in liquors, be taken notice of, and probable reasons given for them, yet I judge this somewhat more abstruse, and therefore more worth while to be considered.
[Phil. Trans. 1673.
2. Extraordinary Thunder Storm near Aberdeen.
In a letter to Dr. George Garden,
Tuis happened July 24, 1695. The day was clear and plea. sant, till about half past three, afternoon, when some rain fell; then two claps of thunder, rather moderate; then fell a heavy shower of hail, accompanied with a third clap of thunder, very tremendous, attended with great damage to the houses and people, In a school were the master and fifteen boys; the building was perforated and shattered in several places, illumined as with a strong and sudden fire, attended with a suffocating and sulphu. reous smell and dark smoke. The persons were all either struck down, or badly wounded and bruised. Four were killed out. right, the rest recovered in due time. In the parts where they were struck, which was chiefly about the shoulders, the flesh was much discoloured, and the clothes there cut or perforated, to appearance as if eaten by rats.
3. Thunder-storm near Halifax, December 22, 1698 : fatal to a
Jeremiah Skelton, of Warley, near Halifax, Yorkshire, observing a storm coming, hastened to gather in some of the corn which was out at a farm of his father's in the Cold Edge, about a quarter of a mile from their own dwelling; while at this work, bringing in bur. den and casting it upon the barn-floor, the tempest began as be came forth again; whereupon he stepped aside for shelter within the barn door, and while there, was struck with a dreadful flash of fire. The young man was a sad spectacle, being beaten down, quite dead, and many stones about him; he was laid upon his face, wholly naked, save a small part of his shirt about his neck, and a piece of a stocking on one foot, and so much of a coat-sleeve as covered the wrist of one arm ; his shoes driven from his feet, one not to be found, and the other split; his hat not to be found after search, and the rest of his garments torn into small shreds, and cast at considerable distances, one piece from another; the hair of his head and beard singed, as if with a candle, and a little hole below his left eye, which was probably made with the fall upon a stone, for there was a great breach made on the barn, the door tops, both of stone, broken, and the wall above them fallen, with the slate and water.tables.
4. Singular effects of a Storm on a House and its Furniture,
at New Forge, Ireland.
By Samuel Molyneaux, Esq. S. Phil. Soc. Dobl.
Mrs. Close gave Mr. Molyneaux the following account of the effects of thunder and lightning, on her house at New Forge, in the county of Down, in Ireland, on Aug. 9, 1707 : she observed, that the whole day was close, hot, and sultry, with little or no wind stirring, till towards the evening; that there was a small breeze with some mizzling rain, wbich lasted about an hour; that as the air darkened after sun-set, she saw several faint flashes of lightning, and heard some thunder claps, as at a distance; that between ten and eleven o'clock both were very violent and terrible, and so in. creased, and came on more frequently until a little before twelve o'clock ; that one flash of lightning and clap of thunder came both at the same time, louder and more dreadful than all the rest, which, as she thought, shook and inflamed the whole house; and being sensible at that instant of a violent strong sulphureous smell in her chamber, and feeling a thick gross dust falling on her hands and face as she lay in bed, she concluded that part of her house was thrown down by the thunder, or set on fire by the lightning; that arising in this fright, she called up her family, and candles being lighted, she found her bed.chamber, and the kitchen beneath it, full of smoke and dust ; and the looking-glass in her chamber was broken.
The next day she found that part of the cornish of the chimney, which stood without that gabel-end of the house where her cham. ber was, had been struck off; that part of the coping of the splay of the gabel-end itself was broken down, and twelve or sixteen of the shingles on the adjoining roof were raised or ruffled, but none shattered or carried away ; that part of the ceiling in her chamber beneath those shingles was forced down, and part of the plaster and pinning stones of the adjoining wall, was also broken off and loosened, the whole breach being sixteen or twenty inches broad : that at this place there was left on the wall a smutted scar or trace, as if blacked by the smoke of a candle, which pointed downwards towards another place on the same wall, where a like breach was made, partly behind the place of the looking-glass; that the boards on the back of a large hair trunk, full of linen, standing beneath the looking-glass, were forced in, and splintered as if by the blow of a smith's sledge; that two.thirds of the linen within this trunk were pierced or cut through, the cut appearing of a quadrangular figure, and between two or three inches over; that one end of the trunk was forced out, as the back was driven in; that at about two feet distance from the end of the trunk, where the floor and the side wall of the house joined, there was a small breach made in the plaster, where a small chink or crevice was to be seen between the side board of the floor and the wall, so wide that a man could thrust his fingers down; and that just beneath this, in the kitchen, the ceiling was forced down, and some of the plaster of the wall broken off; that exactly under this there stood a large tub or vessel of wood, inclosed with a crib of brick and lime, which was broken and splintered all to pieces, and most of the brick and lime.work about it scattered about the kitchen.
I observed that the looking-glass was broken with such violence, that there was not a piece of it to be found of the size of a half crown; that several pieces of it were sticking like hail-shot in the chamber door, which was oak, and on the other side of the room ; that several of the edges and corners of some of the pieces of the broken glass were tinged of a light flame colour, as if heated in the fire ; that the curtains of the bed were cut in several places, sup. posed to be done by the pieces of the glass ; that several pieces of muslin and wearing linen, left on the large hair trunk, were throwo about the room, no way singed or scorched; and yet the hair on the back of the trunk, where the breach was made, was singed; that the uppermost part of the linen within the trunk was not touched, and the lowermost parcel, consisting of more than 350 ply of linen, was pierced through, of which none was any wise smutted, except the uppermost ply of a tablecloth that lay over all the rest; that there was a yellow tinge or stain, perceivable on some part of the damaged linen, and that the whole smelt stronzly of sulphur; that the glass of two windows in the bed-chamber above, and two windows in the kitchen below, was so shattered, that there was scarcely one whole pane left in any of them; that the pewter, brass, and iron furniture in the kitcho were thrown down, and scattered about, particularly a large girdle about twenty pounds weight, that hung upon an iron hook near the ceiling, was found lying on the floor ; that a cat was found dead next morning in the kitchen, with its legs extended as in a moving posture, with no other sign of being hurt, than that the fur was singed a little about the rump.
It was further remarkable, that the wall, both above and below a little window in the same gabel-end, was so shattered, that the light could be seen through the crevices in the wall; and that upon a large stone on the outside of the wall, beneath this window, was a mark, as if made by the stroke of a smith's sledge, and a splinter of the stone was broken off, of some pounds weight. I was further informed, that from the time of that great thunder-clap, both the thunder and lightning diminished gradually, so that in an hour's time all was still and quiet again.