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  • Fireball in Perthshire? September 29, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    ***dedicated to Roberto***

    This story is Perthshire in northern Scotland. It was recorded in 1906 after the even more striking account of the Sutherland fire ball.

    Late on Saturday night in autumn some seventy years ago, friends of the present writer were engaged in bringing in and stacking their corn. The day had been fine and the stuff was in excellent condition. Anxious to secure as much of it as possible, they continued their work lighted by a beautiful autumn moon. It was getting near midnight when the attention of those who were in the stackyard was attracted by what appeared to be a ‘fire-ball’ gliding along the cornfield towards those who were then engaged in loading the cart with sheaves. The ‘ball’ proceeded with a wavy motion, rising and dipping about the height a man above the ground. Its approach alarmed the two who were engaged in loading the cart. It came on to the very stook which they were handling, came in contact with the sheaves, and vanished! In great trepidation they ceased their work, and the leading of the corn was suspended till the following Monday. This happened in the centre of Perthshire, and the account of the incident was given to the writer in the presence of two or three of those who had witnessed it. The story was told in the year 1843, and the occurrence which it referred happened a few years earlier. That it was no real ‘fire-ball’ is evident from the fact that no damage was done to the stook on which it rested. No trace of it of any kind was to be seen when the work was resumed. The writer has no satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon to offer. It seems in some kindred way to ‘Will o’ the Wisp,’ though differing from the descriptions of it which the writer has heard from friends who claimed to have made acquaintance with that ignis fatuus. Its origin is usually attributed to phosphorated hydrogen gas rising from marshy ground. Bat in the case mentioned there was no marshy ground in the immediate neighbourhood. Besides, the ignis fatuus is said to be real fire, at which paper has been lighted. If so, it would inflame dry oat straw, and that, in the instance described, did not happen.

    Beach is struck by the fact that a ninety second (?) experience c. 1830 was still vividly remembered at third hand in 1906. It is easy to understand how this could cause interesting mayhem in local folklore systems, particularly as over much of Britain fireballs were fairies. Just imagine if one of the workers had an ill child or a cow die on him later that week…

    Other fireballs, Scottish or otherwise…. drbeachcombing At yahoo DOt com