Sunday, March 30, 2008

from The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 1836

(page 191)

Luminous Appearance at Sea off the Shetland Isles—A curious luminous appearance at sea is mentioned in the following abstract from a letter to Robert Stevenson, Esq. Engineer, by the Light-house Keeper on Sumburgh Head in Shetland: "Monday, September 19, 1836—Sumburgh Head Light-house—The herring-boats went out through the night—there came on a severe gale of wind from the north-east, which drove them from their nets, and scarcely any one of them got into their own harbours. Mr. Hay's fishermen lost 180 nets, Mr. Bruce of Whalsey lost 114 nets, and a great many of the poor men lost the whole of their nets. The fishermen also informed me, that upon the same night, there appeared to them a light which greatly annoyed them. It appeared like a furnace standing in the water, and the beams of the light stood to a great height. It became fainter on the approach of day, and at length vanished away by day-light. It continued for two nights. It stood so near some of the boats that the men thought of cutting from their lines to get out of its way."

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