Monday, December 15, 2008

from Meteorological Essays, 1855

(page 38)

At the Beuzeville station, on the railroad from Paris to Havre, during a thunderstorm which took place on the 17th of May, 1852, at five in the afternoon, there were observed some very curious facts, which I insert from a letter of M. Lalande, written from the account given by M. Maillot, the station master.

"I had left my wife to replace me at my post at the telegraph, and had gone to the goods' shed on the other side of the inclined plane, for the purpose of hastening the loading of a waggon to be attached to the mixed train which was to ascend the plane at 6 h. 18 m. At this moment I saw in the southeast, advancing towards the place where I was, a luminous globe, resembling the mimic bomb shells used in the representation of battles. I called out to one of the factors that he might enjoy the sight, and thus he as well as myself saw this luminous ball, which we expected to pass over our heads, suddenly stop and disappear, just as it was above the telegraph wires, sixty feet from us. At the same time the lightning fell, as we afterwards learnt, in the churchyard of Beuzeville, which would lead me to believe that the kind of zigzag which appeared to drive the luminous globe towards us was itself the ordinary striking lightning or thunderbolt. The storm afterwards passed on with increased violence to Criquetotlez-Neval, where the hail did much damage."

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