Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 420+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 34000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at €11,99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for €1.09
Then just €11,99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
EU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points
101 MIN READ TIME

The 1849 Balvullich Ice Fall

RANDALL J. OSCZEVSKI

Large chunks of ice seem to have been falling from the sky for centuries. The star of these reports is a solid mass of ice weighing nearly a ton that fell during a thunderstorm on July 30, 1849, near Balvullich (or Balavulich), a farm about ten miles west of Inverness, Scotland. The Guinness Book of World Records (2016) called it the “Largest Piece of Fallen Ice” and suggested that it was composed of hailstones fused together by lightning.

The initial newspaper report of the fall was edited and reprinted widely in British newspapers. It even found its way into Scientific American, where, decades later, it was noticed by Charles Fort, the archivist of the unexplained. Fort (1972, 217) called it “one of our best expressions of external origins” and hinted that it had dropped from some hidden land in the sky. Another eccentric theorist couldn’t decide whether it had fallen from an alien spacecraft or if it had been blasted into orbit when the lost continent of Mu was destroyed by an ancient nuclear war (Jessup 2003). At the other end of the spectrum, Ar thur C. Clarke (1980) noted that the thunderous booms that heralded the fall “were like the sonic booms of our re-entering spacecraft” and wondered if it might have been a piece of a comet.

These days, when lumps of ice break car windshields or punch holes though the roofs of houses, some experts think of oversized hail (Martinez-Frias et al. 2005) while others suspect aircraft toilet leaks or wing icing (Davidson 2006). The ice fall at Balvullich is particularly intriguing because there were no modern aircraft in 1849 (Clarke 1980).

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptical Inquirer - May June 2018
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
View Issues

About Skeptical Inquirer

Progressophobia: Why Things Are Better Than You Think They Are STEVEN PIKER Percival Lowell and the Canals of Mars The Curious Question of Ghost Taxonomy and much more!

Single Digital Issue May June 2018
 
FREE
Read Now
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Skeptical Inquirer subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription €16,99 billed annually
Save
5%
€16,99

Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
I grew up in the 1950s when, for the most
NEWS AND COMMENT
At approximately 8:07 am on January 13, 2018, the state
Barry Williams, founder of the Australian Skeptics, has died. Tim
Newly elected CSI Fellow Michael E. Mann has been awarded
Bertha Vazquez, director of the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science
COMMENTARIES
I was recently reported for calling Britain’s heir to the
Somehow, some way, the flat-earth movement continues to make waves
SPECIAL REPORT
‘Zetetic’1 Astronomy at the University Level
INVESTIGATIVE FILES
Joe Nickell, PhD, is CSI’s senior research fellow and, among
NOTES ON A STRANGE WORLD
Massimo Polidoro is an investigator of the paranormal, lecturer, and
BEHAVIOR & BELIEF
Stuart Vyse is a psychologist and author of Believing in
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
FEATURES
Intellectuals dislike the very idea of progress. Our own mental bugs also distort our understanding of the world, blinding us to improvements in the human condition underway globally—and to the ideas that have made them possible
Traumatic Memories Are Alive and Well and Eating Your Innards Out
The ‘canals’ of Mars don’t exist, and they never did; yet they were repeatedly reported and defended as scientific realities by many great astronomers. Why?
The nature of ghosts remains unknown despite centuries of collective effort by legions of ghost hunters
A critical examination of the book Who Was Adam? demonstrates that creationism is not science
REVIEWS
On Human Nature
In her documentary about the disgraced doctor most identified as
The Winter 2017/2018 “Special Collector’s Edition” of Scientific American is
The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the
NEW AND NOTABLE
Listing does not preclude future review
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I want no more issues sent. I am specifically and
THE LAST LAUGH
As I write this we are a few days away