On the other hand, the phenomena were often more active when least looked for, and some of those most expected never occurred. As there was not even a servant, nor even a dumb animal, common to the occupation of the S—— family and the tenancy of the H——s or Colonel Taylor, we are at a loss to know who the person can be who lives at B—— through all the changes, and supplies force during the past twenty years.
BARISAL GUNS. (See page 221.)
Readers not acquainted with this phenomenon may be referred to an interesting correspondence in the pages of Nature (Oct. 1895, and Seq.), opened by Professor G.H. Darwin—
“In the delta of the Ganges,” he says, “dull sounds, more or less resembling distant artillery, are often heard. These are called Barisal guns, but I do not know the meaning of the term.”
The same sounds have been recorded by M. Rutot of the Geological Survey along the Belgian coast, and are alleged to be pretty common in the North of France. M. van der Broeck, Conservator of the Museum of Natural History of Belgium, says—
“I have constantly noticed these sounds in the plain of Limburg since 1880;—more than ten of my personal acquaintances have observed the fact. The detonations are dull and distant, and are repeated a dozen times or more at irregular intervals. They are usually heard in the daytime, when the sky is clear, and especially towards evening after a very hot day. The noise does not at all resemble artillery, blasting in mines, or the growling of distant thunder.”
M. van der Broeck elsewhere refers to “similar noises heard on Dartmoor, and in some parts of Scotland.” Readers of Blackmore’s story of “Lorna Doone” will remember, among other valuable observations of out-door life, his accounts of “the hollow moaning sound” during the intense cold of the winter, of which he gives so graphic an account. It was “ever present in the air, morning, noon, and night time, and especially at night, whether any wind was stirring or whether it were a perfect calm” (Chap. xlvi.).
Another correspondent in Nature refers to remarkable noises among the hills of Cheshire: “When the wind is easterly, and nearly calm on the flats, a hollow moaning sound is heard, popularly termed the Soughing of the Wind, which Sir Walter Scott, in his glossary to ’Guy Mannering,’ interprets as a hollow blast or whisper.”
Another writer quotes experiences in East Anglia, tending to show that such sounds may be reports arising from the process of “faulting” going on, on a small scale, at a great depth, and not of sufficient intensity to produce a perceptible vibration at the earth’s surface.
It would seem that in districts such as Comrie in Perthshire, East Hadden in Connecticut, Pignerol in Piedmont, Meleda in the Adriatic, &c., sounds without shocks are common during intervals, which may last for several years. Remarkable sounds, not apparently accounted for, are reported to proceed from Lough Neagh in Ireland.