Home | Features | Other Worlds | From the Files of the River Journal's Surrealist Research Bureau

From the Files of the River Journal's Surrealist Research Bureau

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Mrs. O'Leary's cow vindicated?

 One of my favorite composers, Brian Wilson, the founder of the Beach Boys, won the only Grammy of his life a few years ago for, of all things, an instrumental titled “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.” Ironic indeed, for Mrs. O’Leary appears to have been given a bum rap. Micheal Ahern, a colorful Chicago Republican reporter who created the Mrs. O’Leary’s cow story, admitted in 1893 that he made it up because he thought it would help sell copies of his paper, but by then the story had spread too far and too fast. It’s still being reported as fact today! Mrs. O’Leary, being a single woman, and an immigrant as well in those tough Chicago times, made an easy scapegoat.

So what did cause the Great Chicago Fire? In 2004 at a conference of the Aerospace Industry, physicist Robert Wood suggested his review of 19th century astronomical observations bolsters an old theory that the devastating Chicago Fire began when Biela’s Comet broke up and scattered white-hot debris over a wide area.

First spotted and named in 1772, the comet was noticed in 1846 to have broken into fragments and thereafter meteor showers of diminishing intensity occurred at just those occasions when the comet could have been expected to re-appear. Wood felt, based on his analysis of the positions of the comet’s final passes, that the comet’s main body crashed into the Great Lakes and that peripheral pieces, including highly combustible frozen methane and acetylene, exploded from the friction of their descent through the atmosphere and ignited not only the Great Chicago Fire but scores of even greater fires as well.

While 250 people lost their lives that night in Chicago, its not as well known that 10 times that number lost their lives in firestorms elsewhere in the Midwest that same night. Since then, other evidence has come to light supporting this theory. A huge impact crater was found nearly 200 feet below the surface of Lake Huron by geologists, along with a 58-pound chunk of carbonaceous meteorite and meteoric rock found at the same depth by crews drilling a pipeline.

Eyewitnesses reported sighting “balls of fire” or fire-balloons falling from the sky that night, and blue flames predominated, lending credence to the “methane comet” theory. Peshtigo, Wisconsin lost 2,000 lives by fire that same night (still the deadliest fire in American history). Other towns completely wiped out were Holland, Mich., Manistee, Mich., Port Huron, Mich., and scores more.

Systems Engineer Ken Rieli says that the fires burned in a cone-shaped north-to-south pattern fanning out in a V-shaped trajectory down through the lower peninsula of Michigan, the pattern being identical to the ballistic pattern of a shotgun cluster of pellets, suggesting there were hundreds if not thousands of pieces of falling debris from the comet’s break-up.

The Tunguska Event of 1908, the largest natural non-nuclear explosion in recorded history, should teach us to tread with caution in the wake of history. How many earthquakes or massive fires in history or the Bible can actually be attributed to meteorites or comets? Someone could make a thesis out of examining old records. (Sodom and Gomorrah, Atlantis, anyone?) Is the massive iron meteor, big as a mountain, which will drive man the way of the dinosaurs even now hurtling through the dark abyss of space towards a rendevous with sleeping man?

“It is not scientists who are after the truth, it is the truth which is after scientists.”                                                                                    K. Schecta


Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted)

total: | displaying:

Post your comment

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Quote

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Author info

Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

Tagged as:

No tags for this article

Rate this article