Monday, 15 July 2013

Mirage at sea, 1793

With the UK in the grip of a little heatwave, my eye was caught by a story in the Gentleman’s Magazine for July 1793. The Rev. Samuel Dickinson, while on a boat off the coast of Brittany (near Conquet) on 10 Aug 1759 at nine o’clock in the morning. saw a mirage in the heat haze that he described in some detail.

“The rock (A) assumed the figured of a double pyramid, the uppermost inverted (B). This in a short time seemed to separate, and float away in the air, as expressed in figures 1, 2, 3, forming an image so vivid as mocked the powers of the organ of sight, unaided by the rational faculty, to distinguish the delusion from reality.”

He goes on to describe other mirages, effecting the cliffs and another rock which adopted “a variety of most curious and striking forms, representing magnificent buildings in ruins” Apparently the spectacle lasted two hours.

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