When the element “phosphoro” was discovered in 1669, the frightened alchemist Brandt fell down in silent prayer. He is often depicted in this poise at moment of discovery. Fascinated preoccupation with radiant rocks and other related phenomena always re-emerged with each new century. They came with great regularity during the Eighteenth Century, mostly associated with bioluminescent phenomena. Luminous insects, fungi, coral, fish, mushrooms, and so forth. The light they gave was neither eternal, nor radiant. These were again heralded … but not with the great sense of awe or religious reverence rendered to those first wondrous manifestations.
There were those who grew accustomed with the “disappointing” nature of quests and natural finds. This sad tendency became the “expected outcome” of belief in any kind of visionary artifact. Disappointment and hopelessness was associated with the quest for dream archetypes in material nature. Nevertheless, several significant discoveries continued to overthrow this negative worldview, vindicating those who expect the natural world to surprise them.
A mysterious radiant stone was discovered in Connecticut during the latter 1600’s by a Mr. Steele. Living in East Haddam at the time, Mr. Steele discovered a truly marvelous and precious stone, which he claimed visibly, radiated incredible volumes of light. He confided secretly with his landlord, a Mr. Knowlton, that he would soon be able to procure it in secret. He referred to the stone as “the carbuncle”, relating that a huge sum of money would be theirs to share if only the secrecy could be maintained until time of disclosure. Mr. Steele seemed to infer that he had found a large deposit of the white material, and this increased the earnest expectations of his landlord.
By night, Mr. Steele brought the “white rounded carbuncle” back to the boarding house under thick covers. Despite the attempt at cloaking the stone, it glowed with an intensely penetrating radiance. In the dark, the light grew to an incredible and anomalous proportion, far exceeding that of sunshine. This material was secreted into the cellar of the house, one “not having any windows”. There, Mr. Steele “worked on the material by night”, performing chemical operations on the substance.
Despite the thick stonewalls, the light of this stone “shone right through” to the outer meadows. So great was its penetrating strength that the entire house appeared illuminated by fire, being seen at very great distances by curious others. In addition to this mystery, large and continual booming sounds were heard surrounding the stone and the house. Mr. Steele stated that these sounds emanated from the stone. He labored on the stone every night until it was impossible to hide the secret any longer from neighbors. Mr. Knowlton, the landlord, thought it bewitched by Indian sorcery and angrily warned Mr. Steele to cease his evil acts.
Wrapping the carbuncle in sheet lead and taking on a disguised appearance, he fled from the town by sailing ship. Because of the stone’s remarkable luminescence and equally powerful thunder, it was impossible to hide the stone. It has been presumed that the sailors, superstitious and frightened of the accursed carbuncle, simply threw him overboard with the object in his grasp. England, Steele’s intended destination, was never reached by him. The stone, of course, was lost.
The large mysterious stone was original dug out of a very specific hillside, known by the residents of the area. From descriptions given by the now-late Mr. Steele, a local cleric found the very spot. The cleric is the same gentleman, a man of impeccable character and irreproachable honesty, who wrote the journal from which the tale was derived. He spoke of the existence of the mystery carbuncle as a fact, in greatest confidence.
The cleric said that lightning was frequently drawn into the hillside at that very point, loud booming noises constantly emanating from the place regardless of the weather. The place was also known to the Native Americans, who treated the district as a sacred spot. Puritans believed the place bewitched, and avoided it with great terror. No mention was ever made of the strange substance again.
While sounding completely fanciful, such stones were actually observed in New Guinea by numerous traders who managed to penetrate the high mountains of Mount Wilhemina. These adventurers reported that native villages employed large “balls of stone” to brilliantly light the night darkness. The giant glowing stones were exceedingly bright, resembling “suspended moons”. These filled the jungle region with their radiance, giving a surreal quality to the place. The source of the mysterious light found, those of the expedition were completely astounded. Poised high on very large pedestals, the huge white balls of stone glowed with a brilliance equal to that shed by electric lanterns. Their light did not fade with time.
Another such account came through Ion Idriess, a famed Australian writer. Aborigine elders, while recounting island history to him, reported the existence of “the booyas”. These were large balls of stone, which glow with an eerie magickal light. Three of these stone “scepters” were known in the area. Poised on tall pedestals of bamboo, the light shed by the booyas was so bright that it enveloped its spectators. Held up toward the sky, the stone flashed with a brilliant cold green light, and was thus “charged”. Villages thus illuminated by greenish white brilliance were seen far off at sea.
The diary of a conquistador (Barco Centenera, 1601) told of a similar, if not exact, stone ball lantern. The setting was Paraguay, in the city of Gran Moxo. There he reported discovering a huge stone pedestal, some twenty-four feet in height. This pillar was surmounted by a huge ball of stone, which shone with such brilliance that it illuminated both the lake and the inhabited area.
The English Colonel P.H. Fawcett reported hearing of cities in the same South American jungles whose people employed a similarly strange means for illuminating their night times. These were the very same kinds of cold green balls of stone, poised on very tall stone pedestals. Colonel Fawcett, of utmost integrity, sacrificed his life while seeking the ruins of these lost cities. His qualified opinion was that these places were “contemporary remnants” which retained the forgotten knowledge of … much older civilizations.
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