July Oddities and St. Elmo's Fire

July 31, 2018


The steamship, “Mohican” was piloted by Captain Urquhart from Romania. While directing the craft to the Delaware Breakwater and on July 31, 1904, he was surrounded by a luminescent fog.  The fog was so thick that the vessel came to a complete stop.  According to the Hawaiian newspaper, The Maui News, “Suddenly, the boat’s contents began to radiate light like a mass of glowing fire.”  The iron chains on the metal deck could not be moved, no matter how many sailors attempted to shift them, and the ship’s compass went berserk. Other objects became attached to the chains and the crew’s hair stood straight up, their body hair bristled and joints in their bones became stiff.  This incident may have been an example of St. Elmo ’s fire where gas molecules are ionized and glow.


Here's other July events. On July 31, 1979, lightning nailed a moving pickup truck in Plainview, Texas. Passengers in the bed of the truck were instantly killed while those in the cab were uninjured.


On July 28, 1997, a tornado leveled a dugout at the Dyer County High School in Tennessee. Ironically,  it was rebuilt four months early from another twister. 


On July 29, 1997 in Aspen, CO, lightning blinded a worker for 15 minutes as the bolt passed through a window.


On July 26, 1895, a tornado dropped a tree in a house in Dunkerton, Iowa then moved the house off its foundation.  The same twister put a 150 pound hog in the cellar and carried two colts into the atmosphere. 



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