Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/270

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in 1822, describes the effect on the mind as something which begins before any other sign of the earthquake has manifested itself at all—an anticipatory horror, which is even more marked in the case of the lower animals. "Before we hear the sound, or at least are fully conscious of hearing it, we are made sensible, I do not know how, that something uncommon is going to happen; everything seems to change color; our thoughts are chained immovably down; the whole world appears to be in disorder: all nature looks different to what it is wont to do; and we feel quite subdued and overwhelmed by some invisible power, beyond human control or apprehension." In the Neapolitan earthquake of 1805, these anticipatory signs were most remarkable in relation to the life of the animal world. An Italian writer, quoted in Mr. Wittich's "Curiosities of Physical Geography," says: "I must not omit in this place to mention those prognostics which were derived from animals. They were observed in every place where the shocks were such as to be generally perceptible. Some minutes before they were felt, the oxen and cows began to bellow, the sheep and goats bleated, and, rushing ii? confusion one on the other, tried to break the wicker-work of the folds; the dogs howled terribly, the geese and fowls were alarmed and made much noise; the horses which were fastened in their stalls were greatly agitated, leaped up, and tried to break the halters with which they were attached to the mangers; those which were proceeding on the roads suddenly stopped, and snorted in a very strange way. The cats were frightened, and tried to conceal themselves, or their hair bristled up wildly. Rabbits and moles were seen to leave their holes; birds rose, as if scared, from the places on which they had alighted; and fish left the bottom of the sea and approached the shores, where at some places great numbers of them were taken. Even ants and reptiles abandoned, in clear daylight, their subterranean holes in great disorder, many hours before the shocks were felt. Large flights of locusts were seen creeping through the streets of Naples toward the sea the night before the earthquake. Winged ants took refuge during the darkness in the rooms of the houses. Some dogs, a few minutes before the first shock took place, awoke their sleeping masters, by barking and pulling them, as if they wished to warn them of the impending danger, and several persons were thus, enabled to save themselves." What it is, before the sound or shock of earthquake is felt, which warns both animals and human beings of the approach of some dreadful catastrophe threatening the very basis of their existence, no one, of course, can say, since the impression made upon the nervous system is, at least as regards our own species, evidently one of general disturbance, and not one to which experience attaches any explicit significance. It may be, of course, that some very great change in the magnetic conditions of a spot threatened with earthquake leads to that extreme excitement of mind exhibited by all living creatures previous to the onset of the